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Thread: VOLVO S80 CarPC Work in progress

  1. #1
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    VOLVO S80 CarPC Work in progress

    Hi
    In fact I'm old user, but I made this acc because I want to keep the identity of the car hidden. I got an unique main nickname, and placing it in google gives you my full identity, my cars reg numbers, ID card numer, phone and so on. So i decided to make this nickname for showing the project. I'm from Bulgaria, and I really don't want my windows to become broken by robbers, you know.
    So admins, and moderators - don't judge me for multiaccounting. You could dell my old acount (registered in 2010) if you wish. PM me to tell you the exact nickname. Thanks for understanding.

    The plan:
    1. Monitor
    I plan to use a genuine VOLVO RTI screen. Errrr in fact i need just the box + up and down mechanics.

    Here is a full gallery of it while i was disassembling it: VOLVO RTI Screen
    The main monitor will be (is) an cheep e-bay one, with no box. Just the LCD matrix + controller board. Of course a suitable touch pannel for it and a touch pannel USB controller.
    Here they are:



    Temporary, i made a box so that i don't break it by mistake:



    The screen is 6.2 inch wide. But the place in the genuine RTI box isn't enough, so i'll need to mod it a bit - to make it 2 sm wilder.
    Here is what i mean:





    Of course here i've just cut the front plastic face of the genuine RTI screen. I'll need to mod the back one and the metal parts too... a lot of work waiting for me

    Controlling the up and down. I made a controller board (simple one, with no chips). I can't find the shematics right now, but i could search harder in case somebody is interested.





    What it does: it's will be powered by constant 12v in the car. When the computer is ON it forces the screen to go up. I'll be taking a signal when the PC is on by a USB. When the PC is ON, there is power in USB ports (in my case). There are PC's that aways gives power to USB's. For some of them this could be set in BIOS setting, but in some can not. However in my case I'm fine with this.
    Here it is in action:

    Don't mind the eeePC. It's my old plan but now:
    2. Mainboard
    I got an Intel DN2800MT. It's powered directly by DC plug and is rated to be fine in the whole range of 9-19 volts. Sounds fine. Not tested in the car yet.
    Link to Intel's web site with full description of the board: DN2800MT.


    I'm still thinking how to power it in the car. 1. Direcly plugged to the car installation. 2. Powered by a regulated PSU. 3. Dual battery install. 4. A combination ot 1,2 and 3.
    I'm happy to hear your oppinion.

    3. Hard disk
    It's a 64gig SSD made by Transcend.



    I tested it with ATTO benchmark, and it gave me 60mb/s write and 140mb/s read speed. I'm happy with it.

    4. Memory (RAM)
    In the pictures above you could see the mainboard with attached a 2gig SODIMM, but it's there just temporary. I'm waiting to arrive a set ot 2x2gig. It's the maximum supported by the mainboard.

    5. GPS
    I got and old bluetooth device. I know, it's not the best out there but for now it's fine (i guess)



    It's called GLOBAL BT308

    6. Input devices
    6.1. Well, I got an sonny remote RM-X5S. It's wireless. I don't care ....
    I'm planning to mod it using a controller of an old USB keyboard. This way i'll use it's convinient box but it will act as an USB keyboard.

    What is inside:



    This idea is not new - i've seen many projects making arcade controllers by this method. Just I'll be using the Sony remote instead of the big switches

    6.2. Probably an mini bluetooth keyboard will be good idea, but will see. (additional, the above mod remote + keyboard is different thing)

    6.3. Well the touch pannel itself should be mentioned here as it is input device in fact

    6.4. An usb bluetooth dongle should be mention here, too. It will be used for connection with the GPS and with my phone.

    7. Audio
    I'm really happy with the quality of the sound given by the factory HU-601. I plan to keep it and use it. All I need is a AUX IN. Here in Bulgaria I got a friend who made a AUX IN for VOLVO HU units. It acts as cd changer ot rti or TV - whatever in your car is free. So all i need is to switch to that channel from the HU and i got the sound from the PC. There is one more thing - this way i don't need a radio for the CarPC

    8. Rear view camera
    The controller board of the LCD supports auto reverse switching. Cool
    All i need is a camera. I don't have it yet, but I found that there are some Sony ccd's mounted in box for the license plate light.
    Camera in eBay
    Does anyone of you used these? Any feedback and reviews will be highly useful for me.

