I have put a car-puter in my last 3 cars and I ab-so-lut-ly love having it in there... but let me tell you they are a HUGE PAIN IN THE A$$.
If you do not have a good knowledge of computers DO NOT get one. I have been in IT for about 8 years so I have a computer background. The initial setup of these things is a pain. After you get it working, get the boot times right, getting stand by to work and getting it to actually sound good... its awesome.
I have one installed in my Tundra right now with the touchscreen monitor overhead... But I am not really happy with the way it turned out so I may be redoing it soon.
If you decide to go with the carputer.. Let me reccomend something to you. Use Centrafuse as your GUI interface. Centrafuse is freakn amazing. If you get an ODBII reader you can hook it up to your carputer and get every electronic detail about your truck you need. It will even show and translate your "Check Engine" codes so you know whats wrong with your truck without having to go to the dealer. Here is their website. Centrafuse | A Whole New Way
Good luck with it if you decide to do it and let me know if you have any questions.
Interesting project! I am a 20 year IT person myself. While I know PC's, linux, windows, just about like the back of my hand I suck at car wiring. How hard is this thing to wire into the dash? Does it work well with bluetooth integration and cell? Can you use the Tundra steering wheel controls to make calls. The one in the BMW looks nice!
It isn't difficult to do if you use standard-sized screens and a lot of the equipment at places like mp3car.com. The real difficulty now is that it really doesn't make much sense to do it... netbooks are like $300 and they're portable. You have USB and audio-in ports on even some of the most basic systems. And you have iPhones, Zunes and iPods that can play all forms of media in a much smaller form factor.
I hope I'm not offending anybody, but really, I wouldn't spend money on doing it unless you want to do it for the sake of being able to say that you CAN do it. Get a Zune HD or iPod Touch and get a after-market system that can play audio/video from them and you're set.
Im very interested in doing this! Like awesome stated MP3Car.com is a GREAT website for all the questions/answers on carputers. I've been looking at the site for a while and when I finally get ready to upgrade my stereo I think Im going to go this route. For the price of a full indash DVD/Nav system you can have a heck of a PC that'll do everything and more. ll be sure to keep you updated when I finally start the project, but for now it's on hold due to funding :-(
A 1 for all does not make sense to me. Technology moves too fast and I am too cheap to spend lots more money for less function.
For day to day stuff, a good head unit with or without nav is a great start. Bluetooth phone of course.
I'd only really use a carputer when I was going somewhere. So a laptop with wifi, bluetooth, gps antenna would be a good start. Would like video out. Load up your entertainment and you'd have a great start. Even an old laptop would have more power than most of those built in units, and a much larger screen. I am getting way to old to read much on a 7" screen. You could use the laptop at your destination, such as a hotel room.
There are so many ways to connect to the internet, you just pick the ones that work for your trip. While urban areas are well covered, most of the off the main paths are not.
With the laptop screen as well as video out to aux displays, everyone could be entertained. The driver could opt to listen to the HU while others are watching a movie.
I plan on keeping my truck a long time so I am trying to limit obsolescence. Been doing computers for 3 decades and electronics for 4 so you can say, I have gone through a lot of stuff. So I know that in 2 -3 years, most will need replacing and what good is any of that built in carputer stuff good for other than sitting in my basement with lots of other stuff. Anybody need any 8" floppy disks, 256KB simms, or a 40MB hard drive that weighs 5 pounds?
I am going to sell my overhead touch screen monitor that is fiberglassed into my overhead console. I will try to get some pics of my system tomorrow and post them up. The way I am running my car computer is using the audio out from the computer into my Kenwood DNX9140 so I can play the 120 dvd movies and 300 gigs of music through my stereo. Its like having a highly advanced ipod hooked into my head unit with... It also has NAV, Bluetooth, Internet (Tethered from my iphone), Internet Radio, Backup cam... That I use for a baby monitor, DVD, I mean really... it has everything you could possible need.