idea - Bringing pup into the digital age

Discussion in 'Campsite Electronics' started by screwballl, Aug 27, 2009.

  1. screwballl

    screwballl Stimulus Package

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    As I am a computer tech, I have been tossing around ideas in my head for our pup.
    One is to buy/build a small low profile computer that can be mounted somewhere unused under the counter, and add an FM tuner, a DTV tuner, a DVD drive and a wireless mouse/keyboard that can stash somewhere hidden to keep the little ones out of it. I would mount 2-4 speakers in the pup so we have sound for everything. Since many of the tuner cards handle FM, AM, DTV and more, I could get away with one card for the TV and radio, and it would use the same antenna. I could mount the disc drive somewhere accessible and just run the SATA/power cords with an extension (or just use it with the eSATA setup), this would allow for playing CDs and DVDs.
    The only hitch in my case would be where to mount the LCD as when the pup is closed, it is very tight quarters in there... may have to just mount it to the counter top with a slide down into the counter when it is not used...

    This would mean we would not need to bring a TV, DVD player, mount a car stereo and so on since it would all be in one box.

    Here is one setup for the prebuilt mini-PCs I may be looking into:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16883228013

    The problem with most of these ultra-portable mini-desktops would be that I would need an external disc drive and an external USB style DTV/FM card.

    edit: here is one with an included internal drive and a PCI slot for a potential low profile DTV/FM card:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16883114074

    Like I said, just some ideas.

    Has anyone else done anything close to this before?
     
  2. mostlyok

    mostlyok We're Mostly OK!

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    Could a hinged LCD display mount to the ceiling? Like the Soccer Mom vans with drop down displays? With the roof down it would only rest against the bedding. Roof up and it's a portable TV.
     
  3. samtgrizz

    samtgrizz New Member

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    Very cool idea, but you should also have powered speakers. We have brought the laptop along to watch movies on occasion and find that it does not have enough power to drive volume of the external laptop speakers. It is very hard to hear especially if the air-conditioner is on.
     
  4. screwballl

    screwballl Stimulus Package

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    Looking into the pup when it is closed, the only place I could do something like that is right above the sink and only a small area available as the top 2/3rd of the door swings up when stored... also those mounted DVD screens are so small, I was planning for something 15-17" and mount it on some sort of locking slide where I can just lower it in to the back area of an unused cabinet, close to the pup wall.


    I have enough unused cheap powered speakers around here that I can gut and simply plug the speaker wires into something bigger like 5 1/4" round car speakers, and the "borrowed" amps should have enough to power them, but I may need to make or mount some sort of speaker volume knob somewhere... maybe a panel with certain buttons for power, volume... whatever.
     
  5. 01YZF6

    01YZF6 Dothan, AL

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    AIO pc's would be the way to go, add a USB tuner card and you would have it literally All in ONE !

    current options open on the market range from 17-32" LCD flatscreens:

    Acer is releasing thers shortly for under $600
    Mac has one, but it is pricier
    HP touchsmart
    Sony
    Dell XPS?

    add the company Name with "AIO pc" after it in a search browser for more specific info...
     
  6. screwballl

    screwballl Stimulus Package

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    I have seen a lot of those but for my budget and expertise, I would be better off building my own for half the price of what those companies are asking... but also why I posted the links I did earlier, they run around $200-300 and all I would need is the USB tuner and the display (and maybe the external disc drive).
     
  7. bmb

    bmb New Member

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    Seems like a lot of overkill for camping to me... We do bring an old "beater" laptop, and I'll copy a few of the kids movies on to that for rainy days or before bed movie nights. I don't like to bring the originals disks, they have a tendency to get lost or scratched by the little ones. I thought about buying a TV card at one point, but then came to the conclusion there is nothing over the air I would even want to watch. I instead watch the camp fire...

    Other then the occasional movie I put the technology away, I have to deal and manage it everyday and choose not to on my vacation. But that's me...
     
  8. screwballl

    screwballl Stimulus Package

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    agreed.... this setup would be for the rainy days or radio while we sit outside, not so we can go to the campground and watch TV/movies all the time
     
  9. Nascar Fan

    Nascar Fan Active Member

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    We have a mini, but you are correct that we need an external drive for dvds. We used to store our 19"flat screen monitor in the pup and picked up a box from buy.com to convert to television. But, with the digital signals we needed a converter box and the two boxes did not like eachother, so we just went back to the 19" television and an antenna. Don't know if I would permanently store a computer in the pup. It can get pretty hot! But, you are the expert. Let us know how it turns out. Unlike most on the site, we do like our internet and television. Not all day, but when we want it, we want it available. When we were in Bristol, the campers next to us had an air card for their lap top and DW was able to pick up internet from her. She looked in to it and Virgin Mobile (I think) has a deal for 10 days of internet time for $10. No contract, just pay as you go.
     
  10. campfixer

    campfixer New Member

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    As for where to put it, do you have a cabinet that you don't utilize? For instance, a lot of people don't make much use of the inside sink. You could redo or replace an unused space into a custom fit for the equipment.
     
