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Car PC Hacks by Damien Stolarz

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Hack #26. Install a VGA Touchscreen in Your Dashboard

Although it's a more challenging project, a cleanly integrated center console screen can provide you with a high-resolution touchscreen that's ideal for controlling your in-car PC.

Many of the newest cars come with a factory-installed navigation option. However, you are invariably stuck with the software that came with the car, and these navigation units usually can't play DVDs and certainly can't play video games. Also, after 5 years you'll find yourself with an old, clunky navigation unit, even though computers will have increased in speed by 10 times.

If you instead had a simple touchscreen that controlled whatever state-of-the-art computer you felt like installing in the trunk, you'd be ahead of the game. You'd be able to read sharper text and view clearer maps, because VGA screens run at higher resolutions than the RGB screens that come in cars. And you'd be able to continually add new programs and new features, while maintaining the clean look of a factory install.

There are several early manufacturers in this market, all of whom use similar screens with different enclosures and features. Xenarc (http://www.xenarc.com) and Lilliput (http://www.newision.com) are two such vendors, and Figure 3-7 shows some of their screens.

Whether you are replacing your existing screen or installing a new one, there are a number of planning steps to take before you make a purchase.

Maximizing the Screen Size

VGA touchscreens come in sizes ranging ...

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