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Old 02-15-2017, 10:49 PM   #1
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Now where to put that desktop computer?

At some point in time I'd like to go with a laptop or iPads as our main go-to for a computer situation but we found ourselves with a small problem when we purchased our airstream we really didn't want to buy all new computer components and knew we needed to use the ones we had for a while if not on a permanent basis so this is what we ended up with.
We thought long and hard as to where to put the Mac Mini and all of our networking supplies as well as Apple TV etc. and after some major thought we found that mounting most of it in the bathroom was a doable solution. 
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This location made it possible to run cabling and power down through the wall into the lower dinette storage compartment where the printer also would be as I need a printer for work needs
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Then because we needed a Wilson booster mounted here anyway I decided to go ahead and install my airport base station here as well
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Our airport extreme is attached to a Wi-Fi booster antenna located on the outside of the airstream connecting to the park network
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Old 02-15-2017, 10:52 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Jeffndaile View Post
At some point in time I'd like to go with a laptop or iPads as our main go-to for a computer situation but we found ourselves with a small problem when we purchased our airstream we really didn't want to buy all new computer components and knew we needed to use the ones we had for a while if not on a permanent basis so this is what we ended up with.
We thought long and hard as to where to put the Mac Mini and all of our networking supplies as well as Apple TV etc. and after some major thought we found that mounting most of it in the bathroom was a doable situation. Attachment 279923

This location made it possible to run cabling and power down through the wall into the lower dinette storage compartment where the printer also would be as I need a printer for work needsAttachment 279924

Then because we needed a Wilson booster mounted here anyway I decided to go ahead and install my airport base station here as wellAttachment 279926

Our airport extreme is attached to a Wi-Fi booster antenna located on the outside of the airstream connecting to the park network


I forgot to mention that the computer is accessed by Bluetooth keyboard / mouse and the 30 in. TV is used for the monitor.
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Old 02-16-2017, 06:39 AM   #3
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Airport Express allows a wireless connection to the monitor, and I have an HP wireless monitor setup, so we don't have to have an HDMI cord running from the computer to the monitor.
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Old 02-16-2017, 08:22 AM   #4
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Very nice installation! If we were spending more time in the AS I'm sure I'd have to do something like this. For now we both use our MBP's and a Verizon Hotspot.
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Old 02-16-2017, 11:54 AM   #5
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Airport Express allows a wireless connection to the monitor, and I have an HP wireless monitor setup, so we don't have to have an HDMI cord running from the computer to the monitor.


Airport Express? Not sure I get you there.... The The AirPort Express only has an ethernet port, a USB port, and a audio port. Which one would you use to hook your monitor up with? To my knowledge and airport express base station does not have that capability.
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Old 02-16-2017, 12:20 PM   #6
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Airport Express? Not sure I get you there.... The The AirPort Express only has an ethernet port, a USB port, and a audio port. Which one would you use to hook your monitor up with? To my knowledge and airport express base station does not have that capability.


Maybe he meant AppleTV. Then you can airplay from a Mac to a TV or monitor.
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Old 02-16-2017, 12:29 PM   #7
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Not sure, but I'm interested. Apple TV requires cable to monitor.
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Old 02-16-2017, 12:37 PM   #8
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When you think Apple TV, think media center only. It gives you access to iTunes libraries on connected computers and also allows you to stream content from the Internet but the Apple TV will not give you full access to your desktop computer you'll need to be connected via hardwire for that
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Old 02-16-2017, 12:39 PM   #9
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I have my Apple TV connected to the bedroom TV set so that I can stream all of my content off of the Mac Mini. I use the monitor or smart TV in the dining area to view my desktop screen and it's connected via HDMI cable
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Old 02-16-2017, 01:52 PM   #10
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I really could use help in settings up a small, wireless AS office. Right now all I have is my IPad. I really need a printer/fax, badly! I packed my old IMac which is still stuffed in the closet and hasn't been touched. Would love to know more about what I can do. I am retired so I wouldn't need to be online much but when I do need to fax/print and stuff. Please help. No budget established for this but ideas are welcome. Thanks
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Old 02-16-2017, 02:16 PM   #11
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I really could use help in settings up a small, wireless AS office. Right now all I have is my IPad. I really need a printer/fax, badly! I packed my old IMac which is still stuffed in the closet and hasn't been touched. Would love to know more about what I can do. I am retired so I wouldn't need to be online much but when I do need to fax/print and stuff. Please help. No budget established for this but ideas are welcome. Thanks


Take a look at the Brother MFC printers. They can print and scan to your iPad directly.

