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Thread: Concorde Version 2

  1. #1
    Maximum Bitrate jpinkerton's Avatar
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    Concorde Version 2

    After a dry run with a laptop I'm moving to a more dedicated, integrated type setup.

    Goals for this incarnation:
    1. Dedicated Carputer Turns On/Off With Ignition
    2. Manual Override For On/Off to keep computer running or power down.
    3. Replace existing headunit with HD Radio on Carputer


    Parts List:


    Addons:


    To Be Added:

    I added everything up and rounded up. Looks like I'm going to draw around 60Watts and 40 Amps. I'm going to plan 10' of wire to make the installation hidden and pretty under the seat. According to the chart that means I'll need to use at least 10 gauge wire.



    Table of Contents:
    All pictures are on Flickr, most were taken with my Canon EOS Digital SLR. Some were taken with my little cheap cell phone. This is just a quick overview to skim through, of course other discussion and processes happened to get to these points. Most pictures have links to the larger version.

    Tuesday April 21st: Layin' Stuff Out
    Wednesday April 22nd: First Batch of Parts
    Thursday April 23rd: Cutting The Thin Client
    Friday April 24th: Finding Thin Client Location
    Sunday April 26th: Thin Client Location Found
    Wednesday April 29th: Changes/Orders/Planned
    Wednesday April 29th: Plexi Hard Drive Mount
    Monday May 4th: New Wireless Board
    Wednesday May 6th: Tweakin' The BIOS
    Wednesday May 6th: Molex Fabrication 1 & Molex Fabrication 2
    Thursday May 7th: M4 and Misc Parts
    Friday May 8th: New Battery Clamps
    Saturday May 9th: Aux Wiring & Rocker
    Wednesday May 13th: Slim Slot Load DVD
    Friday May 15th: Touchscreen - Lilliput EBY701
    Thursday May 21st: Oil Light - Delay in build
    Friday May 22nd: M4 Doesn't Fit in Thin Client - Part 1 And More Info
    Tuesday May 26th: Oil Light - Problem Solved!
    Tuesday May 26th: Thin Client Cut For Power
    Saturday June 13th: Install - Part 1
    Sunday June 14th: Install - Part 2
    Tuesday June 16th: M4-ATX RMA & New Parts
    Thursday June 18th: My Shipping vs. MP3Car.com's Store Shipping (New M4 Is In)
    Thursday June 18th: Minor VGA Extension Issue
    Saturday June 20th: More M4-ATX Woes, Discovered A Possible Reason
    Wednesday June 24th: Fault of Firmware
    Thursday June 25th: DSATX 220 Sent To Replace M4-ATX
    Sunday June 28th: Installing audio/video cables

  2. #2
    Maximum Bitrate jpinkerton's Avatar
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    Click The Pictures For Larger Version

    Tuesday April 21st:
    While trying to figure out what case I wanted to get I remembered I had an old HP Thin Client sitting collecting dust.


    I pulled it out and started taking it apart. Come to find out, this Thin Client from over 2 years ago used a mini-itx standard board. Props to HP for not custom fabbing something for their device and standing behind an existing standard!




    The board fits PERFECTLY in the case. I am going to have to custom mount the hard drive and the power supply inside the case, but I think both can easily be mounted inside. The difficult and possible deal breaker would be the heatsink/fan combo for the processor as there is only 2" of clearance between processor and roof of the case (Which is vented!)


    I've got JUST the processor, no heatsink/fan combo but I found varying information. 2", 2.5" for the size of the heatsink/fan combo. I've got a Scythe Shuriken low profile heatsink/fan combo in my desktop that I'm going to pull off and see if it will fit inside the Thin Client. It clocks in at 2.5" with the fan and 2" without the fan. It's also quite a bit more beefy of a heatsink than the stock heatsink/fans out there, and because the roof of the Thin Client has slits in it ventilation won't be a problem!

