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Old 01-23-2011, 10:21 AM   #1
KhaosPrinz
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Build an own car radio based on linux


Hey guys,

I'm sick of all these uncomfortable car radio system out there.
My dream is it to build my own radio based on linux.

So my first questions are:
What do you think about this idea?
Linux is used in so many devices, so maybe I could use it in my car, too?
Does anybody out there have experience with such projects?

And what do I have to think about, when I would like to start this project?

Oh and by the way: I'm german. I know it's a lame excuse for a bad english, but just keep it in mind.

Thank you very much,

Benny
 
Old 01-23-2011, 10:27 AM   #2
yooy
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there may be many options for "car pc" like there exist htpc

the problem is that computer in car may be distracting and most new cars already have radio build in. I 've expirienced a lot with laptop in car and it is not a bad idea.
 
Old 01-23-2011, 10:30 AM   #3
MS3FGX
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Well, what do you mean by "car radio"? Something that sits in the dashboard and actually receives radio broadcasts, or just an in-car entertainment system?

If you get a small LCD panel that goes in a regular dashboard radio opening (they have many of these for playing videos and that sort of thing) it would be no problem to connect that up to a small Linux computer running a media front-end like XBMC. There would be plenty of little details to work out (powering it, making it small enough to hide somewhere, etc), but nothing that hasn't been tackled by others before so there will be plenty of examples you can use.
 
Old 01-23-2011, 11:31 AM   #4
KhaosPrinz
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Hey guys,

thank you =)

I don't have enough space for a normal size computer or notebook in my car.
I's a fiat seicento sporting.

About the functionallity:
It should be a in-car entertainment system.
I've got some audio device/speakers of the alpine type X series.
So, as you can see, a good sound feeling is important to me.

What i need is a smal (touch?) panle and some buttons to control it.
USB and sd card reader would be nice, too.
Maybe even a build in ssd drive, to store a media library.

There is no need for hq videos or something.
I just want to have a good user interface, to find my songs fast.

So you think this could work?

I don't have THAT much expirience with linux and all the hardware stuff (=P)
But I've got some C and C++ and even basic electronis skills.

So final question (for now)
Do you think this is the correct forum for this kind of questions?
And if not: Do you have a link to a correct one?

Oh, and do you know any other project like this?
Maybe they have a website or something?

Regards,

Benny
 
Old 01-23-2011, 12:28 PM   #5
frieza
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i would look into the following hardware
1)mini-itx or micro-itx motherboard (yeah most are more comperable to a netbook but for you purposes it shouldnt matter)
2)5" or so LCD display
3)ide to Compact flash adapter (instead of a hard drive)
4)a keypad or small keyboard
usually you can fit such a setup in the glove compartment
 
Old 01-23-2011, 01:29 PM   #6
KhaosPrinz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frieza View Post
i would look into the following hardware
1)mini-itx or micro-itx motherboard (yeah most are more comperable to a netbook but for you purposes it shouldnt matter)
2)5" or so LCD display
3)ide to Compact flash adapter (instead of a hard drive)
4)a keypad or small keyboard
usually you can fit such a setup in the glove compartment
Thank you for this valuable information =)

I've a look at it...

As I planed to store a lot of media files on the in-build solid state drive, I don't know if one compact flash card provides enough space.
I can get a 120Gb ssd drive for the price of a 64GB compact flash card...
On the other side, I have no power issue with a compact flash card.

Are there any prefered display manufacturers of yours, that you would recommend to me?
And do you know any hardware display drivers I could use?

Thank you all, so much =)
 
Old 01-23-2011, 03:46 PM   #7
frieza
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as for displays? any decent quallity LCD that can be powered by 12 volts from a car would do, same with the motherboard, it needs a 12 volt dc psu or you need a power inverter

as for the video driver i would recomend anything that can drive the LCD
as for software? i wouldnt recomend anything fancy that requires a gui, but rather a text based system like a combination of virtxmms and xcplay or ncxmms and just use a different machine with xmms (1 not 2) to create the playlist, editing the playlist with a text editor to change the path to the appropriate path for the car pc and then running it like that

mp3blaster is also a good text based player

the reason i say skip the gui is on small displays it might be harder to read a gui

of course amarok or rythembox might work

if you are going to do anything with X based i would recomend NVIDIA based video cards as they seem to have the best linux support (albeit with a proprietary driver)

one advantage though of using X is that you can also install a web browser with a flash plugin and run streaming media (such as online radio stations) assuming you have a cell phone plan that lets you use your phone as a modem.

