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Van Campa
02-09-2013, 10:34 PM
I have been thinking about adding a carputer for my T1N camper.
I am planning to use it as entertainment unit, GPS, engine diagnostics and other uses I do not know yet?

I have thought about putting together a carputer PC which has both Windows and Linux operating system.
My Asus TF101 Android pad does the basic stuff but I would like to have more functionality and integration with the engine diagnostigs and other stuff which Android is lacking.

I got a free Shuttle XPC computer from local recycling shop for free :thumbup: http://www.shuttle.eu/_archive/older/en/fn95.htm
This was faulty but with my electronics repair experience I got it going at my workshop:cheers:
The power input is 240V AC. In a house this would not be a problem but in my van I do not have or want 240V mains power.
That is not a problem as the power supply can be replaced with 12V ATX DC to DC converter. Just need to try to match one with suitable output power. I thought about trying to underclock the processor and using a SSD hard drive to reduce power. SSD drive would be also shock proof.

Another option is to buy a dedicated Car PC with 12 V input. These are new technology and low power consumption but cost a bit of money.
If I go with the old Shuttle PC, I need to add another 80W solar panel and replace the tired house battery.

Then I am planning to put two monitors. One on the dash to use with touch sreen for GPS, music and diagnostics.
Another monitor would be bigger at the house part to watch movies, TV and Internet browsing.
I already have 7" reversing camera monitor which in not touch screen. Maybe a touch pad somewhere on the dash will do the trick?
For the house part I might use a 19" LCD TV monitor which has plenty of inputs. That was a freebie too and had a faulty DVD player which I removed. The downside of that monitor is higher power use about 5A.
Then I have wireless keyboard and mouse which is Windows compatible and hopefully also works with Linux?

So apart from the 12V DC power supply I need to buy, I have most of the components and just need to wire them into my van. Sounds simple but I am worried that some power issues might come to play?

Has anyone a dedicated carputer and any advice on the install?
Would it be easy enough to integrate a diagnostic unit to see the fuel consumption etc?

glasseye
02-10-2013, 03:41 AM
I've been thinking about this for a while and it seems to me that integrating too much into one machine is a mistake. The Ultragauge/Scanguage does most the rate-time-distance stuff and gives excellent drivetrain diagnostics but it doesn't do entertainment or navigation. I think that adding a small tablet to do music and satnav/mapping functions might be the way to go.

High on my list is portability. I don't want all that stuff sitting out in plain sight. A small tablet is easy to hide. A permanent install not so much.

Screen visibility in sunlight is a big issue.

:idunno:

owner
02-10-2013, 04:33 AM
If you just want diagnostics you can use the torque android app. Having a whole PC setup is overkill unless you want star diagnostics. Im planning on just running my 7.7" amoled galaxy tab for obd2 and gps.

atulin
02-10-2013, 06:23 AM
.
That is not a problem as the power supply can be replaced with 12V ATX DC to DC converter. Just need to try to match one with suitable output power. I thought about trying to underclock the processor and using a SSD hard drive to reduce power. SSD drive would be also shock proof.


I have two 12v computers in my sprinter. The higher power one is an i5 with 16gb of ram running off a 256gb ssd and a 2tb storage drive. So far it runs fine off a 250 watt dc-dc power supply (http://www.amazon.com/M4-ATX-Wide-Input-Intelligent-CYNCRONIX-Selection/dp/B003EMJQXI/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1360480871). I have a 4 head video card in it what is only supposed to draw about 30 watts but I only have it hooked up to one monitor right now.

