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Build Project: Monitor in Car


Well-Known Member
May 18, 2010
I have always wanted to do this, but inverter prices/quality were not good enough, and the idea of dumping a whole computer into my car was displeasing...

Enter the HTC Evo! :D

One thing to keep in mind. Driving with video in view of the driver is ILLEGAL in most (if not all) states. (more on that later)

Part #1: Tech Needs
Total Cost w/VGA Monitor: Appx $113 + Monitor Price + FM Transmitter
Total Cost w/DVI/HDMI Monitor: Appx $48 + Monitor Price + FM Transmitter

Overall Tech Level: Moderate
Overall Tool Requirement Level: Moderate/Low Expert

  • Micro HDMI Cable ~$10-20

Micro HDMI High Speed Male To HDMI Male Cable - 5 Feet For HTC EVO 4G (no idea who these people are)
This is who I ordered from (mouser). Came pretty quick.
There are some other places you can order from... More places will be putting them up, as this standard really just came out. Have not been able to test it yet.​

  • A Monitor.

Keep Size in mind. Take your monitor out to your Car/Truck ETC and actually put it in place. I'm using a 15" Widescreen that I purchased a long, long time ago... and even this is kinda too big. I did some research online for a small (8-10"), and only found monitors that appeared to be from some backwards vendor or have crappy resolution. If you can find a monitor with Digital (HDMI or DVI) input, this is a plus and conversion is not necessary.​

  • Method of Converting Digital (HDMI) to Analog (VGA/RCA) ~$65

Not needed if your monitor has HDMI/DVI input.
The method I will be trying is: HDMI -> DVI -> VGA. This appears the be the cheapest method while still getting good results.

HDMI -> DVI Converter
Amazon.com: Eforcity HDMI-F to DVI-M Video Adaptor with Gold…
I have this converter now, and it works well. Tested with HDMI out from my cable box to my 37" Olivia (HDMI IN), good picture. Then used HDMI cable to HDMI->DVI converter into my 19" WS Emachines monitor, and picture quality degraded just a hair (probably more due to monitor) (As well it should because it doesn't do anything but passes signal)​

DVI -> VGA Converter
For only $56.00 each when QTY 50+ purchased - HDFURY - DVI TO VGA(RGB) CONVERTER *BLUE EDITION* (STANDARD EDITION) | HDFury - HDMI(DVI) to RGB Converters
along with:
For only $2.34 each when QTY 50+ purchased - AC Power Adapter 5.0V/1000mA For HDFury item | Power Adapters
I've seen great reviews on this product. I am ordering it tonight, but obviously I wont be able to test it until I get my EVO. Monoprice & Ebay has a good prices on it, going with monoprice though so that if it doesn't work, I can return it. My only possible worry with this is that the output resolution will not work on my monitor.

This product is available in HDMI -> VGA, but it runs ~100 bucks, so a $3 hdmi->dvi and this seems like a wiser choice (provided there isn't signal degradation, which there doesn't APPEAR to be.)

I will be ordering the power cord for it in case the HDMI does not supply enough voltage (i doubt it will)​

  • An in car power system ~$28 Free Shipping

I went with:
Amazon.com: Cobra CPI 480 400 Watt 12 Volt DC to 120 Volt AC Power…
Reputable company direct from amazon.com. This product runs appx 100 watts out of your lighter socket (included) or appx 400 watts if you directly connect to the battery. Note, this does NOT auto shutoff when you turn your car off if you direct connect, so if you forget, you could potentially drain your battery (also will not auto shut off if your lighter socket still supplies voltage after the car is off, but I THINK most cars that do this auto shut off if battery is low.)

I ran my 19" WS Monitor off of this with NO Problem (plugged into cig outlet), and when I feel like it, I'll drag my Wii out to my car and try to play Mario Kart (while NOT moving :p) Having the 5V USB conn is nice, and the power cord for the HDFury runs off of USB power (get a splitter to run power to your EVO, or get a Cig lighter splitter) Only downside with the USB connection is it is indeed between the 2 plugs, so if you have one of those fat power plugs, it will block the USB supply.​

  • An FM Transmitter or 3.5" Aux in w/cable $20-50 or Free

If your going to be doing this, you PROBABLY already have one of these. Other than that I can't offer any help. I was able to pick one up for $7 at menards (like home depot) on clearance. Very YMMV. If anyone has opinions, bring 'em up!

If you have a 3.5" Aux in for your stereo, your golden!​
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Reserved for Part #2. Prepping your monitor. (Unfinished)

Part #2: Tech Needs
A Monitor.

Overall Tech Level: Moderate
Overall Tool Requirement Level: Moderate/Low Expert

Tools Required:
Screwdrivers (one flat head one phillips)
Lil' bit of velcro in my case,
A CLEAN/Decluttered Table.
LOTS of time and patience.

Tools Recommended:
Tin Snips possibly.

I won't go into details as to all the different ways you can mount your monitor into your car. This will be a write up of what I did and hopefully It can give people some ideas. These pics were taken with my samsung instinct.. since the girl took the digicam today :/

I am re-purposing a monitor stand for a Dell 19" WS Monitor that I got from work (we don't use the stands) I like this stand mainly because it has tabs that slide into the monitor and lock it in place, Versus screws. This is VERY nice because with the monitor i'm using, I will be able to have a "quick release" that essentially I can just lift the monitor right off my dash without any tools.

I had to reverse the stand so that it was pointing away from the monitor, so I popped apart the casing and turned it around. Had to do some dremel work to get it to fit, but it still looks reasonably nice.

