In car Child entertainment

Submitted: Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 10:03
ThreadID: 6298 Views:2499 Replies:11 FollowUps:24
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Generally speaking, I think we all like to limit the viewing of television by our kids. Surely, 10 hour hour car trips are a reasonable exception to that rule, if for no other reason than allowing us parents to enjoy the trip as well.

I have been exploring options to fit our current XBOX gaming system into the car (Nissan Patrol) (can here you all gasping) to cover both gaming and DVD playback with the ony real expenses being: roof mounted monitor, 24 to 12volt converter, and some form of cleverness in mounting the actual console so road bounce will not affect its performance. Sound simple, easy in theory and I believe extremely do-able. Has anyone got any comments on this issue. Has anyone got pricing info on roof mounted screens (the ones that replace the roof light as part of of it). I guess there are several challenges: audio feed through to sound system will be a beauty - perhaps head sets?? Why buy a DVD player that plays DVD's and CD's only - lets go way out. Feedback, experiences would be welcome.
PJ
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Reply By: Member - Sam (NSW) - Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 10:13

Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 10:13
PJ,

there was an article in a back issue of Australian 4WD Monthly if i remember correctly on a bloke who had set up a similar arrangement in his GU Patrol. I'll try and track the edition down for you (or if anyone else knows it off hand....). He had the LCD's fitted into the head rests of the driver and passenger seats.

cheers,
Sam.
AnswerID: 26498

Follow Up By: PJ - Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 10:16

Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 10:16
Sam,
I think its a cracker of a concept - I love my kids with all my heart but they are little buggers to travel with. Your feedback is appreciated.

PJ
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Follow Up By: barnsy - Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 17:30

Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 17:30
check out ebay, heaps of different screens
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Reply By: Kev - (Cairns,QLD) - Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 10:16

Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 10:16
A mate had this set up in his 80 series and said it kept the kids happy (and quiet).

Geez, kids are lucky these days !
AnswerID: 26499

Follow Up By: PJ - Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 10:21

Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 10:21
Hi Kev,
get hime to come on and tell us how he did it - I'm starting fresh and would love to get a head start from someone who has already jumped the hurdles. Perhaps I could email him direct?

PJ
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Follow Up By: Kev - (Cairns,QLD) - Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 10:32

Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 10:32
What i saw was a LCD screen fitted to the overhead roof console that could be flipped down when needed. Not sure about the rest, ie sound ect.
As far as i know he's not online.

BTW- im sure you can buy a 12volt DVD player that would be good for the kiddies. I saw it at Super Cheap Auto for a couple hundred bucks.
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Follow Up By: PJ - Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 10:36

Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 10:36
Kev,
That's not the idea though - I have the gaming system that plays DVD's and CD's and allows the kids to play games - I don't want to have to buy one. All I want to do is put a monitor in, feed sound and convert power - I know I'm simplifying the issue - thats why I thought I'd throw it open for discussion.
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Follow Up By: Member - Sam (NSW) - Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 10:39

Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 10:39
PJ,

the other advantage of having the screen(s) in the back of the head rests is that there is less of a chance of the kids ending up with crook necks from having to look up. Might be a tad more expensive for the extra screen, but the way prices are going, it wouldn't be that much extra I would imagine.

Sam.
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Follow Up By: flappan - Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 10:50

Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 10:50
I'm seriously looking at the Supercheap DVD myself.

We do a far bit of travelling, and yep, the kids can be a pain in the date.

I explored the roof option but I have a Ti Patrol so that wouldn't work.

For what I want, the Supercheap might be just the ticket.
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FollowupID: 18114

Follow Up By: PJ - Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 10:51

Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 10:51
Sam, (that's my boys name too)
Good point - it would be true inflight entertainment style then. This is what I don't understand: There are deals at present for DVD player and screen fitted for around $1100. In my way of thinking I would break that down to be say: 50/50. In other words $500 screeen - $500 DVD.
I popped into JB yesterday and had a look around. There was no help available - too busy - but the only screens I could see were upward of $1800 (screen only - no light). Confused I left and thought I'd bring it to this forum. I would have thought that for a few hundred dollars (quality/resolution of screen permitting) I could find a minitor, for an extra say $400 I could set up all the power converters (perhaps even hard wire it) and design some sort of shock absorbant holder for the gaming unit itself. It still sounds easy - Frustrating to get started. Don't think I can afford two screens at these sorts of prices. Can't even afford one.
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Follow Up By: Member - Sam (NSW) - Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 11:17

Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 11:17
$1800 for a screen. CRIKEY!!!! Thats about what you'd pay for an 18/19" LCD monitor for a PC. Even the Pioneer head units with built in retractable screen aren't that much I dont think. Have you tried places like Dick Smitch and Jaycar for screens? Oatley Electronics might have them too. If you go to www.oatleyelectronics.comor www.siliconchip.com.auand go to their links section. Your other options is to look around places like Strathfield Car Radio etc. Where abouts are you located? If you are in southern Sydney, Cronulla Car Sound would be a good place to ask.