    I had to do some slight cutting (snipping) to the I/O shiled to make it fit in the Thin Client, and the Thin Client groves aren't matching up quite 100% in this shot, but it does sit pretty.


    By the time I got through all this it was about 1AM and I decided to head to bed.


    I've got the above photos and more on from today on Flickr.

    Will sit down tonight and get the processor in and checkout the heatsink area to be sure. I also found the RAM I had in storage - not much just 512MBx2 for 1GB total. Would like 2GB or 4GB in the final version but this will get me started.

  3. #3
    Maximum Bitrate jpinkerton's Avatar
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    Wednesday April 22nd:
    What a productive day. I picked up an Intel stock heatsink/fan - it's what I would consider low profile, and fits PERFECTLY in the case. Win!


    I surfed Craig's List this afternoon and found a Western Digital 320GB laptop hard drive for $50. Score!


    I also called in a favor from one of my friends, he had 2GB of of Kingston Low Profile memory. Triple Play!


    So tonight I strapped the hard drive to the vent slits in the roof of the case. It is close to the fan, but doesn't appear to get in the way of the blades.


    Next I removed the motherboard from the case, and setup shop to get Windows XP installed. I had to borrow the power supply and an extra SATA cable from my son to get it working on my desk. I owe him a pop, for being able to use them for tonight lol.


    It is a slimmed down version of XP Professional - I was a fan of nLite before starting this project so I already had a slimmed down version already in mind.


    I had found the Visteon HDZ300 HD Radio on eBay for $30 last night. It had about 6 hours left on it - so I set my account to watch it. This afternoon I watched as someone else won it, it went over what I wanted to spend for a used one. *sigh* there'll be more chances though.

    I'm going to pickup a shorter SATA cable, the one I want to get is about $4 from MonoPrice. I'll wait to buy it though until I'm closer to a final version in case I need anything else from MonoPrice. It's only a few inches shorter than the 24" one I currently have, but it is a nicer cable and would make managing the power and data cable for the hard drive easier.

    I decided on a skin for Ride Runner. I'm going to go with eLite Lite by suavecito.

    After all this I cleaned up, put the computer back together and marked off where I'll need to cut to make the power supply fit.


    All photos from last night.

  4. #4
    Maximum Bitrate jpinkerton's Avatar
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    Thursday April 23rd:
    I didn't have a lot of time tonight to work on the Carputer, however I worked through some of the wiring thoughts today. I took a look at my car, and bounced some ideas off my cousin who helped me install a new exterior door on the back door (What a pain - whole nother discussion, previous door frame was set in wet concrete. Idiots.) and he suggested I "cheat" and not bother drilling through the firewall, as we couldn't find any precut holes. He had the thought of securing the wire inside the body of the car - there's enough room to run the cable through and into the cabin that way. I'll have to actually sit down and do a dry run but that should work and I'd be just as happy with that.

    I did have a chance, however, to cut the case to allow for the power supply to be connected. I didn't have a dremel so I used a Skill Saw with a metal blade to cut the case, because of the saw I couldn't cut straight down to expose the whole area - but this will work for now. Down the road if need be I can cut it down more, but this shouldn't be a problem. After cutting it I did use a metal file to smooth it out a bit to prevent me cutting myself.




    I'm hoping to get the wiring figured out by Friday afternoon so that I can get the materials I need ordered. Would like to spend next week installing in the Concorde.

    Photos from tonight.




    Friday April 24th:
    So tonight I got in the backseat with the camera and the Thin Client. Trying to see how the Thin Client was going to fit under the seat.




    Then I found out, it's not going to.


    So I moved up front. I'd like to avoid the trunk. My next thought was to mount it on the side of the console on the passenger side.


    While this might work it doesn't sit tight against the wall of it, there's a big gap. My next thought was just above, the glove box.


    But that's not going to work either - it's too big for the glove box.

    Up further - roof?


    But how would I mount the Thin Client to the roof? *sigh* running out of options here.

    So I am not sure where to go from here. My only option might be the trunk. I'm just concerned because it's only April and it's already 85 out.

