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Thread: Plug and Play CarPC??

  1. #11
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    My thread is here: http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/gene...oo-open-2.html

    I think the main difference between what you want to do and what I plan on doing is that I don't plan on using hardware the people will know what to do with off the shelf. Either a plug-type system or a gumstix solution requires a lot more knowledge to hack. Using this hardware allows you a lot more freedom in the space requirements.

    Also, a lot of people like the freedom from a dual component setup. They like being able to remove the computer and work on it inside closed doors. My solution would be built in such a way that you wouldn't need to ever "bench" it.
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  2. #12
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    Well I would like to see what your ideas are Kev, or Trip, or... As you know there is no way our hardware would be in the above quoted price range till we are moving some 100,000 or more units to help bring the manufacturing cost down.

    Love the thread, would like to see what other features people come up with as a want vs need...

  3. #13
    Constant Bitrate firstorbit84's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tripzero View Post
    Ha, I don't know how I missed that one in the search results...

    I think the main difference between what you want to do and what I plan on doing is that I don't plan on using hardware the people will know what to do with off the shelf. Either a plug-type system or a gumstix solution requires a lot more knowledge to hack. Using this hardware allows you a lot more freedom in the space requirements.
    I haven't had the time to fully read through your proposed setup, and the responses that people have given, but from what I can tell, a plug-type or gumstix setup seems to me that it would be grossly underpowered, and way too proprietary... especially for what most people who would even consider a CarPC as an option would want to do with it...

    Also, a lot of people like the freedom from a dual component setup. They like being able to remove the computer and work on it inside closed doors. My solution would be built in such a way that you wouldn't need to ever "bench" it.
    Not sure what you mean by "Dual component setup"?? It seems like you're contradicting yourself if you say that they like being able to remove the computer and work on it indoors, but that with your setup you wouldn't ever have to bench it?? Are you saying then that you're not giving the people what you think they want if they go with your solution, namely the freedom to bench the system???

    Personally, I don't think that having the ability to "bench" the system should be a big concern for the off-the-shelf CarPC market.. I envision that most users will never have the need for this ability...

    However, that doesn't mean that it should be impossible for those who would like to upgrade their system. The ability to upgrade individual system components would definitely be attractive to most users who were already familiar with upgrading their PCs: Adding more ram, a bigger Hard Drive, better Wi-Fi card, etc.. would all be big pluses if they were just as easy to do in the CarPC environment as they are in a regular desktop or laptop... the only real difference would be pulling the CarPC (as a double-din headunit) out of the car as you would a stereo... So instead of opening your desktop or laptop case, you'd just remove whatever dash trim is necessary to remove in your car (if any), and then take out the unit and perform the upgrade....

    My current EeePC setup would require at least a full hour or two of trim and wiring removal just to gain access to the radio cage, which would have to be taken out as a unit with the computer still bolted to it.. In fact, if I hadn't logged my process so well in my build thread, I probably wouldn't even know how to get it back out 6 months from now

    That is the main thing that I think scares most people away from this hobby: every single setup is different and requires its own R&D. That is also the one thing that I want to solve with this project.... I want noobs to be able to ask "Where do I start?" and instead of us telling them "Go read the FAQ (if you can find it )", the response could be, "Start with A + B + C components (which will deliver a working CarPC for a decent price in most vehicles with a standard Double-DIN dash opening, and with little or no modification to the vehicle) and then go from there," and that way it would at least lower the barriers to entry into the hobby and perhaps even make it less of a hobby, and more like just another option for those who are looking for the best ICE solution.

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by firstorbit84 View Post
    I haven't had the time to fully read through your proposed setup, and the responses that people have given, but from what I can tell, a plug-type or gumstix setup seems to me that it would be grossly underpowered, and way too proprietary... especially for what most people who would even consider a CarPC as an option would want to do with it...
    well, my response to that would be, wth are you running that requires a dual-core? The omap3 cpu that comes in an arm has built in support for opengl ES and dsps that you can use for real-time audio processing. I won't even go into details on why ARM is a better CPU for real-time audio processing than x86 is. You should still be able to multi-task and run do navigation+video+audio. It helps a lot when your OS isn't occupying 90% of the RAM and other resources .

    Also, have you seen the specs on the guruplug? 1.2GHz, 512MB DDR2800MHz RAM, wifi, bt and hdmi.

    I want a system that I can run 99% of the time . Current intel hardware doesn't get me there yet.

    Not sure what you mean by "Dual component setup"?? It seems like you're contradicting yourself if you say that they like being able to remove the computer and work on it indoors, but that with your setup you wouldn't ever have to bench it?? Are you saying then that you're not giving the people what you think they want if they go with your solution, namely the freedom to bench the system???
    I already admitted that my system isn't for this community in that thread. To add, I haven't decided if I want to put it all in the touchscreen or keep it as a second component. I already have a touchscreen installed and don't need another one right now. The issue I find with a second component is the enclosure. I'm getting pretty good at scrapping broken amps though, but if I were to build it for multiple people, I'd want to get something professionally fab'd. And I have no idea atm how I would do that.