The lower power system is an atom with 4gd of ram and a 120gb ssd. I think I put a 150watt power supply in that one. That one will be hooked to a touch screen in the dash but that project is down the list. I'm running windows 8 on both machines.

seans
02-10-2013, 11:45 PM
I have been doing a LOT of thinking about this. Here are a number of thoughts:

- Use tablets or phones with wifi for displays. Provide the information to them through wifi. You can probably use the browser for just about everything. Use HTML5 rather than native. Then anyone who visits your van can get access through a guest interface.
- This requires a server providing the wifi connection, with an internal webserver (i-Jetty?) that provides the UI to tablets and phones. For this, I've been thinking of repurposing an Android phone. The bonus is that the phone is going to be very miserly on power consumption by design. An activated phone will also provide Internet, but I think that would be better provided through a separate system.
- The server needs to get its data from somewhere, and needs to control things. For this I'm looking at using a Bluetooth connection or a Android ADK (USB accessory interface) to connect to an Arduino (or similar) device that will be the data hub to van systems. There may be several hubs, one for when the vehicle is on and the other for when it is off (intended to minimize power consumption when the vehicle is off.)
- I'm thinking of using two buses for communicating with sensors and devices: an RS-485 bus, and something like Zigbee, although Zigbee could be overkill. Each end device will be an Arduino, though I'm thinking of building custom boards that will hold an AVR programmed via the Arduino environment. I am also considering CANbus not because the vehicle has it (though a read-only tap may provide useful info) but because my inverter/charger employs a version of CANbus. But I don't think the complexity of CAN is needed so I'll probably using RS-485 or a cheap wireless solution for most things.
- One of the lower-level devices will be used as a power controller, to shut off power to the higher level devices when the van cannot provide it.
- Dedicating a solar panel and a small AGM battery and charge controller to the core systems that need power when the van is off, will go a long way towards running things indefinitely without draining the van battery, and possibly can be have enough current left over to top off the van battery during the day for times when you do not drive it for a while.

I have not mentioned Raspberry Pi for a server, even though that is an obvious choice, only because I'm not sure of its power consumption profile. A LOT of time has been put into the Android design to minimize power consumption. I think you can get most of what you need from an old Android phone with Wifi AP capability, capability wise, and possibly get lower power consumption. It will take another year or two before even a used Android phone will reach the price point of the Pi, however.

Also, you should not neglect OpenWRT as the Linux distribution for your box, as it allows your box to be an old router. This is not going to be miserly from a power standpoint, but if you dedicate it to systems that you need to access when the van is running, and shut it down when it is not, you'll be OK.

A big issue will be transitioning from a power-down state to powered up. You may need to employ solutions that wake up from sleep quickly. The HTC EVO 3D which I'm considering for this project has the capability to power up very quickly from being "off". However, I might leave it on all the time anyhow, since it seems to consume very little power when not activated on a network.

A project idea:

- Find an older single-DIN car stereo with a compatible power/speaker connector with a tape player inside (Blaupunkt comes to mind, I have the "Malibu" model)
- Rip out the tape player module
- Stick an Arduino in its place.
- Wire up a Bluetooth module to the Arduino
- You can find a number of interesting signals coming from the instrument cluster.
- Write Arduino and Android code so you can make this information accessible to a phone or tablet that is running Android.

This won't work for the iPhone which does not support Bluetooth Serial Port Profile.

WPJ
02-11-2013, 01:32 AM
I have two 12v computers in my sprinter. The higher power one is an i5 with 16gb of ram running off a 256gb ssd and a 2tb storage drive. So far it runs fine off a 250 watt dc-dc power supply (http://www.amazon.com/M4-ATX-Wide-Input-Intelligent-CYNCRONIX-Selection/dp/B003EMJQXI/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1360480871). I have a 4 head video card in it what is only supposed to draw about 30 watts but I only have it hooked up to one monitor right now.

The lower power system is an atom with 4gd of ram and a 120gb ssd. I think I put a 150watt power supply in that one. That one will be hooked to a touch screen in the dash but that project is down the list. I'm running windows 8 on both machines.

