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Old 11-05-2006, 07:02 PM   #15
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Jim,

Now that the picture is in your posting, I have a question about where you got the dash cover. It really looks great, and would keep stuff, like the laptop, from sliding off of the dash.

Sorry to steal your thread for this off topic question.

Thanks!
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Old 11-06-2006, 06:54 AM   #16
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Hi Gail,

it's made by Suntek (San Diego area I recall)

888-834-0764

It's a very good fit and nicely made (especially the "felt-like" material instead of the carpet-like option. It has a rubber backing that has not discolored my dash...yet? (I caught a thread in another forum about dash covers discoloring dashes)
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Old 11-06-2006, 07:10 AM   #17
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Thanks Danny!

For anyone interested in the Fujitsu "tablet" laptop...

It does not have a PCMCIA "PC" card slot needed for most of the cellular wireless internet cards (Cingular, Sprint, etc.)

It has a CF slot which can use an adaptor and works with Cingular's Airtek card (~$100 and ~$60 per month, unlimited useage)

It has 2 USB ports and I understand several cell carriers are coming out with USB wireless devices for internet access.

It also has a built in wireless network card that works very well picking up WiFi.

The touch screen works very well using the tip of my finger. This allows folding it up into a tablet and using most software functions (that normally just need mouse input).

At 2.2lbs and with a little "sticky-side" velcro on the bottom, it stays planted on the dash cover. A hard swerve or panic stop might send it flying though...?

I recently swiveled the display 180 degrees, placing the keyboard behind the display and it seemed even more stable on the dash. With touch screen, I don't need access to the keyboard for mouse prompts.

I've even considered folding it up into "tablet mode" and placing it on a mount to the left of the driver..

As a compact VMS display and internet acess device (as well as running map software and whatever else), I think it's ideal for such purposes.
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Old 11-06-2006, 09:01 AM   #18
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Hi Jim,

Thanks for the info on the dash cover, and for the great info on the laptop. That sounds like a perfect little laptop to carry around in the motorhome.
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Old 11-17-2006, 07:07 AM   #19
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A little update on the laptop. Decided to find a better approach to mounting. Got lucky and found a Ram Mount cradle with very similar mounting dimensions. Ordered it with some of their versatile mounting hardware, made some modifications and mounted as shown:




The laptop folds into "tablet mode" and has a pretty good touch display for user interface. Or I can swivel the mount and have the keyboard accessible (I just run VMSpc while running and dismount the laptop for other uses while parked).

Folded up, it makes a nice display on the road without obscuring my forward/mirror line of sight.



Power and signal Cables are run concealed under the dash and then up through a small hole.


p.s. Gail, gave up on trying to train Mary Jo on Nav software... BTW, caught an idea on the volume issue with Nav software. A small FM transmitter plugged into the laptop headphone jack to pipe the sound thru the dash radio. Available at Radio Shack for ~$40.
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Old 11-17-2006, 09:54 AM   #20
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Jim,

That mounting set-up you have looks perfect! It looks like it will be very handy for driver use.

Thanks for the tip on the transmitter to pipe the laptop sound thru the dash radio. I'm going to go look for that!

Safe travels.
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Old 11-17-2006, 07:20 PM   #21
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Jim

That mount for the screen looks great. Do you know the model number of the ram mount so that we can look into ordering one. I like the idea of mounting on the left side. It will remove the distraction of sitting in the middle on the dash.

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Old 11-18-2006, 06:34 AM   #22
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Hi Sandy,

here's my parts list for the Fujitsu tablet PC:

RAM-HOL-MOT3 Cradle(I modified for the Fujitsu)
RAMB-202U Base Plate for Cradle
RAMB-201U Connecting arms (need 2)
RAMB-230U Double ball connector
RAMB-231ZU Mounting plate (designed for handlebar mount, I use it because it has the right dimensions for mounting to the coach pillar as shown in pic)


Good Distributor is www.gpscity.com


Some tips for the Fujitsu mount:

