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Jeremy's Aerio SX Car Computer with SIRIUS, XM & GPS!

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Jeremy's Aerio SX Car Computer with SIRIUS, XM & GPS!

Postby Jeremy » Tue Jun 14, 2005 9:10 pm

Whew, this is going to be a long post so get some coffee!

Yep, I'm a geek!

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Larger Image: http://www.IAmJeremy.com/~sirius/carpc/desk1.jpg

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Larger Image: http://www.IAmJeremy.com/~sirius/carpc/desk2.jpg

Whether it's the number of computers in the house (an even dozen), my new dual core Pentium D computer or the 6 monitors I have attached to one computer, there is nothing I like better than technology and making that technology work for me to make my life easier. My love for Satellite Radio is no different. I've been developing applications and working with interfacing SIRIUS Radios to computers for over a year. This project is a combination of all that and some great help from some great friends!

So where do we begin? My car! A 2004 Suzuki Aerio SX! 5 speed, tinted windows and power everything! The stock stereo has 7 speakers and an in dash 6 disc cd changer. Thanks to all the guys at Aerio Style for all the great info on my car!

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Larger Image: http://www.IAmJeremy.com/~sirius/carpc/8.jpg

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Larger Image: http://www.IAmJeremy.com/~sirius/carpc/3.jpg

Onto the computer-

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Larger Image: http://www.IAmJeremy.com/~sirius/carpc/6.jpg

ASUS microATX motherboard
Intel Pentium 4 Prescott 2.8ghz Processor
1G PC3200 CAS2.5 RAM
60G 7200RPM 8M Laptop Drive
D Link 108Mbps 802.11g PCI Network card
OPUS 150W ATX Power Supply
OPUS 90W 5v/12v Power Supply

I had it put into a custom built steal case my local welder made for me. The case fits nicely under the passenger's side seat and the top is made of 1/4 inch Lexan I had laying around so I can see the status LED's inside.

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Larger Image: http://www.IAmJeremy.com/~sirius/carpc/12.jpg

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Larger Image: http://www.IAmJeremy.com/~sirius/carpc/4.jpg

T-View 7 Inch VGA Touch Screen
2 USB Hubs
Slot Load DVD+R/DVD-R Laptop Drive in USB enclosure (mounted under the dash)
Alpine SIRIUS Connect Radio w/Timetrax USB Adapter
XMPCR
HAiCOM USB GPS Reciever (Model HI-204S)
Hawking 6DBi Wifi Antennas! (2, one for the PCI Wifi Card, one for the access point)
D Link 108mbps Wireless router (acting as an access point.) connected via cat 5 to the computer.

Power is being supplied by an Optima Yellow Top Deep Cycle Battery which is connected to the car's main power by an 80Amp relay which engages when the car is on and disconnects when the car is off. This allows my carpc to run off the second battery while the car is turned off!

As an added Bonus, I had the guys at Color Match Antenna paint both the XM & SIRIUS Antennas and my GPS Adapter to match my car! Especially with the GPS being blue.

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Larger Image: http://www.IAmJeremy.com/~sirius/carpc/5.jpg

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Larger Image: http://www.IAmJeremy.com/~sirius/carpc/13.jpg

Great Job Guys!


Installation

The Installation was a pain, the hardest part though was to mount the LCD without damanging the dash by drilling holes or altering anything. I did it by mounting a home made bracket to the inside top of the Radio housing. You'll also notice the USB hub for the front of the car for the touchscreen, USB DVD+R/-R drive and I was thinking of putting a USB port on the dash.

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Larger Image: http://www.IAmJeremy.com/~sirius/carpc/7.jpg

I think the LCD mount is VERY clean and I ran the wires out the vent!
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Larger Image: http://www.IAmJeremy.com/~sirius/carpc/10.jpg

I also put an RF wireless keyboard with built in track ball in the car. I glued clips to the back to allow me to clip it to the visor or on the pocket on the back of the passenger's side seat. (I used JB Weld, but you have to drill a hole in the back of the keyboard case and get the JB weld to go into the hold because it won't just stick to the back of the keyboard.)

