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Has anyone built a car PC with miniITX?

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Well guys and gals, I have built several nice sytems and sure I could throw more money at them, but I was thinking of starting a new project.

A car PC


Mainly I was wondering if anyone around here has done so and what components they used. I have seen several articles about building them and thought that it would be a cool way to drain the bank a bit and come out with a nice mobil pc platform for the car (truck actually).


CarPC project


These mini ITX boards are only 170mmx170mm in size and can use a 12v to 12v power supply so you dont have to use a power inverter.



This is the board I'm looking at

Versa 1.5g


This is the PSU

160watt PSU


And this is the touchscreen, not necasarily this unit but something like it

8" touchscreen VGA


Then all you have to do is to add the Panasonic slot load slimline laptod dvd/cd drive (yes they make a converter) and you have a rockin lil system.


Has anyone out there built one, and what did you think?


I'm hoping SoundX will chime in on this one as I know its right up his alley.


Do a goggle on car pc or mini itx and you will see this size format seems to beused for many things and some of the coolest lil mods you'll ever see.

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I provide support for two car audio shops on the Coast. Both are using preconfigured boxes from their vendors and only call on me for really weird problems which usually occur when they want to network multiple rigs together in the same vehicle or they start dealing with wireless.


Yes, one of the "cool" things to do is sit in your car in a parking lot and play FPS games over a wireless network. The "drive-by" will never be the same. LOL


I guess its better than it becoming a real "shooter" situation.


Building a rig like that will be a fun project. The biggest concern I know about is the heat issue. Sitting in the Sun lets the entire car heat-soak. Some of the solutions they provide are sealed boxes with an independent cooling system that runs off the deep-cycle batteries and/or a solar panel on the roof.

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Well one of things I wanted to is to throw in a wireless card in the pci slot, will that be a prob?


What OS are those running?


What kind components are those rigs built with?


As you can tell I'm in research mode, so any info I can get on these little things will help.


And it seems I have found that DFI makes these lil boards as well, only 3 models but hey it's DFI! Scroll down in the link to see em


Mini ITX DFI Boards

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Liquid cool that sucker. You should post a work log if you decide to take on this project, I think that would be way cool. Good luck to ya.


I have already thought of that, and wouldn't you know it a friend of mine just gave me his water cooling setup. A nice 12v pump, resevoir and a 120mm radiator.


Already have a case design drawn up for plexiglass and already have the materials as well.


I like the idea of solar panels to power the cooling, dont know if it will spin the pump. I'll have to get a panel and do some testing


Hmm, I think I got the makings of a cool project......


And I will definetly post a log, it wouldnt be right not to!

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I plan on doing one of these projects this summer as well.


mp3car.com has forums LOADED with information about everything from parts lists to heat issues. Check it out, and keep us posted with what you do.

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Liquid cooling doesn't help. Next time you leave a water bottle in the car, pick it up and feel the heat.


All the rigs I've seen running are using XP.


Most of them use USB wireless hardware so they can get the antenna to a good location. A few have used a PCI card then extended the antenna but these boards have limited slots if any.


Almost all of them are using laptop derived 2.5 inch drives since they're already built for the environment. Desktop drives are a bit of a problem since you have a larger mass being bumped around while driving.

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LOL, I just pictured using the car's radiator as a LC radiator, or using a hood scoop for an air intake feeding into the glove compartment. JK of course, a peltier might do the job, but use a lot of energy doing so.

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I have been working on one of those for quite some time, unfortunately I am easily distracted by other projects so I have 4 or 5 half finished projects lying around my room. It is in a state where it can run and has XP installed on it. However the enclosure isn't fully put together and I have a little bit more wiring to do.


As far as cooling goes just make sure it can get some air. I have an EPIA MII 12000 and after running at full power for an hour or so the chipset HS feels warmer than the CPU HSF. Really the biggest source of heat in those systems is the hard drives. I have a 30GB 2.5" HDD as my boot/app drive and a 250GB 3.5" HDD for data storage. After a few hours the 3.5" heats up to be crazy hot. A small fan can really keep temperatures in check, as long as you have some airflow over the components everything will stay cool (well as cool as the air in the car).


One very important thing for you to consider is what front end are you going to be using? So far I have been using Centrafuse and it is amazing.


Parts wise I used this:

EPIA MII 12000 (1.2ghz)

1U PCI Riser

Hauppauge 150 MCE TV Tuner

PW-200M 200 watt DC -> DC PSU

100 watt power supply brick (for when I use it as an HTPC at home)

Toshiba slim line DVD-ROM (no idea what the specs are I just ripped it out of an old laptop) w/adapter

Slime line floppy drive w/adapter

2.5" 30 GB IBM HDD w/adapter

3.5" 250 GB Maxtor HDD

256MB of PNY DDR PC2100 (hey it is what I had lying around)

various small switches and wires to fit my needs

2x60mm fans from old P4 heatsinks

lots of acrylic & acrylic solvent

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