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Thread: Lexus IS250 Android integration using iVIC and ODROID U3

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    Lexus IS250 Android integration using iVIC and ODROID U3

    I just started a new project to incorporate an android system in my aging IS250.

    Here is a schema of my proposed system: http://www.shad0w.org/isdroid/OdroidU3.html

    and

    here's the static version of that diagram Name:  OdroidU31_1.png
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    Last edited by kevinkga; 09-09-2014 at 09:14 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kevinkga View Post
    I just started a new project to incorporate an android system in my aging IS250.

    Very cool, interested to see how it turns out. You're using the screen from your factory navigation system?

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    Yes indeed, the screen and the touchscreen. That's made possible by the iVIC unit. See this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5QODWS7K0Y.

    I'm already using an android setup in my car at the moment that uses a Sony Xperia SP phone as the android device, but it has a few limitations:
    1. Cannot (easily) hook the GPS antenna of the phone to the aerial of the car.
    2. Cannot get the FM radio on the phone to send audio via HDMI.
    3. Quite slow, considering low-end processor and sony bloatware.

    I ordered the ODROID U3 stuff yesterday and I guess it'll be a while until I get it. A few uncertainties at the moment:
    1. I was just wondering if you had any issues configuring the GPS module or does android just pickup that it's a com port and open it up for GPS data?
    2. Hows does the FM tuner work in real life conditions while driving around etc? I did a linux based carpc in my previous car (ford cougar) and the fm tuner I used was a silabs one but the reception was very poor. Possibly because I had a lot of alternator noise in my system.
    Last edited by kevinkga; 07-02-2014 at 10:36 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kevinkga View Post
    Yes indeed, the screen and the touchscreen. That's made possible by the iVIC unit. See this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5QODWS7K0Y.

    I'm already using an android setup in my car at the moment that uses a Sony Xperia SP phone as the android device, but it has a few limitations:
    1. Cannot (easily) hook the GPS antenna of the phone to the aerial of the car.
    2. Cannot get the FM radio on the phone to send audio via HDMI.
    3. Quite slow, considering low-end processor and sony bloatware.

    I ordered the ODROID U3 stuff yesterday and I guess it'll be a while until I get it. A few uncertainties at the moment:
    1. I was just wondering if you had any issues configuring the GPS module or does android just pickup that it's a com port and open it up for GPS data?
    2. Hows does the FM tuner work in real life conditions while driving around etc? I did a linux based carpc in my previous car (ford cougar) and the fm tuner I used was a silabs one but the reception was very poor. Possibly because I had a lot of alternator noise in my system.
    I didn't realize IVIC systems could mirror Android devices. That's pretty cool.

    Hardkernel underpromises and overdelivers. I waited on shipping from them twice, both showed up in Canada in ~5 business days.

    1. I didn't have any configuration issues with the Sure GPS, after I figured out how to get it to work properly. I didn't even try connecting through USB or serial. This forum helped me to get it working. It's mostly just enabling mock locations, and triggering the Bluetooth GPS app. Through a bluetooth dongle is definitely the easiest way to connect it to your Odroid. Tasker makes this a breeze. My Tasker profile for starting and stopping GPS depends on the Arduino being plugged in. When my car ignition starts, a relay triggers the power wire to a USB hub. I cut the power wire in the USB cable so that auxillary USB devices rely on this relay.

    Do you mind my asking why you want to connect the GPS to your aerial? It comes with an antenna that works well, even when covered.


    2. The FM tuner works pretty well how you'd expect a radio to work, except much more graphically. The reception is pretty good, and the fact that you can narrow the tuning band to your desired frequency makes it a lot better. I'd highly recommend making presets though, as it would be a pain to "flip" channels while driving.

    I noticed you had posted about using the TDA7850? Are you still using that amp?

    Surprisingly, I had no alternator noise in my carputer, definitely planned on spending a day ironing that out. It's possibly because I attached all ground points to the case?... Not really sure.

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    Do you mind my asking why you want to connect the GPS to your aerial? It comes with an antenna that works well, even when covered.
    After my first carpc project (on the Ford Cougar) I had pretty much hacked everything in my car and realised it had greatly dimished the resale value. I ended up giving it away and even then the guy who took it had it recycled because it was such a mess. With this project, I set myself the primary goal of not having to hack anything with the existing system, but instead use all existing components as much as possible.

