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CarPC Hardware v3 – 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 v3 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.

 

My Screen – A Cartft.com K301 Motorized In Dash VGA With USB Touch screen

I waited for this for some time having like many others seen so many preview pictures for at least 12 months out there on the Net. Using a better panel than one of its rivals and metal gearing instead of plastic does give the unit a good solid feel. How ever there have been already some major design flaws in the first version where the reverse sensor would never work in a real situation. So this is the 2nd version of the K301 and what do I think ? Again this has seen a number of flaws ( and I refer to the K301 in what ever form whether from Mp3car / Karputer / Linitx / Digitalww or even Cartft.com ) where by a couple of users including my self found the tilt failing to work one way even though the button was still active. I believe this has been a mechanical failure rather than software so I will update more here as I learn.

 

The TFT panel its self seems to be faultless on this version is quick to respond and with an accurate Touch Panel. The only issue I have with it is the highly reflective screen – but this seems to be a common factor among in car VGA’s and one issue that the OEMs have yet to resolve as a whole.

 

UPDATE2 – OK, update one was not that great how ever since I posted it I have been contacted and the problems that I pointed out have been rectified and the unit seems sound now. That been said I still say these should have been resolved before public release… hopefully lessons have been learned. In fact the K90, K300 and up coming K500 all have had good reports so far so its looking good – Ah the joy of been an early adopter :).

 

  • LCD Size 7″ Aspect Ratio 16:9
  • VGA Resolutions 640×480-1600×1200 Physical resolution 800×480 
  • Dot resolution 2400×480 Brightness 400 
  • VGA Input D-SUB 15 Video Input 3x PAL/NTSC/SECAM (RCA) 
  • Audio Input Touchscreen USB
  • Power Consumption 9W Case size 178 x 155 x 50 mm
  • Adjustable backlight Auto Power-On
  • IR Remote
  • Adjustable video aspect
  • Reverse camera input
  • Contrast 300:1
  • LCD Brightness 400 cd/m²
  • Resolution (pixel) : 800RGB(W)x480(H)
  • Dimensions : 178x155x50 mm (WxDxH)
  • Touchscreen Interface : USB
  • Operating voltage : 12VDC
  • Max Power : 1.2A 
  • For In-Car Computing, PC, Server, GPS, and various VGA or Video use
  • In-dash type Fully motorized TFT LCD
  • 7″ digital TFT LCD
  • Diagnal size 16:9 and 4:3 adjustable (only video mode)
  • Touchscreen USB
  • Video input system NTSC/PAL/SECAM Auto switching
  • VGA input (15 pin D-SUB)
  • 2x RCA video input, 1x RCA reverse camera input
  • VGA resolution up to 1600×1200
  • Upgraded High-Brightness CCFL
  • Adjustable color, contrast, brightness, hue, sharpness
  • Full-functional infrared remote control, master control

 

 

 

 

 

 

 In all  6 Out of 10 ( See update above )

From Mp3car / Karputer / Linitx / Digitalww or even Cartft.com

 

My CPU / Motherboard Etc – The FIC AM39L Socket A Motherboard

 

 

Processor

  • Athlon XP: 2600

Chipset

  • VIA KM400 is a single-chip North Bridge for AMD CPUs with 200/266/333MHz Front Side Bus with AGP and PCI plus advanced memory controller that supports DDR 200/266/333 SDRAM.
  • VIA VT8235CE is a V-Link client highly integrated controller that supports PC99-compliant system.

Memory

  • Accepts up to 1GB 333Mhz SDRAM.

Audio

  • Embedded in VIA VT8235CE, an integrated high bandwidth V-Link client controller, direct sound AC97 audio subsystem. UltraDMA master mode EIDE controller, USB controller, ACPI enhanced power management, and PC99 compliant. The onboard AC97 Codec chip supports 5.1-channel audio feature. If the latter one onboard, the Microphone/Line_In/Line_Out can be used as audio output.

Video

  • The motherboard is installed one 32-bit AGP 8X bus with a dedicated 66MHz/133MHz path from the graphics card to the system memory offering much greater bandwidth than the 32-bit PCI bus does. AGP enabled 3D graphics cards can directly access main memory across this fast path instead of using local memory. Although this is the case I use a NVIDIA 128Mb card to achieve a better load off the CPU and the Wide Screen ( 16:9 ) 848×480 resolutions via the Detonator Drivers.