    I popped the hood to snap a few pictures of the engine. It's crowded too.


    There's a big enough gap in the body that I can run the cables into the cabin without going through the firewall.


    I'm going to have to continue doing some more thoughts into where exactly to put this. Maybe tomorrow I'll pull off some plastic parts of the console to look under it and see if there are any options under there.

    All Photos From Today.

  5. #5
    Maximum Bitrate jpinkerton's Avatar
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    Sunday April 26th:

    Well crap. I typed up a nice work log in here. I made a typo, hit the backspace key and LOST it all. I was not happy. Sigh, so here it is, retyped.

    So this afternoon I got out in the car, and started pulling apart the center console. I wanted to see how much room was behind the console and whether or not a slot load DVD drive would fit without issue.


    When I opened it up I found there was quite a bit more room than I originally imagined. So I set the Thin Client in there and replaced the plastic. It wouldn't fit all the way back so I looked closer and found that the ash tray and cig lighter were preventing it from sitting back all the way.


    It was here I realized I either commit to the Thin Client in this location and cut the plastic ash tray support and cig lighter support out or I look for a different location. Cutting the plastic meant accepting the fact that if this doesn't fully fit here I might have to live with no cig lighter or ash tray. I don't use either very often, so let the cutting begin.

    I had a wire cutter handy and attempted to make the first cut. I didn't fully realize just how strong this plastic was, and ended up neither cutting the plastic nor keeping the tool.


    You can see, in the unfocused area with the white stress mark, that I didn't make any progress with this attempt.


    So I went inside and got the proper tool, a razor blade. I spent about an hour cutting, sweating, and got the ash tray support and cig lighter support removed.


    While it doesn't look pretty, it won't be facing the passengers.


    The Thin Client sits perfectly in place. I'm going to glue the ash tray cover in place, and fabricate a single USB port where the cig lighter is. I don't think I could fit two, I might try and do some small cutting to get two ports in there. The other option would be to put a nice kill switch in that location. Either way I'll have to fabricate some sort of cover around it to make it look pretty as well. I might have to get my hands dirty with some fiberglass work.


    I'm pretty confident that it will have plenty of air circulation due to the climate controls being so short.


    However, I might fabricate some fans into the side of the console to pull air over the area that the Thin Client will sit. I'd put filters and fan guards on 'em to keep it protected as much as possible, but we'll see.


    Overall I am happy with where the Thin Client is. It is secure, it's hidden, and close to the controls. I won't have to run too long of wire overall.

    I've got my wiring plans pretty close to complete. I am more a visual kinda guy so here's what I'm planning.


    I'm still not solid on it, and waiting for some additional feedback on the final idea. However I'm pretty confident that I can do the wiring myself. I'd still like to find a factory hole that I can fit the wire through, but I haven't found one. I'm going to have to do some more looking this week.

    All Photos From Today.

  6. #6
    Maximum Bitrate jpinkerton's Avatar
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    Wednesday April 29th:
    Not too much exciting is going on.
    The car is in the shop getting the AC fixed, the brakes fixed, new tires, and the transmission fluid leak fixed. That bill is going to suck.

    CHANGES:
    • Changed to the DigitalFX 4.0 Skin for RideRunner. I really like it.
    • Decided to add Bluetooth to the Carputer to sync with my phone.
    • Decided to add two webcams (I already have them) to the car. One in the front one in the back.
    • Decided to upgrade the motherboard to the WiFi version.
    • I spoke with the Digi-Key folks online (Sherri Ext 1893 and Tyler ext 2347) to find the parts I'll need to give the Thin Client a nice molex style plug like the Voom2 has. (Male piece & Female piece with 10x16AWG Male & 10x16AWG Female tin plated copper alloy over nickel connectors).
    • Depending on stud size, some spade connectors to go between the wire and the M4-ATX.


