My carputer

I’m almost finished with the initial install. This page documents what I have done. I hope people can use what I post if they plan on doing something similar. I figure there are a few people around here that would be interested in the progress, and I’m sure some of you just like to see things being created and tested and experimented with.

What I currently have and plan on using

A small desktop I got for free from work.
gps receiver
elmscan ISO USB

Progress
I had gps and voice recognition to switch screens of the computer working. In the new build I don’t have that right now.

What I do have working is music playing, and I’m close on gps.

Next steps
Finish setting up gps. I was told I need to start gpsd with the -n parameter.

Make the system boot faster

Get iGuidence to work

Hardware

-Video screen k90 ordered from ebay
-Dell Optiplex sx260
-Plantronix microphone (not using it.)
-Labtec pc mic 333 (replaces Plantronix mic)
-Globalsat GPS SiRF Star 3 III Waterproof USB Mouse
-ElmScan ISO USB Scan Tool
-Targus ACH74US Ultra Mini USB 2.0 4-Port Hub

Software

-crossover office 6 beta
-Linux
-nGhost
-PyCar
-perlbox voice (I also installed sphinx2 and festival to make full use of perlbox)
-iGuidance for Pocket PC & PC (DVD)
-autoit

Updates

05-31-2009: Bought a Targus ACH74US Ultra Mini USB 2.0 4-Port Hub
today so I can plug my obd-ii device back in. I ran out of ports when I got the broadband usb stick. I went with non-powered because of the many usb devices I’m guessing only the gps,wireless, and braodband need power.

05-13-2009: Pictures of the carputer:

05-02-2009: Well, the carputer is back better than ever. I installed Ubuntu Jaunty Jackalope. The touch screen works great. I made a few changes in the touchscreen-problems-fixed thread.

I got my wireless broad band from millenicom and have been listening to online radio stations as I drive. It took just a few minutes to set up under linux as the driver was already in the kernel.

The only issues I’m having now is that for some reason when the system boots up all I get is a blank screen and I have to reboot once or twice. Other times it boots up fine.

04-19-2009: Yesterday my O/S blew up. I had to do a complete reinstall. Fortunately when searching the web for how I did things I come accross some posts of mine on various forums explaining what I did.This is how I got 832×624 working on my touchscreen.
04/15/2009: Accomplished two goals today. Switched screen resolution to 800×600 (aprox.) and figureed out why mouse isn’t responsive as it could be when starting up system. Turns out I needed a command in its device section in xorg.conf

04/12/2009: nGhost is now working with obd-iiI worked with mal|lappy on #linuxice and he was able to get into my carputer and diagnose the problem with his library. Thanks mal|lappy.

04/09/2009: nGhost is no longer complaining about the plugins. I’m still getting invalid data, but talking to a developer of the software I’m using I should be able to get the gps working at any rate. I also got the playlist stuff working.

04/05/2009: The computer is in the car. The obd-ii is sending data, but nghost says the plugin isn’t loaded. I did play some stuff through the computer to my car speakers. It sounded good. Nghost isn’t reading my music directory so thats something I have to look in to.

04/02/2009: Well, I upgraded nGhost to the latest version and hope to be able to use the obdii stuff.  It is too late tonight to put the system in the car to test, but I’m going to try to do it tomorrow.   If All goes well I’ll try to post a video.

04/01/2009: Nope, not an april fools joke. I’m starting to work on getting my ElmScan ISO USB Scan ToolI got for Christmas working.

10/12/08: Yup. Still working on this project. I finally ran power for the system using the fusebox and an amp install kit. I had an 12V gell battery I bought when I thought my car battery was dying, so I put it in my trunk and wired it up to the fusebox I put in the front of my car. Heh. It only took me 10 months to do that. I’m such a procrastinator. I also put the screen and computer in my car. I still have to tweek the software since the computer I’m using doesn’t boot from a usb device and the install I did was on an external usb drive. It isn’t a big deal in linux to fix this by having it boot from one drive and load the OS from another, and I’ll probably do it during my break or lunch at work. When I do that then I will have a usefull (GPS will be working) carputer.

12/03/07:
Ordered a fuse box for the project. http://www.northeastmarineelectronic…OD&ProdID=2750

11/03/07:
After a lot of hair pulling I finally managed to get the video just right. I uploaded a photo of the prototype. Look for it in this thread.

10/22/07:
After a whole year I finally ordered the screen. I’m almost to the point where this is a reality.

10/12/06:
In the past two weeks I have fixed the GPS problem. Crossover Office 6 seems to have fixed the crashing. I am playing with autoit to automate zooming in and out of the navigation map. If I get that working well I may expand it to other navigation functions.

