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Thread: 1998 G20 Van Toy Hauler Project

  1. #11
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    6. Install active scanning radar system <- currently scouring military surplus sites and stores

    Can someone explain this? For Weather? Jamming? What?

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gunmaster
    6. Install active scanning radar system <- currently scouring military surplus sites and stores

    Can someone explain this? For Weather? Jamming? What?

    Sheesh, here we go.

    Just SOME of the possible applications?

    1. Traffic conditions, including approaching vehicles in blind spots and unseen obstacles when backing up.

    2. Unseen obstacles ahead, like deer, stalled cars, or maybe even a downed tree since that sort of thing happens.

    3. Simply knowing what is moving and not moving around a nearly 15 foot van with blacked out windows and poor visibility at all times.


    After all is said and done, however, the bottom line reason for it simply that I think it would be cool and I want it. I have the money and the know-how to make it work and so no reason why I shouldn't pursue it.

  3. #13
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    Progress update 6/25/05

    Ah, I have been looking forward to the weekend all week as a chance to really get some stuff done on this project. Here are a couple of things I have done so far, some things I have changed, and what I am working on today. Before Monday, I should have pictures online and at least 1 report from an actual excursion I am planning with this beast overnight. Instead of hauling my street bike, this afternoon I am loading 2 dirt bikes, full camping gear, an related supplies for an out-of-state riding day on Sunday.

    What I did last night and am working on today:

    1. Installed back-up camera in modified weather-proof housing. I couldn't sleep last night so this took me until 4 this morning, drilling out, placing it just so, and pulling the wires out of the camera so I could make the roof holes as small as possible.

    2. Mounting the monitor and running related cabling today, first thing.

    3. Installing alarm system I picked up for cheap during the week.

    4. Installing preliminary computer set-up, with monitor, and WiFi router.

    5. (Maybe) installing XM along with new stereo system. This isn't totally critical, but it would be nice to have so I can also take my 11,000+ mp3's on a 300 gig external drive with me this afternoon.


    Things I am changing:

    1. I decided to change out the computer I was planning on using because of the waste of actual computer power. I just couldn't see sticking a P4, 2.6Ghz, 1 Gb RAM machine into the van when I have lesser powered machines on hand which can do everything I want to do anyway. So, the Optiplex SX270 is staying inside and an Optiplex GX270 is taking its place. The trade-off is the higher power consumption of the tower over the micro-desktop form factor.

    2. Plans for the solar panel array on temporary hold. I finally figured out just how many I would need to keep the battery charged even with the computer system on 24/7. It's going to be a big array, but the top of the van offers more than enough space. The problem is I can't justify the expense right now when my bike is need of a full fairing replacement because some jerk knocked it over the other night.

    And before anyone asks why, I wanted the computer to stay on all the time because of some monitoring and communication applications I planned for whenever the van was parked within my local WiFi network. Additionally, future plans include turning more and more control of access to the van and security over to the computer as I work out the technical details. Because those issues aren't critical at the moment, I can forego a full-on system set-up until the funds are released following the repairs to my bike.

    I am still looking for good power alternatives, but solar has so far proven to be the most reliable and cheap method for continuous charging of the battery.

    3. I am adding an internal monitoring webcam at the rear of the van facing forward. This change came about after transporting the bike for about 100 miles last week. Though it was tied down securely, there were a few major jolts to the van on some poorly maintained back roads. I didn't discover how much the bike had shifted in its harness until after getting it home. A few more jolts like I had and it would have slipped free, causing only the gods know how much damage internally. Getting a visual upfront what is happening way in the back would be beneficial.

    4. I am adding a full weather sensor package which will hopefully interface with computer or display on the secondary input of the back-up camera monitor. Without realizing it initially, I am discovering this van is going to be terribly useful this summer for one of my other hobbies: storm-chasing. I think I was sub-consciously adding the things I would need for it all along, but it took a close friend's observation about the application to bring it to the front of my mind.


    Things I am still planning/working out:

    1. I am still on the look-out for some of the more controversial aspects of my project, such as the active radar-scanning system. I have been looking at a few DIY home-brew set-ups but would prefer a pre-built system.

    2. I haven't really taken enough time to work out interfacing my Axiom A2 GPS with the computer. Too many other things have been piling up, but maybe that is something I can read over by the campfire tonight.



    Alright, I think that about does it for now. I will let everyone know how it goes later today. I might possibly even be able to post from the road using my Blackberry as a modem, but we will see!

