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Thread: Help Bugbyte kill his car PC with an iTouch/iPhone install

  1. #141
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    Bugbyte-- just one thing. I thought the goal of this project was to entirely eliminate computers from the car, no matter how small or cheap they are? The addition of this Sheeva computer seems to defeat that purpose. Do you think this is the way it'll have to be forever (until June ), or is this only temporary?

  2. #142
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    Quote Originally Posted by rdholtz View Post
    Since this SheevaPlug runs on 110V, and nobody loves inverters, I bet you could make it even better by tearing into it and converting it to 12V. That might actually be a whole new market for Marvell; I wonder if they've considered it.
    I just read the specs on the SheevaPlug unit, and it has a built in AC/DC module, but it actually runs on 5V, 3A, not much more than USB devices. That makes it ideal for use in the vehicle -- it could stay on all the time and it would be a loooong time before it had much effect on the battery. The link to that specifications page is here.
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  3. #143
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    Since this SheevaPlug runs on 110V, and nobody loves inverters, I bet you could make it even better by tearing into it and converting it to 12V. That might actually be a whole new market for Marvell; I wonder if they've considered it.
    Right, I think one of the things I might do right away is open it up and see what kind of power it requires. Maybe I can hack a 12 volt power supply together without an inverter involved. I have an old Carnetix 2190 12v regulator that may work if it requires just 12v.

    Bugbyte-- just one thing. I thought the goal of this project was to entirely eliminate computers from the car, no matter how small or cheap they are? The addition of this Sheeva computer seems to defeat that purpose. Do you think this is the way it'll have to be forever (until June ), or is this only temporary?
    Yes, the goal is to eliminate computers from the car. I'm still very certain that this will be simple enough in the next few years when everything has Bluetooth or WiFi built in. Until then, I bow to reality and see this as a way of interfacing the phone with external devices inexpensively and in a lightweight and low power manner.

    Think of it as a 'helper' device to connect the iPhone to the outside world via external pieces of hardware. The Rev OBDII interface costs $250 just to use WiFi and access it via the iPhone. It's not very long before you've spent a lot of money at that clip! The Sheeva is very reasonably priced in comparison.

    By using a Sheeva plug, I hope to use it as a centralizing interface where I can translate information from all different kinds of devices like OBDII, GPS, XM radio, Griffin Powermate, Fusion Brain, Ethernet relay boards and so forth. If I can get drivers to run on the Sheeva, I *should* be able to serve up the info via php or some manner that can be used by the iPhone.

    That's the plan anyways.
    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruzer View Post
    I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
    Want to:
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  4. #144
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    Here's where the idea of the sheeva plug confuses me.
    You can use it as a distribution device that will send information wirelesly to the iphone via wifi (which is great) but then how is it that the touchscreen will control and display the phone?
    I get that the phone can be VNC'd to a computer but with the sheeva will you be able to plug a monitor in to it or will you then have to create a wifi connection to the monitor as well?
    From what I can tell the sheeva or pogo plug is really only designed to send a wifi signal carrying "file" infomation to a complete computer or iphone.

  5. #145
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    Quote Originally Posted by jusjake View Post
    Here's where the idea of the sheeva plug confuses me.
    You can use it as a distribution device that will send information wirelesly to the iphone via wifi (which is great) but then how is it that the touchscreen will control and display the phone?
    I get that the phone can be VNC'd to a computer but with the sheeva will you be able to plug a monitor in to it or will you then have to create a wifi connection to the monitor as well?
    From what I can tell the sheeva or pogo plug is really only designed to send a wifi signal carrying "file" infomation to a complete computer or iphone.
    Yeah, Bugbyte may find he needs one of those USB->VGA adapters to plug in to the TS, which would run another $60-$130.

  6. #146
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    Quote Originally Posted by jusjake View Post
    Here's where the idea of the sheeva plug confuses me.
    You can use it as a distribution device that will send information wirelesly to the iphone via wifi (which is great) but then how is it that the touchscreen will control and display the phone?
    I get that the phone can be VNC'd to a computer but with the sheeva will you be able to plug a monitor in to it or will you then have to create a wifi connection to the monitor as well?
    From what I can tell the sheeva or pogo plug is really only designed to send a wifi signal carrying "file" infomation to a complete computer or iphone.
    Not certain on this, but I don't see why the Sheeva can't connect to and receive the coordinates of a touch that is happening on the touchscreen. If the iPhone queries the web server or has a session that is notified when the coordinates change, it could react to those coordinates and "do" something.

