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Thread: "Modular" car computer install 1999 Ranger w/ RPi and Android

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2008

    "Modular" car computer install 1999 Ranger w/ RPi and Android

    Work is in the bench testing stage, but I have most of the components and Im getting close to get everything working.

    Basically, it will be a raspberry pi build running xbmc that is controlled by a 4" android phone. the 7" screen in the dash will NOT be touch control. (i have found its easier to hold a touchscreen phone in your hand and use wifi remote apps).


    -Raspberry Pi model B
    -160GB usb hdd drive connected to pi. for now. waiting for large ssd's to become cheap.
    -9" hdmi monitor in the dash, with an hdmi switch added to it
    -4.3" dual core android phone that has good hdmi output, in case i want gps or netflix on the 9" screen. phone is main remote control for the pi too. can control anywhere within wifi range, or i can use my cellphone to control it anywhere over internet.
    -likely use the smart dc-dc controller i have to control power on/off for all this stuff. whats neat is, the phone and pi consume a whopping 1000ma at worst, so i should be able to set the hard shutoff time to 24 hours or so.
    -router/s. the more i think of it, i will need two routers because i dont want the hassle of tethering my phone to the pi via usb. it seems like it works ok, but wifi tethering happens without me even taking my phone out of my pocket. so i need a 2.4ghz channel to connect to my remote control phone, and another 2.4ghz channel to get wifi tethering from my carrier phone. and the last thing i want is to be dependant on having my carrier phone with me at all times. this way, if i forget my phone, all i lose is internet.

    i also have dlna working from my house to the pi, so if i ever have a problem with the local storage i still have a chance that way. that's the whole point of this modular system. multiple os's and component devices create options. and since this is android and xbmc, its not like youre going to have a ton of issues....

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Prototype finished! this took about 5 hours to hack together... and yes, HACKED! i did this in my apartment. i have no garage right now, so drilling actual mounts and cutting metal properly is not much of an option.

    but this thing works!

    now i have to dig up a router so i can get android remote control going. for now, this will be a headless computer! everything can be controlled with an android phone within wifi range. actually, using a phone is a lot better then trying to use a touchscreen off hdmi- seriously!

    inside, there is a Raspberry Pi model B, 120GB spindle drive 2.5", a step-down dc controller and a SATA-USB adapter. had to do some interesting things to get it to all fit, but its there!

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    the case is from a gutted itx power supply i got for 99 cents on sale from coolermaster. i used the guts to get a flatscreen tv working after its power supply failed

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    out the back, there is voltage input. it can be anywhere from 5v-35v. then there is the rca outputs that will go right to my amps, and thats soldered right to the headphone jack on the pi because the connector wouldnt fit otherwise. and i stuck a micro USB cable out the back too, so it reaches around to the front to power the pi. this way, i can easily pull that out and use any usb power i need for easy servicing when this is outside the vehicle.

    i plan for this to be on 24/7! because the pi automatically ramps down power usage when idle, and because the hdd does spin down when not in use- the idle power of this thing is less then 100ma. but, just in case, ill be adding a $30 solar trickle charger... why not.

    the only trick now is to get my android phone to send an ssh PAUSE command with taskter when the ignition is off. this will let the pi go to a low power state. when igintion comes back, it will send a PLAY command, effectively starting right were it left off.

    exhausted! will continue to update over the next few days
    Last edited by trader007; 03-10-2013 at 01:57 AM.

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