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'98 Corvette Indy Pace Car-Puter

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  • '98 Corvette Indy Pace Car-Puter

    Finally, after reading posts here for about 3 months and trying to find all the "answers", got a carputer installed and fairly "bug-free" in my '98 Indy Pace Car

    Here's a look at the install in the dash.



    Because I wanted this thing to do some "stuff" that's not "off the shelf", I decided to write my own software (VB).... Screen shot below.... (The car outline on the right is a Pace Car strobe indicator with LED's that flash in the same sequence as selected by software)


    The "Not Normal" stuff I wanted to do was;

    Control my Pace Car strobes (around car) with the computer
    Control the Electric Antenna with the computer
    Completely remove the Bose receiver and use computer

    To control all the electro-mechanical "stuff" (Amps, Power Antenna, Strobes, etc.) I'm using an 8 relay serial controller board. A click on the software will turn on / off the amps, raise / lower the antenna, turn on strobes and allow strobe pattern selection. A click simply makes one of the serial controlled relays close the circuit. (The software also "watches" for the FM app to launch and raises the antenna, then lowers it when the app is closed) (Actually better than factory which raises the antenna any time the amp is turned on.... Needed or not)

    Both the front Bose amps and the main amp installed to replace the receiver are also operated by the relay controller / software. They can either be manually switched, or if off, come on any time an app needs them.

    All peripherals are USB. This way, the only wiring (except the keyboard in the console) is (a lot of) USB from the front and back. This way all speaker, serial, other wiring is in the dash and similar to stereo replacement with an aftermarket stereo. The new amp is behind the monitor.

    I'm using a Maya EX5 USB Audio board, which ties into the amp replacing the factory receiver / amp. For FM / TV, I'm using a WinFast TV USB. I chose WinFast because it has built-in USB2.0 hubs, and it's my connection for the Maya USB audio and the USB GPS receiver. (You have to solder a jumper to the on-off switch to make it power up with ignition) I'm using the Axife FM player primarilay because they supply a SDK, and I wanted the electric antenna functionality.... Unfortunately their SDK doesn't SDK, and they don't answer e-mails, so I had to use "Plan B" ("Watching" for the FM app to load / unload) , which would really work with any FM player.

    The monitor is an 8" Lilliput touchscreen (Don't ask.... It took more than 1 to get it right.....) Power switch was jumped for "on" with ignition.



    Because I needed POWER up front for the FM receiver, USB 2.0 hubs, etc. I chose to use a M1-ATX (also behind the monitor mounted with the Serial Relay Board and USB hub plus a very long terminal strip). This gave me the 5v I needed for my FM and USB, plus enough on the 12v bus for the Lilliput and Serial relay board. It also gives me power supply protection and regulated power for everything.

    The computer was tough.... Not a lot of extra room in a Corvette, plus I wanted to be able to show the software at car shows without killing the battery. Because of that, I chose a notebook (Dell Inspiron 8100). I can let the notebook run on internal batteries for computer power (about 5 hours) and use the car battery only for powering the M1-ATX (monitor, usb, relay board). I've had it on for 5 hours with no dead battery problem (Optima Yellow Top). Because the 8100 does not have USB 2.0 (MUST for video) I used a CardBus USB 2.0 on the Dell. The Dell is in an attached docking station which is hard-wired to the front for boot / reboot switching. It is completely "hidden" in the center storage compartment in the trunk.

    I have to admit, now that I've "done it" with a notebook, I have a hard time figuring out why everyone is punishing themselves with power supplies, overheating, inverters, size restraints, etc... Once set up, especially with the docking station and the ability to pop it out and work with it out of the car, the notebook works flawlessly and has no issues with power or size.


    Just in case you wondered, the switches under the Monitor is where a slimline DVD was SUPPOSED to go... Uh...... Nevermind.... I'll just say room in that tiny Corvette dash was my biggest challenge..... I have an amp, serial relay board, M1-ATX, USB 2.0 hub, Bose interface and all wiring in there.....

    BUT, the switches do actually "do something"

    First is a momentary connected to the docking station reset / power. I can boot / reboot there.

    Second is an override for the M1-ATX power, which allows me to turn off the car and keep the power supplied to the monitor / usb "stuff". All this is powered when the ignition is on, so if I'm showing the car I can turn the ignition off and keep all the dash "stuff" powered.

    Third is the 12V charger / power supply switch. With ignition on, the power supply is on and notebook is running on car battery. Turn the car off and notebook switches to internal battery. Flip the dash switch on and notebook switches back to car battery even if ignition is off (I also keep it "on" when the car is in garage and on trickle charger. It keeps both the car and computer battery charged!)

    Fourth is Monitor over-ride. It will turn the monitor off even if the first switch is on powering the 5V bus / relay controller.

    Fifth is a "Future Enhancement" switch....


    It's all up and running, and once I finally got the "bugs" worked out, everything appears incredibly "stable"... The only "weakness" is the ability to view the screen well in a convertible.... There's just not much you can do with sun on the screen.... I guess that's one for the next "project".....

    A few pics of the car below.... Hope you have high speed access...













    Cheers!
    1998 Corvette Indy Pace Car
    My Install: http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=53837

  • #2
    sweet install! nice setup and description, thanks!
    Dr. Ron Paul for President 2008

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    • #3
      wow thats sick !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      great usage of the laptop battery!
      Peep MY TYTE WHIP yo! It's got too many ill mods to list!