    Granted, this approach would probably mean one needs to code a Front End for the iPhone that would do the listening and reacting, but that may be a necessity.

    The other possibility (and I'm just thinking out loud here) is that the Sheeva serves up web pages with java and reacts to touches on the touchscreen while the iPhone actually displays the pages on the screen.
    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruzer View Post
    I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
    Want to:
    -Find out about the new iBug iPad install?
    -Find out about carPC's in just 5 minutes? View the Car PC 101 video

  7. #147
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    I thought for awhile that I understood how the sheeva plug would work in this application but then it hit me that the plug only feeds information to your phone or computer based on what it retrieves from the hard drive that's connected to it. With what you're trying to do it seems as though the plug will need to be able to feed the touchsreen input to the iphone while also feeding information from a hard drive to the the iphones web browser.

    I wonder if there's a way to plug a monitors USB cable in to the sheeva and then have the plug feed that informatioon to the phone? if that were the case there's to much programming involved for my brain to comprehend haha.

    Being that I've torn apart and repaired/replaced numerous iphone screens my plan was to see if I can route a second ribbon cable out of the iphones touch sensor connector and into an external connector and then plug that into the touch sensor mounted to my external monitor.

    So far I like your idea better because that opens up more potential for just getting in the car, opening a screenspliter type app and having your phone appear on the monitor without having to even plug it in.

  8. #148
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    There is some type of support for USB monitor but I doubt that it has much power as far as video goes.


    It would be nice if it could do this.

    Also, I'm going to try not to use a hard drive with it. It takes an SD card for memory so I'll try to put just what I need on that at first. Theoretically, you could connect a USB drive to it with media files on it but my goal is to access those files via the 3G or WiFi network.
    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruzer View Post
    I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
    Want to:
    -Find out about the new iBug iPad install?
    -Find out about carPC's in just 5 minutes? View the Car PC 101 video

  9. #149
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    Ok, I see where you're going now.

  10. #150
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    Quote Originally Posted by jusjake View Post
    Ok, I see where you're going now.
    Well, here's where I *think* I'm going with it. There are two problems to solve:

    1. Controlling the iPhone from an external device. For the moment, I'm going to put this problem aside as I think the new 3.0 software and bluetooth support may make this problem tractable in the near future.

    2. Controlling stuff from the iPhone, or accessing stuff from the iPhone. I know that there is stuff out there like Ethernet relay boards that you simply plug into a router and can theoretically control. But there's other stuff out there like OBDII readers that aren't on a network (except for the Rev WiFi device that is pretty expensive). Other stuff like the fusion brain or Arduino board or USB GPS or XM tuners aren't on a network.

    One way to access them is to connect them to a computer and put the computer on the network so you can control them. My guess is that in the future -another couple of years, they'll all be accessible WITHOUT a computer in the mix. But until then, I can use an inexpensive device like the Sheeva to act as the intermediary.

    I can also use it to serve up web pages to my iPod and make the controls on those web pages interact with the devices connected to the Sheeva. That's one approach for controlling these devices.

    Now, if you extend the thinking out just a little bit, one might ask if it is really necessary to have all of that hardware in the car? For example, do you really need an XM tuner in the car?

    No, not if you leave the tuner at home and stream the audio to your iPhone. Of course, you are quite dependent upon the reliability of the network in order to do this, but maybe there are ways around this. For example, if your home PC records the XM stream to disk, it can serve it up to you when you ask for it and upload the stream as a file rather than a live stream. If your network is good, you ought to be able to store a fairly lengthy file on your ipod for playback in a reasonably short period of time.

    Other devices, you'll have to have in your car. The relays need to be where the doors are or the systems are. The GPS needs to be where the car is, of course.

    So, right now, consider my experiments exactly that - experiments. I'll probably have to use a combination of methods to get the functionality I seek. I think that it helps that I live out on the Edge network rather than the 3G network. That keeps me real in terms of bandwidth and technical feasibility.

    But I won't live on the Edge forever. One day they'll get around to putting it in, or WiMax will take over, or something else will take its place. I need to keep looking ahead at those options as well.
    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruzer View Post
    I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
    Want to:
    -Find out about the new iBug iPad install?
    -Find out about carPC's in just 5 minutes? View the Car PC 101 video

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