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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Laptop for DVD, Navigation and video games?

My only regret with my MDX is that I didnt spend the extra 2K on the Navigation System. I've been looking at several options that might please me.(alpine, kenwood, garmin,etc) All are expensive and do not have the look I am looking for inside of the X. After reading about all the accessories added onto the MDX by others, and considering the price of having a navigation, ps2 or xbox, and dvd installed, isnt it reasonable and possible to get all these options from a decent laptop? Has anyone found a way to creatively install a laptop in the MDX?
Is it possible to somehow split a laptop notebook in half and have the monitor installed to the ceiling with the keyboard, etc installed in another location? or having the keyboard half hidden away under a seat and having a small keyboard(like a palm keyboard) attached and affixed to the dash?
how about having a touchcreen installed on your dashboard being linked to a laptop for viewing the navigation, and having the laptop for dvd or video games for the rear seats? (does a laptop have A/V plugs in the rear?) SORRY ABOUT THE RAMBLING!
It just seems to me there are alot of possibilties with a laptop somehow interfaced in your mdx than getting a portable 6 inch screen dvd player-$500, attaching a PS2-$300. to the dvd and purchasing one of these navigation units-$2K.
Here is the Laptop Navigation setup by Rand McNally Streetfinder for $99:

http://www.randmcnally.com/rmc/stor...D=ccceadcfhefhhghcgencfhjdfiidfjh.0&OID=16221

Here is another Laptop Navigation setup from Rand McNally-Navman for $139.:

http://www.randmcnally.com/rmc/stor...BV_EngineID=ccceadcfhefhhghcgencfhjdfiidfjh.0

has anyone heard of these programs? ease of use? effectiveness, etc?
 

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Why not stick with a simpler solution like the Garmin:

http://www.ecost.com/ecost/shop/detail.asp?dpno=994401

I say this, because before I got the MDX, I had an iPaq and installed GPS software in it. It worked great, but the "set-up" time made it a hassle to use. When you introduce a keyboard and mouse, it's going to be a huge distraction, and after a while of fidgeting with the different components, sometimes it's easier not use it.

Just speaking from my own experience.

A little bit more upfront may save you more in the future. I always try to measure the additional cost, against a potential fender-bender cost if I get distracted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I do like that unit, fits cleanly in the change/ashtray area. In regards to being distracted, my only problem about getting lost is hearing my wife yap, so she would be in the car during ANY aggravating moments inside of the tranquil MDX (LOL-sorry gals!)
she would be able to add an address/destination into the laptop, leaving the driving to me. I just see so many possibilites with a laptop in the MDX but I dont have the electronic or constructive mind to do it.
The pros of a laptop:
nice big screen for viewing DVD movies
you can play video games on it (big screen again)
and the Navman Navigation by rand mcnally looks pretty cool
plus its portable
and you get a laptops many other uses for play and work

here is another link for GPS Navigation (check out the Jotto Desk and Earthmate))

http://www.gps4fun.com/index_turn_by_turn.html
 

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larryhot13,


One of the reasons why we did not add the NAV was because I knew that I would never be satisfied with it's use solely as a NAV system - that screen was just too tempting for a hacker at heart like me (also, we switch cars frequently and I wanted something more portable). What I didn't realize at the time was the benefit that having just the screen alone would have provided in so far as making it easier to add the features I wanted (PC based NAV, MP3 player, DVD player, etc.). No, the screen alone wouldn't justify the $2k, it just would have made it easier.

My intermediate step was to use a Sony Vaio SR series for NAV (with Delorme Earthmate and RWE) and DVD playback. I have used the Delorme software for a number of years and love the ability to plan out our trips in the comfort of our home office and then just hit the road with the laptop. With Delorme's USB/Serial adapter, it provides the power to the Earthmate GPS so you never have to worry about batteries. I also use a Targus Universal DC/DC adapter (power tip #19 for the Vaio SR) to power the laptop.

For DVD playback, the Sony fits perfectly on the flipped back armrest/tray (secured with a velcro strap) to entertain the kids in the 2nd row. The external DVDRom fits nicely in the console lid. The drawback of course, it that you can't use the laptop for BOTH functions at the same time.

My next step involves a Tablet PC and is currenty under construction. When I have made some progress I will post feedback and some pics.
 

