www.letscommunicate.co.uk_carputer_images_VIA EPIA 800 Mini-ITX Complete PC System

CarPC Hardware v1 and v2 – Information About The Hardware Used, Past, Present and Future

Information About The Hardware Used, Past, Present and Future

Here you will find out about the hardware I have used for v1 & 2 of my CarPC. Where I can I have given you information as to how good the product is and others that do the same job.

 

The Hart Of The System A ITX PC

  • VIA EPIA 800 Mini-ITX motherboard and VIA 800Mhz C3 processor.
  • 1 x 128MB DIMM
  • 1 x 20GB Harddisk
  • 1 Dell 24x Slim CD ROM Drive
  • 100/133Mhz Front Side Bus VIA Apollo Chipset
  • Integrated AGP4X Graphics
  • Integrated VIA AC’97 Audio
  • Integrated VIA 10/100 LAN 1 PCI Slot 3 Audio Jacks – Line-out, Mic-in and Line-in 1
  • EPP/ECP parallel port 1 16C550 compatible serial port
  • 2 External PS/2 Compatible Keyboard /Mouse ports
  • 2 TV output ports (S-Video or optional RCA TV out) 1 SPDIF out TV-OUT with Integrated Macro Vision 7.01 and supports NTSC/PAL TV formats
  • Black Cubid 2688R Mini-ITX case with twin front-mounted USB ports and PCI riser card
  • External ‘brick type’ Mains Adapter

The system has many uses such as DIVX player for internet movies, as a MAME arcade machine, MP3 and Other codec player, and is neatly packaged in a black metal case measuring 292mm x 273mm x 63mm.

Further specifications on the EPIA can be found here.

 

The machine its self it very small. Although a little tough to get in to but once in there is loads of space ( considering ). I may need to move the fans for the DC to DC power supply ( pictures soon ). how ever a full size PCI card fits in very nicely.

As far as Windows XP goes the OS has most of the drivers required with out the need for any downloads – although that can not be said for Windows ME / 98 which needed most of them to make it usable.

I did need to update the BIOS how ever this did mean that for some strange reason when shutting down though Media Engine the system rebooted ? In order to make the hard drive a little safer while on the move  have come up with a ( untested ) idea. I have worked a lot on HP Vectra VL PCs, on their hard drive mounting trays are some rubber bungs. These go in between the screw head and the hard drive with the idea to smooth out any bangs. I have took these and mounted them on the tray for my PC. Making sure that the case is not to tight when the screws are in it should protect the hard drive from a certain amount of vibration while moving.

 

Lastly I have now installed a Riva TNT 3D card. See the software section to see why, how ever you will find further pictures here. Should you have any problems when using your composite video screen because the PC does not think there is a proper screen attached then click here for the solution, a VGA Dummy from Modasylum.com.

 

 

In all  8 out of 10 ( Version EPIA 800 Motherboard & Cubid 2688r Case )

 

Lilliput 619GL-70NP (XGA) With Touchscreen

Specifications

  • Screen size 7″ digital
  • Aspect ratio 16:9 wide TFT screen. Optional 4 display modes: 4:3<–>16:9 <–>16:9 Zoom<–>4:3 For CCTV
  • Resolution 1,152,000 pixels
  • Color configuration RGB stripe
  • Power input DC 12V
  • Power consumption 9W
  • Video system 2x Video inputs (PAL/NTSC)
  • 1x Audio input
  • 1x VGA input
  • High resolution and no radiation (better for eyes’ protection)
  • Reversible screen: X-turn (mirror picture) & Y-turn (flip-down picture) available
  • Video input signal: 1.0Vp-p, composite video
  • Audio output: Speaker built-in & earphone jack
  • Full function OSD control (Multi-language)

What is included ? – 7″ VGA Touch screen TFT with Video-support and built-in speakers

  • Infrared Remote Control
  • Car dash mounting bracket
  • AV-cord
  • Computer-connection cord
  • Power Adapter f. EU 230V
  • Cigarette Lighter Adapter
  • Touch screen Driver-CD
  • Manual

 

 The Media Remote RF Control ( Also Known By x10 or a Fire Cracker )

This custom RF remote comes with everything you need to add control to pretty much any application you may be writing. It comes with a USB RF receiver, and you can download drivers as well as source code and test programs online to help you integrate support into your program. This remote is silver in colour and has everything you need to put yourself in control of entertainment. All the buttons are clearly labelled with symbols that most everyone knows; this means even people who have never used the remote before learn how in just minutes.

 

You will notice that each button has a few functions. When you press search for example, you can type letters in just like you do on a cellular phone, once the search is done, the buttons return to their normal functions. The use of multi-function buttons allows the remote to be very small in size.

