Here's one way to add GPS capability to your Prius

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by VinceDee, Oct 26, 2006.

  1. VinceDee

    VinceDee Member

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    This isn't fancy or probably even the most elegant solution around, but if you're willing to put about $1500-$2000 into it you could end up with a system that does this:

    1. Touchscreen GPS navigation
    2. Stores your entire MP3 collection
    3. Gives you a wireless Internet connection (when you're within range of wireless, of course)
    4. Allows you to install and run additional GPS mapping programs
    5. Gives you a Windows-based car computer that you could also take from car to car (and into home and business)
    6. Lets you play video games (don't do it while you're driving, though!)
    7. Lets you watch DVD movies (with the addition of a external USB DVD drive, sold separately)
    8. Frees up the MFD for it's intended use (instead of making you switch back and forth between GPS and climate control, radio, etc)

    What is it? It's a laptop, but one that the Prius already has a built-in mount for (kind of). Read on.

    The Fujitsu P1510D is a small convertible Tablet PC measuring a small 9.3" x 6.57" and 1.4" and only 2.2lbs. It has Windows XP installed (your choice of either Tablet PC edition, which I would recommend, or Windows XP Professional). The P1510D has a 1024 x 600, 8.9" touchscreen (finger-touchable or use the stylus). It's an ideal subnote-sized Tablet PC and well worth the $1500 that you'll pay for it new from Fujitsu.

    But you could use just about any laptop with a GPS device attached in your Prius. Why use this one? Because it fits the Prius with almost no modifications (just a few pieces of Velcro). Take a look:

    Tell me you wouldn't love to be able to look at this gorgeous screen for navigation:
    [​IMG]

    A closer view:
    [​IMG]

    From the side. Can you see how I have it mounted?
    [​IMG]

    A better angle of the mounting surface. That's right...I just flipped down the CD storage door and rested the Fujitsu on that (it has a detent that fits the door lid like it was made for it. I would definitely recommend that you use Velcro to make sure it stays, though). Lean it back and it rests on the front of the radio (and doesn't even block the radio's power button!).
    [​IMG]

    Velcro may not be the most attractive solution, but it's one that can be easily removed when the time comes. What's nice about this solution is that it only takes 4 pieces of Velcro.
    [​IMG]

    Well, okay, it takes 8 pieces if you want to get all technical about it :D
    [​IMG]


    Here's what you'll need to do this:

    1. Fujitsu P1510D Tablet PC
    2. Bluetooth or USB GPS "mouse" (here's a good place to buy from)
    3. Power inverter (You can find one of these just about anywhere nowadays. Radio Shack, for example. This device allows you to plug your laptop and GPS mouse into your cigarette lighter so that you have unlimited power for them)
    4. Velcro
    5. Kensington keylock (to lock your laptop inside the car. I would recommend that you wrap the cable around the frame of your seat to secure it.)
    6. Microsoft Streets & Trips (or any other of the numerous GPS mapping programs out there, most of which are likely better than the Microsoft program)
    7. 1/8" to 1/8" stereo plug, or some other solution to connect the computer's audio output to the Prius' stereo

    Some people mount their GPS mouse on the dash of their Prius using Velcro. I just placed mine in the left small window area:

    [​IMG]

    I put my power inverter under my front seat and plugged both the laptop and the GPS mouse into it. run the power cables as unobtrusively as you can.

    This is an ideal situation for long road trips, or for trips into unfamiliar areas. When you park the car, pull the laptop from it's perch, lock it to the Kensington lock, and slide it under the passenger seat (or take it with you, obviously).

    This is the solution that I've found for adding GPS to my Prius. I hope this can at least serve as a jumping off point for your own ideas.

    Vince

    Here's another picture that I took tonight while driving around. This system works beautifully:
    [​IMG]
     
  2. daronspicher

    daronspicher Active Member

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    what's it take to boot this thing up?

    The boot up time + finding the cursor while driving + screen brightness control are a couple of the things I didn't like so much about my laptop + delorme + garmin hand held setup I was using.

    When I had the pickup, my laptop was ok for this on long road trips... for day to day, I just can't wait around for the bootup...

    You can get a pretty nice gps system designed for the car in this price range. I imagine your laptop system doesn't get traffic data...

    The size is great.... If you could get internet that would be untouchable...
     
  3. VinceDee

    VinceDee Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(daronspicher @ Oct 26 2006, 05:36 PM) [snapback]338990[/snapback]</div>
    I don't have to boot it up. When I'm ready to go I push the on/off button and it's ready to go in about 5-10 seconds. When I'm done driving I push the on/off button and it puts the computer into "suspend" mode, which only takes a few seconds.

