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1998 G20 Van Toy Hauler Project

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  • 1998 G20 Van Toy Hauler Project

    Hello all!

    I found this site by searching around for different applications to run on a computer I am planning on installing in my van. This forum seems exactly what I am looking for to get direction and advice and to show off my completed project in the near future. Since I am finding this site before work, I will be brief in my introduction and then poke around the site later today to see what I can learn.

    Here is a list of the things I plan to do with my recently purchased 1998 Chevy G20 cargo van:

    1. Install electric winch and ramp for single-person loading of motorcycle <- COMPLETED

    2. Install back-up camera and monitor <- equipment purchased, not yet installed

    3. Install Dell Optiplex SX270 computer with Exorvision 15" touch screen LCD <- have equipment, not yet installed

    4. Install Axiom A2 GPS and interface with computer <- have equipment and tech specs...haven't visited Radio Shack yet for necessary stuff

    5. Install webcam array on top of van <- have equipment, not yet installed

    6. Install active scanning radar system <- currently scouring military surplus sites and stores

    7. Install infrared and nightvision cams <- have technical specs to hack webcams to do the trick, haven't done it yet

    8. Increase overall security of vehicle by routing start-up functions and access control through computer or computerized lock-out system <- have magnetic card scanner and various bits of equipment, still looking for reliable method to accomplish this

    9. Install alternative power source through either solar panels, card-deck fuel cells, or some other suggestion <- currently in contact with various suppliers of these types of equipment and a couple of professors who seem to have perfected low output fuel cells for my type of applications

    10. Install GPS on motorcycle that will wirelessly interface with main system for downloads and mapping <- have equipment, looking for hacks and tech specs to accomplish

    11. Install weapons systems and defensive counter-measures <- turns out, this is a felony in my state so that stage is ON-HOLD



    Ok, I was just joking on that last one, although I seriously contemplated the potato-gun ramifications of 6" by 12' pipes mounted to the top of the van when I bought it. (It was a fleet vehicle for a large plumbing company.)

    As you can see, my goals are somewhat ambitious, maybe even unrealistic, and certainly early on in their development. This has the potential to suck massive amounts of my time, so I am forcing myself to relegate it the weekends. However, this isn't stopping me from visiting Fry's while I am out and about for work later today.

    I appreciate any and all direction the other members here. I know I am new to this clique, but I learn fast, understand most of the technical stuff, and am not afraid to sweat and get my hands dirty.

    The eventual goal is create a James Bond meets Starship Enterprise type of vehicle to take on long excursions to the west with my motorcycle and to just generally impress the bejesus out of my friends. As I progress, I will update with pictures and questions. Thanks for this site!!!!

  • #2
    7. Install infrared and nightvision cams <- have technical
    specs to hack webcams to do the trick, haven't done it yet
    Infrared lights and webcams - do work - but you really need
    image intensifier - like in real night vision - or a realy strong
    Infrared flood light - it will glow a dull red

    2. Install back-up camera and monitor <- equipment
    purchased, not yet installed
    use the computer for video capture - so you can record video
    I just ordered the "GESS DVR 104" from ebay - its a video capture
    card that captures from 4 different video cams at the same time -
    and it does it in MPEG-4 - I think it will allow me to view 4
    cams at the same time - that would be cool for your van

    9. Install alternative power source through either solar
    panels, card-deck fuel cells, or some other suggestion <- currently
    in contact with various suppliers of these types of equipment and
    a couple of professors who seem to have perfected low output
    fuel cells for my type of applications
    Wow guess you got some money - - just get a small
    generator that runs off of propane and have it charge 12v batterys
    you can put the generator in a sound proof box - just vent it good
    and watch the heat

    you can roll you own fuel cells but the membranes costs lots of $$$
    check out this page
    guerrilla.net
    check out "Power Systems" on that page

    11. Install weapons systems and defensive
    counter-measures <- turns out, this is a felony in my
    state so that stage is ON-HOLD

    Ok, I was just joking on that last one
    no, your not - not like the state has to know

