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Thread: 02 VW Golf TDI 7" Eee PC Budget Build

  1. #1
    Constant Bitrate firstorbit84's Avatar
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    02 VW Golf TDI 7" Eee PC Budget Build

    Hi guys,

    This is my first build and I originally posted some forethought into the build in the NewB section here: My First Build - VW Golf MkIV Asus Eee PC

    Well, I now have about 99% of the parts that I will use, and I've done several dry runs and bench tests of the various components, so it is time for the official build to begin!!!

    First, the car in question:

    2002 Volkswagen Golf GL TDI

    Here are the parts that I've assembled so far:

    Asus Eee PC 701: 1GB RAM, 4GB SSD, Celeron 630MHz (can be overclocked to 900MHz) ~ $150 (eBay)
    7" USB Plug-n-Play Touch Screen Digitizer for Asus Eee PC 701 ~ $33.50 (Deal Extreme)
    Super Mini Bluetooth 2.0 Adapter Dongle ~ $2.50 (Deal Extreme)
    G.Mouse Mini USB SiRF Star-III 20-Channel GPS Receiver ~ $38.50 (Deal Extreme)
    Car Charger Cigarette Adapter for Asus 7" Eee PC 701 ~ $4.50 (Deal Extreme)
    Clarion CD/MP3/WMA Receiver Model DB179MP ~$60 (NewEgg)
    PAC IR-X Infrared Repeater ~$25 (eBay)
    4GB SDHC Card ~$12 (Big Lots - Local)
    VW Wiring Harness ~$20 (Local car audio shop)
    Ground Loop Isolator & RCA to 1/8" Adapter ~$24 (local Radio Shack)
    1/8" Stereo Right Angle Adapter ~$4 (local Radio Shack)
    Parrot CK3100 Bluetooth Hands Free Car Kit ~ $48 (eBay)
    Rosewill 4 Port USB 2.0 Hub ~$5 (Craigslist)
    Momentary SPST N.O. Push-button Switch ~$3 (local Radio Shack)
    6 connection fuse block ~$9 (local Advance Auto)
    assorted fuses ~$5 (local Advance Auto)
    Female quick disconnectors ~$3 (local Advance Auto)
    Roll-up Flexible Keyboard ~$5 (local Staples)
    ------------------------------------------------------
    Grand total: ~$452
    (Getting up there, but still not as much as the cheapest off the shelf unit. So, not too bad IMO considering all that it should be able to do compared to an off the shelf unit)

    My original plan was to extend the LVDS cable of the Eee and mount the motherboard underneath the glovebox in an old external DVD-ROM case that I had. But after doing a little research on the effort required for such a task, I whipped out my old trigonometry skills from high school and figured out that if I tilt the bottom edge of the screen out about 10 degrees and angle the Eee's mobo diagonally up to the rear of the dash, then I should have just enough room (and just enough play in the LVDS cable) to squeeze the 9" long mobo in the dash perpendicular to and behind the screen. However, after taking a second look at the dash opening without the radio cage, it looks like it may be easier to mount it sideways. This would also give the face a cleaner flush-mount look that is more factory.

    Then, the original plan for the head unit was to install it in the glovebox, and remotely mount the faceplate in the center console by the e-brake. While this was a good idea for accessibility, I really won't need too many features on the head unit that the included IR remote won't be able to do. So, instead of a complicated and tedious remote mount faceplate, I am just going to use the PAC IR-X to repeat the IR signal into the glove box, and install the IR eye where the Eee's webcam would go normally.

    Well, that's all I've got for now.... Next steps:

    1. (Completed) Mount Head Unit in Glove Box and set up PAC-IR-X (see post 35)
    2. (Completed) Test Fit Eee in Dash to decide on mounting position (see post 35)
    3. (Completed) Take apart dash for radio cage hacking. (see post 35)
    4. (Completed)Mount Eee in Radio Cage. (see post 60)
    4.5. (Completed) Install and mount Parrot Hands Free Bluetooth Car Kit
    5. (Completed) Reinstall Dash with Eee in radio cage. (see post 66)
    6. Troubleshoot
    7. Enjoy!