Last edited by frieza; 01-23-2011 at 03:50 PM.
 
Old 01-23-2011, 04:22 PM   #8
KhaosPrinz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frieza View Post
as for displays? any decent quallity LCD that can be powered by 12 volts from a car would do, same with the motherboard, it needs a 12 volt dc psu or you need a power inverter

as for the video driver i would recomend anything that can drive the LCD
as for software? i wouldnt recomend anything fancy that requires a gui, but rather a text based system like a combination of virtxmms and xcplay or ncxmms and just use a different machine with xmms (1 not 2) to create the playlist, editing the playlist with a text editor to change the path to the appropriate path for the car pc and then running it like that

mp3blaster is also a good text based player

the reason i say skip the gui is on small displays it might be harder to read a gui

of course amarok or rythembox might work

if you are going to do anything with X based i would recomend NVIDIA based video cards as they seem to have the best linux support (albeit with a proprietary driver)

one advantage though of using X is that you can also install a web browser with a flash plugin and run streaming media (such as online radio stations) assuming you have a cell phone plan that lets you use your phone as a modem.
THAT'S JUST GREAT =)

I'll search for the proper hardware the next few days...

as for the proper software, i need a slim linux base.
I havn't done any X based development. But as I'm a programmer, I should be able to program my own gui (?!) if it's necessary.

But there is an other isse bordering me.
I need some additional hardware controls (like: volume control, switches, buttons, etc.)
How should I connect them to the mainboard?
usb or rs232?
 
Old 01-23-2011, 10:49 PM   #9
frieza
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that depends on the device, if you are programming the interface yourself, rs232 would be convenient as you could use something like this:
http://www.matrixorbital.com/Intelli...duct_info.html
as your display and input as well and it would conveniently run on the same PSU as the computer
yes character displays are limited but it might work for what you are doing (enough room to display artist name, track name, album name and also a small menu interface/playlist)

or you could just attach a numeric keypad to the standard PS/2 port if you wanted to use a standard vga (or composite video display such as an old car entertainment system display)

as for software i would look at virtxmms + xmms development libraries and then write or modify an existing text based interface like xcplay to suit your needs.

Last edited by frieza; 01-23-2011 at 11:15 PM.
 
Old 01-25-2011, 01:49 PM   #10
KhaosPrinz
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Hey guys,

maybe i'm overpowering it a little bit
But i think i'll take these parts, if they are linux compatible.

Zotac Ion IONITX-S-E
Creative Labs X-FI PCI Express Sound Blaster Xtreme Audio Sound Card
OCZ Vertex 2 Solid State Disk Drive 120GB (There's a sata power cable on the mainboard =])

I don't know if this creative labs sound card is compatible to linux?!

Regards,

Benny
 
Old 01-25-2011, 03:21 PM   #11
frieza
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the sound card compatibility depends on how new the sound card is and whether or not you use a more recent distribution of Linux, however if the motherboard has onboard sound that would probably be prefreable to use that because an extra soundcard would be redundant and simply draw extra power, i have myself never purchased an extra soundcard for my desktop units and have never had problems with inadaquate sound (and i use a 50 watt stereo amplifier for my sound system)
 
Old 01-26-2011, 04:03 PM   #12
KhaosPrinz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frieza View Post
the sound card compatibility depends on how new the sound card is and whether or not you use a more recent distribution of Linux, however if the motherboard has onboard sound that would probably be prefreable to use that because an extra soundcard would be redundant and simply draw extra power, i have myself never purchased an extra soundcard for my desktop units and have never had problems with inadaquate sound (and i use a 50 watt stereo amplifier for my sound system)
Hmm well...
the onboard sound has only one out. i've got 2 amps in my car. with 4 ins (front, rear & left, right) and one bass in.
That's why I need a 4.1 output (well this one is 7.1, but supports 4.1 also).

I don't know how new it is, BUT creative labs build in some nice sound processing features.
So the audio gets cleaned and sounds much better =)

It seams like, I have to try it, to find out if it's linux compatible or not

Thank you all,

Benny
 
Old 02-16-2011, 06:27 AM   #13
veritasaequita
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wow, this is just what ive been looking for, well atleast its a start to what i want to do. I am wanting to install a linux distro on my in-dash gps\dvd head unit. If you need any help or have any ideas please feel free to let me know. thanks, veritasaequita
 
  


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