Short in the AC plug and Some New Design Considerations
I changed the fuse for the AC jack and then the charging monitor worked immediately. I was able to see the proper charging voltage (around 13.6) while the car was running and around 12.6 when the engine was off. This seems to be a very useful tool so I will keep it around for when im keeping the car on battery only power for extended times. This way I can know when to start the car up before the batt goes dead. The nifty toy was fun for about five minutes though, because after I turned the car off and unplugged the voltage monitor, it was not working again. So, I again checked another AC input device to see that it was not working as well. Checking the fuse box, I discovered another blown fuse! This should have been the point where I confirmed that there was a short and called it a day (it was late so it was too dark to go hunting the short), but instead I decided to plug in another fuse which of course now just blew immediately upon plugging it in and turning the key (good thing fuses are cheap!). At some point this weekend I will try to take a look and figure that out. It is not adversely affecting anything else to have a short on the AC jack but it would be nice to have use of that in the near future.
Now, for actually figuring out what is causing the short, I need to really look at things and figure it out. I am assuming that a bare wire is just being grounded where it isnt supposed to be grounded and can easily just be taped up and moved away. If this is not the solution, then I will truly be stumped and have to start coming up with some new ideas, or have to completely create a new AC input jack (although I may want to add additional ones anyways)
In more interesting and productive news, I have begun thinking about some design changes to the overall system that I want to do. After thinking about this and reading more project threads on this forum, I have decided that I want to try to integrate my Android phone more so than just an Internet Modem. Currently, I have just been wirelessly tethering my phone to obtain 3G internet for the PC. However, with the new OBDII device, I am able to pair this easily with my phone and read values in a quick and seemless fashion. Also, the Android app market is ripe with development, constant updates, and new software that will further increase the useability of everything. Obviously, I do not want to replace my PC with an android OS tablet or something of that nature, but more I want to use both to cooperate and create a more technologically advanced end result.
One idea that I have been able to incorporate already was to velcro my phone in front of the gauge cluster to display speedometer and tachometer. Due to the screen size restriction, I used a Digital readout for speed and the largest possible Dial for rpm. There were a couple times when driving around that I experienced some lag but it was minimal. I don't think I am going to permanently use this configuration, but it is cool to have the option just for fun. What I really want to do is get some sort of car mount for my phone so that more functions can be useable. I need to get a longer charging cable for the phone as well so that I dont have to worry about battery life and can therefore multitask apps, leave the screen on, and use it more.
Rather than trying to figure out the details of how it would work I am going to just list tasks that in the end I would like to have working on my phone:
- Gas Prices, Points of Interest, Traffic, Weather, and Construction could all be updated on the phone very easily and there are many apps that do this
- Skype calling with the front camera (perhaps I could instead use the main camera and have the phone flip around while displaying on the pc screen
- OBDII to display RPM and others (not sure what else I would want)
- Use the mic-in port of my sound card so the phone can be used on the audio system at the same time as the pc
- Altered Reality overlay (I have found an app that uses the camera to take the real world image and display an overlay with points of interest and such. I haven't tried it out yet but just that concept sounds really cool if done well.
- Any type of voice commands would be easy because there already is a mic and google does well with processing it.
There is probably a ton more things that I could try to think of but I don't want to write all day and I will start getting of track on things that are probably impossible. The point is that although I would love to integrate a lot of these features into the CarPC, Windows is just not a very good environment for those to work well. With that, the question rises Why use windows at all? Why not just fully use an Android Operating System? The answer to that is actually quite simple. My sound card. The entire purpose of the CarPC has and always will be for audio quality to me. I love that sound card to death and the only way I can make full use of it is with a Windows Operating System. Now, that is not my only concern of course. The only other major contributor toward the choice of a Windows PC is that it is a PC made up of seperate components rather than one contiguous device (like a tablet). Sure this has its obvious advantages, but overall the PC still has its uses and is my preference anways. If Google makes an Android OS that will run on a PC I would be ecstatic. Basically it would just need to support USB inputs and have the drivers for everything that I want to use. Really I just want all of the features that make a desktop PC useful but run with all of the apps and interfaces of Android. That is sort of out of my control though, so by trying to create a marriage between the PC and phone, I will be able to obtain the best of both worlds. I hope I didn't stray too far from my point lol. I'm gonna order a mount and car charger next week and then I will try out some of the things that I want to integrate before I do anything crazy. I will start with the normal things and then move into total integration and cooperation of the two systems. So exciting to come up with new ideas!
