CarPC Hardware v5 – Information About The Hardware Used, Past, Present and Future

Information About The Hardware Used, Past, Present and Future

Here you will find out about the hardware I have used for v5 of my CarPC. Where I can I have given you information as to how good the product is and others that do the same job.


My Screen – TFT 7″ In Dash Double Din Custom OEM Screen

This screen started life out as a CTF 700 TMR and a WRX Double Din cage. It took a lot of planning and trials once I had the parts together to make them look OEM and fit the dash correctly. You can see here in the gallery how the unit was put together but the top end of the design was to make it look factory fitted – some thing I think you will agree I have done. Using the cage also gave me the advantage of having some free dash space which was handy considering there is very little in the Vectra C. One major mod I needed to completed before the screen was ready was to remount the IR and Light sensors in to the dash in order for me to still use them after installation. The light sensor for those that do not know controls the backlight strength so that in sunny or dark conditions the screen is still readable and not glaring.

You can see here in the gallery how the unit was put together but the top end of the design was to make it look factory fitted – some thing I think you will agree I have done. Using the cage also gave me the advantage of having some free dash space which was handy considering there is very little in the Vectra C. One major mod I needed to completed before the screen was ready was to remount the IR and Light sensors in to the dash in order for me to still use them after installation. The light sensor for those that do not know controls the backlight strength so that in sunny or dark conditions the screen is still readable and not glaring.


In all  8 Out of 10


My Second CPU / Motherboard Etc – Intel D945GCLF2 (with integrated Atom 2x 1.6Ghz CPU, TV-Out)

I wanted to upgrade to a faster board for my system and the new Atoms looked pretty good value and the newer ones would fit in to the Voom2 Case. I did look at the Jetways how ever the main winner for me on these Intel boards was the ability to customise the BIOS boot image to match the cars OEM system very easily especially when added to the 1GB low profile memory I got…. btw its worth noting that good memory should be used here.

Successor of Intel D945GCLF Main board feature differences

  • TV-Out (S-Video)
  • Dual Core Atom CPU
  • 1000 Mbit LAN
  • Additional onboard-USB-header
  • 24pol ATX

The Atom-CPU mainly was developed for the upcoming „Mobile Internet Devices“ (MID), which are fielded between notebooks and cell phones. „The processors were equipped in 45nm production with the worlds smallest transistors“, said Intels Vice President Sean Maloney.

As IT-world currently is crying for GreenIT this mainboard can be the answer. For example Intel was able to reduce the power consumption of the CPU from processor D201GLY2 from 20W to 2.05W, which is really incredible ! Here other main boards can not compete with !

D945GCLF Form Factor Mini-ITX Mainboard CPU Intel Atom 330 @ 2x 1.60GHz (Silverthorne 45nm) Chipset Intel 82945G (ICH7) L2 Cache 512kb Graphics Intel GMA 950 Memory 1x DDR2 533/667 RAM Power 24 Pin ATX, P4-connector Connectors (rear)


  • 1x S-Video
  • 2x PS/2
  • 1x Parallel
  • 1x D-SUB15 (VGA)
  • 1x RS232
  • 4x USB 2.0
  • 1x LAN 10/100/1000MBit
  • 3x Sound (Line Out, Line In, Microphone) Audio Realtek High Definition Audio Connectors (internal) – PCI
  • Audio
  • 4x USB
  • 2x SATA
  • 1x IDE Included – D945GCLF2 Mainboard (with 2x 1.6Ghz Atom CPU)
  • I/O ATX rear plate
  • SATA cable
  • IDE cable
  • Quickstart-Guide
  • Drivers CD

Note : The CPU heat sink is very heigh. That is why it does not fit into every enclosure. – Compatible with :

  • Voom
  • Voom-2 (CD/DVD drive only connectable with Slim-to-SATA adapter)
  • M300(-LCD)
  • Travla C137

Not compatible with :

  • M200(-LCD) (needs replacement heatsink)
  • Morex enclosures (needs replacement heatsink)

For Operating you need a P4 adapter or a PSU with P4 connector which with my M2 I have any way.

Bootup-Durations :

  • Cold boot : 29 sec.
  • Standby : 3 sec.
  • Hibernation : 21 sec.