Sam.
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Follow Up By: PJ - Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 11:21

Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 11:21
Sam,
I'm in Melb South East (Oakleigh, Bentleigh region). I tried Dick Smiths - only sell packages of players and screens, They don't seperate. I will have a look at your other suggestions. Thanks Sam.

PJ
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Reply By: Phil P - Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 10:47

Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 10:47
Hi PJ,

What I did was purchase a Laptop that plays DVD's. I power the Laptop via a Dick Smith Inverter ($99). The kids use heaphones that plug straight into the Laptop via a double adapter. The Laptop sits on a piece of wood that sits between the console and back seat. My kids are 9 & 6 and the viewing angle is perfect. The Laptop has a 14 inch screen which is a good size compared to most of the headrest monitors. When we are not travelling the Laptop is at home for the kids to use. We can also use the Laptop in a tent (if the weather is bad) or for checking emails via Dial Up connection (my mobile has data capability).

Regards
Phil P
AnswerID: 26507

Follow Up By: PJ - Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 10:56

Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 10:56
Phil,
The plot thickens - sounds like a great setup and I do have a laptop (unfortuneately no DVD drive in it). I appreciate your thoughts and great idea - I'm jelous.

However, I am absolutely mindset to atempt to get this XBOX gaming console fited (in a portable manner). Stubborn as it may sound - I think havin the dual gaming capability would be just what the doctor ordered. Then you can watch DVD's as well.
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Follow Up By: Hatcher - Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 11:18

Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 11:18
I plan on doing this myself with my 15.4" wide screen DELL laptop with DVD. The advantage of using the laptop is that with a suitable GPS you can buy topographical maps on CD and the GPS will pinpoint your location on the laptop screen map. Very nice! Check ot Jaycar Electronics for monitors. I'm looking in their latest catalog and they have a 5.6" for $349, and a 7" for $599 both with inbuilt speakers. I have also recently seen other monitors at Parklea Markets in western Sydney from around $400 and up, so look around, I'm sure you will find something at a reasonable price somewhere. An other alternative to the sound hookup is to plug in an FM radio transmitter to the XBOX and tune in your car radio for stereo sound... not sure if you want to listen to XBOX game noises while you drive though, but it would be great for watching DVD's at your campsite. The FM transmitter should be available from Jaycar, Dick Smith or any good car radio place. If you want to go the whole hog, Jaycar also sell a TV tuner to go with your monitor... hmm, better also get yourself a fridge for the cold beer and a microwave for the popcorn... enjoy!
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Follow Up By: Dennis (Brisbane) - Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 13:47

Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 13:47
PJ

You can probably get a DVD ROM (player) for a laptop, should be only about $100 or so.... still may be an option
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Reply By: Ray M (Vic) - Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 11:15

Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 11:15
Here's my solution which I installed in my falcon:
240 volt combo dvd/tape player in the boot powered through inverter.
Screen purchased through ebay mounted to top of centre consol
the player is controlled with the remote via a length fibre optic cable...one end of the cable is taped to the infrared pickup on the player. The other end is attached to the dash in front of the missus.
We do have to stop the vehicle to change dvd's/tapes though.
Cheap but it works.Hooroo
AnswerID: 26512

Follow Up By: Ray M (Vic) - Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 11:49

Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 11:49
oh yes, the audio is feed via an FM modulator into the car audio system. The modulator cost me around the $30 mark. Connect the audio and the radio antenna to the modulator then plug the modulator into the radio where the antenna usually connects. Tune the radio into the modulators frequencyHooroo
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Reply By: Member - Wherethehellawi - Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 11:35

Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 11:35
Get a hard disc drive A Big One say >80 gig and save all the games to it. Wont have problems with disc bounce etc.....watching movies may be a little different ...but then you dont need to shoot the baddies or worry about driving of the cliff when watching movies.

If you get the disc changed think about the mod chip which will allow you to run games from overseas. The standard chip will not run all games.

