[aprssig] Via teams on Linux car PC kit

Dave Baxter dave at emv.co.uk
Thu Oct 6 11:39:54 CDT 2005

That's not a real car!  It's only an auto...  Even if the stick "shift"
is almost coming out of the floor...  Oh yes, and the pedals are on the
wrong side!  ;)

Anyway, well crammed in there, and some juicy power cables it looks like
too, how much power does it use?...

Still, sounds like it works well...

The PC-104 devices are generally full spec (as far as performance goes)
but way lower power than even laptop's.  We use them in the controllers
used in some of the QRO amplifiers we handle..  However, they come at a
premium price, sadly.

Here in the UK, I have seen plenty of surplus PC-104 parts up for sale
at rally's in the past, but in very poor physical condition, and with
virtually zero documentation.  OK, so you can get away with it with an
"ordinary" PC card etc as the motherboard BIOS is pretty smart at that
sort of thing, but with the PC-104 architecture, that only really
guarantees the physical form factor, and some of the electrical

They tend to use hardware jumpers for configuration too, as opposed to a
BIOS with CMOS or FLASH RAM..  (you can't corrupt jumpers when the power
goes blip!)  No doubt things are improving with the current crop of
PC-104 devices, but of those on the surplus market, you need good
eyesight to figure out what links go where, if you have the info..
Arcom from memory were one of the better documented product sources we

As we found to our cost some time back, even replacing a failed display,
supposedly like for like is fraught with problems, incompatible drivers,
code that makes assumptions (wrongly) documentation that is just plain
wrong, and suppliers that just want to sell boards and and not provide
any support etc, to the extent that they pull the data sheets of their
website at the end of the production run, even before the last off the
line are out of the shipping dept!

We ended up having to change the entire controler package in the end,
just to save time.  And we were trying to do all that commercially with
current products, not as Ham's on a budget giving new life to pre-used

They are good, but unless you have a long term source of them, with
documentation etc, and can get (even unofficial) support or backup.  Or
you can get effectivly a fully configured working "PC" not just a
collection of boards, avoid I think...

Touch screen's.  Some of them look like a standard mouse to Winders (or
Linux) with the pointer or cursor hidden, after all, you know where your
finger is!...

If I need moving maps, APRS etc, I tend to use a full size laptop, and
12V adapter when mobile.  When the battery volts sags as the engine
cranks, the laptop goes over to internal battery, sort of DC UPS....
The only problem, is where to put the blessed thing in the Landy, not a
lot of room, and it needs to be very firmly bolted down!  Amazingly, the
hard disk's don't seem to worry about the vibration, but dust plays
havoc with the keyboard and CD-ROM as I found out after one outing!...
Needing a good run over with the vacuum cleaner, and photo lens brush

Yeah I know there are ruggedised laptops about, but at stratospheric

For the mouse, I don't bother, if needed, I use the touch pad when safe
to do so.   A remote touch screen would be nice, but the ones that I can
afford, and are small enought to go where I want it, have very poor
video resolution/bandwidth, even with a 640x480 screen setting, the
display is very fuzzy, not what you want for a safe quick glance when

All good fun, I think!...  Time to quit for the day..

73.  Dave G0WBX.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: aprssig-bounces at lists.tapr.org 
> [mailto:aprssig-bounces at lists.tapr.org] On Behalf Of Wes Johnston
> Sent: Wednesday, October 05, 2005 2:10 AM
> To: TAPR APRS Mailing List; jkelly at bellatlantic.net
> Subject: Re: [aprssig] Via teams on Linux car PC kit
> Hey!! I have a honda element too!! It's the perfect ham car 
> for antennas.  When I'm running down the road, it's a "driven 
> element".
> lol... arrrr arrrrr.  I crack myself up sometimes... 8-)
> On a serious note.  The plastic panels on the sides and the 
> roof allow me to run all sorts of cables by simply snapping 
> them off (10mm nut on each one), running cable, and snapping 
> them back on.  I've got my gps puck, xm puck and 2m/70cm 
> diamond tilt over mount all run this way.
> Wes
> Jeff Kelly wrote:
> > Thought I would post a few pics of my car computer.
> > This unit is running XP Pro and has the same equipment as 
> the Voom car 
> > pc just released.
> > 
> > Mini ITX M12000 running XP, 1 Gig ram, 40 gig HD, and Verizon 
> > Broadband access with the 5220 card.
> > 590kb DL speed in the car!
> > 
> > I run all windows apps including IE, Echolink, Street 
> Atlas, Aprs SA, 
> > Skype, Eyeball chat (with video), MP3 and DVD.
> > It is a lot of fun.
> > 
> > Happy to answer any questions. A good site is the forum at 
> mp3car.com
> > 
> > http://mysite.verizon.net/jkelly/element/index.htm
> > 
> > Jeff
> > KT2K

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