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In Car Computer :d


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    orsm-ma-ma-pawa

  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Perth, WA
  • Car(s):R33 GTS-T
Hey hey,

Started this project a little while ago, and now that its done thought I'd put some pictures up...

Basically I originally wanted sat nav in the car, but when having a look at the prices I kinda thought that it was a bit much just for sat nav, and I checked out what other possibilities there were… GPS usb receivers ;)… I then decided that I’d just get a computer in the car and that could run everything, as in sat nav, music and whatever else (if there would be anything else)… Used the MP3Car forums heaps to get a good idea of how others had done it and designed my own little PC…

Hardware:
Via EPIA Mini ITX Motherboard (1.3Ghz)
M2ATX power unit
1Gb Ram
80Gb SATA Hard Drive
USB GPS Receiver
7” Touch Screen

Software:
Windows Xp
RoadRunner
FreeDrive
Winamp

Started off with the screen… I bought another dash surround so that I wouldn’t have to drive my car around for weeks/months without a dash :(

7" Touch Screen 1
7" Touch Screen 2
7" Touch Screen 3

Took the screen apart so I could mould the front of it to the dash and once finished I could screw the rest of the screen straight to the dash, the idea was that I wanted it to look like one piece, and that the same time there is no way you could steal unless you broke the screen…
For it to fit nicely under the climate control I had to cut part of the dash at the bottom, also has to take a couple mm off each side.

Dash 1
Dash 2
Dash 3
Dash 4

Once I got it fitting nicely in the dash I used Araldite to glue it in and the used putty to bog up the sides and sand it back to make it look like one piece.

Dash 5
Dash 6

This came out pretty good, so I put it in for painting…

Painted Dash 1
Painted Dash 2

When I got the dash back, I popped the screen back into it and with the moving/playing around with the dash over the next couple days the front of the screen that was glued to the dash cracked and eventually with a little bit of force it came apart completely. Took some advise from someone in Bunnings and got it plastic welded to the dash… this time before I puttied it all up and made it look good again a gave it some severe testing to make sure it wouldn’t crack again (sorry no pics of this part…)

While the dash was getting re-painted I started to build the case. I wanted to build it in aluminium, but cost and putting it all together (or bending it) just put me off using it… I used persplex instead :P

I wasn’t too sure where I wanted to have the case, couple of options… in the boot, under the seat behind the screen (in the dash)… Decided to go with fitting it under the seat, so I made a model of the case and had it under the seat until I realised that every time I went over a bump I could feel the case, so scraped that and decided to put it in the dash… Took the dash apart and again made a model of what I wanted it to be like and made sure everything fit nicely then made the case…

Case 1
Case 2
Case 3
Case 4

Note that its actually sitting the other way around now, can see this in a later pic…

At some point in time while I was making the PC I got the dash back…

Final dash

When I was happy that everything was going to fit nicely I finished the case and installed all the software on the machine… tested everything to make sure it would work. As I had the dash back and I’d put it all together I was running it on the 7” screen to see what it would give…

Case 5
Case 6
Case 7
Case 8

7" powered off car pc

Finally got to the stage when it was all ready to go in… spent a good couple hours messing around with it all to get it to fit like I wanted… (very tight fit ) cables everywhere in the pic but was nice and neat once it was all in…

mess!

Put the dash back in and bingo…

Final setup 1
Final setup 2

Pics aren’t the greatest and the glove box still on in on the pic… once I have given the interior a good clean might take a final pic and post it…

At the moment ironing out a few little issue… the main one is sound… playing only MP3s on the hard drive (have 2 USB ports so this is how I add music etc when needed)… the prob with MP3s are the recording levels they are recorded at.. some songs sound awesome, others sound like c#@p! just trying to find some other 3rd party software that will regulate the output of the sound… but yeah… apart from that everything is working sweet… :)

Posted 12 June 2006 - 06:13 PM


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Simply awesome mate. Look forward to seeing what else your gona do with it. A few 7" in the head rests maybe? :(

Posted 12 June 2006 - 06:41 PM

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    orsm-ma-ma-pawa

  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Perth, WA
  • Car(s):R33 GTS-T

Simply awesome mate. Look forward to seeing what else your gona do with it. A few 7" in the head rests maybe? :(


hahaha...