Some games wont copy due to protection but one can download them via an available network programme ie a differnt way of copying. A cd reader on your computer ignores copy protection and can in most cases read the dvd format and can will save it to the computer HD. All you need to do is get it across to the xbox via the network programme and cable to the xbox. Your local mod chip guy (those that do the sony playstations) should be able to advise. I am in adelaide so my contact is probably no good Wow! am I cute
Richard
AnswerID: 26516

Reply By: joc45 - Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 13:23

Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 13:23
PJ,
I noticed Jaycar had a 7" TFT LCD widescreen monitor suitable for dvds and Xbox, etc for $499 (cat QM-3752).
And a 5.6" version coming soon. Expect the smaller one would be cheaper.
Jaycar:
http://www1.jaycar.com.au/
rgds
Gerry
AnswerID: 26533

Follow Up By: PJ - Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 13:57

Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 13:57
Thanks Gerry - I'll take a look at Jaycar's site.
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Follow Up By: joc45 - Wednesday, Aug 06, 2003 at 13:50

Wednesday, Aug 06, 2003 at 13:50
Hey, PJ!!
I just noticed in today's (Wed 6th) Strathfield flyer (for WA and Sa) in the paper;
- 5.6" TFT colour monitor with remote $279
- 5.6" TFT colour monitor & stand $299
- 7" roof mounted screen with infra red remote $749
- 10.4" hi resolution roof mounted, infra red, headphone application. $1199.
rgds
Gerry
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Follow Up By: joc45 - Wednesday, Aug 06, 2003 at 14:31

Wednesday, Aug 06, 2003 at 14:31
Hey, PJ!!
I just noticed in today's (Wed 6th) Strathfield flyer (for WA and Sa) in the paper;
- 5.6" TFT colour monitor with remote $279
- 5.6" TFT colour monitor & stand $299
- 7" roof mounted screen with infra red remote $749
- 10.4" hi resolution roof mounted, infra red, headphone application. $1199.
Also a package, DVD & 5.6" Monitor for $479
rgds
Gerry
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Follow Up By: PJ - Wednesday, Aug 06, 2003 at 14:55

Wednesday, Aug 06, 2003 at 14:55
You are a star Gerry. I will take a look and report back.
PJ
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Reply By: Member - Bob - Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 13:57

Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 13:57
Samsung 15" monitor from Harvey Norman was $540.

Either Toshiba laptop with DVD read drive (you can upgrade from CD drive to a DVD drive), or better, Power Mac with DVD drive.

Advantage of laptop is you can download and view digital photos each day, view videos taken each day, watch a DVD if you must, and run OziExplorer (although on the Mac you need to run virtual PC and use a USB/serial adaptor).

I found that the monitor, if located centrally above and forward of the gear lever, can be viewed by all occupants. The top of the screen rises about 20 cm above the level of the dash and doesn't impede driver vision.

This monitor is better value than the smaller ones, and can be used at home after the trip is over. It runs off 240 v. The monitor I am using here in my office is a Microtek, and will run on 12v dc, an advantage if you don't need an inverter to run your laptop.
AnswerID: 26538

Follow Up By: Member - Wombat (Vic) - Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 16:36

Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 16:36
Bob,

Are you running a Mac laptop for your internet use? If so what mobile phone do you have (CDMA?) it connected to and are you running system 9 or 10?"Live today as if there may be no tomorrow"

Wombat
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Follow Up By: Member - Bob - Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 17:55

Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 17:55
Wombat, I was using the Nokia 6210 (not CDMA) via the IR connection. This worked on OS 9.2 and OS X. I now only use OS X, and I have changed to using a Handspring Treo 270 which connects to the Powerbook via USB cable. The Treo will do Web browsing and email on its own, including internet banking, limited only by the fact that it GSM/GPRS (won't work in the bush). My Laptop is a 3 yo G3 pismo (with more ram, bigger drive etc) Fabulous machine which I will find very hard to replace.
I have the Nokia IR modem drivers if you need them.
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Follow Up By: Member - Wombat (Vic) - Monday, Aug 04, 2003 at 11:30

Monday, Aug 04, 2003 at 11:30
At last a fellow Mac user. My problem is that I am about to buy a new Powerbook which is dual boot (OS9.2 and OSX). I would like to continue using OS 9 exclusively as the cost to upgrade all of our graphics software would be in the vicinity of $20000. We're doing the big trip next year (Menindee to Katherine) but I need to be able to send and receive email with small attachments while on the road. I'm about to upgrade the Nokia 8850, which has the IR port, to a CDMA mobile. Typically of Macintosh resellers I can only get advice on internet connection with the new operating software. Any advice - particularly with regard to using the IR port would be very much appreciated. If you would like to contact me off forum my email is;
Paul
at
backhouse-thomas
dot
com
dot
au

Thanks in advance"Live today as if there may be no tomorrow"

Wombat
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FollowupID: 18270

Reply By: Matt M - Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 15:14

Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 15:14
PJ you can most certainly run the gaming system in ur car, as you said its just a means of sorting out what type of monitor you want to use and how to mount it and the power source for the Xbox!

