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1991 Volkswagen Jetta carpc

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  • 1991 Volkswagen Jetta carpc

    I've finally started working on my first full-blown endeavor into my carpc.

    The parts:
    Lilliput 7" TFT Touchscreen (front)
    2 Lilliput 7" non-VGA monitors (rear)
    Old small PC case
    Epia or some other low power pc
    USB in the center console for whatever external sources (ipod, etc.)
    6.1 surround sound
    Alpine (or something else) head unit.

    I'm an old fart, stuck on broadcast radio - for now. I like the local stations, but I'm just getting tired of continually having to recharge my mp3 player and never having the music on it that I want. Both my daughters have ipods, and they would like to be able to play stuff through the car radio. I know there are simpler ways of doing that, but I'm just looking for an excuse to put a carpc into my ride.

    I know I'm a long way off from completing this, but I wanted to put something up to get me motivated to really get this project going. I've been planning this for about a year now, and I think I've finally gotten enough together to actually proceed. I don't want to hack up my headrests, so the rear screens will be mounted on brackets on the headrest rails so I can remove them if necessary. The car has an alarm, and I keep the car in a garage at home and work, and don't really drive it anywhere I'd leave it alone for too long.

    So far, I've only actually gotten one thing started - the location for my 7" touchscreen:

    I'll post more pics as I do the work, which will be a trickle until it gets a little nicer out.
    My Worklog

  • #2
    That looks great. Any more pics?

    Pics of the dash would be nice too.
    Renault Megane...the OEM look

    The Lost in Europe Ford Escort


    • #3
      I'll take some tonight, although they aren't all that exciting right now. My old stereo is shoved into the factory location, halfway sticking out looking fairly jerry-rigged. I guess it will be interesting to see how this install goes from what it looks like now to something pretty cool, but nowhere near what some of you fine folks have done...
      My Worklog


      • #4
        More pictures

        I snapped some more pictures when I got home from work. Not able to do much right now, but I've got quite a bit of cleaning up of the car to do before I actually install the screen. Once I get the rest of the stuff in my hot hands, I'll be posting quite a few more pictures to this thread.

        Interior of the car:

        Place where the carpc and an amp or two will go:

        I'm thinking I'm going to build a shelf that can slide out but will not get in the way of anything in the trunk.

        And oh yeah, a picture of the car in question - definitely in rough shape right now. Sorry for the dark picture, but hey, it's nighttime outside and I can't get a decent shot in the garage...
        My Worklog


        • #5
          I just bought more stuff today...lots more...

          40' 4ga wire to run second battery and other needs
          misc ring terminals
          Epia Via M10000 mobo
          512mb DDR ram
          40gb 2.5" notebook hard drive
          DSATX psu
          2 400 watt power inverters
          Belkin 802.11g wireless usb adapter
          2 1 to 4 power distribution blocks

          Stuff I already had:
          Audison mono sub amp
          dual 10" isobaric sub
          Alpine 4/3/2 amplifier
          2 Eclipse 6x9 coax
          2 mbQuart 5.25" coax
          1 inline fuse holder and fuses
          generic PC case

          Need to buy yet:
          1 TFT touchscreen
          2 lcd screens
          video distribution
          Optima red top battery (optional)
          Battery isolator (optional)
          Alpine 9851 head unit (3 rca preouts, 1 rca input with the use of a cd changer adapter)

          Next up, I'm going to begin the fun of constructing the shelf. I'm not exactly sure how I'm going to do it other than with some mdf and drawer sliders. I want the shelf to be installed with no drilling to the rear deck of the vehicle. We'll see how that goes when I tear the rear seat out tomorrow. I'm sure there will be lots of pictures taken.

          After talking with a couple of people, I don't think 6.1 surround sound is feasable at this point. Since all my sound will be coming out of the existing stereo, unless I find a 6.1 head unit reasonably priced, I'm sort of stuck as to how to do the center channel. I may forgo that for this iteration of my carpc.

