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Thread: Short introduction then into the nitty gritty!

  1. #1
    Newbie MediamanJack's Avatar
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    Cool Short introduction then into the nitty gritty!

    Howdy, I'm Jack, A nerdy audiophile who loves playing around off road in a jeep.

    The idea of putting a computer into a car, let alone a jeep, was always a fun idea that I had tossed around. I was never able to convince myself to do it, always thinking that it was things for movies and secret agents. Then I found jon's RX-8... It blew me away the amount of technology that he crammed into his vehicle, RFID being one of the coolest IMHO. After that I dug deeper into the interweb tubes to find that this was not just a mad man and his design. mp3Car was among the sites that I had found that discussed the very possible option of creating a Carputer. (or Jeeputer depending) Jon's RX-8 was just scratching the surface. I was convinced. I had to accomplish this, I had to climb this mountain with my Jeep (Bazinga!) and add my flag to the top proclaiming to all that "I AM A NERD!"

    Anyways, all that to say this, I hope to learn as much as possible from your mistakes and triumphs, and I can only hope to add mine to this vast database of knowledge.

  2. #2
    Newbie MediamanJack's Avatar
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    My project is on my 2002 Jeep Wrangler Sport 4.0.

    There are a couple things that I know I want in my setup:

    Mac Mini (Link) (windows fanboys silence! )
    CarNetix CNX-P2140 (Link)
    OBD II interfacing (Link)
    GPS turn by turn (not sure how yet...)
    a screen/HU resembling the Xenarc MDT-X7000 (Link) (Help finding something comparable that is in production would be greatly appreciated...)
    Remote start (not sure how yet...)

    And a few others that are possibilities for a later time.

    This is still very early in the design and information grabbing stage. That being said I'm still not sure whether I should start a worklog now, or wait until I actually begin ordering parts and setting things up; Moderators?

    really I just need a place to begin laying out ideas and to receive input from people who have already attempted this...

  3. #3
    FLAC PhilG's Avatar
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    Well, welcome to MP3car, Jack! Enjoy your time here, share your project and ask any questions you can't find the answer to by searching.
    My 2007 Ford F350 Work Log located HERE

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    Newbie MediamanJack's Avatar
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    Thanks PhilG You've got a nice rig there btw. I like the in dash screen.

    anyways, would this be the best place for me to begin laying out my thoughts and asking for advice? or should I start a Project thread?

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    MySQL Error soundman98's Avatar
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    ^ditto!

    unfortunately, there are no current motorized screens that i feel comfortable recommending.. all of them used to have all sorts of problems.

    currently, i know of 3 major companies that make motorized screens: xenarc, lilliput, and revosys.

    zenarc's used to have all sorts of problems with the video cable between the chassis and screen breaking
    lilliputs used to use plastic gears for motorization that would break all the time
    revosys is a more recent introduction, and have never been reviewed..

    i have not read of any design updates to the zenarc's, but lilliput did upgrade their screens to use metal gears, though, like the revosys models, i have not seen any reviews, so i don't know if the problems were fixed..

    i believe there have been some no-name brands floating around the web that offer the same features as the mdt-x7000, though remember that product support could be a serious issue with fly-by-night companies.

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    Newbie MediamanJack's Avatar
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    Oh! one other thing that I've been working on trying to figure out is how to connect the climate control to the computer. The Jeep has analog controllers for this, except for the fan speed which is just a simple switch. The vent changer is vacuum controlled and the temp. is like a volume knob (not sure what that type of dial is called?).

    Both this and remote start might not be the best idea considering that I still haven't decided on an always on setup or one that starts with the Jeep. Hmm... I could do both? have all my multimedia connected to the MacMini and setup something like bugbyte with either an igepv2 or sheeva running the remote start and digital climate control... that seems a little over my head... Good, I like a challenge...

    Thanks Soundman, I've been looking through the websites of those two, found both of them. The Revosys looks nice, I like the built in mic. Only thing it doesn't have is bluetooth. But that's alright I'll be running centrafuse most likely and it has bluetooth calling support.

