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Thread: New to Carpcs and planning to do a couple of set ups.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2013

    New to Carpcs and planning to do a couple of set ups.

    I have a 1999 diamante/magna(for the aussies) that's on it's way out. I'm going to be getting a new car pretty soon and I want to turn this into my project/guinea pig car.
    Thus I have decided to put in a car pc and figure out what works, what doesn't so I can confidently start on the right foot with the BMW E30 I will be getting.

    My current test set-up is in the works and will be go as soon as the ODB2 reader gets here. The idea currently is to have everything running off of a thinkpad X120e and a tomtom GPS. I hope to run a dashcommand (so far all I could find) on it, combined with windows voice recognition to allow for voice control of music in my car. The way the sound system will work is just an AUX going to the current head unit, and then buy a radio adapter that I can attach to my car antenna for my pc to completely replace the head unit functionality (I hate mine and all other aftermarket headunits) and since I can't control the headunit directly from the PC, eventually I will just wire the laptop directly to an amp and bypass the headunit completely. I then plan to use my laptop as a hands free calling system by bluetooth linking it with my cell phone and debating a wifi hotspot phone or just 4g dongle to allow internet to the computer (spotify, grooveshark, etc).

    For GPS/backup camera I'm currently believing that the best set up would be to just have a separate screen and for ease just buying one of the GPS's that doubles as a backup camera and connecting it that way. Basically the idea being all my controls are spread out among 2 screens only and no other controls.

    Some of the things I need to work on would be the air con unit which is digital in the car. I would love to connect it to the pc and I believe the shortest and easiest way to do that would be with a Raspberry pi but it would require me to get into coding which isn't too bad.

    Then there is the issue of the incoming BMW which to my no knowledge does NOT have a OBD2 output so I would have to both find a connector to whatever computer there is AND get software to present that to myself in a pleasing visual way. I would want to make an actual PC for this using cheap computer parts I have lying around.

    And finally with the looks, unfortunately for stage 1 I plan to have everything strewn about and hidden in various parts of this cars strangely vacuous center console and dash. After working out the kinks I would then work to make a much more integrated and pleasing system of running a seperate screen and everything hidden in the background.

    I've thought about actual tuner computers but I have come to the conclusion they are not worth the hassle/money and my lack of understanding and need for that sort of POWAH leads me to just say **** it and go basic ODB2 and some simple dashcommand (which is still horrendously ugly but that could be fixed by getting a script that pulls the values and displays them in a pleasant minimalistic bold way on a nice high res display like out of the google pixel.

    So this is mostly an introduction and just fishing for any opinions, and warning because despite everything sounding so nice in my head I know there will be blatant issues that are currently disguised by my ignorance of the actual effort going into this car.

    Thanks, and Hello!

  2. #2
    FLAC rray's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    SF Bay Area
    Welcome to! Sounds like a good start, and once you get it setup you will start to see what needs improvement. You will probably want to get the system to auto boot at some point, but I'm not sure that's so easy on a laptop without breaking into the case and doing some soldering. Probably easier to move to the next level and build a dedicated carpc to replace the laptop, but the laptop is good for testing phase. I use the wi-fi hotspot of my 4G phone, sometimes streaming Pandora, but mostly I play FLAC and MP3 files.

    Hands free with the laptop might be an issue. No real nice solutions yet for BT and windows.

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