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  • Planning a Boxster install- some questions

    So I have been lurking here for a long time, and lo-and-behold, my old iBook G4 screen dies! I was upset, until I thought... Headless Mac + Car = My chance!

    So now I am in the real planning stages of my install into a 98 Boxster. I will probably just remove the LCD screen entirely from the iBook and try and increase its ventilation while closed. I plan on mounting it behind the passenger seat on the engine wall with some sort of thermal insulation from the engine and running the wires through the center console to the front where I will put a Xenarc and Powermate (the unused lighter receptacle hole for RHD cars seems as if it was meant for a Powermate!)

    So I have a bunch of questions for those more experienced than I regarding more theoretical stuff that I haven't seen much about.

    1. Has anyone tried running a reversed LED or VFD display to reflect off of the windshield for HUD from a Mac? Maybe with some sort of polarized plastic overlay on the windshield for additional reflectivity? I would love to send current track info and GPS directions there probably using GrowlNotify.

    2. Is there OBDII/engine monitoring software available for the mac in any form? Mostly for kicks, but I would love to have cool graphs of performance data on my screen when I was cruising around. Also, since I will be modding up my car as well a bit, it would be nice to have turbo boost pressure and other things that are normally displayed on separate little gauges.

    3. Anyone hack a Valentine One interface with a Mac? Another thing I would love to do is have the Mac emulate the V1 remote display and also announce alerts in some sort of spiffy computerized voice. (very dorky I know, but so is putting a computer in your car). I would probably also use the HUD above to replace the remote display. Plus it gets rid of the stupid beeps of the damn thing which are so annoying.

    4. Does Front Row work with a touchscreen? Does the Coverflow interface in iTunes work with a touchscreen like the iPhone?

    5. Has anyone heard how the AppleTV code works so that it essentially acts like a wireless iPod? It would be great to just park your car in the garage, have it appear on your home iTunes as a device, and load it up with music and movies over WiFi. I suppose I could try installing the AppleTV software on the iBook which I know has been done.

    Any input would be appreciated . I think the carputer install will make a great winter project.

    I know some of this has been done in Linux/Unix, but I am more of a hack than anything, so I am not sure whether I could port the code over the OSX.

  • #2
    okay i will answer what i can. i have had my mini in my car for the last two years.

    2. not that i know of exactly for the OBDII but i know that people are working on it.

    4. it dosnt on its own, but there is a program that is an overlay for FrontRow, its called FrontRow Remote. It is very nice.

    5. i wana try it as well.
    Cant code cause I dont know how, but give me the paint bucket and my eraser and have at you!

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by tkn View Post
      I plan on mounting it behind the passenger seat on the engine wall with some sort of thermal insulation from the engine
      Does the firewall get that hot (it shouldn't)?
      The panels over the engine in my wife's 996 (next project after CFE gets to a good place!!!) don't get any warmer than the rest of the car even if we've been driving for a few hours and flogging it pretty good.

      1. Has anyone tried running a reversed LED or VFD display to reflect off of the windshield for HUD from a Mac?
      Haven't heard of anyone doing it, but it sounds like an accident waiting to happen...

      2. Is there OBDII/engine monitoring software available for the mac in any form?
      Not really. You can use serial based units, but the software selection is minimal.

      3. Anyone hack a Valentine One interface with a Mac?
      If you are comfortable with micro-controller programming, ping Mike. I planned to do this a long time ago (one of my many projects that hasn't materialized) and asked him on a whim (fully expecting a big NO) if he'd share the specs. He did, but i've since lost the important parts so i'll have to ask him again if I ever get that far (though SparkFun.com has a new OSX compatible development board that looks like a great platform for such a project. Mmmm gadgets ).

      4. Does Front Row work with a touchscreen? Does the Coverflow interface in iTunes work with a touchscreen like the iPhone?
      No, but there is/was an App that someone wrote to emulate the AppleRemote on a TS (worked pretty well too).

      As far as scrolling with a gesture, no. As far as the Mac is concerned, the TS will appear as a mouse. So if you can do it with your mouse, you'll have varying degrees of success with the TS. If you can't do it with the mouse, then you won't be able to do it with the TS.

