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Thread: 2001 Pontiac Aztek - Nano PC

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2006

    2001 Pontiac Aztek - Nano PC

    I will be starting out this project slowly. I've been down this road before and built up my Car PC but never installed it. I got held up by not having a useable front end. I eventually got off track and started into programming my own in Python-QT (PyQT). At this point the hardware sat on the shelf ready to be installed, but as I was never completely satisfied with the frontend work I did, there it stayed...on the shelf. Eventually I needed some spending money so I sold off the complete setup.

    So I've currently started up a new project, this time focussing on a new Nano ITX N8000e I picked up off of eBay for $56.00. Yes that is right, a new N8000e for $56.00. They are still being sold by retailers from anywhere from $250 to $450. I couldn't help myself so I bought another N10000e for $96.00 from the same guy. With these resources I said "what the hey" and decided to jump back into the Car PC realm.

    Where am I at currently? Well I've bought most of what I need. This is what I have:

    • Motherboard: Epia N8000e
    • RAM: Kingston 512MB DDR SO-DIMM
    • Harddrive: 60GB Fujitsu Notebook IDE
    • Optical: TEAC DVD/CDRW Combo
    • Display: Lilliput EBY701

    What I need:

    • Power Supply: M3-ATX (using a Morex 60W for testing)
    • Supplemental Pointing Device: Ergonomics Touchpad
    • Keyboard: Playstation 2 USB Mini Keyboard
    • Miscellaneous: Wiring, Fuses, extension cables, patience and motivation

    I've been initially working on the operating system. I'm temporarily using the N10000e that's built into a Morex 1677 case with all the gadgets to build up the software. Eventually I'll swap harddrives as the motherboards are identical except the CPU speed. So I've got the system setup as dual booting with Win XP Home and Mandriva Linux 2008. Windows will be the backup as I hope to use Linux as the main OS. I have gotten the MPEG2 H/W acceleration (XvMC) working on both OSes so I can watch a DVD with only 25-30% CPU usage.

    Touchscreen functionality works fine with XP but I am struggling a bit on Linux. I knew this from the first setup I made, but I am pushing on. My initial work was centered on an example setup found here:

    In the third post by "Pieter_Laroy", he provides his step by step process. This actually worked for me. Please note that at this point I cannot use a mouse at the same time as the touchscreen. If I plug a mouse in at this point, neither works and it takes me 3-4 hours of tinkering to get the touchscreen to work again. I will have to address this sooner or later.

    The next issue that arose is the fact that using Pieter_Laroy's method means that the touchscreen relies on the "evdev" event handling system. It is slightly funny in that whenever the system boots, there was no consistency as to which event device the touchscreen would become. Without knowing upfront, it was impossible to set up the xorg.conf file with the right device name. Many others have had this problem. I found out that a good working solution is to use the 'udev' functionality. This means that I set a firm name within the X config and let udev organize linking the "floating" event name to the firm name in the X config. I used this udev rule file:

    Now I have found that whenever the touchscreen is turned off, the USB connection is disconnected. This means that when the touchscreen is turned back on, we have a new event device. Somehow we need to organize having X refreshed to get the point back. I read as a work around I should use CTRL-ALT-F1 followed by CTRL-ALT-F7. This works, but I need a better solution in the actual CarPC build.

    I am planning on trying out Lilliput's own drivers tonight. I have avoided this up to now as it requires me to rebuild and install a custom kernel to avoid kernel version conflicts. It is possible that these drivers may allow me to avoid all the above hassles.

    I spent last night letting the N10000e rebuild all of the kernel and now the tkusb.ko file can be build and inserted. Tonight I will complete the rest of the setup outlined in the Lilliput guides and see if I have better luck.

    There will be more to follow on the physical setup as well as all the hair losing efforts with the OS.
    Epia Nano ITX N10000E, Morex 1677 Case, 1024MB RAM, TSST Slim DVD/CD-RW, 60GB Fujitsu Notebook HDD, Win XP Home/Mandriva 2008 Dual Boot

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2006

    Better touchscreen driver results!!!

    After building and installing a new kernel last night, was able to build the Lilliput Touchkit drivers.

    The initial try at installation didn't work as I used their primary /dev/tkpanel0 device in my xorg.conf file. I opted to try the /dev/hiddev0 device instead and after a X-windows restart, it worked great. I can even use a mouse. Furthermore, as if answers my woes, I found that if the screen is turned off, once it turned back on, X restarts automatically. This is soooooo much better than having to do the Ctrl-Alt-F1 & F7 thing.

    I will keep putting updates.
    Epia Nano ITX N10000E, Morex 1677 Case, 1024MB RAM, TSST Slim DVD/CD-RW, 60GB Fujitsu Notebook HDD, Win XP Home/Mandriva 2008 Dual Boot

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    I've made some virtual progress on the hardware side. I've jumped in and bought an M3-ATX PSU from ITuner. I know that there are probably better automotive PSUs but this one fits my needs for a Nano ITX PC, namely size.

    I will be doing some research on the methodology of installing the wiring and fuse as this is all new to me. Advice is welcome.
    Epia Nano ITX N10000E, Morex 1677 Case, 1024MB RAM, TSST Slim DVD/CD-RW, 60GB Fujitsu Notebook HDD, Win XP Home/Mandriva 2008 Dual Boot

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    I've made some headway with this build. I've gotten the mini-keyboard which works fine but I have yet to test it alone with just the touchscreen.

    As well, I received the M3-ATX PSU and after a number of questions to the PSU sub-forum here, I had my first successful power up and shut down by the ignition.

    As you all probably know for the first time you start messing with wiring in your car, I was pretty hesitant to start yanking wires and splicing things. I made the decision to install the PC under the passenger seat. The Nano ITX motherboard is small enough I am confident it won't cause problems.

    So I wired the main power to the battery with a 30AMP inline fuse. I attached the ground to one of the main attachment bolts under the seat as it has to be into the frame. The biggest step with the ignition wire. I searched high and low for a method to connect to the accessory wire around my radio. However the Pontiac doesn't have an ACC line, just 12V constant. It was here on this forum I found the idea of using a fuse tap. I'll thank JimmyFitz for the directions and advice.

    I'm still working on the OS and software load and have yet to tackle the concept of mounting the touchscreen, but that's yet to come.
    Epia Nano ITX N10000E, Morex 1677 Case, 1024MB RAM, TSST Slim DVD/CD-RW, 60GB Fujitsu Notebook HDD, Win XP Home/Mandriva 2008 Dual Boot

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