On Saturday I got the last components for putting the Mini ITX unit into the car.
The theory is that since the Mini ITX runs off a 12V AC-DC transformer, it's should be possible to just take the 12V from the cigarette lighter socket and power the unit. Well that's the plan I have in my head. So after a quick soldering job (which I remembered to take care of the external cover properly this time.) It was time to move the unit into the car.
The unit sits on top of a piece of those non slip material, the casing itself already has some non slip feet stuck onto it. It actually fits quite snugly in the position. It won't slide around but of course a bump might send it flying off the dash.
The screen was propped against the gear since for this initial test I just wanted to see how well everything works first. Power to the 2 devices were provided through a cigarette lighter splitter.
So after plugging everything in, I pressed the power button on the computer and NOTHING HAPPENED! I looked in through the casing and I could see that an LED on the motherboard lit indicating the board was getting power, but pressing the power button didn't do anything. I guess I either screwed up thinking that just a direct connection from the cigarette socket was enough to provide the CURRENT necessary to the computer, either that or I used wrong gauge of wires? In any case since I already moved everything out here I decided to complete the testing first, so I plugged in the inverter.
And unsurprisingly the computer boots. As I mentioned before, the meesly 60W that the MiniITX's transformer draws is nothing compared to the 300W peak output of the inverter.
So everything booted, and was running properly as expected.
I ran the audio signal from the computer into the player, and then from the player into the amp. It would seem that the player is capable of dampening the noise from the car alternator so you don't hear the whirling sound in the audio output.
The screen resolution for the computer was set at 800x600, with 120dpi fonts. So that words are slightly readable on the small PAL resolution.
It's a pinch hard to see and do stuff on this resolution, but then again we're not going to be surfing the internet on this thing anyway it's just mainly to watch videos. Which brings me to what my wife always says when I tell her I want to put a computer in the car. "You're driving the car, who the heck is going to be using the system?" My response was "I'm doing this so you can watch videos in the car on long trips. And also I want to be able to do other things like access a proper working GPS and stuff." But that has been my argument waaaaaay back since the first time I tried to do this. (yikes... that was back in 2003!).
Nowadays.. for GPS I have my Touch Diamond, and if I did need access to more advanced computation functions I have a eeePC 901 which I carry with me on road trips. And as for watching videos (or rather letting WZ watch videos)
Remember what I said about the player? (do check out the link to the review if you haven't already read it) The thing is able to handle most conventional media files without the usual restrictions of video resolution which used to plague MPEG4 playing appliances. (Since I last dealt with MPEG4 appliances la) And also.. it comes with a bloody headrest strap so you can just attach the thing to the headrest!
So if my intention was to have a platform for WZ to be entertained during roadtrips.
That's pretty much settled already. So as I see my dreams of installing a computer in the car fade away due to technological advances (I can already hear my wife saying I told you so if she ever reads this post) I look forward to the future, when WZ is old enough to WANT not just non interactive entertainment, but also the Internet. Then the dream shall be revisited, and who knows what kind of weird shit will be available to be installed into the car then?!?