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  • HU Quality AM/FM RDS/RBDS Radio with Features

    Project FAQ

    This FAQ is updated with the latest project information. Please, do not ask questions that are already answered here. When new information becomes available, it will be included.

    There hasn't been an update to the FAQ in over <insert time frame here>. Is it up to date?
    See above

    What are the Goals of this project? What will this thing do?
    • A PC controlled AM/FM radio
    • Reception quality comparable to a car radio head unit
    • RDS/RBDS decoded data output
    • Control via USB or Serial or IC
    • 4 channel analog audio output (mirrored front/back pairs)
    • 2 stereo analog audio inputs
    • Powered straight from car OR PC regulated outputs (+5V, +12V)
    • Automotive antenna connector
    • IC auxiliary connector
    • Small physical foot print
    • Low power
    • Inexpensive
    • Integration with common CarPC front end software
    • Parts easily obtained or made available as kits
    • Open hardware and software design.
    When will this be available?
    This is a hobby project and is funded solely by its participants. We each have full-time jobs and families. There is no fixed schedule for completion. We cannot provide even an estimated release date.

    How does it work? Can I get a schematic? Can I get the source code? Can I get the layout in xyz format? What's left to be done?
    There are several potential solutions being worked right now. Below is the latest known information about each. Design and build information may be released when available and only after reasonable troll prevention has been implemented. If it's not in this FAQ then it's not available.

    SEE THIS POST FOR THE LATEST STATUS

    What bands will the radio tune?
    The project goal is an AM/FM radio that tunes over the ranges used globally. All designs currently in work use the same tuner module. Specific frequencies it can tune are here.

    How much will it cost?
    The final cost is unknown at this time but our target has always been the cheapest design possible -- while meeting the Project goals. If we can find the 'right' suppliers, it should be possible to sell kits at a price far below what it would cost to buy the individual components (if that's even possible).

    Should I start buying the parts now?
    Final testing of our solution(s) has not yet been completed. Also, a final BOM has not be released. It's possible (likely) things can/will change. Use that as your own guide to decide if you want to start buying stuff or not. My advice to you is to wait.

    Can I buy this assembled? Can I buy a kit? Can I do this myself?
    This is an open project and we hope to release enough information or materials to allow you to to build the radio yourself. Because some of the parts are difficult to obtain and require SMT soldering skills, we plan to offer partially assembled kits. Fully assembled boards may also be available.

    Can I preorder a kit now?
    No pre-orders are being accepted at thist time.

    Will this card plug into my motherboard?
    It's not an ISA or PCI card. It can be controlled via USB or an IC bus. If you have a USB or IC header on your motherboard then you may be able to squeeze this board inside your case.

    I read this board works from the parallel port. The parallel port is ghey. I want USB!
    The board will have USB and IC interfaces, not parallel. Initial prototyping boards will probably only have an IC interface since the on-board USB solution will be non-trivial. It's possible to implement an IC master controller over a standard PC serial or parallel interface. A USB->Serial dongle combined with a DS275 or MAX232 chip would be a good choice.

    Will this card output digital audio over USB?
    The board will provides line-level analog inputs and outputs. Digital audio is not planned at this time but could be added in the future if someone wants to tackle the hardware and software to support it. This is not a trivial undertaking.

    Other PC radios suck in the car. Reception wanders in and out and is otherwise horrendous. Will this one be better?
    Yes! That's the main project goal. If the current solution doesn't perform well, it will be scrapped for a new design.

    Why are you doing this? There are several inexpensive PC radios on the market.
    See the question above.

    What software will this work with?
    We have support from most of the front end developers here at mp3car.com to support this project. There's a chance a Radiator plug-in will be developed but be advised that Radiator CANNOT support AM or RDS. If you want to develop something for this, everything you need to know is in the data sheets for the parts shown in the schematic

    Will this be bus powered from USB?
    At this moment, the design requires an external 12V source. Full operation specifications will be provided once the design is stabalized and tested.

    Will I be able to hook this to my car's antenna?
    Yes, the board will have a standard Motorola antenna recepticle. Depending on your car, you may need an adapter.

