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Thread: About My Project

  1. #1
    Newbie BusRadio's Avatar
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    About My Project

    Here's the inspiration and concept for my project.

    In the early 2000s, a company called "BusRadio" created a device that would synchronize their Internet radio program via WiFi. The program would be sent over the Internet from them to their server set up in participating school district's bus depots, and then from there the content was synced to the BusRadio units via WiFi at night, when the buses were normally parked.

    The BusRadio unit was actually a small computer system, and was actually quite an elegant design. It looked just like any car stereo.

    BusRadio went out of business last year, and since then I have scoured the Internet looking for these BusRadio units, but have yet to find one. When the company was operating they claimed to have installed over 10,000 units; presumambly all of these are rotting in landfills today.

    Nonetheless, making modifications to use one of these for any purpose than what they were intended for, may not even be possible anyway. So what I would like to do is create my own system inspired by the "BusRadio." This would be a small computer inside the car that would synchronize overnight Internet radio that was recorded during the day.

    This project is currently in the planning phase. I know that Windows XP can synchronize files automatically via a Windows network. I have also found software that can record Internet radio (although a free program would be nice, if anyone has any suggestions)

    One thing that I loved about the BusRadio design that I presume is not possible in a self-built system is the elegance of the unit. As I said earlier, it looks like a very basic car radio--with 6 buttons, a volume knob, and an LED display. But a self-built system requires a touch-screen display--not so elegant. Pricey, too.

    Another issue is power management. I see here there are kits that tell the system to shut down and start up when the ignition is turned on and off. But the system will also need to be able to wake itself up, synchronize, and shut down on its own overnight.

    So if anyone has anything they can add or share... "Let's hear it!"

  2. #2
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    This is simple. It is called an iPod and it syncs to your PC each night. Subscribe to your favorite podcasts and enjoy.

    Zune can also do this - I think it can sync over wifi, but not sure. With a BT interface on your HU, it should be simple. Use a remote control on the steering wheel for hands free control.
    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruzer View Post
    I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
    Want to:
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    -Find out about carPC's in just 5 minutes? View the Car PC 101 video

  3. #3
    Newbie BusRadio's Avatar
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    Yes, Zune can sync over WiFi, although the reliability of that function isn't great.

    I was hoping for something a bit more integrated, instead of the constant fumbling around with portable devices, but that may not be feasible.

    I guess I'll see what I can do.

  4. #4
    MySQL Error soundman98's Avatar
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    i thought there was a program a while back to help offer a remote-sync option(not really sure, though i know it has been mentioned)..

    the main problem with the current state of carpc's is the fact that even the lowest power systems are still pretty high power draw-- enough that you could not keep the pc on 24/7 like what a idea like this might need..

    the good part is that tripzero is working on a project that could apply to you (link)

    in theory, the hardware he is using should allow for basic carpc features AND offer 24/7 runtime-- which in turn would allow it to update whenever it was near a enabled wifi spot..

  5. #5
    Newbie BusRadio's Avatar
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    Interesting stuff. I don't need the radio to be on 24/7, it just needs to "wake up" at 3 AM or so and be on long enough to sync, and then turn back off. If necessary a small alarm battery could be used to provide standby power to the unit so it doesn't suck down the vehicle's battery. I don't know, I haven't gotten that far with this yet.

    I did find out about a unit called the "Empeg," which is a pre-built unit that might be able to do what I'm looking to do. It lacks WiFi tho, so there is still going to be some work to be done if I went that route, plus the units are rare as they haven't been made for about 10 years.

    Coincidentally, I actually found one of the BusRadio units on eBay shortly after making that post. I won, and the thing will hopefully show up before the weekend if the seller shoves it off tomorrow.

  6. #6
    Newbie BusRadio's Avatar
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    Well my BusRadio unit finally showed up today and I'm quite impressed with it. Unfortunately there's not much hardware inside that's reusable outside of it except for a USB Wifi dongle (which I was quite surprise to see that's how it got its WiFi function) and a 2GB "Industrial" CF card. The CF card seems to contain the unit's firmware in a ZIP file as well as other stuff, like all the data it played for the kids on the bus.

    It may very well be possible to adapt this thing to do something else; unfortunately, I'm a Linux imbecile and I don't think I'm going to be able to do much with it. I will be playing around with it a bit more in the days to come.

  7. #7
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    I'm still confused about why you can't accomplish this with an iPod or Zune? It's dead simple, sync podcasts to an iPod. Can't you hack a dock to provide the 4 or 5 buttons you want on the dash or a faceplate?

    What did this Busradio do that was so different?
    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruzer View Post
    I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
    Want to:
    -Find out about the new iBug iPad install?
    -Find out about carPC's in just 5 minutes? View the Car PC 101 video

  8. #8
    Admin. Linux loser.
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    I'm still confused about why you can't accomplish this with an iPod or Zune? It's dead simple, sync podcasts to an iPod. Can't you hack a dock to provide the 4 or 5 buttons you want on the dash or a faceplate?

    What did this Busradio do that was so different?
    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruzer View Post
    I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
    Want to:
    -Find out about the new iBug iPad install?
    -Find out about carPC's in just 5 minutes? View the Car PC 101 video

  9. #9
    Raw Wave
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    sync without needing to leave the vehicle would be my guess

  10. #10
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    But if the Zune does WiFi sync and you can jailbreak an iPod to do the same, you wouldn't need to undock it. Just pull into range of a hotspot, which is what the Busradio requires.
    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruzer View Post
    I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
    Want to:
    -Find out about the new iBug iPad install?
    -Find out about carPC's in just 5 minutes? View the Car PC 101 video

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