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MasterCraft X30 BoatPuter

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  • MasterCraft X30 BoatPuter

    After spending a couple weeks poking around MP3Car forums, decided it was time to build one for my boat.

    The Person -
    An engineer in need of another escape from work hobby
    The Boat -
    2005 MasterCraft X30
    The Main Objective -
    MP3s! Easy music selection/management via touchscreen interface besides my iPhone.
    Certainly will be plenty of opportunity for future expansion when I figure out where else to go with this new toy.
    The Hardware -
    Intel Intel D945GCLF2 with Atom 330 (64 bit dual core 1.6 GHz 533 FSB, 8 Watt TDP)
    1 GB memory
    60 GB OCZ SSD Hard Drive (Agility Series)
    M2-ATX power supply
    Voom PC-2 Mini ITX Case
    Xenarc 700TSV 7" Touchscreen display
    The Software -

  • #2
    Some Pictures of The Goodies

    The boat...
    Hardware guts...
    Loading the OS...
    Attached Files


    • #3
      Win7 Boot Time

      Boot time to RideRunner is about 38 seconds from first power application.

      BIOS seems a little slow, taking ~18 seconds. So, takes ~20 seconds for Win7 to get through OS load and get RR fired up. Not bad. Anyone else done better?


      • #4
        Originally posted by travi_21 View Post
        Boot time to RideRunner is about 38 seconds from first power application.

        BIOS seems a little slow, taking ~18 seconds. So, takes ~20 seconds for Win7 to get through OS load and get RR fired up. Not bad. Anyone else done better?
        Check out this thread
        My Nearly Complete Car:

        Micro Control Center... Control Your Car Across the Internet

        Website: (It's a work in progress, really. All my projects have taken me from ever really developing it.)


        • #5
          Good luck with the install.

          I have mine just about finished, but I have been very lax at updating my build log. I don't have my main system installed yet, but I do have the dash monitor, the 2140 power supply and most of the peripherals installed. Tested it with the laptop and it seems to be working well.

          Need to order the relays for the fusion brain and my rear drive cam and then I'll have all the hardware.
          TruckPC - gutted, being used for test setup
          BoatPC - All in 1 in cuddy, N7 using VNC on dash, RR
          BlazerPC - Nexus 7 with Timur's USBROM


          • #6
            DaveDog - I like the idea of the FM transmitter. Great for those times with multiple boats tied up for the afternoon party... What were you thinking for the equipment? I searched around a little and found several companies with hobbyist transmitters...


            Would be interesting to see what happens with antenna hiding out of sight.

            An alternate approach may be to buy one of those little Belkin FM transmitters and solder a telescopic antenna to it... May have to look into what cheapness Walmart has...


            • #7
              Struggling with windows performance right now. Windows boots quickly, but once I get to RR, and start navigating through menus, the application responds sluggishly. Windows fades the app window, and pops up a nice little "This application is no longer responding..." type of message. Give it 10 seconds or so and it'll usually come back. Strange...

              Anybody else experienced this?


              • #8
                Road Runner Bogging Down

                Found a thread that seems like it might be the same problem I'm experiencing...

                Read this thread, then went through my MP3 collection. Looks like I've got quite a number with embedded covers and lyrics. Others also have APE tags in addition to ID3v2.3. Undecided if I'm going to strip all the covers and see if that fixes the issue, or wait until the bugfix comes out.


                • #9
                  Wire Bundles

                  So, the case I'm using (Voom PC-2) is nice and tiny. This is a very good thing. However, the ATX power cables supplied with the M2-ATX power supply are way tooooooo long. That and the cable supplied for the processor voltage reg actually plugs into the Molex 4 pin floppy. More wires, more mess, less airflow.

                  Found the ATX Power Supply Design Guide (v1.3), which specifies that the 2x2 connector is a Molex 39-01-2040. Mouser sells these, so I'll pick up a couple, with the connectors. Also checked into prices for a hand crimp tool. Wow, Molex things very highly of these suckers!! Priced at $240 for one that handles 16-24 gauge! Maybe Radio Shack has a poor man's version. Failing that, screwdrivers and pliers will do.

                  I was actually thinking of just redoing all 20 pins on one end of the main power connector, but given the crimp tool price, I'll just splice the wires. Will cut off the Molex 4 pin floppy power connector splices to alleviate that messiness. A little heat shrink tubing or electrical tape on the ends should be good to prevent any shorting from ever occurring.

                  Pictures to come once I finish this little round of hacking and chopping.


                  • #10
                    any update on this?
                    New System in progress:
                    Phaze TD1500 ~> Dynaudio MD130
                    Phaze TD1500 ~> Seas g18rnx/p
                    Zapco Ref 500.1 ~ 12" tc-9
                    Behringer DCX2496 ~ Envision Electronics psu
                    Transflective Xenarc

                    My Car Pc Install
                    My Boat Pc worklog


                    • #11

                      Used the BoatPuter last year. It worked fine.

