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Thread: Hoe-Puter -- 2001 Chevy Tahoe

  1. #1
    Variable Bitrate Uraijit's Avatar
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    Hoe-Puter -- 2001 Chevy Tahoe

    Where to start... My project is in total disarray right now, but I have it in a "working" state, so I've decided it's time to at least start a worklog for my hoeputer. After a month and a day of waiting for my screen to arrive, I had enough parts to get it functional.

    System Plans (items in red are not yet purchased - items in orange are purchased, but not installed - Green indicates a completed, or functional install):

    Front End:
    Roadrunner

    Operating System:
    Windows XP Home SP2

    Motherboard:
    MSI RS482M Socket 754 Micro-ATX

    Processor:
    AMD Sempron 3000+ 64 bit

    Memory:
    1 GB

    Hard Drive #1:
    Western Digital 250 GB 3.5"

    Power Supply:
    M2-ATX DC-DC

    Screen:

    Shark 10.4" VGA touchscreen

    GPS:
    Hacked Onstar GPS transciever

    Media Drive:
    Lite-On tray-loading DVD+RW drive
    Slot-Loading DVD (model not yet determined)

    Networking:
    Bluetooth tethered PPC phone with EVDO Rev. A wireless
    802.11.g USB Dongle
    Onboard 10/100 Ethernet (will most likely go unused)

    Sound card:
    Onboard 5.1 channel for now, will likely upgrade at a later time

    Satelite Radio:
    MP3car XM interface
    XMD 1000 XM Receiver


    Radio
    SiLabs USB FM radio connected to powered antenna

    Audio/Video Input:
    Logitech USB webcam with microphone. Set up as dash cam with overlays for GPS Speed/Time/Date/Location, etc.
    IR Backup Camera





    Plans:

    The Slot-Loading DVD drive will go in the smaller of the two holes in the console, (the factory tape deck was there before)

    Update 5/29/08: Finally went ahead and installed a tray loading DVD+RW drive for now. I can't located a decent slot-loading drive, and have let this fall to the bottom of the priorities list for now. The drive works great.

    The A/C controls will move to the larger hole in the console.

    Update 5/29/08: Controls have been moved. Still need to give the opening a little more depth, and mold the controls into the console.

    The computer system itself is located under the Console. The "switch" wire for power is wired to the circuit which keeps the radio running until the door is opened. This keeps the computer from shutting down if the ignition is turned off, until one of the doors are opened.

    Quote Originally Posted by Me
    I currently have the sound connected through a Belkin RF modulator. The sound quality is decent when it has a good clean signal, but out here in the Valley, the radio stations are so spotty, that I'm constantly having to switch between frequencies to get a clear signal

    I'm going to attempt to wire it directly into the factory amplifier for the main speakers, and then run a separate amp for my subs.

    I'm not sure if the factory amp will work properly without the head unit due to the Onstar interface and all that crap. We shall see. If anybody knows, let me know (and no, I'm not going to pay $100 for a cable to interface with it) I don't want Onstar, so eleminating it is not a problem.

    For now though, I'm going to try wiring the computer outputs into the inputs for the tape deck, and see if I can get it functional running off of the AUX/Tape function of the factory unit. I will be removing the factory head unit in a few weeks when I get the motivation to install the screen into the dash itself, so this is only a temporary solution.
    I didn't end up trying the tape deck inputs, because I learned elsewhere that in order for the tape deck inputs to work, the deck has to be connected so that the "E&C Com" will tell the head unit to switch to that input.

    Update: 10/01/07
    I made some RCA/Speaker wires, and temporarily wired them into the rear speakers to test. Worked great, though not as loud as I want. I ordered some line drivers this afternoon which will boost the preamp levels to around 13v. Hopefully this is the fix I'm looking for. I will be wiring the system directly into the factory amp once the line drivers arrive.

    Still not sure if the fronts will work properly due to the Onstar mess, but I'm sure I can get it working with a little effort.
    Got a few shots of the current case setup. Still haven't gotten the cover for the mainboard fabbed up yet, but I got the cover for the PSU and HDD installed. I'm not sure what sort of ventilation it should have, but I'll probably end up putting a small fan on there somewhere. I guess we'll see how warm it tends to stay like this...

    Mainboard



    HDD/PSU w/o cover




    With Cover





    Progress:

    It's pretty well outlined under the "System Plans" section, but So far I have installed the power supply and harddrive on/in their own case made of acrylic under the cup-holder part of the console. The MOBO is mounted to a sheet of acrylic under the part of the console that connects to the dash. The HDD/PSU "Case" has a completed cover. Basically it will just be a shield to protect it in the event of a drink spill. in the console. The case will not be water-tight by any means, so its function will be to simply deflect the liquid that might leak through the console. I'll post pictures later.

