Fire Departments and Police Departments have been using mounted laptop
computers in their vehicles for many years. The hardware and mounting
equipment has been around for a while. Check with your local agencies and
see what they are using.
Cheers - Jonathan
Thanks everyone, actually I am putting a 1/2 rack into the bed under my Leer
Cap. Into this I am putting in a UPS that is 12 volt to 12 volt regulated
supply that will supply the PC with roughly 24 hours of battery run time if
Below this I am mounting 4 1U Linux based servers using shock proof (we will
see) Hard Drives. If worst case come salong I can always run solid state
memory drives up 50 gig they have now but. the price is HUGE.
Below the PC/Servers I will mount a KVM up to a flatpanel touch screen
mounted to the right of the GMC's cluster (above the radio). I figure the
touch screen is more viable then a mouse in a truck.
Plan's are to run Verizon Wireless Internet to 1 unit w/ a Proxy Server/Log
In Server. Then one unit will handle MP3's, one will push video (movies) and
the 3rd will be used for the GPS/Mapping and Video Broadcasting.
I've done the laptop bit for some time, it just can't handle everything I
have in mind for the truck.
I work for a Grading and Asphalt company and they call my job "security",
which in a nut shell means I drive around 10 hours a night, baby sitting
security guards, auditing all the equipment on numerous job sites,
responding to alarm calls at one of our multiple facilities/offices. And in
my spare time (cough) I watch a lot of DVD's, play my PSP and PS2 while
watch to make sure no one messes with our equipment on sites where we don't
place outsourced guards.
Now since I retired in 1999 from a computer career in network design and
implementation, almost everything I do I automate. I stayed retired for a
while, updated my Microsoft and Novell certs and have done some smaller
consulting and convergence jobs. My wife had been working with this grading
firm for 3 years and their then current security guy, had a heart attack.
They asked me to fill in while he recovered. I did, and as soon as he heard
he had a replacement, he passed away. So, since I told them I would stay,
I've sort of grown found of the company and the job. The IT Manager of the
firm used to work with me at a DOT com we both worked for, so he is very
helpfull with work related toys and gadgets and my "boss" doesn't care what
we do as long as we maintain a low rate of incidents.
Up until January 24th of this year, I worked 7 10's, until I had a mild
heart attack (any of them you walk away from is mild) and the company at
that point asked me and my co worker to start taking a day off. So now Im
down to 60 hrs a week just for work, and another 20 personal time.
Some guys trick out their rides w/ stereos... I am going the geek route,
just to do it. Laptop is too easy, probally tthe easier and wiser route,
but, that would not be as fun.
I used to work for a small contracting company, everything from fix your
printer to design your active directory. I carried a PDA and was going to
get a CF wireless card to communicate back to a "server" in my truck which
has all kinds of reference books and such and updates my time tracking
database. Thought of doing the proxy server thing too so I could have
internet on my pda via the server in the truck. Was going to store all my
mp3's (ripped from all the cd's I own) so I could stream them to the PDA
from the truck computer. GPS to track all my mileage to and from customer
sites, OBD-II to log everything from the truck, etc. Just never had any of
the $ to build it.
***Ug, cross posted... ***
If money is an issue, just use a notebook. I've had the (same)
notebook in my Hummer for about six or seven years now, and it still
works. Try local comptuer stores for a traded in notebook, or eBay.
If money is not an issue, there are several really (*REALLY*) nice
solutions with heavy duty boxes, remote LCD touch screens, wireless
keyboards, and the works. But these are expensive. Designed for
commercial duty, they will stand up well.
On Sat, 2 Apr 2005 01:06:09 -0800, "Kenner Costen"
www.mp3car.com is probably the best resource. I wanted mine to be sturdy so
I used a small rack mount case with a mini-itx fanless system and a laptop
hdd. Its very similar to www.mini-box.com but without the display on the
front of the chassis.
These are generally meant for construction, mining and military use. Get out
your checkbook, they run 2x, 3x, 4x or more than consumer grade models.
You want a RAM mount. From their website:
RAM's patented solid rubber ball and sturdy metal socket mounts have been
tested by some of the following companies: Intermec, TRW, FMC, Rockwell,
Lowrance, Garmin, US Navy, US Army and many others. In every case, RAM
exceeded the required demand and was surprisingly accepted as the standard
mounting solution from then on. All 160 RAM components are 100%
interchangeable so if you decide to alter configurations or applications
simply switch out the components or the device RAM's holding. Convenience
and quality without a big dollar expense is what RAM brings along with
lifetime warranties, electronic protection and perfect viewing angles.
I am in the process of adding a computer to my truck ( I spend 60 hours a
week in my truck as my mobile office). If anyone has any links to web sites
w/ what others have done or hardware designed for extreme duty, please let
me know. I will be documenting my installs on a web domain I just purchased,
for others to see/follow."
You may want to consider the cooling of the computer. If it gets to hot the
CPU will shut down. You may need to add a cooler system with refrigerant to
keep it within operating temperatures. Many vehicles today are equipped
with regular PC computers but they are used in emergency services are other
services that usually AC controlled environment around the PC. Mounting the
PC itself in under the Leer cap where there is no air circulation may get
extremely hot from the sun not to mention the heat from the PC equipment and
from the vehicle's exhaust.
I am working on that. Currently I am going to "insualte" the shell with this
material that keeps the solar emissions lower, you can buy it at most home
stores looks like bubble wrap w/ tinfoil on it. But its supposed to drop the
E rating down to a 3, from 100 natural. This stop solar "radiation" heat,
and in turn cuts ambient. I have found some chips that run at 1gig that are
fairly stable in all but say August in Las Vegas but I will need to
circulate air and possible cool the units. I have looked at a couple of
solutions. I can mount the half rack inside a half size 12 volt fridge or I
can break down go to 1 unit larger unit and run a PC Cooler w/ Fluid and AC.
The trick is which will handle the roads the best w/ least problems if they
I am leaning towards the 12 volt fridge solution. I have done this for
systems in metal buildings in the middle of the desert and it works wonders.
That foil bubble wrap stuff works well, I insulated my last truck with it
and am thinking of doing this one. Is your cap fiberglass or aluminum? If
Aluminum you can put 1" thick insulation between the frame then cover with
the bubble wrap, then get the thin blue insulation stuff and cover it with
headliner material to match the truck.
Via makes a couple mini-ITX boards that run fanless, thats how I ran my mp3
player, they are not real fast but if you run a decent os like Linux/bsd
they are plenty fast enough.
Alas my shell is an 88 Leer Fiberglass. So I am going to use this really
nasty loctite onstruction adhesive and apply the insulation to the cap that
way. Then I will remove the bedliner and add insulation there as well.
I have looked at the via, problem is I have to assume a tempature of 180
degrees ambient in summer. Though someone did show me a little solar panel,
I was thinking of putting it on the shell top, linked to some 120mm fans, so
when the sun is out, the fans are moving.
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