    Will this board control my power antenna? I don't like it extended when I'm not listening to the radio.
    That's primarily a software issue and requires an interface between the PC and your antenna motor. This circuit may provide a low power signal to indicate when your antenna should go up. For many automotive antennas, this is all you'll need. Again though, the front end software will have to be designed to control this in the way you want

    Who is participating in this project?
    Essentially the entire MP3CAR community is participating by providing the feature and interface requirements. The members below are handling the day to day project managment, decision making, funding, engineering, and implementation.
    antimatter
    rando
    racemier
    Seth


    Can I help?
    We need people to assist in locating inexpensive suppliers for the parts and circuit board fabrication in the US and Europe. If you are that person, please PM Seth.

    I'd like to make a donation. Who should I send it to?
    Thank you but we have decided not to accept any payments or donations at this time.

    Where can I find information about the history of this project?
    This project was officially born 7/24/2004 -- that's the date of Seth's first post on the subject. For the historians among us, there are two previous threads on this topic. Please note that much of the contained information is now outdated.
    http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=30106
    http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=32490
    2004 4runner

  • #2
    FAQ continued

    HQCT V1.0,2.0,3.0 (Formerly Designs A & B)
    All further discussion of HQCT can be found here
    Primary Contacts - racemier, Diogenes
    Microcontroller - Microchip PIC18F2455
    Tuner - Microtune 1384WFC3x0195
    Signal Processor & RDS demodulator - Philips TEF6892
    Signal Processor (Design A only)- ST TDA7400D
    RDS/RBDS demodulator & decoder (Design A only) - Philips SAA6588
    Schematic - not released
    Layout - not released
    BOM - not released
    Assembled prototype - here
    Status Summary
    • Design and build prototype: 100%
    • Electrical tests - power up/down cycles and other hardware tests: 100%
    • Write I&#178;C control code to support testing: 100%
    • Write firmware/drivers to control device from USB: 100%
    • API/SDK/Control libraries or Front-end Integration: 0%
    Test Results
    • FM reception test results : OK
    • AM reception test results : TBD
    • RDS/RBDS demodulation test results : OK
    • Audio I/O switching capability test results : OK
    • I&#178;C AUX port communication test results : OK
    • USB interface tests : OK
    Status Postings
    CRAM - Car Radio And Multifuction adapter (formerly Design C)
    Primary Contacts - rando, Seth
    Microcontroller - Microchip PIC18F2455
    Tuner - Microtune 1384WFC3x0195 (3x0194 for EM)
    Signal Processor & RDS demodulator - Philips TEF6892H/V2 (TEF6890H for EM)
    RDS Decoder - Microcontroller for EM
    Schematic - ALPHA .sch file
    Layout - Pre-ALPHA .brd file
    Firmware - Pre-ALPHA C18 source
    BOM - not released (yet)
    Assembled prototype - n/a

    Status Summary
    • Design/Build engineering model: 100%
    • Electrical tests - power up/down cycles and other hardware tests: 90%
    • Write I&#178;C control code to support testing: 100%
    • Design/Write firmware/drivers to control device from PC: 25%
    • Design/Write API/SDK/Control libraries: 35%
    • EMI testing per FCC B part 15 in qualified lab: 0%
    • Performance(Recpetion) tests: 75%
    • Design/Build production prototype: 30%
    Test Results
    • USB/Serial/I&#178;C interface tests : I&#178;C interface functional, I&#178;C shortgate functional
    • I&#178;C AUX port communication test results : Functional
    • AM reception test results : Not tested
    • FM reception test results : Functional
    • Audio I/O switching capability test results : Functional
    • RDS/RBDS decoding test results : Raw RDS clock/data functional
    Status Postings
    2004 4runner

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by RX-7
      Have you seen this?

      Maybe it is a good idea to go with PC/104 platform - it has ability to add this ultimate multimedia solution along with offering Serial / USB connectivity for another equipment as well, and all the software compatability usual PCs have...