--a dremel tool and some grinding is needed for an ideal Cradle fit (it was designed for another Tablet PC), let me know if you need detailed pics of this modification.
--the coach mount point is a narrow metal strip, which should not use excessively long sheet metal screws. Use a small drill bit for a pilot hole.
--Better to let the Cradle rest on the dash, so the mount does not support the weight of the Fujitsu, just keep it in place and stable.
--If you want keyboard access, the double jointed mount can swivel things around for such access.
--Be very careful drilling the cable access holes. Look underneath before drilling to avoid hitting cables. I used a short "stepped drill bit" available at Sears.
--Loosen the ball cinches on the connecting arms to adjust final positioning. Don't use much force with the final assembly as the leverage can weaken the pillar mount.

HOWEVER, This will not work for any other laptop. If you want to mount another larger more typical laptop, I suggest ordering their universal laptop mount (RAM-234-3) first and position it in the coach --as desired-- to take measurements from its mounting points to the coach pillar, then order the mounting hardware.

Good Luck!
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Old 11-18-2006, 05:11 PM   #23
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Not wanting to deal with a laptop on the dash and having to hide it when the coach is not in use. I decided to install a 15" monitor permanently on the dash and placed a computer under the kitchen sink. I run VMSpc on a small window across the bottom and Microsoft Streets and Trips on the upper for the GPS.

The computer holds ALL of our music in MP3 files and is played through the dash stereo (any music we want, on demand, going down the road). The computer has two video drivers, one for the 15" dash monitor and one for our 37" Sharp TV/Monitor. All of our digital camera picture files are stored in the computer so we can display any picture on the 37" display.

To operate the computer while driving I use a wireless Gyro mouse (made by Gyration). The mouse can operate on any surface or in the air by simply pulling a trigger and pointing with your wrist (Gyro). After some practice the mouse is easy to use, using the trigger and point method. I have a docking / charging cradle conveniently located by my left leg.

I mounted the monitor to a "U" shape channel that extends to the floor and has welded braces bolting to the wood floor and bracing back to the fire wall out of all thread. I found the swivel LCD brackets at Fry's and welded this to the U shape channel. The monitor can be tip and rotated to any angel (easy to use from the passenger seat).








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Old 11-18-2006, 05:22 PM   #24
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More pictures!




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Old 11-19-2006, 06:53 AM   #25
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Don't get me wrong "I love gadgets" but where do we draw the line between functionality and safety?
If we consumers add much larger displays to the dash tops when does it impede our vision and concentration? How will the Highway Patrol view these? Just a thought.

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Old 11-19-2006, 08:18 AM   #26
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You have a point, Danny but personally I have less problems glancing at the computer screen than some of my gauges. The steering wheel covers several of them, no matter which position I put it in and I have to shift my head (and sometimes my body) to see them. On my VMS output, the things that I want to look at are readily visible because I've increased the size of the fonts to make them easy to recognize. I've found that I can simply adjust my eyes to take in the computer screen rather than even turning my head.

Regarding the highway patrol, I guess that if I was driving erratically as as a result of looking at the computer display, I my get stopped. When compared to my driving brothers and sisters who read newspapers, talk on cell phones, put on makeup and sundry other distracting things while driving, I doubt that my glances at a computer screen are going me make me a target of any LEO activity.
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Old 11-19-2006, 08:27 AM   #27
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Toyz - WOW. Very nice installation. How did you run the cables from the kitchen to the dash/TV?
Thanks.
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Old 11-20-2006, 06:04 AM   #28
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Toyz,
Double WOW. That's a very clean install! I'm curious about those markings on your rear view display. Are they reference points?

Danny,
I hear ya on the "driver workload" issue. It swayed me from a computer-based nav system (at least Microsoft S&T) because the user interface was not simplest for a driver. Opted for a Garmin, which was much simpler and less time consuming.

But, compared to most coaches I've seen (with myriad gauges), my coach -- with two supplemental "data" displays -- is much less complicated. Hard for me to tell whether his 15" display blocks driving view.

Then again, I'm an incurable gadgeteer with an endless appetite for data...
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