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Re: Laptop for DVD, Navigation and video games?

larryhot13 said:
...isnt it reasonable and possible to get all these options from a decent laptop? Has anyone found a way to creatively install a laptop in the MDX?
Is it possible to somehow split a laptop notebook in half and have the monitor installed to the ceiling with the keyboard, etc installed in another location? or having the keyboard half hidden away under a seat and having a small keyboard(like a palm keyboard) attached and affixed to the dash?
how about having a touchcreen installed on your dashboard being linked to a laptop for viewing the navigation, and having the laptop for dvd or video games for the rear seats? (does a laptop have A/V plugs in the rear?) SORRY ABOUT THE RAMBLING!
It just seems to me there are alot of possibilties with a laptop somehow interfaced in your mdx than getting a portable 6 inch screen dvd player-$500, attaching a PS2-$300. to the dvd and purchasing one of these navigation units-$2K. ...
Larry, first let me say that I have been a gadget guy, computer guy, game guy for about 30 years. I have my original Atari 2600 and it still works. I was doing hardware hacks on TRS-80s in the early 80's SO I KNOW EXACTLY WHERE YOU ARE COMING FROM!

In the recent past I have serviced laptop computers and believe me, it ain't NOTHING like making hardware mods back in the old days. Whilke there are guys in Japan who put translucent light-up keyboards in their Vaios, ThinkPads & PowerBooks, what you are talking about something that is WAY BEYOND anything that is capable of being done with off-the shelf products. You might find some components that would be useful in the "waerable computer" concepts and Microsoft prototype telematic concepts, but those are HUGELY costly propositions.

The basic problem with what you are propossing is that laptops are/have become commodities. All the stuff that allows 'em to be used as DVD players, GPS devices and MP3 players is all the 'generic quality' DVD decoders, USB bus controllers, sound cards et cetera are being sold at or below manufactuuring cost...

If, on the other hand you buy a decent screen, DVD player, Nav system etc these are all niche targets-- the potential for mark-up is HUGE.

I really want nav "built in from the factory" for a bunch reasons including warranty, looks, ease of use, impossibility of 'leaving it on the desk', safety, reliability...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Laptop notebook

maybe i got ahead of myself with all the modifications- splitting a notebook, etc. But just a nice simple notebook with a DVD and a decent video card set up on the arm rest or a table like the Jotta table from the previous post seems to allow so many more possibilities. I know I should have gotten the Acura Navigator system with my Touring Model, but as far as I know, i cant get one installed now. So my second best option, I feel, is the laptop, because of all its capabilities. This Dell Lattitude X200 is a perfect size/weight/durable notebook.

http://www.dell.com/us/en/dhs/products/model_inspn_1_latit_x200.htm

1. light-3 lbs., and mobile with a magnesium alloy case
2. external DVD can be stored in center console
3. a 12.1 display - 1024x768 resolution, much better than any portable DVD player
4. video card allows games to be played
5. 30 gig HD-stores MP3's --maybe I'm getting ahead of myself again, but can you use a FM modulator to play the MP3s over your MDX speakers? how about an attachment from the laptop to the cassette to play the MP3s?
6. Rand McNally Streetfinder or Navman GPS Navigator installed on your laptop will get you were you want to go!
7. All this and it is portable, many uses-work and play- I have a boat, so I can use the navigation/DVD/video games on on that too

I just havent heard/seen any reviews on the Rand McNally GPS. I'm curious if it gives voice commands- "turn right on next block, Main St"

still an expensive way to go if you dont have a laptop, but if you need one anyway or were looking to get one, it does expand greatly the uses you get out of $2,000.
one sidenote that I have yet to hear from anyone- Laptops do not stand up well in extremely hot conditions, if you left the laptop in your X on a hot summer day, you can fry it. Question for the computer geeks, Is that only if the unit is on? or even when the laptop is shut down, heat can harm the circuitry?
if so- thats why its portability is a nice factor
 

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The laptop might not be fried if you leave it in the car, it might just be gone. But the interior would be cooler from the broken window :3:
 

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Operational limits

I think most laptops will work in environments as hot as 120 degrees F...maybe not well, but they are suppose to work.

