gsm-en

tl;dr

Bury or Novero supply car kits (inductive only, not galvanic = plug/socket = best - phones would have to be equipped with the necessary external contacts again for a galvanic connection, as they had until ca 2003), Kathrein, Procom or RFI supply antennas. There may be a few other brands. - Those interested to implement the office-on-wheels formula instead of a smartphone will find all the information here.

4 This is how you add car kit and external antenna (and, if you wish, replace your smartphone by laptop-over-cellphone)

The following is a comprehensive manual on how to add a car kit and external antenna, plus exchange a smartphone through a laptop-over-cellphone. If you'd like to continue with your smartphone, ie just wish to add car kit and antenna, then just pick the corresponding parts. It is, however, advisable to read the entire text, because there may be a few more interesting technical tips (like 2nd battery, relay etc) which may be of interest also to smartphone adepts.

4.1 Infrastructure

Preface

It is advisable not to connect your new consumers directly to your car's electric system, but to get a separate battery just for the extras. If you have a second battery mounted for your extras plus separate it discharge-wise from your starter battery through a relay, your car's default electric household will not be affected: Your alternator is powerful enough to charge also your second battery, and the relay makes sure that your car's default consumers will use your starter battery, while your extras can access your second battery only. This way, you should never face a situation where you no longer can start your engine.

A few useful tips

Second battery
Install a same-size (or even larger) second battery for your extras, separated discharge-wise from the first battery through a relay - best of the voltage sensitive type. Here I would recommend BEP Marine. And the box in which the 2nd battery stands is made by Seachoice.

This formula gives you an unexpected add-on benefit: You can jumpstart yourself, once your starter battery is approaching the end of its life cycle. All you need is a 1-lead jumpstart cable, so you can connect the 2 batteries' plus terminals.

When the time is there to exchange your alternator, look at the catalogue first to see if there is a stronger type available before buying the same type - like 120 A, instead of default 90 A. Not that it were indispensable, but it would be useful.

If you want to control the charge status of your second battery (advisable), you should get yourself a digital voltmeter. Here I would recommend Auto Meter.

Finally, if you have - regular or occasional - access to a mains socket, then it makes good sense to also install a charger, so that you can charge not only your second battery, but also the default battery, and in one go, should this become desirable. There are small and powerful chargers on the market, just see what you can find.
Power connectors
Make sure to make all your 12 V connections based on the reliable ISO 4165 plug standard (see Google Images), not the cigarette lighter plug type. They are available as plugs, sockets and inline sockets. If nowhere else, you should be able to get them through both Bosch and Hella.
Car radio
Now that you have a reliable infrastructure, you should connect your stereo system to the second battery, and independent of the ignition key. NB: Make sure you have a modern model, with the audio contacts on the front end. They also have an integrated isolating transformer, which means music listening from your netbook will not be affected through noise from a ground loop.

Boot

Boot

4.2 Cellphone

What you do to get the phone running

You need an external antenna

The one used by me is a Smarteq (formerly Allgon). They have since then americanised = disimproved, dumbed down their sales programme, thus cannot be recommended anymore.

Again, a roof antenna is extremely important, because only this way you export your mobile phone's high-frequent radiation, thereby achieving
  • optimal range,
  • optimal link quality (hardly any fluttering, distortions nor sudden cuts),
  • a low degree of potentially harmful radiation inside your car.
Also see this Reuters report about a court ruling.

If finding one gives you a hard time, you could try Kathrein (catalogue, starting page 43), Procom, or RFI Wireless, fx cellular roof mounted and cellular glass mount. Decide if you can live with a hole in your roof, and watch out for the frequencies covered by each model. Try to get an outside antenna, rather than one stuck on the inside of the windshield. Finally, manageability (can the rod be removed and re-attached easily?) and looks will play a part, too. - Surprisingly, there is also an american maker of antennas.

You need a carkit. It consists of a blackbox and a cradle, which are connected by a system cable. They should come with a microphone. A speaker you will have to buy separately from a 2-way radio store; alternatively, you could also use your radio's speakers.

