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Looking for a truly simple Mp3 carputer project

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  • Looking for a truly simple Mp3 carputer project

    I have a great head unit with an auxiliary input, I'm looking for a very focused Mp3 player source project based around a DIN form factor, to go in the lower half of my double-din opening.


    I'd like to figure out a way to set up the following:
    • Single-chassis DIN mount carputer
    • Mp3 playback is the only format requirement
    • DIN faceplate display (simple text) with simple button or knob navigation
    • RCA or mini-jack LINE OUT to head unit
    • Auto boot/shutdown with ignition

    A removable HD would be nice but not 100% necessary
    USB storage media interface would be nice but not 100% necessary
    DC-DC power supply would be nice but not 100% necessary

    Does anyone know of a project or existing product that would meet these requirements?

    Thanks!

    Porter

  • #2
    Why not just get an MP3 player and connect it to the head unit if thats at all possible.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by lexdiamond20 View Post
      Why not just get an MP3 player and connect it to the head unit if thats at all possible.
      That's a good suggestion... but I am already doing that with a Creative Zen Micro:Photo.

      My major gripes with that setup are usability and sound quality. Having a hard-drive based MP3 player sticking up obtrusively near the shifter with a cable sticking out of it is inconvenient, and the sound quality out of a headphone jack (through a volume control) is not the best. Also, the unit has to be manually turned on and off and removed from the car on a regular basis for recharging. If this thing had a real line-out jack I would probably just continue doing what I'm doing, but Mp3 players that have a true line-out seem to be both very rare and/or very expensive.

      Having an in-dash carputer dedicated for Mp3 seems like it would be the best thing, other than paying $$Texas for a high capacity iPod (baaaaa) and a good dock solution. My other thought was to use an iAudio M3 with the wired remote mounted on the dash, but again they're well over $300 and I still have the manual on/off and upgradability problem.


      Other (discontinued) projects and products similar to what I'm looking for include the Empeg (later "Rio Car"), the SSI Neo Car, the Dension DMP3, and the YAMPP. None of those are available any longer.

      I'm wondering if anyone has a "current" project based around available hardware and firmware. I've been looking at some of the single-board computers from WinSystems and scratching my head trying to figure out how one would rig up a front panel interface.


      Any thoughts or suggestions (no matter how crazy) would be greatly appreciated!! If I'm just asking for a world of pain, tell me so.

      Comment


      • #4
        Phat Noise:
        http://www.phatnoise.com/products/di...ers/index.aspx

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by jbraddoc View Post
          The PhatNoise doesn't seem to have a head-end controller of any kind, it's designed to work with a factory stereo or a Kenwood deck that specifically supports it via the CD Changer interface.

          Unless I'm missing something about the PhatNoise? If it had a head end controller, like a wired remote panel, that would be awesome.

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          • #6
            The PhatNoise box works like a CD Changer. How much simpler could it be?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Indemnity83 View Post
              The PhatNoise box works like a CD Changer. How much simpler could it be?
              There's no way to plug it into my Eclipse CD8443, as far as I know. I don't think it has an Eclipse-type CD changer interface.

              Comment


              • #8
                Why not replace your head unit with a Kenwood then?

                It will still probably be cheaper than a whole computer.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I really appreciate your help, guys... but come on. The PhatBox alone is $700!! Now you're saying I should buy a Kenwood head unit to have the privelige of attaching one to the car? It sounds like an effective solution, but that's way higher than I'm looking to spend for ICE.


                  Does anybody have any suggestions of an actual standalone Mp3 solution of some kind?

                  Hell, all it has to have is storage of some kind, a stereo line-out, a "brain", and a control panel that fits (in some fashion) a DIN opening.

                  I'm even open to solutions that involve a portable player (line-out required) and a remote LCD interface that I could mount. Does anyone have any ideas?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Porter View Post
                    I really appreciate your help, guys... but come on. The PhatBox alone is $700!! Now you're saying I should buy a Kenwood head unit to have the privelige of attaching one to the car? It sounds like an effective solution, but that's way higher than I'm looking to spend for ICE.


                    Does anybody have any suggestions of an actual standalone Mp3 solution of some kind?

                    Hell, all it has to have is storage of some kind, a stereo line-out, a "brain", and a control panel that fits (in some fashion) a DIN opening.

                    I'm even open to solutions that involve a portable player (line-out required) and a remote LCD interface that I could mount. Does anyone have any ideas?
                    what you could try is dbPowerAMP...its software, but if you get your computer in your car, with all the music you want (in any format..it will even play FLAC and ALC)...you dont even have to install a screen. the player starts up automatically when the comp starts, and all you will need is a wireless keyboard to skip songs you dont want to listen to...no screen needed.

                    so once you get the install complete of the computer, install that payer, and you're good to go...
                    Trouble deciding on car speakers? Clicky Clicky
                    Speakers: DLS Ultimate Iridium 6.3 Link
                    Subwoofer: removed
                    Amplifier#1 (Front Stage): DLS Ultimate A4
                    Amplifier#2 (Sub) removed
                    Carputer: Removed for tablet install

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I'll look into that, thanks!



                      I was in the shower today and had a thought... what about a Carputer (or small laptop) mounted in the car with Ubuntu Linux and a wireless card, running SlimServer... with a Squeezebox as a head end installed into the dash, streaming audio directly off of the remotely mounted PC via 802.11g?

                      That would seem to give me what I want... a decent player interface in the dash (with a remote!) and very very high audio quality, and the PC would be easily removable to interface with my home network. The laptop idea seems to have the most merit, cheap small laptops with crappy screens are a dime a dozen and their power supplies are already hardened against voltage drops. I could stick the PC in a durable enclosure in the trunk with the appropriate OEM DC-DC power brick and forget about it... set up auto-suspend in 2 minutes when the power isn't connected (avoid quick on-off problems) and set it up to auto-wake when the power is restored.

                      Thoughts?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Does anyone have a source for really simple DIN metal enclosures? Preferably just the sides, no front or back? I'm going to have a front panel made for it.

                        The plan at the moment is to use a Squeezebox3 in the dash, in a custom enclosure, with a CarPC or a laptop running linux and Slimserver in the trunk. Attach the two with a bit of Cat5 and hook up the power and RCAs and I'll be in business.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I ended up abandoning the carputer project and bought a Pioneer Premier DEH-P690UB.

                          It's cheap and easy and supports up to 250GB hard drives. As far as I can tell, it's the only unit on the market that actually delivers on what it promises... a commercial, integrated product that delivers simple, high quality digital audio reproduction from attached hard drives.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            You could have used RF OmniFi

                            It's essentially has everything you want, in a pre-built proven format. And now that they're old you could pick one up for less that the build price of even the cheapest carpc.

                            Oh well - looks like you're sorted anyway.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by pokki View Post
                              You could have used RF OmniFi

                              It's essentially has everything you want, in a pre-built proven format. And now that they're old you could pick one up for less that the build price of even the cheapest carpc.

                              Oh well - looks like you're sorted anyway.
                              I would have to hack it to get anything over 20GB... with this setup I can plug in usb flash drives or hard drives up to 250gb as long as their power requirements are under 500mA, and it has full iPod control if I have someone ride along who happens to have an iPod.

                              So far it seems like the right mix of features for my needs... and I bought it for under $200 brand new.

                              Comment

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