    Still need to work out what I want to do for the MOBO at this point.

    The screen is mounted in a semi-temporary location. Its stand is screwed directly to the top portion of the console, through the mounting holes on the stand. The screen currently plugged into one of the cigarette lighter ports on the dash. I will be wiring it into the PSU today as well. It automatically comes on when it sees power, so this will be simple.

    The GPS system is connected via Serial COM port, using Xport 3. I used this site's instructions. http://openminds.net/onstar/

    Issues:

    Quote Originally Posted by me]Can't get RoadRunner to display my main image in the skin. I know it's not an issue with the images, because I have it working on my laptop. I'm thinking I might need to update Flash Player, or update windows. Hopefully this issue goes away after I reinstall the OS, and do updates.[/quote]

    Resolved. I was right, I just needed to update Flash Player.

    [quote="me
    The only REAL issue I've encountered that I do not have a fix for, is my GPS. I'm running iGuidance 3.0. I have Winoncore installed which allows me to change the GPS mode of the receiver to NMEA mode from Motorola Protocol. However, I can't seem to make it stay in NMEA mode. iGuidance will sometimes be connected for 20-30 min with no problems until I turn it off, and then it might or might not still be connected at the next startup... Or sometimes it will connect for long enough to change the map to display the correct "current location" and then immediately disconnect. Sometimes I can do an "auto search" in iGuidance, and it will rediscover the GPS and continue working, or sometimes it won't find it at all.

    I have to open Winoncore and play with COM port settings, switch the software back over to Motorola protocol, which will then see the hardware; then switch the software back to NMEA, which sometimes switches the hardware back, and sometimes does not for several tries. Then I open iGuidance, and rescan the ports, and it will find it, sometimes it won't. The problem seems independent of whether Winoncore can see the GPS data stream. A lot of the time when iGuidance loses the signal, Winoncore will still be getting a steady data-stream... I can't figure it out. I'm thinking it might have something to do with my COM port speed settings, because playing with those seems to be the only thing makes it able to work.

    Best I can tell, in order for the Winoncore to see the hardware while in Motorola protocol, the port must be set at 9600 bps, in both the Xport software, and in the Oncore software. Then the mode must be switched, then both ports lowered to 4800 bps. At which time Winocore will get a fix in NMEA mode...

    I'm freaking losing my mind here. I can't seem to get things to stay working. I've made a seperate thread regarding this issue, here.
    Update 09/26/2007:
    I was able to get this resolved. Turns out I was correct about it being the COM port speed settings. In order to make it work, I had to set the Hardware port to run at 9600bps, Xport at 4800, and Iguidance/Oncore at 9600 bps. Strange settings if you ask me, but that's what it wants...


    Anyway, I'll post more pics, and update with progress.




    I just replaced the bumper, because one of out friendly neighborhood border jumpers decided to blow a stop sign in front of me (no license of course). Anyway, I guess it was a blessing in disguise, because I was able to get a black bumper, which I wanted anyway. Now If I could just find a black rear bumper...


    That picture was taken on my phone. I'll post a better one later...

    UPDATE 10/30/2007: It's been a while, but I've got the computer wired directly into the speakers. I got some cheapo line-drivers off Ebay. They seem to be working okay, though it's still not super loud. The rear speakers seem to be pretty gutless. The fronts are as loud as I'll ever use them for. The line drivers do a good job of filtering alternator noise, but I'm still getting the occasional "Pop" sound from the speakers. I think this is the on-board sound card. I've heard there are better drivers which should eliminate this? I need to look into that as well.
    Update 11/13:
    Today after installing the screen in the dash, the whine seems to be back. I will have to check into this and see if something came unplugged.


    I got my SiLabs FM radio installed as well. It seems to only output to the front speaker channel though, so I'm a bit confused there... I'll have to look into this further.

    Screen is wired directly to PSU for power now.

    Dash Cam is "installed" and working, but it's just kinda slapped up there. I'll have to do a better install later, but that's at the bottom of the priority list right now.

    I have about half of the 25ish wires for the AC controls extended. I need to finish the other half so I can get started installing the screen bezel in the nifty acrylic opening I've started fabbing up.
    Got the wires extended today (11/13) and the AC controls have been moved down to the console. They're just resting in there for now, until I can figure out how I want to fab it in there permanently.

    Progress update:

    I'm working on setting the screen right now. I went to Lowes, and bought a sheet of 1/4" acrylic, and had them cut a couple of 1.5" strips off of it for me. I measured the screen and did a few bends.
    Update 11/13:

    Screen is installed! Still needs to be filled, and sanded out, then a fresh coat of paint, but it looks pretty decent as it is now.






    Then got out the trusty dremel, and carved it to match the contour of the dash.