    This looks pretty the RevoSys X400.1 (Link). I could buy this and be done with it all! lol! except I can't find it anywhere to buy... not even on the revosys website...

  7. #7
    FLAC PhilG's Avatar
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    There are a few threads here on HVAC integration, the brain fusion will likely be your friend for this.

    For the remote start, honestly, for the price of them, I would suggest you start with a prefab unit with all of the safty overrides etc. built into it then use the I/O's of it to "talk" to your PC such as turning on the PC from the RS key FOB.
    My 2007 Ford F350 Work Log located HERE

  8. #8
    Newbie MediamanJack's Avatar
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    Wow, half a month goes by in no time...

    Quote Originally Posted by PhilG View Post
    There are a few threads here on HVAC integration, the brain fusion will likely be your friend for this.

    For the remote start, honestly, for the price of them, I would suggest you start with a prefab unit with all of the safty overrides etc. built into it then use the I/O's of it to "talk" to your PC such as turning on the PC from the RS key FOB.
    That's a really good idea, I thought of that myself a little while ago. The safety overrides would be a nice feature considering I drive a stick. either way, I think I'm going to drop the RS idea for a different idea; RFID.

    With an RFID key fob or a custom one inserted into the back of my cell phone, I hope to be able to turn the jeep into the "On" position. This would allow me to get in the jeep and it turn on when I was close enough. Then using a push button of some sort I would start the engine and another button to turn everything off (Like turning the key to the "Off" position)

    Does that make sense? It makes sense in my head.

    Another safety feature I could add would be to turn the jeep back off after a set amount of time if I don't start the engine. Although, what would I do if I just wanted power to the Jeeputer and not turn the car on... hmm....


    Now I did more research into the HVAC integration, and I'll follow your advice and ask around in the HVAC section. The temperature control is a resistor type dealio. (I'm new to all things having to do with electronic controls... I know, sad...) so using a board like arduino or propeller I can send varying levels of amps or volts (which?) to the control unit depending on whether I want hot or cold. The fan speed is a simple switch, so I just have to use the arduino to switch the power there. Now the vent control is going to be a little trickier. My boss says I should use a solenoid air valve. He says that I'll be able to control them through an arduino or other like boards.

    I'm looking into how to do all of this and will definitely head over to the HVAC section and ask around about their integration ideas.

    Thanks a lot in advance, This is really helping me pull my thoughts together into one solid idea. then I can begin to step through everything and plan it out.

  9. #9
    MySQL Error soundman98's Avatar
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    lol, i started my last 'quick' project about 6 months ago-- i'm still working on it...

    last time i was browsing the FB section, i believe stepper motors were mentioned-- to turn some hidden factory hvac knobs.

    for the rfid stuff-- while it would be really cool for car access, rfid tags aren't any good past about 1-12". any longer distance, and you need a larger pickup-- but i don't believe any companies offer rfid pickups for any more then about 24"-- and those recievers are usualy about 2-3ft squares-- not the easyiest thing to hid in a space-cramped car..

    tripzero had been working on a always-on pc that would use the bluetooth signal from his phone to activate car features-- bluetooth is good for something like 60-100ft..

    so for a long-access alternative(like remote start) bluetooth is going to be a better alternative..

  10. #10
    Newbie MediamanJack's Avatar
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    I'm not dead I promise. lol! I'm in the process of moving to NY so I've been kinda preoccupied...

    I'm not necessarily looking for a long range deal so as cool as the bluetooth sounds, I think I'll stick with the RFID for now, maybe I'll use the bluetooth at some point, as it does seem to have a lot of uses.

    anyways, I found this RFID Card Reader from parallax. I plan on putting in inside of the arm rest storage deal.


    In the area right next to the E-Brake and just under the lid.

    That way I can just touch that spot with either my phone or key fob and the Jeep will turn on...

    Anyways, at this point in time, I believe I have narrowed everything down to 3 main projects with a possible 4th. I'll post those in follow up posts.

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