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  • AirPuter

    I have just finished the current version of my AirPuter. This is a system with MiniITX moatherboard in a custom case with Xenarc display. I use this system in my plane for VFR navigation. I have been working on this for a few months with my flying partner who is an A&P IA. The biggest chalenger was making the unit "portable" so that it did not require FAA certification

    Equipment:
    -Case :The case is a Lansing Instruments 1/2 rack 2U case that was narrowed by 1"
    -Xenarc Display
    -VIA EPIA-M Mini-ITX moatherboard with Eden processor
    -30Gig HD on vibration dampners
    -Opus 90W power supply
    -custom 2minute time delay relay to prevent battery drain from USB devices
    -PS/2 keyboard controller for buttons on display (+, -, Esc)
    -Versapoint RF Keyboard (Sometimes the onscreen display is hard to use)
    -NetGear USB 802.11 interface.
    -USB GPS
    -COnnectors - AMP MilSpec Aircraft grade circular connectors.
    -Wire - MillSpec M22759/16/22 and 16 aircraft wire
    -SOftware - Mountain Scope (www.mountainscope.com) aviation software

    The system works great and everyone wants one. because the display is low on the panel, I did have to tilt it out about 15 deg. I am thinking about moving my radio stack down so that I can install it at the top of the panel. I still need to install a toggel switch on pin two of the display inverter so that I can switch the display between full bright and min bright for night flying.

    I have also connected the audio out to the aircraft intercom so that in the future I could listen to music (or passenger could). I would also like to implement an audio checklist. It was been great taxing up to a local FBO that has an AP and surfing the internet from the plane. Running netstumbler at around 2000'AGL also gives some interesting results.

    This is my first post so I hope these photos come through. They do not show up on the preview.
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Dude that's crazy! Really cool stuff, you must be rollin' in it if you have a plane. And the cash to do that!

    Photos came through fine, and look really good. Well done!
    Dak TruckPuter:

    Mac: - Researching and Awaiting Funds

    Changed to planning for a Mac Mini Trukputer...w3rd.

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    • #3
      Awesome! I'm saving to buy myself either a PA-38 Traumahawk or a a PA-28 Warrior of some flavor. Cheapest part of owning a plane is buying it, and that's messed up!

      I've been thinking of doing the exact same thing, but haven't actually moved on it because... well, I don't have a plane yet.

      I'm just a few hours away from my checkride, look forward to seeing more pictures of your project!
      Chrysler 300 - Fabricating
      http://hallert.net/

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      • #4
        This is installed in a PA-28-140. 1964 version. About the same as the Warrior with the older wing though. Myself and my partner who is a Mechanic went through and totally restored the plane. It is still expensive even when you do all the work yourself.

        Look at the pre-77 cherokees. It you find one with 1000 hours or less on engine and ok interior and paint, it is not too bad to keep up. If you like to work on them you can find a mech to work with to check off your work. Owner assist anuals also save money.

        Good luck on the check ride.

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        • #5
          Dont you have alot on your mind when u fly a cessna?
          Enuf that you cant be watching movies or playing games?
          what i mean to say is, arent you worried about crashing more in a plane than in a car if you are using a carputer? I could be just crazy but i think YER EVEN MORE NUTS
          (All done)
          iPad Mini 128GB, RF 600.5 amp, JL12W0V2, 8 Infinity Components

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          • #6
            .

            I think it would be safer to watch a movie in a plane than in a car because in a plane if you drift a few feet to the left or right its not as dangerouse as in a car. Unless your trying to land the plane...
            Progress [I will seriously never be done!]
            Via EPIA MII
            512MB RAM
            OEM GPS (embedded)
            nLite WinXP pro on
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            Software: Still, re-Writing my existing front end in .Net

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            • #7
              Very true. But watching a movie in a car while driving wasnt something i considered doing. Though flying i would. So its apples and oranges i guess. oh well
              (All done)
              iPad Mini 128GB, RF 600.5 amp, JL12W0V2, 8 Infinity Components

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              • #8
                So long as you've got GPS and your radio silences the DVD player, I guess it might be okay. I don't have enough hours in my logbook to even think about listening to CD's whilst piloting.
                Debt as of 1/1/05: $34,354.48
                Debt as of July 4, 2007: $0.00 explanation
                I'M DEBT FREE!!
                I'm now a reasonably successful gunblogger.