  4. #14
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    Update

    Ok, it is nearly midnight-thirty and I have been at this all day. The following things were accomplished:

    1. Back-up camera completely installed, mounted, and working like a charm.

    2. Computer installed with the same success.

    3. External power connection installed in van to allow switching systems over to campsite or home electrical power.


    The van is a mess inside and I plan to clean it up first thing in the morning. Following that should be pictures detailing all that I have done. The WiFi network is giving me some trouble and that will be the first thing I look at once the van is organized again.

    I am tired and happy with my results. Going to bed to start again in a few hours.

  5. #15
    Raw Wave lostreception's Avatar
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    just curoious as to the model cam yor installing and the location ive considered in the high top of my van but i want to make sure i get a good viewing angle . if yo ave a model num or link that would also be helpful. cant wait for pix ..
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  6. #16
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    The camera is part of a security monitoring system I bought at Lowe's for about $50 on sale. It is made by GE and is just a simple B&W camera attached to the monitor with audio, video, and power couplings. The set I bought included the monitor, power adaptor, 60' of cabling, camera, and mount for the cam. I don't have the model number in front of me, but I saw a similar system at Wal-Mart for the same price just a few days ago. When I go back out there, I will write down what information I can find.

    I took the camera apart and removed the wires from the back so I could make my drill holes smaller. Then it was a question of putting it all back together again while sitting on the roof. I looked all over the place for a basic weatherproof dome to put over the cam, but came up short. Then I found a series of clear, watertight cases by Pelican. I got one about the size of a model car box and mounted the cam inside with a little Exacto work, drilling on the bottom, and finished up with silicone sealant around all holes.

    I have the pictures and am downloading them from my camera as I type this. My next post will include them in a few minutes. One thing I wanted to point out is that my highest priority is function before form. My van differs from yours in that it was a work vehicle and so was basically gutted long before I got hold of it. My installation work thus far has been effective and efficient, but not as aestetically pleasing as yours. This vehicle serves as a mobile motorcycle garage/camping excursion/storm chasing platform.

  7. #17
    Raw Wave tj!2k4's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by will1384
    I just ordered the "GESS DVR 104" from ebay - its a video capture
    card that captures from 4 different video cams at the same time -
    and it does it in MPEG-4
    $9.99?!!?!??!?!! http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...category=48634

  8. #18
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    Pictures!!!!

    Ok, here we go:




    This outside front of the van. You can see the external power panel.



    This is a close-up of the external power connection I installed to use at either home or a campsite equipped with electricity.




    From the rear with the doors fully open.




    The front area where computer and back-up cam are displayed.



    A close-up of the actual display.




    The back-up camera display. My digital camera doesn't see the display properly and so only shows a small line. Trust me. It works!



    This is the back-up camera, mounted just above the third stopping light on the top of the van.




    A peek inside the camera housing.



    The computer is actually mounted next to the winch, just behind the driver/passenger area.




    This is the rooftop mounted WiFi antenna, made by Hawking.



    Loading the bike now.




    The winch is taut and ready to pull the bike up the ramp, once I put down the camera and go to make sure it is steady. The entire process of loading takes about minutes.




    The bike is loaded, secured, and ready for transport to wherever I want.




    I have ample room to play with, to the point I could load an additional street bike or even a couple of dirtbikes. This doesn't take into account how much gear I can store. Helmets, gloves, jackets, mechanical parts, and camping gear are all stored on the metal shelving unit.





    This internal webcam gives me a visual on the condition of the bike or bikes at all times on the computer screen. I can see whether they have shifted or if adjustments need to be made just by looking at the screen.

  9. #19
    Raw Wave lostreception's Avatar
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    looks like you modded your tailights as well to led ones i was thnking of doing that with my van as well the cam mount is a bit of a "Steal me" factor with the yellow on it are you going to paint it white to match the exterior eventually
    .______
    | '_ |__\___
    [(o)|___(o)] XB
    ._________
    | I__I I_I|_\__I
    [(o)______(o)]b VanPimpin'

    LostReceptions Apps D/L Here

    GPSGasoline- Rewriting

    Draw- SkribblePad for Touchscreens

    iGQwerty-iG3.0 Qwerty Keyboard

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  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by lostreception
    looks like you modded your tailights as well to led ones i was thnking of doing that with my van as well the cam mount is a bit of a "Steal me" factor with the yellow on it are you going to paint it white to match the exterior eventually


    Actually, I am going to paint it black since the plan is to paint the van the same color. The camera and the housing are pretty securely bolted down, but I plan to add a screw or bolt-down metal strap of some sort to keep prying hands away.

    That does bring up the security issue since I am especially concerned having a motorcycle inside. Eventually, I want to get to the point where the computer can operate at all times and and can alert me to changes or intrusion attempts.

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