    You don't have to worry about finding the cursor...it's a touchscreen. Just touch the screen with your finger to "click" the buttons or whatever you would normally do with the mouse. It's very intuitive.

    There are lots of great GPS systems out there, many for far less than the ~$2000 you'd put into this one. But I'm not aware of any of them that are nearly as capable as this one. And if you install some WindowsXP mapping programs into this system you can use voice to navigate.

    I don't know about traffic data. If there is some kind of XM interface with a computer then I suppose it could. And it does get the Internet (as long as you are within range of a wireless router).

    Vince
     
  4. mee081224

    mee081224 New Member

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    Velcro? oh thats wonderful except it makes it vulernable to be stolen. I love the idea, but there has to be a better way to integrate the machine into the car to be theft deterrant, and bringing it in and out everyday wont work. Everyone will forget it at home.
     
  5. Beryl Octet

    Beryl Octet New Member

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    That's so theft-attractive, I probably wouldn't even consider it, even with a cable lock for the laptop. Even if they don't steal it, the damage (broken windows etc.) they do just trying is a huge PITA.
     
  6. VinceDee

    VinceDee Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Beryl Octet @ Oct 26 2006, 08:46 PM) [snapback]339093[/snapback]</div>
    I've been using notebooks for GPS in some fashion like this since about 1998 and I have yet to have a theft problem (knock on wood, of course). IMO, you all are overreacting to the theft issue somewhat, but you have to do what works for you.

    One of the keys to making your laptop secure in your car is to keep it out of sight when you're not in the car. Thefts like this tend to be a crime of opportunity so if you keep it out of sight, it should remain out of mind. I didn't guarantee that this was a theft proof solution, though, so you do have to make sure you've taken care to keep your laptop safe. I don't understand how you figure a laptop mount (made of metal, for example) would address the security issue (unless it's one of those that has a lock built in, but even those are subject to being stolen).

    Vince
     
  7. stanleyjohn

    stanleyjohn New Member

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    Vince! Looks like a great set up! My brother recently bought a 06 prius without nav and is looking for one! He wants a large screen one!ill relay this system u have to him.Thieft!! I have never had any car broken into! Maybe lucky.You can just cover it up when u feel need too! or hide it somewhere in the car.Seems easy enough to do.Good luck with it.Question!! dCan you add bluetooth to it for the cell phone :unsure:
     
  8. Tom_06

    Tom_06 Active Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(massimo @ Oct 26 2006, 11:10 PM) [snapback]339078[/snapback]</div>
    Stolen is one thing, an accident could be far worse. Nothing like a laptop missle in the front cabin. Having hit a deer 4 days ago and finding everything even vaguely loose tossed all over the place, I'm a bit sensitive to mounting 2.2 lbs of anything with a few small pieces of velcro.

    - Tom
     
  9. miwaku

    miwaku New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Beryl Octet @ Oct 26 2006, 11:46 PM) [snapback]339093[/snapback]</div>
    You guys didn't read the entire post. When you get out of the car, you put the tablet under the seat, attached to the Kensington cable. No one will break in just to steal the tablet if they don't see it.

    I have one of these 1510D's for work. It's fast, the touchscreen is great, suspend cycle is about 3-5 seconds, and it even has a fingerprint swipe on the lower left that you can use to login.

    Nice idea!
     
  10. DaveinOlyWA

    DaveinOlyWA 3rd Time was Solariffic!!

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    the velcro idea is a good one because there is no way i would risk my windows to something that attractive to a thief. at least it can be put out of sight.

    i have a way less convenient method.(actually works fine but a 17" widescreen powerbook is simply too big for this application) using my Mac, Route 66 mapping software and a Holux BT 231 GPS receiver.

    the only "complaint" i have is that it takes a few minutes for the GPS receiver to warm up and start transmitting a signal. but i have verizon wireless broadband access so i have full internet access nearly all the time (only place i didnt have it was a stretch thru the northern Cascades...also had no cellphone either!!)

    but my solution is way better if i have a passenger. the laptop is too big to easily handle in the front seat although as it stands, my gf can always find something to do on it, emails, chat, etc.
     
  11. VinceDee

    VinceDee Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Tom_06 @ Oct 27 2006, 03:50 AM) [snapback]339172[/snapback]</div>
    So, what you're saying is that this small laptop attached by Velcro to the front dash is more dangerous than, say, a laptop sitting on the front seat? Or a laptop in it's carrying bag in the back seat? Or that 5lb Folger's can in the grocery bag? Or your cup of hot coffee? Or numerous other loose items that will be flying around in an accident?

    This is a non-argument, in my opinion. If you're worried about anything that could become a loose "missle" in the cabin, then don't ever take anything in your car.

