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2001 Toyota Celica GTS Video System

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  • 2001 Toyota Celica GTS Video System

    Hey Folks!

    This is my first post, so go easy on me. I've an active project blog at

    I've broken my car ambitions down into 3 intial phases:

    1. Automotive Vision System - 4 cameras, 2 front, 2 rear. 2 LCD video displays on either side of instrument cluster. This phase is *finished*.

    2. Carputer MP3/Navigation - Classic GPS Nav system (with external hand-held GPS, not a 'mouse-GPS') and MP3 player. This phase is pending time, parts, and money.

    3. Video Surveillance System - Adding a few more cameras, and a secondary DVR computer to capture the video and save it to a hard drive. This phase is still in the planning stage.

    I go into detail as to why I'm doing this on my first post (at the bottom) of the blog. Not that I need to explain it to you guys . But since I'm adding some things first that most of you would add second, third, or not at all, let me give you the short version - I drive in a very hostile traffic environment, and situational awareness is key. So my Phase 1 has rear-view cameras (mirrored, of course) that show me my blindspots without me having to look over my shoulder - this allows me to stay facing front, so I can keep my eyes on the road to look out for people slamming on their brakes in front of me - I can't count the number of close-calls I've had in 65+ mph bumper-to-bumper drives where I'm checking my blindspot for a lane change and the guy in front of me nails the brake pedal - it's a rude shock to return from looking over your shoulder and seeing brakelights.

    My Phase 2 is most people's Phase 1, so there's little need for an explaination there. I got parts coming, and more to order, but Phase 2 should be done within a month.

    Phase 3 hooks into where Phase 1 left off, but allows me to record the video I get from my cams. This is important because I've had so many close-calls where the situation wasn't my fault, but it might be hard to argue in court/to your insurance company as to exactly how it's not. I've lost a $1,000 deductible once already because of that - I figure this is an investment in that never happening again.

    Plus there's another aspect to it - I could actually do something useful with these recordings - either give them to police for prosecution of bad drivers, or even for sale to those reality shows that show bad driving, accidents, etc. If nothing else, I can show them to you guys . You never know, really.

    Phase 3 is going to be complicated and expensive - a solid 4-channel, 640x480, 120 fps capture card runs $400+, and needs a P4 2.8 GHz minimum. Those suckers don't mount well in an automotive environment due to high power and cooling requirements. I'm probably looking at a new alternator by then, and perhaps a water-cooler radiator for the CPU. And DC-DC power supplies are expensive as heck (but you all know that), but try to find a 300 watt one - they can't be found for any price. 300 watts/12 volts = 25 Amps - that's a lot of juice. We'll see how long it takes me to get to Phase 3.

    Beyond that, who knows? I'm looking at a Phase 1 1/2 or Phase 2 1/2 where I'd add a Thermal Imager - we'll see how much those suckers cost, though.

    Here's some quick pics of the project, go to my blog to see a few more.

    Dash with displays. You can also see the left-hand rear-view camera poking out the side:

    Right-hand camera cluster:

    Front-looking camera in action:

    And here's a short WMV movie demoing the system.

    I'm going on vacation this weekend, so not much will be done over the next few weeks. When I come back, I'll be back into it, however, so feel free to comment on it, and see if I can get any new ideas from you folks.

    See you on the road...

    Check out my Carputer Project Blog at

  • #2
    I can't see the pictures in the thread, sounds like a great project though, good luck with it.
    :: '97 2.5 TL :: CarPC 1.0: Complete :: CarPC 2.0: 95% ::


    • #3
      you can see pictures here

      its a great car and a great install but dont those 2 screens block your view? and how good does it work for blindspots?


      • #4
        In order to take the picture of the screens in action and be able to see when the light was going to change, I had to hold the camera a little low - so that would be my wife's view or something . I'm fairly tall (well, at least average, at 6'0"), so the right screen blends comfortably into the dash, and the left screen blocks a small triangle to my far-left that if it weren't blocked, all I'd see was asphalt anyway.

        The rear-view cameras are positioned in just such a way that if a car is somewhat in the frame, then I can't change lanes to that side, because I'd hit them - they cover the gap between my tiny side-rear-view mirrors and my peripheral vision. It's also handy when people change lanes into/out of my blindspot, which happens quite a bit in heavy traffic.

        The front-view camersa are positioned in such a way that allows me to see down the edge of the lanes - much like the view a motorcycle rider would get when 'lane splitting'. You'd be surprised just how far down the lane you can see from that view.

        Not shown here (but at the blog) is a switchbox in my ashtray that allows me to switch the input of each display to either the front or the back camera.

        I'm not sure why the pictures aren't showing for you - they are for me. In a pinch, just check out the blog - the same pictures are there as well, along with the option to click on them for a larger version.

        Check out my Carputer Project Blog at


        • #5
          your idea to use this in accident situations wont work. The material would be deemed inadmissable without consent of the other party not to mention a hard *** would turn it around on you as an invasion of privacy. You are afterall recording there registration information.
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          • #6
            Not in Kalifornia. Or pretty much anyplace else in the United States.

            It's not an invasion of privacy, unless I drive my car into his house, and video tape it without their consent. And at that point, I'd be thinking about erasing the video anyway.

            Video evidence is admissible without consent of the other party - cops do this all the time - they've even made several sucessful TV shows, if I recall. The only time they need to sign a release form is so they can show it on TV.

            Or what about using convenience store cameras to convict? Happens every day, and those cameras aren't even run by the cops.

            Once I get recording capability, I'll put a little decal on my car notifying people they're being recorded. It's not necessary, but it might make someone thing twice.

            Plus, very few accidents actually go to court. The insurance companies will literally bend over backwards to keep you out of court - and they've no qualms about looking at a piece of video that proves that the other guy did it - they don't care where they get their money from, as long as they get it - the video ensures they don't get it from me. "Rules of Evidence", "Right to Privacy" - these are totally foreign concepts to an Insurance Agent.

            Check out my Carputer Project Blog at


            • #7
              very nice and cool setup, nice job!


              • #8
                Someone has a trust fund?

                How can you afford all this into a $20k car to boot?
                (All done)
                iPad Mini 128GB, RF 600.5 amp, JL12W0V2, 8 Infinity Components


                • #9
                  I've only put out about $2,400 so far - you could spend that on a good set of rims + tires. I'm mid-30's and work a tech job in Silicon Valley - salaries in California are pretty high, which helps.

                  It also helps that I've spread most of this spending over the last year or two, saving up, picking up a part, etc - I've had the GPS for a year, and the mobo for over two - I got the EPIA-M the first month it came out - my BIOS is like 1.09 or something.

                  Recently it's been getting a tad expensive, and the wife is starting to notice. I just ordered CoPilot 8 for my nav and a external antenna for the GPS, and the VoomPC case is arriving tomorrow.

                  The thermal imager I'm looking into may be too much money, but damn it would be cool. The sales folks still haven't got back to me.

                  I've one more spendy purchase to do before Phase 2 parts are all done - and that's the Xenarc 7" touchscreen monitor. I'll get that after I get back from vacation.

                  Check out my Carputer Project Blog at