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my carPC project


Staff member
CarPC project
by electron

2001 Ford Taurus SES

PC components:
  • Xenarc 7" Touch Screen (700TSV)
  • Opus 90W DC-DC Power Supply
  • VIA M10000 Mini-ITX motherboard & cpu
  • 256 PC2100 DDR memory
  • USB mini trackball
  • Pioneer slot loading DVD-ROM
  • Western Digital 80GB 7200 RPM drive
  • USB Linksys Wireless 802.11G adapter
  • Garmin GPS35-HVS serial port GPS receiver
  • Custom built case
Misc. hardware components:
  • Scosche Amp installation kit (bought at Wal-Mart)
  • Ford AUX
  • Rearview camera
  • FrodoPlayer
  • Virtual com-port replicator (to allow multiple GPS streams)
  • Windows XP Pro (might switch to Embedded)
  • OBDII (http://www.obddiagnostics.com/)
  • Microsoft Streets and Maps 2005
  • Routis 2004
  • CoPilot 7 (if I can find a cheap copy)
  • NetStumbler
  • DVD playback
  • Audio file playback
  • Video file playback
  • GPS Navigation
  • Custom GPS application allowing location based events to trigger
  • Voice Recognition driven interface
  • Text-To-Speech enabled
  • Integration with power windows, locks, defroster, alarm etc
  • ODBII integration & dashboard
  • rearview camera, probably though trunk keyhole
Naming Suggestions:
  • eTaurus
  • my.Taurus
  • ICEbox (In Car Entertainment)
I still haven't settled on some of the options, so I just copied my text file so you guys can see how I am thinking, and I will indicate what parts I have later today. Keep in mind that I probably forgot to mention many items/features, I will try to list them as I think fo them. I will try to add some useful links later too.



Joe W

Nice setup. The only thing missing is the OBD-II unit to monitor you car's essentials.

Keep posting, I am interesed in your progress. I have a full size custom van and a spare 600mhz desktop PC I think I want to do a similar thing. Space is not a problem but money is. I am trying to scrounge what I need. Your success will inspire me.



Staff member
http://www.obddiagnostics.com sells the hardware for a pretty good price. If space isn't an issue, then it will be much easier for you, the most expensive part will be the screen, everything else can be done in a cheap way (inverter etc).


Senior Member
A few questions if I may. Where are you going to mount the monitor? How will you controll your windows and door locks? What is the wireless card for?


Staff member
Check the first pictures url, it shows how it will go. Since I am not sure if I am keeping the car, I decided not to do a flush indash mount like most professional systems, I want this setup to be portable so I can sell the car if needed.

I am planning on controlling the windows and door locks with phidgets, and the wireless card is so I can uhm, surf while driving if there is a public hot spot. It will also be used in the mornings, when Homeseer starts the car, so it can copy the new music/video files over to the CarPC while the car is warming up, same thing for email (TTS) and news headlines.


Senior Member
Does anyone have or have experience with the OBDII interface from obddiagnostics? It looks pretty cool and is affordable. I'm just not sure I have time for another project.


Staff member
yep, plenty of people use it on mp3car.com, it's one of the better solutions out there. You can't do anything wrong, as it can only read the data (and reset any check engine light you might get), that's about it. There are links to other software packages with source which can use this hardware, so you can write your own if you want to.


Senior Member
Where is the pc mounted? Does it automatically startup when the car starts? Doesn't it get too hot in a car for the PC? Why not a USB GPS receiver? Where did you get the monitor. The best price I see is roughly $450


Staff member
I got the monitor at mp3car.com, I could have gone for the Lilliput which is a cheaper clone, but plenty of people have run into problems with them, so I opted to do it the right way. The Opus power supply also came from mp3car.com, and has a built in shut down controller, so it can start when the car starts, and turn off x seconds/minutes after you turn the car off. It will also survive cranking the car which is a problem with most inverters, and would reboot the PC when you are starting the car.

The pc will be mounted where the motherboard is in the first set of pics, I am building a custom case that will fit in that exact area. Heat shouldn't be an issue as this is a mini-itx board, it's designed to run cool.

As for the GPS, Squintz offered me a deal I couldn't refuse, and as I didn't have the serial port in use yet, it was a perfect combination (I am running out of USB ports already).


Senior Member
Ah ha. I overlooked the pic links. Thanks for all the info.

Is this inside the console or under it? I can't really tell from the pics.

I also can't make out what some of the pictures are. Can you lable them. For example what is the group of pictures that look sorta like the hood release?


Staff member
oh, initially I uploaded the pictures so I could share them with 1 person, so I never bothered labeling/seperating them, but due to many requests, I decided to dedicate a thread to it. It's the keyhole/lock in the trunk, I took those pictures as a reference, as I am 'planning' on installing the rear view camera there, hopefully I won't have to make the hole bigger or anything.


Staff member
I would need a wide angle cam tho, and the reverse image is a nice option (but not required). I do like that camera, but I don't think it would survive our road conditions here during the winter.