Onboard I/O Connectors

  • 2 PS2 Connectors
  • 1 Audio connector (Line-in, Line-out, MIC-in)
  • 1 COM port
  • 1 VGA port
  • 1 Parallel port
  • 1 (1 x RJ45 + 2 x USB 2.0)
  • 2 USB 2.0
  • IEEE 1394 VIA6307 2 ports(option)
  • USB 2.0 Total 8 ports support

Onboard IDE

  • Enhanced PCI Bus Master IDE Controller with UltraDMA/33/66/100/133 Support Integrated Enhanced PCI Bus Master IDE controller features two dual-channel connectors that up to four Enhanced IDE devices, including CDROM and Tape Backup Drives, as well as Hard Disk Drives supporting the new UltraDMA/133 Mode 6 protocol, standard PIO Mode 3, PIO Mode 4, DMA Mode 2, DMA Mode 4, UltraDMA/100 Mode 5 devices are also supported.

Expansion Slots

  • One AGP 8X
  • Three PCI

BIOS

  • ACPI, APM, DMI, SMBIOS, PnP, USB, PC99, PC2001, Y2K Compliant

Form Factor

mATX – 9.6″ x 9.0″

 

In all  7 out of 10

http://www.fic.cz/

My Power Supply – The Carnetix P1900 & Abbytec 150w ATX PSU

The CNX-P1900 is a 140 watt intelligent DC-DC power regulator designed to provide safe, reliable power to today’s newest CarPCs including the Mac mini and Pentium P4-based systems.

The P1900 provides two outputs. The primary output is jumper selectable for 18V, 19V, or 20V operation and can provide up to 6.32 amps (125 Watts @ 20V ). The secondary output is jumper selectable to provide either +12V to power your LCD screen (or 13.5V or experimental purposes), or +5V to power USB devices (such as the Audigy 2NX sound USB sound card) with up to 3 amps (15 Watts). The P1900 can accept battery input as low as 7 volts under full load (140 watts) during cranking while providing a well-regulated output so that your CarPC does not crash.

The P1900 includes all of the sophisticated features of its predecessors (P1260 and P1280) such as Startup/Shutdown controller, Pulse Start (remotely start the P1900 with door locks, car alarm, or wireless device), and DelayON (prevents speaker “thump” during booting). The P1900 fully and safely supports “Standby” mode and will automatically shut itself down (by detecting excess current drain) if the CarPC fails to properly go into Standby mode.

The P1900 is also designed to power larger systems that demand higher power, such as P4-based motherboards (ie Insight P4 ITX) with full sized hard drives. The P1900 is fully compatible with the Travla C137 (90 watt and 120 models), the C138 (90 watt and 120 watt models) as well as the newer C158 (90 watt and 120 watt models) cases. In fact, the most cost effective P4 CarPC system can be built using the Travla C137, C138, or C158-120 and the Insight P4 ITX motherboard. No need to spend $100 more for other DC-DC PSUs that may not even handle the +12V rail power!

In addition, the P1900 can be used with the Mac mini, Sumicom, Xenarc, IWill, and Cappucino models that require an 18v, 19v, or 20v power source.

Features

  • 140 Watt Dual Output Regulator
  • Jumper selectable main output of +18/+19/+20V
  • Jumper selectable secondary output of +12V/+13.5V or +5V
  • Optional 3rd output using the CNX-P5V +5v/15 watt regulator
  • Survives Engine Cranking under full load over entire temperature range
  • Includes sophisticated start-up / Shutdown Controller
  • Includes sturdy aluminium chassis with variable speed fan suitable for car environment
  • Field upgradeable flash microprocessor
  • Low battery monitor prevents drained battery, even during Standby/Sleep
  • “Anti Thump” delayed remote control for audio amplifiers
  • Remote “Pulse Start” from wireless device or car alarm/remote start system
  • Over current protection on both outputs with graceful forced shutdown of main output
  • Powers both your CarPC/Mac AND your screen or USB devices
  • Compatible with Mac mini including start-up /shutdown and sleep mode
  • Compatible with Pentium P4-based systems such as Travla C158-120, Sumicom S630, or Xenarc SC8
  • Full, safe support for Windows Standby mode including auto shutdown if PC fails to shutdown
  • Over voltage surge suppression on battery input for protection of harsh automotive environment
  • User replaceable fuse on battery input to protect your car from internal short circuits

I used this with the following kit from Linitx. NB I also on advice from MCStoo ordered the extra Sumicom connector with saved me form hacking the included adaptor as well.