    One tought: Well the LCD controller supports auto reversing, but what if I need to park in tight place and put reverse, move 20-30 sm, put 1-st 20-30sm, again reverse and so on... I guess i'll need some kind of controller board with delay for .. 5-7 secs. There is time, i'll think about this, but again - i'll be happy if some of you give me any kind of decision about this.

    9. Internet
    Well GSM operators here in Bulgaria gives usb gsm modems for free of you sign a year contract for their services. I guess that will be.
    But! An half lenght miniPCIe WiFi card will be placed on the mainboard, so that i could connect to the car from home PC trough home LAN. Update music, make some changes, tests, remote desktop and so on.

    10. Car diagnostics
    I'm not a fan of online data. I got a DiCE diagnostic tool. It's the VOLVO's genuine diagnostic tool used by the dealer. I'll install the needed software called VIDA and i'll use it separate of the front end, only when a need a real diagnostics, code cleaning and so on.

    11. Box
    It's a CD changer right?



    well... it used to be ...







    I placed the plastic cover just for the photo. That's why I didn't close it proper. It will click and will stay propper.
    Some info: In VOLVO's in the trunk there is a mounting for two CD Changers. One for 10CD's - it's for audio CD's. I got it, and I'll keep it. I got some original CD's so it will still be in use from time to time. The other CD Changer is for 6CD's and is reading data disks with maps for the RTI Unit. I don't have RTI unit installed in car, so there is free space on this mounting bracket for the 6CD Changer. In the picture above you see i've taken an 6CD changer from junkyard and mod it like a PC Case. When everything is mounted in the car you won't even guess there is CarPC install That's the main idea.
    Well the PC Case itself is not finished. I'll have to place at least 2 fans, but it's not a big deal, you know


    Well that's the main idea. I hope in the next couple of months all this will go IN the car and will be working as it should.


    I still got to think about some stuff...
    1. Power on/shut down control
    2. Powering the mainboard - regulated DC or not, dual battery or not
    3. Controller for RearView Camera
    4. Powering some USB powered hubs
    5. WOL (WakeOnLan) somehow. WiFi won't work
    6. Finishing the monitor assemble.
    and some more which i don't remember right now.

    That's it.
    I hope you like it and I'll be happy to hear your opinions and advices.

  2. #2
    Maximum Bitrate rray's Avatar
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    I have the same motherboard, and used an Intelligent DC to DC adapter configured to automatically power the motherboard when ignition is sensed.

    I bought a coy of Windows 7 64bit, and discovered they don't have graphics drivers, so I wish I would have bought the 32 bit version. Look over the driver choices available before selecting an OS.

    I really like your screen up\down mechanism.

  3. #3
    Mod - all of it. SapporoGuy's Avatar
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    Great job!
    I like your idea of using a cd changer box for the PC case! Excellent!

    I haven't seen the Sony controller mod but thanks to you I'll check into that!

  4. #4
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    About the Sony controller mod - I plan to make a full tutorial, how and why I'm doing. It's too early to start that mod, because I'm not sure which exactly keyboard presses will I need as they will be hard connected. I got an idea of making it customizible, but... the time will show.
    The case for PC - I love it too. Thanks god - how lucky I'm to own this box. Sweet

