Gumstix (now w/ USB Host)
From my searching I've found that it has been mentioned in passing a few times, but I thought I'd run up a flag to see if anyone else is planning on installing a gumstix 'computer' in their car.
Mine just arrived in the mail. My main build thread is over at supramania.com. Here's the first post talking about the gumstix, which I've duplicated below:
At this point you're probably wondering wtf in the world that thing is. Here's another image for scale (I didn't have a 1 or change... vending machine ate it all today):
What it is (non-geeks can skip this part):
The brand is 'gumstix'. It runs a special version of linux on hardware which is essentially a PDA. It's about as powerful as an iPhone actually (1-2x as fast as an 266mhz PC, depending on the task) and runs the same type of CPU. This one has a 400mhz CPU, 64M of RAM, 16 of onboard Flash plus a microSD card slot which I've got a 2GB card for. It has USB-Host (so it can run other devices like USB/Serial adapters, Storage, Audio, Hubs and so on, rather than just talk to a computer as a USB-Client), 802.11b/g Wifi, Bluetooth, 3 Serial Ports, 10/100 Ethernet on an RJ45 connector, some general IO ports and probably other stuff I'm forgetting. And above all: It will run Python code well (my language of choice for some years now, Java before that, Perl before that, Scheme/Lisp before that, C before that... you get the idea).
Non-Geeks can start reading again.
Lots of people put a whole PC in their car (carputer). mp3car.com is probably the most popular site devoted to it. It's called mp3car because at the time it started that was the primary reason to have a PC in your car as even the aftermarket head units that would play MP3s off of a CD weren't common yet and the iPod + Car Adapter thing hadn't taken off. Now it's roughly the same stuff high end nav systems include. GPS Mapping, etc, etc. But I've actually kinda decided my iPhone fills those needs pretty well now.
The nice thing about the gumstix is its ridiculously low power consumption. At full tilt it's about a Watt. At idle it's more like a quarter Watt. So I can leave it on all the time and it won't drain my battery. The car battery probably discharges more on its own just sitting there.
It's going to listen in on the Motec M600 ECU. I'll probably just setup Serial Telemetry first as that will be easier, but I can get a USB device that listens to CAN as well which will let me log more samples per second. I might start experimenting with sending data back to the ECU at some point, but one step at a time.
I can program it (in a high level language) to do things the ECU shouldn't be bothering with, doesn't have the CPU power to do, doesn't have the interface to do, and so on. MoTeC's ADL fills alot of the same roles. It's FAR more configurable in a much more general way than the ECU with a great deal more resources. But for me (because of my programming experience) this gumstix is a lot more flexible.
There are a couple other devices, in particular, that this gumstix will use to interact with the outside world.
One is a 5.6" touchscreen LCD which is driven via USB (or Serial). Since it's USB based I can add more than one on a hub for more displays in different places for different purposes. There are also smaller versions if needed. This fills the display function of the ADL. It's been ordered, but hasn't arrived.
The second is a Ethernet/USB based 'Data Acquisition' device with several dozen IO connections like analog input, Digital IO and PWM, etc (this fills the control function of the ADL). I've had this for months and actually written quite a bit of Python code to handle it (personally ported from C, then totally rewritten so it's Python-esque because I hate C).
And a little USB-based 'dial'. Like a volume nob, with like 20 'detents' per rotation. I plan to stick this (and a couple buttons, probably) where the stock TEMS controller goes and use it very much like Audi's 98-2003 Trip Computer/Nav system, not quite so elaborate as BMW's iDrive controller. This is for functions I use while driving and don't want to be looking at a touch screen. I've ordered this, DHL tried to deliver it today and wouldn't leave it at my door without a signature. I swear I had a release for them like I do UPS and Fedex, oh well.
I'll give more details and photos of the latter few items Soon™.