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                • #9
                  The real use for this system is GPS navigation, terain avoidance and so on. I can also check weather while on the ground, file a flight plan check airport information. I was also going to run a program that would do pre-takeoff chacklists that play through the headsets (intercom). I could use it to play MP3s but when I fly I really do not have time for that. It might be nice for the passenger though. I could also use if for a DVD for the passenger. There would not be time to watch it when you are flying.

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                  • #10
                    It's more likely that he's using it as an enhanced gauge. I'm a student pilot with around 36 hours, and I don't know how it is for experienced pilots, but I still don't automatically visualize airspaces unless they're obvious (like class D). For example, I fly out of Santa Monica, and there's LAX class B airspace above most of the west LA basin, so I gots to be real careful to avoid straying into class bravo. A tool like this with software to visualize the airspace in 3D, at least until it's familiar, would be handy.

                    Also, there's enough to do in the sky to keep you occupied. If it plays movies, it's probably for passengers first and foremost. There's always some checklist or scan pattern you should be executing, so it'd be real hard to keep your head in the cockpit long enough to enjoy anything from a movie.
                    Chrysler 300 - Fabricating
                    http://hallert.net/

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                    • #11
                      That setup looks great. I am experiencing RF interference from my carputer with OEM alarm system to the point that unless it is shutdown I can not activate my alarm. What have done to safegaurd against interference with your plane's electronics?
                      Compaq Evo D510 e-PC - P4 2.0 - 512M RAM - 120G 3.5 HD - 7" Xenarc 700TSV - DSATX fitted nicely inside the PC case

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Chairboy
                        It's more likely that he's using it as an enhanced gauge. I'm a student pilot with around 36 hours, and I don't know how it is for experienced pilots, but I still don't automatically visualize airspaces unless they're obvious (like class D). For example, I fly out of Santa Monica, and there's LAX class B airspace above most of the west LA basin, so I gots to be real careful to avoid straying into class bravo. A tool like this with software to visualize the airspace in 3D, at least until it's familiar, would be handy.

                        Also, there's enough to do in the sky to keep you occupied. If it plays movies, it's probably for passengers first and foremost. There's always some checklist or scan pattern you should be executing, so it'd be real hard to keep your head in the cockpit long enough to enjoy anything from a movie.
                        That is one of the greatest thing about it. You do not want to bustthat class Bravo airspace. I fly a lot in the Seattle Area that is also a nightmare. I have attached a screen shot of the mapping software I use. Each of those areas inside the Blue Lines is Class B airspace. Each area has a different floor/ceiling. Some go from the surface to 10,000 feet. Some from 1100' some from 2,000 etc. It is hard to remember them all and not bust them. It is must worse to enter Class B airspace without permission than to be cought for speeding, red light running etc.
                        Attached Files

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Zebelkhan
                          That setup looks great. I am experiencing RF interference from my carputer with OEM alarm system to the point that unless it is shutdown I can not activate my alarm. What have done to safegaurd against interference with your plane's electronics?
                          It is typically not as much of a problem in a plane than in a car. Aircraft environments are not typically as noisy. We do not have light going on and off all the time, Distributors, etc. Also all the equipment has met minimum FAA TSO requirements for noise etc.

                          Here is what I did to make sure there was not a problem. I used a tight aluminim case that was grounded and all surcases of the case were grounded. I also shielded the cable between the monitor and the PC. The connectors I uses would also block RF through them. You need to keep that RF energy from the CPU and clock inside the case. It must be conductive without any leaks. (it did make it hard for my RF KB at first.)

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                          • #14
                            OMG! That's bloody brilliant!
                            I remember getting my private license... Hours upon hours sitting in a beater Cessna at 6k-7k ft. Occasionally picking up a crappy station when I tuned the radios as close as I could get to 108... <sigh>
                            http://www.jeepmp3.com/
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                            • #15
                              that's very cool. I am actually an avionics engineer. I work on stuff slightly bigger tho. (747's & 767's) I reckon that anything that is a nav aid can't be bad. I would like to see the FAA's take on it. Just from a legal standpoint.
                              Never let the truth get in the way of a good story

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