 

Since the remote uses RF technology there is no need to aim it at a receiver, just be within 15 feet of it. It uses radio frequencies to transmit to the included receiver which hooks to your computers USB port. You may also want to have a look at Girder – the application has a control set just for this remote, look for ‘Fire Cracker’. Finally the remote is very small at only 6.25″ x 2″ x 1″ in size – very well worth the money.

 

In all  9 out of 10 http://www.mediaremote.com/

 

Globsat BU-303 GPS Receiver

BU-303 has all the hardware necessary for customer to connect the equipment to Notebook PC or Laptop enables easy and convenient connecting to your computer through a USB connector. If you already have application software or you are developing own application, and you need a GPS receiver to provide your velocity and time data, this is the perfectly fits your needs. The USB driver and user manual.

 

BU- 303 GPS Receiver With USB Interface – Features

  • “SiRF Star II/LP” high performance and low power consumption chipset.
  • All-in-view 12-channel parallel processing
  • Built-in active antenna
  • High sensitivity to satellite signal
  • Cold start under 45 seconds, average
  • Superior urban canyon performance
  • FoliageLock for weak signal tracking
  • Build-in SuperCap to reserve system data for rapid satellite acquisition
  • Supported NMEA 0183 command: GGA, GSA, GSV, RMC, GLL, VTG
  • Super-cohesive magnetic for mounting on the car.
  • Non-slip on the bottom
  • USB interface connection port
  • LED indicator for GPS fix or not fix.
  • LED OFF: Receiver switch off
  • LED ON : No fixed, Signal searching
  • LED Flashing: Position Fixed

This thread may be of some interest to those that are having problems with this unit……

 

8 out of 10 http://www.globalsat.com.tw/  

 

Kenwood KDC-W6527 ( My Head Unit )

 

Highlights

  • 4 x 50 W
  • 2 RCA preouts
  • 1 RCA Auxiliary Line Input
  • CD-R/RW Capability
  • WMA & MP3 Decoder Built-in
  • Rotary Volume Control
  • 4 Tone 3D F/L Display
  • Motorized Slide, TDF
  • Remote Control Included
  • Selectable Key Illumination

 Audio Features

  • 4 x 50 Watt max output power
  • 2 RCA preouts, 2V
  • 1 RCA AUX Input, Max input voltage: 1,2V
  • Rear / Non-Fade switchable preout
  • Non-Fader level adjustable
  • Separated tone control: Bass/Mid/Treble
  • Source tone memory
  • Fader & Loudness Control
  • System Q-EX Sound Control
  • System E’s light
  • Dual Zone & Volume Control
  • New Amplifier Control System with ’04 PS Amp.
  • External Amplifier Control (B.M.S.)
  • Built-in Amplifier Mute

Tuner Features 

  • RDS Tuner with Radio Text
  • K3I Clean Reception Tuner
  • 24 presets: 18 FM, 6 MW&LW
  • Auto memory entry (AME)
  • Up/down seek tuning
  • Stereo/Mono selector
  • Auto1/Auto2/Manual tuning mode
  • DAB reception with optional unit KTC-9090DAB

Changer Features

  • Dual changer control capability (CH1/CH2 & AUX)
  • CD-Text with compatible units
  • DNPS (Disc Name Preset) with compatible units
  • DNPP (Disc Name Preset Play) by remote control
  • Direct access with remote control
  • Disc & Track repeat / Disc & Track scan
  • Disc & Magazine random play

General Features

  • Fully motorized slide-down mechanism
  • Theft Deterrent Faceplate + protection case
  • Panel angel adjustment in 4 steps
  • Disabled System Indicator (DSI)
  • 4 Digit security code
  • 4 Tone 3D F/L Display, Full Dot
  • Selectable Key Illumination (Red or Green)
  • Operation Panel Angle Adjustment in 4 steps
  • Digital clock (24H)
  • Remote Control Included (RC-420)
  • Auto Dimmer
  • All Off select (20/40/60 minutes)
  • Built-in fuse/coil
  • Disabled System Indicator (DSI)
  • 2-way telephone mute
  • Wired OEM Remote Out
  • Kenwood H/F GSM interface with optional unit
  • OEM Display Out 

Added Features

  • Adaptor for the existing steering wheel controls and in-built remote dash display
  • Adaptor to enable the existing Traffic Master unit to be used – this all so allows it to be moved in to any other car at a later date 

CD Features

  • CD-R/RW Capability
  • MPEG-1/2 audio layer-3 (MP3) capability
  • Windows Media Audio (WMA) capability
  • CD-Text
  • L/R 0-bit Mute
  • Random/Repeat/Scan function
  • 8 times oversampling / 1 bit D/A converter
  • S/N ratio: 105 dB
  • Dynamic range: 93 dB
  • Channel separation: 96 dB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Version One Hardware

 

TM-7002S 7″ Car LCD Monitor With Touch Screen Add On

Full Review Here

  • Screen size: 7″ (diagonal 16:9)
  •  Active Matrix TFT LCD Monitor
  • PAL/NTSC auto selector
  • Resolution: 1440 (H) x 234 (V)
  • Viewing Angle (L/R:50 deg U/D:25 deg)
  • Full function remote with OSD
  • 2 video input
  • Power Input: 12 V DC
  • Power Consumption: <6W

Specifications for Touchkit controller.

