RasbPi Mk1 Carputer

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Ending Credits
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RasbPi Mk1 Carputer

Post by Ending Credits »

Hi all,

I recently purchased a Mk1b and I'm tempted to put one of my pi's to good use and install a carputer in it. Currently it has an aftermarket HU, but the only function of that I'm keen to keep is the CD player (and if that has to go I'm sure I can finda CD player for the Pi).

Some of the features I'm thinking of are:
Audio player from onboard memory + USB
Bluetooth for audio control and audio streaming
GPS module + 3axis accelerometer for datalogging
2x20 Char VFD display for that retro feel (depends what I can find and if I find a good way to mount it)
Wifi hotspot to allow easy communication with laptop/phone (and automatic connection to home network)
Speedometer on my watch (probably not, but within the realms of possibility. Data would come from the GPS.)
Password to diable the aftermarket immobiliser (this is a huge can or worms frankly)

And then I'm wondering if I should also fit a small LCD touchscreen or similar and have sat-nav etc. My main issue with this is that it would ruin the 80's feel fo the dash, although I'm sure I could make it feel retro somehow. Car LCDs also seem quite expensive although if I can find some end of line lower res screen that would be perfect.

From what I gather I can grab all of the wiring from the stock HU connector (12V, audio etc). Are there any cheap adaptors i can buy so i don't have to butcher the stock loom? it's possible the current HU has a custom adapter on it, but i don't want to rip it out just yet.

My main worry is how I'm going to mount everything. From what I can see the Mk2 and Mk3 have double din racks for HU's. Does anyone know if this is the case in the Mk1? And does anyone have any pictures of what I will find underneath the dash (and any guides on how to take apart the dash)? (Happy to subscribe to MR2OC membership for these, but thought I'd hold off on comitting to membership for now)

Any suggestions/ideas are welcome, especially with regards to mounting solutions!

-EC



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Re: RasbPi Mk1 Carputer

Post by adamstanford »

Interested in seeing this. I think you'd easily get a double din in if you removed the cubby slot under the stereo.
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Re: RasbPi Mk1 Carputer

Post by gavsdavs »

I have something similar but I did it with one of these:
http://www.kustompcs.co.uk/acatalog/info_1388.html
not an rpi. I know linux inside out, but not on an rpi and I know the distributions are different (meaning rpi stuff is pretty custom)

There are a few aspects to consider
- power management. You want it to wake up when the car is turned on, and (gracefully) sleep or shutdown when the car is turned off.
- inputs and outputs. I had to put 4 extra USB ports into the machine I use just to do wifi, gps, engine logging, 3g dongle. I haven't attempted to do music or phone control or touchscreen. You may also want a keyboard/touchscreen to go with that. Make sure you cater for enough.
- Make it do what you want it to do FIRST without installing it into the car. It's a PITA trying to debug a software issue without a reliable internet connection and google to hand. I'm not saying do it all at once, but don't try and build/install the OS in the car from a blank disc.
- Select all the software you need to do the stuff up front. What data logging software are you planning on using ? What music manager ? What inputs server (if considering wifi control from your phone) is compatible ? How are you going to spot a car shutdown and begin sleep/shutdown accordingly ? Does the Rpi actually have the CPU to run it all ?

I suspect there are a number of ruggedised cases for the rpi and they're pretty small, you might be able to site the unit itself in the frunk and run cables into the cabin.

A bare touchscreen (i.e no bezel/case) with sufficient luminosity and the right inputs/outputs isn't common (unless you're buying thousands). I am on the look out for something like that to go into my passenger sun visor, but I don't think that sort of tech has quite filtered down to the end user yet.

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Re: RasbPi Mk1 Carputer

Post by Ending Credits »

gavsdavs wrote:I have something similar but I did it with one of these:
http://www.kustompcs.co.uk/acatalog/info_1388.html
not an rpi. I know linux inside out, but not on an rpi and I know the distributions are different (meaning rpi stuff is pretty custom)

There are a few aspects to consider
- power management. You want it to wake up when the car is turned on, and (gracefully) sleep or shutdown when the car is turned off.
- inputs and outputs. I had to put 4 extra USB ports into the machine I use just to do wifi, gps, engine logging, 3g dongle. I haven't attempted to do music or phone control or touchscreen. You may also want a keyboard/touchscreen to go with that. Make sure you cater for enough.
- Make it do what you want it to do FIRST without installing it into the car. It's a PITA trying to debug a software issue without a reliable internet connection and google to hand. I'm not saying do it all at once, but don't try and build/install the OS in the car from a blank disc.
- Select all the software you need to do the stuff up front. What data logging software are you planning on using ? What music manager ? What inputs server (if considering wifi control from your phone) is compatible ? How are you going to spot a car shutdown and begin sleep/shutdown accordingly ? Does the Rpi actually have the CPU to run it all ?