  11. CamperDad09

    CamperDad09 New Member

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    Forget attaching a portable drive just to watch dvd's. Use an AVI ripping application to convert your DVD's to AVI file's and store them on the local hard drive, one less thing to break or lose. Or you could skip the ripping all-together and download your favorite movies already converted to AVI's. There are several sites on the internet [;)] I do this with my kids favorite movies and store them on my laptop so they can watch when we travel. I get better battery life that way too. Just my [2C]
     
  12. mrbill

    mrbill Central Coast of California

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    Good idea, but when it's folded up and the top is down wouldn't it get too much heat transferred to it through the roof? I know when my roof is down mine builds up quite a bit of heat even here on the coast where the the temp only averages about 68 degrees.
     
  13. mvega1969

    mvega1969 Outdoors

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    Hi, your idea of bringing most of the home goodies to the pup is great. This is my mod:

    EONON 823 CAR IN DASH MP3 CD VCD DVD PLAYER USB SD RDS

    I connected this device inplace of the OEM CD/FM radio along with two customizable wall adapters where I'd include RCA, IPOD, S-Video and Coaxial connectors. Since is connected to the Pop speakers I have (selective -fade-) sound inside and outside, also I can watch a DVD movie or hear a MP3 DVD/CD or plug in an IPOD or see photos from a SD card or music from it, Oh! and it also has AM and FM with RDS.

    Several months with it and some outings already and it is a blessing when there are no good radio/tv stations.


    A little bit less than a $100.00 USD shipped. look for it at ebay or at www.eonon.com
     
  14. screwballl

    screwballl Stimulus Package

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    Since it will only be on during bad weather and cooler weather, heat should not be a problem. I have had systems at home and work that are around 100ºF air temp and they run fine... As long as the system has proper cooling, then it should not matter too much unless it is a CPU and components that are known for running hot. The ones I linked to above use the Intel Atom processor which is a new but low power draw and cool running processor. In My case I would be more worried about the power supply... which can be easily helped by adding another fan to the side of the case blowing in.

    My Jayco has several deep cabinets and areas up underneath that would easily fit a box that is 15" x 10.7" x 4.2" like the larger of the 2 I mentioned earlier.

    I did not want to say much for legal reasons, we have a way to backup our movies directly from DVD for personal in-home use if we choose, but I also never use the file sharing programs as they are one of the biggest ways of getting and spreading viruses. As most of these smaller setups have at least 160GB of hard drive space, it would be easy to copy over 10 movies at 5GB each for watching on the trip if I chose. In cases like that, you are right no DVDs needed.

    Thats another reason why I would prefer some sort of counter mounted or another type of display.... plus sitting on the seats in the small popup staring at the ceiling at this tiny 5-7" screen is not my idea of fun.

    Thanks for the info! That looks like another way to go, although no TV option, which is not that big of a deal, but it would be nice to have just in case... I have seen plenty of those type of decks before but the prices have always been at least $300+... good to see they have finally come down.
     
  15. CamperDad09

    CamperDad09 New Member

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    Screwball, I wasn't suggesting illegally downloading movies you don't already own. I just find it easier to download the ones I already own instead of spending the 3-4 hours converting them. And if done properly a full-length 2-3 hour movie should only be about 700mb. Unless your going to have a 50"+ HDTV you'll never notice the resolution change in the lower file size.

    I second your thought on heat. With proper cooling in your case the you shouldn't have any issues with heat. Besides newer CPU's are smart enough that when they get too hot they will power off the computer before serious damage occurs. One suggestion I would have for you is to consider a Solid State drive, I know they are more $$ and are smaller capacities right now, but all that bouncing around going down the road will be murder on a traditional drive. If you decide to go with a traditional drive I would strongly suggest mounting the case in a way that helps to isolate some of the vibrations. I have seem setups in cars where they use high density foam (ex: yoga mat) between the case and frame to help this. I would love to see pics of this when you get it done. We just got our new2us pup last month and I have a fun list of "ideas" for mods, once I get the electrical and power roof fixed :)
     
  16. mvega1969

    mvega1969 Outdoors

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    Since this Eonon 823 does not include a screen neither a TV tuner, I do connect it through the Eonon's RCA cables to the TV, where also I have connected via the coaxial cable the off-air antenna to receive HDTV channels or my SAT (DirecTV)via the S-Video, both devices are 12V; TV and of course the radio.
     
  17. horrocks family

    horrocks family Boone, NC

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    I think this would go along nicely - a smaller TV should fit in existing cabinets...

    YES - this will be my next mod!!!

    http://www.tvlift.com/
     
  18. screwballl

    screwballl Stimulus Package

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    yes thats the "type" of lift I plan to build... if I ever actually get the money and build the setup I described.


    thats understandable, but from a legal perspective, the courts have been legislating from the bench under the "guidance of the MAFIAA (aka RIAA, MPAA)" that making backup copies for personal use is still illegal because it breaks the encryption codes.

    DailyTech story

    Another story about the same court ruling
     

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