Car gadets, GPS, MP3, Movies, etc

So ive been working on a neat little project lately. I decided i wanted a GPS in the car (no NEED for one, just a want) plus in car entertainment. Currently Ive always used an ipod in dock which charges the ipod and fm transmits the sound to the stereo in my android car stereo set up. I have pretty good sound quality too, I thought the transfer would cause some degradation but it’s fine.

So i grabbed my eeePC the other day, went online and bought a bluetooth adapter which im going to soldar inside, a GPS device, FM transmitter (usb powered), i had a USB hub already and some other things.

So I now have 3 wires from the eeePC.

* Power cable to the cigg lighter – I wanted to only have 1 power cable and minimize power consumption if at all possible. So the laptop is the only thing powered.

* USB hub. – From this all USB devices plug into. This will be in a small box under the dash when im done. It has the USB powered fm transmitter, GPS, Bluetooth (which eventually will be soldared into the laptop itself) .

* Audio out cable – this goes to the FM transmitter, I prefered this option to fully USB fm transmitter for cost sake and configurability .. “it just works”

I had some issues with trying to work out how I was going to dock the laptop in the car. Where it was going to sit or go. But because of the layout of my dash i was having issues. I didnt want it to sit in my way so I couldnt move or it interfeered with things, and a lot of PDA holders i saw did not hold the 1kg weight of the laptop well. Then there is the issue of blocking the wind screen if it was too high.

Because of the layout of my dashboard i came to the conclusion that im an idiot. This is what my dash looks like


Not an overly great shot, but you get the idea that the normal dash is actually in the center not behind the steering wheel like most cars. Heres a more modern version so you can get an idea of the layout (mine doesnt look half as good as this one though)


So this leaves a prime real-estate of between steering wheel and window for my laptop to sit i’ve decided. It shouldnt be too distracting and hard to see as this is where most dash speedos are located so i wont need to look too far. Eventually I can invest in a bluetooth or wireless kb so passengers can operate things if need be, but for now its fine.

Ill be getting a non-stick rubber mat and it *should* just sit there. Under the steering wheel is a shelf which is a great size for all my wiring and plugs and anything else i might need. A great place to keep it tidy. Anyway for now Ive spent hours and hours compiling NavIT to get it going the way i wanted with the maps i wanted (ill post tutorials on that later). And im just debating using nghost or myth for the media in general. The screen seems a tad small for nghost, but ill see if i can hack it some.

Its on my ‘to do’ list. Another thing to do is to read this car DVD player guide and this scrap car yard in Montreal as the best place for selling old cars.

As for other software. I tried LinuxICE, it was worst than garbage and nothing worked. I moved to straight ubuntu, compiled NavIT, and currently for now using rythembox and vlc for media.

I have an 8GB SD card i found lieing about for media, however i plan on buying a 32GB usb thumb drive, putting it apart and also soldaring it inside the laptop. I did think about external USB HDD, however this brings up power consumption problems i didnt want to deal with. Solid State all the way for now.