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1995 Chevy K-1500 - ChevyGonk's RoadRunner Project

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  • 1995 Chevy K-1500 - ChevyGonk's RoadRunner Project

    Hello All,

    I am very new to the Car Computing scene. In fact I didn't even know it existed until recently. I saw a computer in a buddies car on the 1st of January, and I haven't stopped thinking about how I'll make my own since then!

    I've done a good bit of reading on the forums here, and this is what I've come up with so far for Hardware:

    VoomPC-2 Case
    M2-ATX Power Supply
    Jetway J7F5M2G-VHE Mini-ITX Mainboard
    1GB DDR2 RAM
    Slimline Samsung SN-S082H DVD Burner Drive
    Western Digital 120GB Notebook HD
    Linksys WUSB54GC Wireless Adapter
    4-Port USB Hub
    Scorpius P-20 Wireless Joystick Keyboard
    Visteon HDZ300 HD Radio w/MitchJS's RS232 Cable
    XM PCR Sat Radio

    This is all ordered and paid for, but none of it has arrived yet! It's going to be like Christmas!

    For Software, I actually need to find somewhere to get a cheap copy of Win XP, I haven't put much thought into that yet... I originally had planned on this being a linux operation, I've been running Ubuntu for the past year, and I love it, but after getting into the forums I've realized that it's just not there yet. I think it's going to be RoadRunner for me! (Though I hope someday a linux carpc is a possibility for someone that's not a programmer!)

    I have yet to determine a suitable Touchscreen, I'll figure that out while I'm building/tweaking the rest of this thing. I'm leaning toward a 8.4" Xenarc that I'm just going to mount on a bracket in front of the dash (where the radio used to be). I've probably got about 50 unanswered questions, but the most prominent one seems to be: How do I get more audio inputs? It seems as if most computers just have two... Mic and Line-In. I guess I'll cross this bridge when I get to it, but I wish there was a Multi-Input that was switched by USB, or something like that!

    Anyhow, see the picture below for my current status. I'll try to update the picture with my posts (in the correct location) to show how it's going. That by the way is the mounting board (42"x16") for my Car PC and Amplifier (and everything else) that will slide behind the Extended Cab seat in my Truck... so it doesn't have to look very nice! One of the advantages of having a truck!


    Update: (18 Feb 2008) - I've moved this into the worklog area, and I'm now going to try to update it as often as possible with my latest progress. Please reply with any comments or techniques, or if it totally looks like I'm barking up the wrong tree. - Thanks!
    Attached Files
    ChevyGonk's Progress Meter:

    Planning: [XXXXXXX---] 80%

    Building: [X---------] 10%

    Testing: [----------] 00%

    Operational: [----------] 00%

  • #2
    Ok, I've recieved alot of my components in the mail. While I've been waiting for them, I've been playing with RoadRunner quite a bit on my desktop, trying to sort it all out, and figure out how I want it configured. Just a heads-up, I am definitely not a computer programmer, I've had one class in high-school in Basic, and then one in college on Ada-95, and that's it. However, using the forums and google, and just playing around with RR, I've decided it's not that bad to get working, and in fact, when compared to the $$$ that the other front ends cost, it's a no-brainer for me to use this one instead of the others out there!

    My plan is to use the Digital FX Skins, though I'm hoping for the 3.0 update very soon. It's got many many things built in, and seems to work fairly well straight from the install. I've had to play with some of the .skin files, and .ini files, but for the most part it hasn't been too bad.

    I guess this will just be an overview of some topics I hope to expand on in a while, but a few quick plugs based on what I've seen so far:

    XM PCR Support in RR is great, and works right out of the box. If you don't have a subscription, but you want to buy the components and get it all working it's no problem. You can fire up the XM and make sure it works on some of the preview channels. I was very excited about how easy it was to hook up, and was about ready to buy a subscription until I found out about...

    HD Radio!!! - This is amazing. I don't know why exactly I am so excited about it, but I guess it's because of all the reading I've done about how CRAPPY all the radio cards and USB Radios are. After reading some of the posts, mostly in the RR forums, and mostly based on MitchJS's work, I decided to go out on a limb and order the stuff, before I had the CarPC. Well, I received the order, hooked it up, and was instantly amazed. Here are some quick notes about how I hooked it up.
    - Order the Visteon HDZ300 (Ebay $40) and Mitch's Cable ($25)
    - Find a 12V Battery or some other 12V power source
    - Plug in all the connections, plug it into your COM1 port (serial) on the computer
    (Instead of using the supplied Front End Controller)
    - Plug in the antenna cables, I clipped a 2ft wire on the center conductor as an antenna
    - Download MitchJS's Visteon HDZ300 Software (Use it to test the system)
    - Install his software, which will install the .NET2 Framework (required)
    - Double Click on the HD Radio button now on your desktop.
    Now, here's something I figured out by R'ingTFM before I bought the HDZ300, but may be a bit confusing... it's not just an HD radio, it's regular AM/FM too, and it's BETTER than the Kenwood currently (but not much longer!) in my truck!!! It seeks for either all or HD only channels, and it sounds great. I may buy another one to permanently hook up to the PC in the house.

    Here's one note though, Mitch figured out that you need to do a small modification inside the HD Radio Box to fix a grounding issue. Search for "HD Radio Ground Wire" and you'll find out how to do that. He also talks about it on his website. It makes the radio sound perfect. Including soldering iron warm up, it took me 3 minutes. Very easy. On HD Channels it will sound better than any Radio you've ever heard. If you want more info, reply or ask.

    Now, to get it to work with RR (specifically Digital FX) all you need to do is edit the RR.ini file... just make sure the Radio section of has:
    hdradioport=X (where X is the com port you're plugged into, mine is 1)

    Save that, and then edit the RR Config to use HD Radio, select your line-in and you're ready to go. You may be a little disappointed when you open the radio page, and find that it's all pretty basic in RR (again, Digital FX specifically), but it's going to get alot better from what I've read.

    That's currently where I stand, I've got RR running on my PC, using the Digital FX 2.0 skin, with XM and HD Radio working. Of course, I've also got my PC music library playing just fine, and the ability to play videos and DVD's. Oh, I almost forgot, I don't have any nav software yet, but I do have a UT-41 GPS Receiver plugged in (Cheapo Amazon I think, $30), and it works great after telling RR Config which port it's on. It gives you basic GPS Data on the GPS page. Also working just fine.

    In other news, I went to the 50th Daytona 500 yesterday, what a race! God Bless America!

    More to come...

    ChevyGonk's Progress Meter:

    Planning: [XXXXXXX---] 80%

    Building: [X---------] 10%

    Testing: [----------] 00%

    Operational: [----------] 00%