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60 Series Landcruiser Wagon "Project X"

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  • 60 Series Landcruiser Wagon "Project X"

    Goal – Install a purpose build Pc for making my life easy while on the road for work and pleasure.

    Reason – Work too hard, don’t have a hobby, Looks like fun! and would be interesting if someone else would like to take onboard my ideas for themselves. (Don’t mind sharing!)

    Planning stage

    Windows Based
    Touch screen
    High quality Audio (does not need to be loud)
    GPS Navigation
    Stable, efficient power supply
    Sync with mobile handheld (blue tooth)
    Sync with office and work related docs

    Will Consider –
    Next G Wireless mobile internet
    Or at lease GPRS for receiving text msg directly

    Specs the system MUST fulfill

    Must be available at all times 24/7 (never run battery flat, etc)
    Must be able to remote desktop from home PC while parked in driveway
    Must be able to automatically sync with Home PC, Office, Notepad and Mobile Handheld while within wireless range

    Media Player Must be iTunes (no moaning here pls, just my choice of poison)
    Must have full control of Audio system including Acoustic tuning
    Must have full control via touch screen
    Will use radio head unit for umm…. Radio and playing of disc media

    Install / Hardware considerations
    All parts must be “off the shelf” with as little or no mods
    No or as little mods to car other than mounting holes etc or other obvious requirements

    Install to look professional / neat and tidy (personal challenge here!)

    Anyhow I have spent about 4-5 hours researching I’ll post updates below!!
    all welcome for questions, suggestions and answers!!

  • #2
    iTunes routed through vst plugins...Done!

    First to select backend software then hardware then design the rest of the Car PC around that

    Recourses at hand,
    Personal recording studio (hundreds of plug-ins and plenty of hardware to try)
    Basic sound engineering (digital and analogue)

    Challenge – Never actually worked with Car audio acoustics

    First goal – each individual speaker must be controllable which means I need multiple channels on the PC – minimum of 4 full range channels plus 2 sub channels
    So I have done some road testing on the workbench,

    Desktop P4,3gig, 2gig ram XP pro with a [email protected] card (has ASSIO and directwire) with console sound modular studio v1.6.1,a heap of plugins and itunes.

    First I need to rout itunes internally to console then out to various outputs
    In console to test this I just routed a stereo input direct to a stereo output.
    Then using directwire routed the MME output to the ASIO input…

    Findings - although this does work unlike most pro recording apps you can usually turn off the direct monitoring channel, I would have through this was an ASIO control. As my sound is routed through console with aprox 5ms latency I also have the original signal routed directly to the soundcard (sounds kinda funky in a digital sorta way). Time to play around, I need to some how turn off the direct signal. After about 4 hours and 200litres of pepsi I found a solution.

    Here it is –

    iTunes ---> ASIO---> S/PDIF output (channel 3/4)

    Directwire S/PDIF output (channel 3/4) ---> ASIO input (channel 1/2)

    Console ASIO input (channel 1/2) ---> VST plugins ---> ASIO output (channel 1/2)

    I now have iTunes running with whatever VST and direct x plugins I want
    With the only sacrifice of losing 2 channels (S/PDIF) for a speaker output but that problem can be solved by inserting more sound cards.

    Lets continue testing – I need to route parallel signals to multiple outputs on multiple cards.

    Turn on the onboard soundmax chipset jump into console to find the only card I can see is the [email protected]

    Ok. 456 smokes and 23L of pepsi later, Problem solved
    Throw in another 3rd party card – cobra AW-840 (2 outputs)

    Signal routing
    Windows Audio Device --> ASIO Multimedia ---> S/PDIF output(ch3/4)

    Directwire MME output (ch3/4) ---> MME input (ch3/4)

    Console MME input (ch3/4) -----Split signal x3(stereo) ---> ch1/2 – [email protected] card
    +-> ch3/4 – Soundmax
    +-> ch5/6 – AW-840