You can find’s own review here and my full review here how ever I do recommend them so much so I went out and bought another for my desktop.

In all  9 Out of 10

From / Linitx


My CPU / Motherboard Etc – TheVIA EPIA MII-Series Mini-ITX Mainboard ( Now Retired )

The complete Digital Home Platform integrating CardBus and CompactFlash for seamless wireless connectivity, enhancing digital media performance and media portability.


Providing the signature low profile, minimal noise and reduced power of the VIA EPIA series on a 17 by 17cm small form factor, the VIA EPIA MII Mini-ITX Mainboard is an “all-in-one” entertainment platform geared to the digital home. The VIA EPIA MII-Series easily slots in to a digital home infrastructure providing a vast horizon of applications that feature sophisticated connectivity including wired or wireless media servers, mobile PCs, receivers for the living room and beyond.


The VIA EPIA MII is available with the fanless VIA Eden™ ESP processor for ultra low power, quiet or silent system designs, or the VIA C3™ processor for rich media-intensive applications. Enhanced multimedia performance is further delivered through the VIA CLE266 chipset featuring integrated VIA UniChrome™ 2D/3D graphics and an MPEG-2 accelerator with motion compensation, along with support for the greater memory bandwidth of DDR266 SDRAM and the high transfer speeds of ATA-133.


An array of modern storage and connectivity options are supported, including onboard CardBus, CompactFlash, and a PCI slot. The VIA EPIA MII also offers support for the latest in high bandwidth connectivity through IEEE 1394, USB 2.0 connections, as well as S-Video and RCA TV-Out (NTSC & PAL) and 10/100 Mbps Fast Ethernet. The VIA EPIA MII also offers support for a number of embedded LCD panels and is fully compatible with Microsoft® Windows® and Linux operating systems. The VIA EPIA MII can be fitted into a full range of Mini-ITX chassis as well as FlexATX and MicroATX enclosures and power supplies.


This is a great board as it gives you that PCMCIA and a Compact Flash port with out the need for a large board or using that valuable PCI port. I chose it specifically for this reason rather than a faster 1.5mhz board as I planned to use my TDK Trueblue BT card with it and a Voom case.



  • VIA EPIA MII-Series Mini-ITX Mainboard Specifications
  • Model Name – EPIA-MII12000
  • Processor – VIA C3™/ VIA Eden™ EBGA processor
  • Chipset – VIA CLE266 North Bridge & VIA VT8235M South Bridge
  • System Memory – 1 DDR266 DIMM socket and Up to 1GB memory size
  • VGA – Integrated VIA Unichrome AGP graphics w/MPEG-2 Accelerator
  • Expansion Slots 1 PCI
  • Onboard IDE – 2 X UltraDMA 133/100/66 Connector
  • Onboard Floppy – 1 x FDD Connector
  • Onboard LAN – VIA VT6103 10/100 Base-T Ethernet PHY
  • Onboard Audio – VIA VT1616 6 channel AC’ 97 codec
  • Onboard TV Out – VIA VT1622AM TV Out
  • Onboard 1394 – VIA VT6307S IEEE 1394 (Optional)
  • Onboard CardBus / CompactFlash – CardBus Type I & Type II
  • Ricoh R5C476 II / R5C485 CardBus Controller

Back Panel I/O – 1 CardBus Type I and Type II slot +1 CompactFlash Slot

  • 1 CompactFlash slot
  • 1RJ-45 LAN port
  • 1 PS2 mouse port
  • 1 PS2 keyboard port
  • 1 Serial port
  • 2 USB 2.0 ports
  • 1 VGA port
  • 1 RCA port (SPDIF or TV-Out)
  • 1 S-Video port
  • 1 1394 port
  • 3 Audio jacks: line-out, line-in and mic-in (Smart 5.1 Support)

