Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Plug and Play CarPC??

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Plug and Play CarPC??

    After building my first carpc (see link in sig), which is based on a Eee PC 701, I've had many people who've seen it ask me how difficult it was and if I could do one for them.

    This got me thinking about what I'd use if I were to build a standard Double-DIN Carputer that could be put into almost any vehicle with little to no setup, hacking or tweaking...

    The basic criteria I'd want from this device are:
    Media, GPS, Internet (through Bluetooth Cellular Modem), Emulator Games, and possibly OBD

    Plus I'd want to keep cost under $400, (which may mean using Linux to save on software costs) and have it be relatively plug and play... Any thoughts??
    COMPLETED! 02 VW Golf TDI 7" Eee PC Budget Build


  • #2
    i tend to agree that this is one area that is seriously lacking.

    last i heard, member justchat(and i thought kev000- not sure of his new name..) is working on it, but hasn't listed a price yet because he is still figuring all the hardware out...

    check this thread for updates:
    http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/gene...ware-have.html
    My OLD 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT:
    "The Project That Never Ended, until it did"


    next project? subaru brz
    carpc undecided

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by soundman98 View Post
      i tend to agree that this is one area that is seriously lacking.

      last i heard, member justchat(and i thought kev000- not sure of his new name..) is working on it, but hasn't listed a price yet because he is still figuring all the hardware out...

      check this thread for updates:
      http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/gene...ware-have.html
      Thanks for the head's up on that thread... Looks like a really great product should be out soon..

      However, since we are a DIY community, I was thinking something more along the lines of a general formula that you can follow, which should yield good results for almost anyone across the board...

      Like, buy hardware A + B + C from X, Y, Z suppliers. Combine, following a specific recipe, install like you would most any other car stereo, and voila! You have yourself a carputer for under $400!

      I mean, with today's level of technology and the global marketplace, this should certainly be possible, right?

      I feel like we just have to find that magic combo of low-cost hardware and distributors....

      I'm gonna start throwing some ideas out there:

      Proposed Setup 1 - Eee PC (or other Netbook-Based CarPC):
      This is the route that I went, and I could have easily brought it in under the $400 mark, if I had not opted to buy a Parrot CK3100 Hands-free Bluetooth Calling Kit (which I did because this was a must-have feature for me), and a new head unit (which I did mainly because my factory one was under-powered, and had no Aux input)...

      The original 700 series Eee PC's are widely available on eBay in the sub-$100 range if they don't have any accessories, and come with Linux. OR in the $100-$150 range if they have some upgrades and XP installed.

      There's also a great support community for them over at eeeuser.com and plenty of upgrades and accessories available... The best part was that I was also able to use my original LCD screen by adding a touch-screen overlay, and I also reused the LCD bezel as well...

      The only real problem with this option is that you still need to have something to power your speakers, like a relocated head-unit or just a straight amp to speakers setup... This probably wont put it over budget, but it does defeat the idea of Plug-and-Play...

      Another obstacle with using the Eee PC as a Plug-and-Play CarPC is that the motherboard doesn't quite fit inside a standard Double-DIN opening. For most vehicles, it will be either too long, and have to go in lengthwise at an angle but stick out in the front a bit at the bottom, causing the screen to angle up about 5 degrees or so,

      or it will be Too wide, and make you have to trim some of the inner console brackets and such, which is what i did...

      Therefore the Eee PC would need some kind of custom double-DIN enclosure made to mount it as shown above, and you'd have to add a mini-amp like the AMP9-BASIC from 41Hz.com...

      If the mini-amp runs about US$75 + Shipping, that would leave about $20-$40 to find a suitable double-DIN case to mount everything in... if that exists somewhere out there, or can be custom made for that price, then the Eee-powered Plug-and-Play CarPC option (with some assembly required) may actually be feasible:

      Asus Eee PC 701: 512MB to 1GB RAM, 4GB SSD, Celeron 630MHz (can be overclocked to 900MHz) ~ $100 to $150 (eBay)
      4x35w mini-amp ~$40 (ByByte.com)
      7" Double-DIN CarPC Enclosure ~$58 (ByByte.com)
      7" USB Plug-n-Play Touch Screen Digitizer for Asus Eee PC 701 ~ $33.50 (Deal Extreme)
      G.Mouse Mini USB SiRF Star-III 20-Channel GPS Receiver ~ $38.50 (Deal Extreme)
      USB Digital Radio Receiver Dongle (FM 76~108Mhz) ~$12.50 (Deal Extreme)
      4GB SDHC Card ~$10 (Deal Extreme)
      4 Port USB 2.0 Hub ~$5 (Deal Extreme)
      Car Charger Cigarette Adapter for Asus 7" Eee PC 701 ~ $4.50 (Deal Extreme)
      Super Mini Bluetooth 2.0 Adapter Dongle ~ $2.50 (Deal Extreme)
      Vehicle-Specific Wiring Harness ~$5 to $10 (eBay)
      Ground Loop Isolator ~$6 to $12 (eBay)
      Roll-up Flexible Keyboard ~$5 (local Staples)
      Momentary SPST N.O. Push-button Switch ~$3 (local Radio Shack)
      assorted wiring, connectors & fuses ~$10 to $15 (various local stores)
      ------------------------------------
      Grand total estimate: $335 to $400, plus however much shipping is on the mini-amp and double-DIN enclosure kit

