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M³ Car PC *18.8.04 - Case Update Online!*

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by Der Me!$ter, 1 Jan 2004.

  1. Der Me!$ter

    Der Me!$ter What's a Dremel?

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    First of all thanks for all of your praises! :cooldude: I got the panels made by a company in Berlin, Germany. The company is called Schaeffer Aparatebau and has free software, which you can download to design the panels. After designing them you can send them the files and they will machine them for you (they also ship internationally). The total cost of the panels was around EUR 300, which looks really expensive on first sight, however is very reasonable for the amazing work they did for me.

    @y_N_e_M_a

    I am not going to put switches in the holes, however touch sensors. I made a circuit with all of the touch electronics (see earlier posts). I will attach the small aluminum electrodes, which are on the same photo into the holes and simply solder a wire to the back of them connecting them to the electronics.
     
    Last edited: 23 Mar 2004
  2. 1st time modder

    1st time modder What's a Dremel?

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    i so am going to redo my stereo top surface in my car. :rock:
    so completely worth the money considering its most likely aircraft grade aluminum or steel. :eeek:
     
  3. Fronzel

    Fronzel What's a Dremel?

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  4. Der Me!$ter

    Der Me!$ter What's a Dremel?

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    Yes, that's exactly the same company.
     
  5. Go4t

    Go4t i

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    hot damn
    if i had somehing other than a minivan i would do that
     
  6. Der Me!$ter

    Der Me!$ter What's a Dremel?

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    Update:

    The Easter holidays have started so I'll try to get this project as far as possible with the available time. Currently I am still waiting for a new display controller from eBay. This one is a A/D converter which accepts normal VGA signals to drive the TFT LCD panel. The huge advantage with this is that I can use a standard graphics card. This means that I can get excellent DVD/video playback, etc. as opposed to the 1MB PCI card I had before. Anyway I didn't have any reasonable cards lying around so I bought a Xelo Radeon 9100 for EUR 45. The board is outdated and it's nothing fancy, however it is heaven compared to the card I was using before.

    At this time I am doing various test runs and I am getting the actual PC case finished. I was a little worried with using the standard screws to mount the PSU onto the wooden case. This combination wouldn't withstand a car environment for long so:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I modded the PSU a bit. I drilled 4 holes in the bottom and bolted it down with M4 screws. Now it's solid as a rock :thumb:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Furthermore I removed the power switch as it doesn't have any relevant function in my project. I also relocated the power connector to the top so I could run a cable to the power connector, which I am going to put on top of the case (see connector panels). The fan grill has also been removed as I will have to reposition it on top of the wooden side wall. I had to redo the middle wooden panel, which holds all of the PCI/AGP cards in place because of the new AGP graphics card. The old one only had a slot for a PCI graphics card's connectors.

    [​IMG]

    As already mentioned I am running various tests on the system and fortunately everything works! :clap: Sound quality is good, video is good (although I am testing it with a 12m VGA cable on my 19" TFT), Gbit LAN works, etc. I have also taken a look at Windows XP Embedded, which I should be able to customize to the Car PC's requirements. This would save disk space and minimize start-up time.

    I'll keep you updated! :dremel:
     
  7. stoned penguin

    stoned penguin What's a Dremel?

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    nice, very nice :rock:
    cant wait to see the finished product
     
  8. at_b

    at_b What's a Dremel?

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    great work dude...keep us posted
    /edit
    any chance of seeing the schematics to your touch sensors?
    cheers
     
    Last edited: 13 Apr 2004
  9. SFOD-D LoneWolf

    SFOD-D LoneWolf What's a Dremel?? :p

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    Looks great! Keep it up!


    I have a question, I got myself a Hitachi 7.6" 640X480 256colour touch LCD, and I was wondering....how the hell can it be fitted to my PC?
    Please check out my thread and help me with my quest...in return, if everything will work, I offer eternal praise :D



    Cheers,
    Mike
     
  10. ubernewber

    ubernewber What's a Dremel?

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    looking nice
     
    Last edited: 13 Apr 2004
  11. SeanRinVA

    SeanRinVA What's a Dremel?

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    Herr Meister,

    Your project is fantastic. You are doing quite an excellent job with it. I look forward to following this as you finish it. It's something I'd like to do with my next car, so I don't have to subscribe to Satellite Radio or listen to the stupid DJ's that are here, locally. I'm already running 802.11g at home, so I'm thinking a wireless adapter would be a good idea for x-ferring MP3's to and fro. Signal strength is excellent in my driveway. :D
     
  12. Der Me!$ter

    Der Me!$ter What's a Dremel?

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    Thanks for all of your compliments! :)

    My touchsensor schematic is highly adapted to all of the other hardware I am using so I quickly cut it down to the basic touch sensor circuit:

    [​IMG]

    Note that I am using a QT115D chip which allows you to daisy chain additional chips to it so there will be no interferance between them. The SIN (sense in) and SOUT (sense out) are used to do this but are not needed if you only use one sensor. The schematic shows a chip acting as a master (the M/S pin is attached to VDD), additional chips which are daisy chained to this chip would have to be slave chips so you would have to tie M/S to GND. The touch electrode is attached to SNSPW. Just check out the datasheets at QProx for more information.

