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Thread: Synth Car PC 2nd generation ** UPDATED WITH BETA 1202 INFO**

  1. #1
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    Feb 2007

    Lightbulb Synth Car PC 2nd generation ** UPDATED WITH BETA 1202 INFO**

    Hi All

    Decided to update this thread with what I have been working on for the lead up to the beta milestone of synthcar.
    still unsure how i will release it, as a linux distro, or as a frontend app, or....

    The "Front-end" will be HTML5 driven as you can see in the home and media screen below, the launcher and playlist is in HTML5 loading from uzbl webkit browser full screen with no window decoration. All screens can be accessed by swiping your finger left or right. swiping from the top will bring down the task dock. will add browse by album cover art.
    HTML5 gives me the freedom for excellent eye candy animations. all scrolling will have thumb scrolling enabled.

    will also include 4 channel camera input (one for reverse, one for blind spot) motion detection, collision detection, dtv receiver, 3g internet, google earth navigation.

    Home Screen
    Name:  main.jpg
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    Media Screen (controls follow the user)
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    Navigation Screen
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    ODB2 Screen
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    YouTube Screen
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    Keyboard (toggle when field is focused)
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    I'm also working on quick screen overlays to turn on/off as below
    overlays can be dashcams, videos..etc
    Name:  nav2.jpg
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    Your feedback is much appreciated.

    BELOW IS pre-alpha details

    After selling the car with my 1st generation car pc, I decided to put together another project as I will be purchasing a Nissan Cube soon.

    Hardware I am currently using:
    I'm running it on my netbook at the moment to keep the cost down. All up I spent around
    + Dell Mini 9 Netbook (Will upgrade to mini-itx with m2-atx psu)
    + 1.6Ghz Intel Atom Processor
    + 1GB Ram
    + 16GB SSD (for OS)
    + 1TB Hard Disk (for media)
    + 7" Touch Screen (mounted in double din housing)
    + USB Garmin GPS
    + USB Bluetooth Dongle
    + USB ODB2
    + USB HD Webcam *this is mounted on the dash and one pointing at the blind spot
    + Infrared Reverse Camera (RCA) *this cam auto switches when car in reverse

    Instead of trying to integrate everything into 1 application (like centrafuse does), I have customised the OS to be the foundation of the overall system. Since running centrafuse on windows is a no brainer, I decided to go with Linux.
    I'm using a customised VLC rather than XBMC. XBMC is bloat under idle conditions (utilizing about 50% cpu). A nicely skinned VLC does the job. The whole thing is driven with a task bar on the right hand side so the driver always has access to volume and necessary links to change screen between nav, media, cam, odb..etc.
    + Debian based Linux
    + Openbox WM
    + VLC or XBMC
    + iGO8 (running under Wine)
    + GUVCViewer (for webcam recording)
    + Scantool ODB2 monitoring
    + Bluetooth Hands-free Phone ??????

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    Please leave any suggestions, feedback, comments below.
    Last edited by trippah; 12-04-2013 at 01:34 AM.

  2. #2
    Variable Bitrate AutoWiz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Pompano Beach, FL
    I have a suggestion. if you haven't built it yet. these elm327 solutions offer generic obd2 functions only. they will only communicate with the cars ecu, ecm, vcm, pcm or whatever you wanna call the engine controller, and sometimes the trans control module. they are so ill equipped for today's vehicles. IF you could track down some obd2 to pc device that would give you vehicle specific capabilities, you could say, just talk to the body control module or bcm and request control of on board systems and control your power windows or door locks from your carpc for example without ever running a single wire. or talk to the hvac control monitor and see what the actual a/c pressures are without going to a shop and having gauges hooked to your car. I am sure there are canbus decoders out there that can achieve this, also. there is just so much of the car that these generic solutions don't see. and by generic, I mean global obd2. there is the airbag module, the anti-lock brakes module, the tire pressure monitor system, driver door module, passenger door module, remote keyless entry module, the body control module, electronic suspension module, fan control module, traction control module, HVAC(heating ventilation and air conditioning) control module, IPC(instrument panel cluster) module, front and or rear SAM(signal acquisition module), totally integrated power module(TIPM), just to name a few. I think it'd be awfully frustrating to go through all the effort to build a carpc and integrate it into the vehicle, and still have to take it to somebody else when the airbag or antilock brakes or traction control lights came on. if my build kept its factory controllers and wiring that is what I would have hunted down. just my 2 cents.

  3. #3
    FLAC PhilG's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Ontario, Canada
    If you do decide to look for something more detailed, check out Auto Enginuity. They have expansion packs for all makes. With the Ford expansion pack, it reads almost 500 PIDS on my super duty and does bidirectional communication to run tests, command solenoids on and off, buzz injectors, etc.
    My 2007 Ford F350 Work Log located HERE

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    United States
    Definietly a lot more clean than the xbmc setup I was initially looking at. I think I like this better, it's simple and should be faster for loading since it's not using xbmc as the interface. I actually use xbmc as a home htpc so I have nothing against it what so ever. I'm using lubuntu and IGO is running smoothly and going this route gives me the ability to use any music player I want, so great thinking! How are you having the media buttons on each desktop with other apps running?