Onboard I/O Connectors

  • 1 USB connector for 2 additional USB 2.0 ports
  • 1 Front-panel audio connectors (mic-in and line-out)
  • 1 CD Audio-in connector
  • 1 Buzzer
  • 1 FIR connector
  • 1 CIR connector (Switchable for KB/MS)
  • 1 Wake-on-LAN connector
  • 1 LPT port header
  • CPU/Sys FAN/Fan 3
  • 1 Connector for LVDS module (Optional)
  • 1 Serial port connector for second COM port
  • ATX Power Connector
  • BIOS – Award BIOS – 2/4Mbit flash memory
  • System Monitoring & Management – CPU voltage monitoring
  • Wake-on-LAN, Keyboard Power-on, Timer Power-on
  • System power management
  • PC power failure recovery
  • Operating Temperature – 0~50°C
  • Operating Humidity – 0% ~ 93% (relative humidity; non-condensing)
  • Form Factor – Mini-ITX (6 layers) – 17 cm x 17 cm


In all  7 out of 10 ( Would be Nice To Be Quicker )

From / Mp3carCustom Car Computers / Karputer / Linitx / Digitalww / Via


My Power Supply – Mini-Box 160w M2

The M2-ATX is an high powered vehicle 12V DC-DC ATX Power Supply. It is similar to the M1-ATX but with a higher wattage. Likewise, this power supply is designed to provide power and to control the on and off switch of a motherboard based on ignition status. The M2-ATX power supply is capable of surviving tough engine cranking down to 6V, as well as transient over-voltage situations. M2-ATX has 8 user selectable microcontroller driven timing modes that allow you to choose up to 8 ignition/shutdown timing schemes. By removing all user-selectable jumpers, M2-ATX becomes a traditional PSU with no ignition control and it can be used in non-vehicle applications. The PC still consumes a few hundred milli-watts even when your machine is switched off. This is needed to monitor the PC’s on and off status. If the computer is in the sleep mode, the memory needs to be powered at all times requiring more power. The power consumption in the suspend mode is a few watts. Regardless of battery size, it is possible that your battery will drain in a matter of days. Whilst in deep sleep mode, the M2-ATX constantly monitors your car battery voltage levels. Thus preventing deep discharge situations by automatically shutting down until battery levels reach safe levels again.



  • 160 Watt Output
  • ATX, 6-24V wide input range
  • Ideal car Power Supply for operating low power P4, P4-M, Celeron, AMD systems
  • Intelligent shutdown controller
  • On and Off Motherboard control
  • Battery deep discharge prevention
  • Survives vehicle engine cranks
  • 15A Automotive fuse (mini-blade)
  • VIA, P4, and AMD CPU Support


  • This power supply ensures that there are no more dead batteries, no need to restart during engine cranks and has multiple timing schemes.


  • Width 1.77″ x Length 6.31″ and is less than 1″ high. The same version of microcode will run on both M1-ATX and M2-ATX.

Package Contents

  • 160W M2-ATX PSU
  • 20pin ATX Cable extender plus HDD and Floppy power (9inch)
  • Power input cable harness terminated in 0.25″ (12inch)
  • 2 x pin M/B on and off power on control wire harness (9inch)
  • 3 x Jumpers to control various power sequencing schemes

To view the User Manual Click Here


In all  8 Out Of 10

From / Mp3car / Custom Car Computers / Karputer / Linitx / Digitalww and Mini-Box

My Case – The Mini-Box VoomPC2 ITX Case In Black 

This time I upgraded to the Voom2 case the main difference been that it can take a DVD drive which it got. every thing fitted before how ever I could not use the ATX connector I used on v4 so a standard cable was used. I also had the added external power connector included in my package which gave me the ability to supply 12v DC power to an external device from the M2 PSU…. in my case this is the screen and with an additional connector I now  have the ability to supply power to both my screen and the CarPC CPU its self from one mains brick which is ideal for shows.

In all  9 Out Of 10 ( Would love to see an mATX Version )

From / Mp3car / Custom Car Computers / Karputer / Linitx / Digitalww / and Mini-Box

USB GPS & Adator Leads

This is a basic NMEA GPS unit with a MMCX connector. While this may sound amazing the GPS seems to be very reliable and so far hase not let me down. The main reason for updating to this £15 GPS was the MMXC connector.


This connector with a lead I have had made up ( MMCX to Fakra ) allows me to use the roof mounted OEM sat nav arieal and has changed my adverage lock on v4 from 7-8 satelights to an adverage of 10-11 out of a possible maximum of 12. This increased lock means the acuracey and speed of the GPS far exeeds what the OEM unit with a speed pulse sense had.