    Completed Pics:


  2. #2
    Constant Bitrate firstorbit84's Avatar
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    Reserved for future plans

    Edit: I've also got an external 80GB HD that will likely become part of the setup.
    Edit: I went with a stand-alone BT HF solution, the Parrot CK3100.

    Also, sometime down the road I'd really like to pick up the Mk5 GTI factory steering wheel with stereo and phone controls and integrate them into the carPC and parrot BT somehow, perhaps through the use of a PIC micro-controller.


    Edit: More future plans include rounding out the bass by installing a single 8" or 10" sub driven by 150-250 Watts in the rear side panel that normally houses the factory CD changer (and where most other VW owners end up putting their CarPC's)

  3. #3
    Constant Bitrate firstorbit84's Avatar
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    Pictures!

    Eee Computer w/ touchscreen taped on for fitment/testing purposes:

    Note: If you buy your touchscreen overlay from DealExtreme.com like I did (or even eBay), then make sure its wired/soldered correctly. I had to hack mine a little to make it work properly. More details over on the eeeuser forums: *** DealExtreme and elsewhere solderless kit warning!

    Stock stereo cassette player and dash with custom single DIN cubby boost gauge install:


    Boost gauge had to be relocated to steering column:

    Note: I never wanted to do this because it kinda blocks the clock, and if you look closely, you can see that the viewing angle is tilted too far back about 5 degrees. But the CarPC won in the end

    Wiring Harnesses to make extension:

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    Constant Bitrate firstorbit84's Avatar
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    Crude Schematic (based on my calculations):

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    Hey since I've been down this road with my eee in my 2001 Jetta I thought I shoot you some insight from my experience. Keep in mid this is from my experience and opinion:

    Startup/Shutdown - For startup I think your on the right track with just extending the momentary button on the eee. For shutdown use a program called shut control. It was developed by one of the members on here and worked flawlessly. Basically it monitors whether your on battery power and sends the car into hibernation/shutdown as your specific time. Use the program in conjunction with a relay and your in business. As far as I know a laptop still draws power even if the battery is fully charged. As such there's a change you could drain you battery if you don't use relays.

    Weather - The eee was terrible for when it cam to cold whether tolerance. I live in Canada as soon as the temperature dropped to -20C ish it would not boot. Initially I thought that since it had a SSD that I would have no problems but I failed to consider the tolerance level of the other components like the SSD controller etc. Point is if you live in a place with harse winters take that into consideration

    Speed/ Heat - Unless you are planning to overclock the eee with like eeectrl eventually you will find it too slow to multitask in the CarPC environment. Assuming you are planning to overclock have you thought about cooling, condensation etc behind the dash?

    Neatness of install/Expandability - As I started adding new features my install started to get really bulking with project boxes etc at various points in the car. My current set up is much neater with just one box in the trunk. For example to deal with the various power logics I had a project box with a bunch of relays ie control when the eee, usb hub, screen, back up camera stops getting power. Another for the external harddrives, inverter (basically for 5V power), hub, fans etc. I see that mentioned expanding with soho etc so just a heads up.

    Otherwise the eee was an ok option for my first install but i like my current set up way better.

  6. #6
    Constant Bitrate firstorbit84's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prodigalsun View Post
    Hey since I've been down this road with my eee in my 2001 Jetta I thought I shoot you some insight from my experience. Keep in mid this is from my experience and opinion:
    Hmm... well you've certainly given me some good insights here...

    Startup/Shutdown - For startup I think your on the right track with just extending the momentary button on the eee. For shutdown use a program called shut control. It was developed by one of the members on here and worked flawlessly. Basically it monitors whether your on battery power and sends the car into hibernation/shutdown as your specific time. Use the program in conjunction with a relay and your in business. As far as I know a laptop still draws power even if the battery is fully charged. As such there's a change you could drain you battery if you don't use relays.
    I'm planning to have the 12V-9.5V DC-DC Converter with an inline 5A fuse hooked up to a 12V source that is switched on with the ignition in the on/Acc position. This way the converter will charge the Eee's battery when the ignition is on, and the Eee can still run off of battery when the ignition is off, but it just won't be charging, and I don't think I'll have to worry about discharging the battery this way. Once I'm done using the computer, I can send it into hibernate with another push of the Eee's power switch or by using the on-screen commands. For short errands I can even leave it on or put it into standby instead of hibernate.

