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Replace OmniFi/OpenFI with Car Computer - '99 Miata

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  • Replace OmniFi/OpenFI with Car Computer - '99 Miata

    Hi guys,

    I have a '99 Miata, which underwent a Bosectomy shortly after I bought it. I now have a Nakamichi CD-400 head unit, with a Rockford Fosgate OmniFi MP3 computer. Output goes to a 4-channel US Acoustics amp in the trunk, and it powers a pair of Aura Whisper wideband drivers in the tweeter location, and a pair of Dayton RS225 8" woofers in the doors. I fabricated the speaker mounts myself. Sounds great.

    The OmniFi is running Linux-based OpenFI, and I replaced the drive with a 100GB 2.5" drive. This is cool as I now have a simple interface for browsing the folder structure of my many MP3s.

    I could continue building on this platform, but I'm thinking about gutting it for a few reasons.
    1. While I love OpenFI, updates on development of the new release has really stagnated.
    2. It can't do nav or video
    3. the hardware is going to fail eventually, and parts are getting hard to come by. The worst thing that could happen is for the damn thing to fail and leave me listening to CDs or even worse, FM radio, until I've built a replacement

    I'm now doing the initial planning / speculation on the successor.

    • I want the new system to have a touch-screen LCD installed in the double-din stock location, probably slightly pushed back into the dash to help with sun glare.
    • The hardware should be installed either in the glovebox, or behind the passenger seat. It needs to be small.
    • I want everything that I build myself to be x86
    • While I don't mind fabricating mounts and so forth, I don't want to do any fab work that will be seen from the passenger compartment, as I can't do fiberglass or any decent finishing.
    • For the OS, I would LOVE to run Palm (now HP) WebOS Maybe it could be done using the VirtualBox dev virtual machine (x86/64 compatible), but I doubt the VM can handle audio correctly.
    • My next preference would be Linux, perhaps using XBMC as the interface
    • Windows is alright too, as long as it's well supported by the software community the front-end interface I used
    • In addition to handling my growing FLAC/MP3 collection, it should have GPS data, and possibly navigation with Tom Tom or something, FM reception for NPR, and connect to my MegaSquirt car computer so I can use it to monitor and tune the engine. This really just means lots of USB ports and driver support. I need WiFi as well so I can tether it to my cell phone or connect to local hot spots.

    The worst part of all is I don't have much time for this project, but I want to do it anyway. I guess what I'm saying is, I need to choose components and approaches that are well-supported. I don't have enough free time to forge new ground, and if I start down that path, I'll never finish I don't mind purchasing things like double-din mounts, cases, or even "barebones" kits for the hardware, if that helps.


  • #2
    I just wanted to say hello to another OmniFi owner! it is a shame about OpenFi development slowing down so drastically, I think it's just due to the hardware being so far surpassed by now. It's just as easy to put an iPod in your car if you just want something to play MP3's. I gave up on that little box almost a year ago, now. I still have it sitting in a box in my spare room; because I have no idea what to do with it. Good luck with your project. These guys around here are great and they will get you pointed in the right direction.
    You are never done installing a CarPC.


    • #3
      Nice! I love my OmniFi and it has served me well. When I first installed it years ago, no one had seen anything like it. Even today I have more music in my car than most people know is possible.

      I'm definitely thinking it's time to take it to the next level though.