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Discussion Starter #1
UDATE as of 03.29.14
I just want to leave a note at the top of this thread to apologize for not more actively managing it recently. I've found that the time commitment required for my academic pursuits is far greater than I had anticipated. However, I will post infrequent unplanned updates when I can.

Hey ladies, guys, my fellow nerds...
New Update below. I'll try to clean up this first post after I get the truck put back together.
-Wes

Current Progress

Previous, LAST UPDATE--Audio Cable Soldering
http://www.overclock.net/t/992830/truck-computer-carputer-build-log/100#post_16984441
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PLAN:
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I want to install a computer and touchscreen in my truck's dash.

Why you ask? For GPS, music, video for passengers, internet and various other applications. I haven't seen much on these installs here so I figured I'd share the build and info I get along the way.

I have a truck that I use for contract work and frequent long road trips to work out of.
Truck is a 2007 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 extended cab::



I'm getting a friend who has done custom dash work on show cars to help with the fabrication.
His job is to transform this:


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PRE-PURCHASE BUILD CONSIDERATIONS:
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The upper limit I'm thinking is a low power i3 build with a ssd main disk and 3tb storage drive.
For power I will used a DC-DC 250-300W. I haven't decided on the model yet.
Monitor I will need a Transflective Touchscreen and haven't decided on size. 7in would be cheapest to install and has the most choices. 10" widescreen would be my preference but I need to do more research on where to buy and the choices.

Other considerations::
  • Replace the stock audio headunit?
  • Where to relocate the digital a/c controls?
  • Install amp/subs?
  • Front usb ports?
  • Power switch?
  • Mouse/keyboard?
  • Power requirements--battery/alternator...
  • How to deter theft?
If I go with the 10" screen I will be using XBMC for my media content... smaller and I may look at more options or the best skin for the smaller touchscreen.

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UPDATES!
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POST-PURCHASE BUILD SPECS:
computer - core i3 2100t, GT 520, itx board, 4gb ram, 120gb ssd, 2 x 2tb storage, wifi card (was laying around unused), 250w dc-dc psu with integrated startup-shutdown controller
monitor - 10" touchscreen (non-transflective)
audio - 2 x 10" subs powered by 500w amp
Parts::




LINKED POSTS:

Purchased computer build.
Purchased monitor, psu.
Purchased subs/amp.
Before Pictures and Parts Pictures Up!
Pulled Dash.

LONGGGG Delay...

Check monitor/dash fit.
http://www.overclock.net/t/992830/truck-computer-carputer-build-log/90#post_16841978

PC Test Run.
http://www.overclock.net/t/992830/truck-computer-carputer-build-log/90#post_16944954

Audio Cable Routing.
http://www.overclock.net/t/992830/truck-computer-carputer-build-log/90#post_16953314

Wiring Harness Work.
http://www.overclock.net/t/992830/truck-computer-carputer-build-log/90#post_16966201
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CURRENT TO DO LIST
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  1. Dash work
    • Plastic weld, sand, fill/prime/paint dash.
    • Finish audio cables for wiring harness and connect all wiring.
    • Read through wiring harness and PSU manual to determine which wires other then audio cables to connect and where. Called up the people who made it. Made all the connections they said.
    • Install GPS/USB and other accessory cabling.
  2. Wiring
    • Big three upgrade (if necessary) -- I need to see what gauge wire currently is installed.
    • Run power wires to amp and psu -- 4 gauge wire for the amp, will use the same for psu. I need to determine where/what fuse to install. Done, used 8gauge for PSU and 2gauge for amp.
    • Splice monitor power cable and tie it into psu for auto power on/off with computer/truck. Done, need to update photos.
    • Run audio cables to amp location -- I might need to make these. I still need to terminate cable but the wire itself is run.
    • Run USB extensions -- will probably just put cable through a grommet on the dash in the compartment on the right hand side to make things easier.
  3. Audio
    • Mount amp to back of the cab behind the back seat.
    • Build speaker box. Ordered a pre-built one made to fit under my backseat for $100 that fit the dimensions of my subs.
    • Connect stock audio to pc and sub amp/subs.

Any input or suggestions would be great!

Thanks Guys and Gals!
.Wes
 

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Are we talking a truck, or a big rig?

Some things to consider:

Do you have the battery to power an i5 rig?

Do you need the power of an i5? I wouldn't think so, I would think the lowest end i3 would be more than enough.

Resolution. That's another thing to consider, especially with onboard graphics. Lots of touchscreen car monitors have wacky resolutions and with some onboard video (for instance Intel) you can't set custom resolutions if the resolution for the monitor is something out of the norm. For instance, my 7" phylon is 800x480 and I can set it to that because of the Intel graphics.

