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Thread: Double DIN LCD, and other questions (sanity check)

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    Lum
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    Double DIN LCD, and other questions (sanity check)

    I've been toying with the idea of an in-car computer for years, great to find this place and also great to see that people build things like in-car PSUs to save me some effort.

    My car is a mixed blessing as it provides me with a Triple DIN in the centre console which gives me tons of room, it's also a curse as I don't want to lose space in the glove box or under the seat, so everything is going into this space.

    I've measured up the double-DIN kenwood unit that came with the car (useless as the Japanese use different radio frequencies to the UK!) and see that I have a width of 172mm to play with and a height of 147 mm with the HVAC controller living above that (with warm pipes coming out of it ) and a removeable cage for your rack of AV equipment.

    I was looking at the LinITX LCD as it's quite cheap, but at 179mm it's just a little too wide. I assume the casing comes off but have no idea how much room that will gain. There is a small gap of about 5mm between the facia and the metal mounting cage, so if it's just a piece of circuit board inside then this will be ok, but these are things I cannot find out before handing over my money, so has anyone already done this?

    Presumably I can mount the MiniITX board behind the LCD, but 2mm is cutting things a little fine. Anyone attempted to put a MiniITX board into a DIN slot?

    I initially planned to run Linux on a RAID0 set of Compact Flash but there is no useable satnav software for Linux, also there is a cool program called DeltaDash for monitoring the Subaru ECU available from EcuTek which is also windows only. So it looks like Windows is the only choice. Since I plan to use hibernate, Windows 9x is out of the question as it cannot handle the uptime. NT4 is out of the question because of the need for USB, so I have a choice of 2K or XP. I'm leaning towards 2K as it has less garbage slowing it down but do you have any thoughts on this one.
    Either way, I am informed that CF is a bad choice for Windows installations because it can only take so many writes before dying, so a hard drive it is, is there a good way to cushion the HD against the GeForces incured as a result of "enthusiastic" driving. This way I get to dump my entire MP3 collection as well.

    Tank Circuits? (in the FAQ) I was under the impression the Opus PSU could survive engine cranking. Is this not the case?

    GPS will be acheived via the NMEA output on my Origin B2 speed camera detector. I'll probably be using MediaCar for now, I assume the GPS button launches your choice of satnav proggy, and that you can configure other buttons (I want one for the DeltaDash program)

    Bluetooth USB dongle? with this I assume I can get mobile internet, but more importantly add a cheap microphone and get a handsfree kit, how well does MediaCar deal with this? What other software do I need?

    So I'm guessing I need:
    Mini-ITX mobo of some description
    Opus 80W car PSU (which includes a separate 12V regulator and built in shotdown handling)
    2.5" HD and a rubber mount of some description
    TouchScreen
    slim-line slotloading CD drive, bracket and adaptor
    A sheet of plastic that's easy to cut holes in in order to make a facia (I intend to have front-mounted USB and RJ45 connectors
    Bluetooth dongle
    4 channel 25W RMS amp.
    Assorted cables.

    Do I even stand a chance of getting all this to fit, and have I missed anything?

  2. #2
    Low Bitrate Hopperhawk's Avatar
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    Pictures lad! We need pictures here!
    Centrafuse 3.1
    Garmin Mobile PC
    GPS, OBDII, Lilliput 629GL, Nightvision integrated video,
    Other fun stuff in works.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hopperhawk
    Pictures lad! We need pictures here!
    This is from a slightly different variation, but the area in the centre console for AV kit is identical to mine
    Linked as it's not on my site
    A picture of my actual car is here, not much use unless you happen to like looking at pictures of Subarus.

    I cannot take any specific pictures right now as the car is at a garage 300 miles away awaiting for my insurance company to stop faffing about and authorise the repairs after someone rear ended me on the motorway.

    Edit: Here is a pic of the kit I removed from the centre console after purchase.

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    Low Bitrate Hopperhawk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lum
    This is from a slightly different variation, but the area in the centre console for AV kit is identical to mine
    Linked as it's not on my site
    A picture of my actual car is here, not much use unless you happen to like looking at pictures of Subarus.

    I cannot take any specific pictures right now as the car is at a garage 300 miles away awaiting for my insurance company to stop faffing about and authorise the repairs after someone rear ended me on the motorway.

    Edit: Here is a pic of the kit I removed from the centre console after purchase.
    I dont think I will ever get used to the euro right side steering thing. It just looks like everything is on the wrong side or something. hrmm.... maybe if I drive backwards... No... perhaps I will buy a mail truck and 'experience' what you all feel... First MP3 Mail truck? If not, then I will make the first MP3 Motobike with built in speakers and mic in helm. (shrugs) Where WAS I going with this?
    Lum that car does look awesome though
    Centrafuse 3.1
    Garmin Mobile PC
    GPS, OBDII, Lilliput 629GL, Nightvision integrated video,
    Other fun stuff in works.

