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The Android Head Unit Build - Hardware Overview

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  • The Android Head Unit Build - Hardware Overview



    The Hardkernel ODROID-X2

    The heart of the Android head unit was obviously the item most considered for a new project build. Because I demand a lot of power from my system, as well as a lot of connectivity options, I simply could not choose the easier way to get Android up and running. The ODROID-X2 is a powerhouse of a development board, boasting specs that meet or exceed my prior Windows based installation. The processor that powers the ODROID-X2 is the Exynos 4 Prime ARM Cortex-A9. With four cores, a default 1.7ghz of power that can be easily overclocked if need be, the ODROID-X2 is the ideal launching platform for a powerful Android car PC. The board houses 2GB of DDR 2 RAM, and boast a very capable 3D graphics processor which can handle more than one would need in the car, unless of course you plan on hosting 4 player Mario Kart 64 tournaments in traffic.



    The Android standard benchmark utilities, Antutu and Quadrant, both prove the ODROID-X2 as a absolute powerhouse of a board. (Check this evening for scores). This coupled with its miniature profile at 90x94mm makes it the best choice for an Android head unit.

    Another key factor in selecting the ODROID-X2 for my car PC needs was the ability to purchase compatible hardware accessories at once source. Hardkernel.com sells the board along with compatible Wifi, Bluetooth, UART, and Android-installed storage solutions. For my build, I selected the 64GB eMMC memory module with the thought I could also add a 64GB SD card for additional storage, but you cannot use both at once. The board has a jumper that allows you to select which option you choose.






    The ODROID-X2 has a total of 6 host-enabled USB ports that can provide the max 500mA per port provided your supplied power meets the requirement. Considering that both wifi and Bluetooth need to be handled with dongles and your touchscreen needs an additional port, its safe to assume that at least one powered hub is a good option. Sound output is handled by a single 3.5mm port and input is handled by a second 3.5mm port. Additional components can be connected via the 50pin expansion slot. This allows interfacing with items like LVDS displays, GPIOs and more low-level device interfaces. If ribbon wires aren't your suite, the micro-HDMI port can be your primary display means. Take note though, that the ODROID-X2's HDMI port is hardware locked to display at either 720p or 1080p. That means that for devices like the Lilliput 669, you must use a HDMI-to-VGA adapter to achieve native resolution without overscan.


    Because the ODROID-X2 requires a regulated source of 5 volt 2 amp power, it cannot be powered properly via the unregulated 12v found in most car systems. Because of this, I acquired a Mini-Box DC/DC Power converter. In fact, I acquired two, one for the ODROID, and one for the display, as they both run on entirely differently input voltages. There may be an all-in-one solution that fits your bill, but I like that the two will be isolated. The ODROID-X2 is out of the box capable of auto start on power up, and doesn't need to be shutdown or put to sleep with ignition, so you wont have to deal with any timing issues.


    The rest of the Android head unit installation will allow me to use all of the car PC add-on equipment used from the Windows PC. OBD-II receiver, GPS receiver, USB hard drives, and cameras can all be plugged in and work without much muss or fuss. The eGalax touchscreen module found on the new Lilliput 669 charged with the task does however require some kernel modifying to work properly. More on this in the next blog.

    While finding a spot for the ODROID in my compact vehicle wont nearly be the hassle of my Windows system, finding a suitable case to protect it from at least some of the bumps and bruises of the road became somewhat a chore. Custom cases aside, there are a few eBay retailers which provide a solution. My choice of casing can be shown below. While it doesn't provide much side protection, my new Android head unit looks good in it's two-piece .

    Last edited by Sonicxtacy02; 06-22-2013, 08:09 PM.
    mp3Car.com Senior Tech Blogger (Want a product reviewed? Contact me.)
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  • #2
    Cool.
    CarPc
    Project "Driver"

    Planning [99.9%]

    Parts Collected [98.5%]

    Installation & Fabrication [98%]

    Total Completion Level [96.9 %]

    http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/work...ct-driver.html

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    • #3
      Benchmark Numbers

      Benchmark numbers as promised





      Quandrant score is 5358, which puts it past the current uber phone out, the HTC One X
      mp3Car.com Senior Tech Blogger (Want a product reviewed? Contact me.)
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      • #4
        This is what i've been looking for....i was gonna use one of those mini android pc...but this has a better procs and the standard 2gb of ram....a few questions, what are you using for GPS? and i see your using the Lilliput 699 display are there android drivers for touch screen? oh and for the bluetooth do you think you would be able to have audio pass through for like streaming music from your phone or making calls?, I definitely think im going this route, oh and how is the Lilliput display? is it capacitive or resistive?

