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Thread: Aussie Offroad Carputers

  1. #21
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    Yeah I hope the firewire works out for you, I would be interested to hear how you go with it.

    I have used minlogon in the past with the VIA board I had, but have yet to put it on the AMD board.. I was having a couple of issues installing shockwave and getting bluesoleil to work on the VIA board and I have a feeling they may have been related to using minlogon in some way... Now that I have all my software installed and the system is running stable, I may try it out again.

    Yeah - 512 should be enough.. I have only ever seen my memory usage go up to about 300 odd mb... That is with iGO8 running.

    I was aware of the flash cards and wear-levelling, but still that extra little bit of protection that EWF provides is good... Last thing I want is my other half complaining about the computer stuffing up when she gets in the car.

    I actually work as an electronics engineer and have just finished designing an embedded linux device in which we use a flash based file system.. It uses JFFS2 which is a linux journalling file system which inherently supports flash wear-levelling.

    Anyway, glad I can be of some assistance.. It has been two years since I started this car computer project and I only just installed the computer into the car two weeks ago.. Still a bit of tweaking to do. I guess it never ends.

  2. #22
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    Jul 2006
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    Brisbane, Australia
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    I think EWF is required too, looking at maybe an 8gb SanDisk Extreme IV which I can get here:
    http://www.cheapchips.com.au/memory/...lash-cards.htm

    Or the Lexar Pro 300x which is a bit faster again, available from same site, but a bit cheaper, however SanDisk have better warranty.

    Timeframes are comforting.... I hope it does not take that long, I know I got a Sh** load of stuff to bolt into the car on it's way to me.

    I will go with RoadRunner for now unless FI heals itself when I install the CF HDD. The FI USBRadio.DLL has fixed a lot of problems for RR and I have got a better handle on how to set it up now. I have been able to drop Iceradio in favour of RR's skin and the noise I was hearing on the media player seems to have been cured with an upgrade to the latest Winamp.

    So lets see, the equipment list bought/ordered to date looks like:
    1. 70w JL 2 channel amp
    2. Pair of JL split speakers
    4. Speaker mount adaptors for Hilux (from USA)
    3. Xenarc Daylight monitor
    4. M4-ATX Power supply
    5. Mini keyboard (palm sized)
    6. DVD enclosure
    7. Wireless card with external antenna
    8. Laptop 12v Power Brick (which I had)
    9. CF Adapter

    Still to source is:
    10. CF card
    11. Reversing camera
    12. Firewire enclosure
    13. replacement interior fascia and console armrest
    14. GPS receiver (I got a cheap one now)
    15. Odyssey Street Navigation
    16. Snorkel to mount the GPS onto?

  3. #23
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    I got my firewire enclosure to day from http://www.gamedude.com.au. I also had to get a 6 pin to 4 pin cable as my laptop port was different to the cable supplied with the drive. The enclosure has a spot to plug in an external 5 volt power supply. It supports both USB and Firewire. One difference is that Firewire needs 5 volt power.

    I did a quick search for some HDD benchmarking software and found HD Tune which is freeware. Here are some screenshots:

    First the Internal IDE HDD (not the same drive as the one for the other benchmarks):



    Here is Firewire: (same drive and enclosure as the USB benchmark)



    And here is USB: (same drive and enclosure as the Firewire benchmark)



    I thought there would be a bigger difference from what I had read, but I think the CPU utilisation and Burst Rate are interesting. I don't know what to make of the tapering off of Firewire and IDE. Perhps CPU utilistion is a bottleneck on USB? Was it worth the extra $95? dunno, but getting the HDD data off the USB bus (which will be pretty busy anyway) can't be a bad thing. I don't think you'd go out and and add a Firewire card, but as my hardware supported it, maybe not such a bad idea.

  4. #24
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    Jun 2006
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    Rod,

    Very informative test you did... That is strange as to why the transfer rate drops off.. Seems to drop at the same rate as drive connected directly to IDE..

    Might be to do with block size of drive or something. Anyway, hopefully it doesn't have drop-out problems like you have had with USB.

    I used to buy all my stuff from Gamedude, but I now find MSY to be a little better on price and don't have the long queue like Gamedude sometimes have.

    EDIT: I think the speed drop of is just the nature of hdd's... As they read/write from inside to outside of the physical disk the speed drops off because of differing linear velocities.. Head is faster over the disk surface at the inside as opposed to outside with the drive spinning at the same RPM. I guess USB just maxes out at 27MB/s... Is it USB 1.0 or USB 2.0?