In all  7 Out Of 10

From Ebay

My Sound Card – A Sound Blaster USB

I went do the USB route as I could digitally move the sound from the rear of the car to the front with out any interference. This was needed because due to some length issues I ended up running my power and data cables side by side. The Sound Blaster  MP3+ is also know for not having any hibernation or standby issues as well, top this with the powered USB hub in the dash it means its very easy to install and run. The drivers are in built in Windows XP how ever I would recommend you download the latest driver set from Creative any way. I got this unit from EBay for around £25 how ever they are now harder to find so keep an eye out.

  • 100% Sound Blaster-Certified Audio
  • Bass Boost – No more puny bass! Bass Boost it for that extra punch that your music deserves
  • 10 Band Equalizer – Really make it “your” music. The 10-Band EQ gives you total flexibility in personalizing the characteristics of the music you listen to
  • CMSS 3D – Expand your audio experience over stereo speakers or headphones. Turn normal stereo sound into virtual surround sound. Movies never sounded so good over headphones
  • SVM – Avoid huge jumps in volume with Smart Volume Management. The volume of MP3s encoded at different levels will be automatically adjusted so you get an even volume across across your whole collection
  • EAX effects – Give your music or recordings some ambience by adding real-time effects such as Concert Hall or Arena to recreate the listening environment you want.

 9 out of 10

For more information visit Creative

My WIFI Adaptor – An Inventel UR054g

  • Maximum speed of 54Mbps
  • IEEE 802,11b (DSSS) 2,4GHz standard
  • Internal Aerial
  • Ad-hoc or infrastructure communication
  • 64/128/256-bit WAP & WEP-coding

In all  6 out of 10

For more information

My Silabs USB FM Adaptor

The USB FM Radio Reference Design is a unique example of Silicon Laboratories’ mixed-signal leadership. This reference design combines a high-performance USB enabled microcontroller (C8051F321) and the revolutionary single-chip FM Radio Tuner (Si4701).

When you plug it into your PC’s USB port and launch the radio player software to listen to your favourite radio station right on your PC. This reference design has been adapted by the CarPC community due to its ability to hang on to a signal so well. My own was modded to add a Motorola style connector to make it a lot more compatible with a car system and utilise the external aerial that is installed. For the Vectra I had to purchase a further adaptor due to the the OEM antenna been amplified although I have still not got it to a point I am happy with the reception. Some people have had excellent success with the Silabs how ever I am not one of those yet hence the low score. This unit is supported by Centrafuse 2.

These units are now end of life so if you can pick one up do so – you may not regret it and if it does not work I am sure some one else will be interested in having it from you.

In all  8 out of 10

For more information

My OBDII Elm 327 1.2a

  • Processor: ELM327 USB
  • OBD-II Protocols: ISO15765-4 (CAN);
  • ISO14230-4 (KWP2000)
  • ISO9141-2
  • J1850 VPW
  • J1850 PWM
  • Output protocol: RS232
  • Baud rate: 9600 or 38400
  • Indicator LEDs: OBD Tx/Rx, RS232 Tx/Rx, Power
  • Operating voltage: 12V, internal protection from short circuits/overvoltages
  • Nominal idle current: 45 mA

Using Centrafuse 2 for ELM327 USB  you can perform the following operations:

  • Read diagnostic trouble codes, both generic and manufacturer-specific, and display their meaning (over 3000 generic code definitions in the database)
  • Clear trouble codes and turn off the MIL (“Check Engine” light)

Display current sensor data, including:

  • Engine RPM
  • Calculated Load Value
  • Coolant Temperature
  • Fuel System Status
  • Vehicle Speed#
  • Short Term Fuel Trim
  • Long Term Fuel Trim
  • Intake Manifold Pressure
  • Timing Advance
  • Intake Air Temperature
  • Air Flow Rate
  • Absolute Throttle Position
  • Oxygen sensor voltages/associated short term fuel trims
  • Fuel System status
  • Fuel Pressure
  • Many others…