          As always, comments, abuse, compliments, criticism and other stuff welcome.
          My Worklog


          • #6
            More work done

            I'm a bit of a planner, and have come up with what I think is a decent wiring diagram for my installation:

            I got the Epia M10k and 512mb ram last night via ups. Now I need to figure out how to dremel out the back of the ntx form factor case and slide the new i/o shield into place, along with the mini-itx form factor board into the case. From the looks of test fitting, I'll have enough room in the case for the dsatx (no idea how large that is), the m10k, the hard drive, and maybe some other items if I wanted to.

            Still no shelf on which all this stuff will be installed, but I'm hopefull I'll start working on that in the next few days. I still don't have the hard drive or psu, so I can't do much yet with the actual pc. Of course next week I won't have any free time and all that hardware will be sitting there doing nothing!
            My Worklog


            • #7
              Originally posted by peecee
              From the looks of test fitting, I'll have enough room in the case for the dsatx (no idea how large that is),
              It is 4.15" by 3.5" by 1"
              MPEGBOX - Plexiglass Computer


              • #8
                Finally started the software install

                I finally got enough pieces of hardware collected to start the software installation! I have a 40gb laptop drive (not partitioned, don't know how smart that is) and installed Windows XP Pro SP2 on in last night. Got almost all the bugs worked out of the basic install and then started putting the custom stuff (Via Unichrome drivers, audio drivers, etc.) for the mobo. Installed Road Runner and Winamp and tested the way everything works, seems good to go. I think I've got a better idea of what I want this to do, just because I've been fiddling with it all night... I may even reinstall everything and partition the hard drive so that windows is about 10gb, and then I'll have 30gb to do whatever with.

                v1 goals:
                1. Play mp3s. I prefer flac, but they take up so much space and this is still a car, not a professional soundstage, so if I notice a difference (doubtful), I'll rethink that decision.
                2. Play videos. I have lots, so this is a good idea too.
                3. Play DVDs. Don't have many DVDs that aren't ripped to mpg, but I'm guessing I'll always have a need to do this.
                4. GPS/Navigation. I'm thinking iGuidance or MapMonkey. I don't have one yet, so I'm still sort of up in the air.
                5. Web browsing when near a "hotspot". I'll have 802.11g, so I should be able to browse while parked near a starbucks or something.
                6. Monitoring of motherboard and environment. No idea if it's possible, and the Brushed Metal (BMV2) doesn't have a skin for it, so I'll probably be digging some more.

                The biggest issue I see right now is syncronizing the media from home to car and back (when necessary). I have all my media on a linux box at home, and I'm running windows in the car. I don't want to have to do syncing while I'm sitting in the driveway. I thought it would be nice to somehow have a database of all media, and be able to select some stuff when I think of it (on the road or at home) and have some sort of program automatically syncronize when within range of my house. Does a program like this exist? Looks like I'll be doing some coding if it doesn't.

                v2 goals:
                Maybe a printer.
                Maybe Satellite radio.
                Game emulator.
                Two addiotnal monitors.
                Game controllers.
                My Worklog


                • #9
                  Another long night with software tuning

                  Last night I spent most of the time trimming out windows services I didn't need to be running. I have my boot time down to about 8 seconds, which ironically enough, is faster than the warm-up time for my head unit. I installed a motherboard monitoring utility in the hopes of finding a way to integrate it into the frontend I'm probably going to run - Road Runner. I'm still connected to my home network via an ethernet cable, but plan to test the "mobileness" tonight when I get home by removing the cable and going over wifi. Hopefully it should just work if I've planned correctly. I installed a firewall and virus software, which I realize is counter-productive to trimming down the services, but I really don't want to have to worry about that sort of thing. I also tested out my remote desktop functionality and everything seems to work rather well. Now I can go back to working on my laptop in our family room while watching TV with the wife and kids. The WAF has immediately gone up because if this.

                  On the hardware side, I plan to start mounting everything tonight, at least in the case. If I have time, I'm going to start working on the placement in the car, but I have some other honey-do's in front of that, so the vehicle prep may not occur until the weekend. I expect to order my screen tomorrow, so hopefully I'll have this whole thing installed by next weekend! I sure will be one happy mofo if that is actually what happens.

