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1988 Chevy Camaro CarPC

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  • 1988 Chevy Camaro CarPC

    So I recently procured another car, this time a 1988 Chevy Camaro. V8, Manual transmission, runs really well. Doesn't have a stereo, or speakers at the moment so I figure it's a prime candidate for having a carpc put in! I have quite the collection of carpc parts laying around nowadays from random assorted projects, so I think I'll start to put some of them to good use.

    My hardware plan:

    Dual core atom board, 1GB ram, 30GB ssd and M2ATX in a voompc or mocoso case
    It will run Ubuntu with RevFE, displayed on a Xenarc MDT-X7000 (Always open, so as to not break the fragile motors inside)
    I will get GPS from a BU353, which will feed Navit, or a similar navigation application. This is secondary, since I use my phone for nav. Radio will be via Boomzbox USB HD Radio, since they are amazing.

    I will be adding either a Beaglebone, Raspberry PI, or SheevaPlug embedded PC for seamless datalogging/data passthrough of ECU data, even when the carpc is off.
    AVR Microcontroller based body controllers for hvac, window up/down, and sensors
    AVR Microcontroller with XBee wireless, for always-on control of the vehicle. (Most likely with a second battery)
    Remote start with aux input for Microcontroller starting, this would allow me to start the car via my home internet connection/wifi.

    The audio is kind of secondary, but entirely neccesary.I'm going for economy, not wonderful sound, so the brands and exact specificatiosn are unplanned at the moment.
    Some undefined 4ch amplifer and some undefined speakers. Need two 4x6's and two 6x9's. Some undefined 2ch amplifer and some undefined subwoofers. Probably two 12" subwoofers, in the 400-500WRMS range

    Some of the issues I'm going to have to overcome:

    * Always-on wireless connectivity. AVR Microcontrollers have some very low power standby modes, with intermittent wakeup, which is likely the best way to allow for always-on, while not draining down the battery. I may need a secondary battery... but that will require some testing to see if that's a necessary safety feature.

    * Space. The Camaro has near zero space beneath the seats, in the trunk, anywhere really for amplifiers, carpcs, etc etc. Going to be interesting to try and figure out where to locate everything.

    * Datalogging. I want to be able to have access to the ECU's data. While I am eventually swapping the ECU in this vehicle for the DIY ecu in my other car, for now I'm going to have to try and figure out the ALDL protocol the ECU uses, and probably write some software to support it since there doesn't seem to be very much in the way of open source ALDL stuff besides what I wrote years ago.

    I'll try to add some pictures of the car here in the coming week or two, and start mocking up where I'm going to be putting things.
    "stop with the REINSTALLS, what do you think we got some lame-o installer!!!" - mitchjs
    My Shop

  • #2
    Cool, another Camaro project! Your project is way more advanced in scope than mine, so I'll be watching for updates to see how it all comes together.


    • #3
      Started hooking up stuff I had laying around, trying to find a combination that works.

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      The Xenarc MDT's VGA input doesn't seem to work, so I may have to do some fabrication work or purchase a board with DVI output. I only have a 1.5DIN slot available to me so the MDT would be preferable. The giant box+screen there I had bought from someone on here, the wiring is total junk in it, but the electronics are good if I move the screen to a bybyte frame or something else.

      I have a Dell mini-PC laying around, if I want to go the inverter approach I could always use that for DVI output, since it requires a power brick I can't hook a standard M2/M4 ATX up to it. I'm not totally against that approach, but having an ignition sense power supply makes the install all the more integrated feeling.
      "stop with the REINSTALLS, what do you think we got some lame-o installer!!!" - mitchjs
      My Shop


      • #4
        So a little update since I finally got some free time. I've put an aftermarket ECU in the vehicle, and have the raspberry pi datalogging from that. I've tired the pi's power to ignition via a cig. lighter adapter. It automatically datalogs from the ECU on powerup, so I can just hop in the car and drive, then pull the SD card at the end of the day.

        Only a couple issues to overcome with this setup, before moving on towards getting a full carpc installed to interface with the pi.

        The PI really needs some sort of character or small graphical display. This would be useful for displaying SD card usage and general system status (Make sure visually that it's logging and healthy). It would also let me display actual ECU parameters, so I can monitor things like engine knock or fuel economy. Along with this, the PI needs some sort of user input. I've been eyeing up one of these guys: for the job. I also have a serially controlled LCD, but it has no conveniently located buttons like that screen does.

        I've really gotten to the point where I'd rather just pay for pieces that work together rather than having to cobble together something myself. Then again, these guys ( Would be super easy to run from a PI.....
        "stop with the REINSTALLS, what do you think we got some lame-o installer!!!" - mitchjs
        My Shop