Front View Completed:

Back View Completed:

Can't see where I dremel'd on bottom, but on top I had to take off the whole top half for the swivel assembly to fit.

Monitor Front:

Monitor back with swivel mounting (removed from stand assembly)

You can see the two tabs on the top. I will open the monitor and cut holes into the Casing so that they slide into the monitor.

This will take the bulk of your time. Go slow, as the first time I popped a monitor casing open it took me about 30 minutes. YMMV for the amount of screws to remove. As you remove them put them in different stacks in order you removed. It will help greatly when your piecing it all back together. Once you think you have them all, go SLOW with a flat head screwdriver around the sides:

(Picture to come)

And pop the casing apart. Take a little at a time, and don't get frustrated. Its difficult at first, once you've done a few monitors its pretty easy though.

Now with the Top bezel Apart:

YMMV here again. Most newer monitors the Screen will be mounted to the Front Bezel w/assorted circuit boards screwed to the back. When you open most cases the back will pop off, and in that case, you can skip some of the next steps. In my case I had to remove the screen.

After the Screen is removed:

This monitor has speakers, you can see them on the top. On the left is the board that takes the VGA input and tells the screen what to do. You can see the connector that was pulled off of the screen assembly just below the barcode in the middle of the picture. This connector is USUALLY just pulls out (use a flathead to wiggle it out side to side). On the right is the Circuit board for supplying power to the CCFL's (light bulbs) for the Monitor.

On a side note, most monitors die because either the Bulbs die, or capacitors blow. Both are relatively easy fixes with some soldering practice and a bit of time.

CCFL Replacement Guide:

As far as capacitors go:

Radio shack carries the common ones. And they dont always need to be replaced EXACTLY:


The uF is the important number. That must be the same. the V (Voltage) can be increased though without any harm (USUALLY). Of course, YMMV. But if the monitor is already dead, what harm is it to try with ~$5 in parts and an hour or so of time

Anyway, back to the Build.


I removed the VGA Circuit Board, and the Metal Casing (ground casing). I then took a dremel and cut two holes for where the flanges of the stand will poke through the casing into the casing.


The flanges didn't quite sit properly, so I bent them more...



Until it fit snug against the back of the monitor.


Just to be safe, I added a little velcro to the back of the monitor and the swivel mount. This + the flanges protruding into the case should hold it in place just fine.


The area where the flanges stuck into the case was covered by the Grounding case (whatever you want to call it) So i cut out the area where they were protrude in. Don't need a discharge running down into the monitor stand :D




(better front pic to come later)

All done!
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Upvote 0
Not to bust any bubbles, but... why not use an available Android-based tablet or wait for Google and Sony, HP, or Dell to release their tablets? :thinking: You'd get the desired screen size and it would be touchscreen on top. I commend you for your work but it seems so '2005'. :rolleyes:

Using what I have, boredom.. and then instead of having a tablet and a phone, I have one! :D...most of this stuff I already have.. just had to buy the micro hdmi cable, which i would anyway.. an inverter, which i've been wanting to buy for a while anyway....and then a HDMI-> VGA converter is really the only thing im "purchasing" for this build
Upvote 0
Using what I have, boredom.. and then instead of having a tablet and a phone, I have one! :D...most of this stuff I already have.. just had to buy the micro hdmi cable, which i would anyway.. an inverter, which i've been wanting to buy for a while anyway....and then a HDMI-> VGA converter is really the only thing im "purchasing" for this build

That being said, I look forward to your build. I'm sure it's going to be great!
Upvote 0
With the prices dropping on hardware, CAR PC's are more attainable for the average user. I built a carpc a few years ago and it was a lot of work and very costly. Now, I can get the same thing with a tablet PC (Windows, Android, Linux based, etc) for much much less. Plus the install is a lot easier with a tablet.

Anxious to see how your project turns out. I saw a project a while back where someone did something similar with their Zune and it was pretty cool.
Upvote 0
Wait, are you seriously using a computer monitor stand to mount a 15" LCD into your car? Just so you can play some shit off your phone over FM-Broadcasted sounds?

That's some ghetto shit if I ever heard it.

If he does everything right, he could hook the monitor up to the speakers in his car, but never the monitor to the cd player unless you have a dvd compatible one. So the screen would be useless if you didn't have the phone with you.
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Upvote 0
Wait, are you seriously using a computer monitor stand to mount a 15" LCD into your car? Just so you can play some shit off your phone over FM-Broadcasted sounds?

That's some ghetto shit if I ever heard it.

no, im not using a monitor stand to mount a monitor in my car, im using a monitor stand because its sectional, and at any point it takes me exactly 1 second to remove the monitor from my dash and another 5 seconds to remove the mount from my dash. Its also free and I dont have to manufacture a mounting bracket that looks "nice".

A Few days ago I installed the mount into my car. Everything went great. Only issue that came up is where i mounted the rails in was leather (pleather whatever, soft material) so although the screws are holding well, it wobbles a little more than if it was plastic.

I havn't had the time yet to do Part #3 write up, but tommorow my part#4 test will begin!

I got the HDFury in today, and used my Time warner cable box to play over HDMI, with the HDMI -> DVI converter, and then the fury from DVI to VGA. Worked GREAT. I was worried that the HDFury would output in a resolution that monitor wouldn't take (since its old and i think 1024x768 is the max, maybe even 800x600) but it went without a hitch! Was able to watch cable on the monitor! So excited to see EVO output!

Teaser pic for those restless tonight:

if it turns out im restless (probably not, i've driven 800 miles in 3 days and put in 40+ hours) i'll update post #3 with the in car build!
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