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ThunderbirdPC Worklog

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  • ThunderbirdPC Worklog

    Phase 1: Planning.

    So my Thunderbird's out of commission for the time being. Hydrolocked the thing driving for Pizza Hut one night and it's gonna take me about 4 months to save up for an engine block (looks like the heads and valves are alright, thankfully). This gives me a chance to redo the previous ThunderbirdPC, which was a Toshiba laptop I hacked to have the screen up front (built a custom enclosure out of Lexan, aluminum railing, and lots of hot glue) with the PC in back (I wasn't sure it'd work, but running the screen cables through a 6 foot parallel cable actually worked beautifully) with an actual car-dedicated system.

    So my grand vision is in a list form below, the numbers before each option a rating (1 (least important) to 10 (most important)).

    10. GPS (already got the receiver and Streets and Trips 2005)
    10. CD/DVD/Digital Audio
    8. Environmental Controlls.
    3. Gauge Monitor
    2. Wireless Entry (technically the BOA system is in place and works, but using my iPAQ over wifi or Bluetooth would be tre cool).
    7. Voice Command
    7. IR Remote Command
    6. TV Receiver
    9. Radio Receiver

    It is also conceivable, utilizing the instructions of the BOA system and monitoring it, that I could write a circuit that, if the toggle is set to allow it, could start and run the car for 10 minutes or so if the battery drain gets too low (both the toggle and the hood open switch (and brake sensor for that matter) are already installed via the BOA system). I did install the system myself, and it's still hanging near the driver side floor thanks to the fact the wires weren't long enough to actually hide it.

    So one of the reasons I'm replacing the laptop system, which by all means works, is that it tends to overheat in the summer and shut its self off, and if I try to play music while I have S&T running with the GPS it bluescreens (even in XP Pro). Heh, the inverter I'm using actually isn't rated to run the laptop, so I modded on a PC fan to that to keep it from overheating and that actually worked like a dream.

    I already have some ideas of what kind of system I intend to build. First, most of it I'm going to buy from another place because I'm planning to get a reseller account with them and will get one HECK of a discount. Anyway I'm planning to go with either a lower end P4 or a P3, or maybe an Athlon XP. I just remember AMD used to have a heat problem over Intel. Probably going to go mini ATX to keep in the realm of the familiar to myself. Going to use a PSU from here obviously, wanna go with one of the 160W ones so I have plenty of power to run my stuff. Want to go with one of the motorized touchscreen 7" LCDs, maybe even two. For a video card I'm certainly going with nVidia. They've always been good to me (GeForce 6800 rocks!). Most likely the FX 5600 Personal Cinema which I believe does dualview. Sound I'm intending to be provided via a SB 512 Live I have sitting around. For a HD I'm seriously considering a server grade one, something that will be able to withstand the occasional ski jump or perhaps the incensitive comments of coworkers (I have already promised to do this for a shift manager at Pizza Hut).

    I know I'm intending to completely replace the stereo with the PC, thus getting rid of my crappy stereo and freeing up the Belkin MP3Cast I have (not to mention actually having some surround sound then). It would be cool if I could computerize the environmental controls but apparently they're vaccum based and that might be more work than I want to put forth, but I'll have a look at it in any case. I know I can computerize the temp setting, that's digital already and shouldn't be too hard to hack.

    So that's the plan for now. Next step is figuring out what I can have up front. And I'll probably make another post with a few layout ideas in a few minutes.
    --Zennoa, the white wolf spirit

    '95 Ford Thunderbird LX 4.6L V8

    AMD Athlon 64 3200+ with eVGA GeForce 6800, SoundBlaster Audigy 2 ZS Platinum, Sony DVD DL burner and 1 gig of ram at home.

    Nothing in car currently :-(

  • #2
    Please move this thread to the Work Logs section in the "Show off your Project" forum


    • #3
      Aha! Another feature.

      15. (yes, this is 150% important to me), digital rear window defrost. This thing keeps turning off at odd times and is push on/push off based so every time I shut the car off and turn her back on I have to hit defrost again. Computer remember, turn on!

      I could also do a cell phone attachment. I've got the cable and software, but I really get raped on the data transfer pricing. $80 for unlimited per month.
      --Zennoa, the white wolf spirit

      '95 Ford Thunderbird LX 4.6L V8

      AMD Athlon 64 3200+ with eVGA GeForce 6800, SoundBlaster Audigy 2 ZS Platinum, Sony DVD DL burner and 1 gig of ram at home.

      Nothing in car currently :-(