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Larger Image: http://www.IAmJeremy.com/~sirius/carpc/11.jpg

I'm also going to be adding an RF remote to control the computer. It's a simple setup, one button will be for power, another for reset and two others left open for later add ons. This will also allow me to start up the computer from inside the house.

The Software

The software running the car PC is my own creation. I'm using Map Monkey and the Destinator maps for GPS! It's great! I get turn by turn directions and love the ease of use! Plus it embeds nicely into my own .net application.

The SIRIUS Radios are being controlled by my own software (I have written a .NET DLL to control the SIRIUS Gen 2.5 radios). The XM stuff isn't written yet but should be simple because the specs were published.

Yes, the SIRIUS Radio is running on an Apline SIRIUS Connect Radio with a USB adapter my friends over at Time Trax let me play with! It sure beats my first interface!

I plan on adding MP3 support and playlist support using Windows Media Player as well.

You'll also notice my preset buttons have stream logos on them. Each button can be set up to be an XM or SIRIUS channel or be a MP3 playlist!

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Larger Image: http://www.IAmJeremy.com/~sirius/carpc/1.jpg

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Larger Image: http://www.IAmJeremy.com/~sirius/carpc/2.jpg

Here is a close up of the software

Conclusion

I am very excited to have a simple single interface for music and satellite radio! There is a lot more work to be done on the software but over all, I'm really happy with everything so far!

I would like to also give a special thanks to my wife Jamie for being patient with me and all my little project! (and thanks to the makers of The Sims for occupying her while I work ;) )
Last edited by Jeremy on Fri Nov 11, 2005 3:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby SuzukiAerioGSR » Tue Jun 14, 2005 9:20 pm

sMaLLs is gonna love this! :shock:
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Postby gohanultrassj6 » Tue Jun 14, 2005 9:28 pm

Nice job! I've seen car- computers before and wanted to make one myself however i decided against it, and went with racing car :D
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Postby SuzukiAerioGSR » Tue Jun 14, 2005 9:32 pm

Nice clean front end. Maybe someday this summer mine will look that nice.
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Postby DavidIQ » Tue Jun 14, 2005 9:56 pm

:shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: I don't know what to say except for WOW. That's a fine looking piece of work you got there. Brings a tear to my eye. I'm thoroughly impressed. One thing though...why both XM and Sirus? Can't decide?
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Postby therealmikeg » Tue Jun 14, 2005 10:03 pm

My friend did the same thing to his Alero, but mainly uses his to find open networks and to play MP3s. Did you use a touchscreen for your LCD?
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Postby BlaziN » Tue Jun 14, 2005 10:05 pm

Thats nuts, a hell of a job man.
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Postby Jeremy » Tue Jun 14, 2005 11:05 pm

DavidIQ wrote::shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: I don't know what to say except for WOW. That's a fine looking piece of work you got there. Brings a tear to my eye. I'm thoroughly impressed. One thing though...why both XM and Sirus? Can't decide?


Well, I have XM because SIRIUS dropped CNN Headline news, but having both give me a ton of options! Not to mention it's just cool to have both!

therealmikeg wrote:My friend did the same thing to his Alero, but mainly uses his to find open networks and to play MP3s. Did you use a touchscreen for your LCD?


Yep, it's a touch screen LCD.
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Postby d1mon » Wed Jun 15, 2005 12:39 am

Man nice looking car and well thought computers.
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Postby darkzero » Wed Jun 15, 2005 2:53 am

Man thats very nice, GOOD JOB!!!!! :D
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Postby sMaLLs » Wed Jun 15, 2005 2:54 am

SuzukiAerioGSR wrote:sMaLLs is gonna love this! :shock:

OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG!!! OMFG!!!! i mean, HOLY HOLY HOLY CRAP!!! DUDE! Thats Awe-Freakin-Some!!!! I LOVE your computer set up not only at your house, but in your car!!! If you didn't live a ways a way and I had time to take such a trip, I would drive JUST to see your car setup! I really like what you did there! GSR was right. Im just oh-so-speachless right now.. such a lack of words.
Anyways!
My setup will be completed in about 4 months, I gotta save up money, as well as build it.. haha. but its most likely going to be mac-based [reasons for that ill explain later], will have wi-fi, bluetooth, firewire and usb ports in the front by the cig lighter, two 7" screens in the visors, wireless keyboard and mouse, gaming consoles, battery backup, gaming ports next to the seats front and back... custom song selector hardware, mostlikely built into the steering wheel or dash. custom built back housing for the main unit as well. and some other minor things that ill mention when i finally do the project...

but yeah, GREAT JOB on your car mod, I hope you like it lots!

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Postby Danno » Wed Jun 15, 2005 9:42 am

if I spent that much on computers, satellite radios, etc I'd replace the headunit too. How easily accessible is your headunit with the monitor in front of it. And, yes, you are a computer geek. Where have you been all my life... After seeing your computers pic Jaimie and my wife need to get together to form a support group. I'm more into retro computing though, I just can't get enough DOS, lol.

I have a couple questions for you though, hows the computer handling the heat down there. I see you have it in that custom box(would he be interested in producing several more if we got maybe 3-5 other members who want one?) I'd expect some major heat issue problems, but maybe you could direct a vent for ac down there under the seat into the box.. Also, do you have some sort of suspension mounting for the computer for the hard drive? I've heard that auto computers often have hard drive issues because of the vibrations, is that why you used a laptop hard drive?

And lastly, what part of the world do you live in? State, city, (street address?!?!?, lol)
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Postby flaerio » Wed Jun 15, 2005 9:53 am

Very nice and well done install. What kind of battery holder do you have for the Optima? Can't see how its secured. There are plenty of sites, and on ebay, that sell some really nice aluminum battery cages/holders for that battery if you like that.
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Postby Jeremy » Wed Jun 15, 2005 9:53 am

Danno wrote:if I spent that much on computers, satellite radios, etc I'd replace the headunit too. How easily accessible is your headunit with the monitor in front of it. And, yes, you are a computer geek. Where have you been all my life... After seeing your computers pic Jaimie and my wife need to get together to form a support group. I'm more into retro computing though, I just can't get enough DOS, lol.


I'm a DOS junky myself. I'm forever going to the dos prompt to do stuff. And I do a lot of stuff with batch files all the time.

I have a couple questions for you though, hows the computer handling the heat down there. I see you have it in that custom box(would he be interested in producing several more if we got maybe 3-5 other members who want one?) I'd expect some major heat issue problems, but maybe you could direct a vent for ac down there under the seat into the box..


This is one of the reasons I choose ASUS Motherboards, they come with an application that will monitor the temp of the processor etc. But heat has not been an issue at all with the unit. There is plenty of ventilation around it and it's not AMD so it doesn't run that hot.

Also, do you have some sort of suspension mounting for the computer for the hard drive? I've heard that auto computers often have hard drive issues because of the vibrations, is that why you used a laptop hard drive?


I use a laptop drive. They say the best is to mount the drive perpidicular to the ground (which I did). This way if you hit a bump, you don't crash the heads agains the drive, they just skip across the platter.

And lastly, what part of the world do you live in? State, city, (street address?!?!?, lol)


Clarksville, VA in the county on Kerr Lake (Buggs Island area of the lake). I'm on the VA/NC border about a hour west off I-95.
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Postby Jeremy » Wed Jun 15, 2005 9:55 am

flaerio wrote:Very nice and well done install. What kind of battery holder do you have for the Optima? Can't see how its secured. There are plenty of sites, and on ebay, that sell some really nice aluminum battery cages/holders for that battery if you like that.


I added a piece of 1/4 inch lexan on top of the spare tire, trimmed to fit in place, then mounted the battery to that. I still need to trim the tray a bit but I really like the way it hides the battery out of the way.

I'm enjoying my little trunk/tray in the back of my aerio, it keeps my car neat!
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