    In hibernate, the battery should hold a charge for well over a week. Also, if I forget to shut it down, it will just automatically go into hibernate when the battery is too low, but shouldn't drain the car battery either because the charger will be off.

    VW's already have a nifty spot by the fuse box to access your ignition-on 12V source as well:

    Note: the Yellow/Black Wire marked "75X" is an Ignition-On switched 12V source

    This is where I plan to "T" off for my laptop battery charger (12V->9.5V), my Auxiliary CPU/Case fans, and the PAC IR-X.

    Weather - The eee was terrible for when it cam to cold whether tolerance. I live in Canada as soon as the temperature dropped to -20C ish it would not boot. Initially I thought that since it had a SSD that I would have no problems but I failed to consider the tolerance level of the other components like the SSD controller etc. Point is if you live in a place with harse winters take that into consideration
    I'm living in Florida now. Winters are mild, but I may be moving to a colder climate next year so I will definitely keep this in mind.

    Speed/ Heat - Unless you are planning to overclock the eee with like eeectrl eventually you will find it too slow to multitask in the CarPC environment. Assuming you are planning to overclock have you thought about cooling, condensation etc behind the dash?
    I've already discussed this topic at length over on the eeeuser forums, and I've done some bench testing with my intended setup, and the initial tests look good.

    The stock Eee uses a big aluminum sheet under the keyboard to spread the heat, and the keboard base itself to dissipate it further. My setup will start with the keyboard removed and the pimary aluminum heatsink left intact, and then on top of that is basically going to be a big old P4/Celeron Aluminum Heatsink with no fan situated in between the graphics processor and motherboard processor. Then directly over the celeron will be a smaller graphics processor-type heatsink with a fan blowing directly on it. (I'll post some pictures later)

    In my bench tests at a variable medium processor load, with no stock fan running whatsoever, no thermal paste under the heatsinks, and overclocked to full speed (900Mhz) I was actually running a good 5-10 degrees celsius cooler (<50 C) than stock speed with stock cooling (~57-60 C). In addition, the GPU-cooler's fan speed will be controlled through a manually switchable voltage regulator (12V->9V->6V->4.5V) that I happened to have laying around. This will give me the best balance of fine-tuning the cooling ability and noise reduction tradeoffs.

    The only thing is that I noticed some wavy lines on the display when overclocking to 900mhz earlier today, with the touchscreen being the only new hardware since the last test. So, I'm still going to have to test out how far I can push it.

    Neatness of install/Expandability - As I started adding new features my install started to get really bulking with project boxes etc at various points in the car. My current set up is much neater with just one box in the trunk. For example to deal with the various power logics I had a project box with a bunch of relays ie control when the eee, usb hub, screen, back up camera stops getting power. Another for the external harddrives, inverter (basically for 5V power), hub, fans etc. I see that mentioned expanding with soho etc so just a heads up.
    You're right. I do need to carefully plan everything. So far, I'm expecting my glove box to hide most of the extras: Head unit, USB Hub, External Hard Drive, mini keyboard and switchable Voltage regulator(?). I know that I will loose most or all of my glove box space, but I think I should be able to jam everything in there with some creativity. The PAC IR-X box is relatively small and I think I should be able to stuff it into the double-DIN space with the Eee. I really have no Idea where I'd fit the SOHO card tho, but that's a ways away.

    Otherwise the eee was an ok option for my first install but i like my current set up way better.
    What's your current setup?? Where/how did you mount the Eee??? Which model did you use?

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    Quote Originally Posted by firstorbit84 View Post
    Hmm... well you've certainly given me some good insights here...


    I'm planning to have the 12V-9.5V DC-DC Converter with an inline 5A fuse hooked up to a 12V source that is switched on with the ignition in the on/Acc position. This way the converter will charge the Eee's battery when the ignition is on, and the Eee can still run off of battery when the ignition is off, but it just won't be charging, and I don't think I'll have to worry about discharging the battery this way. Once I'm done using the computer, I can send it into hibernate with another push of the Eee's power switch or by using the on-screen commands. For short errands I can even leave it on or put it into standby instead of hibernate.

