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Automotive Computing (R)Evolution - The Android Head Unit Build - Road Test!

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  • Automotive Computing (R)Evolution - The Android Head Unit Build - Road Test!





    Well, the first full week worth of road testing the ODROID-X2 is in the books. Overall I'm delighted with my windows car PC replacement. Key improvements over my previous install include the time from ignition to boot, access to all of my media needs via existing applications, and the system absolutely flies. I cant get over the speed of the ODROID-X2. Even comparing it to my collection of Android based tablets, it really does breeze through everything I want it to do. Whether navigating, watching YouTube, or playing an emulator, the system never misses a beat. Configuring the UltraCarHome application with all of my frequently used programs was also a snap. I've also managed to get some functionality out of the SpaceNavigator, allow me to access all button controls on screen and swipe between main menus in UltraCarHome. I'm sure that with more bench testing I'll unlock a greater set of functionality.

    As with most test scenarios however, I do have a couple of complaints with the install as it stands. The Anker external battery pack is not living up to my expectations. It appears the battery life is heavily effected by the ambient temperatures. Inside, the battery lasts for several days under a charge with no power usage mitigation. In the summer heat inside the vehicle, the battery barely manages to last 10 hours. Also, at 1.5A input maximum, it takes close to a full day to charge the battery, meaning my car will never truly charge the battery properly. The Anker portion of the project will be scraped for now.

    Another problem I am not so surprised with is touchscreen accuracy. The higher on the touchscreen I press, the more inaccurate the points become. It becomes burdensome in apps where the menu or other controls are on the top 75 pixels on the screen. I'll have to do more modifying of the kernel to attempt to correct this problem.

    The final gripe I have at this point is one that many tablet owners have come to somewhat expect. Despite the fact that my area has 4G LTE coverage, there are points where I wish the ODROID-X2 wasn't so heavily dependent on a network connection. Because the X2 doesn't have an internal battery, it needs internet access to correct time/date settings after a cold boot. Also, at times it takes upwards of 30 seconds for the X2 to scan and pick up my mobile hotspot connection. There have not been times where I've been left with buffering messages on the go, but I find myself waiting for that internet icon to display before I really feel like I can enjoy my X2.

    These small issues aside, I definitely still get excited when I can start my car and not see resume problems, BSODs, or configuration issues. The ODROID-X2 already feels closely integrated into the vehicle, and I'm definitely ready for more bench testing to continue to maximize its potential.
    Last edited by Sonicxtacy02; 07-18-2013, 01:34 PM.
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  • #2
    How did you get your GPS dongle to start up automatically? I searched Google Play for "prolific gps" but nothing useful came up (the four results were Torque Lite, MSDroid, "Claude Monet Li..", and "Claude Monet W..."). I found "You Are Here", but it doesn't seem to have a way to connect to my ND-100S USB stick automatically and start providing data in the background -- I have to start the app, click a button, then go on with my regular usage. I found another app called "PL-2303 GPS" that has the capability to start automatically and connect to the stick, but it doesn't do so in the background...

    Since my Wandboard Quad has internal bluetooth, I'm kind of wondering if I should just switch to a BT capable GPS receiver instead (something I'd be able to install permanently in, say, the glove-box and set up to power on/off with the accessory power). It'd be one less USB device I'd need connected, anyway...

    I might have to do some trolling in #android on freenode and see what I can dig up.

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    • #3
      Couldn't you just use an RTC with a button type battery to supply the time and date data?

      Comment


      • #4
        Thank you for sharing the progress of this project. Very helpful, especially the experience with battery pack. What about using a small car 12V battery? Or a motorbike one?

        If you want, take a look at CarDisplay android application. I made it for myself and the idea was a little bit different then UltraCarHome's (I'm using as a standbyscreen to watch clock or speed, incoming calls and so on).

        Ohh, and the videos were absolutely welcomed

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        • #5
          Originally posted by michrech View Post
          How did you get your GPS dongle to start up automatically? I searched Google Play for "prolific gps" but nothing useful came up (the four results were Torque Lite, MSDroid, "Claude Monet Li..", and "Claude Monet W..."). I found "You Are Here", but it doesn't seem to have a way to connect to my ND-100S USB stick automatically and start providing data in the background -- I have to start the app, click a button, then go on with my regular usage. I found another app called "PL-2303 GPS" that has the capability to start automatically and connect to the stick, but it doesn't do so in the background...

          Since my Wandboard Quad has internal bluetooth, I'm kind of wondering if I should just switch to a BT capable GPS receiver instead (something I'd be able to install permanently in, say, the glove-box and set up to power on/off with the accessory power). It'd be one less USB device I'd need connected, anyway...

          I might have to do some trolling in #android on freenode and see what I can dig up.
          I'm sorry, the PL-2303 GPS is the app you want. You can use any hosts of applications to run it at boot. The app Autostarts is easy and free, but I use tasker to start the app and immediately hide it.

          If you have an android smart phone you could always broadcast the GPS from that device over Bluetooth to your android head unit. The app Bluetooth GPS can handle this, and again can be auto started when the smartphone is within range.


