Thursday, April 21, 2011

My Car PC – Alpha Build

From the first day I got my Auto I wanted to build up a Car PC. Hot smile But the problem was finding the parts I want to put in the build. While entry level components like Intel 945GCLF and later 945GCLF2 was available in the local marked I couldn’t convince myself to settle for anything that does not have a ION chipset. And neither I could find an easy way to get that kind of board from offshore. Disappointed smile
So I just ordered only an OBD-II cable from eBay for some 17$ and was using with laptop to read out OBD parameters that I noticed it also have Windows CE drivers as well. Well after all while I don’t like to waste my Moneyon an Intel board I could certainly try out hooking up eBox 2300 I had on my i-Robot Sumo which I won at Imagine Cup 2009 Finals if I just had a suitable screen. Thinking smile
Well I thought why don’t I try out buying a cheap VGA to AVI converter and a Small screen used for Car reversing cameras. It won’t be a waste since I can certainly use those for either robot itself or for the Car PC it self as a secondary display in a later stage when I got the proper hardware. And anyway total cost for both will be just under 40$
So again off to the eBay and got both ordered. While VGA converter was fast to come the screen got a considerable time to get delivered which almost annoyed me but fortunately it was finally delivered.
So I just wired in everything together and stuffed the CE PC inside the empty DIN slot below the Car Audio/CD player.
But the problem was that I noticed after a while eBox was really hot and worried about it’s long running health. So I just moved it to the slot over the cubby hole and stuffed all wires and the VGA converter in the DIN slot.
For the software part I actually didn’t had much of a requirement at this stage. After all it is just a Windows CE 6 PC with just 200MHz CPU, 128 MB RAM with 256 MB Flash storage. Embarrassed smile
It even showed that not just adequate to even run a Full screen video at VGA resolutions so no use of trying it as a video player. But after all I was just after the onboard diagnostics so I just wrote out a crude application that collect all those fancy data from the OBD-II protocol and log them.
Car PC–Build 1
Later I wrote a simple program that let me to analyze the captured data on a PC. Following is a sample data set from that tool.
[Posted with Windows Live Writer™ 2011 on Windows 7 64bit]