  5. #25
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    That makes sense about different speeds accross the platter, it rings a bell now, Yes I think USB simply can't keep up so you don't see it until the head is further out. The enclosure is USB 2.

    I was going to buy somewhere else I rang yesterday, got there and had nothing to sell me after confirming that they had stock onthe phone. Not Happy! so Gamedude was a last resort on the way home (and another $35). I'll try MSY an other day.

  6. #26
    Newbie thwack's Avatar
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    Sep 2005
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    Adelaide, SA
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    Sorry, to bust in on your conversation here but thought that I'd share my experiences with you.

    I am currently in Adelaide and have had my carputer in the '88 Nissan Patrol for almost two years now. I have an 8" screen mounted to the dash which fits very well and have replaced the stock headunit with a steel case with the computer in it. I am running purely compact flash cards to boot from and for data storage. I have a 4Gb CF as my boot drive and a 32Gb CF as storage. EWF is reccommended to reduce the number of writes to the drive but I have found that the most useful thing I have done is use a ramdisk as the temp folder - reduces the number of necessary writes to the CF drives and stores all of the volatile info everytime the computer shutsdown/starts up.

    Also through experience if you are using your car for offroading pci cards are not able to stand up to the rigours of Aussie corrugated roads, effectively killed my pc every time I went over some serious corrugations. Tracked it back to the Wi-Fi card that was hot glued in place was becoming un-glued and moving just enough to bring down the PCI bus totally.

    I am keeping a close eye on the Ozi-Explorer skinning thread, so keep up the good work! Use it everyday almost 18Gb of maps and counting!

    I'm happy to help with anything that I can - have been working with IT professionally for 10 years and am now at home looking after the kids 4mo and 2.5yrs. While doing that I am working with my Father-in-Law with 4WD Tours and Training.

    Cheers
    Thwack
    Car PC -Jetway J7F2WE2G, 4Gb CF Boot, 32Gb CF Data, 1Gb Ram, M2-ATX PS, 8" 800x600 TS, SiLabs USB Radio, Garmin GPS15L, Ublox SBR-LS DR GPS, Fusion Brain, Multibay Card Reader, Panasonic Slotload DVD+-RW, Custom Fab Steel Case
    Car- 1988 Nissan Patrol 4WD

  7. #27
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    No need to be sorry, the more the merrier! Good to hear from you, Thwack.

    There are some clever guys out there with Car PC's. Interesting to hear some feedback about the rigours of off road use. I ordered an 8gb CF card today to boot from. Hoping to have a spare Cardbus slot for another one. I've been wracking my brains at how to secure connectors in place....

  8. #28
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    Crazyburn, Melbourne, Vic, Australia
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    Geez... you guys have been busy while i've been away...

    It's good to see the developments...
    @Thwack, What RAMDisk software are you using? I've used ramdisks before on older machines with no HDD... booted off CD and loaded everything to RAM. Once running, take disk away and never turn machine off... Ran the OS for a print server and several terminals under Linux like that for years...

    Hey Rod - I've got the go ahead to spend some of my bonus this year on CarPC stuff... yipee!

    What do people think of VIA boards? I'm looking at one with the C7-1.5GHz processor. Do people think this would be ok for GPS and still run music?
    '89 GQ Patrol
    TD42 (go the Diesel!) NEW: Now with DTS Turbo - woot!!!
    "It's times like these you go BUGGER!!!"

  9. #29
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    Jun 2006
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    Bugger,

    Just my 2c.. Stay away from the VIA boards... For not much more you can do a lot better.

    I have a C3 based VIA SP13000 1.3G... And when using FreeICE (which is flash based) it ran like a dog.

    I upgraded to an AMD X2 4850e (45W 2.5G) and a Jetway NC62K... The CPU was $99 and board was about $160 by the time I bought it from the UK.. Check it out at linitx.com.

    It all depends on which GPS software you are going to use... I tried Destinator, Sygic Drive and iGo8.. I find iGo8 to be the best for UI and features but is a CPU hog and would almost max CPU out on the VIA board... Don't know about offroading GPS software like Oziexplorer. I am not sure how much faster the C7 is over the C3, I guess the architecture would be a bit more advanced.

    Anyway, hope I have been of some help.

  10. #30
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    Hi Guys, had my head down. Have now got a Wireless Network card with ext antenna and an 8 gb CF card. I have had one quick go at installing Tiny Xp 0.9 and it seems like it will do the job nicely. Very small footprint.

    Been looking at EWF and FBWF. At this point in time, I favour FBWF with certain folders excluded and flushing the cache on shutdown and maybe every now and again via a scheduled task. Will update on my findings when I get a bit further advanced.

    Rod

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