    Powering the Motherboard:
    rray, thanks for your reply. In fact I choose this mobo because it's powered by 9-19V DC. It's cost effective because I could power it without buying an expensive car PSU which cost about 60-80USD. This is half of the price of the mobo. So now I got a mobo for 120USD without the need of expensive PSU. Other way to make things is to buy a regular miniITX mobo (for about 100USD) and a PSU for it (for about 70USD) Total 170USD against 120
    A mate from Bulgarian CarPC forum owns one of this: PS 100W CAR DC. He uses it for a laptop charger. His laptop needs 18V and he is fine with this.
    As the DN2800MT is working in 9-19V, so I guess 16 volt are just in the middle and will be fine. Why 16 - because this PSU gives regulated Output voltage minimum 1.5v higher than the input. Let's say the maximum input in car is 14.5, so 14.5+1.5=16V
    I've measured many times the voltage in my car (for other reasons) and I've never seen voltage higher than 14.1-14.2. Never! This makes me belive I'll always have 16V stable output.
    Other: I asked my mate from Bulgarian CarPC forum to make some tests for me.
    1. Ingn off
    2. Crunking
    3. Idle
    5. Hight RPM's.
    He was so kind, set it to 16V output and made all these measuring with multimeter. He said it works like a piece of wood. I belive him, so I plan to buy one.

    Operation System (OS): I allready installed an XP Pro SP3 32bit. I choosed it because of the huge software compability and the fact I've playing with XP so many years and I know many mod's for it.
    Other software:
    Front end: CF 3.1. Why 3.1 because i own a copy of it I own a Rebbelum plugin for Garmin PC, too.
    GPS: As I said - GMPC
    Car communication: Vida ( Vehicle Information Diagnostics for Aftersales) + DiCe (it's the name of the genuine Volvo Scanner).
    Probably Skype only for calls
    And some other usual stuff, you know.

    StartUp / ShutDown
    I really would like to push power button on the PC as soon as I unlock the car. It won't be a good idea to take the impulse from the locking mechanism, as I'm a father of a 3 years old kid, and many times I lock the car from the inside. In that case when I unlock it it will send a ShutDown signal, but I would not wont that.
    I've seen some simple rellay shemes for making a constant 12v to momentary with one or two relays. I guess and I hope (not measured yet) somewhere in the car I got a wire which got 12V when the car is unlocked and no power when i lock the car. I also belive and hope this wire remains with power for 5 minutes after I shut down the engine and lock the car. Well I'm thinking for the extended X relay.
    What is my idea/whish:
    Unlock the car and send powerON
    Shut down the engine and the PC remains ON for a short period of time - 5-10 minutes. This way, if I stop for short period of time (buy a packet of cigarettes for example) the PC will still be ON and I wont wait it to boot from zero.
    About the controling of the monitor:
    I would like to make a switch with 3 positions. 1 Always ON; 2. Auto; 3. Always OFF
    The is no need of comment for 1 and 3
    Auto mode would be only when the ingn is on. This way everyday driving will be pleasure. Unlock the car - PC powers UP (draws just a bit power). Start the engine - monitor goes UP and poweres + some powered USB hub got power too. But I do nothing more than just unlock the car, sit inside and start the engine.
    If i need the PC to be on when the car is OFF with monitor ON, I'll have a switch to keep the monitor ON, and other switch preventing the PC to go OFF after the mentioned above period of time (5-10 minutes).

    As you could see i've been thinking alot about startUP and ShutDown modes. How, when and why.
    I guess I'll make my own controller, because my needs are so special. No ready made controller gives my this kind of operation.

    Thanks for the interest of my thread.
    I'm allays happy to hear your opinions and advices.

  5. #5
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    Some new hardware/ideas:



    These two buttons normally stays on CCM (Climate Control Module) and are used for Switch on/off the STC/DSTC and the movement sensor for the factory alarm system.
    My car is equipped with DSTC (Dynamic Stability Traction Control) so I'll never hit the wrong button
    Here is a view (not my car) how they looks:


    In my car positions 1-4 are populated, and positions 5-7 are free.
    I plan to place the new STC button on position 7 and to mod it to act like a power button and power led (the led is green). The alarm button will be placed on position 6 and will act like a reset button and HDD led (the led is orange).

    Stock view huh

  6. #6
    Mod - all of it. SapporoGuy's Avatar
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    I did the same thing with a spare button location, however I bought an after-market button that pops right in until I get a stock button to toggle the carpc on/off.

