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2007 Dodge Caliber - Grizzly's WiFi touchscreens

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  • 2007 Dodge Caliber - Grizzly's WiFi touchscreens

    I've been working on this project already for more than two years, and changed the plans a few times along the way.

    First revision:
    Beagleboard ARM Cortex development board
    5 inch touchscreen via S-Video
    1998 Chevy Caviler

    Sadly the car was in a wreck and the build never got off my bench.
    I bought a 2007 Dodge Caliber (used) and moved on.

    Second revision:
    BestBuy Infocast 8" touchscreen, custom firmware, flash frontend.

    This build never got past GUI design, and I was spending far too much time on the UI and not enough on the backend to run it.

    Third revision:
    BestBuy Infocast 8" touchscreen, custom firmware, remote desktop client.
    Dell D420 Laptop
    Modified Dell D-Port Mini-Dock (Added remote power header, USB WiFi accesspoint)
    DCDC-USB Powersupply w/ Dell specific plug from a universal powersupply (has the ID chip)
    Sony head unit with Bluetooth

    I'm running WindowsXP, RideRunner, Garmin Mobile, and Pandora. I added a RaLink WiFi adapter inside the D-Port, and SoftAP drivers for XP. The touchscreen (I plan to add a second one for passengers) connects to the laptop via the SoftAP network. On the touchscreen I'm running the stock kernel from chumby and Ubuntu 9.04. For controlling XP I'm using rdesktop which is an RDP client. I'm still building a controller to interface the sony unilink bus to the laptop for control & status, and to enable the aux input on the back. The controller is based on the Propeller chip from parallax, and will also handle talking to the two ultrasonic rangefinder "parking sensor" kits.

    I've got a 3ft x 2ft x 6in wood box I built to hold the backend hardware in the cargo area of the car. Two inches of foam line the bottom to dampen vibrations and other movement, and the entire box is covered in twill kakhi fabric, matching the interior of the car. The box will be physically strapped down with a twill colored belt material, which is also used to secure the laptop inside the box (in addition to the latches on the dock.)

    Right now I'm waiting on the belts for the laptop to get back from my sister (who is generously sewing them for me) so that I can finish upholstering the box.

    I also have to finish bondo & paint on the dash insert before it can be used.

    I hope to finish the project in the days / weeks ahead, so that I can enjoy the finished product on my drive to MakerFaire in NYC.

  • #2
    I got the laptop belts back, upholstered the bottom section, and worked on the wiring some today.

    Picked up the bondo while I was out shopping, so hopefully I can get the dash insert ready for sanding & paint tomorrow.
    I'm having trouble figuring out exactly where to run the +12V from the fuse box through the firewall. Beyond that I need to reposition the GPS dongle as it currently causes the dash to be popped up 1/2 inch.