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Thread: Scion xB integrated PC

  1. #1
    Newbie SCIONology's Avatar
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    Scion xB integrated PC

    OK, I'm new here, and this is my first thread on mp3car but I'm about to start my 2nd car pc project within the next month.

    Sorry I don't have a cool name for my xB yet...maybe someone can help with that.

    I really foresee this forum helping me allot along the way, I know mostly what I want to do with my next project and kinda know how I'll accomplish it but this one is HUGE compared to my previous project.

    Oh yeah, previous project...
    a 98 sentra that got invaded one day in a parking lot, was broke into and the sony head unit, an mp3 player, and amp and subs (box was too big to be taken outta trunk) were all stolen.
    the fun part was that when they took the head unit they took the mounting bracket and tray and cup holders that were attached, as well as cutting the wires instead of just unplugging the radio, so i was left with a big hole in my dash and very very short wires with no plug.
    i was kicking myself for leaving tools in the seat of my car, although they didn't take the tools, they used them to unscrew the amp and subs and to cut the wires!

    At that point I had thought a little about installing a pc into a car, but never heard it being done before. Well I started searching for some small lcd touch screens and found mp3car.com!
    i didn't sign up the info was very helpful being that car pcs were very unheard of.
    I built a shuttle-based pc to start and 'installed' it behind the drivers seat and then dissasembled the 8" 4:3 lcd and mounted it in the big hole where the radio, tray, and cup holders once were.
    My problem was i had to do everything myself and i was horrible at fabrication.
    somehow the screen cracked under stress and the trim around the screen never looked right. so i ripped it all outta the car, sold the pc and lived without any kinda of radio or infotainment for nearly a year.

    Now present day:
    I've had my 2008 xB since it was new and drive it allot (75,000 miles allready) but for the last year i've been debating on selling it for something less 'cool' but more comfort.
    i finally made my mind to keep it, so now i'm certain i want to go crazy modding it!

    here it is now:


    and interior (yes i modded all my leds from orange to green)


    ____EDIT_____
    here are the parts i will initially be ordering (you'll see that i 'downgraded some'):

    From mp3car.com

    * Lilliput EBY701-NP/C/T 7" VGA Touchscreen with Backup Camera Wiring
    * M2-ATX-HV 140W Intelligent DC-DC PSU
    * P4-12V to P4-12V Cable
    * M350 Universal Mini-ITX enclosure by Mini-Box
    * ElmScan Compact 5 USB OBD-II by ScanTool
    * BU-353 Weather-proof GPS Receiver
    * Griffin Powermate Volume Knob 1100-PWRMTS


    From newegg
    * G.SKILL 2GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 667 (PC2 5300) Desktop Memory Model F2-5300CL4S-2GBPQ - Retail
    * Intel BOXD945GCLF Intel Atom processor 230 Intel 945GC Mini ITX Motherboard/CPU Combo - Retail
    * SAMSUNG USB 2.0 Silver Slot-Load Slim External DVD Writer Model SE-T084M/RSB LightScribe Support - Retail
    * Western Digital Scorpio Black WD1600BEKT 160GB 7200 RPM 2.5" SATA 3.0Gb/s Internal Notebook Hard Drive -Bare Drive



    Total about $700

    i wanted to go with a full size atx board to give me mainly the number of video outputs i need, but to also give me more performance at a lower cost.
    after lots of researching and recommendations i decided to go smaller, and i just kept going smaller and smaller :-)
    when the time comes to add more monitors, i'll try those usb video cards, or i'll buy a pci dual head to go in my 1 pci slot.
    ____END EDIT_____

    here's some of the things i want to do with this pc.
    everything centrafuse offers:
    Music
    Video
    web
    email
    phone
    nav
    v notes
    obdiii
    etc

    plus:
    climate control
    auto headlights
    auto high beam
    auto wipers
    auto defrost
    night vision
    backup cam
    push button start with numeric pin (I love the transporter movies!)
    remote start (even though my xB is a 5 speed and i'm not supposed to do that)

    maybe even down the road i'll add things like electronically controlled window tint or advanced cruise control or lane departure warnings.