          Originally posted by XSiveJeff View Post
          Couldn't you just use an RTC with a button type battery to supply the time and date data?
          I could do that. When I say the clock thing is a "problem" its really not. More of an annoyance. It's only really an issue after a cold boot, once internet access is obtained after a cold boot the clock is set, and since I don't really plan on powering down the ODROID under most conditions, the clock will remain accurate.

          Originally posted by komorg View Post
          Thank you for sharing the progress of this project. Very helpful, especially the experience with battery pack. What about using a small car 12V battery? Or a motorbike one?

          If you want, take a look at CarDisplay android application. I made it for myself and the idea was a little bit different then UltraCarHome's (I'm using as a standbyscreen to watch clock or speed, incoming calls and so on).

          Ohh, and the videos were absolutely welcomed
          I have an auxiliary battery installed in my car (Kinetic HC600 power cell). My "plan b" is to allow it to leave the ODROID powered. The reason I didn't try this up front is the battery now has some age on it and many years of a 12v car PC being powered from it in all types of configuration has taken some of the "spark" from its charge capacity. That being said however, a 850 amp spare battery should be more than enough to power a 433mAh device for a few days. As with all this stuff, you guys will find out soon enough

          definitely going to check out CarDisplay this weekend, it looks awesome.
          mp3Car.com Senior Tech Blogger (Want a product reviewed? Contact me.)
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          • #6
            Hello,
            I am building the same project.
            I managed to get the GPS to work. I have a bluetooth one. And I also have a licence plate backing camera. The screen automatically switches on when the rear gear is on.

            But I have a problem : my USB lilliput touchscreen is not responding as it should be.
            I tried your fix but I have errors when modifying the kernel.
            My Odroid-X2 is not seen by my system (Windows 7 x64 or Ubuntu 13.04). I have the USB to UART module but my computer does not see it (I installed the driver)

            So I have a question. could you upload your image of your system so I can flash it?

            I know I ask much but I'm fighting with this for some time but without success.

            Thank you very much

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by mikecwel View Post
              Hello,
              I am building the same project.
              I managed to get the GPS to work. I have a bluetooth one. And I also have a licence plate backing camera. The screen automatically switches on when the rear gear is on.

              But I have a problem : my USB lilliput touchscreen is not responding as it should be.
              I tried your fix but I have errors when modifying the kernel.
              My Odroid-X2 is not seen by my system (Windows 7 x64 or Ubuntu 13.04). I have the USB to UART module but my computer does not see it (I installed the driver)

              So I have a question. could you upload your image of your system so I can flash it?

              I know I ask much but I'm fighting with this for some time but without success.

              Thank you very much
              I've found a person with the ultimate egalax touchscreen "fix". I'm going to recompile the kernel this weekend and test. While doing that i'll zip up an image and post it.
              mp3Car.com Senior Tech Blogger (Want a product reviewed? Contact me.)
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              Comment


              • #8
                That would be fantastic !!!!!
                By the way, will it work with the lilliput touchscreen?
                As soon as I get it working I will upload some pictures
                Thank you very much

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Sonicxtacy02 View Post
                  I've found a person with the ultimate egalax touchscreen "fix". I'm going to recompile the kernel this weekend and test. While doing that i'll zip up an image and post it.
                  Do you have a link to where you found the fix?
                  "You're just about as useless as JPEGs to Helen Keller" - Wierd Al

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Sonicxtacy02, could you zip that image for the emmc?
                    Thank you once again

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      @Sonicxtacy02
                      Any news of the image yet?
                      Thanks

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by mikecwel View Post
                        @Sonicxtacy02
                        Any news of the image yet?
                        Thanks
                        Working on it. The touchscreen fix didn't work for me, but i'm working with the people to try to get it solved before building the image. Hope to have it tonight.

                        FYI the "help" thread is here
                        mp3Car.com Senior Tech Blogger (Want a product reviewed? Contact me.)
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                        • #13
                          SPORTS JUNKIES ON 106.7 THE FAN? They are the main reason I had to keep FM radio in my build haha. Any plans on adding true FM or are you content with streaming it via tunein?
                          2011 Tacoma Nexus 7 App Radio Install

                          1993 Lincoln town car Carputer Project

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Sonicxtacy02 View Post

                            As with most test scenarios however, I do have a couple of complaints with the install as it stands. The Anker external battery pack is not living up to my expectations. It appears the battery life is heavily effected by the ambient temperatures. Inside, the battery lasts for several days under a charge with no power usage mitigation. In the summer heat inside the vehicle, the battery barely manages to last 10 hours. Also, at 1.5A input maximum, it takes close to a full day to charge the battery, meaning my car will never truly charge the battery properly. The Anker portion of the project will be scraped for now.
                            I'm surprised to hear that the heat affected the life of the battery back so dramatically. I believe Lithium Ion batteries, such as those used by your battery pack, can be affected by heat in this way. I suppose it is good that you are conducting the trial during the summer so you realized the problem quickly.

                            The lead-acid type of your Kinetik HC600 battery surely is not affected by heat as a lithium ion battery would be. I like the idea of the ODRIOD being "always on". I wonder if the draw is low enough that it could simply be powered by the vehicle's factory battery even when the car is off? If not a second small lead-acid style battery wouldn't be too bad.

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                            • #15
                              Funny I haven't come around the forum in years... and I'm actually building a car pc with my Odroid-U2 hahaha Great work...
                              My Car!

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