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    Maximum Bitrate kiltjim's Avatar
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    Okay to answer a few of your questions:

    You could move the radio dow to the bottom, or keep it up at the top, and use the double din spots to fit a monitor in. You will have to do some customization to the dash to fit the monitor, but that no big deal.

    As for fitting the mini-itx board back there, it all depends on your depth. There are a few people who have fit the board into the dash with little modification to the stock space. Again, a little modification may be needed.

    I don't have one, but I don't believe the opus survives a deep crank. Even with the opus, you may need a tank circuit.

    You have the GPS part correct, so you are okay there. I don't know about that whole speed camera detector thingee, but I'm in the US, so I have no idea about alot of stuff. (And you do know your steering wheel is on the wrong side, right? You might want to get that corrected when they fic the rest of your car.)

    The bluetooth dongle will only give you a connection to your phone. Not connection to the internet. I don't know if thats what you were thinking. And I haven't set anything like this up yet, but you may still need something else between mediacar and your phone to control the connection.

    Overall, you seem to have everything else figured out. You could lose the radio by going to a completely amp driven system, but I don't see any reason to, with that much space in the dash.

    Awesome car by the way...Subies rule. Period.
    2000 Subaru OBS

    Dell P3 @ 900 Mhz
    7" Lilliput TS w/DigitalWW in-dash mount
    80GB External HD

    I am Zero Bitrate....

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    Quote Originally Posted by kiltjim
    Okay to answer a few of your questions:

    You could move the radio dow to the bottom, or keep it up at the top, and use the double din spots to fit a monitor in. You will have to do some customization to the dash to fit the monitor, but that no big deal.
    The radio I have installed currently is a single DIN Sony MP3 head unit which is starting to die. It has this wonderful tendency to make the CD-RWs so warm that it actually destroys the disc in areas and certain tracks become unplayable. The kenwood units in the pic I posted are not much use, it's a Japanese unit and their FM frequencies end where UK ones start. The top unit is actually the TV/Touchscreen component of the Kenwood satnav system (the rest was under the seatn, now removed) the hinge is broken but fixable and it has composite in, but no way to use the touchscreen with your own kit, also as I am unlikely to be driving around Tokyo any time soon the installed maps are no good.
    I think I will aim to get the computer, CD and touchscreen into a double DIN, and use the space at the bottom for some less essential extras, memory card reader, a couple of USB ports (for memory stick, joypad, keyboard and trackball) a floppy drive and an ethernet port. These aren't essential and can be removed if I replace my car with one with only a double DIN (such as an Impreza, though I could then move these to a DIN sized dashpod)

    As for fitting the mini-itx board back there, it all depends on your depth. There are a few people who have fit the board into the dash with little modification to the stock space. Again, a little modification may be needed.
    Plenty of room for me to get ym fist behind the current radio and faff around with cables, so I guess it will be ok. I'm more concerned with the width, as radios in japanese cars are effectively rack-mount so I have two sheets of metal either side to bolt into.
    I don't have one, but I don't believe the opus survives a deep crank. Even with the opus, you may need a tank circuit.
    I'll try without, I'm ok with building computers and wiring stuff out but don't fancy making my own circuits, I'm not a proper electrician, I have done car audio installs and know where to attach wires too, but I don't go much further.
    You have the GPS part correct, so you are okay there. I don't know about that whole speed camera detector thingee, but I'm in the US, so I have no idea about alot of stuff. (And you do know your steering wheel is on the wrong side, right? You might want to get that corrected when they fic the rest of your car.)
    It's an excellent device, you update it over the internet and it has the GPS location of every fixed camera in the country, what kind of camera it is, the direction it's facing and the speed limit of the road it's on. If you are approaching such a camera and are going too fast, it beeps really loud and a voice tells you what speed you should be doing, also a GPS speed readout is more accurate so you can get pedantic with the law! Anyway, the NMEA out is the important thing and I'm wandering off-topic, sorry.
    The bluetooth dongle will only give you a connection to your phone. Not connection to the internet. I don't know if thats what you were thinking. And I haven't set anything like this up yet, but you may still need something else between mediacar and your phone to control the connection.
    My phone should be useable as a modem (either GPRS or GSM) and thus I can use it to dial-up. I would probably configure MediaCar to just launch FireFox or IE and let windows do it's auto-dial thing.
    Alternatively, there's the whole war-driving thing
    How about bluetooth handsfree with MediaCar though?
    Overall, you seem to have everything else figured out. You could lose the radio by going to a completely amp driven system, but I don't see any reason to, with that much space in the dash.
    I was planning to go for an amp anyway. I have been threatening to transfer across the nice ALpine speakers and amp from my previous car, and this could be justification for doing that.
    If I re-use my existing AMP though, I'm going to need a separate DAC at the back of the car as I refuse to use AC97, can you even get such a thing (cheap)
    Awesome car by the way...Subies rule. Period.
    Thanks. I really do love this car, all the fun of an Impreza with the addition of a second smaller turbo for low-end torque, and the Legacy is regarded as a farmers car in the UK so no-one gives me any hassle or tries to race, oh and that one is 100% standard, even the pimp-tints are factory fit, yay for JDM imports

    Thanks for the help too. I can't wait to get my car back now so I can start this.

