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2007 Camry CarPC - Australia

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  • 2007 Camry CarPC - Australia

    Hey there folks.

    I've been wanting to install a car PC in my car since I was in high school (some years ago now). Now that I actually have my own car, I've had even more impetus to get this project going. It's a base-model 2007 Camry (known here in Australia as the Camry Altise). It's a beautiful car. I intend to keep the factory look for everything if possible.

    So after a few weeks of research and ordering parts, I've finally started my worklog. This is the intended setup:

    - Intel D945GCLF2 mini-ITX motherboard with 1.6GHz Atom CPU (bought) - link
    - 1GB DDR2 RAM (taken from my desktop)
    - 120GB Seagate 2.5" Hard Drive (bought)
    - M2-ATX 160W PSU and startup/shutdown controller (bought) - link
    - Slimline slot-loading DVD drive (bought) - link
    - Lilliput 629GL-70NP 7" Touchscreen LCD with LED Backlight (bought) - link
    - Double-DIN enclosure so it all can fit in the dash (done)
    - Toyota Genuine Double-DIN fascia (bought)
    - Response 4x50W RMS amplifier with remote gain control (bought and installed)
    - one or two 4-port USB 2.0 hubs (bought one and put it in the glovebox)

    I'll post some pics of the car soon. I know it seems like a barebones system, but in time, I will add a USB GPS receiver, USB Bluetooth dongle, and USB Radio (if I can find a decent one with a decent price).

    Below is a brief schedule to manage my installation:

    1. Test LCD (done, works fine)
    2. Connect all PC components to ensure the PC works. (done)
    3. Install Windows XP (might use my XP Home Edition CD for now since I haven't got access to another copy of XP Pro) (done)
    4. Fabricate double-DIN chassis from two single-DIN enclosures (done)
    5. Mount all PC parts inside the chassis, and mount LCD in the front of chassis, ensuring it fits in the double-DIN gap provided by the double-DIN fascia. (done)
    NOTE: may have difficulty finding space for the DVD drive - may have to put it in the glove box or inside armrest for now.
    6. Test car PC using normal ATX PSU inside house. (done)
    7. Upon success of all of the above, pull out factory headunit (done it many times before), and install car PC. Will need to pull out factory headunit a few times to take measurements for new chassis.
    8. Run power cables for car PC and amp (done, amp is installed under passenger seat, car PC power cable is tucked behind passenger footwell)
    9. Connect all cables (ground, audio from PC to amp, USB hubs, etc.) (done)


    By the way, I was going to buy a second-hand 07 Camry headunit so I could gut it and install the car PC inside there. The problem is sourcing one of these units at a reasonable price. I don't want to buy one that is already working - and there's the first problem, every wrecker's yard I've been to/phoned in the past two weeks has said "we hardly have any parts for the current shape Camry, and no, we don't stock any broken headunits". I've checked eBay, but all of the ones listed are working and they're way out of my budget. So I decided to build my own double-DIN chassis.

    So there's still a fair amount of work to do. I'll be trying to finish making the double-DIN chassis today but I have a feeling I won't get it done due to other commitments. Will keep you guys posted.
    2007 Camry Altise In-dash Car PC

  • #2
    Good to see your worklog started. Since you already have over a hundred posts, you don't really qualify as a newbie, but welcome aboard -- again -- anyway.

    I'll be watching . . .
    .
    If just enough is really good, then too much ought to be perfect.

    2006 Scion xB with in-dash Atom & Lilliput 889GL -- Worklog at http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/work...res-links.html
    .

    Comment


    • #3
      Nice, I thought you would have had a worklog already. Turns out we are going to have a very similar setup.

      I'll also be watching...
      My Worklog http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/work...-carputer.html

      Planning 100% Ready to start buying! As soon as the flood waters recede XD
      Purchasing 0%
      Building 0%
      Mounting 0%

      Comment


      • #4
        Ok here are some pics from today's work. So far, I've put the two single-DIN cases together temporarily with some brackets. I've also fitted the motherboard in there temporarily to see how deep the case needs to be. Tomorrow I plan to mount the Lilliput on the front. This will give me an idea of how deep the final chassis will be, and then I'll try to mount it in the car. I'll also have to allow some space at the back for plugs (USB, audio, etc.). I've got a few errands to run tomorrow so the above will probably be the most I'll do tomorrow.

        Here's a pic of the back of the double-DIN chassis with motherboard in place:




        Top view:




        The Genuine Toyota Double-DIN Fascia (actually an inch wider than double-DIN):

        2007 Camry Altise In-dash Car PC

        Comment


        • #5
          Good start mate, I'm waiting to see the final view of your project, Good luck,

          Comment


          • #6
            I've always thought the Camry's were perfect for a carpc. The dash is well laid out for a nice screen in place of the standard radio and there seems to be plenty of room around the car.

            The specs of your machine seem pretty spot on, except 2gb of RAM might be a little over kill. Are you planning on hibernating the machine? If you are, it will take longer to resume with 2gb than it will with 1gb and really, the system won't need anything more than 1gb to run perfectly.
            I installed my carpc into my pet Kangaroo, mate.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by NiSlo View Post
              I've always thought the Camry's were perfect for a carpc. The dash is well laid out for a nice screen in place of the standard radio and there seems to be plenty of room around the car.

