Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: 2006 Ford Focus - CM's First Carputer

  1. #1
    Newbie
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Around St. Louis
    Posts
    8

    Post 2006 Ford Focus - CM's First Carputer

    Hello all, I've been a member here for a month or so and haven't really posted anything, so this is one of my first posts... if not the first. Anyway, onto the project.

    Goals:
    • 2-Din, Self Inclosed Carputer
    • Quick Removable (via handle)
    • Looks like it's meant to be there
    • Fast
    • Read OBD2 information for speedometer
    • Custom made frontend interface


    Progress:
    I've bought a few things so far. I got a Mimo Monitor um-710, and I've bought a EEEpc touch screen kit off of ebay, (~$160 for all of it) so I've got the screen. I've taken the monitor apart and added the touch screen to it. (Not too hard so far) The hardest thing to this point is creating the front plate of the radio from scratch. I've never done it before. Anyone have any suggestions on that? Like I said, I'd like it to be fully removable to where I grab a handle that pops out or something to take the entire carputer in and use it as a full fledged pc. Until I get that part done, I'm kinda at a stand still.

    Probable Components when finished:
    Intel Atom 330 Processor & motherboard.
    2gb ddr2 667 Ram
    Either 80 or 160gb sata laptop hard drive
    Sony Slot load DVD/CD+/-RW (already have an extra)
    UM-710 7" Mimo Monitor (USB powered, has power, brightness up, and brightness down buttons.)
    Some form of GPS
    Some form of bluetooth
    OBD2 reader (My brother has a serial one I can test with, but for the extra $20 I'll probably pick up a bluetooth one. Something like this one can be found cheap on ebay. http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/OBD2-...ht_3931wt_1027 )

    Expected build price, total: ~$600 with all components.

    Generalized Statements:
    I am a moderate programmer. I know VB really well, and have recently been messing with XNA for 2d graphics acceleration. I'd like to get into the 3d aspect of it, and have a full fledged 3d interface for a carputer. I haven't seen too many people do this either... pretty much never except for simulated ones with video. Anyway, no pictures yet. I didn't take any throughout the process so far either. I'll get some up tonight in a little bit, with the screen. At that point, I'll start my updates.

    Pictures of the build so far

    http://calibermengsk.com/carputer/screen1.png
    The mimo um-710 monitor with touch screen on it. #1 Front (the tape is to hold the screen/touchscreen to the plastic mounting. Just simple medical tape.)


    http://calibermengsk.com/carputer/screen2.png
    The mimo um-710 monitor with touch screen on it. #2 Back


    http://calibermengsk.com/carputer/screen3.png
    Modified screen brackets (I spun a pair of scissors inside of the hole to make way for the bigger screws. For future mounting)


    http://calibermengsk.com/carputer/screen4.png
    Modified screen bracket closeup

  2. #2
    Sheepdog rdholtz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Atlanta, GA, USA
    Posts
    1,606
    If I understand this, you'd like a 2-DIN box that plugs into the dash. Except for the plug-in system, that's what I did on my carPC. You'll have to make a couple of additions, and they'd be good on my system, too.

    I went through a couple of different system designs before I began work on an open-back, 5-sided box; that starts about post #472 of my worklog (if you're displaying the standard 15 posts per page, that's page 32). The screen mounts on the closed front. You might want to consider enclosing the back, or at least mounting your plug-in device(s) there; you'd have to allow for the intake of cooling air. One option would be to leave it like mine, and plug in your cables before sliding it into the dash. The downside of that, I discovered, is that it takes a lot of dash depth to house the cables, and it takes a bit of magic to get them to curl into place nicely as you slide the PC into its position. A miniaturized, server-style folding cable arm might be very good here. At the least, you'll have to figure out an interface that takes your screen, touch panel, power, sound, and multiple USB plugs into account. I say multiple USB plugs because some USB plugs need to go directly to the mainboard -- wireless, GPS and touchscreen come immediately to mind -- and the rest can work on a hub.

    I haven't built the bezel yet, but the plan is to build it so the touchscreen can be removed, a few mounting screws removed, and then the PC slid out, without removing the bezel. The touchscreen is larger in both dimensions than the 2-DIN opening, and the bezel I have in mind will allow that, since I'm leaving the touchscreen in its case.

    You'd have to engineer a mounting system that holds the PC in place, rather than screws; a rail system would certainly work. You could also form a cage of simple aluminum angle and mount that in your dash. It could be a track for the PC to slide on. I would think that, if your pull handle was at the bottom of the screen, it could be your locking device; pivoting it somehow would release the PC and monitor, and then it could be the way you get the PC out far enough to unplug everything.

    Power is another consideration. I used a panel-mount receptacle on mine. You could do something similar, but I'd recommend using an oddball receptacle that doesn't accept a normal plug. You don't want someone plugging a 12V system into 120V, because that would make terminal smoke come out. Instead, plan to have a small external power supply you can take with you -- a power brick -- so you can plug it in and use the PC. You might even look around for an old power brick that puts out 12V (they're rare) and find a receptacle that takes its plug; use that for your receptacle and use a similar cable to bring in the car power, and you'd be ready to go with no manufacturing issue.