There are some apps and websites that let you do electronic faxing. Everything comes in as a PDF.
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Old 02-16-2017, 04:08 PM   #12
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Very nice installation! If we were spending more time in the AS I'm sure I'd have to do something like this. For now we both use our MBP's and a Verizon Hotspot.
Us too and it's working out pretty well. I will say that having to take stuff out and put stuff away is still a bit of a pain but I'm an accountant/bookkeeper and would rather be on the road in FL than working from my home in WI. Ya know don't cha.
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Old 02-16-2017, 06:40 PM   #13
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I suggest buying a used iPad- I use mine with a Zagg cover that has a full keyboard.

The Apple TV unit can wireless place the iPad screen contents to a large screen or TV but it will have to be a cable from the Apple TV unit to the screen.

I have a small HP laser printer that prints wireless from the iPad.

Forget the fax - use your phone or iPad with an app that uses the camera to produce a file that is a PDF. You can send that as an email, text or fax via your phone.

I was not an Apple fan but it is a decent product that integrates best with the phone and the device to put it on a screen.

A desktop unit uses a hard drive that spins (instead of non moving memory in an iPad) and traveling down the road will only shorten the useful life of that hard drive.
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Old 02-16-2017, 06:51 PM   #14
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We have a Mac Air laptop, an iPad, two iPhones, a Time Machine, a Verizon MiFi router, Apple TV, and a wireless HP printer/scanner/copier/fax. Don't use the fax part of it, as there is no phone line. In our Foretravel the printer is set up under the dash where the old television was. The router and time machine sit on a storage set behind the navigator's seat next to the table where the laptop stays. Jo Ann is usually on the couch with the iPad watching the new television that sits on top of where the old set (now the printer) stayed. When it is time to travel I unplug all the cords from the television set and put it on the bed. With the generator running we have all of our computer stuff going while we travel. Jo Ann is on it the whole time, checking FaceBook, navigation, finding fuel, lunch stops, etc. I just go where she tells me to.

When we get the truck and Airstream we'll have to figure out how to make everything work. I'm not really interested in moving the router and time machine to the truck for travel and then back to the Airstream when we've landed for the night. I wonder if I could set up a small, dedicated sine wave inverter to power the router and time machine and have them set up by the front window of the Airstream. Might have enough power to reach to the front seat of the truck. Have to think about that a bit.
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Old 02-17-2017, 12:02 AM   #15
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Now where to put that desktop computer?

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Originally Posted by rjmaype View Post
A desktop unit uses a hard drive that spins (instead of non moving memory in an iPad) and traveling down the road will only shorten the useful life of that hard drive.


Two things here make sure you use SSD drives and also shut your desktop computer down when you move your unit down the road. Problem solved
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Old 02-17-2017, 05:26 AM   #16
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We have a Mac Air laptop, an iPad, two iPhones, a Time Machine, a Verizon MiFi router, Apple TV, and a wireless HP printer/scanner/copier/fax. Don't use the fax part of it, as there is no phone line. In our Foretravel the printer is set up under the dash where the old television was. The router and time machine sit on a storage set behind the navigator's seat next to the table where the laptop stays. Jo Ann is usually on the couch with the iPad watching the new television that sits on top of where the old set (now the printer) stayed. When it is time to travel I unplug all the cords from the television set and put it on the bed. With the generator running we have all of our computer stuff going while we travel. Jo Ann is on it the whole time, checking FaceBook, navigation, finding fuel, lunch stops, etc. I just go where she tells me to.