Hey Atulin, do you have any pics of your install I would love to see it

thanks
will

Van Campa
02-11-2013, 02:17 AM
Thought provoking ideas guys. Keep them coming :)
I have to sort out my needs and wants and compare those to the thickness off my wallet:thinking:

The mains powered power supply on my XPC Shuttle says total wattage 240 W. Then also " Combined 105 W max? So I wonder if I can get away with 160 W 12V power supply? Like this: http://www.mitxpc.com/proddetail.asp?prod=PSDCDCM2ATXhttp://www.mitxpc.com/proddetail.asp?prod=PSDCDCM2ATX
If I underclock my shuttle PC it would not need that 240W or anywhere near that.
Using a SSD HDD would reduce thew power usage and make the system more shock proof.

At the moment I am bench testing the XPC PC and it is connected to 19 " Viewsonic monitor. Unfortunately this monitor has not got 12V DC input so I have to use 17" Nu-Tec LCD TV which takes 5A according to the back plate.

The display card on XPC has 3 video outputs: VGA, SVideo and HDMI. I wonder if they can be used simultaneously? Will try after this. The fan makes a bit of noise and needs to be replaced.

The PC might be a bit of an overkill and use a lot of power but sounds like a fun project and this far it has not cost me a cent:clapping:

I do have my Android pad, Asus TF101 transformer but I do not want to display that on my dash. Too big in size anyway.
I feel the need to have a Windows/ Linux computer as I want to start using some cad program and video editing program which are not available (? ) for Android.

Another issue is the placement of the XPC Box which requires all that cabling. The easiest and most accessible place could be over the sliding door where I am planning to place the monitor too.
That area would provide enough ventilation in hot summer days as I can keep my sliding door or front door window ajar.
Heat is a major killer of electronics and another is water so under the sink might not be a good option.

atulin
02-11-2013, 05:45 AM
I have been doing a LOT of thinking about this. Here are a number of thoughts:

- Use tablets or phones with wifi for displays. Provide the information to them through wifi. You can probably use the browser for just about everything. Use HTML5 rather than native. Then anyone who visits your van can get access through a guest interface.
- This requires a server providing the wifi connection, with an internal webserver (i-Jetty?) that provides the UI to tablets and phones. For this, I've been thinking of repurposing an Android phone. ...... I have not mentioned Raspberry Pi for a server, even though that is an obvious choice, only because I'm not sure of its power consumption profile. A LOT of time has been put into the Android design to minimize power consumption. I think you can get most of what you need from an old Android phone with Wifi AP capability, capability wise, and possibly get lower power consumption. It will take another year or two before even a used Android phone will reach the price point of the Pi, however.

I was just going to use and arduino mega with a network shield but I'm only planning to use the pwm for led lights and relays to fake some buttons (my only hope for being able to lock my doors from more than 10ft away...)

Also, you should not neglect OpenWRT as the Linux distribution for your box, as it allows your box to be an old router. This is not going to be miserly from a power standpoint, but if you dedicate it to systems that you need to access when the van is running, and shut it down when it is not, you'll be OK.

You might look at the wifiranger. I have a wifiranger Go and it works pretty well. Most of my issues are related to not being able to uses it's built in connection automation because my cell data is off a mifi type device so it just sees it as a wireless network. I'm switching to a usb modem that it will plug in directly so it will automatically switch to cell data when there is no wifi.

I don't know how well it will work yet but I have a 500mbps powerline ethernet setup coming that I'm going to put on the shore power connection so that when I plug in at home it will automatically feed to the wifiranger router.

seans
02-11-2013, 02:54 PM
I was just going to use and arduino mega with a network shield but I'm only planning to use the pwm for led lights and relays to fake some buttons (my only hope for being able to lock my doors from more than 10ft away...)

This is a neat thread (http://sprinter-source.com/forum/showthread.php?t=21410) that paves the way to a door locking hack.


You might look at the wifiranger. I have a wifiranger Go and it works pretty well. Most of my issues are related to not being able to uses it's built in connection automation because my cell data is off a mifi type device so it just sees it as a wireless network. I'm switching to a usb modem that it will plug in directly so it will automatically switch to cell data when there is no wifi.

