Three weeks before my demonstration (and two before written thesis deadline), the filesystem corrupts, with about 15 hours of work not backed up, including all the database code. I install the drive into a desktop machine to try to recover what I can, but, as there is no space for molex connectors in the DIN case, I had to connect using only the crimp terminals I put on the 40-44pin IDE converter.
No problem - other than I chose the ONE AND ONLY molex connector in the world where red = 12V and yellow = 5V (instead of visa-versa). One fried disk drive, and a two day wait for an new one...
Having received the new HDD, I went about reinstalling the OS and my software, using a knoppix CD to get me going. For some reason, between the desktop PSU and the M1, there was a power-spike, or something like that. In one go I lost the DMA and other random bits of the IDE controller and did serious damage to the VGA controller, plus killed the input on one of my pair of 17" TFTs. After calling the motherboard supplier, I discovered that I would not be able to get hold of a replacement mobo for at least a week (actually, it was almost two given there was a serious screw-up with the shipping too).
I very nearly decided to give up uni, or at least drop out of the fourth year and graduate with a BEng rather than an MEng. I was completely gutted, because I knew there was abolutely no way I could finish the project in time. Needless to say, much prayer went into the situation, while I wrote-up a 49 page dissertation on a non-operative project!
I got about 2 days with the new motherboard, after the paper's hand-in, to try resurrecting the project. I sort of had it working on the morning of the demo, but without an operative screen. With two hours before I was due to present, while sat in uni, I found the loose wire in the lcd, plugged it in, quickly hacked the software and had a working, music playing, spectrum analysing car stereo to demonstrate! That's one answer to prayer I'm not forgetting in a hurry!
Ok, give that the project has actually gone backwards recently, and I've been more concerned about relaxing and finding myself full-time employment since graduating, nothing much has changed since the demo (other than I've loaded on a few more mp3s). It currently resides in my car (in fact, I'll be listening to it in 20min, as I drive into town), although I do intend to get it out and finish off the software and do some hardware tweaks.
A slightly old picture of the unit installed, before the front buttons were connected
Here's the to-do list:
- Rewrite disk access code
- Reinstate database
- Stop the POST beep coming through the speakers
- Bootup time needs to be seriously reduced
- Enable seeking through mp3s
- Enable a timecode display
- Write a client GUI to allow WOL and mp3 loading
- Add radio unit
- Make a fascia
- Add a locking mechanism
Long term / dreams: (for when I buy a nicer car)
- Add small VGA display
- Integrate with OBDII
- Integrate with electric windows / steering wheel controls
- Use webcams to cover blindspots / for reversing
- Use webcams for security system
Well done for reading (or skimming) this far down... I will intend to keep this thread up to date as / when I get off my backside and continue with the project. Likewise, if there's any interest, I'll neturally try to answer questions.