    I used to play a game called "Interstate 76" I loved that dam game,
    you got to drive around in cars with guns mounted on them, and all
    kinds of good stuff - you had to kill every one in the cars with your
    car - it was fun we found ways to hack the cars, and had even more fun

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by will1384
      Infrared lights and webcams - do work - but you really need
      image intensifier - like in real night vision - or a realy strong
      Infrared flood light - it will glow a dull red
      Good advice. I actually saw the infrared flood lights at Fry's yesterday and they weren't that expensive at all.



      use the computer for video capture - so you can record video
      I just ordered the "GESS DVR 104" from ebay - its a video capture
      card that captures from 4 different video cams at the same time -
      and it does it in MPEG-4 - I think it will allow me to view 4
      cams at the same time - that would be cool for your van
      I considered that, but I ran into a couple of problems:

      1. The windows on the van in the back are blacked out completely so the actual rearview mirror is useless.
      2. The G20 is REALLY long.

      Backing up is a major issue and I wanted it to be as seamless as possible for not just me, but for whomever might be moving the van. The actual webcam array will take care of the recording part from the rear, but I wanted a dedicated CCTV system which could be powered on in seconds.


      Wow guess you got some money - - just get a small
      generator that runs off of propane and have it charge 12v batterys
      you can put the generator in a sound proof box - just vent it good
      and watch the heat

      you can roll you own fuel cells but the membranes costs lots of $$$
      check out this page
      guerrilla.net
      check out "Power Systems" on that page
      Excellent link! Thank you!

      Surprisingly enough, what I am finding with regards to solar cells puts them well within my grasp. Again, Fry's helped me out yesterday. Their cheapest panel set was about $70, generating enough wattage to keep a deep cycle battery charged, even constant low load. I don't have my full electrical needs determined yet so I am not sure how many additional panels (or bigger ones) I will need yet. Here is the site for the panels Fry's carries: http://www.icpsolar.com/


      no, your not - not like the state has to know

      I used to play a game called "Interstate 76" I loved that dam game,
      you got to drive around in cars with guns mounted on them, and all
      kinds of good stuff - you had to kill every one in the cars with your
      car - it was fun we found ways to hack the cars, and had even more fun
      I would be interested in hearing more details about this game, if you care to share them. In the meantime, don't think I haven't seriously wondered what types of dual-use hardware I could install. I found a really great book once at Barnes and Noble which contained detailed plans for off-the-shelf inexpensive (relatively) devices. One which intrigued me was an EMP generator. Issues of disabling your own vehicle in the burst aside, imagine the possibilities of directing a pulse at the car near the stoplight with the music so loud it's shaking your windows. They also had directions for a medium distance cutting laser.

      Ah, the possibilities....


      I have considered what Stage II of this project would entail and I post some of thoughts soon. I am hoping that once Stage I (above) is complete, it will garner enough attention to get some corporate sponsorship for the next part.

      Comment


      • #4
        Sound like you are building this vehicle for military use instead of for everyday carputer users.
        Who need an array of webcam, infrared, night vision cams. Active scanning radar system for what? Weapons for defend and counter-measure. Now you are sure of building a vehicle to guarding something.....
        Something isn't right with your setup man.
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        Comment


        • #5
          init, i was like "what the?"
          CarPC status: iPod, 3,456,217 songs so **** you

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by MatrixPC
            Sound like you are building this vehicle for military use instead of for everyday carputer users.
            Who need an array of webcam, infrared, night vision cams. Active scanning radar system for what? Weapons for defend and counter-measure. Now you are sure of building a vehicle to guarding something.....
            Something isn't right with your setup man.

            I need it because I think it would be cool and I want it. What other real reason do I need? I mean, when you stop to think about it, there is no NEED for a carputer at all except for some gee-whiz factors and A/V applications.

            The fact is that I stated quite clearly this vehicle is going to be used as a camping van. All the things I want on it, and which are well within the reach of anyone, have real uses in that situation. Infrared and night vision? Check some of the newer high-end sedans to see applications. Radar? I think nearly every new mini-van is equipped with it for crash and collision warnings.

