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.

26 thoughts on “Homebrew Carputer

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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?

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

  7. 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..

    1. 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.


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