I suspect there are a number of ruggedised cases for the rpi and they're pretty small, you might be able to site the unit itself in the frunk and run cables into the cabin.

A bare touchscreen (i.e no bezel/case) with sufficient luminosity and the right inputs/outputs isn't common (unless you're buying thousands). I am on the look out for something like that to go into my passenger sun visor, but I don't think that sort of tech has quite filtered down to the end user yet.
Regarding shutting down gracefully, the RPi seems not to mind hard shutdowns. It doesn't even have a power button. I've done a CAN-bus datalogger with a BeagleBone Black before (which warns against hard shutdowns) and we had it wired into the main car power system which was getting turned on/off all the time (with very ittle input protection) and I never saw any corruption. My plan is just to wire it straight into the 12V from the ignition through a DC/DC converter. If that doesn't work I'll have to go to the drawing board.

Number of USB ports will be an issue. A hub should solve that somewhat but I don't know if the RPi can source enough power for a bunch of extra peripherals. I will definitely use the car power supply where possible.

I know what a pain it can be to work on stuff when it's in situe. When we were debugging our datalogger it was just a case of plugging in a USB cable to our Beaglebone to be able to ssh into it and that was bad enoug. That's part of the reason why I want a wifi hub as it should allow easy debugging by ssh over wifi. Unfortunately that will be a pain since I can't then connect to the internet at the same time unless I have the laptop plugged into our wired network.

Fitting the Pi itself should be easy, the thing is tiny. I may not even bother to secure it properly.

Reagrding software, I'm planning on using OSMC/Kodi which is a stripped down version of Debian with Kodi (formerly XMBC) installed. For datalogging I'll just write a python script to log to a MySQL and run that as a sevice. Everything else should be pretty much plug and play. (Not 100% sure on how the bluetooth will work, but I'm sure I can hack it together somehow.)

Out of interest, what sort of luminosity should I be looking for?

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Re: RasbPi Mk1 Carputer

Post by notroubleclubber »

I've got all the above ,GPS,Spotify,toyotaobd,internet,digital radio etc etc and it cost me less than £100.

Tesco hudl tablet with their bloatware removed, cheap secondhand amp, component front setup speakers (already had), sub (free) in custom mr2 sub box.

Superb sound, auto on and off with ignition via an all and everything I could possibly want.
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Re: RasbPi Mk1 Carputer

Post by gavsdavs »

Ending Credits wrote: Regarding shutting down gracefully, the RPi seems not to mind hard shutdowns. It doesn't even have a power button. I've done a CAN-bus datalogger with a BeagleBone Black before (which warns against hard shutdowns) and we had it wired into the main car power system which was getting turned on/off all the time (with very ittle input protection) and I never saw any corruption. My plan is just to wire it straight into the 12V from the ignition through a DC/DC converter. If that doesn't work I'll have to go to the drawing board.

Number of USB ports will be an issue. A hub should solve that somewhat but I don't know if the RPi can source enough power for a bunch of extra peripherals. I will definitely use the car power supply where possible.

I know what a pain it can be to work on stuff when it's in situe. When we were debugging our datalogger it was just a case of plugging in a USB cable to our Beaglebone to be able to ssh into it and that was bad enoug. That's part of the reason why I want a wifi hub as it should allow easy debugging by ssh over wifi. Unfortunately that will be a pain since I can't then connect to the internet at the same time unless I have the laptop plugged into our wired network.

Fitting the Pi itself should be easy, the thing is tiny. I may not even bother to secure it properly.

Reagrding software, I'm planning on using OSMC/Kodi which is a stripped down version of Debian with Kodi (formerly XMBC) installed. For datalogging I'll just write a python script to log to a MySQL and run that as a sevice. Everything else should be pretty much plug and play. (Not 100% sure on how the bluetooth will work, but I'm sure I can hack it together somehow.)

