Hello from Thailand.
First of all, I have to say sorry if i made any mistake in English... it's not my native language.
I started CarPC project for my Nissan Teana in December 2009. Actually, i built CarPC to this car once in 2005, but was too busy to get it done at the time. So, this is the second attempt for the project.
Nissan Teana is official J31 model name in Thailand and some countries. In some countries, like in Taiwan, it named as Cefiro. The same base model is for Nissan Maxima in the USA.
Here is the photo of the car to install CarPC.
Of course, before starting the install, i planned about what the CarPC will do for me.
- Media Player (MP3, Video, DVD)
- GPS (Navigation)
- OBD-ii (read engine data)
- Camera (Reverse Camera and Front Camera)
Then, i continued searching and planning on what hardware i need to achieve above functions...
- Computer Set (Mainboard, RAM, HDD, Case)
- Power Supply Unit (with ignition)
- Device to pass audio from computer to the car head unit
- Monitor with touchscreen
- GPS receiver
- ODB-ii device
- DVD drive
- Reverse Camera and Webcam
Well... all of these sounds simple. I think it is the same for anyone who plan to build a CarPC.
Nirwana Project, the Android/Win 7 hybrid system!
1X Ainol Novo Flame Tab
3x Perixx Touchpads
3x 7 inch Screens
1X 7 inch motorized Screen
1x Win 7 PC
After a long planning and considering parts... i decided to put these hardwares into the car.
Mainboard: intel D945GCLF2 (Dual Core Atom 330 @ 1.6Ghz)
Sound & Graphic: on-board GMA950 & Realtek HD
RAM: DDR2 @ 2 Gigabyte
HDD: 2.5" SATA-ii 320 Gigabyte
PSU: M2-C 150watts (Clone of M2 ATX)
Monitor: 7" touchscreen with auto-rearview
GPS: GlobalSAT BU-353
Above is for based system. Other devices are as follows;
Audio: Xcarlink (a device to pass Aux-IN to the car)
Controller: CarPC Joycon & Sony RM-X2S
Reverse Camera: 170 degree CMD (for Nissan Teana)
OBD-ii: Blazt-ii (ordered from New Zealand, OBD device for Nissan)
DVD: Acer DVD Combo Drive Slot-load
That is all i can list here...
For your information, actually, the project is already finished by 95%. The system is already up and running for months, but I am posting in a 'worklog' forum because of remaining 5% which i still wait for the hardware and will add soon (don't want to violate the forum rules, not 100% finished anyway).
The first step...
I decided to start with audio input part first, in which this Nissan Teana has a lot of limitation. From factory, it cannot play mp3 and has no sound input port (eg. Aux-IN). It is equipped with 1 disc CD in the head unit and a 6-disc CD changer (both can play only music CD).
There are 3 ways to feed audio to the car.
1. Use Radio Modulator.
2. Add separate amplifier.
3. Use OEM specific audio device.
After a few thought, i cut out Radio modulator due to its audio quality.
The 2nd choice will need more time to install and more budget than the last choice, so i went with the last.
Below is the device called 'Xcarlink'i found match with 2005 Nissan Teana (J31).
Xcarlink will allow me to play mp3 songs using SD-card or USB drive (pen-drive), and it also allow AUX-IN using plain 3.5mm minijack. This will let me enjoy mp3 songs even before i install CarPC.
Installation of Xcarlink will be posted soon.
Here is how to install Xcarlink to the car...
First, take off both sides of the head unit trims.
Then, unscrew 4 points at each corners, and the head unit is ready to pull out.
At the back of head unit, locate CD-changer connector (blue arrow in the picture). Pulll it off and plug in Xcarlink connector instead.
Red arrow in above picture is where the Xcarlink get DC power. There are 2 wires to plug-in. Accessory and Battery (Yellow and Red) wires.
That's it! It's quite easy to install.
Next step is to test mp3 playback with a USB drive. I found that buttons on factory head unit can be used to control mp3 playback. Sound quality is good, comparable to music CD.
Lastly, i tested audio playback through AUX-IN which use normal PC 3.5mm minijack. No problem is found. So, now the audio from computer is ready to play from the car's head unit.
Excellent! always good to see a quality stock integration.
Now, let's move to the PC.
Before putting everything into the car, i configured them on the desk.
Here is the devices i got.
Connected everything, installed Windows XP and drivers.
This step is not different from setting up any new PC.
Centrafuse 2.1 is installed for the test.
I found BIOS POST problem during the install.
Problem: Mainboard not boot showing 'PXE-E61: Media test failure, check cable' and 'PXE-M0F: Exiting PXE ROM'
Solved: F2 during BIOS finished POST, then disabled wake on LAN in BIOS. I also disable LAN in device list because i won't use wired LAN in the car.
Problem: Windows 7 freezed (and displayed bluescreen of dead) after inserted DVD to play. Of course, latest GMA950 driver is installed.
This issue is unsolved. Tried to solve this with no luck.
So, i have no other choice for the OS but Windows XP. (IMHO, Vista take too much resources and is not even listed in my OS choice).
Now PC hardwares are all set up and ready to move into the case.
After the main computer hardwares are all set, it's time to put into the case. Here is Mini-ITX case i got.
The case came with its own power supply unit (PSU) which do not support ignition control. It has 2xUSB ports and audio line-out / microphone wires which enable the use of 2 USBs from the mainboard.
All wires inside the case. Connect from mainboard to case's front panel.
I planned to re-wire everything to the back of the case, so everything inside the case are removed. PSU, Audio Jacks, USB ports.
Then, M2-C 150watts PSU and intel mainboard are installed. 3 power wires (hot, ground, ignition) are soldered on M2-C pins and wires back outside the case.
Connected wires between PSU and mainboard, and installed harddrive.
To confirm that everything was fine, i did the desk test again.
Everything was fine, so i put back side cover. The PC is ready to install to the car.
Just a minute before take the computer to the car, i looked in intel D945GCLF2 manual again.
Besides 4x USBs and audio jacks at the back of the mainboard. There are 2x 2 USBs pins, audio line-out / mic, and SPDIF pins on the board.
I decided to wire all possible connections on the mainboard to the back of the case. So, i went to find additional wires and connectors.
Little modification is done. I drilled a hole on back plate and put the rest 4xUSBs ports, audio line-out / microphone / SPDIF (connect only Signal and Ground pins), putting all together in one unit using epoxy putty. Also another SATA signal and power wires on the mainboard are wire outside the back of the case.
So, now i have 8 USB ports, 2 set of audio jacks (line-out and mic), SPDIF, SATA signal and power wires at the back of the case.