    Personally, I don't think that having the ability to "bench" the system should be a big concern for the off-the-shelf CarPC market.. I envision that most users will never have the need for this ability...
    You are probably right. How big is the off-the-shelf CarPC market in forums like this? probably not very big.

    I do agree with you generally speaking. The amount of R&D in this hobby is stifling it's growth. IMHO, dashboard has solutions that help take a lot of that sting away.
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  5. #15
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    I'm with Kev on this. It really depends on your market and what you want your system to offer.
    The Hobby market, careful, there are a ton, 'TON' of companies that have this area covered. Niche market, sure there is always room, but still depends. Companies like mine, Dashboard Devices or Data911 'fire', Microsoft 'sync', Azentek 'they still around?' and on and on already have market share, so if this is your line of thinking...better get cracking...

    Only piece of advice, make wiring simple!! Not goto CompUSA or BestBuy to the computer area to buy Gold USB cables, but true useful cables that get the job done with as little mess as possible... Oh, wait, we did that... nevermind...

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by tripzero View Post
    well, my response to that would be, wth are you running that requires a dual-core? The omap3 cpu that comes in an arm has built in support for opengl ES and dsps that you can use for real-time audio processing. I won't even go into details on why ARM is a better CPU for real-time audio processing than x86 is. You should still be able to multi-task and run do navigation+video+audio. It helps a lot when your OS isn't occupying 90% of the RAM and other resources .

    Also, have you seen the specs on the guruplug? 1.2GHz, 512MB DDR2800MHz RAM, wifi, bt and hdmi.
    Touché....

    Perhaps, you'd like to contribute a "Proposed Setup 3"??? Price everything out that you'd need to have a Guru Plug Server or Server Plus work similar to the Proposed Setups above.

    I want a system that I can run 99% of the time . Current intel hardware doesn't get me there yet.
    Agreed... However, although the connected car is an intriguing concept, for most people in today's world, this is not what they want/need... Therefore, the system wouldn't need to be on all the time... but that still doesn't rule out a Guru Plug -based system as a candidate for what I'd like to do. What good Nav and FE software is there for Linux though??

    I already admitted that my system isn't for this community in that thread. To add, I haven't decided if I want to put it all in the touchscreen or keep it as a second component. I already have a touchscreen installed and don't need another one right now. The issue I find with a second component is the enclosure. I'm getting pretty good at scrapping broken amps though, but if I were to build it for multiple people, I'd want to get something professionally fab'd. And I have no idea atm how I would do that.
    Yeah, if I do find a good formula it would be nice to get something professionally fabbed... Personally the route I'd take to do that would be to do the CAD drawings myself, and then work with local shops to build a prototype... and then off to MadeInChina.com to find a manufacturer... depending on how many I think I could sell... Otherwise, just keep building them locally in limited production, on a per-order basis...

    You are probably right. How big is the off-the-shelf CarPC market in forums like this? probably not very big.
    I'm not so sure I agree with you on this one... How many threads are out there from Noobs that we never hear from again, because, I assume, they never found the time/energy/know-how to get their projects off the ground... If there were a BASIC starter-kit if-you-will to get into carputering, that you could just Plug and Play... I think the market potential would actually be quite large... It seems that everything else "off-the-shelf" that's out there is just not at a price point where it can be seriously considered an option compared to units like a Pioneer Avic or similar, especially when the end-user finds out that with the less expensive off-the-shelf CarPC's they will have to do a lot of R&D to make it work in their car.... Remember the MP3Car's own Infill G4 for $2200+??

    I feel that if a similar system were released today for one-third the price (with a little less processing power and features perhaps) they would sell like hotcakes... Only real problem I see would be stuffing it with PC software for that price, which means you'd have to go with open-source software and Linux, which could drop a few people's interest, unless the software was developed to have NO BUGS for that specific device and was rock-solid with a good support community... oh, and don't advertise that its actually running linux

    I do agree with you generally speaking. The amount of R&D in this hobby is stifling it's growth.
    Exactly! This is why I'm trying to start by coming up with something that most anyone who can follow basic instructions can build, and then load software onto it anyway they want.

    IMHO, dashboard has solutions that help take a lot of that sting away.
    Maybe I haven't been around this site long enough (or often enough), but I've seriously never heard of them until this thread...

    Quote Originally Posted by dashboard View Post
    I'm with Kev on this. It really depends on your market and what you want your system to offer.
    The Hobby market, careful, there are a ton, 'TON' of companies that have this area covered. Niche market, sure there is always room, but still depends. Companies like mine, Dashboard Devices or Data911 'fire', Microsoft 'sync', Azentek 'they still around?' and on and on already have market share, so if this is your line of thinking...better get cracking...
    I'm not really out to take anyone's market share (yet), but it doesn't seem like these "TONs" of companies that you mention (including your own) have anything readily available to consumers... Where can I place an order on your website?? How much would a complete in-dash system like the one I'm trying to build here cost??