Does the PSU you picked out have a low-power feature that will turn most things on the PSU off to keep from deep-draining the battery? The one I used shuts off the 5VSB and only pull .1mA when the car is off.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
It's a chevy 1500.

Sorry, i5 was a typo. It links back to the lowest power i3 available.
I am considering an i5 though as an alternative because an alternator upgrade isn't a big deal.

I was planning on buying a display with a standard resolution if possible, but if onboard can't handle the display res, a gfx upgrade is no big deal. Again, power is not a huge concern... Alternator upgrade, second battery, whatever.

And the DC-DC psu's I'm looking at do have a usb shutdown controller. If not I will simply buy a separate power controller for these purposes. This is likely to be the psu M4-ATX 250W

Thanks for the thoughts and input!
 

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You might want to also consider the i3-2100T as an option for a CPU. 2.5Ghz and it's only 35w TDP, so it uses VERY little power, you wouldn't need to upgrade anything on your truck. It should be more than enough power unless you are doing some heavy gaming or something. Movies, music, internet browsing etc. should all be easily handled by the i3-2100T.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by iJustin;13209512
Wouldn't it be bad for the computer especially the HDD when in a truck? All those little bumps would affect it.
The computer should be fairly intrinsically safe with an ssd. The storage drive won't be, but I'm willing to lose data on that drive as it is for media that is backed up else where. Plus 3tb of ssd's or laptop hd's would be expensive. I might buy an external hdd controller to keep the storage disc off when not playing media.

Music will be on the ssd.

Good thought!
Quote:
Originally Posted by labbu63;13209761
i have one suggestion wouldn't zacate be better for this then the i3?
I'm open to amd but why would it be better then i3?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrwesth;13211796
The computer should be fairly intrinsically safe with an ssd. The storage drive won't be, but I'm willing to lose data on that drive as it is for media that is backed up else where. Plus 3tb of ssd's or laptop hd's would be expensive. I might buy an external hdd controller to keep the storage disc off when not playing media.

Music will be on the ssd.

Good thought!

I'm open to amd but why would it be better then i3?
zacate has much lower power consumption which is important if you're running off car battery. it also seems to fit your needs just fine.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by kujon;13213282
zacate has much lower power consumption which is important if you're running off car battery. it also seems to fit your needs just fine.
The i3-2100T is only 35W TDP and it's much faster.

I just priced this rig up as I am thinking about putting a carputer in my stang, after I am done with the one in the RX-7.

vsdv.png


It's roughly a 70W rig at max load (if that) and could easily be powered by a psu such as the Pico M3.

That puts the rig at $600 for one extremely bad-ass carputer. Add in another $300-400 for the monitor and you are sitting at about $1000 for a carputer system that can play most games you would want to play on such a small monitor (10" or so). Get a 3G dongle and boom, you have instant bad-ass carputer with internet while on the road baby.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by kujon;13213282
zacate has much lower power consumption which is important if you're running off car battery. it also seems to fit your needs just fine.
Well I've been looking at zacate for the last hour. It seems to basically be an atom with more graphics processing power.

At slightly increased power consumption (~ 5-10W) the i3 I linked in the OP seems to have a drastic performance increase. Up to 4x according to this review:: http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/display/core-i3-2100t_12.html#sect0

While processor performance is not a huge piece of what I need, I will be running a media library of over 2k titles (tv and movie) in XBMC. With atom processors that can lead to 30sec to 1min delay going from the menu screen to the titles list.

It looks like the sandy bridge processor offers better performance/W then zacate.

Thanks for the thoughts, it does look like a great cost effective alternative for some people.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Quote:


Originally Posted by Shrimpykins
View Post

The i3-2100T is only 35W TDP and it's much faster.

I just priced this rig up as I am thinking about putting a carputer in my stang, after I am done with the one in the RX-7.

It's roughly a 70W rig at max load (if that) and could easily be powered by a psu such as the Pico M3.

That puts the rig at $600 for one extremely bad-ass carputer. Add in another $300-400 for the monitor and you are sitting at about $1000 for a carputer system that can play most games you would want to play on such a small monitor (10" or so). Get a 3G dongle and boom, you have instant bad-ass carputer with internet while on the road baby.

I mirror your sentiments.
Save the monitor. After prior experience with laptops and seeing transflective screen demos I am going to splurge for the $400 transflective premium. So, we are looking at roughly $600 computer and $650-$1000 screen for a $1,600 budget before any hu/amp/sub/fabrication.

Still not a bad shake for a very capable build.
 

