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Thread: Where are we headed?

  1. #51
    Constant Bitrate Rickk's Avatar
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    Some things might make more sense if they were located somewhere other than where the "box" is located and connected via USB. For instance, a GPS receiver tucked under the seat might not work well. The ODB2 connection is easiest done right at the test connection under the dash, and a little USB wire is easier to run than an ODB2 extension.

    Based on some issues I have been having lately with a video cable, it would be cool if the box had some decent way to strain relieve the I/O wires so that the stress isn't put on the connector itself.

  2. #52
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    All good ideas. The GPS issue might be mitigated a bit if an external antenna connector was available. Since the core PC would most likely be based on an existing retail product, I'm not sure how likely it is that much modification could be done to the existing packaging or connectors.

    So I did a little research and I see that touch can be delivered over HDMI. So theoretically, if you used a BT OBDII and internal or BT GPS, you could probably get by with a single HDMI cable to the monitor. Of course, that would depend greatly on the monitor. By the way, why are BT GPS devices so expensive? I'm more than a bit puzzled.

    As always, lots of variables to consider.

  3. #53
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    Well Vegas guy, I have a device here that would match most of the bill you mention.

    It is ARM based so no true windows but they do have WinCE available for it and I would have to imagine Win 8 RT could be installed on it as well.. It is more intended to run Linux or Android though but from what I have seen it is the most powerful and feature driven unit currently available:

    http://boundarydevices.com/products/nitrogen6max/

    And only $250... More if you want to expand some of the included hardware in a custom version.

    (Not SATA III but it IS SATA II....)

    (Onboard flash rom and ddr3 ram... )

  4. #54
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    I've seen that before and it looks REALLY cool. But I'm thinking more in terms of something a little more mainstream plug and play. Let's take Asus, or Gigabyte or AsRock for example. They all make motherboards for gamers, over-clockers, power user and value-conscious buyers. They're all minor variations on a couple of basic chipsets, with +- features aimed at the target audience. Now suppose one of those audiences was us. Imagine if they decided to introduce a package of features and components aimed at the carPC market. What would THAT product look like? What would it mean for the hobby if we actually had major vendor support? How would Mini-box react? Or Lilliput and Xenarc?

    Honestly, I don't know that it would a huge difference, but it certainly wouldn't be a bad thing. Shake things up a bit for sure.

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    Personally I think what you really need is a box that "does it all" and allows you to connect it to any PC. Then you could use something like a simple tablet or a NUC with very limited USB capabilities and go from there.

    Sno has a nice add on box but I am thinking something more integrated could be done cheaper and possibly put more onto the same size boards. Nothing wrong with Sno's box. I have one and hope to be integrating it into my system shortly. But I mean one that has all of the cool add on stuff. Then you just get a generic PC or whatever you want to run with it.

    You could even build it with an ARM board such as the one I listed as the backbone and just have it talk to a PC. That would allow you to do a lot with the PC and not require a lot of processing power since the ARM based board would be doing all of the work.

    (I have all components for my system.. Just need the time to install everything.. Hope to have it operational within a couple weeks.)

  6. #56
    Constant Bitrate Rickk's Avatar
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    A fully USB solution would be nice for installation. USB monitor, USB audio devices (even amplifiers), USB ODB2, everything USB. A box with several USB 3.0 ports and also the availability of say a 4 and an 8 port automotive USB 3.0 Hub that talks well with the PC (for configurable auto on and auto off). All tested and proven to play well together in an Automotive environment of course.

    It would be cool to just stuff a box anywhere, supply 12 volts, put a couple of USB HUBs in strategic locations, plug in a few USB cables, and know that when you push the remote USB on-off switch (that also has an ignition wire connection and can be programmed to respond as you prefer, including independently programmable off delays for each device), that it will turn on and work with no screwing around.

    No one is going to want exactly the same system. Everyone has their own uniwue needs. A box and a list of USB options to choose from would make a very universal system.
    Last edited by Rickk; 07-23-2014 at 10:56 AM.

  7. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by VegasGuy View Post
    All good ideas. The GPS issue might be mitigated a bit if an external antenna connector was available. Since the core PC would most likely be based on an existing retail product, I'm not sure how likely it is that much modification could be done to the existing packaging or connectors.

    So I did a little research and I see that touch can be delivered over HDMI. So theoretically, if you used a BT OBDII and internal or BT GPS, you could probably get by with a single HDMI cable to the monitor. Of course, that would depend greatly on the monitor. By the way, why are BT GPS devices so expensive? I'm more than a bit puzzled.

    As always, lots of variables to consider.
    VegasGuy, I like where this is heading! I'm curious is this intended as a Market research for possibly something to come?