    Then I used the trusty soldering iron, and fused the plastics together.


    Didn't take a pic of the dash while it's installed yet. Next project is the actual screen bezel, and then filling, sanding, and painting. Then the screen goes in!


    EDIT to add more pics.





    Update 11/13:
    Here are some crappy pics of the screen in the dash and functional. I realy need to get another SD card for my camera so I can take some decent pics. These will do for now.





    Update 02/27/2009:
    Finally got my components grounded, and eliminated my ground loops.




    Greedy
    -Adj.
    Anybody who makes significantly more money than you do.

    The Hoe-Puter Worklog

    Progress (Phase one):

    Planning:
    [----------] 97.3%
    Parts Aquisition:
    [----------] 95%
    Install:
    [----------] 95%

  2. #2
    Variable Bitrate Uraijit's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Posts merged
    Greedy
    -Adj.
    Anybody who makes significantly more money than you do.

    The Hoe-Puter Worklog

    Progress (Phase one):

    Planning:
    [----------] 97.3%
    Parts Aquisition:
    [----------] 95%
    Install:
    [----------] 95%

  3. #3
    Constant Bitrate
    Join Date
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    Location
    Springfield VA
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    looks like you're making some good progress. Are you planning on putting the piece of center console back over your case or are you going to leave it like that?

  4. #4
    Variable Bitrate Uraijit's Avatar
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    Yeah, making progress. I'm mostly waiting on that Windows XP license to show up. It was operational for a few days, but I've used my allowed number of boots on it without registering it, so nothing happening with it for now.

    Once it's running again, my next project is to wire the sound directly into the stereo system, and then I'll probably start on the wife's Civic, so we'll at least both have "functional" systems. Then I can start working on finishing touches for each.

    The console is going back in. It's currently back in right now as a matter of fact. It's kind of a shame really, cause the Acrylic case had so much potential to look so kick-***. If I was going to leave it visible, I would have put more effort into making it look prettier. Prolly would have done something lame like put cold cathode tube lights in there too...

    Prolly would have started over with that crack in the corner, instead of just welding it back up with the iron. The "Case" is just there to keep anything that might spill through the console from ruining the components. I'm going for as stealth an install as possible.

    I just added $1000 of "Aftermarket parts" coverage to my insurance, for this system, but I still don't want to send an invitation out to thieves, so the less gawdy it looks, the better IMHO.
    Greedy
    -Adj.
    Anybody who makes significantly more money than you do.

    The Hoe-Puter Worklog

    Progress (Phase one):

    Planning:
    [----------] 97.3%
    Parts Aquisition:
    [----------] 95%
    Install:
    [----------] 95%

  5. #5
    Low Bitrate 95rodeo's Avatar
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    Auburn ca
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    im using "last xp" for my os....google it and see what you think. its fast and works great.

  6. #6
    Variable Bitrate Uraijit's Avatar
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    Googled "Last XP" and just ended up with a bunch of Warez links, but couldn't find any information about it. Can you elaborate?
    Greedy
    -Adj.
    Anybody who makes significantly more money than you do.

    The Hoe-Puter Worklog

    Progress (Phase one):

    Planning:
    [----------] 97.3%
    Parts Aquisition:
    [----------] 95%
    Install:
    [----------] 95%

  7. #7
    Low Bitrate 95rodeo's Avatar
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    its xp with a vista look to it thats very lightweight no warez discussions please

  8. #8
    Variable Bitrate Uraijit's Avatar
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    Well I have legitimate copies of XP, so I don't need one without a key... Lightweight sounds good though
    Greedy
    -Adj.
    Anybody who makes significantly more money than you do.

    The Hoe-Puter Worklog

    Progress (Phase one):

    Planning:
    [----------] 97.3%
    Parts Aquisition:
    [----------] 95%
    Install:
    [----------] 95%

  9. #9
    Low Bitrate 95rodeo's Avatar
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    Auburn ca
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    not trying to say u did just a suggestion but i really love the os

  10. #10
    Variable Bitrate Uraijit's Avatar
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    Sweet, thanks. And I'm not trying to shoot down any suggestions, but I hear discussion of Warez/Software Theft is highly frowned upon on these forums. I will look into it though. I'm always looking for ideas. Just don't want to get my thread locked due to discussing illegal downloads.

    What are your boot times like?

    Have you ever done a Tiny XP install? If so, how would you say it compares, in terms of size, stability, usability, resource usage, etc?
    Greedy
    -Adj.
    Anybody who makes significantly more money than you do.

    The Hoe-Puter Worklog

    Progress (Phase one):

    Planning:
    [----------] 97.3%
    Parts Aquisition:
    [----------] 95%
    Install:
    [----------] 95%

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