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Jack & Danielle Mayer
Computer Workstation
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Computer on Slide. Note 120 v. and 12v. outlets.
computer_on_slide.jpg
Slide base pivots; slide moves forward/back for easy access to keyboard/screen.

Closeup of slide mechanism
computer_slide_closeup.jpg
Note location of pivot point. Sliding back allows clearing backup monitor for driver viewing

The replacement for the CB holder/fuse cover.
fusecover.jpg
Note slide pivot point. Switch attached to Eaton display is remote for the inverter.

We use a GPS in combination with our laptop for navigation. We find we only use this when on long trips, or going into territory we have not been before, so generally the computer is not set up on the dash. But we needed a convenient way to view and secure the computer when it is in use. We looked at what others had done and came up with our solution. It works well for us, is simple to build, and gets rid of the CB holder (over the fuse cover) which we no longer needed, since we use a Cobra handheld CB (all functions are integrated in the CB "mike"). When the computer is not in use, it is easy to remove the slide portion, leaving just the fuse cover in place.

I first replaced the fuse cover with a 1/4" hardboard cover, painted to match the dash trim (black). Everything is sprayed with satin polyurathane. This fuse cover is always in place, but the rest of the computer slide is removable when not in use.

The slide and slide base is made of 1/4" hardboard. The base pivots on a small brass machine screw that goes into a threaded insert in the fuse cover (you can buy these inserts at Home stores). This allows either the passenger or driver to see the screen. The slide allows the computer to be pulled close to the navigator, for easier access to the keyboard and so those of us who are loosing our vision can focus on the screen well. The slide runs in 1/4" aluminum tracks available at the Home Center where they sell aluminum. Examine the pictures for construction details.

Some Hints

You need to put felt on the bottom of the slide base to keep from scratching up the fuse cover. The felt also helps the slide base to pivot smoothly over the screws that retain the fuse cover.

Second, the carriage bolt that the slide base swivels on needs to be recessed into the surface of the slide base. A large drill bit works fine. If you don't recess it, you will find that the head will restrict the movement of the slide forward and backward in the tracks.

To control the ease of movement forward/back of the slide, simply squeeze the aluminum track some. If you make it too loose, the slide will "walk" out of position as the truck moves.

Lastly, use velcro to hold the computer in place.


Navigation Tools

We have been using a Garmin GPS III, which is a handheld unit, as input into our computer. We chose this GPS because it enables us to take it hiking when we need to. It works well, and picks up the satellites fine if placed up against the windshield, on top of the dash. No external antenna is required.

For mapping software we are using Street Atlas Road Warrior Edition. This version of SA allows multiple routes on the same screen. I understand that this feature is now available in the later versions of SA. We will look at SA 2005 when it is available, but we are satisfied with this version.