In-Car PC

Since some time back in 2005, I've been mulling over the idea of putting a PC into my car. This mulling over even prompted me to start a software project (JDash) intended to be a virtual ECU Display. This project even morphed into a light-weight version that ran on a few specific mobile devices. Now, this software project is in it's 3rd version ([ ECUTracker]), but my InCarPC is still only a dream!! Until Now!!

I stumbled upon a fantastic deal on a manual pullout Single DIN LCD In-Dash Monitor (Thanks backslider). A fellow Subaru Enthusiast offered it up to me for a song, so I jumped at it. Just as that was happening, I also stumbled upon the perfect mini-ITX system on eBay. Again, for a really great price given what it came with. So, needless to say, my InCarPC project is finally off and running!

= Updates = More info to come, but the TriM board croaked!! D'Oh! I now have a single core Intel Atom board in it's place with a 2.5" 60G Hard Disk. Picked it up used on eBay for $50. I'll update this info one of these days, I promise!

= Parts = {| border="1" rules="all" width="90%" |- |align="right"|$62.00||2010/03/11||Used Tri-M emb9675 mini-ITX system from eBay ($49 + shipping) |- |align="right"|$52.00||2010/03/22||New PicoPSU M3-ATX Automotive Power Supply from eBay ($52 shipped) |- |align="right"|$20.00||2010/04/06||Used DWW-700h In Dash single DIN Pullout LCD Monitor with Touchscreen ($20 shipped) |- |align="right"|$44.99||2010/04/07||New MiniITX Slim Profile Case ($30 + 11.99 shipping) |- |align="right"|$3.35||2010/04/08||New Foxconn Dell Inspiron Compatible Power Jack ($2.30 + $1.05 shipping) |- |align="right"|$23.00||2010/04/08||2x 6-pin Male/Famle Molex Plugs, 2 on/off switches, 1 fuse holder and fuses. |- |align="right"|'''$205.34'''||on going||'''Total''' |}

== Tri-M emb9675 mini-ITX == id=13810 * 1Ghz Intel Celeron M * 512MB RAM * aOpen mini-pci B/G Wifi Card with Flag Antenna (Atheros chipset) * Intel 855 Onboard Video * Seagate ST1 5Gb 1" Hard Drive inserted into on board CF slot * [ specs] * [ manual] * Estimated Power Requirements (16.4W@5v + 1.32W@12v + 14.388@3.3v + 0.9W@5VSB = '''33W''')

== DWW-700h Single DIN LCD == id=13957 * Native Resolution 800x480 * Supported Resolution: 640x480~1280x768 * Common 4-pin touch screen through USB * VGA and 2 Composite Video Inputs * Screen Size: Diagonal 7" (16:9) * Panasonic or Atom LCD Panel * Dot Resolution: 2400 x 480 = 1,152,000 (dots) * Brightness: 400 cd/m? * VGA Input (1x 15 pin D-SUB) * 2 Video Inputs (2x RCA), (NTSC/PAL) * Touch Screen (USB) * Power Input: 12V * Consumption: 8-12W * Length 7.5" (190mm) x Width 7" (179mm) x Height 2" (50mm)

=== Notes === * * * * [ Unichrome] OpenSource linux drivers are suposed to support 800x480 on Via Graphics.

== M3-ATX Power Supply == id=13999 * 120W (150W Max) * Automotive Environment Friendly 6v to 24v input

== MiniITX Slim Profile Case == id=14002 * 9.25" x 7.25" x 2.25"

= Software = == OS == * [ TinyXP] == Front ends and Utilities == * [ ECUTracker] - The BEST ECU front end EVER!! And free!! * [ Centrafuse] - Still Active, $80 * [ Ride Runner] - Still Active, Free and Pro * [ Streetdeck] - Still Active, $29 wo/Nav. * [ XPort] - Looks alive? * [ AutoIt] - Scripted GUI control * [ RoadNav] - Still Activr

== Upgrades == * [ U.FL to RSMA Wifi Antenna Pigtail]

= Vendors = * * * * * *

== Misc == * [ Fusion Analog->USB] $50 * [ Matrix Orbital] VFD and Keypad Options * [ View All Project Photos Here]

= The Build =

First things first, let's just hook it all together and make sure all the parts work.


Yep, it does!! But, not until after some real head-aches with the Power Supply!! I spent hours trying to get the board to power up with the M3-ATX Power Supply, and even was having trouble with a regular 300W Power Supply out of a desktop PC. They both would appear to start up the system, but nothing would actually boot up. It turns out that Most PC Power Supplies require a minimum load on both power rails to actually start up. My Mini-ITX board is almost totally self-contained. I don't even need a hard drive plugged in. So, I had ONLY the 20pin ATX connector plugged in. So, I had to put something (anything) on the drive pigtails to get it to start up. That's the reason for the 3.5" drive on the table. It's just there to put a load on the PS.

To drive the ATX power supply, I decided to send 12v and 5v out of the case and up to power my LCD screen and in-dash USB Hub. The LCD screen was more than enough to get the power supply to turn on. Plus, my USB hub required a 5v signal too.

Here is a photo of the PC installed in it's case, mounted to the floor under the passenger seat. There is about 1/2" of clearance to still allow the seat to slide on it's rails. The cables all run nice and neat into the center console, and up into the dash.


A 9-pin molex plug was used on the case to both feed in 12v from my car, the ignition signal to turn on the M3-ATX power supply, and also output the 12v+5v power. There is also a 15A fule, and a master slide power switch to cut all power to the PC if needed.

Here you can see it all up and running. Just showing the output of my Innovate LC1 wideband.


The LCD is mounted in a manual pull-out Single DIN case. You can see the USB Hub at the bottom where my cigarette tray used to be. I don't smoke anyway! You can't see it, but just beside the USB hub is a small toggle switch that can cut power to the Ignition single fed to the M3-ATX. Thus, I can prevent the PC from starting if I need to, or turn it off while driving.

Here is a screen-capture of my own personal freeware software [ ECUTracker] running. On the left it shows the LC1 output, and on the right, my OEM ECU.


''' More to come as I continue the build '''