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Thread: 1999 Saab 9-3 Car PC - TuxCar v1

  1. #1
    Newbie kremit's Avatar
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    1999 Saab 9-3 Car PC - TuxCar v1

    Hi everyone,

    I guess I should introduce myself since this is my first post. I'm Wes from Columbus, Ohio. I'm a systems manager with a meteorology degree, car mechanics in the family, hardware and software guru, "jack-of-all-trades master of none". I have too many interests and not enough free time to enjoy them all. I guess it was only a matter of time before I ended up here

    This is my worklog for my Linux-based Car PC project. I own a 1999 Saab 9-3. Originally, I wanted to mod my SID (Saab Information Display) as it was getting old and having infamous pixel display problems. The SID is an in-dash LCD readout that displays your typical trip information like temperature, MPG, radio settings, etc. On these models, the SID is known to start "losing" pixels over time as the ribbon cable inside becomes loose from temperature extremes. After doing a self-repair and even sending it in for repair, the screen has slowly faded away over the past few months. My CD player (stock radio) has also started to act funny as it is over 10 years old.

    Around then I came across mini-box.com (because of an unrelated project at work -- actually involving putting GPS hardware on Greenland to monitor ice changes) and this car PC thread on SaabCentral. The Car PC project was born.

    I've decided to tear out the old head unit, in-dash cupholder, and even the SID itself. I will have to leave the circuitry for the SID, however, as it controls the horn, steering wheel controls, bulb warnings, etc. This is going to be replaced with a 7" Xenarc touchscreen -- more on that adventure later -- connected to mini-ITX hardware in the trunk.

    I'm going to store the SID circuitry behind the touchscreen along with various wiring in order to maintain the functions of the SID, mentioned above. The touchscreen, however, will show messages normally destined for the SID as I've successfully gotten software to read data from the Saab I-BUS (CAN-based).

    The car (old photo, will upload new ones later)


    Mini-ITX case, from mini-box.com


    Mini-ITX motherboard with Kingston 64 GB SSD hard drive


    Car PC main hardware built and wired for testing
    Thanks to this thread for power supply hook-up instructions


    More to come later today or tomorrow.

  2. #2
    FLAC hexxamillion's Avatar
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    Cool. I'm all about Open Source. Oddly, I decided to redo my install with Windows this time..it's all good because my home network is completely LINUX based. The only reason I use Windows at home is for Netflix Instant Watch..and even that is within a virtual machine (SUN VirtualBox). So where are you planning on mounting your PC?
    "Live Free!!!...It's all about Open Source"
    Current Proj:Android Mount in 2013 Altima
    Old Proj II
    Old Proj I
    YouTube:Project Videos
    Homepage: HexxWorld.net
    Twitter:http://twitter.com/hexxamillion

  3. #3
    Newbie kremit's Avatar
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    hexxamillion: Hey, I am too. I've ran Linux in its various forms since about 2000 (my buddy turned me onto it back in high school). It was only a matter of time before I wanted to put it in my car
    It was pretty easy choice since the pieces were already mostly there -- I found a great multimedia touch-enabled program that I could modify the code (though I've found at least 2 others since then), and I'm very familiar with programming software on Linux. That's important for the Python scripts I'm building to interface with the car's I-BUS/replacement info display.

    I've built a cabinet in the trunk/hatchback for the PC and audio amp. The hatchback is quite large for the size of the car, so I don't think it'll be much of a problem. There's actually a spot built into the trunk already for a CD changer, but the cabinet I built is a little bigger than that.

  4. #4
    FLAC hexxamillion's Avatar
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    Yeah. Currently I have my EEEPC mounted as my CarPC. It runs LINUX. I am redesigning my CarPC project so it is going to be replaced from being my primary CarPC. I may, however, remount it as a PC for the backseat passengers so they can do their own thing, yet network them both together..a mobile local network..
    "Live Free!!!...It's all about Open Source"
    Current Proj:Android Mount in 2013 Altima
    Old Proj II
    Old Proj I
    YouTube:Project Videos
    Homepage: HexxWorld.net
    Twitter:http://twitter.com/hexxamillion

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