    How the circuit works:

    When you touch your electrode the QT115D chip senses a change in capacitance and drops the output of the OUT pin from HIGH to LOW. This signal is inverted by the 4069 CMOS IC and so come out as a HIGH signal, which activates the TIP120 Darlington transistor. This transistor then switches the relay. The voltage regulator IC7 takes 12V+ from the car battery or whatever and drops it to 5V which is required to drive all of the ICs. R1 acts as a pull-up resistor.

    My TFT has caused me a lot of headaches since I somehow destroyed the controller. The whole problem is that the bare TFT panels don't accept standard VGA or DVI signals - most use RGB or LVDS interfaces. Another problem is that the timing rates, supply voltages, etc. vary from panel to panel and from manufacturer to manufacturer. To drive TFTs/LCDs, you need a special controller, mostly in the form of a PCI card or an A/D board. The PCI card has a GPU on it (mostly horribly slow ones with a couple MB RAM) and generally acts like a normal graphics card, however it directly, digitally drives the TFT panel with an RGB, LVDS, etc. signal. The A/D board takes a VGA signal from a standard graphics card and then converts this analouge signal to a digital RGB, LVDS, whatever signal and so drives the TFT. These controllers cost $200+ and you have to be careful to get one which works with your TFT. Try EarthLCD - one of the few retail suppliers of these controllers. Another place would be eBay. There are more problems like getting the right backlight inveter and in your case getting the right touch screen controller, so to keep it short: you can forget about it unless you have the money and a hell of a lot of time. I personally don't think it would be worth it especially because your display only supports 256 colors.
     
    Last edited: 17 Apr 2004
  13. at_b

    at_b What's a Dremel?

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    thanks dude,
    i just bought a couple of qt 150 as if i m not mistaking, the smd version because of a larger operating temeratur.e range. they also can syncronize between themselves so you can daisychain them and also have 5 sensors each.
    do you expect any problems with the sensors since they will be used in the car where the environment could change faster that the chip can handle?
     
  14. Der Me!$ter

    Der Me!$ter What's a Dremel?

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    I did not have any problems with them in my in car tests.
     
  15. ozGFX

    ozGFX What's a Dremel?

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    HGow do you get to run the computer off the car battery, and stop it from draining the battery aswell
     
  16. Der Me!$ter

    Der Me!$ter What's a Dremel?

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    Well it's impossible to do that with only a computer, an inverter and a car battery. The key is the alternator in the car. It is a generator which is driven by the engine of the car and so constantly recharges the car battery while the car engine is running. So if you turn on the computer while the engine is running, it will take the power from the alternator. Hence you're actually running the computer off of gasoline.
     
  17. SugarBear

    SugarBear What's a Dremel?

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    just a few quick comments, it sounded like you're going to use an inverter, which is fine, but after having installed about six Car PCs I can give you one little piece of advice, you may want a second alternator and a second battery.

    if you turn your inverter and computer on, then try to start your car, you'll fry your inverter and burn up your PSU and possibly your entire computer.

    there are no inverters made, nor will there ever be any, that can handle powering an entire computer off of what's left of the battery while starting the car.

    you of course can do it off of just one battery, and one alternator, but you have to turn on your computer after you start the car.

    believe me, if you already tested it or whatever and you got it to start the car while your computer was running (which I would never believe in a million years but still) then it was a fluke, don't ever try it again, I've burne up two computers and four inverters doing that.

    otherwise, continue on the awesome work
     
  18. Indigoue

    Indigoue What's a Dremel?

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    How about prevent starting the computer while the car isn't running. Maybe with a relay connected to something that only get power when the car is running.
     
  19. Der Me!$ter

    Der Me!$ter What's a Dremel?

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    I know that there are problems with the whole inverter issue. I have however not had any major conflicts with cranking the engine while the computer is on other than that the computer reboots. I have read here that it is possible to make the computer "survive" the crank by wiring an additional smaller rechargable battery in parallel to the inverter power supply line.
    Thank you for your advice, it got me thinking more about this issue...
     
    Last edited: 19 Apr 2004
  20. essjaytee

    essjaytee emtarkanderundergunderson

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    Don't try to reinvent the wheel. There are products made that do exactly what you are trying to do.

    You want one of these:
    http://mp3car.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=32

    and one of these:
    http://mp3car.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=28

    This will give you power that will not drop during crank (at all) and a shutdown controller. As I'm sure the guy who has built 6 car PCs will tell you, you can do what you are trying to do the easy (read cheap) way over and over and over again until you wind up buying the real stuff anyway, by which time you've spent twice the money.

    Keep up the good work, I can't wait to see what this all looks like installed in the car.
     

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