    In hibernate, the battery should hold a charge for well over a week. Also, if I forget to shut it down, it will just automatically go into hibernate when the battery is too low, but shouldn't drain the car battery either because the charger will be off.

    VW's already have a nifty spot by the fuse box to access your ignition-on 12V source as well:

    Note: the Yellow/Black Wire marked "75X" is an Ignition-On switched 12V source

    This is where I plan to "T" off for my laptop battery charger (12V->9.5V), my Auxiliary CPU/Case fans, and the PAC IR-X.

    I guess this is fine but having a controlled shutdown/hibernation seems like a better option to me. The problem I found with letting windows deal with shutdown hibernation is if another program is hanging it'll hold up the hibernate/shut down process. Shutcontrol would force quit that program. Also in your situation your screen is going to always be on once the laptop is on (as you are extending the screen). Hmmm for me that would be a no-no as it would attract too much attention ie. car's off, no-one in it and screen is still showing for as long as the laptop battery takes to drain.


    Quote Originally Posted by firstorbit84 View Post

    I've already discussed this topic at length over on the eeeuser forums, and I've done some bench testing with my intended setup, and the initial tests look good.

    The stock Eee uses a big aluminum sheet under the keyboard to spread the heat, and the keboard base itself to dissipate it further. My setup will start with the keyboard removed and the pimary aluminum heatsink left intact, and then on top of that is basically going to be a big old P4/Celeron Aluminum Heatsink with no fan situated in between the graphics processor and motherboard processor. Then directly over the celeron will be a smaller graphics processor-type heatsink with a fan blowing directly on it. (I'll post some pictures later)

    In my bench tests at a variable medium processor load, with no stock fan running whatsoever, no thermal paste under the heatsinks, and overclocked to full speed (900Mhz) I was actually running a good 5-10 degrees celsius cooler (<50 C) than stock speed with stock cooling (~57-60 C). In addition, the GPU-cooler's fan speed will be controlled through a manually switchable voltage regulator (12V->9V->6V->4.5V) that I happened to have laying around. This will give me the best balance of fine-tuning the cooling ability and noise reduction tradeoffs.

    The only thing is that I noticed some wavy lines on the display when overclocking to 900mhz earlier today, with the touchscreen being the only new hardware since the last test. So, I'm still going to have to test out how far I can push it.
    Ok yes there's different opinions on that topic, so I won't argue either way. One thing I would say tho is behind the dash with all that heat (whether with additional cooling or not) makes an ideal situation for condensation. I'm just saying make sure you consider that.

    Quote Originally Posted by firstorbit84 View Post
    You're right. I do need to carefully plan everything. So far, I'm expecting my glove box to hide most of the extras: Head unit, USB Hub, External Hard Drive, mini keyboard and switchable Voltage regulator(?). I know that I will loose most or all of my glove box space, but I think I should be able to jam everything in there with some creativity. The PAC IR-X box is relatively small and I think I should be able to stuff it into the double-DIN space with the Eee. I really have no Idea where I'd fit the SOHO card tho, but that's a ways away.


    What's your current setup?? Where/how did you mount the Eee??? Which model did you use?
    Actually I got rid of the eee in my car. I have it mounted in my kitchen as "homeputer" so to speak (lol). I eventually bit the bullet and bought one of the barebone atom systems from mobile computing solutions (www.mo-co-so.com). No regrets! Way less clutter, controlled startup/shutdown, runs faster etc. Not that the eee couldn't work that was just my preference.

    I'm interested to see how your install turns out. As I mentioned before make sure to consider everything. I installed/re-installed my system at least 4 times in the first year I started. The biggest pain in the *** was dealing with grounding which was the source of killing my headunit fm radio reception and the annoying alternator whinning.