    Perfect 6 mono channels all with any plugins I want.
    Ok for anybody who cares! Here are my discoveries

    ASIO drivers appear to be software specific not hardware
    Console modular sound studio does actually do what it says it does, but….
    The ASIO driver is not full featured so some advance functions are not available
    Unable to turn off direct signal monitoring means you are required to use Directwire or similar losing 2 channels of outputs

    So to use this setup you WILL need a primary sound card with at lease 2stereo outputs
    I also recommend using another ASIO driver with testing functions to setup Port buffering and sample size for each card. I used the Cubase ASIO software and tested each port then transferred all the settings to the Console setup and Save Save, Save…. Did I mentioned to save all ya settings!! Testing card buffering can be time consuming

    I do not recommend using default ASIO settings in over ten years working in studios
    I’m yet to be convinced that these settings are stable in fact I always retest every time I install new software/hardware then I retest every couple of months. Since I’ve been doing this I have never had a problem with digital hiccups etc.

    Next, Things to be aware of,
    Using the ASIO multimedia Drivers will increase the latency, Currently I have 600ms latency (not a problem if you are aware of this) all this means is it takes ½ sec to hear my music after I press Play on itunes. This will only be a problem if you are intending to use visuals directly from your media player (eg. EQ’s visuals will be ½ sec infront of what you actually hear)
    As I intend to use only visuals from my plugins in console they will be in real time.

    Intended output routing
    Ch1/2 -> Front L/R
    Ch3/4 -> Rear L/R
    Ch5 -> Sub
    Ch6 -> Aux Comms (eg, Phone etc)
    Anyhow I’m happy for now, Now onto power supply design…. Will post below!!!
    i'll come back to pc design when my brain recovers.. anyhow have fun!


    • #3
      Power supply concept "1"

      Power supply (picture supplied)

      Well I’ve put together a concept design, remember this is going in a 60 series Landcruiser wagon (space and weight is not really an issue)

      Battery is a deep cycle aux battery already installed for supply to the important 100L beer fridge when fishing.

      Protected by low voltage shutoff will prevent complete discharge as I use this battery for starting engine if primary battery is flat.

      Rear windows will have solar panels installed to trickle charge on sunny days only when car is parked and not in use (rear windows are useless in a wagon and just helps in heating the car up on sunny days)

      Venting fans are only to remove heat from in the car when parked in the sun and will not operate if air con is on

      Will consider venting air con using 20mm tubing directly to the back for the inverter,UPS and PC while on the move

      Multivoltage Dc supply for external access point, IP relay and network switch these devices will be powered on 24/7 as they are low rating devices

      The concept here is to be able to completely shutdown the inverter, UPS and PC yet I will be able to log onto the IP relay remotely (from home/office PC, Mobile handheld) and turn on the inverter, rebooting the pc so I can Sync my iTunes without going out and manually turning on the pc

      Ignition timer switch just to allow any hiccups while car is starting
      Dash bypass is to allow me to turn on system when ever I want (with out keys)

      UPS is used for a couple of reasons first I will use the USB power management software to safely shutdown Windows when the 240v side drops out (all switching to be done before the inverter) so I can safely shutdown the Inverter (tuning off the car, etc) the Ups will hold up until windows has completely shutdown….

      Umm…. Bugger, just found My first issue here! Let me think about it!
      In theory this works but after windows shutdown, the UPS will be still be in the power on state although it will have no supply the UPS battery will continue to discharge as the PC supply will continue to draw in the off state…..
      The question here how much current draw does a PC supply draw in the off state and how long do I have before recharging the UPS battery - I need a bit of more work here!!

      Anyhow still just a concept any thoughts on this are welcome!!

      Bugger… second change to the power supply,
      The network switch is only needed to network the PC and the access point.
      If I use remove the network switch and throw in a wireless card in the PC I just saved X amount of aux power usage (The PC only needs to be connected while the PC is on!)

      Back to the drawing board!!!