carpc homepage

carpc install



carpc blog


I get a lot of emails asking various questions about the Car PC from people who are looking to build there own and look for advice. To save time I've decided to complile a list of the most common questions I get asked along with answers. Remember though - it's just my opinion!

Q) How do you power the Car PC?

A) I use an Opus Technologies Auto PSU. This connects directly to the battery and recieves a signal from the ignition to tell it when to turn on and off the Car PC. It's efficient, cuts down on noise introduced into the system and allows the system to go into standby mode when the car is switched off to enable almost instant-on.

Q) How do you get the Sound through the speakers. What are the options?

A) I connect the computer, from the Line out of the PC, to the factory head unit (car stereo). It connects into the CD-changer in using a device called a Connects2 AUX Adapter. This enabled me to keep the standard stereo in my special edition Focus MP3. I use a ground loop isolator (see here) to filter out any unwanted noise.

Other options are to buy a head unit that supports AUX in, or to use a dedicated Car audio amplifier connected directoly to the Car PC powering your speakers.

Q) Are you worried about it getting stolen? What do you do about the screen?

A) The screen is detachable from it's mount. If i'm leaving the Car I take the screen with me. It's only a 7" screen and fits in my pocket. The main unit for the Car PC itself, in the boot comprises of just the mainboard, PSU and HDD, which combined are not that valuable and additionally are hidden from view. The software and effort spent is more valuable and I have a backup of these and the original software disks.

Q) How much did it cost to get set up?

A) Not accounting for the trial and error involved in buying the wrong parts etc, this is a simple run-down of how much it cost. Bnear in mind I used an old HDD I had lying around.

  • VIA Eden mini-ITX motherboard with 800MHz C3 CPU (£71.68 inc VAT from
  • 512MB PC2100 DDR RAM (£56.39 inc VAT from
  • 20GB Maxtor EIDE hard drive
  • Opus 150W Automobile PSU (£151.58 inc VAT) from For more information, see
  • Lilliput 7in SVGA touch-screen TFT (Approx £200 inc VAT from For more information, see
  • Globalsat BU-303 USB GPS 'mouse' (Approx £30 from eBay. Also £70.50 inc VAT from For more information, see
  • Belkin 10M USB Bluetooth adaptor (£23.45 inc VAT from
  • Netgear WG121 USB 802.11g wireless LAN adaptor (£50.99 for new model WG111GE from
  • Connects2 AUX interface adaptor (For more information, see
  • VIA Sereniti 2000 Case (£41.13 inc VAT from
  • Ford Focus vent dashboard mount for TFT (£23.44 inc VAT from
  • ECU serial port adaptor (Prices from approx £45 from
  • DLink DRU-100 Digital FM Radio (£8.17 inc VAT from
  • Maplin In-ear Headset Microphone (£7.99 inc VAT from

And for the software:

  • Windows XP Professional (£238.52 inc VAT from
  • Microsoft MapPoint 2004 (£246.98 inc VAT from
  • Destinator 3 Pocket PC version (£72.85 from

Q) How do you get it insured?

A) It can be insured as ICE with most insurance dealers


Articles Homepage

If you've got a suggestion for an article that you think might be useful on here, email me