I have decided that I would like to have an on board PC to use for my data acquisition from the batteries, programming of the motor controller, and for a means of showing the power usage and efficiencies in real time. I am looking for a computer and LCD touch screen that can withstand cold and warm temperatures. I would prefer to stick with something from -40 deg C to 85 deg C for both, but would accept -20 deg C to 60 or 70 deg C if the price were right. I am not sure what I will need for processing power yet, because I have not decided how much I will have on the system yet, but I do plan to run Windows XP embedded and would like to be able to install GPS mapping software.
So far, I have found a computer for around $780 that is small in size, has the needed temperature range, and also has digital and analog I/O built into the board, which should make data acquisition easier. The processor is a little lower than I would prefer at 800Mhz, but I think it would suffice if I can’t find anything out there that is better. The computers with the wide temperature range and the fast processors seem to be around $1500 to $1800, which is a little out of my budget for an unneeded part of the project.
So if you find a computer or LCD screen that you think would work, feel free to let me know. Size isn’t a huge constraint for the PC (smaller is nicer), but the LCD screen I would like to keep between 7″ to 12″ diagonal.