The 2 carkits known to me that allow connection of an external antenna are made by

Funkwerk Dabendorf (now Novero)

Bury

However, the external antenna is connected not through galvanic coupling (plug/socket), but through inductive coupling (wire loop on wire loop). The latter is not quite as effective as the former, but still much better than a freely radiating phone inside your car. Galvanic coupling is presently not possible because phones do not come with an antenna contact anymore.

The system used by me is the Audio 2000 system by Funkwerk Dabendorf, the predecessor of Novero. Connection with the Nokia phone (including its high-speed modem) is done through a bluetooth dongle (plugged into a USB extension) that you place right next to your phone. Audio 2000 is no longer being made, so chances to get one are minimal. If you still are being offered a used system, make sure the 2 flaws it used to have have been dealt with: loose audio plug and low microphone volume. Funkwerk Dabendorf would not admit these flaws, probably in order to avoid a costly product recall, but they would help you on an individual basis once you approached them.

According to my impression (I may be mistaken), the systems now sold by Novero and Bury are partially made according to different function principles. I can at this stage not advise you to what degree they allow the implementation of the home-office-on-wheels formula.

Driver-side view

Driver-side view

These are the components necessary for your mobile phone, presented in a slide show:



On principle, you could also replace the microphone and loudspeaker shown here by a bluetooth headset. However, if the audio quality really is better, you wlll have to find out for yourself. Also, they need to be worn all of the time, and their battery will have to be charged - to mention just a few major aspects.

This is the way it sounds while driving, heard at both ends, during an overland ride - thus not a base station every 500 m, only sufficient coverage. NB: This video has been made using very basic means only:



Not only can the landline user be heard well, but most of all the mobile user, and almost without interference - thanks to the external antenna.

Exclamation mark SAFETY TIP: If you can handle your car radio and a conversation with a passenger, then there should be nothing in the way for using a phone while driving. Simply make sure you use handsfree speakerphone mode, and trigger phone functions with 1 touch only. NB for (insofar) mentally retarded europeans: Nowadays, people drive with an automatic transmission, instead of a manual one, as is shown by the other developped continents. A car shifting automatically facilitates phoning considerably.

4.3 Netbook

Preface

Against common belief: No, your harddisk will most probably not suffer from using it while driving. Just place your netbook on an elastic rubber mat, to keep it from gliding, and to absorb the vibrations.

If you during the summer season run programmes which require many of your netbook's resources, like a real good GPS (see further down), then you will need to run your aircon, because otherwise your netbook's temperature can reach more than 50° C (see HD Tune). If you don't have air conditioning, keep in mind: Normally, operating temperatures ought to stay below this level, and for its own protection, your netbook will switch off by itself once you've reached 55° C. Lay your netbook on its back to let some of the heat radiate away, and possibly also switch off heavy software like the GPS, as long as meteo temperature conditions make it advisable.
What you do to get the netbook running
Imagine your home computer situation: What you need there, you will need inside your car - next to your computer with periphery, you need a power and an internet connection.
Mouse and keyboard near your steering wheel
This is unproblematic, you can get small ones at your IT store, plus USB extensions. Make sure they are not longer than 3 m, otherwise you may experience too much voltage drop for reliable operation.
USB hub
You will want one to connect your USB devices by plugging 1 USB plug only, instead of fx 5 or 6 each time.
Monitor
I recommend Xenarc, fx their 805YV model: Most of all it's light-weight, has a crystal-clear image, is electronically stable and looks good. It also offers you the option to feed PAL/NTSC, in case you want to use it in connection with traffic recording purposes.

