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Thread: Audi 80, 15.5" install,Tablet speedometer, and electrical control from PC. Worklog!!

  1. #1
    Variable Bitrate
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Herákleion, Iraklion, Greece, Greece

    Audi 80, 15.5" install,Tablet speedometer, and electrical control from PC. Worklog!!

    Hello forum!! So, finally i have an install in my car, that i bealive is worthy of this forum!! I haven't finished everything up yet, so i will post as i go
    What i Needed : So , first things first. i'm very into, open hardware, and micro controllers, and car technology in general. so in my car, i try to implement micro controllers, and control of the car from the PC, as possible (My god is Tesla model S :P )
    So far, i have a "Diagnostic tool" that monitors, car sensors, and i use that output, to drive my speedometer, And a diy BCM module, which i use to control the Power windows and AC of the car. Both are arduino platform based... but i will get to it soon !!
    The Electrical system
    I run 2 batteries. one mounted on the car trunk. I use a form of relay isolator to separate them when the engine is not running ( technically , 2x45Amp relays, that their coils are driven by the alternators sense wire)
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    the PC :

    1. 15.6" HD, MULTI TOUCH monitor.
      i got it from , and i am MORE than satisfied with the result... the monitor is Awesome, in every way possible!! and is super easy to install and use!! It has a controller, with super small form factor, takes HDMI input, and can be run by PSU's 5v rail. The brightness is automatically controlled by a light sensor.
    2. Asrock H61MV-ITX mobo
    3. intel G2130 3.2GHz dual core
    4. 2gb Ram
    5. 60Gb SSD
    6. On board graphics
    7. PSU : M4-ATX (Not yet shown in pics :P )
    8. Windows 8.1
    9. Rear View Logitech Camera
    10. Usb sound card, Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi surround
    11. a Cadence amp, which i dont remember how many watts it is >_>

    The long goal (which my older Setup DID have) , is to control every function of the PC, (And hence the cars) with windows speech recognition!

    My dashboard, is actually made by me. you can see the procedure here : (it was a loooooong time ago ) . The PC will be mounted inside the dashboard, behind the LCD monitor.

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    i Bolted 2 L brackets, into the dashboard chassis. in those brackets, plus 2 holes on the other side, will be screwed a large aluminium Plate, that will be the base of the PC.
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    Withe the aluminium in place it looks like this :
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    On one side of this aluminium the LCD will be bolted. on the other side, i will mount the PC.

    the PC components on bench :
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    and bolded on the frame :
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    Tbh , the light sensor wasn't really good calibrated.. (the LCD had low brightness even inside my room with lights open). But i anyway did not wont all the different scales of the back-light... i wanted full brightness in the day, and low at night. So what i did was this : i installed a white LED, directly in fron of the light sensor. that LED, is driven by the PC's LED control, so as long as the pc is working, it remains ON. BUT, i interrupt the ground wire of the LED, with a relay, that is energized by a signal coming from my interior lighting (which is on , when my headlights are on), so when i turn on the headlights, the LED turns OFF, and the brightness drops !! If i want extra low brightness (which technically is not lower brightness), i have a Script on windows, that when Run, it creates a full-screen, click through, transparent black window. So if i lower the transparency, everything on Windows turn darker, so it bothers you less (i used it on my previous screen which did not had brightness control)

    Here is a pic of the PC working :
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    The frame is "Entirely" Made by ABS plastic. I used The frame cheap photo frame, to make the skeleton of the LCD frame. At the beginning i thought it was completely made by ABS, but as it turns out, it must be about 80% since it does not completely dissolve in acetone. But 80% is still enough , to bond with Pure ABS, without the possibility of making cracks.
    -- I have made many panels out of Fiberglass + Fiberglass putty, and they are much easier to be made (and have better outcome). BUT they do not bond with any other kind of plastic i could find (like the ones i used for skeleton), resulting, in "cracks" on the paint, after some days of shocks and vibration...

    Anyway, Abs takes about 12 hours to completely dry out after it has been dissolved, so each time i added a new layer, i had to wait a day before i could sandpaper it.... After allot of days, (And a big mess in the car) , i was left with this :
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    ABS in general is not so sandpapering-friendly, and when you do so, it leaves behind ALLOT of small pinholes. What i did, to get around that without having to unlimited lay layers and sandpaper until they where all filled, was that : After the last time i sanded the frame, with all the ABS "dust" gathered inside the pinholes, i used a brush to completely "paint" the frame with Acetone. that resulted in the dust, dissolving and then drying out, inside the holes, filling them out
    Pic After the acetone :
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    As you can see the result is pretty glossy red color (and a bit of black, since i used black ABS as well). I suppose, that if you sand it really good before the Acetone wash, (and use only one abs color :P ) one could leave it like that, and it would look pretty OEM !

    prepping for the final paint :
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    I Don't know how this stuff is exactly called, but its what the paint-job shops, apply to the bumpers before painting them... the spray itself has high density, and it fills some of the left scratches. after that, you can apply some layers of knife putty (Same as inside the spray) , and sand, until you have a completely smooth surface.