                      Ended up running 4 gage wire from the Perko switch up to the amp power distribution tray I installed. Bought a 1 farad capacitor to go with the amp dist tray, but haven't figured out how to handle the regular possibility of completely discharging the cap. Don't want to drain it completely then re-attach the batteries. So it remains un-installed.

                      To distribute the computer line level outs to the various amps, I installed an AudioControl Matrix. Works great! The single line out from the computer runs into the Matrix and then gets distributed into the 3 amps. Each of the 3 outs (stereo) has individual level adjust via the Matrix.

                      I built a little individual amp volume control box. Intent was to easily control (independently) the tower speakers, boat speakers, and sub from a little box installed near the touchscreen (convenience). Used log pots - result was all wrong. Wondering if I should have used linear pots for line level signals?? Dumped it and went straight from the Matrix to the amps. Matrix is fairly accessible where I installed it, but once I had it set, didn't play with it.

                      BoatPuter worked fine all last year. Major improvement area needed -- a touchscreen with LARGE buttons (play/pause, volume, track +/-). CarWings is nice, but when you're bouncing around on the water...

                      Upgrades planned for this year -- Ribbon LEDs! Just ordered a 5 meter roll of ribbon LEDs from LEDLIGHTSWORLD.COM. Initial plan is to use a currently unused dash switch to drive them. Will see how this all goes once I get the ribbon and start the install. Possible future enhancement is to control via the BoatPuter (FusionBrain?).

                      Also looking to install a Wireless Router. Goal is to use my Android phone to wirelessly control volume and track forward/back options in Winamp. Looks like it should be do-able - input to the Linksys router I have is 12vdc...

                      Mods are all second priority to water time though, so we'll see how far I get this summer!


                      • #12
                        im glad im not the only one doing this.

                        im surprised that your log pots aren't working correctly. luckily it's easy and cheap to try linear pots. they have some ip67 pots at mouser for 11 bucks each.

                        i have a skin that you can use/modify with large buttons. i ended up not going with an installed touchscreen and instead a tablet pc running win7. but it's still big enough for a 7" screen
                        here is a video of it on a tablet

                        i was able to control track listings and pumps via my phone as well. it's pretty simple if you use event ghost.

                        I'm also looking into fusionbrain right now. i want to integrate a position control of my power wedge and also integrate a depth gauge with possibly having an alarm. but there is an led controller already out there. check out the mjsgadget rgb led controller:

                        my progress has slowed down though... rather spend time on the board then tweaking the computer.
                        New System in progress:
                        Phaze TD1500 ~> Dynaudio MD130
                        Phaze TD1500 ~> Seas g18rnx/p
                        Zapco Ref 500.1 ~ 12" tc-9
                        Behringer DCX2496 ~ Envision Electronics psu
                        Transflective Xenarc

                        My Car Pc Install
                        My Boat Pc worklog


                        • #13
                          Installation pictures from long ago...

                          Looking down at the driver's console
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                          Computer mounted...
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                          Panel re-installed...
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                          • #14
                            2011 additions

                            Spent most of 2011 on the water, or breaking the bank on sound system upgrades.

                            One notable addition to the Boat 'Puter was adding a wireless router (Linksys) that I had sitting around unused. Wired up a small relay to switch power to the router. Relay was chosen with resistance sufficient to allow use of the amp turn on circuit (coming from 'puter) in parallel with use of the same circuit for the pre-amp and 3 amplifiers (probably getting close to maxing out the existing circuit).

                            I cut the connector off the AC brick, and soldered it up (common negative, positive to relay contact). All looked wonderful, and checked out fine on the bench. I installed it in the boat, expecting magic... No such luck. Lots of noise showed up sound system. Seemed like the Linksys was putting all sorts of nasty noise onto my power rail. Ended up adding a small capacitor at the relay (easy access point) to function as a noise filter. The cap filtered the noise right out, and all was working great!

                            Configured the router for the basics -- DHCP, no WAN... Next step was to install/configure the aWARemote software to allow remote control of Winamp. Extremely simple! Installed it on my Android phone (Samsung Galaxy S), tested it out. Done!!

                            The final test came at our Lake Powell trip. With my X30 docked at the rear of the houseboat, and all of us at the front of the houseboat, I had full control of Winamp via my cell phone (using the wireless router installed in the boat).

                            Simply awesome!


                            • #15
                              2012 planning

                              Just bought a FusionBrain!

                              Goals for 2012:
                              • Use 3 ballast pumps to fill 6 different tanks -- requires controlling 3 solenoids to route flow (added 3 sacs from Fly High last year)
                              • Eliminate mechanical switches for ballast pumps
                              • Eliminate mechanical switches for lighting
                              • Install LED light strips, and control via PC
                              • Finally get around to doing a proper install of the monitor