Last modified 14 years ago

CarPC Hardware

One part of the project is of course the CarPC. CarPC is acting here as a multimedia system controlling MP3 and video playing. It does also support internet radio and all that nice stuff one can do with PCs :) So on this page I am presenting the used hardware and some statistics incl. pictures.

OpenBM's left button field do control the BMW radio without need of a CarPC. Yeah, it do this by emulating a MID device. The right button field is for the control of a CarPC. Whenever one push, release or hold a button, a message is sent over the IBus. The IBus/D-Bus Gateway is receiving that messages over the wire and sent it as a key-code to the system. So it does emulate just a usual keyboard, so actually very few of those keys.

IBus Receiver

For receiving IBus messages I built a device similar to the well known  Ressler-IBus interface. It is based on the TH3122 and MAX232 chip to convert IBus messages into usual RS232 serial voltage. The ibus interface is connected to the internal COM-Header of PC's mainboard and is living completely inside of the CarPC housing.

Pictures follows...


For the hardware of the CarPC, I am using an Mini-ITX board from Zotac, namely the  Zotac ION-ITX Series F. Here is a short hardware overview:

  • CPU: Intel Atom 330 1.6GHz dual-core
  • RAM: DDR2-800MHz CL5 2GB, I think it is from Buffalo
  • GPU: nVidia ION graphic chip, best suited for multimedia applications ;)
  • HD 1: 32GB SSD from OSZ, with really tested 400MB/s read and 90MB/s write :)
  • HD 2: 1TB Samsung Spinpoint-F2, is currently not connected, but will act as external HD.
  • Power: M2-ATX supporting, I think up-to 90W, so around 7.5A.
  • Housing: VoomPC-2 enclosure
  • Rearview Camera: STO-IR 120deg, incl. IR-Led for night vision

The full power consumption of the system incl. TFT is around 3A when playing MP3. So, I think the M2-ATX is more than enough for that. The boot time is around 20sec, which is pretty good. The boot time is still not optimized, and I hope to push it down to at least 15sec. 10sec will be the ultimate goal, but I doubt that it will be possible.

Hardware from inside

On the first image you see the VoomPC-2 housing I am using to install the motherboard into. On the second image one can see the inside of that housing. In the top right corner one can see the IBus interface connected to the internal COM-Heading. The IBus signal is connected through the power-connector of the Voom housing.


For the installation of the CarPC I choosed the place in the trunk. The CarPC was mounted using special rubber-screws as widely used in LPG (liqued propane gas) installations. This bolts allows reduces vibrations and are perfectly suited for a CarPC. Although I am using a SSD and do not have any rotary components except of the cooling fans, I think reducing the vibrations would not make it worse :)

HSDPA/3G dongle installation

One of the dreams with my project was the ability to hear internet radio. And finally I did it. Just put a usb-dongle which connects me to the net. I installed the dongle on the rear window and stick black duct tape from the outside to protect from curious sights.

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