Sometimes people ask me questions - and sometimes they are even polite! When I remember, I add the questions that I've been asked here. Have a question about my CarPC? Ask here.

How much does it cost to build a CarPC?

I've given ranges here, in the detail, but the numbers show what I've actually spent. YMMV. All the amounts that I've spent are in Australian dollars (at the time of purchase), with a variety of exchange rates. All costs are landed costs.

[EDIT: 2004-06-05: The Australian dollar has strengthened significantly since the table was originally generated - as a result everything here appears a little expensive.]



Depends on whether you want VGA or are happy with TV-out - say $200 - $500 (top end is VGA with touch screen). Mine is a 7" widescreen with built in touchscreen, imported directly from Gain in Taiwan. Also badged and sold as Xenarc.




I bought an EPIA 800. I kept the same motherboard for v2 - as much as some more grunt would be nice, there is nothing earthshattering enough in the same form factor to encourage me to spend more money, given the average state of EPIA video drivers.



Some no-name SDRAM - 512mb, altough 256 is more than enough



Power Supply

I imported mine from the USA. Options range from USD$220-$400. I chose mine as it has brand and warranty support.



Hard Drive

A 2.5" laptop drive bought from ebay.




Imported from USA



USB Radio

Used to retail for aboth $80



IR Receiver

Either buy an IRman, or build your own. I have one for the house and the other for the car...



Glide Mouse

Bargain - usually around the $80 mark (god bless Harvey Norman)



USB Mini Keyboard

Bargain - usually around the $80 mark (god bless ebay)



USB Mini Hub

Buy a powered one. It will be worth it.


Portable Drive

Bought the enclosure new, and had the 6Gb drive donated as it was a little noisy - still going strong (price is for the USB 1.1 enclosure only) Say AUD200 for the drive and the enclosure (assuming 2nd hand 2.5" drive). USB 2.0 didn't exist at the time that I bought this. It doesn't really matter - the USB ports on the motherboard are only v1.1 anyway.



I don't really want to add those numbers up :-) Naturally there are other costs for building the enclosure, cabling, and other input devices if you need them. I chose to buy new stuff to build this machine, however it's not a requirement - I could have built it based on the Cyrix 233 box which is collecting dust under the desk at the moment.

Coming back to update this page for the rebuild, and the biggest difference is the change in prices - everything is significantly cheaper these days.

What kind of a power/reset switch did you get for your EPIA and where did you mount them?

Given the manner in which the alarm in the WRX is setup, and the fact that my power supply does not survive crank, I currently have two little momeentary switches mounted in a project box sitting on the dash.


How did you attach the aluminum to the plexiglass?

See the picture of the glue on the hardware page. That, and a lot of clamping and making sure that things were square and flat.

Is there anything you would do different if you were to do it again?

  • Have all the pieces that are going in the case before I start. Current photo's don't show the radio card or the shutdown controller;
  • I'd probably get the bulk of the case professionally bent so it could be made from two pieces;
  • I'd buy a power supply that survives crank.

Did you find that you needed any additional cooling fans?

None needed. We drove for 2.5 hours just after the installation, and at the end of that, I could still touch/grab/hold the processor heatsink for the EPIA 800 and the northbridge chip. Only thing that gets warm is the power supply, and that is externally vented with it's own fan.

On v2, no additional fans were installed. It's first job after install was a 15 hour drive from Sydney to Adelaide. It didn't miss a beat.

Why does your FAQ suck so much?

Because I'm not trying to answer questions for everybody elses system - just mine.

It seems that there is a reluctance to write an FAQ on but this is because every project is different. By way of example, I have a remarkably similar set up to a friend - however the software that we use to control is quite different, even though it is based on the same code. Why? Because we expect things to work differently.

CarPC's need to be intuitive so they don't interfere with the most important job - driving the car.





Last updated: 2009-10-29

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