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      • #4
        Sick ride. Looks like a lot of work to get the computer to interface with the strobes
        Is this where the witty comment goes?
        97 Black pearl Mazda Miata MX-5 Carpc V2? maybee..

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        • #5
          i hate you so much

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          • #6
            .....wow

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            • #7
              FANTASTIC

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              • #8
                Someone else who is miles beyond me......Great job on the install and nice car!!
                "A rose by any other name is still a flower"

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                • #9
                  I have to admit, now that I've "done it" with a notebook, I have a hard time figuring out why everyone is punishing themselves with power supplies, overheating, inverters, size restraints, etc... Once set up, especially with the docking station and the ability to pop it out and work with it out of the car, the notebook works flawlessly and has no issues with power or size.
                  guess it's just part of the fun. I don't like a simple install.

                  Just a question, how do you manage the booting? Do you hibernate, and how fast is it from "pressing the button" to music playing ?
                  '03 BMW 320d (E46)
                  Carputer progress : [#----------]
                  Gathering information ... currently using my phone connected through BT as carputer
                  '99 BMW Z3 coupe 2.8
                  Carputer progress : [-----------]
                  No work done yet

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by John_Duh
                    guess it's just part of the fun. I don't like a simple install.

                    Just a question, how do you manage the booting? Do you hibernate, and how fast is it from "pressing the button" to music playing ?
                    I actually decided not to boot when the power is turned on.... I do have the capability (booting the computer only requires momentary power on the switch, so I did add an electronic 1 second time-delay which will do it if I want to enable it) but I'm currently just hitting the button when I hop in the car....

                    XP boots pretty fast on the notebook.... I'd guess about 1 minute or slightly less..... It's up and ready for a click before I get it out of the garage, so boot time really isn't an issue....

                    The "nice" thing about the notebook if you're out running around is that since I also have the switch below the monitor to keep all the USB stuff powered if I want, is that there really isn't a reason to power down if I stop to get coffee, eat, etc.... When you turn off the car, power automatically swaps to notebook battery and everything stays "up".... If you're going to be back in less than 4 hours, there's no reason to shut it off.... As soon as you start the car, the notebook battery starts charging again and there is "0" wait time. Just click and go....

                    Uh...... Simple install???

                    Guess you'd need to see the wiring diagram......
                    1998 Corvette Indy Pace Car
                    My Install: http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=53837

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      You make me sick. This is the most awesome use a dell I've ever seen. Also to use a pace package vette, love that purple and yellow. I'm sending this link to my dad to hook up his 2K Vette.
                      www.alabamahokies.com | www.loungearoundtown.com

                      Coming soon....
                      2004 Acura MDX with Mac Mini installed...

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                      • #12
                        wow

                        I hate you tooo!!!! *THUMBSUP*!!!!
                        VER. 3.0- Check out below:
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                        車コンピュータ 3.0
                        .

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by fredp
                          Uh...... Simple install???

                          Guess you'd need to see the wiring diagram......
                          if you have it, please do post it (i still have a laptop laying around that was originally intended for home entertainment)
                          Might just decide to change =)
                          '03 BMW 320d (E46)
                          Carputer progress : [#----------]
                          Gathering information ... currently using my phone connected through BT as carputer
                          '99 BMW Z3 coupe 2.8
                          Carputer progress : [-----------]
                          No work done yet

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Damn, man, that is SICK!!!!!

                            I got a question for you. How do you manage to power the VGA monitor off of the laptop? or am I missing something here? You can shut down the car and still have everything running, right?
                            iGMon - Integration between iGuidance and Road Runner
                            CFX - Skin for Road Runner

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by b8bboi
                              Damn, man, that is SICK!!!!!

                              I got a question for you. How do you manage to power the VGA monitor off of the laptop? or am I missing something here? You can shut down the car and still have everything running, right?
                              Actually, It's magic.....

                              The monitor isn't run off the computer.... I have an M1-ATX power supply in the dash behind the monitor.... I use the 12v bus to power the Monitor and the Serial Relay board, and the 5v bus to power the FM tuner and 2.0 USB hubs....

                              When the ignition is off, I can switch the first switch under the monitor on, which keeps the M1-ATX powered. This continues to supply power to the Monitor and 5v "stuff....

                              The computer runs on computer battery, and the the monitor / peripherals run on M1-ATX.... I wouldn't run the Optima Yellow-top battery in the car down past the ability to crank it after a couple of days even if I left the front on..... (The battery has 41 Amp Hour capacity... I'm much less than an an amp with the "stuff" on up front) Even if I did, nothing would happen (I found this out by actually forgetting to turn off the front one week) Because the M1-ATX shuts everything down when the batery discharges to 11 volts, and keeps it off until the battery is recharged....

                              I can run the system for 4 - 5 hours without the car on with no problem.... If I add the second battery to the Dell, I could probably run the computer for 7 - 8 hours with no problem, and no dead car battery!

                              Makes it really nice when you're out for the day... Boot it when you leave, turn it off when you get home. In between, it's always up and ready to click.....
                              1998 Corvette Indy Pace Car
                              My Install: http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=53837

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