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2013 F350 Supercab Dually Flatbed

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  • 2013 F350 Supercab Dually Flatbed

    "Darn", I've got a long ways to go here. The truck isn't even ordered yet. I'll be ordering it in the next couple weeks I believe. A 2013 F350 dually Supercab "ChassisCab". I'll be putting a 10 foot aluminum stake body on it when it arrives. My last (current) truck is a 2000 F350 dually flatbed - I've been down this road before but that was before Carputers (Truckputers?) were realistically practical.

    Anyway, I have been shopping for accessories already, waiting for my tax refund (AKA "down payment" to arrive).

    I am a ham radio operator, and also have a commercial two way radio license for my farm, so there will be some ICOM radios (computer programmed) being installed. The mandatory CB radio (it's a pickup truck) as well.

    So far, the little brown truck of happiness has brought me a Black Box mobile ITX chassis and a M2 Power Supply, A motherboard an i5 processor and a 256 Gig SSD drive should show up in the next few days as well. I already have a GPS unit, a Directed HD radio, an Alfa WiFi unit, and some 12 volt USB hubs. I think there are some other things coming too... I order lots of stuff on impulse on ebay ;-)

    I build military electronics for a living, and have done a lot of prototype stuff for the power system on the Navistar MRAP vehicles, so this is all gunna be fun.

    Anyway, here is the first of many pictures that I expect to be posting in the next several months. I have many cans of Camo spray paint in my shed and I'm not afraid to use it....

    Some day this will be a picture of an entire #13,000 # GVW pickup

    Last edited by Rickk; 02-18-2013, 03:15 PM.

  • #2
    The little brown truck of happiness came Tuesday night and I had a couple of hours to play with what came...

    The first problem was that with the SSD drive mounted to the Black Box mounting plate the drive was so flush to the plate that the cables wouldn't fit. I guess that normally in a hard disk tray they would hang of the back of the mounting plate but that doesn't happen here.

    My solution was to lay down something like 20 layers of Aluminum Tape to raise the drive up about 1/8 of an inch or so....

    Problem solved...

    I was drinking Nyquil to deal with a cold, so there was only far I could go before things got confusing and bed seemed like a better idea.

    This is where I left off...

    BTW, I still haven't picked a monitor or a monitor mounting bracket for it. Looking for a touchscreen that will fit in the space where the radio normally goes. I believe the 2013's are only similar to the 3-4 years proceeding it. If anyone has been down this F350 road with a recent vintage truck I would love options/suggestions as to what works.



    • #3
      I spent some time neatening things up last night...

      I thought I had a "P4 Cable", but it didn't have the right gender on one end. If luck is with me, I will have one by Saturday and be able to try to boot it up and load WinDoze 7.


      • #4
        Picked up a 105 AH battery at Tractor Supply tonight. I will use it to debug the truck-puter, but ultimately it will go into the new truck as an auxiliary battery. Plenty of room to mount such things on the frame rail under the bed.

        PowerWerx ( ) has the needed battery isolators, automatic power switches in their "Emergency Vehicles" section. I am going to use one of their battery isolators to connect/disconnect the auxiliary battery. There are many cool advantages to a separate battery. No voltage sag during engine start. No crazy transients when the starter disengages. No chance of killing the primary battery by accident and not being able to start the truck. They carry the line of "Anderson Power Products" connectors for decent interconnection of wires. They also carry programmable voltage sensitive relays to automatically disconnect loads before the battery gets drained.

        In my last truck build, after a few years I started having issues with corroded wiring and intermittent connections ... a real pita. I learned a lot while working on military trucks the past few years. I am going to mostly marine grade wiring products. It is usually crazy expensive, but I found a reasonably priced source at " " . Marine grade wire has tin plated copper strands (no green corrosion after a while). The interconnect terminals are made the same way (tin plated copper). They also carry "double walled shrink tubing" - the inner wall is actually hot melt glue, so when you shrink the wire it glues itself to the wire... seals nicely.

        Another thing I learned a lot about over the last few years is the issues dealing with galvanic induced corrosion due to contact of dissimilar metals. Aluminum, copper, and steel (especially stainless steel) do not always play well together. For instance, stainless bolts can eat aluminum parts in short order. I have been stockpiling lots of nylon and rubber isolators to keep different metals apart. Each fastener installation becomes a conscious thought process if you want long term reliability.

        The last think I want to do is to have to do something over again a few year later.



        • #5
          More progress today.

          Loaded Windows 7

          I also loaded Centrafuse Demo and it seemed to run.

          Then I licensed Centrafuse and it stopped running. No idea why.


          update: It appears I mistyped the hardware ID during the licensing process. All better now.
          Last edited by Rickk; 03-04-2013, 06:03 PM. Reason: addtioanl info


          • #6
            Well, the weekend was a rollercoaster of ups and downs. Things went well, then they didn't , then they did, etc.

            As of late last night, it seemed stable and I had the box buttoned up....

            The plan is to plug in a few more devices this week and get them all working.


            • #7
              You a contractor or DA? (Range Extension Platoon Leader here).

              Following your thread.


              • #8
                PapaChop, I work for a major defense contractor. I design power supplies, mostly for military use.

                I have several of my designs on MRAP vehicles.

                Also, if you have ever used a PVS-7 or PVS-14 or ANVIS, depending on vintage you were holding something with a power supply in it that either I designed, or it is at least based on my original design.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Rickk View Post
                  PapaChop, I work for a major defense contractor. I design power supplies, mostly for military use.

                  I have several of my designs on MRAP vehicles.

