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Thread: Complete CarPC Process Summary

  1. #1
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    Complete CarPC Process Summary

    Hi All!

    I previously started a thread about my desire to install a CarPC in the original factory radio location of my Honda Element. I have it 99% implemented. I did a complete write up of the design process, fabrication and installation. Instead of trying to post a bunch of pictures, I wrote it all up in a couple of PDF documents. I am going to try to attach them here. Hopefully, they are not too big for the quota(if there is one). The file labeled writeup.pdf is the thought process and discussion, the additional photos.pdf is just some after thoughts to accompany the original document. I hope that you can get some good tips out of my process.

    These files are 1 mb and 1.5 mb so low bandwidth might be a problem. If you need clarification, on anything, let me know.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
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    Kudos! That is an excellent document, I can see this being used ALOT! Good job, and very good write up!

  3. #3
    High Voltage blk02si's Avatar
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    Its great to see more detailed documentation available about a very well built, perfectly engineered setup. This is seriously one of the cleanest self contained autoPC's I ever seen. Hats off to you sir
    Build Things, it keeps your brain busy.

    AutoPC v1 (Retired) - AutoPC v2 (in progress) - www.shocknet.us

  4. #4
    Wants to make it harder monkeyracer's Avatar
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    so how did/are you (going to) finish the faceplate to get rid of the space on each side of the faceplate?

    I really like the clean look, well planned out (maybe a little too well) and the milling was great. Do you have plans to paint the bezel to match the dash, or just leave it shot peen finished?

    Great Job!
    2007 Chrysler PT Cruiser TE
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    Parts...........[---------X-] 90%
    Fabrication...[---------X-] 90%
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  5. #5
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    My original plan was to coat the bezel with lacquer and keep the natural Aluminum color. It looked quite good with the rest of the dash but now that I have replaced the center garnish with one that is all black I intend to anodize the bezel to black as well. I am arranging that now. When it has to come out for software updates, I will send the bezel for anodizing.

    Right now, all of the trim parts are not installed(at least in the pictures that you have seen). With the trim in place thee is no gap. It blends pefectly into the dash. Just the color is off.

  6. #6
    Wants to make it harder monkeyracer's Avatar
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    that sounds like the pefect idea. The color will be corrected with anodizing then...
    2007 Chrysler PT Cruiser TE
    Car PC Progress:
    Planning.......[---------X-] 95%
    Parts...........[---------X-] 90%
    Fabrication...[---------X-] 90%
    RR Skin........[---------X-] 95%
    View my
    Worklog
    Road Runner Skins
    Website
    Favorite thread EVER!

  7. #7
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    update

    Well, some updates.

    I had reported that there were a couple of problems that I discovered at install. The first was a noise radiated through the sound system and the second was that the amp turn-on circuit was not functioning.

    For the noise issue, a USB sound card made little difference compared to the onboard sound. My guess is that the EMI generated by the spinning hard drive in close proximity to the LCD controller board is being transmitted through the system. I found that when the hard drive is moved away from the system, the noise all but goes away. I am going to try it using a Compact Flash boot drive and see if the problem is still there. Since I am migrating to the Compact Flash booting, hopefully this will solve my problem. If it does not, I will fabricate an EMI shield and mount it between the hard drive and controller board.

    On the amp turn-on, I have confirmed that the power supply is not supplying the signal to turn on the amp and equalizer. It seems that both the amp and the eq draw more current than the power supply can deliver so I fried a transistor that is providing this output signal. The nice folks at Mini-box have agreed to fix the power supply for me. I just have to pull the CarPC to have it sent back to them.

    While the CarPC is out there are lots of other activities going to happen:

    1. The bezel color is natural Aluminum so it does not match my dash as well as I would like so it will be sent to a plater to be anodized in black to match the dash.

    2. I have been working on the OS optimization to improve boot times and to move the OS onto a Compact Flash card. I am going to finish this step while the CarPC is on my bench. Since I found out that the M1000 is not capable of booting to USB 2.0 devices, I may start investigating a new motherboard. My goal is to get the OS onto a 1GB uDOC. Anyway, Compact Flash is the next step towards this.

    3. Since the amp turn-on can not provide the signal to the amp and eq, I am going to mount a 12V relay to the amp and eq turnons and let the M1-ATX turn on this relay instead. Should fix the problem.

    Lots going on.

    By the way - I have been using the CarPC in the vehicle for 2 weeks and everything is running smooth. I have experimented with all of the front ends, trying to settle on one. Roadrunner is still the best free choice out there but it is still very quirky to me. Winamp causing problems and the load time is terrible. Plus, I need to buy a navigation solution at over $100. I think that I am going to bite the bullet and use Centrafuse. It still has some things that need improvement but the damn software just works, works every time, all the time. It has been a well conceived prooduct. As you know, I am more of a hardware guy than a software guy so I don't want to constantly fiddle with the front end. I just want it to do what it is supposed to do all the time. just my opinion.

    This next week should be interesting as it is getting a complete overhaul after only 2 weeks in the vehicle.. LOL

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