Advanced in car computer system

[Jonathan] sent us a pretty in-depth writeup of his car computer system.  This isn’t your typical quasi navigation/media system as you would usually expect with this title. What he has done is made a remotely accessible monitoring computer that can tell him everything from engine data to physical location of the car on a google map.  He can start, stop, lock, and unlock the car as well, as long as the car is within a 3g network. This is pretty impressive and we see tons of uses for this, from analyzing your own data to keeping an eye on those pesky teenagers when they borrow the car.

35 thoughts on “Advanced in car computer system

  1. From the video it sounds like the starter is being engaged too long. I have that problem also, trying to come up with a clever way to determine when the engine actually starts to discontinue the starter. Using shorter times on your starter relay works on normal days but not on cold ones ;)

  2. not to mention it could be used to remote shutdown a stolen car, preventing the car from being ruined in a high speed chase (although the likelihood of the car being stolen is low)

  3. @Automation:

    You could try monitoring RPM and/or alternator voltage to determine when the engine starts. I believe this is how commercial remote car starters work.

  4. @Eric @Automation:

    I second the Alternator voltage, exactly what I was thinking. There’s probably other various accessory relays you could tap into, though I have a feeling they are a bit delayed for such purposes. I think your best bet is to watch for a significant voltage spike during the crank sequence. I imagine voltage during crank will be mid 11V, and jump to right around 13.4V once running(no idea what it will read if still trying to crank while running).

    An idea I’ve been playing with for my vehicle is a type of WiFi enabled NAS with audio output, hooked to my car stereo’s line in. A BeagleBoard seems to be a good fit. I need to check my stereo’s manual, but I think that it may support some iPod remote control functions, perhaps even track title.

  5. How about just interfacing a remote starter to a netbook? You could also connect to the stereo and GPS from there, or is that too easy?

  6. Hm. this motivates me to work on my Car PC again. I had some components but never really did anything with it. He doesn’t really go into detail about the battery banks used to keep the system always running. Does anyone else have more information?

  7. Exelent if some one steels your car you know were it is and you just lock the criminals in switch off the engein and use a phone app to call a copper to come and pick the criminals up (: all you need now is remote control over the stering extra and increse the responce time a few web cams doted around the car and vwala you can drive them to the police station your self (:

  8. With the GPS system in there, and presumably running all the time, he could have a great security system. Hook the system up to the fuel pump, and set it so that the car records the last GPS location when the engine shuts down. If the car moves outside a quarter mile of that area or something, without disarming the system, shut off the fuel.

    It’s hooked up to the audio as well — play a sound file like “PULL OVER IMMEDIATELY — ENGINE WILL BE DISABLED IN FIFTEEN SECONDS”.

  9. The starter does sound like is engaged to long. On the remote starters that I install, I do not use the alternator wire. Instead I find the vehicles tach wire and hook into that. When the remote starter senses the change in the tach voltage it will disengage. If not it will retry to start the vehicle up to 3 times. A starter that is engaged to long will reduce the life of the starter and eventually you will be replacing a flywheel because there are no more teeth left on it for the starter…….and replacing flywheels is not a fun or cheap task

  10. @Darksim on his website it states that he uses a deep-cycle 28A/h sealed-lead-acid battery
    with its own charging circuit to top off the battery when the car is running. these batteries are often used in rv or boat applications, and he says the charging circuit is from a solar panel battery charger, I would guess there would be some modification.
    -sin

  11. @darksim905

    Battery powering this wouldn’t be too much of an issue. For example, using a small 7.2ah 12v battery, I can power a FitPC for well over 10 hours. Not to mention FitPC’s are fantastic little machines :P

    You could also set it to power itself down when you’re parked at home to save power.

  12. If the car is within a 3G network? Hope he doesn’t use AT&T, someone could steal his car and drive it 5 miles away to make it invisible to his phone.

  13. For those without a dedicated OBD (I or II) reading device, many vehicle models allow you to put the digital dashboard into diagnostic mode where it will display any of the sensor values on the dashboard for you.

    For example, I think most GM vehicles (80s through 90’s) can be put into this mode by pressing OFF and WARMER together for 2 seconds. You can step through system tests or leave it on a particular sensor while you drive and it will update around once a second.

    It’s very handy to help diagnose a problem car or maintaining a working one.

  14. no cars after 1996 have this in the USA, it isn’t allowed to read codes without a tool anymore.

    Neat idea, need to have password protected though.

  15. My car isn’t deserving because I would just have it play: THIS CAR IS WORTH 1K YOU WILL NOW CRASH AND PROBABLY DIE.

    At this point the car floors it, locks the passengers in, and locks the steering wheel.

    Selfe-serving justice!

  16. Hahaha sorry if it was me I’d just rebuild the motor from scratch, disconnect the traction control and turbo the hell out of that beautiful high reving rotary motor man those are some damn beautiful driving machines I hate that I didnt trade my sileighty for that RX7 when I had the chance

  17. This would make losing my car as simple as losing my phone, and i lose alot of phones, great job!
    lol somebody finds your iphone, and while you’re looking for it, they are finding your car via google maps,unlocking your doors and starting it without a key :D
    but at least you could track them down using the internet (i would hope thats what you mean by ‘remotely accessible monitoring computer ‘, if not, creating a Backup ‘remotely accessible monitoring computer’ would be a good idea.

  18. Hah the funny thing is I bet you he flooded the engine doing this.

    He only ran it for about 1 minute before turning the engine off.

    But still, I would love this in my 8.

  19. @jimmys I have only seen this on Cadillac vehicles. I have a 1990 and 1995 Cadillac Deville. I havent seen any other cars do this. On my ’95 Deville, I can even put it into a mode where I can manually shift gears with the temperature control buttons :D

  20. I am working on a project like this but bluetooth and wifi controlled. I would have finished by now but my garage isn’t heated and its -6F as i speak. I am somewhat documenting my progress on my website. (see link ^^^)

  21. Combine this project with Stanley and we’d have a real autonomous vehicle. It will send you a text that it has beed stolen, call the cops, look up the nearest police station and drive to it. All the while, it will id the prep with a facial recognition program that compares the person(s) in the car and let the cop know that info too.

    Then once it’s all said and done, with the preps under arrest( with a copy of the video feed sent to the cops for extra measure), it would return to where you left it. It’s a vehicle with a sense of vigilante justice.

    I’ll buy that for a dollar.

  22. Old thread, but how would Raspberry Pi work as the brains for this whole thing? It could be powered by USB cable and give you touch screen capabilities if you had said screen put into your car (say on the back side of your sun visor). I think it`d be great for this application.

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