• Register Today It's free! This box and some ads will disappear once registered!

^^Searches ExplorerForum.com^^

IZwack's car-PC


IZwack

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
February 5, 2003
Messages
21,772
Reaction score
15
City, State
Germantown, MD
Year, Model & Trim Level
1998 Ford Explorer
Well since my build thread is getting swarmed, I'm yanking the car-PC related posts and moving them to this thread to tidy things up a bit.

But to sum up since all the other posts are sitting in the build thread, this car-PC's purpose is to monitor MegaSquirt and act as a digital gauge (through an LCD monitor) on a trail-only vehicle. Its not a multimedia PC and I'm not going to watch a movies with it. But it will have a GPS reciever for navigation and some other little doodads. Housing will be in some form of a rack config housing this and also MegaSquirt.

So on with the show:


.. Little bit of geek porn for the Explorer's computer ..

Motherboard is an Intel ITX with an Atom processor (1.6 ghz single core - no need for dual). But what I'm excited about is the thing to the right, a solid state 32gb hard drive - boot up times should be a lot faster than a mechanical hard drive! Cant wait to boot!
I'll try setting up and installing Xubuntu for Tunix testing maybe tomorrow.



The motherboard/processor combo cost about $65. Comparing that to the mechanical side of the Explorer and fabrication, thats about the same as one tank of shielding gas, or a few pieces of steel plate, or just a little over the price of the slave clutch master cylinder ($45), or two heim joints -- clearly, the scale of economies are not equal as the motherboard/cpu can do so much more!
 
Last edited:


Join the Elite Explorers for $20 per year. Gets rid of the ads! New $5 per month "try out" option.

Explorer Forum has probably saved you that much already, and will continue to save you money as you learn how to diagnose fix problems yourself and learn which modifications work without having to experiment on your own. Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links, can add their own profile photo, upload photo attachments in all forums, and Media Gallery, create and save more private Conversations, and more. Join Today. Your support is greatly appreciated.




Nick26

Well-Known Member
Joined
June 30, 2003
Messages
1,129
Reaction score
0
City, State
Cumberland, RI
Year, Model & Trim Level
98' 5.0 XLT
Little bit of geek porn for the Explorer's computer ..

Motherboard is an Intel ITX with an Atom processor (1.6 ghz single core - no need for dual). But what I'm excited about is the thing to the right, a solid state 32gb hard drive - boot up times should be a lot faster than a mechanical hard drive! Cant wait to boot!
I'll try setting up and installing Xubuntu for Tunix testing maybe tomorrow.

The motherboard/processor combo cost about $65. Comparing that to the mechanical side of the Explorer and fabrication, thats about the same as one tank of shielding gas, or a few pieces of steel plate, or just a little over the price of the slave clutch master cylinder ($45), or two heim joints -- clearly, the scale of economies are not equal as the motherboard/cpu can do so much more!
Pretty cool, what are you doing for a power supply. I ran an EPIA M10000 in my car for a while with an M2-ATX(for gps, mp3s etc), the catch is that power supply typically comes on when the ignition comes on, but the ignition can't come on without a computer, haha. Good luck getting Xubuntu to boot up fast though, I built my own kernel and tweaked all the init scripts but still couldn't get it much faster then 25 seconds. Also I notcied you didn't mention the price of the SSD, that won't be cheap in comparison, haha.
 




seafarer76

Active Member
Joined
March 16, 2005
Messages
150
Reaction score
0
City, State
Laramie, WY
Year, Model & Trim Level
96 XLT
The carputer is not needed for the Megasquirt to run the engine. The Tunix process on the Carputer only displays the output from the engine sensors and allows for engine tuning. The Megasquirt controls the engine using its own 32 bit Freescale (Motorola) CPU with a tunable firmware installed on internal flash memory.
 




Nick26

Well-Known Member
Joined
June 30, 2003
Messages
1,129
Reaction score
0
City, State
Cumberland, RI
Year, Model & Trim Level
98' 5.0 XLT
The carputer is not needed for the Megasquirt to run the engine. The Tunix process on the Carputer only displays the output from the engine sensors and allows for engine tuning. The Megasquirt controls the engine using its own 32 bit Freescale (Motorola) CPU with a tunable firmware installed on internal flash memory.
ohhhh ok cool... i didn't think a non realtime kernel could do that anyway, so i was confused... then I had found this http://freshmeat.net/projects/tunix and this http://twoday.tuwien.ac.at/tunix/ thought it was some kind of prebuilt micro kernel that he would be using. So the Tunix he is talking about is something Megasquirt releases?
 




Maniak

Moderator-Stock 91-94
Staff member
Moderator
Elite Explorer
Joined
February 9, 1999
Messages
12,117
Reaction score
94
City, State
Vail, Arizona
Year, Model & Trim Level
1992 XLT 4x4
Being all solid state, it shouldn't pull too much power (can have the lcd shut off w/out ignition).. Just get a nice sized battery for it to run on and leave it running most of the time.. When you "know" its going to be off for a while then do a shutdown. If you want to get fancy you can even have it watch the battery voltage and have it shut itself down if power gets too low..

