Using a Computer in car

Submitted: Sunday, Mar 14, 2004 at 19:11
ThreadID: 11242 Views:2040 Replies:9 FollowUps:9
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This has probably already been hashed over but after a search I couldn't find what I was looking for, SO:
I am interested to know how others have set up thier laptop/notebook in the vehicle.
Not so much how you have connected it up as how you have positioned it in the vehicle. Do you use it while mobile or only when stopped. Where does it sit, have you made up brackets for it etc.
At present I pack mine away and then have to unpack and sit it on the seat and only use it when stopped. Not much good when trying to follow a map in unfamiliar territory. There has to be a better way??????
Any help or ideas would be appreciated.
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Reply By: Lynn2 - Sunday, Mar 14, 2004 at 19:32

Sunday, Mar 14, 2004 at 19:32
Hi Bigbear,

My husband has made up a table which sits in the open glove box. The computer sits on foam (to cushion the bumps) and the inverter sits in the glove box behind. The GPS feeds into the cpr.

Only problem, you need a passenger to read the maps!! Can cause a bit of arguing if they read maps like I do.

This works really well in our car (an NP Pajero) don't know how it would work in other vehicles.

AnswerID: 50313

Follow Up By: Member - Bigbear - Sunday, Mar 14, 2004 at 19:41

Sunday, Mar 14, 2004 at 19:41
Sounds like a smart idea.
Thanks Lynn
FollowupID: 312121

Follow Up By: REX - Monday, Mar 15, 2004 at 19:48

Monday, Mar 15, 2004 at 19:48
i own a pajero the dash is on a 45 degre angle over the center eaircon vevts three strips of velcro glued to dash some velcro on bottom of laptop and it sits perfect not in the way and can be seen by all
the trick is to buy a small laptop say 14' screen any bigger and it gets to hard to adapt somthing to fit
FollowupID: 312230

Reply By: Member - Tony G (NSW) - Sunday, Mar 14, 2004 at 19:59

Sunday, Mar 14, 2004 at 19:59
Hi Bigbear,

I am in the process of fininshing the setup on my vehicle.

I will post photo's when complete.

My requirements for the setup were to do the following:

1. GPS Mapping
2. Play dvd movies for kids
3. Able to download photo's from camera when the memory card was full.

I have purchased a "Trek MobileDesk" as per link below


I hope to mount in front passenger seat for gps stuff and mount behind centre console for kids to watch dvd's on. You need to buy extra bases so it is easily moveable.

Hope this helps

Tony G
AnswerID: 50316

Reply By: Member - Wim (Bris) - Sunday, Mar 14, 2004 at 21:45

Sunday, Mar 14, 2004 at 21:45
I have a "Mobiledesk" unit mount in my Jack. Not a cheap option but very flexable. Laptop can swivel so both can use it.

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AnswerID: 50331

Reply By: Member Eric - Sunday, Mar 14, 2004 at 22:17

Sunday, Mar 14, 2004 at 22:17
Look up laptop brackets in the forum , I have posted Pics of my set up
AnswerID: 50336

Reply By: Richard Kovac - Sunday, Mar 14, 2004 at 22:39

Sunday, Mar 14, 2004 at 22:39
Hi Bigbear
I have just hooked up a Garmin etrax to a HP iPAQ 2210 Pocket PC and use OziExplorer CE to run my maps which are converted using ozi software i can view all my maps loaded on to CF or SD cards and can down load them at night while not driving.
It's smaller and can be mounted on the dash works quite well
AnswerID: 50339

Follow Up By: Member - Peter (York) - Monday, Mar 15, 2004 at 14:55

Monday, Mar 15, 2004 at 14:55
Hi Richard , the Hp iPAQ you have do you mind telling me where you got it , cost and where would I get a cable for a Garmin 12 thanks
FollowupID: 312185

Follow Up By: Richard Kovac - Wednesday, Mar 17, 2004 at 01:01

Wednesday, Mar 17, 2004 at 01:01
The Hp iPAQ was brought from Harvey Norman cost $679.00 SD card $237.00 265MB CD card $171.00 256MB the next time i got a card it cost $128.00 for a 256MB SD card 50c / MB?
Cable to suit from GPSOZ
Ph. 02 9999 2313
Oziexplorer $37.50 you must have a reg copy of the PC OziExplorer soft ware.
I haven't used it on a trip so far but around perth it seems to be working ok still waiting for my ram mount from GPSOZ so I can mount it in the troopy
Richard Kovac
FollowupID: 312410

Reply By: Gerry - Monday, Mar 15, 2004 at 12:51

Monday, Mar 15, 2004 at 12:51
I purchased a 7.2 inch LCD screen with remote and car mount from ebay for $130 + postage, which is attached in the centre of the dash. My laptop hangs off the cargo barrier between the two front seats in a cotton canvas bag (you know the type they hand out at conferences...) with ventilation holes in the right places so it doesn't overheat. In the mornings I fire it up, switch to moving map, load my route for the day and whack it back in the bag. It's easy to see and generally no need to touch the laptop again until you're finished for the day - just remember to switch off the screensaver!!
AnswerID: 50385

Follow Up By: Member - Tony G (NSW) - Monday, Mar 15, 2004 at 12:58

Monday, Mar 15, 2004 at 12:58
Hi Gerry,

Could you advise if your LCD screen is a touch screen?