Out of interest, what sort of luminosity should I be looking for?
I often look here (where I got the PC from) - suggests ~600Nits is readable in sunlight.
http://www.kustompcs.co.uk/acatalog/Scr ... fiers.html

Hard shutdowns:
Does an RPi not have a filesystem ? What media will it run on - a flash drive of some sort ?

With regards to running off the car battery directly, are your electronics up to the level of giving yourself an independent battery to run from ? - so you can flatten that, if not the cars battery..:)

If you aren't able to give yourself full vga output (the above screen, for example), try and work towards a serial console - these are available from the grub screen, whereas ssh/wifi relies upon a booted OS (some while later)

WRT to extra power: http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/12v-3a-univer ... tips-a92jh
That could be wired in (not consuming the actual fag lighter itself) and provide the power for a USB powered hub.

If you want it to be internet using - factor in the 3g dongle as that often ends up being the management interface (as opposed to sitting in the car with a laptop) - but then you need to sort firewalling/access security a bit. If you're up to running a full wifi/ip stack, you often don't need to resort to bluetooth. Could you also get an audio chipset on it to drive a power amp ?

Fun idea - I would imagine doing all that on an rpi is pretty tricky.
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Re: RasbPi Mk1 Carputer

Post by SonicSW20 »

I wouldn't have thought an RPi would be powerful enough to do all of that by itself!
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Re: RasbPi Mk1 Carputer

Post by Ending Credits »

The pi uses an SD card for storage. I don't know why it doesn't tend to get corrupted after a hard shutdown. I could probably rig it to another battery, but there's the whole issue of recharging it (for lead-acids this isn't so bad, but with lithium chemistries it can be a nightmare it can be a real nightmare). Having stuff come on when the ancillaries come on works for me fine.

The Pi is pretty capable. I've run Minecraft and Terraria servers on it before and they work okay (although it's obvious the pi can't fully cope with them). I think I'll get away with running everything independantly. If not I might try a headless solution with just the VFD display.

The 3G dongle might be nice although I think signal is too unreliable to try anything like spotify on the move (we don't even get signal at the house so...). The pi has a stereo audio jack which I'm just going to wire into the speaker input from the HU connector. There's an amp at the speaker itself so it should drive them fine. I'm not too fussy about audio-quality so hopefully it will be as easy as that.
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Re: RasbPi Mk1 Carputer

Post by gavsdavs »

Ending Credits wrote: The 3G dongle might be nice although I think signal is too unreliable to try anything like spotify on the move (we don't even get signal at the house so...).
I wasn't suggesting using the 3g dongle for streaming - simply to get data on and off it without having to set up a wifi/bluetooth network on your phone.

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Re: RasbPi Mk1 Carputer

Post by Ending Credits »

Yeah, after playing around with getting xbmc + navit working together I see the merit of having the car connected to the internet. It would be good as well for things like checking the news in the morning (I don't know if it's recommended to let the MR2 warm up or not) and for downloading stuff rather than having to manually move it across. As you mentioned, there is a little issue of security, although if I don't have the carputer on my home network then it's not such a huge issue.

My main issue is of paying the subscription for a 3G (probably now 4G) dongle. Although I want an excuse to change service provider so maybe that's a bargaining tool...

Mini update: been fiddling around trying to get Kodi (XBMC) working with Navit with no luck. This guide works okay, but it relies on some very strange method to get it working and seems to rely on using a particular skin for XMBC. I may just use that method if I can't get anything working myself.

I've also been fiddlign with getting a LCD character display working in preparation for replacing it with a VFD char display. I was having troubles but then I realised I had the LCD wired to the pin numbers corresponding to the GPIO ports and not the actual pin numbers so I'll see how that goes.

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Re: RasbPi Mk1 Carputer

Post by Ending Credits »

Quick update:

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Trying to work out how I'm going to mount everything. Ideally I want a blank DIN module, but most of the stuff on ebay seems to be little cubbys (easy enough to convert I suppose). I'm thinking black aluminium for the front panel with lazer engraved annotations. Fortunatley I'm a member of a big Uk computer-modding forum so I'll be able to get plenty of help doing that.
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