All modern cars have electronics built into them, whether it be from the components in the engine bay such as sensors, valves, and switches to the interior electronics like central locking solenoids, car audio, and entertainment systems, and even external electronics like parking sensors.
But have you ever wondered if you could use a computer in your car, and what you might use it for? After all, computers have a wide variety of uses in today’s world, such as in ATMs, checkout cashier units and public transport ticketing machines to name just a few. You can visit this link to get more information about it.
The “carputer” as it is colloquially known as, is becoming an increasingly popular modification that one can make to any car regardless of age, size or type! If this is something that has piqued your interest, then carry on reading to find out more about this fascinating way to geek up your car!
What sort of computers can you use?
If you are thinking of having a computer in your car, then you can use virtually any type of modern computer; the only things that you are limited by is your imagination and the physical cabin space in your car!
Many people choose to build their own carputer using Mini-ITX architecture, as you can essentially build a PC using a motherboard that measures just 17cm by 17cm!
Of course, if you don’t want to completely build your custom carputer from scratch, you could use a ready-made product that is fit for the purpose; the Apple Mac Mini is one such example which is perfect for such an application!
And if you wanted to save money on having to buy an individual screen for your carputer, then you could just simply buy a laptop for your car! Laptop screens can be disassembled from their base units, so you could install the base unit under your dashboard, for example, and build a custom center console enclosure for your laptop screen.
The only thing I would say if you are going down the laptop route is to buy a small laptop, such as a netbook; 15.6-inch widescreen displays from standard laptops aren’t exactly easy to integrate into center consoles unless your ride is an SUV or similar!
Another option would be to use a tablet device, which negates the need for all of the components used by a computer; however, they aren’t as feature-packed as traditional computers and laptops.
How can I power a carputer?
You will need to use an inexpensive device called an inverter to convert the electricity from your car into a usable format for your carputer or laptop. This device works between your computer or laptop, and your car’s 12v socket.
You can wire in your carputer into a 12v feed, or you can just use a standard 12v socket plug if you want to make your carputer mobile and not permanently fixed into the car.
Most modern cars, such as Ford models sold by Lifestyle Ford, often have more than one 12v socket so that you can easily install your carputer anywhere within the cabin.