        Thanks Bro...good luck

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        • #5
          Originally posted by jathomas0910 View Post
          This is what i've been looking for....i was gonna use one of those mini android pc...but this has a better procs and the standard 2gb of ram....a few questions, what are you using for GPS? and i see your using the Lilliput 699 display are there android drivers for touch screen? oh and for the bluetooth do you think you would be able to have audio pass through for like streaming music from your phone or making calls?, I definitely think im going this route, oh and how is the Lilliput display? is it capacitive or resistive?

          Thanks Bro...good luck
          Using my BU-353 S4 for GPS, there's an android app (just search prolific gps) that enables it to be used as the replacement for androids (missing) factory GPS. A2DP support for music stream from your phone is built in right out of the box. Unfortunately, the current android build does not have the hands free Bluetooth profile, so I've got to wait on a solution for that.

          The Lilliput being used is just the 669 that I've reviewed plenty in the past. It's resistive, and single-touch. This honestly doesn't bother me as much as it does most though. It works I and I haven't missed multi-touch to this point. There is another screen option that's purposed built for the ODROID-X2 here. Its capacitive, has multi-touch, but requires a modified version of the source package to operate properly. This may be the way I go in the end... but in terms of ease of installation and looks the direct fit kit that the mp3car store sells is hard to beat. However, if there's interest in seeing the Multi-touch screen be installed as a part of this blog resource, by all means let me know
          Last edited by Sonicxtacy02; 06-12-2013, 01:59 PM.
          mp3Car.com Senior Tech Blogger (Want a product reviewed? Contact me.)
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          • #6
            oh ok awesome, i like that multi touch screen looks like i would have to cut in to my dash though and dont want to do that but for now i think your right, get the direct fit unit, this is awesome...im so happy i found this blog i feel like i have some direction...gonna buy the board and dash kit next month then take it from there, Thanks DUDE

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            • #7
              Originally posted by jathomas0910 View Post
              oh ok awesome, i like that multi touch screen looks like i would have to cut in to my dash though and dont want to do that but for now i think your right, get the direct fit unit, this is awesome...im so happy i found this blog i feel like i have some direction...gonna buy the board and dash kit next month then take it from there, Thanks DUDE
              It's very possible that the multi-touch screen would fit into one of the direct fit housings, that front plastic piece just snaps off. Wont know until its purchased though.
              mp3Car.com Senior Tech Blogger (Want a product reviewed? Contact me.)
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              • #8
                Originally posted by Sonicxtacy02 View Post
                It's very possible that the multi-touch screen would fit into one of the direct fit housings, that front plastic piece just snaps off. Wont know until its purchased though.
                oh ok coo...thx...ill let you know when i purchase it

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                • #9
                  Can you use more than one screen at the same time with that board? Sounds a little better than the Freescale based boards I have but the one I have will allow you to have 2 LDVS screens, An HDMI and VGA screen all running at the same time.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by redheadedrod View Post
                    Can you use more than one screen at the same time with that board? Sounds a little better than the Freescale based boards I have but the one I have will allow you to have 2 LDVS screens, An HDMI and VGA screen all running at the same time.
                    I know it can use multiple screens. There's a demo on Hardkernel.com showing this. With the 50 pin extension board it's safe to say it'll handle it.



                    Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk 2
                    mp3Car.com Senior Tech Blogger (Want a product reviewed? Contact me.)
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                    • #11
                      So, I'm curious, will this support some of the USB devices for sale at mp3car.com? e.g. the Sirius Satellite Radio Interface, HD Radio Interface, etc.?

                      Thanks,
                      Shep

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by no_hazmats View Post
                        So, I'm curious, will this support some of the USB devices for sale at mp3car.com? e.g. the Sirius Satellite Radio Interface, HD Radio Interface, etc.?

                        Thanks,
                        Can it? Yes. Does it currently? No. Software would have to be written to make any use of the radios, but the both communicate via serial so its possible.

                        Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk 2
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                        • #13
                          Usb

                          does the board support USB audio? Or does drivers and software needed

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by jathomas0910 View Post
                            does the board support USB audio? Or does drivers and software needed
                            USB audio would require not only a driver added to the kernel, but an interpreter that assigns the device as the proprietary audio device.

                            Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk 2
                            mp3Car.com Senior Tech Blogger (Want a product reviewed? Contact me.)
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                            • #15
                              Oh well that sucks...lol, oh well...how is the sound quality off the sysbd?

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