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I'd probably replace the stock head unit, seeing as with a couple 1/8"->RCA adapters the carputer and standalone amps are superior in every way. It's definitely worth running the door speakers from an amp if you care about sound quality and not just thump; I switched from running 2 decent quality door speakers straight off the head unit to running them off 2 channels of a 4 channel amp, with the remaining 2 going to a 10" sub. The difference is night and day, even with the sub turned off...

Is it a 2 door or 4 door truck?

Also as far as controls go, you could do something like my headlight switch mod--


The paint looks like crap because I got lazy while gluing, but you get the picture. It ended up being about $100 worth of parts from an electronics site, but looking back I could have saved some money by doing a couple things differently.
 

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+1
This is something I have been pondering for years.
Q. Why do you need 3TB storage for a carputer, especially if music will be on the SSD?
since your going to be running video, definitely look at compressing the file since your screen will probably not be running 1080p no reason to store it at that rate.

Q. What are you going to do about cooling?
I live in AZ and a car in a lot can get to 150-180f ambient pretty quickly that can be pretty harsh on a cpu and HD.

The upgraded alternator and extra battery will probably be a must on the system.

I am excited to see where you go with this, especially since you have a friend who does fab work, that can make the system look real sexy.

another Q. Which chevy 1500 do you have? extended cab, quad cab, 4x2, 4x4...?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Traches;13216004
I'd probably replace the stock head unit, seeing as with a couple 1/8"->RCA adapters the carputer and standalone amps are superior in every way. It's definitely worth running the door speakers from an amp if you care about sound quality and not just thump; I switched from running 2 decent quality door speakers straight off the head unit to running them off 2 channels of a 4 channel amp, with the remaining 2 going to a 10" sub. The difference is night and day, even with the sub turned off...

Is it a 2 door or 4 door truck?

Also as far as controls go, you could do something like my headlight switch mod--

*Snip*

The paint looks like crap because I got lazy while gluing, but you get the picture. It ended up being about $100 worth of parts from an electronics site, but looking back I could have saved some money by doing a couple things differently.
Good idea getting the speakers off the head unit, most head amps are terrible->utter crap. 50watts/channel of poop.
 

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I was going to suggest a Atom setup myself. But it looks like that has been discussed already. GLWB(good luck with build)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Quote:


Originally Posted by Traches
View Post

Also as far as controls go, you could do something like my headlight switch mod--

The paint looks like crap because I got lazy while gluing, but you get the picture. It ended up being about $100 worth of parts from an electronics site, but looking back I could have saved some money by doing a couple things differently.

I think I am going to do something similar to that control panel. Probably will put a couple usb ports, power btn, and possible trackball (though I may side against this due to vibration concerns).

For sound... I'm going to try and spend as little as possible to clean up the sound in the truck. It's really not that bad right now--2 door speakers and 2 tweeters--but could use some base. I may just take the cherry bombs off and that could do the trick.

Quote:


Originally Posted by Fooliobass
View Post

+1
This is something I have been pondering for years.
Q. Why do you need 3TB storage for a carputer, especially if music will be on the SSD?
since your going to be running video, definitely look at compressing the file since your screen will probably not be running 1080p no reason to store it at that rate.

Q. What are you going to do about cooling?
I live in AZ and a car in a lot can get to 150-180f ambient pretty quickly that can be pretty harsh on a cpu and HD.

The upgraded alternator and extra battery will probably be a must on the system.

I am excited to see where you go with this, especially since you have a friend who does fab work, that can make the system look real sexy.

another Q. Which chevy 1500 do you have? extended cab, quad cab, 4x2, 4x4...?

3tb for video media. Over 2,000 titles ~ 2.2TB.

Cooling is a good point. Honestly I'm not sure beyond, don't start the computer until ambient in the truck reaches ~ 70F. I may send a small vent off an air duct to the pc... but 2 concerns with that. 1. I will need a way to close the vent when I turn heat on. 2. Condensation.

Any suggestions on cooling would be great!


And I'll update the OP with the truck info.
It's an 07 chevy 1500 etx cab 4x4 (I live in Alaska right now
)
 

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What about going water cooled for the carputer? I don't know how well those parts survive through vibration though. Maybe store the components somewhere other than the dash? maybe middle front seat? or a box under the back seat?

Alaska wont have as bad of ambient as I have down here, but still could be above desirable.

Have you looked into shock mounts for the HDs?
 

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I don't think you need to worry about the heat, just make sure you have some fans circulating air through whatever you house the components in.

You don't need to worry about vibration either since you will be using a SSD, the HDD may suffer, but as you said you aren't worried about that.

I would setup a control panel, use a simple toggle switch to act as a false ignition that way you can control the power to the pc separate from the car if needed.

You simply wire the +12v from the battery to one end and the ignition wire from the PSU to the other, when you flip the switch, it thinks the ignition has been turned on and therefore turns on the PSU.
 
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