    Placing a GPS antenna in the IS250 would be a bit of a challenge, specially if I wanted to do it neatly (out of sight) whilst retaining good signal reception. There is very little space to work with under the dash (if any at all) and removing the panels can be such a pain and risky. I know for a fact that the factory antenna is pretty damn good and already placed in an ideal position, so splitting the antenna connector seemed like a good idea for integration. Another goal while doing this project is to be able for both the factory and custom system to co-exist in harmony. I know from experience that it's always good to have a reliable backup when you need it, thus only minor alterations to the existing layout.

    2. The FM tuner works pretty well how you'd expect a radio to work, except much more graphically. The reception is pretty good, and the fact that you can narrow the tuning band to your desired frequency makes it a lot better. I'd highly recommend making presets though, as it would be a pain to "flip" channels while driving.

    I noticed you had posted about using the TDA7850? Are you still using that amp?

    Surprisingly, I had no alternator noise in my carputer, definitely planned on spending a day ironing that out. It's possibly because I attached all ground points to the case?... Not really sure.
    I still have my TDA7850 unit around somewhere but I am not using it. It would be nice if the TDA7850 could be integrated with some sort of I2S hifi sound chip to provide a fairly standalone component that's seen by the host system as merely a soundcard(maybe also add something else as a subwoofer amp too). However, with the iVIC unit, all audio is sent to the existing factory unit via HDMI and the factory AMP (Mark Levinson, I think) is quite good.

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    1. I didn't have any configuration issues with the Sure GPS, after I figured out how to get it to work properly. I didn't even try connecting through USB or serial. This forum helped me to get it working. It's mostly just enabling mock locations, and triggering the Bluetooth GPS app. Through a bluetooth dongle is definitely the easiest way to connect it to your Odroid. Tasker makes this a breeze. My Tasker profile for starting and stopping GPS depends on the Arduino being plugged in. When my car ignition starts, a relay triggers the power wire to a USB hub. I cut the power wire in the USB cable so that auxillary USB devices rely on this relay.
    What happens with many(most) usb GPS devices that I've encountered is they provide GPS data over a serial interface. So the device actually exposes a new serial port on the system. If my understanding is correct, that's basically what the mock locations do in android: it accepts GPS data akin to the serial interface. In theory it should be quite easy to pipe the serial port data directly to the mock location API in android and this guy might have already done it:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=scDqVFPN9lU

    I chose the GPS module you chose just in case that it could be harder than expected to get everything working over USB. However, if it works over USB then I'll just use that.

    I know that some USB to Serial interfaces use FTDI chips that are supported in linux. I just need to know which one this GPS module uses and whether the linux kernel already supports it natively.
    Last edited by kevinkga; 07-03-2014 at 06:57 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kevinkga View Post
    After my first carpc project (on the Ford Cougar) I had pretty much hacked everything in my car and realised it had greatly dimished the resale value. I ended up giving it away and even then the guy who took it had it recycled because it was such a mess. With this project, I set myself the primary goal of not having to hack anything with the existing system, but instead use all existing components as much as possible.
    Makes sense. That kind of loss would definitely deter from making permanent changes. Looks like it will be an interesting project! Looking forward to seeing how it works out.

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    regarding the 12vto5v adapter.

    I take it this simply shuts the power when ignition is off and allow power when ignition is on. Does the unit need to be shut down 'gracefully' to reduce OS hang and possible damage to mem cards/sd cards etc?

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    Quote Originally Posted by mos33y View Post
    regarding the 12vto5v adapter.

    I take it this simply shuts the power when ignition is off and allow power when ignition is on. Does the unit need to be shut down 'gracefully' to reduce OS hang and possible damage to mem cards/sd cards etc?
    Correct. I don't really see risks with hard-off on solid state storage like emmc and flash.

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    Name:  ups.jpg
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    You were right Focussed, delivery is rather quick! However, our customs had a surprise for me too. Seems like customs charged me an additional GBP28 for it. Bummer! Hopefully I'll have it by tonight when I get home

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