The Onion Omega Carputer Can Be Controlled Via WiFi

The Onion Omega, a curiously named ultra-tiny linux-based WiFi board, is a useful little device for everything Internet of Things related. [Daniel] decided to use it to connect his car to the internet.

Most new cars these days have remote start built in, and slowly, manufacturers are catching up to modern technology and including apps to control various features of their vehicles. But for old cars, there’s not much you can do aside from after-market remote start kits and the likes.

Undeterred, [Daniel] wanted to bring his car into the 21st century by manually adding an extra key fob, a remote start protocol, and a data connection to the vehicle’s on board computer.

He’s doing this with an Onion Omega, a general purpose router based dev board with 18 GIPO, and wireless 802.11 b/g/n connectivity. Using an app he wrote for his phone, he can now remote start his vehicle, read car signals, control the interior lights, and of course, lock and unlock the doors.

13 thoughts on “The Onion Omega Carputer Can Be Controlled Via WiFi

    1. I don’t understand the relationship between block heaters and remote start. Remote start is for interior comfort, AC, heat, heated seats etc.

      Block heaters are for extreme cold climates so the engine will start when you press the remote starter button.

      1. Yep, I can confirm. Grew up in North Dakota where you don’t leave your car outside overnight in early February without a block heater unless you expect it not to start.

        Pro-tip: make sure you park with your tires on the extension cord so that it doesn’t walk away.

        Also, synthetic engine oil has alleviated some of the issues with this. It doesn’t get nearly as thick in the cold weather and the engine is easier to turn. But if it’s very cold (say -10 F or colder) and there is a wind, that engine will not want to crank and you only get so many tries from an equally cold battery.

        1. Other pro-tips:

          Growing up in Fairbanks, you start the outside car before you shower.

          You need engine block heater and battery warmers. And, if all else fails, a propane based space heater.

          When it is -60 degrees (typically called “60 Below”)… you can omit the “Below” part. Any questions, simply look out the frosty window.

          1. When I had a Datsun Diesel, I had a battery warmer, block heater, and the cardboard in front of the grill. If the pickup wasn’t plugged in, it wasn’t going to start at 8 below.
            My ex-S-I-L lived in SoCal for a while, when locals saw the electrical cord hanging out from her car’s grill, they assumed she had an electric car.

  1. Well here in Monterrey, Mx the heat can get up to 40°C (100 °F) at day… we need air conditioner and never used a block heater hehe. What can be convenient is a larger range to turn a vehicle on, like being inside an office building -> turn the car and a/c On -> get in a fresh car without waiting for it under the sun…

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