Thanks, think i'm leaving it at that for the moment... :)

Posted 12 June 2006 - 06:45 PM


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Wow.. Thats awesome.

Can you throw up some links for the software your running.


Nice work dude, looks awesome, does FreeDrive mute the MP3's when it is giving you directions?

I have a TomTom map if you need it!

Posted 12 June 2006 - 06:49 PM


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u could even use a velleman usb output card to use power windows and everythn... just has 8 low level outputs, can drive relays and from there, anything... haha wicked job dude

Posted 12 June 2006 - 06:57 PM


    Rank: RB20DET

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  • Real Name:Kraig
Few moe Q's if you dont mind.

Where did you get the persplex from? Easy enough to manipulate?

The 3.5" drive works fine? Lots of ppl telling me to go notebook but I want a 3.5" Drive (250gig - Lots of movies and music). :(

How does the Via board handle as well? The onboard video decent?

Posted 12 June 2006 - 07:07 PM

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    orsm-ma-ma-pawa

  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Perth, WA
  • Car(s):R33 GTS-T
Thanks for the replies :P

Here are the links to the software;

FreeDrive

RoadRunner Homepage
RoadRunner Forums (on MP3Car)

Alpha, it doesn't mute the sound completely reduces the volume level and a nice little voice tells you where to go:)


Liiger, Persplex bought from Bunnings... once you have the shape you want and you have cut it out (my house mate found the best way of cutting it... we got a pen knife, heated it till it was red hot then cut straight throught the perspex :) very "home made" but hey, it worked :() to bend the sides, pretty much the same, used one of those little blow torches heated the persplex, bent it to the angle and waited for it to cool...
The 3.5 drive has been in there for a couple of days, maybe give me a little more time to check it out and i'll get back to you ;) for the moment it doesn't seem to mind any sideways action :)
Again, for the moment, the motherboard is working a treat, haven't had any issues with it... still early days though... and as for the onboard videos, its fine, tell you what, when you are watching something on a 7" screen, you dont really need a $1000 video card ;) but looks good (just remember to put the codecs on the machine BEFORE you put it in the car! LOL!)

Posted 12 June 2006 - 07:27 PM


    Rank: RB25DET

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AWESOME!~ I love it :)

Posted 12 June 2006 - 07:52 PM


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top stuff.. i love the factory look... very very clean...

if you had the chance to do it again, would you change anything?

let us know on how the hdd likes being moved about...

Posted 12 June 2006 - 08:41 PM

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    orsm-ma-ma-pawa

  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Perth, WA
  • Car(s):R33 GTS-T

if you had the chance to do it again, would you change anything?


maybe a few things... i would have taken the buttons on the screen off... there is a way to wire up the power switch to automatically turn on, and off... and if you need to switch between VGA and video input (rear view camera for example) you can use the remote that comes with the screen... might also add some alternate power, eg you can plug it a 12v power supply instead of using car battery when doing updates, or testing stuff out... had it on for about 45 minutes without the car being turned on and the battery didn't like it too much... (had the music/amp running as well...)

but for the moment... i'm happy with how its all hooked up...

Posted 13 June 2006 - 01:48 AM


    Jaded

  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Sydney
  • Car(s):R33 / 2010 Golf GTI
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Alternate power is hooking up your battery to a 12V car battery charger while you run updates etc.. Thats how I power mine when stationary and need to transfer music etc.

Posted 13 June 2006 - 08:37 AM


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Where is your GPS receiver located? Doesnt it need a clear view of the sky in order to pick up satellites?

Posted 13 June 2006 - 02:18 PM

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when you turn the car on, what happens? Do you have to manually turn the computer on and then wait for it to load up the OS and all programs?

Posted 13 June 2006 - 02:22 PM


    orsm-ma-ma-pawa

  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Perth, WA
  • Car(s):R33 GTS-T
Primordial, never thought of that, but thanks that sorts out my power issue :)

Rekin, GPS receiver is on the metal bar that runs accross the car behind the dash, works the same under the dash or on top... i get the same signal...