            The fact is none of you were content with just having a car in the garage and a computer in the house. I am fortunate to have access to the equipment I do, the know-how to implement it, and the nerd-level to want to play once it is finished. Lighten up. Sheesh!

            Comment


            • #7
              You got to check out this page Information Unlimited they got all kinds of good stuff

              I would be interested in hearing more details about this game,
              if you care to share them.
              the game took place in the mid 1970s - you got to use all the big
              cars from that time, they even had a few trucks a bus and
              some small cars

              You could make you car custom, but had a wait limit - and you
              had a limit on gun mounts, thats were the hacks came in - we
              could change the wait of the car - add more guns, even make it fly

              I had a flying school bus with 8 50cal guns and heavy armor
              but it moved like 15mph

              in the game they had a helicoptor and a tank that you had to fight
              - we hacked them so you could play with them, and some peeps
              found out how to make stuff out of the parts of the game - like one
              guy used a tire from one of the cars , made it bigger and put a 50cal
              gun on the top and bottom of the tire , and made it fly - it looked like
              a ufo with guns - another one did the same thing, but had the tire
              rolling on the ground - you could make maps for the game also
              some of the best maps had huge jumps , this game came out in 1996
              it was in 3D, but they decided to update the game and disabled all the
              good stuff - no more long jumps, and no hacked cars

              here is a webpage on the game
              Interstate '76

              Comment


              • #8
                Welcome to the forum
                its nice to see some vans here from time to time

                where are you mounting the 15in monitor i have a 7in xenarc and will probably be selling it soon as i cant see a thing on it due to where its mounted in the center console. its a shame too cause its brand new
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                • #9
                  Originally posted by will1384
                  You got to check out this page Information Unlimited they got all kinds of good stuff
                  WOW! I love that site. The very real temptation to build and implement some of that stuff is powerful. On the bright side of things, no future wife will ever accuse me of being a couch potato with no hobbies. Thanks for the link!



                  here is a webpage on the game
                  Interstate '76[/QUOTE]


                  I am checking into it. Looks like a winner, though I hope no one construes that to mean I am looking for some sort of training simulator for "military" cargo van.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by lostreception
                    Welcome to the forum
                    its nice to see some vans here from time to time

                    where are you mounting the 15in monitor i have a 7in xenarc and will probably be selling it soon as i cant see a thing on it due to where its mounted in the center console. its a shame too cause its brand new

                    Let me know some details about what you have. Maybe we can work something out as I am always looking for gadgets. Thanks!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      6. Install active scanning radar system <- currently scouring military surplus sites and stores

                      Can someone explain this? For Weather? Jamming? What?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Gunmaster
                        6. Install active scanning radar system <- currently scouring military surplus sites and stores

                        Can someone explain this? For Weather? Jamming? What?

                        Sheesh, here we go.

                        Just SOME of the possible applications?

                        1. Traffic conditions, including approaching vehicles in blind spots and unseen obstacles when backing up.

                        2. Unseen obstacles ahead, like deer, stalled cars, or maybe even a downed tree since that sort of thing happens.

                        3. Simply knowing what is moving and not moving around a nearly 15 foot van with blacked out windows and poor visibility at all times.


                        After all is said and done, however, the bottom line reason for it simply that I think it would be cool and I want it. I have the money and the know-how to make it work and so no reason why I shouldn't pursue it.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Progress update 6/25/05

                          Ah, I have been looking forward to the weekend all week as a chance to really get some stuff done on this project. Here are a couple of things I have done so far, some things I have changed, and what I am working on today. Before Monday, I should have pictures online and at least 1 report from an actual excursion I am planning with this beast overnight. Instead of hauling my street bike, this afternoon I am loading 2 dirt bikes, full camping gear, an related supplies for an out-of-state riding day on Sunday.

                          What I did last night and am working on today:

                          1. Installed back-up camera in modified weather-proof housing. I couldn't sleep last night so this took me until 4 this morning, drilling out, placing it just so, and pulling the wires out of the camera so I could make the roof holes as small as possible.