      Tell me if I'm mistaken on this...
      Rando& Seth's project is going to be far more functional, though with RDS and AM capabilities. It can also connect to an external antenna for better reception.
      That AVR unit can do none of that.
      Have you looked in the FAQ yet?
      How about the Wiki?



      Under normal circumstances, a signature would go here.

      Comment


      • #4
        to we have to pre-register in order to get one of the earliest DIY kits?

        ^_^
        -Mars

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by DarquePervert
          Rando& Seth's project is going to be far more functional, ...
          Just to make sure things are clear, Seth and Racemier are doing most of the heavy lifting on this project.

          Update: Who's doing what is now correctly reflected in the FAQ above.
          2004 4runner

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Marsupial
            to we have to pre-register in order to get one of the earliest DIY kits?

            ^_^
            FAQ updated!
            2004 4runner

            Comment


            • #7
              Do you plan to have the audio also comming in from USB?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by ksmyarse
                Do you plan to have the audio also comming in from USB?
                FAQ updated.
                2004 4runner

                Comment


                • #10
                  Originally posted by rando
                  Just to make sure things are clear, Seth and Racemier are doing most of the heavy lifting on this project.
                  Antimatter,Rando,Recemier,Seth....we're all guilty in the same degree...

                  Rando's FAQ is official and it seems to clear things up in a succesfull way.

                  A little update about our status is that the prototypes will delay for a week since recemier has some obligations to take care these days and I'm making preperations so that the device will be subjected to all the proper FCC Class B part 15 lab tests.

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    FAQ updated
                    2004 4runner

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      Originally posted by rando
                      FAQ updated
                      Just a sugestion Rando, when you update your Faq (which is a very good example of keeping everyone informed (thank you)) how about using another colour in the font so someone who has read it a number of times can spot the changes quickly. When you re-edit you can revert the previous edit to black.
                      ("Hopefully this will cut down on the noise posted in this thread." Sorry about more noise)
                      EPIA MII: 512m Ram: LinITX 8" Touch Screen: Carnetix P1290 PSU: 802b PCMCIA Wireless card: Slot DVD Player: Touchpad: Wireless Keyboard: BU303 GPS Mouse:
                      Win 2000: RoadRunner Front End: Michelin Mapstore GPS: Netstumbler:

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        A good idea but you still might miss things between updates. For the most part though, you don't need to read the Q&A part of the FAQ more than once. Most of the important updates should appear right up top in the Project Status / Documentation links. To help out a bit, I plan to add dates to those.
                        2004 4runner

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          I read this board works from the parallel port. The parallel port is ghey. I want USB!
                          This mentality amuses me.... so many devices are serial based, yet someone will slap a serial to usb adapter on board and suddenly it's sooo much better... IT"S A SERIAL INTERFACE!! No speed differences, no nothing other then and pretty little USB adaptor, I for one am a little sick of all the issues associated with usb devices in the car... sometimes they work sometimes they don't. Especially with XP.... why not use serial? It'd be a heck of a lot more solid then USB...

                          you could always buy a serial to usb adaptor on your own, just to make it feel better....

                          Comment


                          • #15
                            Originally posted by lopan
                            This mentality amuses me.... so many devices are serial based, yet someone will slap a serial to usb adapter on board and suddenly it's sooo much better... IT"S A SERIAL INTERFACE!! No speed differences, no nothing other then and pretty little USB adaptor, I for one am a little sick of all the issues associated with usb devices in the car... sometimes they work sometimes they don't. Especially with XP.... why not use serial? It'd be a heck of a lot more solid then USB...

                            you could always buy a serial to usb adaptor on your own, just to make it feel better....
                            Oh I'm with you on this 100%. And the real fun begins when someone actually ponies up to do the USB portion of the 18F microcode. The good news is that the same chip has an on board UART and enough processing power to easily implement RS232 over a couple of IO pins also. So firmware to support serial is well within reach of the proposed hardware design. Don't stress over this part. It's been discussed and well thought out so that pretty much all possible connectivity options are open.
                            2004 4runner

                            Comment

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