      Still leaves a bit of room for the double-din mounting kit and bezel... Any thoughts??
      EDIT: Double-DIN enclosure and Bezel added to total cost. Found cheaper amp too. See Post below.
      COMPLETED! 02 VW Golf TDI 7" Eee PC Budget Build

      Comment


      • #4
        Fair warning that radio is crap and a half....the rest looks like a decent plan though. Just keep in mind you may have thermal and/or rf issues from the mounting position.
        openMobile - An open source C# Front End (why choose openMobile?)
        - Always Recruiting Developers -
        Like what you see? Donations are always welcome

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by justchat_1 View Post
          Fair warning that radio is crap and a half....
          Hmm... Thanks for the warning, but the reviews seem pretty good on it though...
          You think it would still be no good for a car, even if I beefed up the antenna? or tied it into the car's antenna?

          The only other ones I found from a more reputable brand (for more than twice the price though) were: ADS Tech Instant FM Music Video Device RDX-155-EF and RADIOSHARK2 - Am/fm Radio Recorder
          Which other ones would you recommend instead??

          the rest looks like a decent plan though.
          Thanks for the support! My buddy with a fully-built custom turbo Nissan 240SX really wants to be the guinea pig for this project, so that he can adjust his stand-alone engine management software on the fly... Which means that I may be moving forward on it pretty soon... On a side note, he works at a busy Tires Plus in town, that gets a lot of high end vehicles... So if I do it well, and he shows it off at work, then there should definitely be a market to do more of them...

          Just keep in mind you may have thermal and/or rf issues from the mounting position.
          The Eee's stock fan (which I also left in my own setup) would now blow out the back/top in this setup, so I may need a way to redirect that air if there is something in the way (usually AC vents)... Perhaps reversing the direction of the fan and try to push the heat out underneath? Plus if you don't run them at 900MHz, and add a big heatsink/cooling fan, like from a celeron/P4 or similar, then they usually stay pretty cool (or at least within reason)...

          What kind of RF issues do you think I would run into? And what would they have to do with the mounting position?? In my current setup, the mobo is angled slightly, but its also mounted laterally now, as opposed to longitudinally... I haven't had any RF issues so far, but I don't really know what I'd be looking for either...

          What I really want to find is a good (cheap )double DIN cage with bezel or mounting kit...
          ByByte.com seems to have the best deals @ $30 for the LCD Frame, and I could make my own brackets for the mobo... but they're out of stock now
          They also have full enclosures for $58! Which might be more suited to what I want to do... and the enclosure will just have to get hit with the dremel pretty hard... or maybe I can contact them to see if they're interested in doing something custom?? Perhaps after I make a decent mockup though...

          Looks like they also have $40 4x35w mini-amps, which should save me about $40 compared to the 41Hz.com model...

          What I'd eventually like to have is a set of instructions similar to these: http://www.bybyte.com/ABS-install.htm
          Except have them be for mounting a Eee into an enclosure.
          COMPLETED! 02 VW Golf TDI 7" Eee PC Budget Build

          Comment


          • #6
            Proposed Setup 2 - Mini ITX Based CarPC:

            Basically replace the EeePC above with:
            Foxconn 45CS Intel Atom 230 Intel 945GC Mini ITX Motherboard/CPU Combo ~$65 (NewEgg)
            Mini 7" TFT Digital Colour LCD TV Monitor (1140x468 resolution & VGA input) ~$77 (DealExtreme)
            12V 120W DC-DC Mini ITX Power Supply ~$25 (eBay)

            The problem is that after you add RAM and a Hard Drive, even if you take out the 4GB SD Card
            and Eee Car Charger, you're still more expensive than you were before...