~Mark
 




Nick26

Well-Known Member
Joined
June 30, 2003
Messages
1,129
Reaction score
0
City, State
Cumberland, RI
Year, Model & Trim Level
98' 5.0 XLT
Being all solid state, it shouldn't pull too much power (can have the lcd shut off w/out ignition).. Just get a nice sized battery for it to run on and leave it running most of the time.. When you "know" its going to be off for a while then do a shutdown. If you want to get fancy you can even have it watch the battery voltage and have it shut itself down if power gets too low...
yeah they actually have power supplies to do just that on mp3car.com i think. However, just keeping that motherboard alone running will kill the battery in one night, trust me i know, i've drained my battery several times, due to forgetting to shut it down. Iz, do you plan on using the computer for more than tuning? Because you could have just gotten a CF card and a IDE or SATA adapter.
 




IZwack

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
February 5, 2003
Messages
21,772
Reaction score
15
City, State
Germantown, MD
Year, Model & Trim Level
1998 Ford Explorer
Yeah the carputer is only for monitoring (through Tunix), GPS (through USB), and maybe other things like video to record the roll overs :). Its not really for tuning per say because, well I'm only runing one O2 sensor and I'm not too conerned with getting the most power.

The engine will run w/o the carputer since MegaSquirt is standalone and EDIS piggy backs off of MegaSquirt for ignition timing. But since I'm using the carputer for gauges (through an LCD), its kind of important that the carputer boots up a little quicker and thats why I went with the solid state drive - in addition to having a higher shock rating (from bumps) than mechanical drives.

As for power, I'm not really too concerned because, well thats what the alternator is for :).

THe price of the SSD is here : http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227372
 




Maniak

Moderator-Stock 91-94
Staff member
Moderator
Elite Explorer
Joined
February 9, 1999
Messages
12,117
Reaction score
94
City, State
Vail, Arizona
Year, Model & Trim Level
1992 XLT 4x4
I wasn't thinking about overnight parking.. heck. is this monster even going to be used as a DD?

I was thinking about leaving it on during the day so each time you hop in a start it you don't have to wait 30 seconds to see your dashboard..

Your first start of the day would be the 30 second start.. each start after would be immediate.

~Mark
 




IZwack

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
February 5, 2003
Messages
21,772
Reaction score
15
City, State
Germantown, MD
Year, Model & Trim Level
1998 Ford Explorer
I wasn't thinking about overnight parking.. heck. is this monster even going to be used as a DD?

I was thinking about leaving it on during the day so each time you hop in a start it you don't have to wait 30 seconds to see your dashboard..

Your first start of the day would be the 30 second start.. each start after would be immediate.
It wont be a DD and will never see the road - there's really nothing legal about the vehicle and I gave up keeping the Explorer on the road after being pulled over too many times.

As for leaving it on, yep it will be on for the entire day of the trail run. I went with the Atom processor (as opposed to maybe a Celeron) because of the very low power consumption (typically around 4 watts) . I know the VIA C(x) processors are also low but I am kinda biased towards Intel.
 




jwrezz

Elite Snow Shoveler
Elite Explorer
Joined
March 23, 1999
Messages
1,119
Reaction score
6
City, State
Parsippany, NJ
Year, Model & Trim Level
1996 XLT
This is too cool. I'm just barely getting into Linux, and thru Ubuntu and OpenSUSE on an old laptop just to see what would happen. I'm digging it all, but seeing what you guys are doing w/ it is just so much fun. Must say, much of the jargon being spoke here is way over my head, but it is fun to pretend to understand! Good luck, once again!
 




seafarer76

Active Member
Joined
March 16, 2005
Messages
150
Reaction score
0
City, State
Laramie, WY
Year, Model & Trim Level
96 XLT
ohhhh ok cool... i didn't think a non realtime kernel could do that anyway, so i was confused... then I had found this http://freshmeat.net/projects/tunix and this http://twoday.tuwien.ac.at/tunix/ thought it was some kind of prebuilt micro kernel that he would be using. So the Tunix he is talking about is something Megasquirt releases?
MegaTunix was developed to support tuning and sensor display from the Megasquirt on a Unix based machine. The software most used is Megatune, which is windows only and developed by the same people who developed the Megasquirt code.
 




IZwack

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
February 5, 2003
Messages
21,772
Reaction score
15
City, State
Germantown, MD
Year, Model & Trim Level
1998 Ford Explorer

Attachments





jwrezz

Elite Snow Shoveler
Elite Explorer
Joined
March 23, 1999
Messages
1,119
Reaction score
6
City, State
Parsippany, NJ
Year, Model & Trim Level
1996 XLT
So do I even have to subscribe to this? I see my other post, but I guess I'll just write this to make sure that I still in fact, am subscribed to the new thread!
 




