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Carputer for FIAT Grande Punto 1.2 Active

Discussion in 'Do It Yourself' started by rajeev_pillai, Nov 11, 2010.

  1. rajeev_pillai

    rajeev_pillai Regolare

    Kochi, Kerala
    Grande Punto 1.2
    The story of a Carputer
    “Caputer, what the heck is that???” was the expression or question that I got as a response, when I told my dear and near ones that I am building one.
    Second question was to why we need a Carputer when laptops/nettops/mobiles can be used inside and outside the car.

    Immediate response is a smile ::V followed by:
    1. Carputer is CAR-comPUTER, which is designed to use in automotive environment. Used for Media playback (Audio/ Video with multi monitor support), GPS, Hands free phone, OBD (Onboard diagnosis), DVR, Reverse camera, games, Internet etc.
    2. The same can be achieved to a level by using Laptops/, but what about hardware updating? And normal usage of a laptop is not possible while driving (unless you are tired of the world and want to R.I.P). But there are still carputers based on Laptops/ Nettops, but those systems are just being used for CPU part, screen or keyboard is not used. Also powering, automatic startup/shutdown is not possible here.
    3. Using an Android/ Windows mobile/ iPhone is good, but still the hardware maintenance, limited application support and small screen move it to the bottom of the list.

    I was bitten by this bug only very recently. Say 3 months. All started with my inability to drive to unknown places. Most of the roads in Mumbai, Thane and even Dombivili (where I stay) are unknown to me. And in the traffic, one cannot stop and ask for directions. I used to rely on Google Maps to get directions and take a printout of the map along with when going somewhere. It helped to an extend but still I used to miss some turns or places. :confused

    Then I enquired about the Sat Nav devices (GPS) in India and wanted to buy one. But I never had hands on experience with these devices. Last year I was on an official visit to U.K, where I found that almost all cabbies rely on these devices for route guidance. So I checked the availability of these devices in India. MapMyIndia (MMI) was the chosen one. But I felt that the price was on the higher side so looked for alternatives. Then found mobile version of MMI maps, I am having an HTC touch and compatible map software is available with MMI. But as I always do before purchasing anything, I searched for product reviews on net and accidently read on article on using computer inside a car. Phew….I was flattened. :dancing

    Calculated the cost effectiveness and found it is the best choice for me as I haven’t invested on high-end music player for my car (most of the time I play music from my Nokia N91 or Transcend media player through aux input of my JVC head unit). Using the phone even provided some level of hands free functionality also. :car

    Here my primary requirements were
    1. Route guidance
    2. Audio/ Video playback. [But I don’t watch movies while driving ;)]
    3. Phone Integration
    4. OBD
    So the research began..... :up


  2. rajeev_pillai

    rajeev_pillai Regolare

    Kochi, Kerala
    Grande Punto 1.2
    Some pictures of the CPU and peripherals.
    Not yet finalized on monitor and DC-DC psu not yet arrived.










  3. Italia-Linea

    Italia-Linea Staff Member Janitor

    great work, which board is that. i had seen a asus matx board with hd graphics and duo core processor at FRYS electronics while in US.
    ASUS AT5IONT-I Intel NM10 Atom D525 Motherboard.

    http://www.frys.com/product/6348451?sit ... IN_RSLT_PG

    This was a great leap ahead over the traditional intel boards considering future upgrades.
    please give the break up of the costs too.

    all the best.
  4. rajeev_pillai

    rajeev_pillai Regolare

    Kochi, Kerala
    Grande Punto 1.2
    Thanks for the wishes. The Mother Board is D410PT from intel.
    I think it doen't support HD graphics (not in my requirements). Also I prefer to purchase the MoBo locally.

    I just wanted to start the thread at the earliest, so posted only the initial part.

    Now waiting for the monitor and PSU.

  5. rajeev_pillai

    rajeev_pillai Regolare

    Kochi, Kerala
    Grande Punto 1.2
    Most of the activities were online searches. During one of my searches, I found this article. ::T Took a print out of the same and gave it to my wife for reading after presenting the idea of Car-PC. Her only concern was the time I am going to spent with Carputer/ Car. ::pP
    But nowadays she asks again "Do we really need one?" (time to show her a demonstration video from youtube) :wink:

    Then the hunt was for a Front-End software. Downloaded and installed Ride Runner, Centrafuse 3.0, openMobile and Linux ICE. After trying out these, decided to go for Centrafuse 3.0 with Satguide One India maps for navigation. I was using my home desktop for experimenting with the software and peripherals. :mrgreen:

    The mp3car forum helped me a lot so as TFI member ishankarve. He was very helpful in answering my queries. ::D His Carputer build is almost completed now and we both are having almost same configuration. You can check his story here

    I checked iRide& panache for components. Sheldon Nunes of iRide is very helpful in answering my queries and providing some vital information. He is a team-bhp member and offers excellent support for their products. If anybody wishes to purchase ready made systems or components, you can check their products at their web site. The price may appear to be high compared to eBay but they offer excellent after sales support.

    Configuration and procurement

    Operating System: Windows XP SP3
    Frontend: Centrafuse 3 Standard Edition
    Maps: Satguide maps

    Initially, I bought GPS receiver and OBDII adapter and Satguide maps, and then tried to integrate my phone and configuring GPS for Centrafuse in my home rig. Now the GPS and Phone integration is working fine. By that time most of the components ordered from eBay were arrived.
    My friend is travelling to U.S this week, asked him to get the monitor from there. Will get it by the end of this month. :dance

    After that some more rigorous testing at home and then it will be installed in my GP. :steering


    Attached Files:

  6. rajeev_pillai

    rajeev_pillai Regolare

    Kochi, Kerala
    Grande Punto 1.2
    A small update.
    The DC-DC P.S.U has arrived, but there was a mistake from my side by ordering picoPSU ATX instead of picoPSU M3-ATX. :A
    The current PSU cannot be used in automotive environment as it needs steady 12V DC. :hit So need to order the correct one...again. :A
    Right now using the current one at home. Now I am posting this from the pc. Also installed Centrafuse 3.1 with satguide maps.

    Now the hunt is on for a 7inch touch monitor and M3-ATX P.S.U and then a good auto-electrician....

  7. Tarun

    Tarun Amatore

    Bhiwani, Delhi
    ::D Awesome Job man .. never knew such things can be done ..
  8. rajeev_pillai

    rajeev_pillai Regolare

    Kochi, Kerala
    Grande Punto 1.2
    Thanks Tarun. I was also not knowing this before some time. ::O

    Ok. no updates to give, so uploading some of the screenshots of the Front End (Centrafuse).
    Map folder is not updated (too lazy :hit ), so showing U.S maps.













  9. gReyHound


    This looks very interesting and i am looking forward to see the end product successfully installed in your car.
    Good going and good luck.
  10. Ravi

    Ravi Staff Member Janitor

    Grande Punto 1.3
    Screens are looking pretty awsome. Waiting to see final product on your Punto.

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