                  Also, if you have ever used a PVS-7 or PVS-14 or ANVIS, depending on vintage you were holding something with a power supply in it that either I designed, or it is at least based on my original design.
                  Nice - we have both 7s and 14s.


                  • #10
                    I guess it would be helpful to the next person to talk about all the stupid things that I am going thru during this build.

                    The first one, which (per a search on MP3CAR.COM, other people have had happen)...

                    I had Centrafuse working in 30 day demo mode perfectly. I created a license file and loaded it and it stopped working all together.

                    When I worked for the post office, and my mother worked there too (in charge of regional training for New England), I found out that the reason why a zip code has 5 digits is that the odds of a data entry error for 5 digits is only 10%, and with 6 digits it goes up to 50%.

                    Anyway, I typed in a wrong digit while entering the 4 thousand digit hardware ID and the license I created was for someone else's computer.

                    Before you hit enter, check it a few times. read it forward, and also read it backward. Do that twice each way.

                    When you create a license, your Centrafuse account will tell you the hardware ID that it was created for. If you create a license and it doesn't work, recheck your hardware ID against the one that the license was issued to.

                    Anyway... the second license I created had all the right numbers and Centrafuse works just fine.


                    • #11
                      Then there was the Centrafuse HD radio app...

                      At first, I thought it was totally messed up. It was unresponsive. Some of the buttons didn't seem to do anything. Using Mitches interface the Directed radio worked fine. I was confused.

                      After a couple of days and many beers, I realized that the default/Initial settings for the radio interface were what were causing my trouble.

                      The unresponsiveness was caused by the buffer feature. When I turned it off, the delays all went away.

                      Then there were the tuning buttons that didn't seem to do anything. I think the problem was that the tuning step was set too small. I switched it to 10 Khz,which apparently makes the AM step size 10 Khz and the FM step size 100 Khz. All the tuning buttons started working as I thought they should. Another learning experience under my belt.
                      Last edited by Rickk; 03-09-2013, 09:50 PM.


                      • #12
                        I have gotten myself out of trouble on my 2000 F350 with the V10 engine many times using an Actron ODB scanner, so the ODB feature of Centrafuse really called to me. I played with it a bit. It sure would help give some instant feedback if a check engine light came on.

                        However, it isnt really a serious diagnostic tool. I looked around and finally decided to install ScanXL Pro to have something serious at my fingertips to really look deeper if there is ever a problem. The Ford Extended Diagnostic Addon wont work yet with my soon to be 2013 F350 purchase so I held off on that add-on option until they get caught up with the 2013 model year in their database.
                        Last edited by Rickk; 03-08-2013, 12:09 PM.


                        • #13
                          I was about to order a touch screen monitor, but a Harbor Freight coupon book came in the mail and I am going to spend the money on a 12,000# winch this week instead (remember, this is a really big project).

                          Anyway, I thought I would post my build list to date...

                          TruckPuter Case... Black Box Mobile Mini ITX Case (Paint job courtesy of Krylon)
                          Motherboard...ASUS P8H77-I LGA
                          Processor Intel i5-3450S
                          Power Supply - M2

                          Front End - Centrafuse

                          ODB-II diagnostics - ScanXL Pro

                          Memory... Crucial BLT2KIT2G3D1608DT2TXOB.000 (2 x 2 gig with pretty flashing blue lights)

                          GPS... BU-353-S4


                          AM/FM : Directed HD

                          Way for Directed HD audio to get to TruckPuter...Behringer UCA222 RCA input/Output to USB

                          Auxiliary Battery... Tractor Supply ... "Stowaway" 105 AH deep cycle Marine Battery.

                          Wire - all tin plated Marine Wire from Genuinedealz. double walled shrink tubing from same place.

                          I have a small pile of other stuff either here or on it's way but I haven't tested it out yet so I wont comment on if it will go into the build or not yet.



                          • #14
                            Just received another (my second) supposedly "Bluetooth" mini-keyboard with trackball on it via EBAY from China.

                            In both cases they said "bluetooth" in the Ebay listing. They both came with a USB dongle, but both are some sort of proprietary non-bluetooth interface instead of Bluetooth.

                            Since the PC has a Bluetooth dongle installed already I really wanted Bluetooth rather than having to plug in yet another USB thingy.

                            Not sure what I will try next. Both mini keyboards work well and they were really cheap too. Maybe I will give up looking and live with one of them, at least for now.

                            O ya, and I now have a 12,000# winch to go on the truck that doesn't exist yet.
                            Last edited by Rickk; 03-10-2013, 02:48 PM.


                            • #15
                              I ordered a 100 A dual battery isolator and a couple of programmable off delay power relay modules from Anderson power products this morning. They both auto switch based on sensing the battery voltage rising and falling when the alternator is running or not... no need to run a switch from the ignition switch to turn the relays on, and they wont turn on until alternator is actually producing power. The programmable delay relays are only rated at 35 amps each. That wont actually meet my total needs. Rather than using them to control things directly, I will use them to pull in banks of several 35 and 60 amp automotive relays, each with it's own circuit fuse.

                              My plan is to take power for most of the accessories off the auxiliary (deep cycle) battery. For one thing, that means that nothing will be connected to the main battery during engine starts (usually an ugly scene for the 12 volt line as far as under and over voltage transients go). At the same time, if the engine is off I wont be draining the battery that is needed to start the truck back up.

                              I am going to make a custom bracket for the auxiliary battery and bolt it to the frame rail underneath the bed - plenty of room under there for such things. On the side of the battery bracket my plan is to mount an IP67 enclosure and put the relay modules and any fuses in there.