In all  8 out of 10

For more information Ebay

My Bluetooth Adaptor

Compliant with open standard: Bluetooth 1.1
Dial-up Networking DUN Network connection to Internet, e.g. web browsing and e-mail Modem, PC, PDA, Phone, AP
Using TDK’s own high performance ceramic antenna, the PC card provides invisible connection to a host of peripherals, with ranges of over 50 metres
The latest version of TDK’s Bluetooth software (v1.3) supports the following profiles: Personal Area Network profile, PAN; fully integrated audio (Headset and Gateway) profile; Hard Cable Replacement Profile, HCRP; easier access to folders used in data transfer; Bluetooth set up wizard; quick connect wizard; printer setup wizard; transferring images from and to picture phones.
  • Fax FAXP Faxing ISDN-Modem, PC, Printer, Fax
  • File Transfer FTP File Transfer. Transfer multiple files and folders and browse recipient Phone, PDA, PC 
  • Hardcopy Cable Replacement HCRP Printing, Printer, Scanner, PC
  • LAN Access LAP Network connection via PPP Access Point, PC
  • Object Push OPP Contact, calendar, photo, ringtone exchange Phone, PDA, PC, Printer

Note: Profiles subject to change dependant on new Bluetooth profiles being approved 3 SCO channels

  • Personal Area Networking PAN Network connection Access Point, PC
  • Serial Port SPP Serial data exchange Modem, PDA, PC, Phone, Printer
  • Synchronisation SP Synchronisation Phone, PDA, PC 
  • Audio Headset HSP Audio gateway, playback Phone, PDA, PC, Headset
  • Voice and data channels
  • 723Kbps maximum data transfer speed
  • Bluetooth power class: 1 up to 100m range (free space)
  • Interoperable with all major Bluetooth manufacturers, including Sony Ericsson, Nokia, Axis, 3Com, Palm, Compaq
  • Maximum RF output power 4mW (6dBm)
  • Normal RF output power 1mW (0dBm) 
  • Integrated Antenna
  • CSR BC2 Chip set
  • Range: Up to 100 metres free space
  • Weight: 30 g
  • Size: Extended TYPE II PCMCIA card. Length – 103mm
  • Operating temperature: -20 to – 75 °C
  • Storage / shipping temperature: -20 to 85 °C
  • Supply Voltage 5V
  • Power consumption: Normal – 46mA












 In all  6 out of 10

For more information visit

The Media Remote RF Control ( Also Known By x10 or a Fire Cracker )

This custom RF remote comes with everything you need to add control to pretty much any application you may be writing. It comes with a USB RF receiver, and you can download drivers as well as source code and test programs online to help you integrate support into your program. This remote is silver in colour and has everything you need to put yourself in control of entertainment. All the buttons are clearly labelled with symbols that most everyone knows; this means even people who have never used the remote before learn how in just minutes.

You will notice that each button has a few functions. When you press search for example, you can type letters in just like you do on a cellular phone, once the search is done, the buttons return to their normal functions. The use of multi-function buttons allows the remote to be very small in size.

Since the remote uses RF technology there is no need to aim it at a receiver, just be within 15 feet of it. It uses radio frequencies to transmit to the included receiver which hooks to your computers USB port. You may also want to have a look at Girder – the application has a control set just for this remote, look for ‘Fire Cracker’. Finally the remote is very small at only 6.25″ x 2″ x 1″ in size – very well worth the money.

In all  9 out of 10

My Portable Keyboards – PS2® MINI-key & PS2 Number Pad

This mini USB key board was originally for use with Sony PS2’s how ever because it is USB it works just like a normal PC keyboard but its a lot smaller. The downside how ever is that a couple of keys such as Del is missing which means you can not do a control alt delete when needed.

That been said I do tend to use the XP ‘On Screen Keyboard’ a lot ( c:\Windows\System32\OSK.exe ) as I find it very useful but again that too can at times have some keys missing i.e. ‘\’.

I also have a PS2 ( as in PC connector ) number pad too. The reason for this is its small and if you look at it all the keys you need to access your BIOS and change any config or even press enter when that pesky hibernation file needs deleting are there. Best bit was it cost only a few £ as I got it from Ebay.