I will probably use wifi for non-"telemetry" features, such as multimedia and to provide an intranet connection for user interface devices.

Wifiranger.com's SSL certificate is expired; I'll check them out in a few days when they've fixed it.

I don't know how well it will work yet but I have a 500mbps powerline ethernet setup coming that I'm going to put on the shore power connection so that when I plug in at home it will automatically feed to the wifiranger router.

I probably will be staying away from powerline ethernet (http://www.hamradionation.com/browse_vidfeeders.php?tag=power+line+Ethernet) because of the radio interference it generates, and I already have enough problems with my inverter and switching power supplies thrashing the AM, shortwave and amateur radio bands.

On the door lock solution, it would be nice:
- to change how the lock on the dash functions. Up to lock, down to unlock.
- to have a door unlock start up computing systems that will be needed.
- to have an RFID tag reader for unlocking; give this to friends or use magnetic backing to hide it.
- to be able to read and change lock status remotely.
- to be notified (via an app? text? tweet?) when the car is locked or unlocked.
- to lock or unlock via text message.
These last three require some kind of wireless connection to the van. I would like to use Amateur Radio for at least part of this, but we currently don't have a great place in ham radio to do this kind of thing.

atulin
02-11-2013, 07:34 PM
Wifiranger.com's SSL certificate is expired; I'll check them out in a few days when they've fixed it.

ok, steve gibson... I can't seem to establish an https connection to this site either so I'm wondering how you posted this :thumbup:

geoffs
02-11-2013, 10:16 PM
I've been working on this too.
I thought I'd start small so got one of these Mele A1000 (http://dx.com/p/mele-a2000-1080p-android-2-3-network-multi-media-player-w-sata-usb-hdmi-lan-vga-wifi-4gb-131566). It's not blindingly fast but does the job and was cheap.
I've installed Linux on it, next step is to build a OBD interface and try out some of the open source software on it.
For GPS, I've bought a small USB GPS unit (Holux GR213 (http://www.holux.com/JCore/en/products/products_content.jsp?pno=127)) on eBay for $30. Maps will be an issue but a broadband wireless connection will allow getting maps from Google at least for testing.

shortshort
02-13-2013, 02:16 PM
Get a Panasonic Toughbook. There are used ones all over the place. They have a serial port for diagnostic input and can easily survive a decade or more or rattling around in a van.

Clark2
02-13-2013, 08:19 PM
maps are the easy part

http://www.sygic.com/en/business:overview

geoffs
02-13-2013, 10:28 PM
maps are the easy part

http://www.sygic.com/en/business:overview

So far, all the hardware has cost less than they want for one map!

atulin
03-18-2013, 02:07 AM
Hey Atulin, do you have any pics of your install I would love to see it

thanks
will

Just got all four monitors working.

51198

For anyone looking for something like this I'm using an ATI Fire Pro 2460. It's low power at around 20 watts. It has 4 mini display ports. This card will run 2 DVI or HDMI monitors with just a standard cable but to run a 3rd and 4th you need to use an active adapter. I've seen this card sold with and without the active DVI adapters included so check that if you need them.

jmoller99
03-18-2013, 05:10 PM
I am using a Raspberry Pi model B ($35 computer). Mind you, I am a software engineer, so not much scares me about them - Runs Linux. About the size of a deck of playing cards. Using mine to stream audio and video to the mobile devices that people already have with them - along with providing an Internet hot spot (thru a 3G USB card via Sprint) in the Sprinter while we drive.

LuckyDawgz Jim
03-18-2013, 08:11 PM
If you just want diagnostics you can use the torque android app. Having a whole PC setup is overkill unless you want star diagnostics. Im planning on just running my 7.7" amoled galaxy tab for obd2 and gps.

What brand/type OBD adapter are you using for your Sprinter?

jim