    Keep up the good work!

  7. #7
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    First part of fabricating process:
    A friend was so kind to make me these sticks:



    They are machine made, so they are perfect. The reason to ask him for this favour was that if I make them by hand, I could never be able to make them straight and with same angle on all of their length.
    Why I need them?
    Because I'm a perfectionist - I want my screen bezel to have stock view. (if you don't know by detail how stock monitor looks like of course )
    Here is what happened:

    My best corner:

    My worst corner:


    First marriage with the factory screen front panel:



    All the corners one-by-one:








    Test fit:


    A picture full with pain (don't ask, please!):



    There will be a couple loooooong weeks waiting for a new one

    Next step is to fill the wholes, connect the left and right side, sanding, paste, sanding, paste, sanding and hopefully - paint

    Back panel:
    I just cuted it. When I finish the front side I'll start with the back. I need to fit them to each other, so I'll need one of them done fist. Just I choosed the front one to be first, as it's more important and difficult to make. However - here are some pics:








    A lot of work, waiting for me ... next weekend.
    Until then I'll be happy to hear your comments.

  8. #8
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    Front Panel Header

    As I mentioned a couple posts above I'm going to use two genuine buttons for the front panel header. here they are:

    I started with dissembling them and tracing the PCB:








    The main backlight is connected to pins 1 and 2. I plan to keep it, so the white plug should stay there, but with only these two pins connected to the PCB.
    Led diode is connected to pins 3 and 4.
    Button is connected to pins 7 and 12.


    In fact I had to mod the PCB a bit. Here is what I mean:
    Original:

    Modded:

    There was a ... hell it was too small to read anything on it . However I had to remove it and hard connect the two pins so that the BTN has propper connection to pin 7.

    Next step is connection between the PC and the panel in the car. I had a LAN connector laying around, so I tought to myself - hey I need 8 wires, rj45 is 8 wires - great for me.
    Here it is:





    As you can see I had also IDE flat cable




    On the other side of the flat cable i soldered there header pins.



    This way when dissembling the PC box (errrr CD changer ) it will be easy to unplug it.
    Located in the PC box:






    Located in the car's climate control module:
















    The buttons itself. Soldered and ready to use:




    So all I need to do when installing in the car is to route a FTP cable between the PC and the panel in the car.
    Other important thing is that everything is able to be easy disconnected and latter connected again.
    I hope you enjoy my job.
    Last edited by VolvoCarPC; 12-01-2012 at 05:47 AM.

  9. #9
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    As my posts still got to be approved by moderator, I'm not able to edit my previous post until it's aproved that's why I'm writing a new one....
    I just want to add a video of the Front Panel Header mod. Here it is - Enjoy:

  10. #10
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    In the first post I mentioned that I plan to mod a Sony RM-X5S ir remote, to act like a HID device (keyboard).
    I started with the hardest part of this job - the remote itself.
    Sotock view:




    What's inside:




    The mod:
    I started with removing all the components on the PCB:






    Then I traced all the contacts:


    And here it is my Christmas tree with 15 branches








    Of course I've used some tricks to ensure good solid area for soldering the wires. I cutted the GND to smaller independent sections. I connected with thin wire the points/holes of the PCB (sorry I don't know the English name) to that sections, and then soldered the big wires used for transferring the signal from the remote to the kbd controller. This way all wires are soldered well and there is smaller risk of physical problems.
    Sorry but there are so many wires around and probably you couldn't see anything in the pictures but ... that were the best shots I could make.
    I'll make an example of one connection:

    I now you got the idea

    Assembled:




    Next step is to do a similar thing with old USB keyboard and using a breadboard to find the best way to connect them together. As soon as I ensure the propper operating I'll hard connect them and I'll be able to say that i have a Sony HID Car Remote

    I'll keep you informed when some of the next stages of this mod become real.
    Enjoy
    My worklog: VOLVO S80 CarPC

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