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Car computer


 
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kaos
Member


Joined: 10 Jan 2006
Location: Iceland

PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 2:52 pm    Post subject: Car computer Reply with quote

Hi everyone,

Decided to show off my ongoing car computer project a little.


This is the heart of the system: A motherboard from an old Dell Optiplex machine. The tray it sits in was purpose made for me by a sheet metal working friend of mine. The hard disc is a 2.5" laptop drive.


Here it is with it's "pennies from heaven protection". It sits under the driver's seat, and the anti static bag protects it from coins and other items that might fall down the side of the seat.


Here it is in place beneath the seat, with the oddly shaped Dell power supply on the right.


And here is the outer cover in place. It was made by the same friend that made the motherboard tray. Sorry about the focus btw.


Here is the display. It's a 12" touch screen from a cash register, stripped of it's housing and slightly modified to fit. The application running is an MP3 player I wrote in Visual Basic. It can be operated either by the touch screen or by a numeric keypad, hence the seemingly idiosyncratic layout of the buttons; it's actually an image of the keypad. The holder above the display is for the GPS receiver.


Here is the display showing the GPS application. It's Garmin's Mapsource. The GPS unit is Garmin Geko 301, which is actually primarily intended as a hand held unit. The holder is a generic mobile phone holder that I modified to fit the data cable for the Geko.


I mounted the display on hinges, so I could still access the ventilation controls and radio. Still some finishing work to be done here.


This is the view beneath my rear seat. The black unit is the inverter for the computer power supply. The metallic box is power control module I made. It starts up the inverter when the ignition key is turned to the ACC position and thereby the computer, which is configured to start automatically when it receives power. On loss of ACC power it waits for 10 seconds for it to return. This allows starting a stalled engine without initiating shutdown. If ACC power does not return the controller notifies the computer via the serial connection, where a program receives the message and initiates shutdown. The controller then allows the computer 2 minutes to finsih shutdown before it cuts off the power. This means that startup and shutdown of the system is fully automatic.

--
Regards,
Kári.
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Orangeamc13
Got Rev Limiter?
Got Rev Limiter?


Joined: 20 Feb 2006
Location: East Springfield, Massachusetts - U.S.A.

PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 8:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pretty cool, Kari !!! good mod
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IBTJn
Moderator
Moderator


Joined: 31 Dec 2004
Location: Just Outside of Portland, OR

PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 8:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yea, no kidding. Nicely done! Very Happy
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kaos
Member


Joined: 10 Jan 2006
Location: Iceland

PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 1:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you kindly, both of you. Very Happy

This has been an evolving project for some time now. Already, it has seen two changes of cars and one major change in design philosophy: Originally I only considered the MP3 playback angle and made a specialized head unit to that purpose:

I later realized that this was throwing away one of a PC's biggest advantages; versatility. With this I could only play music; anything else would mean considerable hardware redesign. I therefore moved back to relatively standard input-output hardware.

My to-do list currently includes gas mileage monitoring. If anybody knows of a OBDI PC interface I would very much like to hear of it. Likewise if anyone has detailed information about the OBDI diagnostic protocol and hardware. Alternatively I could monitor the injector pulses and the speedo sensor, but it seems such a back-assward method when the info is got to be in the ECU anyhow.

Oh, and if anybody is considering something similar, the MP3 player application and the power control module design are available. I should put this stuff on my website one of these days. In the meantime, PM me.

--
Best regards,
Kári.
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