              The specs of your machine seem pretty spot on, except 2gb of RAM might be a little over kill. Are you planning on hibernating the machine? If you are, it will take longer to resume with 2gb than it will with 1gb and really, the system won't need anything more than 1gb to run perfectly.
              Hi Nislo,

              Thanks for your suggestions. I agree, the Camry seems like a real gem for car PC installations.

              I had initially planned on 1GB RAM, but rdholtz suggested more RAM. I've setup the system in my room with my desktop PSU and it runs fine with XP Pro and 1GB RAM. I guess I'll have to test it under more load like playing a DVD with a couple of apps in the background.

              I didn't know it would take longer to resume from hibernation :S That's a good point though. I'm looking for speed when it comes to turning this thing on and off. In time, I hope to get an SSD in there.
              2007 Camry Altise In-dash Car PC

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by MeeM View Post
                Hi Nislo,

                Thanks for your suggestions. I agree, the Camry seems like a real gem for car PC installations.

                I had initially planned on 1GB RAM, but rdholtz suggested more RAM. I've setup the system in my room with my desktop PSU and it runs fine with XP Pro and 1GB RAM. I guess I'll have to test it under more load like playing a DVD with s couple of apps in the background.

                I didn't know it would take longer to resume from hibernation :S That's a good point though. I'm looking for speed when it comes to turning this thing on and off. In time, I hope to get an SSD in there.
                Yeah I heard that too about the longer hibernation thing, it sounds reasonable but I'm not really sure. If you going to test the pc with 1GB maybe you could test this hibernation theory with 2GB as well. That would clear it up for all of us. If it takes a couple extra seconds to boot but there are significant performance improvements I would be worth it.
                My Worklog http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/work...-carputer.html

                Planning 100% Ready to start buying! As soon as the flood waters recede XD
                Purchasing 0%
                Building 0%
                Mounting 0%

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Nosajs View Post
                  Yeah I heard that too about the longer hibernation thing, it sounds reasonable but I'm not really sure. If you going to test the pc with 1GB maybe you could test this hibernation theory with 2GB as well. That would clear it up for all of us. If it takes a couple extra seconds to boot but there are significant performance improvements I would be worth it.
                  I've done some brief research on the net and many forums suggest that theoretically, with more RAM, it would take longer to resume from hibernation, but it would only be true if you actually were using most or all of that 2GB of RAM when you put it into hibernation. If you have 2GB of RAM, and you were only using 1GB of it, it should theoretically resume from hibernation at around the same speed as a system with 1GB of RAM. The relationship seems to be more logarithmic than linear.
                  2007 Camry Altise In-dash Car PC

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    So last night I was up till 2am setting up the system temporarily with my desktop PSU. I basically unplugged the PSU in my tower and plugged it into the mini-ITX, and I also plugged in the power switch. I connected my 120GB laptop HDD, and I pulled out one of the four 1GB sticks of RAM to use in my mini-ITX. After hooking up the Lilliput with the AC adaptor, I plugged in the desktop's DVD drive, inserted my XP Pro CD (yes, I finally found another copy of XP Pro), and voila, it booted from the CD and I installed XP Pro.

                    Here's a few pics:

                    The system haphazardly setup on my tower. Yes, I know the pic shows the HDD without the power cable plugged in. I found out the hard way when XP installation said "there's no HDD to install to" lol



                    And here's the system with XP running. The touchscreen works well too

                    2007 Camry Altise In-dash Car PC

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I've read the when hibernating and resuming, the system does actually read/write all blocks of memory regardless of whether they are empty or not...

                      You might like to read up on /maxmen and /burnmem. These are switches that you can add to your boot.ini to limit the amount of RAM the system can use. Ie. with a 2gb stick, you can limit it to 1gb or any amount of RAM you like. You could 'tune' that setting so to speak to get the best performance out of your machine while keeping resume times as low as possible.
                      I installed my carpc into my pet Kangaroo, mate.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Ok ppl, I haven't made much progress this weekend due to other commitments. I have, however, managed to find time to do a dress rehearsal, so to speak. I've put the car PC together inside the case and I'm looking for suggestions. Below are some pics, with questions at the end of the post.


                        Here's the system, showing the HDD and cooling fan on top. (I plan to mount the HDD on a small metal shelf inside the case.)



                        A close-up of the HDD, fan and M2-ATX.



                        Here, taken from the opposite side, you can see the back of the M2-ATX. Note the molex connector on the bottom left which will be used to power the Lilliput LCD.



                        Questions:

                        1) Should I use a blower fan to extract heat from the case, or should I use a cooling fan to blow air in the case? I plan on using no more than two fans. The CPU already has a fan, so one case fan or blower fan is fine.

                        2) Any criticisms of the positioning of components (apart from the HDD and fan just sitting there on top.) The HDD will be mounted properly in its current position on a small metal shelf, or maybe just metal brackets. I've got some rubber grommets to put around the screw holes so it will reduce HDD vibration. The cooling fan will need to be positioned such that it can cool the PSU effectively (or extract heat from the case). Any ideas?

