Then there was the Centrafuse HD radio app...
At first, I thought it was totally messed up. It was unresponsive. Some of the buttons didn't seem to do anything. Using Mitches interface the Directed radio worked fine. I was confused.
After a couple of days and many beers, I realized that the default/Initial settings for the radio interface were what were causing my trouble.
The unresponsiveness was caused by the buffer feature. When I turned it off, the delays all went away.
Then there were the tuning buttons that didn't seem to do anything. I think the problem was that the tuning step was set too small. I switched it to 10 Khz,which apparently makes the AM step size 10 Khz and the FM step size 100 Khz. All the tuning buttons started working as I thought they should. Another learning experience under my belt.
I have gotten myself out of trouble on my 2000 F350 with the V10 engine many times using an Actron ODB scanner, so the ODB feature of Centrafuse really called to me. I played with it a bit. It sure would help give some instant feedback if a check engine light came on.
However, it isnt really a serious diagnostic tool. I looked around and finally decided to install ScanXL Pro to have something serious at my fingertips to really look deeper if there is ever a problem. The Ford Extended Diagnostic Addon wont work yet with my soon to be 2013 F350 purchase so I held off on that add-on option until they get caught up with the 2013 model year in their database.
I was about to order a touch screen monitor, but a Harbor Freight coupon book came in the mail and I am going to spend the money on a 12,000# winch this week instead (remember, this is a really big project).
Anyway, I thought I would post my build list to date...
TruckPuter Case... Black Box Mobile Mini ITX Case (Paint job courtesy of Krylon)
Motherboard...ASUS P8H77-I LGA
Processor Intel i5-3450S
Power Supply - M2
Front End - Centrafuse
ODB-II diagnostics - ScanXL Pro
Memory... Crucial BLT2KIT2G3D1608DT2TXOB.000 (2 x 2 gig with pretty flashing blue lights)
AM/FM : Directed HD
Way for Directed HD audio to get to TruckPuter...Behringer UCA222 RCA input/Output to USB
Auxiliary Battery... Tractor Supply ... "Stowaway" 105 AH deep cycle Marine Battery.
Wire - all tin plated Marine Wire from Genuinedealz. double walled shrink tubing from same place.
I have a small pile of other stuff either here or on it's way but I haven't tested it out yet so I wont comment on if it will go into the build or not yet.
Just received another (my second) supposedly "Bluetooth" mini-keyboard with trackball on it via EBAY from China.
In both cases they said "bluetooth" in the Ebay listing. They both came with a USB dongle, but both are some sort of proprietary non-bluetooth interface instead of Bluetooth.
Since the PC has a Bluetooth dongle installed already I really wanted Bluetooth rather than having to plug in yet another USB thingy.
Not sure what I will try next. Both mini keyboards work well and they were really cheap too. Maybe I will give up looking and live with one of them, at least for now.
O ya, and I now have a 12,000# winch to go on the truck that doesn't exist yet.
I ordered a 100 A dual battery isolator and a couple of programmable off delay power relay modules from Anderson power products this morning. They both auto switch based on sensing the battery voltage rising and falling when the alternator is running or not... no need to run a switch from the ignition switch to turn the relays on, and they wont turn on until alternator is actually producing power. The programmable delay relays are only rated at 35 amps each. That wont actually meet my total needs. Rather than using them to control things directly, I will use them to pull in banks of several 35 and 60 amp automotive relays, each with it's own circuit fuse.
My plan is to take power for most of the accessories off the auxiliary (deep cycle) battery. For one thing, that means that nothing will be connected to the main battery during engine starts (usually an ugly scene for the 12 volt line as far as under and over voltage transients go). At the same time, if the engine is off I wont be draining the battery that is needed to start the truck back up.
I am going to make a custom bracket for the auxiliary battery and bolt it to the frame rail underneath the bed - plenty of room under there for such things. On the side of the battery bracket my plan is to mount an IP67 enclosure and put the relay modules and any fuses in there.
Adding to my growing pile of stuff...
Haven't tried it yet, but I have a Rockford Fosgate R125-2 Two Channel Car Amplifier sitting here now.
