Sunday, October 27, 2013

CarPC ver.1 in August 2011

I am not going to pretend that I don't care about tuning. I really like the idea of having more HP, who wouldn't like that. What I am saying is that sooner or later my car is going to make an acquaintance with a Hondata ECU (probably in 2014).
Having a tunable ECU on board is pretty neat, but this means a necessity to have a laptop or other form of windows capable PC on board, at least for the time of tuning.
This fact lit a spark in my mind to put a computer into the car permanently, in other words to make a CarPC.

After a few days of searching I found a suitable minipc for this project. It is the Pegatron Tower Tinny PC with following specification:

Dimension w/ Bezel (D) 172.5 mm x (W) 153.5 mm x (H) 20 mm
Storage Space 32GB SSD
Front IO 2 X USB2.0 / 1 x Audio-Out / 1 x Mic-In
Rear IO 4 X USB2.0 / 1 X Giga LAN / 1 x Audio-Out / 1 X DVI or D-Sub
CPU Intel ATOM 230 1,6Ghz
RAM 1 x SO-DIMM DDR2 667 1GB
1 x Passive CPU 1x SB Heatsink 1 x Passive NB Heatsink.

The computer needs 19V power source. I found on EBay suitable 12V->19V step up DC converter.

For displaying the image from the CarPC I decided to go with a USB powered monitor the Samsung SyncMaster U70 7" with the resolution of 800x480. The monitor was inserted into a custom made fascia.

For controlling the PC I bought a simple trackball from EBay which I had customized for my application as well.

I also have added a GPS receiver. The model I purchased is the i-Blue GM-2 5Hz GPS.

The GPS receiver is installed above the instrument cluster.

For the first year, I had been using the carpc as music player as well as an accurate speedometer using the GPS. After a year of using this setup I found a few weak spots such as uncomfortable controlling with the trackball when driving. The monitor on the dashboard was sometimes too distracting because it did not bled well with the shape of the dashboard. Therefore I revised the setup in following summer in 2012 (CarPC ver.2 in August 2012). The whole project cost approx. 300€.



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