Thursday, August 11, 2005

Project Summary

The TruckPC is done! Well, almost. The installation is done, and the software is running at some level. I still have lots of tweaking planned and one more coat of paint.

The fabrication on the console took longer than I anticipated, and I knew it was complex when I started it. Part of the time was just scheduling as I only had some tools, and work and family crammed the schedule too.

Rear Seat Storage
This was supposed to be the easy part. A big box with two doors, right? I apparently hadn't thought this through as much as needed. It is in place, but the doors took quite a bit of effort. It is awaiting paint and it will get reinstalled. I also plan to take some pictures of the final assembly.

Power Supply
This took the better part of a day to install, not because of the P/S but because I had to understand my truck's wiring. Once I figured it out it works great! It may be my favorite part of the project. The whole rig (well, except for the touchscreen) boots up with the ignition and hibernates just after the key is pulled. I was dissappointed to find that it had a fan, but after a long test-drive I ended up needing to add an exhaust fan too so I guess I'll get over it. I do seem to have a weak ground because I've picked up some engine whine. Going to have to work on that.

Windows XP works well. Boots a little slow, but I still have some tweaks to do before I put this to bed. FrodoPlayer ROCKS! I am using a default skin for now, but plan to tackle this soon. I want to streamline some of the parts I use more, and push some of the things I don't use to secondary screens. Microsoft Streets & Trips on the other hand is not optimized for this application. The GPS gets lost after a hibernate, and the check box to fix it is tiny. I am attempting to mitigate this for now using some hacked up scripting and screen scrapes.

To get a complete picture of what this project costed, I added up the rought costs or the parts I bought. I got some things at a good deal, and some were Freebies donated from other PC's or I traded other parts on hand for parts needed. This is a fairly complete list, bu it does not take into account the time put in. Lots of tinkering and discovery went on to figure these things out. Also, in my truck there were two rather ambitous pieces to be fabricated.

$250 - Lilliput 7" Touchscreen (Cheapes place from Froogle!)
$175 - Opus 150w DC-DC Power Supply (
$90 - Microsoft Streets & Trips With GPS Reciever (CompUSA - Look for a rebate special)
$70 - AMD Sempron 2400 Processor with Fan (
$60 - Wood, Woodworking Supplies, and Paint (Lowes)
$40 - Radio Shack 200w AMP Wiring Kit (Radio Shack)
$40 - Griffin PowerMate "Knob" (Fry's - They don't carry it anymore)
$40 - Mainboard - Micro-ATX (
$20 - Misc. Wiring and Connectors (Wal-Mart and Autozone)
$6 - Laptop Hard Drive Adapter (

My Total Cost: $791

$85 ~ Windows XP Professional
$65 ~ 40GB Laptop Hard Drive
$20 ~ 256MB PC-2100 Memory

Actual Total Cost: $961


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