Many new vehicles come with computers built into the dashboard. They can be very handy with features like GPS navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, and more. Installing a computer into an older car can sometimes be an expensive process, but [Florian] found a way to do it somewhat inexpensively using a Nexus 7 tablet.
The size of the Nexus 7 is roughly the same as a standard vehicle double-din stereo slot. It’s not perfect, but pretty close. [Florian] began by building a proof of concept mounting bracket. This model was built from sections of MDF hot glued and taped together. Plastic double-din mounting brackets were attached the sides of this new rig, allowing it to be installed into the dashboard.
Once [Florian] knew that the mounting bracket was feasible, it was time to think about power. Most in-vehicle devices are powered from the cigarette lighter adapter. [Florian] went a different direction with this build. He started with a cigarette lighter to USB power adapter, but he cut off the actual cigarette lighter plug. He ended up wiring this directly into the 12V line from the stereo’s wiring harness. This meant that the power cord could stay neatly tucked away inside of the dashboard and also leave the cigarette lighter unused.
[Florian] then wanted to replace the MDF frame with something stronger and nicer. He modeled up his idea in Solidworks to make sure the measurements would be perfect. Then the pieces were all laser cut at his local Techshop. Once assembled, the plastic mounting brackets were placed on the sides and the whole unit fit perfectly inside of the double-din slot.
When it comes to features, this van now has it all. The USB hub allows for multiple USB devices to be plugged in, meaning that Nexus only has a single wire for both power and all of the peripherals. Among these peripherals are a USB audio interface, an SD card reader, and a backup camera. There is also a Bluetooth enabled OBD2 reader that can monitor and track the car’s vitals. If this project seems familiar to you, it’s probably because we’ve seen a remarkably similar project in the past.
We’ve seen a fair share of carputer builds involving a Raspberry Pi in the last few months, but even the power of a Raspi can’t compete with the awesomeness of this Arduino-powered scooterputer.
Like all awesome projects, this build is the product of a massive case of feature creep. Initially, [Kurt] only wanted a voltage monitor for his battery. With an Arduino Duemilanove, a voltage divider, and an evening of coding, [Kurt] whipped up a simple device with three LEDs to indicate the status of the batter: either low, good, or charging.
The project was complete until he ran across an awesome OLED screen. Using a touch screen display for just battery monitoring is a bit overkill, so [Kurt] made a trip over to Sparkfun and got his hands on a temperature sensor, real-time clock, accelerometer, GPS sensor, and even a cellular shield.
The resulting scooterputer is a masterpiece of in-vehicle displays: there’s a digital speedometer and GPS unit, and the cellular shield works as a tracking device and a way to download real-time maps of the scooter’s current location with itouchmap.
While the majority of the electronics are hidden under the hood of the scooter, the display of course needed to be out in the weather. To do this, [Kurt] found a nice enclosure with a rubber boot that perfectly fit the OLED display. The display is connected to the Arduino with a cat5 cable, and everything should hold up pretty well as long as [Kurt] doesn’t drive through a hurricane.
You can check out a video of the scooterputuer below.
Continue reading “Scooterputer, the all-in-one scooter computer”
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.