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Discussion Starter #1
Hi. I have a SS 01 EX due in 2 weeks. Since we are infrequent long distance travelers, I am considering buying a Dell Notebook pc with DVD and 14" screen and installing it on my home network during the week, playing movies in the van on weekends occasionally.
And then, we can access our email when we get to our destination via the built in modem.
We will not use a built in system enough to justify the expense but another computer is a much better investment for us.
Anybody out there do this with acceptable results? Although I note the safety concerns, I think a lightweight unit does not present an unacceptable risk with older kids. Has anybody mounted one to the front seat tray?

Thanks!!!
Dan/Connecticut
 

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With the PC you can play other formats as well. Look into divx and vcd.

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Jim
'01 GG EX
 

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Hi yankeeblues,

I also am going the laptop/dvd player route for various reasons:

* much bigger screen
* performance (e.g., greater resolution and scaling capabilities)
* portability (can take it with you)
* versatility, i.e., can be used for work, email, web access, etc.) You can certainly use it to log your expenses during family trips.
* flexibility (you can upgrade the system as new tech arrive)

Sure, it doesn't have the features of a "full blown" mobile theater but it suits our family needs very well.

Forgot to add that depending on the dvd drive, you may be able to play mp3, dvd-a, cd-r, karaoke, sacd, etc.

Thanks,
Errol

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Keohi Web Design
Keohi HDTV

[This message has been edited by errol (edited 06-11-2001).]
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks. Maybe all us computer people think the same way. Do you have any neat installation ideas other than the laptop sitting on the laptop? I saw a fabric seatback "shelf" that didn't look sturdy enough and a few police car type mini tables - I'd like to snap it onto the rear of the popup tray if possible. ps -my SS 01 ex is in and will pick it up Wednes. 6/13.
 

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If you go with the PC with integrated DVD player, is it possible to hook up a VCP to it? What would this require?

How about a PlayStation 2?

Thanks for any info.
Russ
 

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Discussion Starter #6
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Russman:
If you go with the PC with integrated DVD player, is it possible to hook up a VCP to it? What would this require?

How about a PlayStation 2?

Thanks for any info.
Russ
</font>
Since a vcp is analog rather than digital, I'd guess no. My guess on Playstation is probably not either. But you want the kids to look out the window once and while, right?
 

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How will you keep power to the laptop? The battery might not last for a full-length movie. I'd also be interested in any creative mounting ideas.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Harry is right - But: running a vcp with power, external video adapter, notebook with power and headphones or speakers is a lot of wires - That's why a Dell refurb 14.1" Active matrix notebook with 128ram/700PIII with DVD for $1180. seems like a good way to go - plus dvd's seems a little more storage friendly than tapes. And the 12v converter for a notebook is a pretty inexpensive item.
Most importantly, we have the complete Little Rascals archives on DVD. :0)
 

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Yankeeblues,

Good idea. I have a Dell Inspiron 3500 w/DVD and it is great. You might have a problem with glare in the car. I find it hard to watch on planes unless the shade is closed. I wonder if the auto screens defeat this by mounting it high.

For those of you with video systems - how much of a problem is glare?
 

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Harry, the link you sent was for something you use to jump start a car battery. I was referring to keeping the laptop running for 3+ hours for long or multiple movies... is there a power convertor that's recommended for laptops to connect to cig lighters?
 

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For connecting a laptop to the cig adapter, there are a few options.

1) You can get an auto/air adapter for most of the notebooks out there. This will allow you connect the notebook straight into the acc adapter.

2) Get a power inverter and use existing AC adapter. A power inverter ($30-40) costs less than the auto/air adapters ($90-120). You can also use the power inverter for other things as well.

I tried to use a notebook on a road trip this past week. It worked but is kinda dim/dark for use during daylight hours. It works great at night. A video unit like the Jensen's definitely works better since it is quite a bit brighter.

This isn't to discourage using a laptop. It just may not be as great as you expect. It does work though.



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Warren - '01 GG EX
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Bigrob:
Harry, the link you sent was for something you use to jump start a car battery. I was referring to keeping the laptop running for 3+ hours for long or multiple movies... is there a power convertor that's recommended for laptops to connect to cig lighters?</font>
Yes, that's what you need. It has Cig. Lighter socket and it has built-in 24 Amp Hour battery which is about 288 Watts, divide that by your notebook power usage and you'll get the # of usable hours of the battery.

-Harry
 

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Hello, we recently went on a long trip and strapped our laptop right on top of the two front seat armrests with lots of velcro straps. We tried first putting the laptop on the middle tray, but the laptop end up sitting too far back for the people in the middle row to see. With the right driver and left front passenger armrest put down, our laptop fit neatly on it. We used four pairs of 20" long velcro straps to secure it to the armrests. Make sure to pull two straps through the slit where the laptop folds up and get it anchored behind and around the armrest joints. This wasn't an elegant solution but it worked and was secured quite well. We powered the laptop with a $30 power inverter. Also, get a cassette adaptor transmitter which plugs into the headphone for the laptop and cassette player to use your car's speaker for audio. We have the EX, which doesn't have a cassette player, so we had to hook up speakers to the laptop, too. Still, the audio wasn't really loud enough. This is a messy setup although it worked for us. If we travel long distance often, I will look for a more elegant solution. Remember also you wouldn't want to leave your laptop sitting in the car if you have it parked somewhere, so you will have to unstrap and restrap the velcro, which could be troublesome.
 
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