    i know that most of the extra stuff i want to do will require fusion brain or maybe 2 of them, but i'm still doing research on it and this new eyeR interceptor for v4 to see what i need to start with, but this christmas i hope to have all the centrafuse functions working.

    here is where i'll mount the m350 (with cardboard template that is way to big[for old atx idea])


    i'll build some kinda plexiglass housing that'll keep it from being kicked by the rear seat passengers, btw the front seat is slid all the way forward, it wont be exposed like that normally.

    the current radio will be replaced by a lilliput 701 lcd
    i would like install a 6.5" rear view mirror screen for backup cam/nightvision and maybe gauges
    i want to put 2 small touch screens where the current hvac knobs are, or maybe just relabel the knobs and modify them to simply control 3 griffin power mates. ( i can't figure out where to mount a volumn knob in my car)

    i also want to replace the aux and ipod input with a usb hub/power button-combo-something-or-another.

    well i've run outta time but hopefully our wise forum readers will have some advice for what i've written so far.

    oh last question, i can't find where to add my signature, where do i do that?

    also, for kicks, here is a photoshop pic i did of the bodywork i want to do to my xB!


    thank you all!

  2. #2
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    justchat_1's Avatar
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    Just a heads up...centrafuse will only make use of two of those video outputs not the 4 your planning

  3. #3
    Variable Bitrate
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    I would suggest that crossfire video might be a little bit overkill for a carPC?

    Would generate a lot of heat, as well as suck up a mighty large amount of power, might be hard fitting all of your system onto the 250W power supply that you are looking to run it off.

  4. #4
    Newbie SCIONology's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by justchat_1 View Post
    Just a heads up...centrafuse will only make use of two of those video outputs not the 4 your planning
    ok, well that just pushed me a little further towards a more open software platform. It looks like i'm going to get what i want outta riderunner but allot of configuration will needed from the looks of it. any other software recommendations? remember i'll be incorporating fusion brain soon.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chester View Post
    I would suggest that crossfire video might be a little bit overkill for a carPC?

    Would generate a lot of heat, as well as suck up a mighty large amount of power, might be hard fitting all of your system onto the 250W power supply that you are looking to run it off.
    thank you for your concern, i might need to look into the video cards power draw. i realized after doing some snooping that with crossfire enabled i will not be able to use all 4 monitor outputs, only 2 on the primary card; but i also learned that as long as any 2 cards use the same interface(pci x 2.0) i can have 4 monitor support without crossfire or sli. i also choose the two slowest and cheapest cards hoping that they'd pull less power.
    i'll probably change my hardware then to a micro atx with only 2 old fashion pci slots and get 2 pci low power cards, but i'm very open to opinions and recomendations to multi monitor support. i might just build something in a ampie case and use those usb external video cards made by IOGear.
    Time to do more virtual shopping and quoting!!
    Scion xB G2
    Planning: [----------]
    Parts: [----------]
    Install: [----------]

    My Scion PC Project (put on hold until I find a nicer host):
    Worklog

  5. #5
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    It seems like you have some pretty serious dreams for what is currently a daily driver car (and wow, I think you're putting more miles on then me! )

    I would be careful how in depth you get with this car. Messing with headlight control for instance could leave you stranded at night. And I just watched the Mythbusters episode on driving without headlights, it's a no go.

    Have you made considerations on where to place 4 monitors so that you can actually view them from the drivers position? Your attempt at convenience of everything having its own display may in fact be inconvenient once placed in the car. If you are terrible at fabrication (I will soon be trying my own hand at this), prepare to spend mucho-dinero on getting someone to fab it in for you. Besides, how often do you need both your front end and your backup cam displayed? I should hope you aren't punching radio buttons while you back up, or at least I hope I don't meet you at the grocery store parking lot!

    Why not start with a very basic setup, and go from there. A board with enough slots for all the future plans, a 45 or 65watt cpu, onboard gfx/sound, 1 monitor, perhaps ddr2 for cost effectiveness, the SSD and peripherals and see what you think. Let the project develop, rather than go all out on attempt 2.0.