  • Power requirements +5VDC ( Maximum 100mA, typical 70mA, 50mV peak to peak maximum ripple )
  • Operating temperature 0 to 50 C
  • Storage Temperature -40 to 80 C
  • Relative Humidity 95% at 60 C
  • Protocol RS232 Model: 9600 bauds, None parity, 8 data bits, 1 stop bit
  • USB Model: USB 1.1 Low speed
  • Max Resolution 2048 X 2048
  • Report rate Max. 160 points/sec
  • Response time Resistive: Max. 35 ms
  • Panel resistance 4, 8 wire resistive model: 300 ~ 900 ohm
  • Regulatory Approvals FCC-B, CE

Click here for my own drivers for this screen and for use with Windows OS’s (16:9)

 

Full Digitalww 7002s Touch Screen  Review

So what’s it like ? Is it worth the money ? Conclusions later – in the mean time lets look at what you get…. and before you lot with the VGA monitors shout up just bare in mind the cost – £135 Delivered with the touch screen installed ! Now how much was that Xenarc ? Again more about that in the conclusion. The order was put in via email and Paypal from the UK to the supplier Digitalww in the states – 5 days later it was delivered. As you will see from fig 1 to the left it was perfectly packed in a bright blue small box. The ‘wide screen’ unit is very thin indeed and from first look shows quality – by that I mean more than you would expect for the price.  The unit its self is fairly light and easy to control with the remote and the pre/after sales support you get from Armen the owner is excellent. In-case you are wondering he has an excellent reputation over at mp3car.com.

 

The screen quality is very good for composite video although it will never be as good as a true VGA monitor. The picture is a little fuzzy how ever at distance ( and the right resolution for you ) it will be unnoticeable. The only major problem with using a composite monitor is that the PC will only detect it as a general TV device. You will need to create a custom device driver – such as mine – so your screen does not look out of shape. Basically what I mean by that is if you have a round object on your screen ( well a wide screen any way ) it looks elliptical and very strange. It does not stop the unit working how ever it can be annoying if you want to show your system off. The software in this unit seems to have been adapted from another unit with the volume and tint commands still been available, although this is a little annoyance it does not impede the use of the unit as such except that you have to press a key a couple of time to get past these non used options.

 

The unit connected to the PC / or other device through a USB cable ( which is the add-on for the touch screen ) or through the original multi pin cable. This cable supplies the two video feeds and the power supply to the monitor in one easy move. Although the obvious idea behind it is so you can remove it from the car its little tougher then you think. This may be a case that its new how ever you do get the feeling that if you don’t get it right you may bend or break one of the pins.

 

My conclusion is that this is an excellent product for the price. The company has an excellent reputation where it matters and with my dealings that has been proven. The product its self is excellent and does exactly what I expected how ever I did find that the unwanted menu items and a very long USB cable which means it will have to be cut to make it removable the only let downs. If your looking for a monitor on a budget then this has got to be the one although there are others available from Digitalww and they are always changing the models and the spec.

 

In all  8.5 out of 10 ( Model Reviewed 7002s With Touch Screen Installed )

 

The Digitalww 7002s Touch Screen  Manual

 

 

GPS Receiver – The Royaltk RGM 2000 ( Sapphire GPS Mouse ) – Replaced

  • Sirf II chip set , USB connection
  • Practically no logging in times, immediately ready for launch!
  • 12 channel technology
  • Round shape of the housing for best receiving characteristics
  • Absolutely high-quality processing (this mouse also works with Destinator )
  • Very small
  • Integrated magnetic disk for simple attachment to metal surfaces
  • The fastest and most exact position determination available at the moment ( GPS )
  • Outstanding for the placement in the interior behind the windshield
  • Works with NMEA compatible navigation software (map & Guide, TravelBook, MarcoPolo Travel Planner, Autoroute, Route66, etc..)
  • Driver for Windows 98/ME/2000/XP
  • The perfect alternative – for notebook navigation system in the car

The GPS Unit – I bought this off EBay after been recommended it because of the it works (using a COM port via USB ) its very compatible with lots of different software. It comes in either a USB ( mine ) or Serial Version. Effectively the same unit – the only difference is that the USB has an in-line Serial-USB converter. Click here for the manufactures ( Royaltek ) site. The sellers ( tsgps.de ) main site is here

 

