log of project where a computer system is integrated into a 1997 neon

Sunday, August 14, 2005

It lives!

So I took my first crack at installing the system and actually have pictures.

First, what I have done before today. I got my amp wiring kit and installed ground, 12V (pos), RCA, and the inline fuse, making sure to put the RCA and 12V on opposite sides of the car.

I took some care to run these wires under the carpet and the back seat into the trunk.

Here is a view of the wires in the trunk.
  • red 12V+
  • black ground
  • white 12V+ ignition switched
  • RCA connected to RCA female to miniplug

I spent a good deal of time trying to find the accessory line to be used as the switch on my power supply. The logical way to test for this would be to turn on the ignition and search for 12V, turn off the ignition and see if your multi meter goes to 0V.

I was unable to find this situation and instead relied on the print on the insulation of a wire connected to my head unit which ready "12V ignition switched". I decided to give it a shot and plugged it into the M1-ATX power supply and it worked! Party.

Speaking of the M1-ATX, this is basically a ATX (modern day computer) power supply. However, it has some smartness added to it that makes life really easy when connecting a computer to the car.

On the lower right you'll notice three prongs. These are for 12V+, 12V+ ignition switched, and ground. On the left hand side of the board we have jumpers. These connect to a power led, and have two switch jumpers in parallel. The idea here is that one jumper can go straight to the motherboard while the other can go to an external switch. The ability to have a second external switch comes in really handy as things didn't work 100% and sometimes you need to just power cycle the machine at times.

The rest of this chip deals with power regulation, auto turnoff settings, and a sensor that will cut all power consumption once a battery reaches a critical low voltage. Hopefully this will prevent me from getting stranded somewhere!

Next was the computer. I was able to snag an EPIA-V prebuilt system on ebay for 60 bucks. For this I received, motherboard, case, cpu, power supply, hard drive and cd-rom. Once I had my base software installed I started to modify this case to suit my needs
  • remove power supply
  • remove cdrom drive
  • remove plastic outer pieces of case
I then drilled some holes in the case and mounted the M1-ATX using some old plastic motherboard standoffs.

I did run into one issue with this however, when pluggin in my battery terminal hookups, the M1-ATX touched the metal case and produced some sparks. I fixed this by adding some foam to support and insulate the PSU.

A bit hard to tell but this is a view of my USB 802.11 G wireless card and below that is my Holux 210 USB GPS device. Through trial and error I have found that the GPS unit can operate when under the rear window speaker cover.

Next step was to run the necessary wires to the front of the car. I ran 15' USB extention cable for the touch screen USB cable, 6' VGA cable (a pull from my KVM crap), and a 10' USB cable for a keyboard (this is temporary).

On to the screen...

For now I'm just going to dash mount my screen. Two problems with this are the possibility of theft and the dash board is friggen rounded. This has the unfortunate side effect of making the supplied adhesive keep falling off. Using some spare aluminium sheeting I had laying around I fashioned this stylish bracket. This was screwed down into the existing dash mount holes. The whole idea of doing this was to avoid putting holes in the top of the dash for when I eventually remount the screen.

Here it is in all its glory! Not bad for 3-4 hours work in 100 degree heat.


At 12:58 PM, Anonymous Fuji said...

Yes everyone, Chris is a big dork!! I'm secretly wondering if he's going to try to program this thing to make him coffee.


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