As to stoage in hot temps, the real issues are (in order of damage liklihoood) battery, screen, hard drive.

Battery life (not just charge) is compromised by high heat. LCD's could be damaged (temporarily or permenetly) by VERY high heat. Harddrive my be damaged/lose data at temps over 200 F...

I don't know what it would take to get vehicle to VERY high temps, but don't want to find out...

Having used a laptop in a car, the most consistenly annoying thing about it is the difficulty of getting it at a comfortable height. You can get a "Cop Mount" but they really are designed for cop cars, and it shows -- ugly ugly ugly! The mounting proble is solveable, with time and money you could fabricate a slick fold away mount -- have you checked out the A/V thread with the MeDe X?? The outfit that did that install has "mad skilz"
 

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If you go for a laptop, get the smallest one and possibly with a touchscreen. I can't remember the brand but there is one with a touchscreen. For a smaller one Sony come to mind and it even have a built in camera so after it navigates you to the destination, you can take photos. Just load the whole Rand McNally SA CD to the computer.
I used laptop for nAV before and the mouse pointer is too risky. I find it hard to find the cursor in the first place to start because your eyes is adjusting from the bright road. So at least dot matrix LCD is a must.

For power get a 12V-120V converter and permanently install it in your car so you can hide the extra wires. Or there should be a car power adapter.
Then get a GPS like Etrex Venture so you can use it other than in the car and power it from the computer. Reduces wires.

This is my set up before but the built-in NAV is still better

:D
 

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I have the Rand McNally GPS. I hooked it up to a Panasonic CF-01 touchscreen laptop. It worked reasonably well but the Rand McNally software will not do routing unless you are online. The GPS also takes a long time to synch and find itself. You can see my setup on a thread from last year called "poor man's gps" or something like that.

I have since gone to a Destinator hooked up to a IPAQ that is hardwired into the car.

On trips we bring my laptop with DVD player and put it on the middle tray table and the kids have a 14" monitor to watch their movies.
 

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I have a sharp ultra slim laptop that I take in the car sometimes. Have not tried navigational software on it, but must say it makes quite an mp3 jukebox and there are many ways you can hook it up to your factory stereo. There is even a wireless connection called Irock that plugs in headphone outlet to play music through your FM radio. No - not as good as a factory system but pretty neat for a long trip. I am really surprised there are not more laptop systems being built into higher level cars. I know many of them use all sorts of computers, but the interface you could have with a built in laptop controlling so many features of the car is really interesting to think about. From stereo control with 100's of MP3's to heating and cooling, etc. I hear reviewers complain about too many little buttons on cars - I wish I could get more of 'em!
 

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i think a great solution would be a tablet PC, as donsev had suggested. However, the current offerings are a bit lacking, and a damn ripoff. The ViewPad from Viewsonic



But it's got a pathetic Celeron 800 MHz, 10GB HD, 800x600 display, and NO DVD drive. $1999 for this :rolleyes:

What we need for a laptop with a pivot screen similar to the new Sony Clie NR-70. Open up the laptop, rotate the screen 180*, then fold it onto the keyboard. It will have built in DVD drive and touch screen. That would work great as a tablet PC, also work great in the car.

Funny thing is, I thought about detaching the screen from the laptop, but you should still need somewhere to put the keyboard/CPU. Well, maybe a laptop designer will see my post of come up with something :)
 

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Computer can be done..I've seen it!

A co-worker of mine installed a computer in his Avalance that is just the ticket for all of us...I will be posting pictures as aoon as I canof this gread mod.

He has:

the motherboard in the center storage area ...he cut out the bottom, installed a plexiglass "false bottom" and re-routed the rear a/c to run over the board.

Mounted the keyboard on the driver side sun-shade..coolest thing I've ever seen

6 inch touchscreen (I will ask him if ours can be adapted to this end)

And the best idea yet... he stuck a wireless network card in it so when he gets home, he connects to his home computer and quickly transfers whatever he's been downloading throught the day (movies and music) into the Avalanche's HD...he has over 15000 sons, a bunch of movies, pictures, AND

Software for.. A nav system, engine monitoring, media catalog (with all that music..he needs it!)

I have never seen anything this cool outside of a stereo competition!

I wil post picutres after the holiday
 
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