    After you've measured the space available in your dash, one good starting point might be to consider a chassis from Blk02si. He has this thread and this thread in the Fabrication area, and a website. He can customize to suit your needs.

    If you'd rather build your own chassis, you could produce a design similar to mine using flat aluminum panels and aluminum angle stock. It's a pretty basic design that could be built with minimum tools, and it's certainly strong enough to carry around; mine is overkill -- it would be strong enough with half the fasteners.

    Information on tools required is included in my worklog.

    I'll watch to see what you come up with. This is a very interesting project you have going, and an approach I might have considered way back in my design phase. I'm more of a manufacturing guy than a programmer, so I'll help you with ideas where I can.
    .
    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
    .

  3. #3
    Newbie
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Around St. Louis
    Posts
    8
    My first idea is a simple slot rail system.


    =======================================
    ..............
    ..__________..
    ..|........|..
    __|........|__ <-- Carputer Case
    ..|........|..
    ..|________|..
    ..............

    =======================================

    .................
    ...___________...
    ...|.........|...
    ___|.........|__
    |__...........__| <-- Din/Dash Casing
    .^.|.........|.^.
    .|.|_________|.|.
    .|.............|.
    .|.............|.

    Would either have wheels to roll on,
    or would just slide in (maybe with
    lithium grease or something like that)


    O-o I hope that's understandable... (sorry for all of the dots... They remove multiple spaces.)

    Now, as far as how easy that is to make, I don't know. I would just mound all of the ports to the back of the din casing so that it just clicks in place. I know... I say it like it's easy XD BUT if done right should work fine... Would probably hold it in place pretty well just by having everything plug in. (I would probably have usb for bluetooth and gps, as well as sound and power plug in from the back.)

    It'd also be kinda cool to make a casing for in the house (the reason why I want it removable) so that I just slip it in a casing here at home.

    That's my ideas at the moment anyway.


    [edit]
    Now that I think about it though, I'd have to do the slot either above or below center or both, otherwise it wouldn't be able to use the stock 2-din mount.[/edit]

  4. #4
    Sheepdog rdholtz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Atlanta, GA, USA
    Posts
    1,606
    Building a case for the house is a neat idea. It would let you do a lot of testing before you build one in the dash.

    Rather than using grease, just make one of the mating parts -- probably the channels -- out of nylon or Delrin. That will give you the lubricity you need without the mess. You might make a 4-corner box of aluminum angle for the receiver, and put nylon strips on the corners of the chassis. Then the chassis would slide into the receiver box without lube.

    As for the plugs, they're okay individually, but pushing all of them in at once means an awful lot of force, and they have to be dead center and very solid, or you can end up with pranged pins on the video. You might consider adapting some sort of docking station device.

    For locking system / handles, look around at the types of mechanisms used for hot-swappable devices in servers.
    .
    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
    .

  5. #5
    MySQL Error soundman98's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    on the border of northern IL/IN
    Posts
    5,820
    i have a custom bracket/box that i made for a intel 945gclf(if i spelled it wrong, its the cheap intel motherboard from the mp3car store) that i made to fit in my dash, it holds the motherboard and one pci card-and was designed around using a bybyte lcd fram to attach the monitor to it- I can take some pics if your really interested, or if you would like it, i would be happy to get rid of it--you would just need to take care of the shipping charges.

    i had to scrap the idea after not having enough clearance behind the radio(i want to say i needed close to 14" of depth, and had 12")

  6. #6
    Newbie
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Around St. Louis
    Posts
    8
    Thanks for the offer, but my dash is more restrictive. I've got about 7" of depth. Max dimensions I have to make it is 7"d x 4.75"t x 7.5"w. The mobo I want is
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813121359
    The dimensions of the mobo are 6.75 x 6.75 so it'd fit in the max dimensions pretty well.
    Here is the entire system I plan on at some point.
    http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/Pu...Number=7486689

    I know the video card doesn't matter at this point (and yes, it's a PCI graphics card and will work on practically any computer. I've seen videos on youtube of the same card playing crysis on medium graphics with around 30fps... so it's pretty peppy for something that could go in a carputer.) so it'd actually be less. Also, the case is just if I used it as a home pc (same for video). So that would drop the price a bit more I'm looking at about $120 if I don't count the case, video, and hard drive. (I have at least an 80gb sata 2.5", and I also have a 160gb one in my laptop, in which if I got this whole system working, I'd sell the laptop and put the 80gb in it.)

    Anyway, I took a few pics of the screen outside of everything... I'll clean them up real quick then edit this post if no one posted anything new.