    P.S : I found out that in my place, the best way to get your hands on ABS, is 3D printer Filaments. you can get 1kg of pure ABS, in various colors (i only found red) for relatively low price

    The Speedometer :
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    If someone wants, i can post more pics, on how i made it. Technically it's a 7 Inch tablet, that connects via USB with my diy Diagnostic Module. I did not liked the idea of having the Tablet powered and in sleep, inside the car,cause i feared it would burst into flames.. ( i know, i am lame :P ) So the tablet is constantly off battery, and it is powered only when i turn on the car... It takes 23 seconds, to boot and display the speedometer app.
    It runs an App, made by me, and gives info about :
    1. FUEL (digital and bars)
    2. Temp (digital and bars)
    3. Odometer, Trip A, Trip B, (well they dont yet work perfectly :P )
    4. Turn Indicators
    5. Speed
    6. RPM

    It's as much Need for Speed, as i could make it :P It also displays warning, of low fuel, high temp, and oil pressure...
    Of course, the only limit on it, is what the Diagnostic module can provide... now that i am "done" with the carPC, i will try to implement, even more/better sensors, so that it can run more dynamic diagnostics
    if any of you guys got a suggestion on what other info it could display, please share it with me , as i am looking for more functions to implement


    The Steering wheel remote
    The steering wheel remoe shown above, is the 2nd Version... the worklog of the first is here :
    I ordered a pair of steering wheel buttons of BMW (i don't recall the model), and i cut my steering wheel's mask, so that everything would fit in place... i had to remove the "horn" function of the steerign wheel as it was, and re-wire it to one of the buttons, which is a step-back, but hey, what can you do
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    This setup is pretty big , for my needs, so soon i will make a 3d Version, which will be the same in the looks, but on the inside, i will use a Bluetooth-HID enabled arduino mini, set as keyboard

    THE BCM. Controlling car's functions From the PC:
    I Will write more details soon, but a summarize of the work i did is here :

    So far i can control Power windows, AC(IF I HAD ONE ) , Blower lvl, air temp, and airflow direction!! version 2, will be able to control rear defrost, and rear fog lights, as well as everything else that you guys can suggest (if i am able to implement it... )

    The program, is also connected to my car diagnostic tool, so it basically can Also, display all the stuff that the speedometer can.. this function is still under some developing, but i will get it done soon. My goal is to have "audible " warnings, from Microsoft Zira's gorgeous voice, and also have my rear view camera auto come up, when i set the gear on reverse (And close when i stop reversing)

    please Let me know what you guys think !!
    Last edited by settra; 11-25-2014 at 02:18 PM.

  2. #2
    Constant Bitrate
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    I can't wait to see the "Bluetooth-HID enabled arduino mini, set as keyboard". I hope you'll give us some details and code for that part.
    Other stuff is impressive too - the HUGE monitor, the dashboard part...
    You're insane!
    My worklog: VOLVO S80 CarPC

  3. #3
    Variable Bitrate eugenweij's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Rozenburg, Netherlands
    insanity gets encouraged here ... keep up the good work, I can't wait to see the rest
    View my worklog here

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    SN, Germany
    really cool an ambitious project Replacing the cars instruments in the dash probably would not be legal where I live, but I like what you did there, looking forward to see your progress.

  5. #5
    Variable Bitrate
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Herákleion, Iraklion, Greece, Greece
    added some more pics, and a video of the speedometer at work!!
    thanks guys the Bluetooth HID unfortunately will have to w8... but some basics on how do to it can be found here :

    I am pretty sure that its illegal here as well :P but it seems pretty "factory made", and its not like they will believe me if i say i made it myself :P so i have been able to pass the anual government "car maintenance test" or whatever its called :P

    Tomorrow i will start molding the frame with the ABS plastic...! i am thinking that maybe, i could throw in the M4 PSU that i have from my previous install... i had problems with EMI and noise on my previus LCD with it, but this one is HDMI, and with no cable at all, so i hope that maybe it will be ok.... only other option would be if i bought something like that : ... ( i dont have much money left to spend:P + i leave in europe, and ordering from USA would take ages...) but since its not from a known brand or something, i don't know how good it would behave...

  6. #6
    Variable Bitrate
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Herákleion, Iraklion, Greece, Greece
    Added some progress pics from the LCD Frame! it took me so long, mainly because each layer of ABS i added, took about a day to dry out before i was able to sand it !! i also installed an Optical to Analog converter, along with a 5m Toslink cable, to transfer the audio from the sound card , to the amplifier, without interference , and (mainly) ground loops!

    I also swapped the PSU, for my old M4-ATX!! so far it seems to be working good!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    This build is extremely cool! Looking forward to seeing more progress

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