      There is/was a guy here that put a Mini in a Boxter. I don't remember his site though. You might check the Show off your ride and Worklog forums to see if you can find it. It might give you some good ideas.

      -dave
      My pathetic worklog.
      CarFrontEnd (now it's own sub-forum!!!!)

      Comment


      • #4
        The HUD thing is so that I don't look down to see the V1 alerts and such, since I don't like having it visible to cops and other people, I tend to mount the remote display pretty low.

        The thermal insulation from the engine I was going to use was because I am concerned about running the iBook with a closed lid (also why I am removing the screen from the case, I will probably also remove the keyboard and just stick a huge heatsink right on the metal parts there just to be sure! That stuff is easy and cheap, so why not?).

        I will probably also install a remote right into the steering wheel like I just saw with the Apple Remote here in the forums, cause that would just be pretty slick looking.

        My main goal is to maximize the integration and make it look like it was meant to be in there. The one thing that I don't like is the GPS options, since RouteBuddy just seems okay as far as I can tell, and has nothing on a standard Garmin.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by iamgnat View Post
          SparkFun.com has a new OSX compatible development board that looks like a great platform for such a project. Mmmm gadgets ).
          Which device is it on their website? Not that I would have a clue about programming it, but I guess I could give it a shot or adapt some code from somewhere else, I am enough of a hack for that maybe.

          Comment


          • #6
            Sorry, it was the second item yesterday and they don't usually update that often

            http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/pro...roducts_id=666

            The nifty bits about it from the details on SparkFun and the mfg site:
            1. You don't have to know the nitty-gritty of micro-controller programming. They give you a C/C++ like interface and libraries that drastically simplifies the process.
            2. Their IDE/updater works on OSX (that is really big in the micro-controller world).
            3. It has all the breakouts done already so you just need to hook things up (far less board planning and soldering).
            4. At $35 it's hard to go wrong

            The tough part of course will be understanding the information that Mike gives you if you aren't an engineer (that's why I have an engineer as a friend ).

            And also remember that unless he gives you permission otherwise, you won't be able to release your code or charge for a binary version.

            -dave

            Disclaimer: I am in no way connected to either SparkFun or V1, i'm just a very happy customer of both
            My pathetic worklog.
            CarFrontEnd (now it's own sub-forum!!!!)

            Comment


            • #7
              Well, I will probably ask Mike for the specs, and I have no intention for charging for anything that I do. I will ask his permission to distribute it should it come to that.

              It probably is beyond my meager capabilities anyway. I would have to check the SDK and see how they go about doing stuff.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by tkn View Post
                1. Has anyone tried running a reversed LED or VFD display to reflect off of the windshield for HUD from a Mac? Maybe with some sort of polarized plastic overlay on the windshield for additional reflectivity? I would love to send current track info and GPS directions there probably using GrowlNotify.
                We have experimented with a HUD quite a bit and put this on hold for now. Reflection is probably not the way to go - projection is. Although we have a more or less working demonstrator, it is still far from something usable in day-to-day driving. The power and cooling requirements are pretty high and even so, the image is not very readable in direct sunlight.

                2. Is there OBDII/engine monitoring software available for the mac in any form?
                Yes, QCar supports engine monitoring either thru OBDII or using our own proprietary circuits.

                3. Anyone hack a Valentine One interface with a Mac?
                This is on our to-do list, but a low priority.

                It would be great to just park your car in the garage, have it appear on your home iTunes as a device, and load it up with music and movies over WiFi.
                We have a preliminary support for this using a few small scripts and applications. I will try to post some more info soon.

                than anything, so I am not sure whether I could port the code over the
                Most code is not worth the true porting. Just re-use the ideas and design and write it from scratch for OS X - that is what I would suggest.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Well, I will definitely take a look at qcar then.

                  Okay, another question. Anyone develop real time audio analysis to optimize sound? How cool would it be to just set up a microphone into your mac and have it realtime analyze the sound and adjust it for ideal frequency response and then save the profile. Even better if I can hook it up so it knows when the top is down or there is another person in the car and it can adjust the profile further. Volume adjustment for ambient noise would also be useful in this case.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Don't want much do you?

