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  Project:     Jollyeskimo's Project 850itx Part 1  
  Guest Author:     Jollyeskimo
  Date:     October 7th, 2005  

Introduction:

Like many people, I once had an iPod. After selling my 20GB off many moons ago due to the inadequate storage, I decided to build and install a complete PC into my car as the iPodís replacement. The car that I currently own is a 1993 Volvo 850GLT. While it isnít exactly anyoneís dream car, my Volvo is a reliable and solid means of transportation thatís served me well over the course of its lifetime.

Project 850itx
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Project 850itx
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Before I could even muster up a cheesy "MTV, Please Pimp my Ride!" pun, several problems had already revealed themselves. Firstly, the rig had to be very small in size, with a monitor equally small in order to be unobtrusive and reasonable in terms of power consumption. Secondly, with nothing but a 12v cigarette lighter outlet in the car, something must be done to power the rig and all its accessories.

Project 850itx
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Project 850itx
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To keep the package small, I decided to use a laptop originally to power the entire setup. My Compaq X1010CA fit the bill as it was easily stashed behind the front passenger seat, and had a battery to keep it running even after the power was cut. I also snatched a Lilliput 8" touch screen LCD off eBay to mount directly on the dash instead of using the laptopís unwieldy widescreen. Extensive testing would reveal that both of these werenít the best of choices, but thatís another story for another day.

Project 850itx
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Project 850itx
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Lilliput TFT displays are one of the more popular choices for in-car PC setups, due to their size, power requirements (12vDC), USB-compatible capacitive touch screen modules, and great picture quality. Mounting was a piece of cake, as the LCD comes with its own adjustable stand, but I chose to not place it directly on the top of the dash but to keep it a bit more subtle, and instead zip-tied it to the circulation vents in the center of the console to: a) keep it lower and therefore less visible to would-be thieves, b) position it so that it would be quick and easy to reach, should I need to do so while driving. After all, "Drive Safely" used to be Volvoís slogan before they decided to soften their companyís image a bit. It may be simple, but it's actually better than bondo-ing it permanently to the dash since I still need my stereo, and the viewing angle is much better and adjustable this way.

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