    Only piece of advice, make wiring simple!! Not goto CompUSA or BestBuy to the computer area to buy Gold USB cables, but true useful cables that get the job done with as little mess as possible... Oh, wait, we did that... nevermind...
    Well, that is what I'm trying to do... Part of my goals as stated earlier in the thread were to make it as easy to install as a normal head unit. Personally, I'd like the only connector on the back to be an ISO connector that you'd just get an adapter for your specific vehicle, and maybe a couple USB ports for expansion, and to run the GPS wherever you'd like to put it.

    Yeah, I'd say that I could agree that you "did that" if I could see some of your products actually being used. Maybe I'll take a drive down to Clearwater to check you out...

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by firstorbit84 View Post
    What good Nav and FE software is there for Linux though??
    You must be new. Linux has plenty of really good frontends: nGhost, OpenMobile and RevFE just for starters. Seriously, grab yourself a LinuxICE image and see how easy it is to setup. IMO, it takes a lot of the carpc is too hard argument.

    Navigation? Well, there's navit which is decent and getting better all the time. It's only a matter of time before ovi maps navigation and other offerings wise-up I recon.
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  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by firstorbit84 View Post
    I'm not really out to take anyone's market share (yet), but it doesn't seem like these "TONs" of companies that you mention (including your own) have anything readily available to consumers... Where can I place an order on your website?? How much would a complete in-dash system like the one I'm trying to build here cost??
    We will have a shopping cart, hint, upper right corner of every page, soon... We have a ton of options, from 4-camera DVR, Cell Phone and USB3.0 modules , yes we already have USB3.0 to LIN and CAN already built-in, with LIN you could then add a number of other things from other companies like the FLIR thermal cameras, great for Police and Fleet (long haul trucks) for that extra night vision. Parking Systems, TPMS with upto 24 sensors or OEM compatible if your vehicle is really new.
    We also have a patented TRUzone system where the rear seat gets their own independently controlled touchscreen monitor. The great part is the 'PUSH' technology where the users can send media to the other monitors. Mind you the Driver can turn off 'PUSH', or lock the rear touchscreens, control their volume even lock it to a % of their choice. This addon uses our single-wire design as well.. So not only do we have strong and dynamic systems they are also really easy to install with all our single-wire designs...

    Cost, base price is $2500.00 (ENV-LT), that includes all the cable, antennas, Transflective LCD 'on-dash LCD of your choice' so the system is built to you!

    We are getting more into the hobby market as known sites are talking with us now, but I don't feel you will see it in the Mp3car store as Rob has told me to my face that his customers would never pay that much for a system. What's he comparing us to Azentek, they don't have a Infotainment system powered by computer hardware, they just have a computer, come on, who wants a double-din unit with a right and left mouse button on it's bezel? We build system that are computer, but don't look or act like them... Oh, well...

  9. #19
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    my entire audio and entertainment system in my car didnt even cost $1500 total... thats amp, speakers, computer, screen... everything. $2.5k for a 'base' system, yikes!

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by dashboard View Post
    We will have a shopping cart, hint, upper right corner of every page, soon... We have a ton of options, from 4-camera DVR, Cell Phone and USB3.0 modules , yes we already have USB3.0 to LIN and CAN already built-in, with LIN you could then add a number of other things from other companies like the FLIR thermal cameras, great for Police and Fleet (long haul trucks) for that extra night vision. Parking Systems, TPMS with upto 24 sensors or OEM compatible if your vehicle is really new.
    We also have a patented TRUzone system where the rear seat gets their own independently controlled touchscreen monitor. The great part is the 'PUSH' technology where the users can send media to the other monitors. Mind you the Driver can turn off 'PUSH', or lock the rear touchscreens, control their volume even lock it to a % of their choice. This addon uses our single-wire design as well.. So not only do we have strong and dynamic systems they are also really easy to install with all our single-wire designs...

    Cost, base price is $2500.00 (ENV-LT), that includes all the cable, antennas, Transflective LCD 'on-dash LCD of your choice' so the system is built to you!

    We are getting more into the hobby market as known sites are talking with us now, but I don't feel you will see it in the Mp3car store as Rob has told me to my face that his customers would never pay that much for a system. What's he comparing us to Azentek, they don't have a Infotainment system powered by computer hardware, they just have a computer, come on, who wants a double-din unit with a right and left mouse button on it's bezel? We build system that are computer, but don't look or act like them... Oh, well...
    Well rob was right...... people don't like $500+ markups on their products.

    A few tips though.....
    * Cut the deceptive marketing BS with "Tru-zone"...its a dual screen setup-thats it! It's incredibly deceptive in how the description is worded implying it does more then that. (On your website not the one you just gave)
    * Actually list prices and features on your web site.
    * I should know what hardware is powering this $2500 carPC, whether or not it includes an amplifier and whether or not it includes a radio. The description seems to imply it includes neither

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