In all  7 out of 10

For More Info Visit & Get From / Custom Car Computers / Linitx

My My USB Hubs

A Standard USB 2 4 port mini hub from Ebay

In all  8 out of 10 

For more information Ebay

My IPod Classic 160

With support for up to 40,000 songs and up to 200 hours of video on a 2.5-inch QVGA colour display this iPod gives me portability of my music, images and video in a lighter, thinner design than before. The reason for having one of these was originally to play and use at home with movies how ever it has the added ability to be a backup to all my music and images as well away from my home network.

With my recent addition of Centrafuse 2 I can now use the Ipod directly meaning I don’t need to fill my hard drive up on my CarPC or mess around with network connections when I want to update quickly, finally I am now able to play pod casts in the car which for me is a totally new experience.

To finish my custom install I purchased some foam sized for my arm rest and cut out inserts for both my Ipod and a second mobile phone which I some times carry


Cover Flow

  • Browse through your music and video collection by flipping through album art. Select an album to turn it over and see the track list.

Enhanced interface

  • Experience a whole new way to browse and view your music and video.

Sleeker design

  • Beautiful, durable, and sleeker than ever, iPod classic now features an anodized aluminium and polished stainless steel enclosure with rounded edges.

 In the Box

  • iPod classic
  • Earphones
  • USB 2.0 cable
  • Dock adapter
  • Quick Start guide


  • Mac | PC
  • USB 2.0 port
  • Mac OS X v10.4.8 or later
  • iTunes 7.4 or later
  • Internet connection

In all  8 out of 10 

For more information Digital-Car &

The Reversing & Forward View Cameras & CarTFT Reverse Sensor

This camera is easy to install. Simply plug RCA Video Jack to your car monitor and connect 12V (red wire) and ground (black wire) to the power.


  • RCA Video Cable and Power Wire Provided
  • No Connection Problems with any car monitor
  • This camera is water proof and comes with a quality compact metal housing
  • One of the smallest and most compact cameras on the market specifically designed for rear view systems
  • Crystal clear resolution: 628 x 582 (420 lines)
  • 100 Degrees wide viewing angle for safety back-up of Jeeps, Vans, Pick-Ups, Estates, or any vehicle

In all  6 out of 10

For more information See and Custom Car Computers

Rear camera view switcher (automatic)

  • Monitor picture will be changed to rear view CCD camera automatically when the reverse gear be switched.
  •  Dimension(L x W x H) : 82x60x25mm
  • Connect 1 or 2 video (PAL/NTSC) sources to this switch and your camera. Then connect the switch with the vehicle rear light power (12VDC). The switch then automatically will switch to the camera view, when the rear gear is shifted in !

In all  6 out of 10 

For more information See and Custom Car Computers


Kenwood KDC-W6527 ( My Head Unit )

  • 4 x 50 W
  • 2 RCA preouts
  • 1 RCA Auxiliary Line Input
  • CD-R/RW CapabilityWMA & MP3 Decoder Built-in
  • Rotary Volume Control
  • 4 Tone 3D F/L Display
  • Motorized Slide, TDF
  • Remote Control Included
  • Selectable Key Illumination



In all  9 out of 10

For more information visit Kenwood


Power Cabling For The System

To power all this I used AWG wire and the easiest way to do that was buy a kit. Mine came from CPC and only cost around £24. The kit contains most items you need and some you don’t. Running from the battery though the fire wall is the mains and to get the ground I took that from a local screw point in the boot area. The ignition was sourced ( fused of course ) from the existing stereo’s DIN connector. Its important to note where possible run the power cables away from the audio and video cables. In my case I was unable to do this so to clean the sound up a little I have installed a ground loop isolator and a USB sound car located at the front of the car.

Included in this kit 60 Amp

  • 5m x 10mm2 red power cable
  • 0.5m x 10mm2 black earth cable
  • 10m x 1.5mm2 OFC speaker cable
  • 5m blue remote cable
  • 5m directional double screened phono cable
  • Gold AGU fit fuse holder (terminated to cable)
  • Gold plated AGU fuse 60amp
  • Fitting accessories bag containing gold plated speaker and power terminals
  • Screws and cable ties


In all  7 out of 10

For more information visit CPC