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Laptop Buying Advice For Running Megajolt


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7 replies to this topic

#1
barneys66

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Not sure if this is the right place for this, but needing some advice about buying a laptop to run my intended MegaJolt software.

 

I'm clueless on all things computers, so looking for something cheap (i.e. used) and its primary, possibly only function is for the above.  That said, it wouldn't hurt if it could hold some pictures, surf the net and play YouTube vids, for general use in the workshop.

 

My MegaJolt kit is on a CD and attaches to the ECU via USB, though I've read serial connections are preferable?  If no CD drive then I guess I could load via USB stick having downloaded from my PC?  Some used adverts I've seen says the battery life is shot so this wouldn't be ideal, but I presume you can buy replacements?

 

Can someone in the know advise me on minimum spec, best brands etc, so I can go eBay shopping, or if you've got something gathering dust that'll work then do let me know!

 

Mods - if this is in the wrong place then please do move.

 

Many thanks



#2
opticaltrigger

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Hi Barney,

The honest answer is that just about anything that carries Windows XP and upwards will run that fine. Windows Vista and upwards would be better though.

The Megajolt application isn't resource hungry. It doesn't need lots of RAM or processor to run and if your going to only use it for that then even better.

A small net book would also be an option to look at.

 

Serial conection is better than USB because it is less prone to spikes caused by the electromagnetic pulses from the spark plugs, which can cause the communication to drop out between the ECU and the laptop. We had terrible problems with that at first on the Megasquirt comms. The cure was a quality serial lead from EFI Analytics.

 

Don't worry about the battery just get a cheap adapter to run it from the car cigarette lighter socket. Or you could make a more permanent job by hard wiring the charger / adapter into the OEM electrical system.

 

All the best

O.T.



#3
barneys66

barneys66
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That's great info OT, thanks!

 

With the serial connection are they common, or mostly on older machines..?  Good call on wiring in for charging - will do some Googling.

 

Finally, to cut down on the myriad of options on eBay, are there any brands and/or key words I should look out for..?

 

Thanks again - very much appreciated



#4
Simes

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Serial is more reliable in that you can physically screw the 9 pin plug into the laptop, not to mention the screening of the signal.
However you have to make sure you boot with the ECU plugged in.

Usb more flexible but there can be conflict with serial to usb drivers for the adaptor.

I've kept an old laptop running xp, with a serial port just for the ECU.

#5
Anthony

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Serial connections are very rare on anything vaguely modern unfortunately, although was common enough on older laptops.

If it's of any interest, I think I've got a spare Toshiba Tecra M5 laptop at home that I used to use for tweaking Emerald and DTA ECU's (so should be fine for Megasquirt) but is now in a drawer gathering dust. It has a built in serial port along with network, wireless, DVD etc and although it's a few years old it is powerful enough that it'll run Windows 7 without issue. I think the battery was still in reasonable shape too, although I'd need to dig it out to see if that's still the case.

Wouldn't want a whole lot of money for it - say £50 plus delivery if that sounds reasonable?

#6
barneys66

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Thanks Simes - will do

 

Anthony - much appreciated.  Can you drop me a pm with the spec please..?



#7
opticaltrigger

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We use one of thees usb to serial adapters http://www.tunerstud...lesandbluetooth from EFI Analytics. It fixed all our issues.There's also a serial to bluetooth adapter on that page to which you might like the look of.

We use one on the project car to connect to a tablet.

 

All the best

O.T.


Edited by opticaltrigger, 28 January 2016 - 11:31 PM.


#8
barneys66

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Serial connections are very rare on anything vaguely modern unfortunately, although was common enough on older laptops.

If it's of any interest, I think I've got a spare Toshiba Tecra M5 laptop at home that I used to use for tweaking Emerald and DTA ECU's (so should be fine for Megasquirt) but is now in a drawer gathering dust. It has a built in serial port along with network, wireless, DVD etc and although it's a few years old it is powerful enough that it'll run Windows 7 without issue. I think the battery was still in reasonable shape too, although I'd need to dig it out to see if that's still the case.

Wouldn't want a whole lot of money for it - say £50 plus delivery if that sounds reasonable?

 

Sent you a pm  ;)