Windows Media Center PC in Your Car Dashboard


wmc car dashboardThis project should get any tech junkie itching for the next year, easy. A very tech-savy, and dedicated forum poster at mp3Car.com has posted images of Windows Media Center running in a 1999 Buick Century (via Jake Ludington’s MediaBlab). The 7″ touchscreen is connected to a computer under the temperature controls. The computer features 512MB of RAM, an 80GB hard drive, wireless 802.11g networking and a slot-loading, dual-layer DVD Burner. If you’re like me, you’re already making a list of the items you’ll need to complete this in your car. Absolutely amazing.





Filed in: Entertainment PCs


  • http://www.thomashawk.com Thomas Hawk

    This in-car Media Center PC of tomorrow should do the following:

    1. Synch wirelessly and by hard drive swap your digital media from your home Media Center PC.

    2. Have a GPS system.

    3. Have DVD playback for the kids and support multiple monitors in the back seat.

    4. Be able to play television shows that you record at home.

    5. And MOST important contain a gps tracking chip that cannot be removed without destroying the device inside the device that would allow you to track it should it ever be stolen.

    6. The ability to plug into an XBox 360 for in car gaming.

    I currently have a Pioneer in-car entertainment center (well actually my third Pioneer in-car entertaniment center as the first two were ripped off) that includes a DVD player for the kids and GPS. It is basically a piece of junk and an expensive piece of junk at that. Microsoft could totally own this market.

    Where do I want to go today? Well, the real question is where do I HAVE to go today — and I guess that’s to Costco, but it sure would be a nicer drive with my mp3s in the front seat while my kids are watching their DVDs in the back.

  • http://carpcdepotintro.blogspot.com/ TomXS

    and it’s looking great already! I can’t wait to have one in my car very soon. If anyony has some CAR PCs photos he/she would like to share it with me and have it posted on my blog please let me know….

    http://carpcdepotintro.blogspot.com/

  • carefree

    Thomas Hawk said: This in-car Media Center PC of tomorrow should do the following:

    1. Synch wirelessly and by hard drive swap your digital media from your home Media Center PC.

    2. Have a GPS system.

    3. Have DVD playback for the kids and support multiple monitors in the back seat.

    4. Be able to play television shows that you record at home.

    5. And MOST important contain a gps tracking chip that cannot be removed without destroying the device inside the device that would allow you to track it should it ever be stolen.

    6. The ability to plug into an XBox 360 for in car gaming.

    I currently have a Pioneer in-car entertainment center (well actually my third Pioneer in-car entertaniment center as the first two were ripped off) that includes a DVD player for the kids and GPS. It is basically a piece of junk and an expensive piece of junk at that. Microsoft could totally own this market.

    Where do I want to go today? Well, the real question is where do I HAVE to go today — and I guess that’s to Costco, but it sure would be a nicer drive with my mp3s in the front seat while my kids are watching their DVDs in the back.

    What great ideas

  • DDumas

    I was surprised to see my system in this forum posted. I should mention that I DO have a GPS system (iGuidance)and it’s mounted in the center of the dash where the windshield meet the front of the dash. It’s a Star SiRF III chipset receiver and works most of the time under a roof of a building. I also have Bluetooth 2.0 and use a stowaway BT keyboard and mouse, and HP wireless headphones. The WiFi is a Dlink which when connected to my home router, connects at 108bps! The display screen is capable of 1600×1200 resolution- and running Window Media Center 2005. The power supply is an ATX-M1 which completely switches of the computer after 2 hours when the ignition is off. It also controls my audio amplifier (trunk mounted) and has “anti-thump” so my speakers don’t pop when I boot. This picture show my first install… now the computer is moved back in the ashtray slot.

    Diane Dumas~

  • http://www.alexandergrundner.com Alexander Grundner

    We’ve covered other Car PC setups here on eHomeUpgrade. But I think the main draw to your setup and others is that you have the ability to leverage the home server to sync content for use on the go. In our eyes, a car equipped with a PC that’s stationed in the garage is like another PC present in the home. I think the biggest trick is making the Car PC smart enough to stay on and see if any updates are available each time the gets parked.

