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Thread: 2006 PT Cruiser -Mac Mini

  1. #21
    Low Bitrate thanassius's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Simple enough, thanks!
    iDub Status:

    99.99% -- It's alive!!!...the extra .01% is because it'll never be completely "done."

  2. #22
    Maximum Bitrate
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Melbourne, Australia
    Quote Originally Posted by ZapWizard
    I can't actually tilt it the same as the cubby hole anyways.
    The metal bracket behind the cubby holder is in the way, and I don't want to cut it out as I would like to be able to convert back to stock later.
    Yep, same problem in my Ozzie Ford Tornado UTE, there is a metal bracket in the middle behind where I wanted to locate the MacMini, if it was 5cm further back it would have been ideal - now I have to use an alternate location, or mount it in there with a less than factory look.

    Which is a pity.

    Your setup looking really good though, one would hardly ever guess there's a full-blown setup hiding in there somewhere.

    Keep us posted, good inspiration as always.
    F6 Tornado Project Log ; HP Blackbird Watercooled Server

    Beta Tester for Centrafuse and 3dConnexion (No business affiliation with either)

  3. #23
    Low Bitrate
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Great install, love the integration!

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Brockville, Ontario
    I'm really interested in the converter idea since I have a lilliput as well with composite input, I'm guessing it's connected to the reverse lights? A schematic would be really great, I'm guessing its similar to the laptop turning on module thing, anand its connected to the av button the liiliput, , but I tihnk im oversimplifying the problem, like how to switch it back to vga mode once you get out of reverse.

  5. #25
    Constant Bitrate zapwizard's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Austin, TX
    Sorry for the lack of updates lately, life gets busy.


    I switched to a different camera, I have no idea what brand it is or where to get it, there is no markings on the PCB or case.
    But this camera has something the others did not, it uses a SHARP chipset which has a pin on the PCB that if driven high will mirror the image inside the camera. No software or other tricks needed. It also has a VERY wide field of view. Unfortunately it sucks at night.
    I made the bracket out of aluminum stock, and powdercoated it with my DIY powercoat gun.


    Here is the Composite to VGA converter.
    I had to add a second ground loop isolator before the converter as it was adding noise before the Amp.
    I added a second 3.5mm jack in the back to relocate the IR receiver, and another jack to re-route the power button.
    The actual converter is hidden in the dash, everything is done by remote.

    The converter stays in VGA mode anytime it is off, and turns on to the previous source when it is powered up. So I just turn it on to see the reverse camera.


    This is the circuit that drives the power button on the VGA converter.

    What this circuit does is automatically press the Power Button on my Composite to VGA converter twice: Once when I change into reverse, and a second time when I go back into drive. This changes my LCD monitor over to the rear-view camera (Composite), and then back over to my CarPC (VGA) automatically.

    The circuit is basically two very simple Resistor/Capacitor (RC) timers.
    Each circuit works on the property that as the charge in a capacitor increases the DC resistance and current decreases.

    This circuit is simple and the components don't have to be exact. It is cheap, simple to build, and doesn't require any regulators or integrated circuits.
    I do not have values filled in, as I usually just experiment with values until I find some that work well.
    But, the larger the capacitor the longer it takes to charge and the longer the pulse output. Since the switch on my VGA converter is momentary, only a brief pulse is needed. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 150uF capacitors, and 1K resistors. The drain resistors can be very small, 100ohms or so.

    Circuit design: I choose not to use any complicated microprocessors or timers in the circuit for a few reasons: This circuit is super easy to build, has minimal parts that may fail, and doesn't require a PCB. The circuit is designed as two self-reseting timers. Each timer sends out a single pulse to activate the power switch on the VGA converter.

    Initial Circuit operation:
    When the circuit is first installed, +12v Battery charges up the C1 capacitor, though R1.
    Once C1 charges up fully the current across it will drop to nearly zero and it will remain trickle charged by the car battery. Unless your capacitor is defective there is no risk of draining your car battery using this technique.

    Normal operation:
    When you change the car into reverse, power is sent to the Reverse lights on your car.
    This voltage will two two things when it passes into the circuit: First, it will energize both relays. This will discharge circuit C1 through R3, effectively resetting this part of the circuit.

    The second process is that C2 will begin to charge up through R2 and RLY2.

    This will makes RLY3 close until C2 is fully charged. This effectively presses the button on the VGA converter, switching it over to the rear view camera signal. Once C2 is fully charged RLY3 will reset back to a open position.

    When you switch from Reverse back into Drive, C1 will begin to charge up again. This trips RLY3 a second time, switching the convector back over to the VGA signal.

    Once there is no longer power from +12v Reverse Lights: C2 will discharge though R4. This will reset this part of the circuit and things can start over the next time you switch into reverse.

    Sorry for the overly detailed explanation but it may help some users.


    Currently my only problem is that my car briefly flashes the reverse lights when you move the shifter from Park through Reverse to Drive.
    The VGA converter is not fast enough to switch on and off this quickly, so it sometimes gets stuck in Reverse camera mode.

    I am trying to figure out a good way around this.
    Right now my best idea is just to add a simple button on the dash, that will let me just switch between the camera and normal operation at will.

  6. #26
    Constant Bitrate zapwizard's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Austin, TX
    The above circuit while works, has a flaw when you move from Park, through reverse, and into drive. (The circuit triggers twice, but the VGA converter only turns on once)

    So with the help of a co-worker I was able to open up and reverse engineer the VGA pass-through circuit inside the Composite to VGA converter. If you don't already know electronics much of this is going to sound like gibberish, but it did work:

    The composite to VGA converter I used for my back-up camera has a VGA input which is passed directly back out to the LCD monitor either when the converter is in stand-by mode, or when the VGA input is selected. After looking up lots of datasheets and tracing lots of wires on the PCB I was able to find the signal that actually switches the VGA pass-through on and off.

    Basically regardless of the state of the rest of the circuitry, if this signal is pulled high to +5volts, then the VGA pass-through is enabled. When this signal is pulled low, then the VGA signal is switched back over to Composite video.

    So what I had to do was wire a timed relay that automatically turns the converter on when I start the car. (Similar to the old Lilliput circuit)

    I then wired a second relay to the switching signal. This relay is driven by the +12volts from the reverse lights. This relay is normally in a closed state. This causes the VGA pass-through to be enabled all the time. Only when you switch into reverse does the VGA output switch over to the camera, and when you move out of reverse it instantly switches back.

    Long story short: The circuit works perfectly and instantly, and has no state in which it can fail.

    If I want to manually switch to the rear-view camera, or watch TV, I can with just the flick of a switch that disconnects the relay, enabling the converter box output.

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