    To answer your question with my idea of a perfect CarPC it would be as follow.
    - a All in one package wrapped in a plastic box. Imagine, a monitor (With a bigger enclosure of course, but not too big. The idea is, I want to be able to flush mount that thing almost virtually anywhere) This means it would have the Mobo, monitor, driverboard, PSU, etc...
    - A driverboard/monitor that is car friendly. (Auto dim when I turn the lights on, plenty of NIT brightness, no blue screen or flicker when switching inputs and not even any header showing which input is on to keep it as OEM looking as possible decent touchscreen response, bezel mounted usb port at front, and some buttons like Home, GPS, media, on/off, etc) and an video input for rear view camera with auto switch.
    - For a range of option, different screen options, 7/8/9/10" with a trimmable faceplate that allows for either simple DD mount or more complex trim/mold fiberglass custom work
    - For features, a home screen flash, where you can choose different logo to come on when the PC turns on (IE. honda or ford or GM logo) the least amount of Windows glance. Basically auto resume to a Front end and keep windows screen as least as possible unless chosen. The basic, like Radio (something like directed HD radio unit but more built in), HDD music, video/movies. GPS, and something better than Iguidance. Live weather. Phone. Aux input. browser. a build in DVR cctv system with at least 2 cam input just like minicam that shows watermark, speed, gps location. OBD/canbus readings like palmers. 3/4G LTE sim card slot, or at least a easy way to get tetering when connecting my phone via usb or over wifi/bluetooth. Bluetooth audio stream. Most important, a simple basic front end. not 4-5 or even 10 pages of app buttons. Keep it all under one screen. I want to be able to choose whatever I want to see without having to browse trough pages. I'd want it all in one place.
    - For external component, GPS antenna, microphone, USB hub*, a simple wire harness plug (Similar to a HU where I would simply splice wires like power, ground, ACC etc into a single removable plug)

    That's what I can think for now on top of my head... But then I think of all these parts plus R&D and production. I have a feeling making a plug and play retail version like that would not be cheap! On the other hand, it would completely destroy every HU and even OEM systems out there.

  8. #58
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    transport and logistics industry would be a HUGE market and would benefit greatly with a "carpc".
    was wondering what kind of legacy system they were using before carpc's... i imagine cb's, and manual lookups?

    Quote Originally Posted by SNOtwistR View Post
    I work in fleet telematics industry and every client wants everything available in their fleet. They want 2 way communication with drivers, see diagnostics of vehicle (starter disable/enable, temperatures, error codes, tire pressure, fluid levels, fuel consumption either by theft or excessive idling, ability to change routes on the fly, camera images just to name a few) I currently have a fleet that I use a 11.5" win7 tablet connected to a 3g/satellite modem which I can pretty well achieve all their demands. It's not a complete all in one box solution but very close.

    I stumbled upon this item on ebay item #360888384222 it had this same idea in mind using winCE. The right idea but I feel underpowered hardware and should have been winxp-7 embedded. Here is the link to the actual company that makes it http://www.sd-omega.com/avl65.html. There are many , many companies that have tried or are trying to do this very task of trying to get the ultimate do all unit to the masses. Some with major investors with lots of cash and some coming out of a basement/garage environment with little or no money behind them. Even Garmin is now selling a "connected" unit to communicate and send vehicle data back to a server.

    When I built my all in one data box I based it on the already proven hardware supplied by early members from here or from a larger company that provides great support for their product. Currently 3 front-ends can support the hardware and pretty well covers most needs with engine diagnostics, tpms, parking distance, gps, analog/digital in/out and a free usb port for camera/printer/scanner. Plus it is built modular to be able to add on extra features like am/fm/xm/hd/dab radio.

    Good luck and if you want to discus in more detail I am available SNO

  9. #59
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    Not market research per se, but maybe trying to use the collective wisdom of mp3Car to bring into focus some of the issues that shape the market. I will say that the proliferation of "connected car" concepts in the mainstream automotive market has created some renewed interest in our little corner of the world. Whether any of it blossoms into an actual product release is the question.

    I am convinced the core issue is mass. In order to attract and sustain interest and support from mainstream PC component manufacturers, the market has to be of sufficient size. Once that "critical mass" is achieved, the presence of one big fish attracts other big fish, and all the little fish that swim along with them. Everyone finds their little niche in the eco system and everyone benefits. So how do we achieve critical mass?

    I believe we must lower the "cost" of entry. By cost, I don't just mean money, although that is certainly a significant factor. What I mean is that we need to have entry-level systems that are as "plug and play" as possible. Plug them in, attach a screen, and turn them on. Something the average user could do, without a great deal of computer knowledge, and feel confident of success. Probably 75% of them never go any further than that. Some will maybe add OBDII or possibly a camera or something. And 10% or so will get hooked and go looking for the "good" stuff. But we're really not concerned with that. All we really care about is volume...foot traffic if you will...getting them through the door.

    I guess an R/C airplane analogy might be appropriate: We've got everyone out here trying to build 1/4 scale B-29s, when what we really need is a ready-to-fly Cessna 172. Whether or not that's feasible from a business standpoint remains to be seen.

  10. #60
    Newbie BennY-'s Avatar
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    imho it depends heavy on what the user wants to do with the carpc.

    most want media/gps and maybe obd. some also want to play games on the carpc. some want 1080p, some will want 4k in future. and some are happy with 720p or PAL/NTSC....
    some want 8channel (or more) rca out, some want digital audio out, some want hifi quality, some only want replace their oem radio and sound quality doesn't matter that much.

    for me after years of changing setups, i think i found the way for me to go. small systems, which do have their own tasks, but work together in one system. The CANBUS is a good example for such a system. where you have different tasks for each module, but they all work together and share data between each other. i see no need for a desktop-power pc in a car anymore, you can play great on tablets (even with gamepads), also those tablets could take the task of video decoding, so the pc system doesn't need that much power.

    so a tablet is the all in one frontend/display hardware solution imho, good frontend software is the only lack atm which leads to problems like a/v sync when using bluetooth or airplay audio.

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