This set comprises of a DC-DC converter board, AC Adapter and ATX Cables. The AC Adapter included with this set does have an internal fan that is controlled by temperature and load. It is, however, extremely quiet.

  • 20 Pin ATX Connector
  • 2 Molex Connectors
  • 2 Floppy Style Connectors
  • 4 Pin P4 Connector
  • Power Input plug on DC Board
  • AC Adapter – 20V 150W Maximum Output
  • Fully ATX compliant
  • DC-DC Board Dimensions 160(W) x 43(D) x 25(H) mm

This is the 150 watt PSU that comes in the kit and as you can seen it comes complete with a P4 connectors for those type of PC boards – this was on of the main reasons I went for this set up rather than the OPUS.

  • 14-20V Input Range
  • High Efficiency
  • 150W Max Output
  • 2 Molex Connectors
  • 2 Floppy Style Connectors
  • P4 4Pin Connector
  • Power Input On DC Board (Fixed Position)
  • Dimensions 160x43x25 mm

What do I think of these compared to the Opus ? Its a little difficult at this moment to separate them as Opus have recently brought out a new 5V add on for such things as USB peripherals etc which at the time of buying was another consideration to the Carnetix. The Opus is certainly easier to set up as the wiring of the Carnetix although is straight forward does not look it and needs another add on PSU where as the Opus is plug and go. Only time will tell as to which if any I will prefer. In the mean time a little advice ( and may be this could be pre connected by Carnetix ) … the Dylon wire goes to the APCI ( or power button) pin with the other pin connected to the ground of the Carnetix. Now it appears that some boards also want this a certain way round so if you do try one of these and it fails to start why not turn the header around on the mother board – worked for me.

In all  5 out of 10

From Mp3car / Karputer / Linitx / Digitalww and Carntix

Some Pictures of the CAMM Case Been Made ( More info at Cartft.com )

 

My 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.

 

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


8 out of 10


 

Features

  • “SiRF Star II/LP” high performance and low power consumption chipset
  • All-in-view 12-channel parallel processing
  • 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 

http://www.globalsat.com.tw/

 

 My Terratec Cinergy 600 TV RDS FM Receiver

I found this at Cartft.com ( although it is on EBay some times ) because for some strange reason its not sold in this full form over here in the UK. That aside I went for this card as it gives me both TV and FM radio in on single card as well as been fully supported by Roadrunner – my main front end. The best bit is that this card also gives full RDS features ( not including TP EON or PTY unfortunately but this is a software issue ) so I can also have this as an extra feature. To be honest the main reason I wanted it is because I needed to have a video in port on my system to allow me to connect the Digital TV ( or DTT )  receiver, the pay of is that I get an RDS system and a analogue TV receiver when I am in bad reception areas.

 

NB I believe the reason that Active Radio ( the bundled application ) can receive TP / EON and Roadrunner can’t is that the directly read the RDS data stream and convert it to usable information. If you know more about this and can help Guino add these extra features please come over to the Mp3car forums and let us know how. In the mean time feel free to download the SDK for this card from my downloads area.

 

Package Contents:

  • Cinergy 600 TV Radio – PCI card
  • Infrared Remote Control
  • Audio Loopback Cable
  • CD-ROM for Driver / Software Installation

In all  8 out of 10

 

From CarTFT.com & More Info from Terratec

 

My DTT ( Or Digital TV ) Receiver

This product comes with an infra red remote control capable of controlling all the features of the TV receiver. This item is supplied with all power connectors and AV connectors required to fit the unit into the car and connect to a screen. Ok so its slightly cheating by not being an actual CarPC item but that’s because a) there is nothing out there that can do this for a PC as it is and b) I wanted it to work independently any way for the kids in the back. I do plan to add a Girder interface for it a later date so it can be controlled by the CarPC but thats in the future. In the mean time I would say this is an average unit with average reception even when connected to a full house aerial and unfortunately I have yet to test it at speed. The very nature of DTT does make it difficult to hold a steady signal and if you are making a long journey you will have to search for channels a number of times. This is unlike a analogue system where you would just tune up or down.

 

That been said its good enough for occasional use and if your using 7″ screens the quality of picture should be more than suitable – after all its not a home cinema is it ?

