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    Carputer Blog

    I decided to build a carputer, and thought it would be easier if I were to keep a track of my progress here...
    Also, for those thinking of doing the same for the first time, my notes may help you out

    Requirements Analysis

    Form and Function

    Entire unit must be portable (I wear my cars out fast being a mobile engineer)
    Unit must fit into a 2DIN car stereo space
    Minimal wiring
    Should accept media/updates via wired/wireless/bluetooth/CD/DVD/USB flash drive

    Will offer the following features:
    VCD/DVD playing
    DivX/XVid playing
    Reverse parking camera
    (Hopefully) integration with my XDA phone via bluetooth...

    Must be kept cool
    Minimal boot up time

    Hardware list
    2DIN Case (Gonna visit my local car breakers yard)
    EPIA M10000 (Bought on ebay)
    DC-DC Converter (Bought on ebay)
    30-60GB 2.5" HDD
    Slimline CD/DVD drive (24)
    1* 4" round IDE cable, 1* 6" round IDE cable
    256-512MB RAM
    PCI WinTV FM card (20 on ebay)
    Combined bluetooth/wifi USB dongle (18 online)
    Bluetooth GPS dongle - RFMD chipset (30 on ebay)
    E294 7" Widescreen Touch screen monitor (120 on ebay - yet to purchase)


    Okay, so I've been pondering it long enough, it's time to put one together. I've seen pics of your installs in here, and they're seriously impressive - especially those where you integrate the screen into your console

    Unfortunately, that's not really an option for me: with the amount of miles I do I work my way through cars like most people work through socks, so I figured it would make more sense to build something that is as interchangeable as a car stereo. This way I need make no mods to my car(s) and I can easily remove my carputer and replace the old car stereo in just a few minutes

    So, being in the UK (Scotland here!) we know that everything is way overpriced for us, so ebay was my best friend. I have absolutely no qualms with buying electronic items from Hong Kong or China, and have done before - many of my IT tools came from there, and so far I have not had any complaints

    I've currently got everything except screen, case, CD/DVD drive and bluetooth/wifi dongle. Am planning the trip to the scrapyard this week to grab an old 2DIN car stereo case to house this in - should be able to pick one up for <10 - far cheaper than getting somebody to fab one for me. My bluetooth/wifi dongle is expected today, and I will be ordering my CD/DVD drive this week too. Unfortunately I can't seem to source a sensibly priced slot-loading drive, so this is going to be a normal (but laptop-height) drawer style drive. If any of you can point me in the right direction for a slot-loader, please do. Tranquil-PC (find em on ebay) sell IDE-laptop drive connector adapters for a couple of 's

    I chose the E294 screen as it is only 120 including shipping, and is 1024x768, where most of the Lillies seem to be just 800x600 (or even 800x480) and has a fairly decent contrast ratio (250:1). I'll be ordering that this week too, so then I will have all my HW

    As I am fitting the entire thing in the car stereo case, heat is obviously a consideration - that's alot of kit in such a small space, which is why I went for the shirt round IDE cables. In my experience these make *alot* of difference to the amount of airflow you get in your case - and they're only a few pence more than ribbons

  • #2
    Placeholder for pics...


    • #3
      Placeholder for further notes...


      • #4
        Btw, I've been testing the M10000 board for a while now, on a 256MB stick of RAM, and in general thing seem to run fine

        The only thing that slows considerably is playing of XVid movies in MPC. This may be down to the fact that I use Koepis high quality codec, rather than the more efficient one that comes in the K-Lite pack

        In the meantime, I know that vlc (videolan) plays almost every format under the sun, in full screen, with no jumping, so I may need to write a plugin to support this. It will even play directly from bin/cue files or iso's


        • #5
          good luck. wrong forum though....
          2005 Nissan Xtrail
          DFI 855GME-MGF - Celeron M 1.4GHz - 256Mb RAM - 200Gb SATA HDD - OPUS 150w - Xenarc 700TSV



          • #6
            Originally posted by tja View Post
            good luck. wrong forum though....
            Hmmm really? It's RoadRunner I'll be using, and along the way possibly implementing my own plug-ins for it - that's the main reason I put it in here


            • #7
              We have a subforum for Worklogs. I've moved this thread to that forum.

              The Roadrunner forum is more for discussions of functionality, skinning, plug-ins, etc.
              Have you looked in the FAQ yet?
              How about the Wiki?

              Under normal circumstances, a signature would go here.


              • #8
                Okay, so my combo wifi/bluetooth USB dongle arrived today. Installed the drivers, plugged it in, and away I go. After 3 hours of operation, the dongle is slightly warm to the touch - and this is in my main office along with 6 other machines, switches, router, UPS etc. In the car I can't foresee any issues

                I also installed the K-Lite codec pack, and dumped a test video on the box. THis was a 1 minute sample from "Fearless" - 672x272 XVid with AC3 sound, and it played full screen with no jumping - on the 256MB ram I have currently installed. On a same machine with Koepis I get serious jitter, but Koepis XVid codec gives much higher quality. Hey - the screen is just 7" so I'm more than happy with the quality the K-Lite XVid codec gives me


                • #9
                  Now this sucks...

                  On reboot my bluetooth/wifi combo dongle seems to go the way of the pear

                  Bluetooth PAN doesnt connect, and the wifi side of things just bounces in and out trying to initialise the device

                  Have emailed the retailer, and will wait to see what they have to say - old drivers, or duff device


                  • #10
                    Well, my bluetooth/wifi dongle is sent back for a replacement, and my screen arrived today

                    This is an Eonon 294. Very nice bit of kit. At anything above 640x480 the standard text gets distorted, but once you fire up RoadRunner, everything is just peachy. Smooth video, the touchscreen works well, and it is extremely bright.

                    For those who are interested, it came from hk88 on ebay - 120 including shipping