  7. #7
    Sheepdog rdholtz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Atlanta, GA, USA
    Posts
    1,606
    Quote Originally Posted by soundman98 View Post
    i have a custom bracket/box that i made for a intel 945gclf(if i spelled it wrong, its the cheap intel motherboard from the mp3car store) that i made to fit in my dash, it holds the motherboard and one pci card-and was designed around using a bybyte lcd fram to attach the monitor to it- I can take some pics if your really interested, or if you would like it, i would be happy to get rid of it--you would just need to take care of the shipping charges.

    i had to scrap the idea after not having enough clearance behind the radio(i want to say i needed close to 14" of depth, and had 12")
    Sounds interesting -- I'd like to see the pix.

    Quote Originally Posted by Caliber_Mengsk View Post
    Thanks for the offer, but my dash is more restrictive. I've got about 7" of depth. Max dimensions I have to make it is 7"d x 4.75"t x 7.5"w. The mobo I want is
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813121359
    The dimensions of the mobo are 6.75 x 6.75 so it'd fit in the max dimensions pretty well.
    Here is the entire system I plan on at some point.
    http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/Pu...Number=7486689

    I know the video card doesn't matter at this point (and yes, it's a PCI graphics card and will work on practically any computer. I've seen videos on youtube of the same card playing crysis on medium graphics with around 30fps... so it's pretty peppy for something that could go in a carputer.) so it'd actually be less. Also, the case is just if I used it as a home pc (same for video). So that would drop the price a bit more I'm looking at about $120 if I don't count the case, video, and hard drive. (I have at least an 80gb sata 2.5", and I also have a 160gb one in my laptop, in which if I got this whole system working, I'd sell the laptop and put the 80gb in it.)

    Anyway, I took a few pics of the screen outside of everything... I'll clean them up real quick then edit this post if no one posted anything new.
    That's the motherboard I'm running, and it's been good.

    For the PCI video card, you'll want to find a way to tie that down. PCI cards have a way of working loose in a high-vibration environment. You could probably use a vinyl or rubber biscuit on the top panel, placed so it presses the video card in place (gently) when you screw the top on.
    .
    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
    .

  8. #8
    Variable Bitrate Deric's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    274
    That board already has onboard video also isn't the Mimo a USB monitor meaning that it does the video? I had about 8.5" of depth for my build and I'm using the same MB. With keeping everything in the dash there is barely and I mean barely enough room for everything.

  9. #9
    Newbie
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Around St. Louis
    Posts
    8
    You are correct. The Mimo monitor does use it's own video driver. It runs on top of the default video card. (It won't let you install it unless there is another video card with the drivers installed.) So, it kinda piggy backs, not that it really matters too much.

    The reason for the extra video card was for the using it as an external computer as well. I'm looking to use it for both the car and house. That way I just plug the system into the in house stuff and can play decent quality on games.

    O-o... it's all theoretical anyway, as I'm not sure how well the atom works even with a decent video card. (intel video cards are total crap, and can't really run any games except 5 year old tech.)




    BTW, as a small update, I bought some sheet metal and corner pieces as suggested. I figured it's the best way since I don't know how to weld, nor do I have a way to bend metal. I have a stomach ache right now, so I probably won't be able to work on it too much today, so no pics of it. Maybe I'll program the interface a bit more or something. O-o I guess I could post the mockup pic for the basic skin.


    http://calibermengsk.com/carputer/ve...vehicular1.png
    I do have the mouse over of the buttons working, but this is pretty much it so far. (**Note, I did not make the icons.)

  10. #10
    Newbie
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Around St. Louis
    Posts
    8
    O-o I have to say that I kinda have to put my carpc on hold. The home base business almost collapsed a week or so ago, so I'm putting a lot more concentration on that for now. I've even invested a few hundred in buying a pc to build and sell again for a bit of profit... hopefully. Normally these things don't end up really giving me much profit, but the hope is to start selling some pc's at a decent price rather then repairing laptops then selling them. Much easier and faster to just stick a butt load of parts that you know works together then to tear a laptop down to the smallest pieces just to put it back together and hope it works...


    Anyway, I'll stop rambling. Hopefully I'll be able to start work within the month again.

    While waiting, Anyone have any ideas on how to either accurately cut or bend metal on a bargain price range? Right now the only suggestion is wood pieces and pressing body weight on the metal. It's 16 gauge steel sheet if you need to know. (by cheap I mean like $20 max.)

Similar Threads

  1. MacMini Carputer in Ford Focus New Shape
    By trident in forum Worklogs
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 04-05-2009, 05:36 AM
  2. Laptop carputer in Ford BA XR6
    By gareth_pihl in forum Laptops, Netbooks, Tablets, UMPCs, etc.
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 03-25-2009, 06:28 AM
  3. GoogleEarth GPSR Tracking
    By briefnotion in forum GPS
    Replies: 117
    Last Post: 09-11-2007, 07:32 PM
  4. Ford Focus MP3 Car PC
    By stevieg in forum Show off your project
    Replies: 38
    Last Post: 09-28-2004, 05:46 PM
  5. 2001 Ford Focus ZX3
    By zx3chris in forum Show off your project
    Replies: 32
    Last Post: 05-29-2004, 11:29 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •