If you are interested in installing a computer in your car, you will need time and patience. This article is meant as a guide to anyone wanting to try this endeavor. For the record, if you find yourself lost during the project, please enlist the services of a professional. Do not risk messing up the electronics in your car.

Before you start installing a computer in your car

Before installing a computer in your car, you must first ask, what do you want your computer to perform? How do want to interact with the computer? Always take into account power and size issues.

It is recommended when installing a computer in your car that you stick to the mini-itx form factor, especially when planning to set it in the front seat area of your car. Keep in mind that you will have to do a little work in order to make it fit. If it is a trunk-mounted computer you want, it will prove a little easier because if it fits and you have enough power to run it, you will be fine.

Safety before installing a computer in your car

Safety should always be considered when installing technical gadgets in your car. There are three options to choose from:

  • Keypads/Mini keyboards and Trackballs–These can prove costly, but they come with programming software to setup hotkeys.
  • Touchscreen interfaces – These are the most expensive options for your car, but they are worth the money if you have it to spend.
  • Voice Recognition – This is the least expensive option and works well but is not always the most efficient.

How to power a computer in your car?

At this point, you must ask yourself how you are going to power up your computer. Before answering this question, you should understand the term “crank” and what it means. This is when you go from the AC function to turning on your car. This is the moment where the power fluctuates is called the “crank” and pulls the juice to start.

Here are your following options:

  • Mini itps board – Fanless and cheap, but does not give out much power.
  • DC to AC inverters – These prove huge, but no wiring is required. The inverters do not always withstand crank.
  • Opus power supply – This proves expensive, but it is a superb quality with tons of features. If you need a relay switch, which is a board that informs your computer to turn on when you start your car, this would be an excellent option.

Installing your computer in the car

Car owners tend to use dashboard mounts of LCD and put the computer into the glove box. Some car owners mount computers in their center consoles for easy access for DVD usage, etc.

How to use a computer in your car?

It proves common sense that trying to operate a seven-inch computer touchscreen proves fruitless and complex while driving. You can always use third-party software. There is always someone that has free programs that make things easier to access and read or you can make your own GUI for windows with DesktopX.

Ensure that you always weigh the options of RCA/S-Video and VGA monitors with a computer.The VGA proves superior to RCA/S-Videos output, but they will prove too costly.