                    That is some serious logic (and processing) you are talking about there.

                    You best bet is probably to setup one and two person profiles and manually switch if needed (I know the 996 actually has weight sensors in the passenger seat, if the Boxter has that too maybe you can tie in to it to trigger the switch). Then add some sensors/switches to the window/roof mechanisms to tell the computer when they are up or down. Then hook up to GPS or ODB-II to further adjust based on speed.

                    That would be the "simple" solution anyway

                    -dave
                    My pathetic worklog.
                    CarFrontEnd (now it's own sub-forum!!!!)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by iamgnat View Post
                      Don't want much do you?

                      That is some serious logic (and processing) you are talking about there.

                      You best bet is probably to setup one and two person profiles and manually switch if needed (I know the 996 actually has weight sensors in the passenger seat, if the Boxter has that too maybe you can tie in to it to trigger the switch). Then add some sensors/switches to the window/roof mechanisms to tell the computer when they are up or down. Then hook up to GPS or ODB-II to further adjust based on speed.

                      That would be the "simple" solution anyway

                      -dave
                      Well, I admit that RTA is probably overkill. But profiles would be nice for driving, plus I figure why not see what is possible, since what else is the point of having a computer in your car over just buying a Pioneer AVIC or something similar?

                      A lot of this stuff is pie-in-the-sky, I realize. I am still going to play around with it a bit to see what I can do, and what turns out to be too difficult. I kind of wish I was more competent in programming or electronics, but I guess it will be a learning experience!

                      Eventually I will probably add an iSight and EVDO to the system (although I think that will involve a new computer).

                      Ha, another question: How about using Bluetooth to answer phone calls on my cell phone?

                      BTW... I looked at qCar and while it looks pretty cool, I really want my carputer to act and look like a mac. I would rather leverage Growl, Front Row and CoverFlow to do a lot of these things. Of course the trick is getting it to all hang together well, and qCar looks really impressive, I will give it a try once I get my install together a bit more. Definitely appreciate the pointer to the 3Dconnexion SpaceNavigator which seems quite a bit more useful than the Powermate, but may be too large for the place I intend to put it (It looks like the controller for Ikari Warriors, now who remembers that game?)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by tkn View Post
                        Ha, another question: How about using Bluetooth to answer phone calls on my cell phone?
                        Search around here for the threads on BluePhoneElite. Specifically you are looking for the version 2 stuff (is it actually out yet or still beta?).

                        BTW... I looked at qCar and while it looks pretty cool, I really want my carputer to act and look like a mac.


                        See Jirka, I told you people want a Mac feel for a Mac in the car

                        -dave
                        My pathetic worklog.
                        CarFrontEnd (now it's own sub-forum!!!!)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by iamgnat View Post
                          See Jirka, I told you people want a Mac feel for a Mac in the car
                          -dave
                          Okay, I admit I might be stepping into something contentious, but I don't understand why I would go through the pain of using a mac as a carputer over a PC unless it was going to act like one... The PC stuff seems a bit further along and I would go with that if I wasn't a die hard mac user.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by tkn View Post
                            Okay, I admit I might be stepping into something contentious, but I don't understand why I would go through the pain of using a mac as a carputer over a PC unless it was going to act like one... The PC stuff seems a bit further along and I would go with that if I wasn't a die hard mac user.
                            You aren't, just a differing view that Jirka and I have

                            I agree with you, a front end should represent the platform it's on.

                            Jirka can correct me if i'm wrong, but I believe that QCar will be skinnable so it might be possible to give it a more Mac like look.

                            -dave
                            My pathetic worklog.
                            CarFrontEnd (now it's own sub-forum!!!!)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              RTA is helpful but probably not needed in the front end, as its not something that you'd really need to access on the fly. Something like the Smaart software is more useful than RTA because you can find where reflections are coming from in addition to the graph of the systems playback.

                              I would love to have various curves set up for various situations and have them be triggered either manually or automatically. Personally I want to have the master curve for the car set up in windows up mode, windows down mode, and engine off mode, then have individual eq curves for individual .mp3's as determined by something like the iTunes interface.



                              I just looked and Smaart is still very high priced @ $795 so its not really a viable option for most.

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