GPS Moving Map Project

Submitted: Friday, Mar 28, 2003 at 11:42
ThreadID: 4106 Views:1871 Replies:8 FollowUps:6
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Hi all,
I am starting a new project and thought I would give it a mention here first both to get ideas and let interested parties know about it.

I wanted a better way to use OziExplorer with my GPS than using the laptop.

My solution is based around a computer motherboard that was reviewed in this month’s Australian Personal Computer magazine (about $350 including CPU). This motherboard is very small, less that 20cm by 20cm. It has on-board audio, video, serial, network, USB, printer and this is the key it also has built in S-video port.

I plan to make a custom case just large enough to fit a laptop size hard drive, DVD drive and the motherboard. It should end up about the size of a foxtel box and fit under a seat.

The display will be a roof mounted lcd screen (such as those being sold at Strathfield car radio). The keyboard is a one-piece keyboard and mini track ball. This keyboard is very small and is cordless; I picked it up at a computer market for $50.

Because it has a DVD drive the unit will also be able to play DVD movies as well as MP3 music files. I will also be able to install a few games on it as well, depending on the size of the hard drive I use.

Audio will be piped through the Car stereo via FM tranmitter (dick smith kit).

There you have it, an in car navigation, home theatre, juke box, games system.

OK I know a bit of a geeky thing to do, but why not.

Any suggestions?
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Reply By: Ray - Friday, Mar 28, 2003 at 12:13

Friday, Mar 28, 2003 at 12:13
Thats a great project Groove, been thinking along the same lines myself after coming across a website where a guy had already done it. Will post the url after Iget to work this arvo if no one else does. He imported a 12 volt supply to power the board. I wouldn't bother with the FM transmitter, get an FM modulator and hard wire the sound, mine cost about $30. Most important to source a screen with good resolution.
AnswerID: 16327

Reply By: Grinner - Friday, Mar 28, 2003 at 12:23

Friday, Mar 28, 2003 at 12:23
Excellent, I was considering doing something like this last year (there was actually an article in APC about car mounted computer). The only thing that put off was having to use an inverter for the power supply, going from 12v to 240v and back to 12v seemed very wasteful to me. A 12v volt power supply though sounds interesting.

What was the brand and model of the Motherboard?

AnswerID: 16328

Reply By: Groove - Friday, Mar 28, 2003 at 13:02

Friday, Mar 28, 2003 at 13:02
Thanks for the feed back guys.

The mother board is a VIA Model EPIA m9000. CPU is 933 MHZ and I forgot to metion it a an onboard MPEG2 decoder chip so DVD performance is reported to be excellent.

Screen resoultion could be a issue, I am currently looking into the possibility of using an old laptop screen, I have found a site that talks about how this is done. Could be pricey, not the screen but the controller required.

I will probably build a power supply. Shouldnt require much more than a 5 volt and a 12 volt regulator, with a bit of spike protection and filtering.

I would love to see that site you mentioned Ray.
I think this is going to be fun.
AnswerID: 16333

Follow Up By: Ray - Friday, Mar 28, 2003 at 14:28

Friday, Mar 28, 2003 at 14:28
Whats the url of that laptop screen site Groove

I have the url at work Groove, will post later today after I get there
FollowupID: 10039

Follow Up By: Ray - Friday, Mar 28, 2003 at 15:20

Friday, Mar 28, 2003 at 15:20
Ok, here's the site but I can't connect at the moment.