09/28/06:
I was having problems with the GPS program crashing but think I may have found a way to delay the crash to about 36 hours.

09/26/06:
Played around and was able to lop off about 10 seconds from the boot time. I removed all fancy graphics and graphics drivers from the kernel. I’m at about 20 seconds until I’m in a working screen.

09/24/06:
This weekend I replaced my plantronix microphone with a labtec one. The labtec is very accurate at about 6″ vs the 3″ for the plantronix. And it doesn’t loose too much accuracy at about 3′ you just have to talk louder. The plantronix is useless at 3′ no mater how loud you shout.
I was able to get the voice recongition working pretty well (as good as oem systems I’ve seen). It is limited right now to changing between modes (I have 4 modes. Information screen, navigation, media, and obd-II)
Boot time seems to be growing as expected. I think I’m close to 30 seconds. I’m way over where I want to be.
On the plus side I took a screen shot of my working desktop so it kind of fakes it so it looks like the system is fully operational after only 5 seconds. One of the reasons the time keeps growing is because I’m not actualy using a watch but counting. I’ve been counting faster to try to force myself to get annoyed at the speed and put more focus on it.

09/22/06:
I’ve made a great deal of progress. Instead of looking for a front end I’m going with a window manager to switch between programs. I have the nav stuff working the way I want it. I’m not sure how much more I have to do on it except maybe try to decrease the boot time. My current boot time is around 30 seconds.
I think my next step is to get a motorized touch screen.

09/16/06:
The GPS reciever works great. I just plugged it in, did an apt-get install gpsd and it was working.
I installed a few gps program to test and had no problems. I even got iGuidance 3.0 running under a demo version of crossover office.
My boot time is currently 22 seconds to a usable system. I haven’t loaded a front end for it yet so it might increase 2 or 3 more seconds.
So my staring point will probably be 24 seconds. I am going to try to get it down to 5 seconds but currently I have to add a 5 second delay to get the hard drive spun up. So if I can figure a way around that I will have cut aproximately 30% of the boot time.

Times that can’t be eliminated
5 seconds to go through post
2 seconds to initialize the screen

That only leaves 1 second for loading all the code. I think I may be going over my 5 second limit, but It will be fun to see how close I can get.

09/14/06:

Software and receiver arrived. The receiver was up and running as soon as I installed gpsd. I tested with a few opensource projects and things worked well. I tried installing iGuidance under wine with no luck.

I then installed the crossover-office demo and iGuidance installed and ran. There seems to be some issues with it crashing over time that need to be investigated. But so far things look promising.

09/09/06:

Bought a GPS receiver and some nav software

11/16/05:

Bought a microphone to test out linux’s voice navigation/dictation. I am using perlbox voice and it seems okay so far.

10/24/05:

Found out I have been scammed on ebay. The 4GB flash drive is a fake. The seller is no where to be found. I may “luck” out and it may be a 256M stick that I can at least experiment with but we will see.

8/10/05:

Flash drive came in. My first goal is to get a bootable OS on it.

8/9/05:

Found out that USB Flash drives only last for 1,000,000 writes per cell. I plan on running the OS from it and everytime you read a file it updates the last accessed date. This could kill a drive pretty quick I think. I’ve heard people say that their memory stick died after 6 months. The good news is I hear that doing a few things like loading the os into ram and running from there works well to preserve the stick, So does making the OS not update the last accessed time stamp. Also, moving the temp directory to ram helps to preserve the stick.

8/3/05:

Ordered 4GB USB Flash drive from ebay *gulp* (Turned out to be a scam)

Running costs
FREE Old Dell Optiplex sx260 used.
$300.00 Motorized LCD touchscreen
$70.00 512MB DDR Ram
$30.00 Alipine ai-net to rca adaptor
$118.00 Sandisk USB pen drive (turned out to be scam and doesn’t work)
$19.56 Plantronix audio 15 microphone (not going to be used)
$73.22 Globalsat GPS SiRF Star 3 III Waterproof
$99.99 iGuidance for Pocket PC & PC (DVD)
$18.00 labtec 333 microphone
$28.00 BLUE SEA 5025 ST BLADE FUSE BL6 CIRCUIT W/NEG BUS

http://www.northeastmarineelectronic…OD&ProdID=2750

$8.00 2 12v relays
$45.00 8 gauge install kit
$69.00 ElmScan ISO USB Scan Tool
$12.99 Targus ACH74US Ultra Mini USB 2.0 4-Port Hub

Total so far: $877.76

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Documenting projects and things I find interesting in my life