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Thread: My First Build - VW Golf MkIV Asus Eee PC

  1. #1
    Constant Bitrate firstorbit84's Avatar
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    My First Build - VW Golf MkIV Asus Eee PC

    Hi all-
    As you can probably tell from the title, and the forum section this is posted in, I'm new to building carputers. However, I have plenty of experience with computers and cars individually.

    About 7 months ago I purchased a used Asus Eee PC 701 4G from eBay for about $150 with the intention of getting to know the computer a bit and then eventually putting it into my car permanently.

    However, I fell in love with the computer itself, as a tiny lightweight laptop that freed me from the oppressive 6 pounds of my MacBook Pro. So, I decided that I would not start the carputer build until I could replace the 701. Well, my birthday rolled around and I just ordered a EeePC 900 to replace the 701 for daily use, along with all my starter Car PC goodies from dealextreme.com:

    7" USB Plug-n-Play Touch Screen Digitizer for Asus Eee PC 701 UMPC Laptops ~ $33.50
    Super Mini Bluetooth 2.0 Adapter Dongle ~ $2.50
    G.Mouse Mini USB SiRF Star-III 20-Channel GPS Receiver ~ $38.50
    Car Charger Cigarette Adapter for Asus 7" Eee PC 700/701 UMPC Laptops ~ $4.50

    My current goals are to get everything working without deconstructing the computer permanently, i.e. make sure all the hardware and software works the way I want it to before hardwiring anything.

    Once that's done, I've got to figure out what I'm going to do about sound. I have the stock tape player right now that I'm using a tape adapter with to hook up my mp3 player. But it also has the CD changer input that I saw in another thread could actually be used to communicate with a PC, controlling it through a winamp plugin, which would be kind of cool. The only problem is that I don't know where I'd mount the factory deck, if I decide to keep it, because I'd want it to be accessible in case I don't want to run the CarPC all the time.

    Then, I have to figure out exactly how I'm going to mount the computer. Right now, if the ribbon from the monitor to the mobo has enough freedom, then I'm thinking about mounting the motherboard in the dash behind and perpendicular to the screen so that the 2 USB ports and SD card slot on the right hand side of the EeePC can be accessible beneath the monitor.

    In the end, Id like it to look something like this:

    borrowed from ppgt94

    except just have the two USB ports and SD card slot underneath the monitor where he has the buttons and cd player.

    My immediate goals of functionality are:
    Navigation
    Media Center
    Mobile Web Browsing (through tethering with my BB)
    Hands free calling (through bluetooth with my BB)
    VAG-COM engine diagnostics, when desired (through USB-OBDII cable)

    Eventually I may implement some additional functionality:
    Gaming (through emulation and usb controllers)
    Back up camera (by relocating the EeePC's built-in webcam)

    A hefty order I think for a first timer, but I definitely think its possible. Please let me know if you have any tips, suggestions or resources that I can check out.

  2. #2
    Constant Bitrate firstorbit84's Avatar
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    Audio Concerns

    So I don't have the factory Monsoon amp, which I read could be ran stand-alone, and I know that aftermarket amps are available cheap, and that the CarPC will boot up quickly, and that I don't NEED a headunit to get sound.... but I'm torn between the three options that I've come up with.

    1. Keep existing head unit and relocate to ???
    Pros - Ability to listen to FM/AM Radio or tape adapter input without CarPC being on. Good in case of CarPC failure or for short trips around town.
    Cons - Must increase the length of factory stereo wiring. No good/accessible place to relocate head unit. Must purchase CD Changer-AUX Input adapter ~$50+ or build custom one for less $$ but much more effort.

    2. Use aftermarket amp with no head unit.
    Pros - Ease of installation. Upgradeability.
    Cons - No way to have music without CarPC being on. Loss of FM radio. Must Purchase Amp.

    3. Use aftermarket head unit with remotely mounted faceplate.
    Pros - Ability to listen to FM/AM Radio or CDs without CarPC being on. Good in case of CarPC failure or for short trips around town. Solves problem of inaccessible volume control.
    Cons - Difficulty of installation. Must purchase aftermarket Head Unit.

    I'm honestly leaning towards option 3 at this point in time as each option will definitely require some custom installation, and I found a decent 4 year old Aiwa MP3 CD Player with front Aux Input, matching blue lighting, 50wx4 power output, and a detachable face for only $40 on Craigslist. I checked the measurements of a single din faceplate and it should fit perfectly in the center console next to the e-brake with some modification.

    Total build cost so far: $229
    If I add the Aiwa deck for $40, then I'm up to $269 in just parts, before I get into wiring. Not too bad compared to some of the builds I've seen around here.

  3. #3
    Constant Bitrate firstorbit84's Avatar
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    Power Concerns

    I've also been thinking about exactly how I want the unit to power on and off and how I want to connect it to the car's power supply. I think I'm going to work it out like so:

    - Hardwire Eee PC Car Adapter (12VDC to 9.5VDC) into Switched Ignition-On lead with fuse (5A?)

    - Leave battery on Eee PC intact, and connect to hardwired charger

    - Use Eee PC's momentary on power switch to "activate"/"deactivate" CarPC (wake from hibernate / put into hibernate)

    With the setup described above, the battery will basically be charging any time the car is on. Then all I will have to do is wake the computer with a single push, or put the computer into hibernate with a single push of the original power button (probably relocated).

    This will save on boot time, and allow me to run the computer while the car is off but it still has battery. Plus, whenever I exit the vehicle, I can just hit the power button and it will go into hibernate on its own. The worst thing that could happen is that it runs out of juice and hibernates on its own. In the event that I'm sitting there with the car in the "on" position and don't have the engine running, the battery will automatically stop charging once its full, and I doubt that a little Eee PC battery will be able to completely drain a big car battery, but you never know, so this will be one thing that I'll have to be careful of...

    Does anyone think that this wiring setup will introduce noise into the audio, if I'm using the Eee PC's on-board headphone output as my main audio signal?

  4. #4
    Constant Bitrate firstorbit84's Avatar
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    Mods: Can you move this to Newbie - Proposed setup? I didn't see that category earlier.

  5. #5
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    After reading about your eeepc 701 project, I decided to build my car pc on this computer. bought one eeepc 701sd (4g), installed winxp pro and drivers, installed bluesoleil latest version, bought a super mini bluetooth adapter and connected to usb.
    No matter what I tried, I couldnt get the mobile phone sound from the eeepc speakers. I suspected the bluetooth adapter to be deffective, connected to my other laptop, it worked quite well.
    I tried to install win7 32 to eeepc, result was same. can you please tell me if you can get any sound over bluetooth from your mobile to pc speakers?

  6. #6
    Constant Bitrate firstorbit84's Avatar
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    I didn't use Bluetooth for audio or calling through the computer in this build. I had a separate stand alone parrot Bluetooth module that hooked directly into the stereo.

    Bluetooth on the laptop was only used for tethering for an internet connection

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