  5. #5
    Low Bitrate
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    with the right window manager (i use openbox) you can set all kinds of window property to certain programs, eg. to run ontop, show on all desktop..etc
    then you can switch through then using wmctrl.
    the bonus is when you use a guesture program like easystroke so you can get the "swipe" action going.
    the extra bonus is when you add 3ddesktop to add a 3D cube to the "swipe" effect.
    if you are patient you could even use compiz for mega eye candy, but I'm initially deploying on an Atom 1.6, so keeping animations to a minimal.
    also added kvkbd onscreen keyboard and a home screen+button which shows a launcher.

    boot time is about 20sec from power on to music playing, could be faster on a better ssd.
    boot times are of less priority since its a netbook with a battery, so it can stay in sleep mode most of the time, while the car is off. to wake up takes a few seconds.
    the computer does not sleep for 30mins in case your just quicky ducking into a store.
    once the car is on, the netbook battery starts charging again.
    awsome advantages when using a laptop in a car...

    The screenshots above are pretty alpha, I'll post beta shots in the next few days...
    Last edited by trippah; 11-20-2013 at 02:32 PM.

  6. #6
    Low Bitrate
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Quote Originally Posted by AutoWiz View Post
    IF you could track down some obd2 to pc device that would give you vehicle specific capabilities, you could say, just talk to the body control module or bcm and request control of on board systems and control your power windows or door locks from your carpc
    are these devices actually available?

  7. #7
    Variable Bitrate AutoWiz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Pompano Beach, FL
    I have been a driveability and diagnostic tech for about 12 years, now. all of the snap-on scantools that I have ever owned have this ability. snap-on solutions are among the most expensive in the industry I think. and I do not think you will get a snap-on scantool or a launch x431 master to communicate with your carpc like that. but the proof of concept is definitely there. I bought an elm327 Bluetooth scanner from ebay for my first carpc build. and I was just so let down. my snap-on scanner gives me a bigger datastream and more pids on 1980's cars. there are so many sensors in todays car's that the datastream had to be broken up into parts , so now when you click on engine data, it brings up another menu for engine1 data, misfire data, fuel data, throttle actuator control data, emissions data, and different companies have more or less. I have yet to see one of these cheap solutions offer these sub menu's for the ecu's datastream. and also (this is just one example that repeats itself in a slightly different manner for most vehicles) there are new communications protocols that have come out in recent years, and I am not sure if elm327 is compatible with these newer systems. all gm cars have 2 networks driving all the modules in the car. there is the traditional low speed lan or as gm calls it class 2 communication which is just 1 wire connected to every module on its network and communicates at 33.3k/s. this type of communication has been around since before the dawn of OBD2 in 1996. and then there is gm's high speed lan that is 2 wires running in and out of every module on its network and communicates at 500k/s. I am not sure if the elm 327 communicates with this newer high speed lan. and it's important because all the vital stuff is on the high speed lan and only ancillary modules or modules that do not need the higher bandwith remain on the older style class 2. the pcm or ecu is tied into both networks and so is the body computer. but the anti lock brakes and traction control module, the electronic suspension control module(if so equipped), transmission controller, and important controllers of the like use the high speed lan.

  8. #8
    Raw Wave SNOtwistR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Keswick,On Canada
    Depending on the make of car but has some good tools and and you can buy extended diagnostic add on. only GM, Ford and mazda it looks like SNO

  9. #9
    Low Bitrate
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    I was playing around with ScanXL Pro last night, and it looks like it only supports a handful of car models (mostly US manufactures).

    Name:  odb1.jpg
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    The problem is hunting down the raw elm327 codes for each car model, and it looks like manufactures outside US are not willing to share.

  10. #10
    Low Bitrate
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    I also just stumbled upon has anybody had any experience using with it?
    From their specs there is alot of info you can tap into...

    OpenXC Data Set
    This is the list of signals officially supported by the Android library. All vehicles do not necessarily support all of these signals - there are plans to be able to check for the existence of a signal before using it. For information on which data is supported on your vehicle, see the supported vehicles page.

    The OpenXC message format is officially documented and versioned in a separate repository - this page as an unofficial mirror.

    -600 to +600 degrees
    Frequency: max 10Hz

    -500 to 1500 Nm
    Frequency: max 10Hz

    0 to 16382 RPM
    Frequency: max 10Hz

    0 to 655 km/h (this will be positive even if going in reverse as it's not a velocity, although you can use the gear status to figure out direction)
    Frequency: max 10Hz

    0 to 100%
    Frequency: max 10Hz

    Boolean (true == brake engaged)
    Frequency: 1Hz and immediately on change

    Boolean (True == pedal pressed)
    Frequency: 1Hz and immediately on change

    States: first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, reverse, neutral
    Frequency: 1Hz and immediately on change

    0 to 16777214.000 km, with about .2m resolution
    Frequency: max 10Hz

    States: off, accessory, run, start
    Frequency: 1Hz and immediately on change

    0 - 100%
    Frequency: max 2Hz

    0 - 4294967295.0 L (this goes to 0 every time the vehicle restarts, like a trip meter)
    Frequency: max 10Hz

    Value is State: driver, passenger, rear_left, rear_right. Event is Boolean: true == ajar
    Frequency: 1Hz and immediately on change

    Boolean, true is on
    Frequency: 1Hz and immediately on change

    Boolean, true is on
    Frequency: 1Hz and immediately on change

    Boolean, true is on
    Frequency: 1Hz and immediately on change

    -89.0 to 89.0 degrees with standard GPS accuracy
    Frequency: max 1Hz

    -179.0 to 179.0 degrees with standard GPS accuracy
    Frequency: max 1Hz

    Value is State: left, right, up, down, ok.
    Event is State: idle, pressed, released, held_short, held_long, stuck
    (The buttons this message refer to are highly dependent on the specific vehicle, but if it's supported, try the steering wheel buttons.)
    Frequency: Sent only if value changes

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