When we get the truck and Airstream we'll have to figure out how to make everything work. I'm not really interested in moving the router and time machine to the truck for travel and then back to the Airstream when we've landed for the night. I wonder if I could set up a small, dedicated sine wave inverter to power the router and time machine and have them set up by the front window of the Airstream. Might have enough power to reach to the front seat of the truck. Have to think about that a bit.
The Time Capsule also doubles as a wireless router. If you are going to trvel with one, especially if it is going to be "on" while driving, I'd replace the platter hard drive with an SSD. A 1TB version is currently about $125 or so on that auction site. Depending on the model Airstream, you can pug it in to the inverter outlet, and turn the inverter on, while driving. It can be placed in the front overhead compartment, which in many models has the blu ray player and outlets for it.
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Old 02-17-2017, 05:32 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Jeffndaile View Post
Airport Express? Not sure I get you there.... The The AirPort Express only has an ethernet port, a USB port, and a audio port. Which one would you use to hook your monitor up with? To my knowledge and airport express base station does not have that capability.
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Maybe he meant AppleTV. Then you can airplay from a Mac to a TV or monitor.
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Not sure, but I'm interested. Apple TV requires cable to monitor.
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Originally Posted by Jeffndaile View Post
When you think Apple TV, think media center only. It gives you access to iTunes libraries on connected computers and also allows you to stream content from the Internet but the Apple TV will not give you full access to your desktop computer you'll need to be connected via hardwire for that
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Originally Posted by Jeffndaile View Post
I have my Apple TV connected to the bedroom TV set so that I can stream all of my content off of the Mac Mini. I use the monitor or smart TV in the dining area to view my desktop screen and it's connected via HDMI cable
Sorry, I was typing on my cell phone when I posted about this, and long posts are not the order of the day when thumb-typing.
Anyway, the Airport Express will allow you to use the Apple TV or smart tv to wirelessly connect your monitor and desktop computer. Earlier versions of Time Capsule double as a wireless router, but aren't compatible with this method. I had to use an HP wireless connect device to connect the two with our desktop. I'm not sure about the latest version of Time Capsule, but I do know Airport Express does allow wireless connection to an external monitor or Apple TV.
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Old 02-17-2017, 06:03 AM   #18
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Great a Systems Analyst's Airstream challenge

Great thread. Technology is a part of living! I agree with Brother printers as a good choice. Most of them are compact and have super capabilities and best of all, their consumables are less costly.

Some mention help needed. Perhaps we can make this thread more Q and A to plan a system. Jeffndaile came up with a great custom system. I havent figured out yet with my floorplan, where to create an office per se. When I camp I take the laptop and the one table serves as all things but for longer hauls, that is hard to do but that is my challenge for now. It is a twin model with center bath. My only unused area is the other twin bed area which is storage for two solar suitcases, chairs and screen room. I have played around with the idea of a murphy office!

The first two steps for practically anyone would be to consider where in the trailer a work area could be established and then a list of what one wants to do- computer, printer, wifi, etc. Secondly, there are alternative ways of using data like streaming that some use more than others - music or movies. What are some work arounds?
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Old 02-17-2017, 06:44 AM   #19
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The first two steps for practically anyone would be to consider where in the trailer a work area could be established and then a list of what one wants to do- computer, printer, wifi, etc. Secondly, there are alternative ways of using data like streaming that some use more than others - music or movies. What are some work arounds?
In yours, removing the second twin, and installing a small work station would work well. One of our customers got a 30' bunk, removed the lower bed, used that area as an office, and the upper bunk for storage (with mattress removed).
Apple sells a wall mount for their newer iMac, though most contain the old style platter drive. Swapping hard drives is possible, but is near the upper skill range for doing it without damage. I'd recommend getting one that is out of warranty. In the work area for your trailer, you could mount it either on the wall where the TV would go, or customize a work station for that purpose. They only need a power cord, everything else is wireless. If you're not a screamin' Mac fan, there are several other all-in-one desktops that are nearly as compact, at a lower price point.
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Old 02-17-2017, 08:12 AM   #20
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Dave,
I have a router in the trailer which provides a connection between the camera in the back window and my iPad in the TV cab. I have an app that lets me reverse the video from the camera left to right which gives me a rear view mirror look from the trailer on the iPad. You might consider putting all the connectivity stuff permanently in the trailer and linking to it with WiFi from the TV.

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