FollowupID: 10042

Follow Up By: Ray M (Vic) - Saturday, Mar 29, 2003 at 13:03

Saturday, Mar 29, 2003 at 13:03
The site is back online nowHooroo
FollowupID: 10065

Reply By: Member - Bob - Friday, Mar 28, 2003 at 13:44

Friday, Mar 28, 2003 at 13:44
Having looked into this myself I found that there isn't enough distance between your eyes and the roof mounted screen, and it tended to block too much view of the road. The best position for the screen turned out to be in the middle of the dash so that the top of the screen doesn't interfere with view of road. The cheapest way to go is use an old Wintel box ($200) and an inverter ($200). If you must have DVD adrive can be added. A cheap 15" screen (less than $600) finishes the job.
AnswerID: 16335

Follow Up By: Ray - Friday, Mar 28, 2003 at 14:24

Friday, Mar 28, 2003 at 14:24
That's a big screen to hang on the dash Bob

What is a Wintel box ?
FollowupID: 10038

Follow Up By: Grinner - Friday, Mar 28, 2003 at 14:31

Friday, Mar 28, 2003 at 14:31
Wintel means

WINdows operating system
INTEL processor / CPU
FollowupID: 10040

Reply By: Groove - Sunday, Mar 30, 2003 at 09:24

Sunday, Mar 30, 2003 at 09:24
Lots of good ideas coming in.

Your standard wintel box certainly a cheap and easy option but the size of the bax plus inverter was a bit much, I want the entire project under a seat. Just fussy I guess.

As for the URL with info on modifying a laptop screens I have that at work and will post here tomorrow.

Thanks for the suggestions
AnswerID: 16433

Reply By: Janset - Sunday, Mar 30, 2003 at 12:11

Sunday, Mar 30, 2003 at 12:11
Hi guys,

I don't wish to be a wet blanket here but I was thinking along the same lines but to use my laptop in the closed position with and external display unit like that mentioned in an above post.

I floated this idea on another forum and got a feed back that a guy found a location where the displays were available. When he got back to me he stated that after some in depth enquiries the idea could not be used as the remote display unit is not compatible with computers as they are a display unit not a monitor. Something to do with the pixels I think.

Might pay to check this out before you go to the expense of buying bits.

AnswerID: 16441

Follow Up By: rugs - Sunday, Mar 30, 2003 at 18:28

Sunday, Mar 30, 2003 at 18:28
I've been involved with a similar project for the last 12 months using a GPS/ PDA for bush walking and laptop/GPS for underseat vehicle use. (software OziexplorerCE and Oziexplorer respectively. Main problem was the screen visability in daylight even in the car. GpsOz in Sydney now sell a bluetooth GPS unit to interface with a bluetooth PDA ie no cables needed. P.S. Always take a paper map of the area and a compass as the more complex the equipment becomes the more murphy's law prevails
FollowupID: 10125

Reply By: Groove - Monday, Mar 31, 2003 at 09:49

Monday, Mar 31, 2003 at 09:49
The resolution of the cheaper video screens is lower than a computer monitor however the beauty of the motherboard I mentioned is that it has an Svideo port on it, this is not standard on most PCs and allow the system to be pluged directly into a TV, VCR etc. You will lose detail using this approach but an afordable comprimise.

As I do more research however I am starting to think that a better approach might be to butcher a laptop, ie separate the display from the rest of the case.

Regarding visability, some laptop displays are better than others. TFT displays seem to work quite well in well lit environment, they also have a wider viewing angle.

I have seen the add on GPSs for PDAs and they look great, however I dont get the DVD etc and these setups are quite expensive. The cheaper ons that work with the less expensive palm pilots dont multi task very well, ie if while recording a track you change mode to vew a different screen the track recording is suspended. The CE base PDAs are nice but expensive and the displays are small.

I went to a local computer market on the weekend and saw pentium II laptops second hand from $400, if I can get one to work with my cordless keyboard this would be great.

The URL for the site that discusses modifying a laptop display for use with a standard PC is

AnswerID: 16474

Reply By: Member - Jimbo (WA) - Friday, Apr 04, 2003 at 20:02

Friday, Apr 04, 2003 at 20:02
Sounds great, and I look forward to hearing how it turns out. Meanwhile, to all those non-techo's like myself, I just found this -

Just have to win the lotto now!

AnswerID: 16894

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