            Plus I'd want some other kind of shutdown controller or at least a 12V back-up battery (maybe a motorcycle/scooter lead-acid battery) wired with diodes so that the car can charge it but it couldn't ever drain the car battery... Perhaps this??
            http://www.amazon.com/Wagan-EA2045-S...=pd_sbs_auto_3

            More $$$... Less Plug and Play...
            COMPLETED! 02 VW Golf TDI 7" Eee PC Budget Build

            Comment


            • #7
              See kev000's new thread on this subject, there are good arguments both ways for exactly this concept. I dont know his new name either, but you'll know its him, it has the word "linux" in the post

              And that radio does suck, it cant lock on well when moving. The eepc is seriously lacking in power and quality. A M10k is faster.
              Fusion Brain Version 6 Released!
              1.9in x 2.9in -- 47mm x 73mm
              30 Digital Outputs -- Directly drive a relay
              15 Analogue Inputs -- Read sensors like temperature, light, distance, acceleration, and more
              Buy now in the MP3Car.com Store

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by 2k1Toaster View Post
                See kev000's new thread on this subject, there are good arguments both ways for exactly this concept. I dont know his new name either, but you'll know its him, it has the word "linux" in the post
                Ya, links would help here.. Plus, what really good Front ends and Nav software are out for linux??

                And that radio does suck, it cant lock on well when moving.
                Ok, I acknowledged that the radio could be improved in the post above, but have still yet to hear any good suggestions as to which ones DO work, and are still inexpensive.

                The eepc is seriously lacking in power and quality. A M10k is faster.
                I am going to disagree with you about the Eee's quality and power. I use mine in the car daily, and I love it. I've never had any issues with the power or quality. Songs never skip, Nav starts right up, I'm under 90 seconds from a cold boot into the FE, ready to rock (and it could be much faster if I slipstreamed XP).

                The only time I've ever had Centrafuse crash was while I was running iGuidance in the background and playing with the more CPU intensive visualizations... This was likely a software-related issue, though, rather than a hardware-related one. But honestly, who can look at both while driving anyway?
                COMPLETED! 02 VW Golf TDI 7" Eee PC Budget Build

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by 2k1Toaster View Post
                  See kev000's new thread on this subject, there are good arguments both ways for exactly this concept. I dont know his new name either, but you'll know its him, it has the word "linux" in the post

                  And that radio does suck, it cant lock on well when moving. The eepc is seriously lacking in power and quality. A M10k is faster.
                  Kev's new name is Tripzero
                  Originally posted by ghettocruzer
                  I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
                  Want to:
                  -Find out about the new iBug iPad install?
                  -Find out about carPC's in just 5 minutes? View the Car PC 101 video

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Bugbyte View Post
                    Kev's new name is Tripzero
                    Thanks, but I searched and haven't found any threads where he mentions something similar to what I'd like to do???
                    COMPLETED! 02 VW Golf TDI 7" Eee PC Budget Build

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      My thread is here: http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/gene...oo-open-2.html

                      I think the main difference between what you want to do and what I plan on doing is that I don't plan on using hardware the people will know what to do with off the shelf. Either a plug-type system or a gumstix solution requires a lot more knowledge to hack. Using this hardware allows you a lot more freedom in the space requirements.

                      Also, a lot of people like the freedom from a dual component setup. They like being able to remove the computer and work on it inside closed doors. My solution would be built in such a way that you wouldn't need to ever "bench" it.
                      Former author of LinuxICE, nghost, nobdy.
                      Current author of Automotive Message Broker (AMB).
                      Works on Tizen IVI. Does not represent anyone or anything but himself.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Well I would like to see what your ideas are Kev, or Trip, or... As you know there is no way our hardware would be in the above quoted price range till we are moving some 100,000 or more units to help bring the manufacturing cost down.

                        Love the thread, would like to see what other features people come up with as a want vs need...

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by tripzero View Post
                          Ha, I don't know how I missed that one in the search results...

                          I think the main difference between what you want to do and what I plan on doing is that I don't plan on using hardware the people will know what to do with off the shelf. Either a plug-type system or a gumstix solution requires a lot more knowledge to hack. Using this hardware allows you a lot more freedom in the space requirements.
                          I haven't had the time to fully read through your proposed setup, and the responses that people have given, but from what I can tell, a plug-type or gumstix setup seems to me that it would be grossly underpowered, and way too proprietary... especially for what most people who would even consider a CarPC as an option would want to do with it...

                          Also, a lot of people like the freedom from a dual component setup. They like being able to remove the computer and work on it inside closed doors. My solution would be built in such a way that you wouldn't need to ever "bench" it.
                          Not sure what you mean by "Dual component setup"?? It seems like you're contradicting yourself if you say that they like being able to remove the computer and work on it indoors, but that with your setup you wouldn't ever have to bench it?? Are you saying then that you're not giving the people what you think they want if they go with your solution, namely the freedom to bench the system???