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    Maximum Bitrate kiltjim's Avatar
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    Plenty of room for me to get ym fist behind the current radio and faff around with cables, so I guess it will be ok. I'm more concerned with the width, as radios in japanese cars are effectively rack-mount so I have two sheets of metal either side to bolt into
    The mini-itx board is about 6.5" square (If I remember correctly.) There are a few folks on here that have subies, and I remember two of which mounted everything behind the dash, and behind a hard mounted LCD. I thought about it myself, and even had a simple CAD drawing made up. For width, I was okay, with a little bending of that metal cage mounting thing. From early tests for my system, it wasn't so much the motherboard I was worried about, it was the added depth of the connecting cables that got in the way.

    I'll try without, I'm ok with building computers and wiring stuff out but don't fancy making my own circuits, I'm not a proper electrician, I have done car audio installs and know where to attach wires too, but I don't go much further.
    A simple tank circuit isn't all that difficult to build. A few diodes and maybe a resistor or two, and you're set. You should be fine if you can handle a complete audio install. Try it without, although I know for my car, I would need one. During crank I drop to something below 11 volts. Currently at least...
    2000 Subaru OBS

    Dell P3 @ 900 Mhz
    7" Lilliput TS w/DigitalWW in-dash mount
    80GB External HD

    I am Zero Bitrate....

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    I measured the width of the radio (and therefore the cage) as being 172mm and the ITX boards are quoted as being 170mm. That doesn't give me a lot of room, but it should be useable.

    I would like to make it into a unit that can be fitted and removed as if it were a normal radio though (I am even going to put an ISO plug on the back) does this seem feasable?

    Also, will the battery feed on the ISO connector be sufficient or am I going to need a direct feed from the car battery?

    One last thing, these power supplies such as the Opus seem to want to keep the ATX motherboard powered up when the computer is switched off, it says they monitor the car battery but I would prefer it if after say, 5 minutes of the PC shutting down that it just killed all the power. I never intend to use WakeOnLan so what is the point supplying the system any power at all? Is there any way to acheive this?

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    Maximum Bitrate kiltjim's Avatar
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    The opus has a settable time-out function, that will turn everything off when the accessory wire goes dead for a set amount of time.

    According to their site: 90 watt = 10 or 20 minutes; 150 watt = 10, 20, 40, 60 minutes.

    And to return to the tank circuit problem, it shuts off at 10.6 volts.

    When you say "ISO plug" Do you mean the plug you find on the back of the radio? (I've never heard of ISO-type plug) If so, aren't most of theplugs going to go to waste? You would only use plugs like constant power, accessory power, ground, and remote on (maybe). The others like speaker and headlights on are going to be wasted. I guess you could do it, to make the whole thing removable and stock. The majority of wires going to be going into your computer case would be power from the OPUS, and sound from those connectors.

    But if you could manage to fit the whole thing into a completely removable case similar to a car stereo, you would have one heck of a slick set up.
    2000 Subaru OBS

    Dell P3 @ 900 Mhz
    7" Lilliput TS w/DigitalWW in-dash mount
    80GB External HD

    I am Zero Bitrate....

  10. #10
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    an ISO connector is the standard for aftermarket car radios in the UK. It is actually two 8-pin connectors though they are often stuck together in a standard way.
    The first one is simple, amplified audio to 4 speakers.
    The second one has +12v (battery) +12v (accessory), earth, powered aerial and a couple of others.
    True to the principles of car manfacturer, no-one has this type of connector in their car, the closest is VW/Audi who only swap the battery and accessory wires over so your radio works but it loses it's memory when you turn the car off, however adaptors are readily available from just about anywhere.

    As for mounting, I have come to realise that the Kenwood double DIN unit I have is not going to be worth very much money at all as the radio will not pick up UK frequencies. The money i get for it on EBay will probably be less than the cost of building my own mounts so I am thinking I could just gut the Kenwood and use it as a chassis for my PC. Has anyone done this and does the board fit? Do I stand any chance of getting the Opus PSU in there too?

    Things to fit in the system:
    ITX board, screen, Opus PSU, separate regulator (if necessory) 4x25W RMS amp, CD drive, assorted USB dongles (bluetooth, radio, maybe wifi)

    Ideally I'd like to make the main functionality fit into a double DIN unit, then have a single DIN USB breakout box with front mounted ports, memory card reader, floppy drive etc. that way if I replace my Legacy with something with less DINs I can still use the thing.

    I'm screwed if I ever have to go back to single DIN though

    Edit: Perhaps I should wait for Nano ITX boards to come out?

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