    Vince


    Forgot to add:
    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(stanlwyjohn @ Oct 27 2006, 02:18 AM) [snapback]339162[/snapback]</div>
    The P1510D comes with or without Bluetooth, so the answer is a qualified yes. However, I don't know what programs there might be out there that could allow you to use it like the Prius' Bluetooth.
     
  12. sl7vk

    sl7vk Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(VinceDee @ Oct 27 2006, 10:41 AM) [snapback]339250[/snapback]</div>
    I'll agree with you on this. I like your setup. I put my Garmin C320 in the same place. Not as sweet looking as your setup, but it does the trick for me.
     
  13. Tom_06

    Tom_06 Active Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(VinceDee @ Oct 27 2006, 10:41 AM) [snapback]339250[/snapback]</div>
    A cup of coffee isn't a 2.2 lb laptop. Yes, I do worry about loose objects. A laptop on the front seat - no way! I try to not have anything loose in the front seat area. Especially after being reminded of the danger a few days ago.

    If you don't care, fine. However, it is something others may want to consider.

    - Tom
     
  14. Beryl Octet

    Beryl Octet New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(VinceDee @ Oct 27 2006, 12:13 AM) [snapback]339106[/snapback]</div>

    Velcro or metal, not too sure it matters. Perhaps I was not too clear, but I was just considering the OP where it lists this as one of the parts:

    5. Kensington keylock (to lock your laptop inside the car. I would recommend that you wrap the cable around the frame of your seat to secure it.)

    And I assumed they left it mounted, but cable locked to the seat or something for security. Putting it out of sight would definitely be better, I agree. But you still run the risk someone will see you storing it, and return for it, or you're only stopping into the mall for a minute, so why bother putting it away etc. I don't think leaving a laptop in a car is ever a good idea, but that's just me.
     
  15. VinceDee

    VinceDee Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Beryl Octet @ Oct 27 2006, 08:08 AM) [snapback]339267[/snapback]</div>
    You're right, I didn't word it very well. I meant that you stow the laptop when you stop. Of course you'd want to make sure no one sees you put it away.

    Vince
     
  16. David Beale

    David Beale Senior Member

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    I have mounted electronics in my vehicles using velcro for about 10 years now. Mostly amateur radio control heads, GPS, and radar detectors. I always advise putting the hook velcro on the car and the loop side on the device. That way you don't get "hooked" when using it elsewhere. While your solution only uses small patches of velcro, if you can use large pieces it can be very secure. I always recommend using some sort of lanyard as a "backup" however, for heavier items (such as your tablet PC). It's very difficult to secure them totally, but if you can keep them in one area, such as within a foot of where you mounted it, during an accident, it would only cause minor bruising. You absolutely want to keep it from hitting anyone on the head!

    My current GPS solution is a Garmin iQue 1620 (CF module) in a Toshiba 830 PDA. Much smaller screen, of course, but nice just the same. I mount it with velcro, and loop the lanyard over strong things in the vehicles I drive.

    Your solution can also be used for the data gathering device [email protected] has just announced in the technical section of this forum.

    Thanks for the work and ideas!
     
  17. Presto

    Presto Has his homepage set to PC

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    I recommend using iGuidance for GPS on laptops and computers. It's made specifically for portability, and with a few configuration adjustments, it'd work beautifully with a touchscreen. An installed computer would be a good choice as well for the budget concious, as you can get all the parts for a carputer for around 600 bucks or so.

    Vince, does the tablet put a lot of pressure on the map pocket cover? How well does it handle bumps and such? 2.2 lbs doesn't seem like too much force to put on the cover, but i would be concerned of big bumps that might give it sufficient downforce to snap the door.
     
  18. VinceDee

    VinceDee Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Presto @ Oct 27 2006, 12:39 PM) [snapback]339559[/snapback]</div>
    That was one of my major concerns, too, but it seems to be doing extremely well in this regard. Part of the reason I think is that most of the laptop's weight is not resting on the door because it's being supported by the Velcro. However, I only just installed this setup so time will have to tell.

    Vince
     
  19. quagmire0

    quagmire0 New Member

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    This is a sweet setup. Wish I had the $$$ to drop on it.

    My only beef with it is having to put velcro on the front of the stereo. Otherwise, I think it's great. As far as theft goes, you can find plenty of places in the Prius to hide it.
     
  20. miwaku

    miwaku New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(quagmire0 @ Oct 27 2006, 03:58 PM) [snapback]339610[/snapback]</div>
    As he said, it doesn't block the stereo power button, which is really the only essential control that you don't have on the steering wheel.

    As for places to hide it, I know from personal experience that the 1510 fits very well in the lower glove box. :)
     
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