 

  • In car DVB-T TV tuner
  • Overall dimensions (mm): 145 (W) x 167 (H) x 28 (D)
  • AV Output Jack and leads
  • External remote control cord
  • In-car power connection lead (12V)
  • 4 way video output
  • Infra-red remote control
  • External antenna input and output

In all  7 out of 10

For more information about the services it receives please go to www.freeview.co.uk

 

My Sound Card – A Sound Blaster USB

I went do the USB route as I could digitally move the sound from the rear of the car to the front with out any interference. This was needed because due to some length issues I ended up running my power and data cables side by side. The Sound Blaster  MP3+ is also know for not having any hibernation or standby issues as well, top this with the powered USB hub in the dash it means its very easy to install and run. The drivers are in built in Windows XP how ever I would recommend you download the latest driver set from Creative any way. I got this unit from EBay for around £25 how ever they are now harder to find so keep an eye out.

  • 100% Sound Blaster-Certified Audio
  • Bass Boost – No more puny bass! Bass Boost it for that extra punch that your music deserves
  • 10 Band Equalizer – Really make it “your” music. The 10-Band EQ gives you total flexibility in personalizing the characteristics of the music you listen to
  • CMSS 3D – Expand your audio experience over stereo speakers or headphones. Turn normal stereo sound into virtual surround sound. Movies never sounded so good over headphones
  • SVM – Avoid huge jumps in volume with Smart Volume Management. The volume of MP3s encoded at different levels will be automatically adjusted so you get an even volume across across your whole collection
  • EAX effects – Give your music or recordings some ambience by adding real-time effects such as Concert Hall or Arena to recreate the listening environment you want.

 

 

9 out of 10

 

For more information visit Creative

My WIFI Adaptor – An Inventel UR054g

  • Maximum speed of 54Mbps
  • IEEE 802,11b (DSSS) 2,4GHz standard
  • Internal Aerial
  • Ad-hoc or infrastructure communication
  • 64/128/256-bit WAP & WEP-coding

In all  6 out of 10

For more information http://www.inventel.com/

My Bluetooth Adaptor

Compliant with open standard: Bluetooth 1.1
Dial-up Networking DUN Network connection to Internet, e.g. web browsing and e-mail Modem, PC, PDA, Phone, AP
Using TDK’s own high performance ceramic antenna, the PC card provides invisible connection to a host of peripherals, with ranges of over 50 metres
The latest version of TDK’s Bluetooth software (v1.3) supports the following profiles: Personal Area Network profile, PAN; fully integrated audio (Headset and Gateway) profile; Hard Cable Replacement Profile, HCRP; easier access to folders used in data transfer; Bluetooth set up wizard; quick connect wizard; printer setup wizard; transferring images from and to picture phones.
  • Fax FAXP Faxing ISDN-Modem, PC, Printer, Fax
  • File Transfer FTP File Transfer. Transfer multiple files and folders and browse recipient Phone, PDA, PC 
  • Hardcopy Cable Replacement HCRP Printing, Printer, Scanner, PC
  • LAN Access LAP Network connection via PPP Access Point, PC
  • Object Push OPP Contact, calendar, photo, ringtone exchange Phone, PDA, PC, Printer

Note: Profiles subject to change dependant on new Bluetooth profiles being approved 3 SCO channels

  • Personal Area Networking PAN Network connection Access Point, PC
  • Serial Port SPP Serial data exchange Modem, PDA, PC, Phone, Printer
  • Synchronisation SP Synchronisation Phone, PDA, PC 
  • Audio Headset HSP Audio gateway, playback Phone, PDA, PC, Headset
  • Voice and data channels
  • 723Kbps maximum data transfer speed
  • Bluetooth power class: 1 up to 100m range (free space)
  • Interoperable with all major Bluetooth manufacturers, including Sony Ericsson, Nokia, Axis, 3Com, Palm, Compaq.

 

 

 

  • Maximum RF output power 4mW (6dBm)
  • Normal RF output power 1mW (0dBm) 
  • Integrated Antenna
  • CSR BC2 Chip set
  • Range: Up to 100 metres free space
  • Weight: 30 g
  • Size: Extended TYPE II PCMCIA card. Length – 103mm
  • Operating temperature: -20 to – 75 °C
  • Storage / shipping temperature: -20 to 85 °C
  • Supply Voltage 5V
  • Power consumption: Normal – 46mA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 In all  6 out of 10

For more information visit TDK.com

My PCI to PCMCIA Adaptor

Using this gives me the same flexiblity of the laptop ports as well as the option to use some very low power cards to do the same functions and at only a few £ each really easy to add on. This PCMCIA to PCI Card allows the user to connect one PC card to the back panel of a desktop PC.