  8. #8
    Constant Bitrate firstorbit84's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prodigalsun View Post
    I guess this is fine but having a controlled shutdown/hibernation seems like a better option to me. The problem I found with letting windows deal with shutdown hibernation is if another program is hanging it'll hold up the hibernate/shut down process. Shutcontrol would force quit that program. Also in your situation your screen is going to always be on once the laptop is on (as you are extending the screen). Hmmm for me that would be a no-no as it would attract too much attention ie. car's off, no-one in it and screen is still showing for as long as the laptop battery takes to drain.
    The only time the screen would stay on for as long as it took the laptop battery to drain would be if the computer completely froze. In which case, I may look into ShutControl.

    I chose not to extend the LCD screen cable once I saw the level of work involved. Instead I'm using the bit of play already in the LVDS cable to mount the motherboard behind the LCD at a perpendicular angle to it.

    Under normal circumstances, the screen should only stay on for about 30-45 seconds after I hit the hibernate button. But you're right about the unnecessary attention, so I think I'm going to make a faceplate to cover the screen when not in use.

    Ok yes there's different opinions on that topic, so I won't argue either way. One thing I would say tho is behind the dash with all that heat (whether with additional cooling or not) makes an ideal situation for condensation. I'm just saying make sure you consider that.
    How do I account for that?? DampRid?? Or just good airflow? Or just be cautious of conditions when I fire up the PC? The stock headunit can make a good bit of heat itself, how does VW account for it?

    Actually I got rid of the eee in my car. I have it mounted in my kitchen as "homeputer" so to speak (lol). I eventually bit the bullet and bought one of the barebone atom systems from mobile computing solutions (www.mo-co-so.com). No regrets! Way less clutter, controlled startup/shutdown, runs faster etc. Not that the eee couldn't work that was just my preference.
    Ya, I couldn't live without a Eee around the house and at work so I picked up the 900 16G model to replace the 701 4G that will live in the car. Do you have any pics from your Eee install tho??

    Those MoCoSo's look like quite nice units, and reasonably priced. Where do you have yours mounted??

    Over on the VWVortex forums, I saw that a Mini-ITX Mobo will actually squeeze behind the dash and allow room for the screen:


    I'm interested to see how your install turns out. As I mentioned before make sure to consider everything. I installed/re-installed my system at least 4 times in the first year I started. The biggest pain in the *** was dealing with grounding which was the source of killing my headunit fm radio reception and the annoying alternator whinning.
    I'm excited to see how mine comes out too... I am not using any DC-AC inverters to try to keep noise out of the lines, and I'll have to remember to ground the Mobo separately, but I should definitely do some dry runs with the audio and power cables all set up before the full install to check for any noise/grounding issues.

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    I am using a EEE PC 900 in my tiguan and my biggest issue is boot time. you are looking pretty good so far. Mine is in the glove box right now and fits nicely. i might move it in the future. what kind of boot time are you seeing with yours right now

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    Constant Bitrate firstorbit84's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brianteel View Post
    I am using a EEE PC 900 in my tiguan and my biggest issue is boot time. you are looking pretty good so far. Mine is in the glove box right now and fits nicely. i might move it in the future. what kind of boot time are you seeing with yours right now
    What are you using for a monitor if you have the Eee in the glove box?

    My boot times aren't bad at all.... I can go from hibernate to full functionality in about 30-35 seconds.

    My shut down times are worse. It takes about 45-50 seconds to go into hibernate.

    If I am just running a quick errand and I'll be right back, I can put it into standby instead of hibernate, and then my boot time goes down to about 10-15 seconds. The only problem with using standby instead of hibernate on a Eee is that they don't have advanced power management and you will kill the laptop's battery in a matter of hours as if you were still using the computer.

    Which model of 900 do you have?? I've got the 16GB 900 without the additional 4GB SSD and its hard drive speeds are very slow in comparison to the 701 with just the 4GB SSD. Here's a good thread over on eeeuser forums about speeding up the 900s: Speed up XP for 16gb 900 (other models too!)

    Another problem that I've been having in Centrafuse is that whenever I wake from standby or hibernate the little camera indicator light comes on and it appears that the camera screen is running in the background because the CPU usage goes up as well. If I go into the camera screen, it is definitely already initialized because it is already adjusted to the light, and it doesn't take the second or two that it normally takes to go into the screen. Then, when I push the back button, the indicator light goes off and my CPU usage drops as well. Is anyone else having this problem with their Eee and Centrafuse??

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