My Pi Carputer in my truck

3 posts
by luckyjezter » Sun Jul 21, 2013 4:22 am
An ongoing project of mine is redoing my 1987 F-150. I started planning it at the beginning of 2012 and started construction that spring time. I extended out and built a center console from the floor to just above the dash. It has USB charging ports, an always live DC volt meter, two 12v plugs, an DC/AC converter, radio, two 6 1/2" speakers, cup holders that remove to reveal storage, extended the vent controls to be flush with it, and to top it off... my Acer Iconia 10" tablet that slides into the top of it all. That was phase one of my build because I wanted to do more. By the end of summer I started phase two.

Phase two came about mainly because I wanted my HAM radio mounted up by the roof. So I came up with a center console that runs from front to back then with a crossbar running across the back area. Here I have my HAM radio, speakers hidden in the back cross bar as well as hidden upper lighting, and a flip down monitor that I built and connected to it both my upper rear view camera and my Raspberry Pi. During spring break of this year, I replaced my constructed flip down monitor with a Pyle 8.5" swivel flip down monitor and added a second rear view camera at license plate level. I also mounted a dashcam on the window to record my ventures.

Photos of the project can be found here:
The photos are before I swapped out the monitor (I need to take updated ones). The Raspberry Pi, if you can not tell, is under the plexiglass. It is mounted between some wood painted black and has blue lights that shine on it. I etched the symbol with a knife.

Right now, the Pi is running XBMC on it for all my audio and video needs because the tablet runs Ulysse Speedometer on it while I am driving. I control the Pi with the Lenovo Mini Wireless Keyboard (N5901/A). It actually works fairly well and can control my music pretty well without looking at it while driving. My music and any video I might want is stored on flash drives that I plug in to an expansion cable.

My future goal is to add wireless to the Pi and some type of easy control system. I thought about voice capabilities but all of the various noise and loudness might interfere with it. So I was thinking about using the GPIO and creating some type of push button system that would be mounted on the center console or something that would control the various control functions (play, FFWD, etc). Other than that, I am not sure what else I want to do yet...

I also have a second Pi that I am thinking of turning it into a retro gaming machine... or something.
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2012 1:20 am
by AlDante » Sun Jul 28, 2013 3:44 pm
Jezter, your truck looks great! You've already done pretty much everything I want to do with my pickup (sorry, it's only a Mitsubishi) and more, would you mind sharing some more details? E.g. how did you route the camera signal from the license plate (front or rear?) to the Pi? I assume it's a USB cam, not the Pi Cam, because of the cable length?
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2012 3:12 pm
by luckyjezter » Mon Jul 29, 2013 12:57 am
Thanks AlDante, I have worked hard and long and still working out the various kinks. The new flip down monitor is putting out an RF signal that is interfering with my stereo radio stations and my HAM radio. Not totally sure why yet. I am going to try to change the ground location. As far as the cameras go, they actually are not routed through the Raspberry Pi sadly enough. I decided to just go the regular route and connect them directly to the monitor. This monitor has two inputs in which one is used for the license plate camera and the other one is the inputs for the Pi and top camera. To switch between the two of them, I used a DTDP switch to handle that job. I thought about buying a regular video switch but not enough room for one and that just seemed easier to do and takes up less space. You probably could use a webcam but would need it waterproof and run a long USB cable for it while also finding a way to protecting the connectors.

Sorry for the disappointment of not using the Pi for that but I figured the simpler the better to start off with. I plan on doing more in future but for right now it is good. Thanks for replying and if anymore questions, just ask... :D
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2012 1:20 am