A friend of mine recently asked if I would write a post about why I decided to get rid of my carputer system and why I chose the gps navigation system that I did to replace it with.
I decided to get rid of the carputer and switch to a gps navigation system for several reasons.
First, it was not portable, and I could not easily move it from car to truck to freinds car.
Second, I never could get it to properly sync with my cellphone so that I could have hands free calling. This was one of the main reasons for a carputer in the first place. I did manage to get it to work early on, but in order to hear the caller I had to pump up the volume then I would get this terrible bass reverberation in the car, it was madness. I tried all sorts of ‘cheap’ mics and nothing helped. I stopped useing the phone integration about a week after it was in place. I am hoping this gps navigation system that I recently won on ebay will not do the same.
Third, I did not like the navigation system (map software) I was using. I can not even recall what it was that I was using right now, but it was hard to punch in where you wanted to go in a hurry. The menu system was very cumbersome and you surely would have a hard time doing with the menu system while you were driving. You would really have to park, find your destination, then pull back onto the road and go. Thats the safe way to do it anyways.
Forth, the touchscreen is the main thing that enables you to communicate with your carputer and if it doesn’t work, the rest is of no use. On occasion the screen would just go completely white when you touched it. I would have to pull the power to the screen, wait a second, and plug the power back in. Then it would work for a bit and sometimes be fine, sometimes do it all over again. This was beginning to become unreliable. To replace it was way too expensive.
I started thinking that my main uses for a carputer were phone integration, gps navigation system, mp3 storage piped through my existing sound system eliminating the needs for cd’s, and thats about it. That’s all I really needed. With all that in mind, I decided, hey why not sell all of this stuff back on ebay where I purchased it all and I will be able to get what I need.
So if you remember I did sell all my stuff on ebay. <- read about it again if you missed it.
I began to look over several gps navigation systems mostly at Circuit Shitty ( you will not get good help there, go to BEST BUY) and there were a lot that were pricey. I found several that worked with phones via bluetooth ( I think you can marry up to 3 phones to it), could store and play mp3’s, photos, and stuff. I landed on the TOM TOM GO 730. It was reasonably priced, had a 2 gig media storage card that is expandable. I will probably go 8 gig and put photos and music on it. Has a great easy to use menu system and I can even voice where I want to go just by speaking to it. Has cellphone integration and can even read you your text messages to you and I think you can respond to them just by speaking. Also you can take it from one vehicle to another. I think the TOM TOM GO 730 is a real winner for me and my needs. I checked it out and it gets great ratings everywhere I check.
Reflecting on it all now, the custom carputer is a great idea for any hobbiest. I was able to customize it to do whatever I wanted really with enough time and patience and tweeks. I had fabricated a serial cable that would allow me to control my XM Radio, and that was cool and all, but I grew tired of XM playing U2. I cancelled it when I sold all the system. On our trip to Ship Island, we were able to watch 2 full length movies on it to pass the time. If you wanted to, you could have made it to where when you got within a certain distance of your car, the bluetooth in your cellphone could communicate with your car and make the doors unlock or even start. I mean the possibilities were really endless, but I grew tired of the gps navigator the most with its menu structure and the frustration it caused when I wanted to find something. What I want now is super simplicity and portability.
As you may remember from a previous post, I was lucky enough to win one brand new in sealed box for $300 on ebay this past Friday night. They sell for $450 to $500 in stores. I hope it arrives this week and if it does I will install and do another write up and give all the juicy details.
Type ya later….