Alien, power unit in the computer has an ignition wire, when ignition on = PC on... ignition off = PC shutdown procedure...

Posted 13 June 2006 - 02:32 PM


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how much did it all set you back? and how long did the labour take?

Posted 13 June 2006 - 02:38 PM


    Jaded

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Where is your GPS receiver located? Doesnt it need a clear view of the sky in order to pick up satellites?


My GPS receiver is located on the back parcel shelf. It sits between the speaker and the window. It's black and only about the size of a matchbox so you cant even notice it's there. The only reason mine is located here is that my PC is under the drivers seat, so that was the shortest length possible. The GPS receiver needs line-of-sight to get a decent signal. When looking at the graph showing the satellite distrobution, the satellites located in front of the car have very low signal (due to the roof being in the way). The satellites behind the car get excellent signal even through the window. You only need 3-4 satellites to get a proper reading, and there is usually more than 20 satellites in view wherever you are.

Posted 13 June 2006 - 03:32 PM


    orsm-ma-ma-pawa

  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Perth, WA
  • Car(s):R33 GTS-T
Alien, it was pretty labour intensive coz I pretty much did everything myself, except for the painting of dash... But I did take my time, all up started doing research in late march, then bought GPS receiver and used laptop as test machine to test all software, when all was working properly, prob started buying the parts in mid april...

cost around $700 after having sold old head unit and all... but haven't pulled out every invoice coz i don't wanna know exactly how much it cost :) motherbaod and screen prob the most expensive parts...

Posted 13 June 2006 - 03:37 PM


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Hey Parish very nice mate!

I'm going to be making one up soon, but I'm going to do it the lazy way and get a motorized in-dash screen! :)

Hey with Roadrunner do you know if theres a way to embed programs such as Oziexplorer rather than have it run seperately? I noticed that your GPS s/w you are running was within Roadrunner.

cheers mate!

Posted 13 June 2006 - 03:40 PM

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    Jaded

  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Sydney
  • Car(s):R33 / 2010 Golf GTI
  • Real Name:Jon

when you turn the car on, what happens? Do you have to manually turn the computer on and then wait for it to load up the OS and all programs?


I manually have to turn mine on. I've hooked up a switch which is located just under the steering wheel, on that little panel (R33). Single press switches my laptop on. Single press again then sends the PC to Hibernate. If i forget to hibernate the PC, it automatically hibernates when battery reaches 90% so that the PC doesnt crash from no battery power. I'm running a laptop though - slightly different setup to parish.

Personally I would recommend the laptop option if you can buy one cheap off ebay with a cracked screen or something. They are designed to be moved around more than PC components, and you dont have to worry about things stuffing up (as things usually do with custom PC's). Laptops are made to be shifted around, so they will marginally be able to cope better with the jolting of the car. I'm not just talking about the hard drive, but the motherboard mounts etc. The mini-pc option is sometimes cheaper though if you cant find a damaged laptop.

Posted 13 June 2006 - 03:40 PM


    Jaded

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Hey Parish very nice mate!

I'm going to be making one up soon, but I'm going to do it the lazy way and get a motorized in-dash screen! :)

Hey with Roadrunner do you know if theres a way to embed programs such as Oziexplorer rather than have it run seperately? I noticed that your GPS s/w you are running was within Roadrunner.

cheers mate!


Check out Centrafuse too mate. Front end software is a matter of preference. Personally I have never like RoadRunner, but heaps of people do like it. Centrafuse is quite popular too, but is trialware for now. By the end of the year you may have to buy it if you want to continue using it. It's in beta testing for free by the general public now (you and me! :P). The best thing about centrafuse though is that it has EVERYTHING bundled into one neat installer package, and is really easy to configure. The only thing you will need is the maps for Destinator (80mb off torrents). This is the same with any front end software though, you need the maps. I found RoadRunner and it's GPS software (separate plugin sort of thing) very frustrating to install and configure.

Centrafuse: http://www.fluxmedia.net/

Posted 13 June 2006 - 03:46 PM





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