Also have the previously mentioned CB radio.... a Galaxy DX-979 SSB. I will be using a 5' Firestik antenna mounted to a custom Antenna mount (Jerry Breedlove) . There is a CAL-AV Mark5 stainless steel spring going between the ball mount and the Firestik. I also have a trick or two up my sleeve for improving antenna performance over what is typically done that I will detail when it is done and proven to work.
For the last few days I have been straightening out my MP3 collection (properly tagging them and volume normalizing them using a program called JAIKOZ to do the MP3 ID tagging (automatically for 90-95% of my files). Then I will run them thru "MP3GAIN" to normalize them to the same level. My desktop PC has been pretty much maxed out for the last 3 days and nights working on "fixing" my MP3 collection and I think I have a few more days to go.
Nor positive about this, but I tried loading ALL my music (5000 songs or so) onto the TruckPuter in one big directory. I couldn't get Centrafuse to see over about half of them.
So I put them into a number of subdirectories by artist and it was able to read everything all of a sudden. It appears that maybe there is a limit as to the number of mp3's one can put into a single directory and stil have Centrafuse read them all.
No big deal if that is true, just a matter of knowing and preparing the music library accordingly.
I got myself an Andrea Electronics Superbeam Array Microphone and played with it a bit. I'm working in my living room with the TV going and my wife and kid yapping away, so it is a pretty noising environment. The microphone is about 3-4 feet away from me. The voice commands via this mike are pretty much flawless... quite happen with it. There was little to do to set it up other than plug it in to a USB port and it just sorta started working.
I have been playing with connecting the TruckPuter via bluetooth to my cellphone. Yesterday I got nowhere. Today, with a little bit of random clicking I was able to place a call to my landline. I was getting audio from the PC to the landline phone but not the other way. I suspect I need to click some more things. I have had issues getting the phone to pair to the puter automatically. It seemed to take some coaxing each time to get it to pair up. It may be that I just dont know what I am doing yet. Maybe I should turn the whole project over to my 11 year old. He has more time than I do and is usually pretty successful at figuring things out on his own (typically by random clicking as well).
Another week of random experimentation with the handsfree phone... learned a lot.
First off, the dongle I was using would only connect to my personal cell phone. I would allow the PC to SEE my work issued phone, but the work phone couldn't see the PC.
I noticed that I wasn't actually getting audio from my PC to the landline as I first thought. It was actually being picked up by the cell phone's internal microphone rather than the PC.
After more messing around, I also noticed that just as I pressed the "dial" icon on the PC, that the Bluetooth indicator would indicate lost connection for a second. So what was really happening was that the puter would tell the phone to dial, then it would disconnect from the phone and the audio connection was lost - so no audio to or from the puter.
I tried my wife's cell phone (same as mine) - same issue.
I swapped out the Bluetooth dongle for a different one that I had hanging around. This time, the The PC saw my personal cell phone, my work cell phone, and also my kid's laptop. In addition, I could now see the puter with my work phone.
I paired to my personal cellphone and still got the dropped audio link issue every time.
I was able to pair to my work phone - it stayed connected ! Audio - both ways !
So, not sure what to do. My personal cell phones are a few years old... maybe it is time to upgrade...
Anyway, the Truckputer seems to be all functional except for I havn't gotten a touchscreen for it yet. I am hoping that part will be painless so I am boxing it all up for now and putting it aside to work on the next part... the auxiliary battery power distribution box.
Working on the power distribution box... it is sort of like a puzzle, trying to get what I want in it to fit a box that is what I believe is the size I want it to be.
This is where I stand so far...
On the left is the Anderson battery isolator.
The two modules a little to the right are Anderson timer switches. They turn on automatically when the alternator brings voltage up (engine running) and turn off a programmable amount of time after he alternator winds down. One will be set for 1 minute and the other will be set for 1 hour. They have integral relays that are good for 25 amps but that won't quite cut it. Each module will drive the coil of two 40 AMP relays (far right) that will do the actual power switching. These will control things like two way radios and such.
To the left of the relays is a "Blue Sea" marine rated 100 A fuse box.
In this picture the relays are just sorta sitting there. I need to fabricate a bracket of some sort that will hold the sockets.
This "puzzle" needs more thought.
Well, it's been a while... I placed the order for the F350 ChassisCab last Friday. Looks like it will be a 2014 model.
Expected delivery date right now is Mid September.