  • http://www.alexandergrundner.com Alexander Grundner

    Whoa, FolderShare looks like just the app we’re looking for to solve the media syncing problem between the home PC and the car PC.

    FolderShare Satellite: The software you need to install on the device(s) you want to sync or share files with.

    • The FolderShare Satellite will run in the background when you are online.
    • As you update shared or synced files, it will automatically update them on the other devices connected.

  • DDumas

    I’m only using file folder sharing and included the Car PC in my Workgroup. With only 80GBs on the HD, I really like to manually control the files on the drive. My media changes infrequently as only purchased music albums are added each time. I have a Napster-To-Go subscription and add playlists for some of my content which I download while the car is garaged.

    I might add–on the surface this looks like an easy install… it wasn’t! Almost nothing fit the first time. The display mount is highly modified because it was made for an older Xenarc 4-wire display. It seems all the wiring was moved around on the newer 5-wire display and I had to figure out how to shoe-horn it into the dash. Even the front panel had to be remade by the company special for me (however, future purchasers will not have to go through what I did because I pass on to the company what I learned).

    Another problem was installing a SATA drive in the Travla case. I had to locate special 90-degree adaptors for the power and data cables. Also, I had to splice the motherboard main power bus and directly connect the cables (IE: soldered and heat shrink tubing) so not to use a lot of adaptors which take space that’s very limited in the case.

    From the picture it appears that the computer is just bolted to bottom of the dash. Not so! It actually fits inside the ashtray compartment. The picture you have posted was before I cleaned up the wiring and pushed back the PC.

    Oh, and in the trunk (mounted to the top deck upside down) there’s a 4-channel, 400 watt amplifier and I’m running surround sound from the PC. Yes, it sounds great! Need to upgrade the car’s stock speakers.

    I chose the one monitor system because it can be seen from the back and front passenger. I really don’t have many passengers so I couldn’t justify the cost in a mult-monitor system. I believe I have about $2200 invested presently in this system.

    Diane~

  • petpie

    As a traveller, I’m not exactly sure why they don’t do something like this on planes. Set up 300GBs of media on a server, and let the passengers go at it… the connectivity doesn’t necessarily have to be there either, but might be nice… ;)

  • jbeltran

    TomXS said: and it’s looking great already! I can’t wait to have one in my car very soon. If anyony has some CAR PCs photos he/she would like to share it with me and have it posted on my blog please let me know….

    http://carpcdepotintro.blogspot.com/

    Really good car pc photos.
    Are you the Time Machine Inventor ?
    http://www.blogger.com/profile/10332365
    ( Occupation: Time Machine Inventor )

  • http://carpcdepotintro.blogspot.com/ TomXS

    jbeltran said: Really good car pc photos.
    Are you the Time Machine Inventor ?
    http://www.blogger.com/profile/10332365
    ( Occupation: Time Machine Inventor )

    Yes my friend I am. But shshhh…If I let you know my secret I would have to kill you. Bwhaaaa….OK I let you know how it works without disclosing everything. Mr A Einstein proved that everything is relative. So time is relative then right? Now the way to travel into the future is by achieving the speed of light. At that point the time for you “stops” if you are lucky enough to get a ride in my USPX-vehicle (“time machine”)…Bwhaaaaaaa…..But if you want to go back into the past then my friend you would have to reach the speed that is faster then the speed of light…Bwhaaaaaa……And I invented the way to reach such speed… while everyone is still thinking that it is impossible to get there because the current laws of physics would not permit it… as it would require some infinite amount of energy to get such accelerations….So you see I am coming from the future now to let you know what’s coming up next! Bwhaaaaa…..Thanks for your attention and I hope to see you up there one day!!! Bwhaaaaa…. :p