Switch position 1.1: computer desktop

switch position 1.1

Switch position 1.2: video recorder desktop

switch position 1.2

Switch position 2: camera 1 (forward)

switch position 2

Switch position 3: camera 2 (backward)

switch position 3

This is the way web surfing looks like, using this screen (silent), and in a 2.5 G area (thus not extremely fast) - also this video has been made using the most basic means:

Power
Your netbook and monitor will need power. Technically best is to find a pure DC/DC formula. However, this can at times be difficult. If it proves too difficult, then use a DC/AC inverter (12 V DC > 120/230 V AC) and connect your devices via their regular home power supplies. The Waeco brand can be recommended for quality inverters. NB: Please be advised that some inverter makers recommend for reasons of electrical safety not to connect more than 1 appliance to an inverter, even if it wattage-wise could handle more than 1. It is up to you if you want to follow this advice, given that you most probably will connect nothing else than power adapters to the inverters, which then will plug into your netbook etc (and using approved electric connectors for it, fit for household appliances). If you feel safer after having talked to an electrician first, then you should do so.
Internet
You access the internet through your cell phone's high-speed HSPA modem. Best is to run a USB extension from your netbook next to your cell phone, then plug a bluetooth dongle into it, and you'll have full access to your phone. If you do it this way, you will be able to surf the internet and do phone calls at the same time. If you use the american method of turning your mobile phone into a hotspot instead, you will lose this feature. Which way do you prefer? Should you have a public wifi in your area, you could place a high-gain wireless USB antenna (= remote antenna) on your hat shelf and connect its cable to your USB hub, below in the trunk.
Noteworthy: GPS
I mentioned earlier that you can use your netbook to run a GPS software on. In practice, it is difficult to find competent partners for this venture, others than Garmin (whom I would not really recommend, after all the experience made). However, a good business specialising in this field is QuoVadis. Like with wifi, it is sufficient to place its antenna on your car's hat shelf.

This is the way the result looks like on the monitor, at a speed of about 100 km/h (on the motorway, which is the north-south road, starting at around 0.45 into the clip), for accuracy shown as a screencap:



It's the distance (Google Street View) from about here to here. The monitor used is the same as the one visible in both videos above. Note that in the upper video, it is used in TV mode, while in the lower it is in VGA mode. In this photo, you can see how the GPS software appears on the monitor, seen from a car-sitter perspective (plus Winamp, for the music):

GPS

And the tune heard is an excerpt of a Steve Laury track called 59th Street.
By the way
This image (© politiforum.no) stems from a norwegian police patrol vehicle. Looks quite similar to my own formula, doesn't it? You can see there again that those who do not wish toys do not use 'smartphones' - they use real *tools*.

Exclamation mark SAFETY TIP: Start music and GPS before driving, and everything will run by itself. If you limit yourself during satnav operation to have the map moving with your rolling car (recommended, instead of active navigation), the only occasional manual intervention should be a change of the scale of your map, where necessary. You could stop for that if you don't feel safe to hit the button while driving.
Video-recording - if you like
I won't delve into this field here, because this is a subject deserving a website of its own - and there already are some.

If you use a video recorder rather than a dashcam you can connect 2 cameras running in sync - forward and backward. You use it with the periphery you have, via a KVM switch.

The monitor mentioned above is capable to not only be used as a computer screen, but also in connection with a video recorder.

The recorder used here is a high-capacity digital such from Dallmeier. They also sell small cameras. Those who wish to cover front and back are on the safe side, using this formula.

NB: I advise against Dallmeier. True, their quality isn't bad, but their gear is redundant for this purpose, pricy, and their service is next to non-existent. In case of dissension, they will probably block your email address and ignore you henceforth.

There are a few traffic videos made with 2 cameras, ie one front-view and one rear-view camera, then run through an editor, on page 3icom.

Exclamation mark SAFETY TIP: Start before driving, with the engine running (power consumption). No more intervention necessary while driving.

5 You make your phone calls over an external antenna now and realise the practical difference compared to your previous 'free-style' situation

Good, you've learned the lesson and deserve to enjoy its fruits. Please do your part in spreading the news.

Remember, this is only inductive coupling, where the transmission of the high-frequent power between external antenna and phone only reaches an efficiency of some 70 % - not bad, but not as good as 100 %, which would be achieved through galvanic coupling, which we had until about 2003. So why shouldn't we get that back?

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6 Contact

You can reach me through this address: pro_mobile_internet (a) hotmail.com