Some Hard To Find FAQ Information

1) How do I update the drivers for XP ?: The driver of Sapphire for Winxp is only USB driver. You can download it from http://www.royaltek.com/proditem.asp?filename=Support/software.asp

 

2) How do I update the firmware on the GPS with the flash Utill you provide and what are the settings I need to use ie address space etc ?: Refer to http://www.royaltek.com/proditem.asp?faq=yes&classx=Engineering#3Q1

 

Specifications of IR-receiver module – No Longer Needed

The electronic of the module sits in the plug. No need of an external power supply. Supply is directly by the serial interface. Purchased from Zapway it will allow me to use the remote control purchased with various software. I have asked for the D-Way head you see here to be changed for another so it can be unscrewed very quickly when removing the unit out of the car. It will work with the following software. Some thing to watch for which I did not know is that the Via boards can’t always power these IR sensors due to a voltage difference on the com port, ZapWay to a special version which will deal with this problem. The whole unit with mods has cost me around £24 delivered from main land Europe. I did want to go USB – and probably still will in the future but not many of these software packages support them properly yet. Also don’t thing by getting a USB to serial converter will work, most of these packages address the sensor directly to the IRQ in some strange way therefore that wont work.

Drivers can be downloaded here

 

Sensor Specifications

  • Connection to PC: Serial interface – 9 pole Sub-D socket
  • Sensor sensitivity: (maximum at customary 38 kHz modulation of the remote control)
  • Dependent of the remote control typically 10 – 30 meters (33 -100 feet) Also reflected by walls distances of some meters can be achieved.
  • See also diag. below.
  • Length of cable between sensor and connection plug: 2 – 15 meters (6,5 – 49,2 feet)
  • Measures of sensor:Area as seen from cable-axis: 5,5 * 6,0 mm
  • Directivity of the sensor: e. g. for 45° the value of 0,5 shows the sensitivity and therefore the reach is 50 % – that’s 5 -15 Meter.

 

Patriot PCBX 300/1 – The Old PC Unit – Replaced

Because I cannot get a DC-DC power supply for this unit I am going to buy a new ITX system at some point soon

 

Below is a copy of the information from the power supply itself. PC100 Switching Power Supply Model PS100 AC Input: 100v to 240v auto 2A 60.50Hz

 

COLOUR YELLOW PURPLE BLACK GREEN

DC – – – +12V 5VSB Ground PS-ON#

OUTPUT 5.5A 0.8A Return Signal

 

Below is a picture of the motherboard and the six pin socket which the wires from the power supply should go into. I have numbered the individual pin holes next to the blow-up of the socket. The blow-up is orientated the same way as it is in the picture. You can now cross check the positions of the different coloured wires with the table above.

 

Wires

  1. Green 
  2. Yellow 
  3. Yellow 
  4. Purple
  5. Black
  6. Black 

 

The Original Plan ( And Like All Good Things Its Changed Since Then )

The old diagrams off what the system was going to be like can be found here

 

 

Other Hardware Options That I Would Like ( My Wish List Mainly )

Hard Disks With No Moving Parts ? Flash IDE Drives Are Here

One of the major upgrades I am planning is to make the system as resilient and as quick as possible. One of the flaws about using a PC is the hard drive ( even the IBM Micro-drives to some degree ) – it has constantly moving parts which don’t like bumps, they can be noisy and generate heat therefore need more cooling which in turn generates more noise. Enter the solid state disk  other wise known as flash memory because its a chip based storage medium which you ‘flash’ or write information. Because its chip based it has no moving parts therefore less likely to fail or be susceptible to things like knocks etc. There are two different types and sizes but the main version available is the one you see to the right of this text. They can be used in all sorts of applications such as PDA storage, MP3 players and digital cameras but now they, with the use of an adaptor ( £13 from Linitx.com ), can be used as a fully working solid state hard drive for a PC running Windows or a Unix operating system. As a rule they mainly come with the FAT16 file system formatted on it how ever as this is to allow the vast majority of devices to use these cards straight off there is no reason you can’t use another suitable format such as FAT32 or HPFS. So what do you need ? First of all you will need a large enough Compact Flash Card for you to write to. The prices for these are coming down and on average you can get a 512Mb version for a reasonable price how ever I personally don’t link the idea of these as they are to small to use just like a full replacement for a hard disk as you need to start cutting your operating system and applications down to fit. The answer is to find a large Compact Flash Card such as the ones from Pretec.com where the largest one they have to use in this format is a wopping 2Gig how ever this does come with a $999 price tag. They do other cards up to 3Gig how ever these are a different type and I don’t know enough about them at this stage other than you need certain hardware. Once you have connect the power and IDE cables to the adaptor and placed the card in the slot the PC hardware and operating system will treat it just like a normal hard disk – after that its up to you to create your own system.