Netbook Finds New Home In A Jaguar Dashboard

You’d figure a luxury car like a Jaguar would have a high-end infotainment system. [RichTatham]’s Jag did, but the trouble was that it was a high-end system when a cassette deck and trunk-mounted CD changer were big deals. So naturally, he saw this as a great reason to modernize the system by grafting a netbook into the Jag’s dash. The results are fantastic!

Even though the Jag’s original system didn’t have much left that made it into the final project — the navigation system, CD changer, phone and even the amps ended up on the scrap heap — at least the dashboard instrument cluster proved to be very amenable to his mods. By substituting a climate control cluster from another model into his car, he was able to free up tons of space for the netbook’s 8″ display. A custom bezel and some clever brackets completed the head-end of the new system, and the look is as close to a factory install as you’re likely to find in an aftermarket mod. With the netbook stashed in the bay vacated by the OEM system, a GPS dongle, and a USB sound card connected to a 5.1 amp using the original speakers this jag is ready to bump. We bet that the system sounds as good as it looks, and with the added functionality of a Windows PC to boot.

For obvious reasons, lots of computers make it into hackers’ dashboards, whether they be Windows like this one, Samsung tablets or Nexus tablets running Android, and even phones. But [Rich]’s build is top notch, and takes in-car integrations to the next level.

[via r/diy]

18 thoughts on “Netbook Finds New Home In A Jaguar Dashboard

  1. I have a similar jag to this and have been tempted to try something similar. My rough system outline goes like this:

    * A pair of class D amplifier modules, similar to this: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/TDA7492-2x50W-D-Class-High-Power-Digital-Amplifier-Board-AMP-Board-TE398-/262295418946?hash=item3d12067842:g:2I4AAOSwH6lXQq0N
    * A raspberry pi, with the audio outputs wired to the amplifiers
    * An RTL-SDR USB stick plugged into the RasPi and configured to receive DAB radio
    * A bluetooth dongle plugged into the RasPi (or a raspberry pi 3 with built-in bluetooth)
    * A 3D printed enclosure and bezel. This needs to fit the guts of a wireless charging pad into it and have a recess that I can drop my Galaxy Note 3 phone into.
    * Software!

    The idea is, you drop the galaxy note 3 into the bezel and this functions as the display and sometimes the source of audio. A custom Android app lets you control the RasPi. You can either dial up a radio station, or stream spotify across the bluetooth connection. SatNav directions also go over the bluetooth and the RasPi manages playing these over the radio.

    Comments / suggestions welcome!

    1. my current fave class-d is the tpa3118 or 3116 (same chip). very efficient, no heatsink needed, runs from 12v non-bipolar (yay! I hate dual rail psu if I can avoid it).

      diyaudio is a good place to start.

    1. Good luck finding a copy of ride runner. he stopped working on it a while ago and the website that hosted it is gone. you have to find someone that has an old copy.

      Honestly get a china $299 Android 4.4 double din and call it done. more apps, better nav apps like waze, etc…

  2. Great… more crap for more “distracted driving”. What next ? Real life GTA interface ? Maybe it’ll allow the driver to act out some parts of the game. I travel a lot and have a different rental car every week. The user interfaces are getting to be ridiculously complex to perform something as simple as turning down the fan.

    An “old school” control panel was significantly easier to operate. The physical controls were right there – reach, click, done!
    Not, try to find proper softkey, read options, find next softkey, read options, make sure you press the right one, All this while in moving traffic … This was the procedure on one POS rental car I had…. Totally absurd method to adjust airflow on vents.

    Just because you can do something doesn’t mean it should be done.
    Automobiles should have *SIMPLE* user interfaces.

    The aviation industry, when they migrated to “glass cockpits” (ie. FMS systems), intuitively recognized that information overload of presenting hundreds of system status alerts to the pilot was a recipe for disaster. Hence, the extensive filtering that goes on, on a typical FMS system. The simpler the better.

    1. I couldn’t have said it better myself.
      While this is a fantastic build/mod, the whole trend of putting computer screens in cars instead of proper mechanical controls is only going to cause more and more accidents. It’s funny that lawmakers are worried about handheld cell phone use while driving (which IS an issue, just to be clear), but don’t seem to be bothered by full-on computers requiring the driver’s attention.

      Also to be clear, great job on the install.

      1. Dude it’s that type of attitude that’s going to cause laws to make men to wear chastity belts while they drive with females (ones that can still bend over the center console anyway) man we all know that s*** that thouts in everybody’s head and we are just hoping some douche wouldn’t mention it, thanks for being that douche now can we get back on with some real conversation on how to put that s*** in there and take it to the next level without somebody like you slowing it down. I remember when I got my first app radio and I paid like 40 bucks for that applications so that I could make it just reflect my phone instead of being a piece of poo that it was and I thought why not just put a note in here I’m glad somebody finally did it a few years later and I know that I wasn’t the first one to have the fault but at the same time as I was installing it I thought the only reason that they don’t do this from the factory is because somebody already had that damn fault that you just spewed out I live in America and I would much rather live in England if not for any other reason then despite the fact that the girls get fat here but the ones that don’t usually don’t but the ones in England if that but starts getting wide X 23 they’re done for but at least I know now that the men there are done by the age that you’re all slim women start getting the big booty that tells the tale of how that they’re going to get so on that note I surely hope you don’t get progressively Dumber

        1. Hey moron – and that eloquent gibberish that you hurt our eyes with, only confirms that suspicion. The #1 priority when you get behind the wheel of a 2 ton piece of moving steel, is to pay attention to what’s ahead, and around you – and *DRIVE* the damn vehicle ! You want to play with a computer ? Do it when you’re not in the drivers seat ! Idiot !

          Trying to re-read that blabbering run on paragraph you soiled our eyes with is downright painful.

  3. You young ones will say when you get old “we were the last ones to drive”. By then transport will be unnecessary because you will be totally wired with product software.
    Every control but the primary ones should be able to be operated by a blind driver. Feel alone determines what is at hand, no looking at all. Just like a musician who looks at the fretboard to see a chord instead of getting the vocal into the mic, these things are in your hands not your eyeballs.
    Streaming over blurtooth, your Jaig-u-ar becomes a piece of jagg(ed)-wire with 20 years of rust on it. My Samsung will play high def thru an old cassette adapter better than any blurtooth.
    Two improvements; get a headphone jack connection and place clear plastic or cardboard over the screen with tactile holes where the essential “buttons” are.

  4. Can anyone recommend a good front end for Linux? It’s been a good couple of years since I played around with car computers (2008?) – but I’d like to give it another go.

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