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Thread: Rod's Rig Car PC (2007 Toyota Hilux)

  1. #1
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    Rod's Rig Car PC (2007 Toyota Hilux)

    Hi guys.

    I have a 2007 Toyota Hilux (ie. like a Tacoma) and have all the gear on hand to build a Car PC based on a HP Nx6120 laptop (Pentium M), a Xenarc 7" 706-STV touch screen (with the separate controller box) and an Opus power supply. The software side is pretty well built but am having some problems with the CF IDE adapter which I am sorting out with the supplier.

    I am using Road Runner as the front end. Anyway, the PC will live behind the rear seat and will be hard to get to. My car goes off road a bit, so I need a robust system.

    To start the ball rolling, I have built an off road enclosure whch includes a 7 port hub, Silab radio and a USB HDD which looks like this:





    All of the power connectors and input lines to the Hub and HDD are soldered on and I have used screw in USB adapters so nothing can shake out on dirt roads. I also shielded the Silab as some people said they got some interferance. I have made provision for external power and th eGPS port has the option of using standby power by flicking a switch. I got a second battery (80 Amp hour) to drive this, so power is not much of an issue. You can see the antenna socket for the Silab.

    Today, I got my amp installed and am using the factory head unit via a lineout adapter as a temporary measure. I have aJL two channel Amp with matching JL split speakers to make the Old rig rock!





    Here is the line out adapter tucked in under the console for now. Should be enough room for the Xenarc controller box beside it.



    And here is the amp mounted at the rear of the cab behind the rear seat. I have run the power lead for the pC at the same time, so most of the hard work is done.



    Bugger and I are well advanced in embedding OziExplorer into RoadRunner which will give me topographical mapping for offroad driving. I have started by installing Natmap raster which rprovided coverage of the whole of Australia at 1:250,000. I'll probably put on the Sunmap maps of key areas of Queensland at 1:25,000 which will cover most of the areas I drive regularly.



    We are using Skinbedder to embed touch screen friendly menus ito OziE and I have done some work with the OziE API to allow us to save tracks and waypoints when exiting the application.

    For street nav, I am using Odyssey Navigator which embeds nicely, is really touch screen friendly and needs no extra work with skins in RR.



    I have also got Bluetooth and a PCMCIA Wireless network card with an external antenna. I also picked up a spare console armrest from a wrecker which I will be installing a CD and hub into somehow.

    Anyway, this is just a start, Hepas more to come!

    Cheers

    Rod

  2. #2
    Maximum Bitrate Injector's Avatar
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    where did you get the usb screw in adapters?

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    I got them from Jaycar Electronics in Australia (www.jaycar.com.au). They also do a similar power connector but I went with the terminal block. Similar items are stocked by Farnells and RS Components who also do Firewire alternatives.

    The leads are 1.0m long and unterminated one end and a screw on USB plug at the other. I have found with the enclosure out of the car, the plug on the end of the lead is too short to get a reliable connection to the laptop so they need to be screwed in, but it is good enough for testing. I am going to put matching sockets on the laptop to accomodate these.

    Rod

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    Injector, I forgot to mention to look (search) for IP67 or IP68. ie. "USB IP67" on the electronics sites will probably find what I have used.

    Rod

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    Sheepdog rdholtz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Injector View Post
    where did you get the usb screw in adapters?
    If you're looking for a U.S. source, a good one is Mouser Electronics. They'll have several types.
    .
    If just enough is really good, then too much ought to be perfect.

    2006 Scion xB with in-dash Atom & Lilliput 889GL -- Worklog at http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/work...res-links.html
    .

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by rdholtz View Post
    If you're looking for a U.S. source, a good one is Mouser Electronics. They'll have several types.
    Thanks, I ordered two of the factory ribbons at $21 each so hopefully, I can solder up an extension cable... I could not find anything in the Australian electonic sites that looked like it suited.

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    Ok, I have got most of the hardware in now and the back of my rig looks like this now!



    I hope the rear seat fits back in!

    I took a while to work out where to mount everything so I can service it all without pulling stuff off and becasue of all of the ridges on the car panel. Here are some close up pics. First the left hand side of the vehicle (we are facing backwards when we look at this):



    You can see I fashioned a bracket for the laptop out of some aluminium sheeting and it has some soft rubber to hold it in. I might need another vertical strap to stop it bouncing up and down. There is a ghetto relay based shutdown/startup circuit at the bottom right of the laptop which did work out of the car, but is not now. Have not got time to sort that out. I thought the Opus should be able to turn the laptop on. The white wires are phone wires from the startup/shut down controller up to the laptop modem phone line in connector. I hacked the laptop power switch and ran the switch out to these connectors. Because the startup controler is not working, the second wire is just running to a momentary switch to turn it on.

    You can see that I have wireless LAN onboard and the antenna on the laptop is only temporary. It goes down to a PCMICA long range Wireless card with an exteranl pigtail. I have also got an N connector Pigtail for this card so I can run to an external antenna eventually.

    Here is the right hand side:



    You can see the Opus at the top, it is set for 12v and the old laptop brick below it steps up to 19v for the laptop.

    In the bottom left is the controller for the Xenarc 706TSA. I have a longer monitor interconnect cable on the way, currently, the monitor makes it to the armrest. Most of the cables you can still see lying around are fromt he Xenarc.

    Still got a bit of sorting out to do and a lot more hardware to go. The amp is still connected to the factory head unit for now...

    Cheers!

  8. #8
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    Got a bit further yesterday. Still not satisfied I have got the Opus working to it's full potential, had to extend one USB lead on the Hub and must have knocked something and disabled the hub connector the Silab was on, so wasted some time on that but it is working again. While I was at it, I wired in the Silab to the external antenna using a 5m extension lead and worked out where to mount the reversing camera.

    I hope to find time to mount the Bluetooth dongle behind a panel on evening this week, but my main priority will be to get the Opus sorted do it turns on the Laptop.

    Rod

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    Hey rodweb, have you used the 706TSA in sunlight yet? If so how does it perform?

  10. #10
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    Very happy with the 706TSA in direct sunlight.

    I only got a chance to drive my car with the PC operational yesterday for the first time. I am waiting for a longer monitor interconnect cable to arrive (posted with a spare case to hack the buttons yesterday). At the moment, with the shorter standard cable, the screen just makes it to the passenger seat and driving at about midday, with the sun coming over my shoulder and hitting the screen directly everything was still legible! More than I can say for my laptop's LCD! It would have been totally invisible under the same conditions!

    The topographical maps in OziExplorer does not use very high contrast colours and was a bit harder to read, but still legible, but the RR front menu (BMV2) was very legible. Once in the dash, I don't think the monitor will often be subject to the bright sunlight I experienced, so should be no problems at all.

    I have made some progress with the Opus and have just received further clarification from Opus. I will need to use a startup controller to turn my laptop on, but the Opus will turn the laptop off. The reason why the Opus won't turn it on is that my laptop is missing the "Restore AC Power on Startup" BIOS setting. I will share my findings in due course.

    Rod

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