    The only spot where you truly need to plan ahead is the motherboard. You can also look into using both the onboard graphics and a card? I'm not sure if thats possible or not, but worth a check. I know they have that hybrid sli stuff now.

    Good luck, I'm excited to see if you really get to dig into those fusion brain items!

  6. #6
    Newbie SCIONology's Avatar
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    thanks bob for the info, about headlights and so on, i wont be replacing the original switches so lets say the pc dies i can quickly reach up and switch the headlights on manually. also all the important things like lights and push button start and wipers and hvac will be controlled by the new eyeR interceptor, it should be able to control everything without the pc, so i can start driving before the pc boots.

    i'm definately starting small, next week i'm ordering the lilliput and going to install that and test with my netbook.
    then i'll order the pc, i decided on a different hardware setup:
    -----EDIT, i changed my mind yet again, check the first post for my latest hardware decision----
    micro atx board with 1 pci x 2.0 and 2 pci and integrated video
    a 65 watt dual core celeron
    a single 2gb stick of ddr2
    and i'll add a video card later on when i start installing more screens.

    about the number of screens, my backup cam will go where the FE is, right. i was going to replace the current hvac knobs with 2 small touch screens but i've decided i'd rather have good old fashion knobs, plus there's nowhere else to put a volume knob in my car. so i'm going to try to incorporate 3 griffin powermates into the existing knobs or even use those new force feedback knobs.
    that leaves me with a second monitor i'd like to put on the bare dash space in front of the wheel and maybe a mirror screen, but those will be later down the road, i'm just starting with the 1 lilliput.
    i also am thinking about some sort of passenger monitor for web and movies, but not sure whether to do front and deal with airbag or do rear (or both:-)

    bob you were right on track about starting this thing, start slow and figure it out.
    also i've learned a few new things with fab along the way, mainly to use a cnc router and to buy the trim piece from toyota before i start, so i can take my time without big holes in my car. (take my time being the big part).

    i'm very appreciative of the replies i'm getting and will get, it's helping me plan along the way, thank you.
    Scion xB G2
    Planning: [----------]
    Parts: [----------]
    Install: [----------]

    My Scion PC Project (put on hold until I find a nicer host):
    Worklog

  7. #7
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    AFAIK openMobile is the only FE that supports more then two monitors (link in my sig). It will probably take another month or so before its good competition for RR and CF though.

    climate control
    auto headlights
    auto high beam
    auto wipers
    auto defrost
    night vision
    backup cam
    push button start with numeric pin (I love the transporter movies!)
    remote start (even though my xB is a 5 speed and i'm not supposed to do that)
    I suggest you do some searching on the forums here as many of these items are not as simple as you seem to think.headlights,high beam and defrost just involve hacking up wiring and using a relay off the fusion brain. Wipers could be far more difficult depending on the design of the car, many vehicles use the CANbus to control them. Backup cam with infrared LEDs=nightvision...probably the easiest one on the list. Pushbutton start with numeric pin...anything you put in place will actually make your car easier to steal, you would have to override the security bus. Remote start on a manual is a pretty stupid idea...even if it uses the neutral safety switch, but thats your call. Last but not least, climate control->unless you are great at circuit diagnostics and design you will probably want to stay clear, its far more complicated then attaching a few wires. Do a quick forum search and you will find the two projects that actually pulled it off.

  8. #8
    Newbie SCIONology's Avatar
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    justchat, thanks for the info on openmobile
    i'll be taking the fusion brain stuff slow, and only do things 1 at a time.
    with wipers and lights i hope to tie fusion brain into the switch side of the controls, i want the car to think i simply turned on the wiper switch with fusion brain, i don't want FB to controll the actual wiper motor. i'm not sure how i'm going to sense rain yet, gotta do more research.

    my hvac is very simple, the fan i'll control with PWM, and the cold/hot and the vent selector use cable wires to physically move the flaps, i hope to just attach servo's to the flaps. the ac, max, and rear defrost are just standard switches i hope to tap FB into.

    does that method of integration sound like it's feasible?