    ORDERED:


    PLANNED TO ORDER


    I wanted to have the computer in place and operational by Thursday (tomorrow), as Friday we are leaving town for a trip - and it would've been nice to have GPS/Movies/MP3s for the 6hour drive, but I also didn't want to rush and have it be a sloppy install. I'll take a slow, clean install that I am confident with over a rushed job.

  7. #7
    Maximum Bitrate jpinkerton's Avatar
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    Wednesday April 29th:
    So I decided last night that I needed a better solution to hold the hard drive. The zip tie method I had was okay, but I wanted something that was a little more secure. So I grabbed the Thin Client and headed up to the local Do It Best hardware store.

    I showed the guy where I needed the plexi and how I wanted it to sit. There is enough support, and a screw hole from the bottom of the case that it should be stable and secure. We measured and he cut. I had to pay $1.50, normal price would've been $1.00 but he jammed his finger cutting it - fair enough




    I like it. So I set the plexi in the case where I want it to sit, and marked where I needed to drill for the hole to secure it into the case. I also flipped it over and marked where I'll need to drill for the hard drive screw holes on the bottom of the plexi.




    I drilled my holes using a small bit first at a low speed. Then I changed the bit for a larger one that fits the screw size required, and drilled again. They fit perfect.




    Because the screw at the bottom of the plexi is not enough to keep the mount from rotating into the CPU fan, I drilled a hole for a zip tie to go through and hold it against the hole on the side. After I ran the zip tie in the hole and tried to put the case back together, I realized that hole was for the top of the Thin Client's case. I was, however, able to run the zip tie into one of the many side vent holes on the bottom of the case. This holds the plexi securely in place without it sliding into the CPU fan.




    Then after all this I found that the corner of the plexi was sticking out too far for the case to close. So I again unscrewed the plexi and cut the corner off.




    Finally, everything fits, it's all happy, I'm able to remove the protective plastic coverings. And I must say, I was quite impressed with the looks.










    I'm a lot happier with this mount setup rather than how it was previously. Should hold it quite a bit better.

  8. #8
    Maximum Bitrate jpinkerton's Avatar
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    Monday May 4th:
    Well today I installed Centrafuse on my desktop, and it is pretty sechsi. I'm seriously considering it, I'll have to play around with it more. Obviously, however, I am not settled on a skin, much less a front end!

    Today I ordered the positive & negative terminals, the distribution block, the momentary, the rockers, the M4-ATX, the male and female molex connectors, the female molex terminals, and set auto notifications for the spade connectors. I have tracking numbers for everything. I also received the molex remover today. Sweet.

    Last week I decided to switch to the Wireless Version of the 630i-ITX board. It arrived today along with an additional 2GB of low profile RAM. I know, 4GB increases standby/hibernate and such blah blah blah. I'll take the hit for the additional resources.


    I pulled the old motherboard and listed it for sale here on MP3Car.com, and installed the new wireless board. Really the only difference is a few layout features on the board, and them throwing in the wireless card. It connects to the USB header and has two holes for the screws to go through. They moved some capacitors out of the way to make room for the wireless, and it has two additional USB ports. All good things.




    Because the antenna juts out the back a bit I wanted to ensure it would still fit in the car without issue. It does, it's tight but it fits.




    I took the webcams out to the car and placed them about where I want them to be. The front one I want to open up and rotate the lens on - so that I can mount it upside down and not have to worry about flipping the video.




    I should have all the parts here by the end of the week. Final things I need include:
    7" Touch LCD
    Battery Cable
    Fuse

    I'm still waiting on the Bluetooth Dongle. I have another trip planned for June and another trip in July, so I'd like to get this thing wrapped up and 100% working before the end of May.

    All pictures from tonight.

  9. #9
    FLAC
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    Hows the boot time on this board? they're such nice board for the price.
    If i was to replace my board i'd definitely get one too. That is, if it has zero or close to zero second POST time.

  10. #10
    Maximum Bitrate jpinkerton's Avatar
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    Right now I have it in pieces due to the upgrade to the wireless version. I'll time it tomorrow and let ya know.

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