Or is there no need to access anything else on the screen other than the moving maps?

Many Thanks

FollowupID: 312174

Follow Up By: Gerry - Monday, Mar 15, 2004 at 16:13

Monday, Mar 15, 2004 at 16:13
Hi Tony,
No, it's not a touch screen, but once you're set up with moving map display, I have never found a need to access the computer during the day. Even if we get out to go for a walk or have lunch, I simply turn off the screen and leave the computer running.

FollowupID: 312196

Reply By: Jarrod - Monday, Mar 15, 2004 at 19:24

Monday, Mar 15, 2004 at 19:24
G'day Bigbear,
My system as follows -
HP / compaq notebook (wont go into details)
Lilliput 7.2 inch touchscreen (VGA - 1024 x 768)
Magellan trailblazer XL GPS
powerbox 300w inverter
Oziexplorer 3D
entire state (vic) at 1:25,000
entire state (vic) 3 second Digital elevation model
20mW crystal locked PLL FM stereo transmitter
Sony DSC10 5megapixel cybershot camera

Basically, the laptop lives in an aluminium "aerolite" box, (foam padded interior) with filtered cooling fans. Also inside the box lives the GPS and the FM transmitter.
The touch screen TFT display has been mounted in my out back overhead console. It's in the forward section, where most people mount UHF CB. Some fairly serious mods to the console need to be undertaken, and the screen is mounted using a 4" RAM mount, so it can be folded up out of the way, or angled for the driver, passenger or rear passengers.

The Touchscreen controls the laptop beautifully, VGA monitor out from the laptop, USB back, (for control.) Laptop plays DVD's MP3's and the Audio out is fed to the FM transmitter and then I tune the stereo into the correct frequency for perfect audio.Touch screen comes with drivers CD.

The gps antenna is a trimble active antenna, mounted on the snorkel head. Data from GPS goes to com port1 of laptop.

The sony USB lead is permenantly in USB port 2, with the sony end coiled up out of the way. - a 128Mb card downloads in about a minute, also controlled by touchscreen.

The touchscreen comes with a small stylus, but i made a pen size unit, turned up from soft teflon. ( The screen gets grubby quickly if using the fingers!)

Windows XP pro has an onscreen keyboard (check it out under Start,all programs,accesories,accessability,on screen keyboard.) I have a shortcut in my toolbar This is perfect for naming waypoints track file names etc.

Ive got Heaps of time saving tips for yourself, or anyone else interested if you decide to go down this path. Also have heaps of pictures of the entire install before ,during and completed construction.

The whole lot is mounted in my 100 series cruiser and just spent the last week touring the alpine nation park. Didn't miss a beat (computer/touchscreen etc)

If you want see any of the pics, or see the install in person, (or anyone else considering a similar idea) I'd be proud to show of my handywork.

I'm in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne...

AnswerID: 50425

Follow Up By: Member - Peter (York) - Tuesday, Mar 16, 2004 at 11:02

Tuesday, Mar 16, 2004 at 11:02
Hi Jarrod , did the cable to conect the laptop to the lillyput screen come with the screen or did you get it from elswhere if so can you tell me where and the cost thanks, I was concidering going with the PDA OziCE way but just having the external screen seems a lot easyer any other help would be greatfull , I am running HP pavilion laptop and have a Garmin with external arial set up already thanks.
FollowupID: 312308

Follow Up By: Member - Bigbear - Tuesday, Mar 16, 2004 at 14:32

Tuesday, Mar 16, 2004 at 14:32
Hi Jarrod

Sounds pretty impressive and I would like to see it, unfortunately we are on opposite sides of this country. any pics you could post would be real handy.

Thanks Bigbear
FollowupID: 312335

Follow Up By: Michael Ralston - Tuesday, Mar 16, 2004 at 22:25

Tuesday, Mar 16, 2004 at 22:25
Would be interested to see your setup. Could you let me know your email so I might make contact?
FollowupID: 312394

Reply By: Member - Bigbear - Tuesday, Mar 16, 2004 at 14:34

Tuesday, Mar 16, 2004 at 14:34
Thanks to everyone who posted ideas. This has given me a lot to work with, and some dollars to spend :).

AnswerID: 50529

Reply By: Jarrod - Tuesday, Mar 16, 2004 at 23:47

Tuesday, Mar 16, 2004 at 23:47
Peter, the touchscreen came with all approriate leads i.e. VGA, ( usb lead builtin to end of 15pin DB connector), USB to twin Video and mono audio and power in, and Two separate Power leads. 1 for mains, 1 for 12V. The main lead used here is the VGA lead, a 9 core shielded lead that is unfortunately only about two meters long, so had to be extented, easiest way was to section in a lenght of 9 core shielded monitor cable, available for a couple of bucks a meter.

Any body else interested or other questions, hit me off line at

P.s., easier for me to send pics from here than post them any where...


AnswerID: 50632

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