It is compliant with the PCMCIA 2.1/JEIDA 4.1 specifications. The data interface to the PC card is 16/32 bit and powered at 3.3V or 5V. The wide range of PCMCIA cards, i.e. wireless LAN, Bluetooth, USB, Firewire etc, now can be connected with your desktop PC just a snap. The best bit is that the drivers and support are built directly in to Windows XP so no messing about.

Features

  • RICOH R5C475II chipset
  • Compliant with PCI local bus specification 2.2
  • Hot Swapping and Plug-n-Play compatible
  • Compliant with PC Card standard release 8.0 specification
  • Support 16-bit (PCMCIA 2.1/JEIDA 4.2) and 32-bit (CardBus) PC Card
  • 3.3V or 5V power light indicator
  • Compliant with i82365SL register set and ExCA
  • Support Type I/II/III CardBus/PCMCIA card

In all  9 out of 10

For more information visit Ricoh

 

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/

My Portable Keyboards – PS2® MINI-key & PS2 Number Pad

This mini USB key board was originally for use with Sony PS2’s how ever because it is USB it works just like a normal PC keyboard but its a lot smaller. The downside how ever is that a couple of keys such as Del is missing which means you can not do a control alt delete when needed.

That been said I do tend to use the XP ‘On Screen Keyboard’ a lot ( c:\Windows\System32\OSK.exe ) as I find it very useful but again that too can at times have some keys missing i.e. ‘\’.

I also have a PS2 ( as in PC connector ) number pad too. The reason for this is its small and if you look at it all the keys you need to access your BIOS and change any config or even press enter when that pesky hibernation file needs deleting are there. Best bit was it cost only a few £ as I got it from Ebay.

In all  7 out of 10

For More Info Visit http://www.dreamgear.net & Get From Cartft.com / Custom Car Computers / Linitx

The Reversing & Forward View Cameras & CarTFT Reverse Sensor

This camera is easy to install. Simply plug RCA Video Jack to your car monitor and connect 12V (red wire) and ground (black wire) to the power.

Specifications

  • RCA Video Cable and Power Wire Provided
  • No Connection Problems with any car monitor
  • This camera is water proof and comes with a quality compact metal housing
  • One of the smallest and most compact cameras on the market specifically designed for rear view systems
  • Crystal clear resolution: 628 x 582 (420 lines)
  • 100 Degrees wide viewing angle for safety back-up of Jeeps, Vans, Pick-Ups, Estates, or any vehicle

In all  6 out of 10

For more information See Cartft.com and Custom Car Computers

Rear camera view switcher (automatic)

  • Monitor picture will be changed to rear view CCD camera automatically when the reverse gear be switched.
  •  Dimension(L x W x H) : 82x60x25mm
  • Connect 1 or 2 video (PAL/NTSC) sources to this switch and your camera. Then connect the switch with the vehicle rear light power (12VDC). The switch then automatically will switch to the camera view, when the rear gear is shifted in !

In all  6 out of 10 

For more information See Cartft.com and Custom Car Computers

 

Kenwood KDC-W6527 ( My Head Unit )

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

 

 

In all  9 out of 10

For more information visit Kenwood

 

Power Cabling For The System

To power all this I used AWG wire and the easiest way to do that was buy a kit. Mine came from CPC and only cost around £24. The kit contains most items you need and some you don’t. Running from the battery though the fire wall is the mains and to get the ground I took that from a local screw point in the boot area. The ignition was sourced ( fused of course ) from the existing stereo’s DIN connector. Its important to note where possible run the power cables away from the audio and video cables. In my case I was unable to do this so to clean the sound up a little I have installed a ground loop isolator and a USB sound car located at the front of the car.

Included in this kit 60 Amp

  • 5m x 10mm2 red power cable
  • 0.5m x 10mm2 black earth cable
  • 10m x 1.5mm2 OFC speaker cable
  • 5m blue remote cable
  • 5m directional double screened phono cable
  • Gold AGU fit fuse holder (terminated to cable)
  • Gold plated AGU fuse 60amp
  • Fitting accessories bag containing gold plated speaker and power terminals
  • Screws and cable ties

 

In all  7 out of 10

For more information visit CPC