Action Packed Weekend ahead
I havent uploaded the photos yet (internet at home is slower than dirt) but I will soon I hope. This weekend though I have some serious work planned. Today I have decided that I will solve the ground loop once and for all. It is 100% the inverter that is causing the issue so I am going to try one last step towards reducing noise before I try to replace it. On my way home from work later, I will pick up some ferrite core chokes from Radioshack, 4AWG wire from homedepot, and some mounting hardware. I plan on playing with the core chokes to help reduce EMI/RFI that could be generated from the inverter. I will also try to place them on as many other wires as possible (more the better right?). With the new wire, I plan on securely wiring the inverter and mounting it further back in the trunk, away from the amplifiers and mounted on the sidewall of the trunk. That should solve or at least drastically reduce my issues. If this does not fix the noise issue for good, I will look into DC-DC power supplies and figure things out from there.
As for other plans this weekend, I am going to fix or get fixed my oil leak. I know for sure it is a cam seal, oil pump o ring, or the crank seal so I am going to replace all three (about $5 each and it takes the same amount of effort either way) as well as my timing belt. Total parts cost is under $60 so that makes me pretty happy. I plan on taking it to a friend's shop though because I was told there may be some complex problems that could occur should I dissasemble something incorrectly. Either way, I plan to have the oil leak fixed for sure.
With the oil leak fixed, I will move back to improving the system. I will be busy with going some places so I can't really do a whole lot else for the carputer, but I plan on at least tidying up the screen area and some minor cleanup things.
Screen Install, Some Engine Repairs
Quick overview of what went down here. I remounted my screen as I had described in my previous post (duct tape, glue, velcro, metal strap). Of course it is not holding against the heat still, but the pictures of how it looked are below. I will have to come up with a more fabricated design involving more brackets and such. The heat during the summer is just too much for the adhesives that I am using. That is a project for another day because it is staying mounted, just looks like junk this way now. My oil leak issue has been fixed (forever hopefully). I ended up doing a majority of the work myself at a friend's shop and only asked for help to get directions as to what exactly should and shouldnt be removed. I did all the grunt work so I didnt have to pay a dime for labor. The repair consisted of changing the cam seal, crank seal, timing belt, and water pump. It took me about 4 and half hours to do since I work slow, and the total part cost was a little under $100. Everything is running smoothly and I have not noticed any drop off in oil level, but only time will tell on that one. Really the only other issue that could cause the oil leak if it was not that would be that I am burning the oil which is very much a bad thing. But I will keep my fingers crossed cuz there is about a 0% chance I am willing to rebuild my engine for that lol. Anyways, now that that is solved, I have moved onto another side project that I wanted to do. I am going to try to put some sound deadening material into the car and see if I can't kill some of the road noise, keep more music in, and just add more of a luxury feel without spending too much. It's worth a shot and if it doesnt work, I only lost out on like $16. Also, I am still consistently working on getting a new Navigation suite (iGo8 seems to be the best solution if I can finish downloading the maps ever). Well, that's it so I will end with the pictures:
Lol it's pretty scary to take off the valve cover and see the inside of the engine. Yet very informative so I enjoyed this repair quite a bit.
There's the culprit! Get the b-stard!
Time to remove everything!
This is 'Peel and Seal' that I picked up from Lowes on my way home from work today. It is essentially roofing sealant that apparently is suggested to work well as a cheap alternative to Dynamat. I plan on putting it in my door panels today and hopefully the one roll can get all four doors. If it makes any difference and actually works, I plan on buying another roll ($16 for 25ft x 6in). The second roll I will use for the trunk. Pictures to follow after I install it all.