                          Personally, I don't think that having the ability to "bench" the system should be a big concern for the off-the-shelf CarPC market.. I envision that most users will never have the need for this ability...

                          However, that doesn't mean that it should be impossible for those who would like to upgrade their system. The ability to upgrade individual system components would definitely be attractive to most users who were already familiar with upgrading their PCs: Adding more ram, a bigger Hard Drive, better Wi-Fi card, etc.. would all be big pluses if they were just as easy to do in the CarPC environment as they are in a regular desktop or laptop... the only real difference would be pulling the CarPC (as a double-din headunit) out of the car as you would a stereo... So instead of opening your desktop or laptop case, you'd just remove whatever dash trim is necessary to remove in your car (if any), and then take out the unit and perform the upgrade....

                          My current EeePC setup would require at least a full hour or two of trim and wiring removal just to gain access to the radio cage, which would have to be taken out as a unit with the computer still bolted to it.. In fact, if I hadn't logged my process so well in my build thread, I probably wouldn't even know how to get it back out 6 months from now

                          That is the main thing that I think scares most people away from this hobby: every single setup is different and requires its own R&D. That is also the one thing that I want to solve with this project.... I want noobs to be able to ask "Where do I start?" and instead of us telling them "Go read the FAQ (if you can find it )", the response could be, "Start with A + B + C components (which will deliver a working CarPC for a decent price in most vehicles with a standard Double-DIN dash opening, and with little or no modification to the vehicle) and then go from there," and that way it would at least lower the barriers to entry into the hobby and perhaps even make it less of a hobby, and more like just another option for those who are looking for the best ICE solution.
                          COMPLETED! 02 VW Golf TDI 7" Eee PC Budget Build

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by firstorbit84 View Post
                            I haven't had the time to fully read through your proposed setup, and the responses that people have given, but from what I can tell, a plug-type or gumstix setup seems to me that it would be grossly underpowered, and way too proprietary... especially for what most people who would even consider a CarPC as an option would want to do with it...
                            well, my response to that would be, wth are you running that requires a dual-core? The omap3 cpu that comes in an arm has built in support for opengl ES and dsps that you can use for real-time audio processing. I won't even go into details on why ARM is a better CPU for real-time audio processing than x86 is. You should still be able to multi-task and run do navigation+video+audio. It helps a lot when your OS isn't occupying 90% of the RAM and other resources .

                            Also, have you seen the specs on the guruplug? 1.2GHz, 512MB DDR2800MHz RAM, wifi, bt and hdmi.

                            I want a system that I can run 99% of the time . Current intel hardware doesn't get me there yet.

                            Not sure what you mean by "Dual component setup"?? It seems like you're contradicting yourself if you say that they like being able to remove the computer and work on it indoors, but that with your setup you wouldn't ever have to bench it?? Are you saying then that you're not giving the people what you think they want if they go with your solution, namely the freedom to bench the system???
                            I already admitted that my system isn't for this community in that thread. To add, I haven't decided if I want to put it all in the touchscreen or keep it as a second component. I already have a touchscreen installed and don't need another one right now. The issue I find with a second component is the enclosure. I'm getting pretty good at scrapping broken amps though, but if I were to build it for multiple people, I'd want to get something professionally fab'd. And I have no idea atm how I would do that.

                            Personally, I don't think that having the ability to "bench" the system should be a big concern for the off-the-shelf CarPC market.. I envision that most users will never have the need for this ability...
                            You are probably right. How big is the off-the-shelf CarPC market in forums like this? probably not very big.

                            I do agree with you generally speaking. The amount of R&D in this hobby is stifling it's growth. IMHO, dashboard has solutions that help take a lot of that sting away.
                            Former author of LinuxICE, nghost, nobdy.
                            Current author of Automotive Message Broker (AMB).
                            Works on Tizen IVI. Does not represent anyone or anything but himself.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I'm with Kev on this. It really depends on your market and what you want your system to offer.
                              The Hobby market, careful, there are a ton, 'TON' of companies that have this area covered. Niche market, sure there is always room, but still depends. Companies like mine, Dashboard Devices or Data911 'fire', Microsoft 'sync', Azentek 'they still around?' and on and on already have market share, so if this is your line of thinking...better get cracking...

                              Only piece of advice, make wiring simple!! Not goto CompUSA or BestBuy to the computer area to buy Gold USB cables, but true useful cables that get the job done with as little mess as possible... Oh, wait, we did that... nevermind...

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X