Willard

Well-Known Member
Joined
March 16, 2007
Messages
3,182
Reaction score
3
City, State
Bloomington, Indiana
Year, Model & Trim Level
04 Ranger Edge
13 seconds is fast! I'm loving this little computer, no frills, it just works and should keep working for a long time.

Hey IZ, if you wouldn't mind, how much did that solid state HD cost you? I'm also wondering about how well it's going to hold up until it needs a defrag. I've heard this is the only real problem with them, once they get a little gummed up they slow down a lot.
 




seafarer76

Active Member
Joined
March 16, 2005
Messages
150
Reaction score
0
City, State
Laramie, WY
Year, Model & Trim Level
96 XLT
There is no need to defrag a SSD. The wear leveling tech included on most SSD's randomly places data throughout the drive, so a defrag just moves the data from one random config to another. Defrag actually can decrease the life of a SSD.

Drive Defragmentation:
DO NOT DEFRAGMENT your SSD, it is not necessary. Wear leveling technology purposely "fragments" the data to ensure the consistent life of the drive.
VISTA has an Auto defrag feature that is enabled by default (defragging is on a schedule) this should be disabled after your drive is installed. I will post a guide shortly with that info.
Link
 




Stic-o

Elite Movie Star
Elite Explorer
Joined
September 1, 2002
Messages
13,796
Reaction score
480
City, State
Lake View Terrace, CA
Year, Model & Trim Level
'91 Navajo '99 XL '16 XLT
you know I was working on the carputer thing for the explorer at one time, but then gave up...mainly to dust level:( Just to much dust where we go:rolleyes:
 








seafarer76

Active Member
Joined
March 16, 2005
Messages
150
Reaction score
0
City, State
Laramie, WY
Year, Model & Trim Level
96 XLT
There is actually no need to defrag at all, by any means. Placing data in continuous segments to minimize read head movements while reading a file has no effect when there is no read head or any other moving parts...

The other benefit of defragging is the combining of small chunks of free space due to them being part of a cluster that is only partially used. Nowadays, with avg file size much larger than the avg cluster size, this has become less of an issue.

So I guess what I'm saying is don't defrag, by any means, when you have a SSD. It won't help, and it may cause harm.
 




IZwack

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
February 5, 2003
Messages
21,772
Reaction score
15
City, State
Germantown, MD
Year, Model & Trim Level
1998 Ford Explorer
I've also seen that you can't defrag an SSD, the only way to really do that is to move the data off and then back on again.
Fortunately, there wont really be that many things that need to be written once Tunix is installed and configured on the vehicle. I actually wish that they would sell a smaller capacity (maybe in the 3 gig range) so that the price is lower and also so that I can install the OS (and whatever else) on one SSD, set it to read only, and then maybe use another SSD on another SATA channel for the Swap file (set to write-able obviously) .

As for the SSD, its $95 with free shipping from NewEgg:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227372

you know I was working on the carputer thing for the explorer at one time, but then gave up...mainly to dust level:( Just to much dust where we go:rolleyes:
What surprises me is that the Car-PC world has advanced significantly since the turn of the century. I was on the same boat as you (around the year 2001-ish). DC-DC power supplies with 12v input at the time were verrrrrry rare and were often I believe $400 USD range. And picky my didnt want to go from DC-AC-DC via an inverter. Anyways, $400 was so out of my price range that I etched my own power supplies (buy copper clad board, laser print to a blue iron-on transfer sheet, iron the sheet onto the copper, and let simmer in etchant solution). Unfortunately, after all that effort, that car-PC never saw implementation cauz an aerospace club thingy at school took up all my time so all that $$ went down the drain.
 
Last edited:


Join the Elite Explorers for $20 per year. Gets rid of the ads! New $5 per month "try out" option.

Explorer Forum has probably saved you that much already, and will continue to save you money as you learn how to diagnose fix problems yourself and learn which modifications work without having to experiment on your own. Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links, can add their own profile photo, upload photo attachments in all forums, and Media Gallery, create and save more private Conversations, and more. Join Today. Your support is greatly appreciated.




Nick26

Well-Known Member
Joined
June 30, 2003
Messages
1,129
Reaction score
0
City, State
Cumberland, RI
Year, Model & Trim Level
98' 5.0 XLT
Wow -- boot time is 13 seconds with a fresh install of Xubuntu (release 9.04 - Jaunty Jackalope).
wow that's awesome, looks like I know what drive I'll be using in my next carputer. The price is actually really good too considering how much they used to be.

I actually wish that they would sell a smaller capacity (maybe in the 3 gig range) so that the price is lower and also so that I can install the OS (and whatever else) on one SSD, set it to read only, and then maybe use another SSD on another SATA channel for the Swap file (set to write-able obviously) .
Like I mentioned before you could have probably gotten away with a compact flash card and a SATA adapter. But anyway each PEB on those drives has a minimum of 100K writes, and with wear levelling of 30GB, and the kernel's file system caching you should be find for a very long time.
 




Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
NICE59FORDF100 What kind of video car should i get for Need for speed Most Wanted? Exploring Computers!! 9
Top