                        By the way, the metal flaps shown behind the M2-ATX will be cut/shaped to allow for easy mounting of the M2-ATX.

                        Regarding the installation of the Lilliput, I've pulled the factory headunit out and after doing some measurements, I've found out that I have enough space in my dash to mount the car PC and in front of the car PC, I can let the Lilliput sit there in its original casing. All I'd need to do is wire it up correctly, and push the double-DIN fascia into place, and that will hold the Lilliput in place. Might sound a bit dodgy to some, but I reckon it might just work. Again, any suggestions, fire away
                        2007 Camry Altise In-dash Car PC

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by MeeM View Post
                          1) Should I use a blower fan to extract heat from the case, or should I use a cooling fan to blow air in the case? I plan on using no more than two fans. The CPU already has a fan, so one case fan or blower fan is fine.
                          I'd suggest checking the flow of the CPU fan and matching it with the case fan; that way they work together. If the CPU fan is blowing down onto the CPU, make the case fan blow into the case; if the CPU fan is pulling air off the CPU, make the case fan pull that heated air on out of the case.

                          Originally posted by MeeM View Post
                          2) Any criticisms of the positioning of components (apart from the HDD and fan just sitting there on top.) The HDD will be mounted properly in its current position on a small metal shelf, or maybe just metal brackets. I've got some rubber grommets to put around the screw holes so it will reduce HDD vibration. The cooling fan will need to be positioned such that it can cool the PSU effectively (or extract heat from the case). Any ideas?
                          Just remember the hardest bump you've ever gone over, and design your mounts for more than that. Shock mounting is a great idea.

                          Originally posted by MeeM View Post
                          Regarding the installation of the Lilliput, I've pulled the factory headunit out and after doing some measurements, I've found out that I have enough space in my dash to mount the car PC and in front of the car PC, I can let the Lilliput sit there in its original casing. All I'd need to do is wire it up correctly, and push the double-DIN fascia into place, and that will hold the Lilliput in place. Might sound a bit dodgy to some, but I reckon it might just work. Again, any suggestions, fire away
                          That's sort of the Nirvana of monitor installation: putting it in case and all. If all you're using to hold it in place is pressure, you can augment that with Velcro placed a bit back from the edges of the bezel. It's completely removable later on, and is an added measure that provides more hold and a bit of cushioning. Once agin, "jounce" protection is crucial; make sure you have good vertical-motion support in mounting the Lilliput to the chassis, and it will likely be fine.
                          .
                          If just enough is really good, then too much ought to be perfect.

                          2006 Scion xB with in-dash Atom & Lilliput 889GL -- Worklog at http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/work...res-links.html
                          .

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Hey all.

                            Today I pulled out the workbench and began to make the double-DIN chassis. Since I'm using two single-DIN chassis units, it's not too difficult to put it all together. I've stacking them on top of each other, with the top unit's floor removed, and the bottom unit's ceiling removed. Today I pulled out the centre console and tried to mount the double-DIN chassis in the centre console brackets. Initially I had made the screw holes in the wrong positions, so when I put it together, the whole chassis was sticking out of the dash about one inch. I realised my mistake and made new holes, and the chassis now fits fine. There's enough room behind the chassis for cables to be plugged in to the motherboard, and there's enough space in front for the Lilliput.

                            Tomorrow, I plan to finish off the chassis by joining the side pieces together. Remember, the side pieces of the top single-DIN unit need to be joined to the side pieces of the bottom unit. They bolted together internally with short nuts and bolts so as to minimise the risk of electrical shorts. I'll post pics of the empty chassis when it's done. While I'm at it, I'll also make holes for the motherboard mounts (I'll be using some risers, 8mm I think), and if I get time, I'll make a start on the PSU mounting and HDD shelf.
                            2007 Camry Altise In-dash Car PC

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Alrighty folks, today I pretty much completed the fabrication of the double-DIN chassis for the car PC.

                              Here's the front of the chassis. You can see some of the motherboard risers:



                              Another front view:



                              And a view of the rear. This is where the motherboard ports will be:



                              Regarding the risers, I initially used silicone to hold them in place (hence the gooey look of the areas around the risers). They seemed to hold quite well when I mounted the motherboard in place, but I felt it needed some additional support, so I bought some epoxy bond and applied some of that to the risers and it has helped somewhat.

                              Also worth noting is that I will be sticking some anti-static film to the bottom of the chassis. This will prevent the underside of the motherboard from contacting the chassis.

                              The hard drive will be mounted on a couple of hinges with rubber grommets. It's very steady and the grommets seem to provide ample cushioning.

                              I'm interested in mounting a secondary temperature sensor to monitor the overall car PC temperature but the motherboard doesn't cater for a temperature sensor (other than the one for the processor).

                              Anyways, over the next few days I hope to finish building and testing the car PC, but I anticipate that my other commitments may come in the way of this endeavour.
                              2007 Camry Altise In-dash Car PC

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