    i will definately use a neutral switch that will overide the clutch switch if it's in neutral, unfortunately my car sits outside as i moved and no longer have a garage and this winter is killing me!
    i have to look into the cars security system, there's not much to it, no alarm or starter disable, only a rfid key that prevents cheap copies from starting the car. i'm still figuring out how i want FB or eyeR to control it, and i want to leave the actual key start in place just in case :-)
    any one done that yet?

    looks like these posts take some time to get approved, i still don't see my reply to bob when i typed this.

    thanks for the warnings, helps me to wake up a little outta these ridiculous dreams!
    Scion xB G2
    Planning: [----------]
    Parts: [----------]
    Install: [----------]

    My Scion PC Project (put on hold until I find a nicer host):
    Worklog

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by SCIONology View Post
    justchat, thanks for the info on openmobile
    i'll be taking the fusion brain stuff slow, and only do things 1 at a time.
    with wipers and lights i hope to tie fusion brain into the switch side of the controls, i want the car to think i simply turned on the wiper switch with fusion brain, i don't want FB to controll the actual wiper motor. i'm not sure how i'm going to sense rain yet, gotta do more research.
    Are yours wipers just on and off or are they interval wipers? If so, is on/off a separate switch from the interval select?
    Auto manufacturers use two different kinds of rain sensors, either an actual rain sensor under the cowl which detects water drops or an IR sensor aimed at the windshield that detects the refraction of light from the rain drops. First one is probably a lot easier.
    Quote Originally Posted by SCIONology View Post
    my hvac is very simple, the fan i'll control with PWM, and the cold/hot and the vent selector use cable wires to physically move the flaps, i hope to just attach servo's to the flaps. the ac, max, and rear defrost are just standard switches i hope to tap FB into.

    does that method of integration sound like it's feasible?
    Well thats definitely the way you would have to go. You also will want to think about things like a sun load sensor (which could also control your headlights) and internal temp sensors. For cable based controls you will also need to tie the flap position sensors into the FB so you no how long to fire the servos for (especially with flaps that have a middle position.
    Quote Originally Posted by SCIONology View Post
    i will definately use a neutral switch that will overide the clutch switch if it's in neutral, unfortunately my car sits outside as i moved and no longer have a garage and this winter is killing me!
    i have to look into the cars security system, there's not much to it, no alarm or starter disable, only a rfid key that prevents cheap copies from starting the car. i'm still figuring out how i want FB or eyeR to control it, and i want to leave the actual key start in place just in case :-)
    any one done that yet?
    Key in place with a push button is relatively easy to do...even without an alarm system you still have an engine disable system which reads the rfid key and sends a secure message to the engine to allow starting. On modern cars its very difficult to get around that.
    Quote Originally Posted by SCIONology View Post
    looks like these posts take some time to get approved, i still don't see my reply to bob when i typed this.

    thanks for the warnings, helps me to wake up a little outta these ridiculous dreams!
    No such thing....many of these projects started as ridiculous dreams....and are now driving around turning heads every day.

  10. #10
    Newbie SCIONology's Avatar
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    justchat you just gave me an idea!
    i wonder if the cars rfid sensor is strong enough to detect my key in my pocket, then it would be so simple to setup keyless push-start. if not maybe i could somehow boost the cars sensor.
    that way if key is not present then the car wont start when i press the button.

    my wipers have a mist function, 1 interm. speed and low and hi.
    i think i'll have 3 outputs on FB 1 momentary trigger for mist and variable intermittent and 2outs for low and hi.
    i think the infared would be better than a water sensor because it can better control variable wiper speed depending on how much rain it see.

    i'll definately have a temp sensor inside and outside as well as a sensor in the duct to detect when the heat is hot enough or the ac is cold enough to turn up the fans.
    good idea on the sun load sensor. and i could probably use infared distance sensors for the flaps right?
    i have a feeling i'll be doing intensive programing. i better start playing with mdx soon.
    Scion xB G2
    Planning: [----------]
    Parts: [----------]
    Install: [----------]

    My Scion PC Project (put on hold until I find a nicer host):
    Worklog

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