                          2. Mounting the monitor and running related cabling today, first thing.

                          3. Installing alarm system I picked up for cheap during the week.

                          4. Installing preliminary computer set-up, with monitor, and WiFi router.

                          5. (Maybe) installing XM along with new stereo system. This isn't totally critical, but it would be nice to have so I can also take my 11,000+ mp3's on a 300 gig external drive with me this afternoon.


                          Things I am changing:

                          1. I decided to change out the computer I was planning on using because of the waste of actual computer power. I just couldn't see sticking a P4, 2.6Ghz, 1 Gb RAM machine into the van when I have lesser powered machines on hand which can do everything I want to do anyway. So, the Optiplex SX270 is staying inside and an Optiplex GX270 is taking its place. The trade-off is the higher power consumption of the tower over the micro-desktop form factor.

                          2. Plans for the solar panel array on temporary hold. I finally figured out just how many I would need to keep the battery charged even with the computer system on 24/7. It's going to be a big array, but the top of the van offers more than enough space. The problem is I can't justify the expense right now when my bike is need of a full fairing replacement because some jerk knocked it over the other night.

                          And before anyone asks why, I wanted the computer to stay on all the time because of some monitoring and communication applications I planned for whenever the van was parked within my local WiFi network. Additionally, future plans include turning more and more control of access to the van and security over to the computer as I work out the technical details. Because those issues aren't critical at the moment, I can forego a full-on system set-up until the funds are released following the repairs to my bike.

                          I am still looking for good power alternatives, but solar has so far proven to be the most reliable and cheap method for continuous charging of the battery.

                          3. I am adding an internal monitoring webcam at the rear of the van facing forward. This change came about after transporting the bike for about 100 miles last week. Though it was tied down securely, there were a few major jolts to the van on some poorly maintained back roads. I didn't discover how much the bike had shifted in its harness until after getting it home. A few more jolts like I had and it would have slipped free, causing only the gods know how much damage internally. Getting a visual upfront what is happening way in the back would be beneficial.

                          4. I am adding a full weather sensor package which will hopefully interface with computer or display on the secondary input of the back-up camera monitor. Without realizing it initially, I am discovering this van is going to be terribly useful this summer for one of my other hobbies: storm-chasing. I think I was sub-consciously adding the things I would need for it all along, but it took a close friend's observation about the application to bring it to the front of my mind.


                          Things I am still planning/working out:

                          1. I am still on the look-out for some of the more controversial aspects of my project, such as the active radar-scanning system. I have been looking at a few DIY home-brew set-ups but would prefer a pre-built system.

                          2. I haven't really taken enough time to work out interfacing my Axiom A2 GPS with the computer. Too many other things have been piling up, but maybe that is something I can read over by the campfire tonight.



                          Alright, I think that about does it for now. I will let everyone know how it goes later today. I might possibly even be able to post from the road using my Blackberry as a modem, but we will see!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Update

                            Ok, it is nearly midnight-thirty and I have been at this all day. The following things were accomplished:

                            1. Back-up camera completely installed, mounted, and working like a charm.

                            2. Computer installed with the same success.

                            3. External power connection installed in van to allow switching systems over to campsite or home electrical power.


                            The van is a mess inside and I plan to clean it up first thing in the morning. Following that should be pictures detailing all that I have done. The WiFi network is giving me some trouble and that will be the first thing I look at once the van is organized again.

                            I am tired and happy with my results. Going to bed to start again in a few hours.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              just curoious as to the model cam yor installing and the location ive considered in the high top of my van but i want to make sure i get a good viewing angle . if yo ave a model num or link that would also be helpful. cant wait for pix ..
                              .______
                              | '_ |__\___
                              [(o)|___(o)] XB
                              ._________
                              | I__I I_I|_\__I
                              [(o)______(o)]b VanPimpin'

                              LostReceptions Apps D/L Here

                              GPSGasoline- Rewriting

                              Draw- SkribblePad for Touchscreens

                              iGQwerty-iG3.0 Qwerty Keyboard

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