If you have ever been to a Street Machine or Rod show, near the noisy section, no not the Horsepower Heros at the dyno but the Decibel sound offs!! Have a look at the setups in all the promo cars, nearly everyone has (at least) an in dash monitor that plays the car mounted playstation or Xbox. There are some trick setups too, like the headrest mounted and roof mounted monitors. They even go to the extream of mounting the console out of sight, like in centre consoles and the game controllers plug into armrest etc!!

I know this is all waaaayyy beyond what you want to achieve, but if you had hung around at the Strathfield or Northfield shops they have masses of info for you if you find the right person outside of peak sales time!! Plus its usually the installers you want to talk to not the sales people, the installers are the craftsmen here!!

Dont be put off, you can achieve what you want relativley simply, just take ur time and talk to a few people! One of the best shock absorbers for mounting a playstation on is......a pillow!!! If its not a permanent setup in the car (ie bolted in) then the console sat between the two rear seats on a pillow works a treat, just watchout for heat build up, sometimes they do get pretty warm!

Goodluck
Matt.
AnswerID: 26551

Follow Up By: PJ - Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 15:30

Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 15:30
Matt,
I'm rapt you think its achievable - who do you think would actually do the installing. I invisage the xbox unit to go into some sort of shock resistant slot (permanant structure in vehicle so Xbox slides in and out) and that the leads may have to be hardwired to battery and monitor, I want a monitor that sits on the roof and folds down when needed (also a permanant fixture). I just can't even start to imagine who would design a shock or bump absorbant structure for me. I think I can work out the electrics - I think.

PJ
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Reply By: Eric from Cape York Connections - Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 17:36

Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 17:36
PJ on the last cape trip we had a family with us 4 kids in a nissan they had a dvd set up . I was a bit worried how it would stand up to 21 days on the corrugations and bumps etc but not a thing went wrong. The kids all had there own ear phones with volume controls .
The only arguments there were was what movie to watch next.The parents said it was the best investment they had made . On the away to port douglas from sth of Syd they did to rockhamton in one day leaving at about 2am. Prior to the DVD they had trouble getting to the end of the drive way before the dreaded ARE WE THERE YET.
All the best
Eric
www.capeyorkconnections.com.au.
4wd Tag Along AdventuresCape York Connections
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Reply By: diamond (bendigo) - Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 20:44

Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 20:44
gday pj.
thanks for the post was going to ask about dvd/screens my self.
so far i found strathfield car radio has 12 volt dvd player for $199.
and ebey have 7.5" tft moniters for about $280 and most of the above posts saved me from asking .new job coming so no fraser this time:-((
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Reply By: Stuart - Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 22:16

Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 22:16
PJ,
Im planning to do just the same,i have a GU Patrol, thats why i got onto the forum, i have an xbox that i want to install in the car, i have a 600 watt inverter so i plan to have it under one of the front seats and the xbox under the other, i have had the xbox moded so all the game are on the HD. i am going to buy a 6 or 7" small color tv that will mount on the consol between the front seats with a velcro strap to hold it down. The leads and thing will go under the rear mats and the kids will have to be a little carfull they don't pull on them. I have looked in the trading post and the tv's seem to sell for under $200 bucks. Its a cheap and simple way of doing it and the screen is in a good spot for the kids to view.
I am in the middle of setting it up as we speak as i have 4 weeks before we head off
Stuart.....

AnswerID: 26588

Follow Up By: relaxed QLD - Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 23:46

Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 23:46
Stuart
I've been toying with this idea for our 2 rug rats in my GU. the overhead consol idea has me a little concerned and thought that mounting the monitor on the center consol between the 2 front seat would be the best option as well. You will have to keep us informed on your progress and I'll be very interested to see how it turns out as well as PJ.
Relaxed
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Follow Up By: PJ - Saturday, Aug 02, 2003 at 08:46

Saturday, Aug 02, 2003 at 08:46
Stuart, relaxed,
I think your ideas are great however this is my thinking:
1 / if you mount xbox under seat (granted games are on HD) the console is not protected and will be rattled to death over a very short period of time. The componants in these consoles are very very delicate - therfore I believe that some form of cleverness is required in the mounting of the unit itself.

2/ I understand that you will get a chaeper and probably bigger monitor out of the trading poat - but why would you do so if it had to be taped down on the front console hand rest. Beautiful car with chunky adons. I just think the roof mounted monitors that replace your overhead light and all is much more functional. I am after a setup that can be used when needed just by bringing console and controllers out to car. Since I first posted this yesterday morning, I have find 7" overhead monitors for as little as $500 - eorth a thought.

Absolutely I would advise against putting the Console under a seat without shock absorbant protection.
PJ
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