                  One annoying thing I've noticed is that all the frontends have so many skins. I'm so with what I thought would be a simple decision. Even once I had decided on which frontend to run, there are 62 different for that frontend. I realize some of them are just color changes, but I think the skin is essential to how it flows in the car. I just hope that once I get it installed with just the right skin, the layout will look good in the car. I don't want to develop yet another skin, but I may try to write some code to extend one of the existing skins and contribute that back if I can figure out how exactly to do it.

                  This whole carpc thing is definitely not for the faint of heart. I'm sure my wife looks at this just like every other hobby I have - expensive and pointless... until she wants a pc in her car - then it will be the best thing I've ever learned how to do!
                  My Worklog


                  • #10
                    Its looking good, i will check back to see how its doing.
                    Continued Worklog... Upgrades in progress:
                    *15.4" WXGA LED backlight touchscreen upgrade
                    *Custom fiberglass dash bezel


                    • #11
                      So you're going to run Media Engine?
                      Renault Megane...the OEM look

                      The Lost in Europe Ford Escort


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Cris
                        So you're going to run Media Engine?
                        If by Media Engine you mean Road Runner, then yes. RR will be the frontend of choice for now, at least until I get bored and want something else. Actually, while I was doing some skin edits last night, I noticed that the skins all say Media Engine at the top. I'm guessing that's a hold over of some sort of the code. Odd.

                        More work software=wise completed last night. Changed most of the buttons to do what I wanted, and figured out how to create brand new skins. I've been jotting down exactly what I want the frontend/menu skin to cover, and I think I've got it (finally):

                        Audio Sync
                        Play music
                        Rip CD
                        Play Videos
                        Video Sync
                        Play DVD
                        Weather report
                        Sat Radio
                        Web browsing
                        War driving
                        Computer Status (new screen)
                        Orphan: OBDII (new screen)

                        I need to figure out where to stick the OBDII button, which I think I can do by chopping the Play DVD button in half and putting it there. Although I'd like to have computer status and car status on a split button setup like most of the others are. I've essentially taken the Brushed Metal skin and cut the six main buttons in half and added everything from left to right as described above. Now I need to actually design the computer status and obdII screens unless I can find some to go with BMV2 someplace. I haven't looked all that hard, so they may be out there somewhere already.

                        Ordered the Lilliput 7" touchscreen, a usb to serial cable (for comms with the dsatx psu), and a 25' VGA cable. I think I need to find a usb extension cable somewhere too. I've got all my power cables, need to figre out how to get audio into my current POS head unit. I think for now I'll just run a mini-headphone jack from the pc to the front of my head unit - yes, my headunit has a front jack for aux input.

                        I still need to order a temp sensor kit and some temp leads:

                        Temperature Data Logger
                        Temperature leads

                        And I need to get a VAG-COM OBDII interface for my car. I need to find a newer obdII plug to fit into the VAG-COM interface and I should be able to hack it right in for pretty cheap, rather than paying $50 for the neat little connector plugs.

                        Short of that, I think I'm pretty close!

                        EDIT: Oh yeah, never got to do the wireless test last night, so I'll probably do that tonight once I get home from doing my weekly fish fry experience...
                        My Worklog


                        • #13
                          I thought there were about 42 finished skins for RR, and 62 or so for Media Engine, that's why I said that...

                          Let me know how those temp sensors work out. I'd like to get a set too.
                          Renault Megane...the OEM look

                          The Lost in Europe Ford Escort


                          • #14
                            You are correct Cris. I misread the Media Engine and Road Runner counts at I guess that's what happens after a few beers and some surfing!
                            My Worklog


                            • #15
                              RadioShack has usb extensions between $20-$25. Just thought I'd let you know since I bought one a few days ago. You might find them cheaper online, though...
                              1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo Carputer
                              [█████████] 10% (Inspiration and Development Stage)

                              "It took Jesus three days to respawn. Talk about lag!"