CarPC

Processing and Amplification

As for Install v1 in the audio hardware department - I still had some bits and pieces lying around from when I used to take car audio way too seriously, including:

  • Audio Control 2XS Series 2: 2 way active adjustable crossover;
  • Soundstream Reference 404s: 4 x 50WRMS power amplifier;
  • Phoenix Gold 4AWG fuse holder, and big fat cables for power, such as that stupidly large red 4AWG power cable in the photo on the right. What is impressive though is that the Soundstrem has power connectors big enough to take this cable, and power traces inside that don't make you feel like blushing when you open it up or hook it up;
  • Speaker cabling and interconnects by Streetwires and Stinger.

The Screen

This is the cool bit of this installation. Behold, a 7" VGA Gain monitor embedded in the dash of a WRX. Shots to the right are during assembly.

 

I didn't have the time or patience to do the fabrication myself - so I outsourced the work to a car audio ahop, who did the minor bit of filling to get the screen in, and then had a paint shop colour match and paint the part.

 

Picture below shows the VIA boot routine and the screen in place, with the temporary power and reset button box I built. Well - it was supposed to be temporary. I never did get around to fabricating them in!

Front shot - mounted on my dining room table. We drive

to Adelaide tomorrow morning at 6am.

 

Back shot of the monitor in place. Not as totally sexy as
some, but Silastic offers a little vibration absorbtion.

This shot shows Map Monkey in operation. Downtown Sydney, for those playing the "where is that map shot?" game :-)

Centrafuse boot routine. Nice program - just a bit too heavy and slow for a music player

 

Touchscreen driver configuration

 

 

FrodoPlayer in Radio playback mode.

 

The normal view - Frodoplayer. A little clunky in the backend, but fabulously reliable and flexible.

Showing normal windows MS-Info stuff - text is nice and clear even though the monitor is resizing a 800*600 image


The Machine

<Homer>

Seat roll forward ...

 

... Seat roll back

</Homer>

The Motherboard

Really, a VIA EPIA board with a 800Mhz embedded processor, and onboard video, tv-out, sound and networking - what else could I want? All it needs is a power supply, memory and RAM...

 

I don't have an optical drive in the machine - no point when it's stuffed under a seat, so that space is now used to carry an IBM Deskstar 2.5" laptop drive. Just below that (you can see the big RCA plug) is where I've mounted the USB radio tuner card.

The Power Supply

Setting up a computer in a 12VDC environment is a challenge, especially when you don't know a diode from a transistor (which I thought was some type of radio - anyhoo)...

A number of options exist in areas of both build and buy, and my selection was ultimately made based on the fact that PC Power and Cooling are a nice big company that offer luxuries like warranties. The fact that they don't have an Australian distributorwas not a problem, and that I dealt with their helpful, friendly international sales staff. This landed me a well packed and documented 12v DC-DC power supply.

There are smaller power supplies on the market, but this one fits in the case perfectly - that's it in the box on the right hand side. Nice!

 

 

You can see that I've added a few non standard plugs to the back of the case. These take care of fusing for the PC and the monitor, as well as providing all the input and output connections on the box. I have the same set of plugs for rigging up the box inside the house for maintenance - no more fiddling about!

 

The cables running back into the box are the USB and line in connection for the USB radio card.

Other Hardware

Here's the Deluo GPS unit that I mentioned on the v1 page, in place on the dash in the WRX. Stealthy!

 

This one has now been modded to resolve the dodgy capacitor issue that most people eventually experience with these things.

Nice little keyboard. Has a bunch of excess button along the top, and two USB ports on the bottom. A nice little pickup from ebay.


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Last updated: 2009-10-29

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