Homebrew carputer

Avbrand's Carputer

Though not from scratch, [Avbrand] integrated a powerful set of tools into his Subaru station wagon. The system was compiled from off the shelf electronics, such as a Compaq notebook, 3G USB modem, touch screen, and an assortment of other peripherals. It is based around Windows XP, though most of the carputer-specific applications, such as backup camera integration, Google Maps – based car tracking, and automatic volume control had to be custom coded by [Avbrand] himself. Perhaps the single most impressive and useful feature of the system is synchronization with highway traffic cameras. The system streams video of segments of the highway before [Avbrand] gets to them, allowing him to make more informed navigational choices. He documents it pretty well on his website.

Comments

  1. CamelToeJoe says:

    Hi! First!

  2. napalm says:

    Wow! that is a beautiful thing! i hope this project will get noticed by car companies, this would be fantastic if we could all spread the love and tell tailgaters to shove it.

  3. clinton says:

    while carputers have been around as a hobby for a long time, this one does look like a pretty clean setup. i can’t get to the website right now, so i don’t know what components he used. integrating video from the highway traffic cameras is a very nice touch, one i would never have thought of. good job, man.

    for those interested in this sort of stuff, mp3car is a great place to start.

  4. jayson says:

    check out this carputer as well! wifi and wardriving!

    http://inventgeek.com/Projects/Automotive-Media-Center/overview.aspx

  5. Matthew says:

    Whoa. Just whoa. That’s pretty much everything on my “Want-to-do-but-never-got-around-to” list.

  6. bob says:

    there are a hundred better installs than this on mp3car, quite a few with custom hardware and really innovative features. Why did you pick this run of the mill effort?

  7. Jacob Woj says:

    The highway camera integration was my biggest incentive, but also the fact that he showed how minimal yet effective the setup can be. He also wrote a bunch of his own software for it, while MP3car installs seem to focus a lot more on specialized hardware.

  8. amk says:

    not a hac… oh wait, now I see the arduino. nevermind.

    pretty freaking awesome. all it’s missing is a rear caltrop launcher for those assholes who ride your ass.

  9. Life2Death says:

    by the book, laptop keyboard are their primary heatsync. I’ve had more problems of them dying when people use them in that state – lid closed. Sad but true. Did you really think that 20mm fan would cool anything?

  10. Add “Megasquirt” to that and you have a nice tunning car. Add a few accelerometor sensors around the frame and suspension and you have an awesome F1 style telemetry system with remote logging and realtime view. :)

  11. ellisgl says:

    If he would implement WiFi scanning with the cameras, it could show where the WAP is. =)

  12. Steve Z says:

    I think this is a very well executed project. I like his choice too instead of something off of mp3car. Website looks very well executed as well. Great post Hack a Day.

  13. na says:

    @ellisgl

    thats useless

  14. QUOW says:

    On September 1st, 2009 at 16:30 life2death said:

    “by the book, laptop keyboard are their primary heatsync. I’ve had more problems of them dying when people use them in that state – lid closed. Sad but true. Did you really think that 20mm fan would cool anything?”

    The keyboard isn’t the heatsink, it’s just an area that happens to have heat escape through it when the computer is warm. You don’t call an uninsulated part of the roof of your house a “heatsink,” do you? Retard.

  15. Foxdie says:

    I used to play Team Fortress Classic with this guy 7+ years ago, he coded one of the best custom TFC servers on the face of the planet (google “the sillyzone” or just look for it on his site).

    This guy is a genius, his flat is completely controlled by voice recognition via wrist-watch walkie-talkies, it’s epic!

    Shame however that he opted for Subaru Legacy *ducks* :) (Hehe, he loves his car really and that’s what counts!)

    Av: If you’re reading this, well done :)

    Hackaday: Keep up the good work!

  16. M4CGYV3R says:

    That’s damn cool. Anyone know a non-major-network US equivalent of that rocketstick device? That would make my life so much easier, but Verizon and AT&T are the worst companies in America, hands down, and I don’t want to deal with them.

  17. Jacob Woj says:

    I’m assuming you could simply buy a Novatel Ovation MC950D (the modem’s real name) and hook it up to any 3G GSM plan of your choice.

  18. _ezaK says:

    Using a laptop with a spinning HD in a running (and vibrating) car could be a problem…

  19. stinkymonkey says:

    I love Avatar-X I used to play on his half life servers way way way back in the day I often visit his site to see his latest projects…
    This car is pretty sweet….

  20. Ben says:

    Why do a majority of people making carputers go from DC to Ac back to DC power!? Very inefficient compared to spending a little more money for DC/DC converters.

  21. sk says:

    He went away from the DC to AC to DC awhile ago and is now using a custom built DC to DC setup.

  22. Greg says:

    I emailed this guy and this is his reply to my question on if he is going to release his software for the car..

    “Hi Greg,

    Thanks for the inquiry and interest in my software!

    Taking software from the “proof of concept” level, where my homebrew software is now, to the “ready for the public” level, is a huge task and takes about 5 times as much work as I’ve already put into it. Since this is really just something for my own fun, I don’t expect to be releasing my software at any point. It would not work for anyone without my specific setup, and it would also be rather limiting.

    My website really just exists to document my work and to provide inspiration to other people who might want to do the same thing.”

    It’s understandable but still his software could be the jumping off point for a lot of other things..

  23. Great thanks!

  24. Great stuff…very informative. I’ve heard alot about your methods and absolutely want more. Fantastic work!

  25. Ftran078 says:

    You should also consider purchasing the MT107A from Phoenix Audio Technologies if you want clear audio while talking on the phone in your car. It was designed for the Carputer crowd. Here’s the link to the MT-107A:

    http://phnxaudio.com/index.php?option=com_djcatalog&view=showitem&id=39&Itemid=35

    • av says:

      Ftran078: I actually already have an Andrea Stereo USB microphone, it works amazingly :)

      Seeing as how this article was posted over two years ago, I thought I’d post a little update:

      @Life2Death: I’ve been running the car PC with the same laptop for 3.5 years now, with the same 120mm (not 20mm) fan, and it has never once failed. Sure, it gets warm, but it doesn’t seem to mind.

      @_ezaK: I was worried that the hard drive would die also, but the same HD has been in there for 3.5 years now, it’s solid as a rock. Bumps, potholes, offroading, and my crazy driving don’t even make it blink. It’s never given me a problem.

      Cheers,
      -av

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