Some days everything goes wrong. IN amongst the mods, I am still toiling away on this Car PC project. Earlier in the week, I pulled out the DVD out of the laptop, transplanted it into a USB enclosure and blew it up while I was testing it out of the car for no apparent reason on second use.
Today I had planned to wire in an ON-OFF-ON switch I bought a while ago so I can run the CarPC continuously from the 80 amp hour auxillary battery under the hood. Damn, I had lost the switch. Shops were not open, so I decided to mount the GPS puck somewhere permanent instead. I thought the best place for my GPS receiver would be here near the windscreen wipers because plastic is opaque to radio waves from the satellite:
I knew there was a 5.0 metre cable limit on the USB spec, and I was well within that. So I cut off the USB connector, stuffed the wire through the firewall, removed the windscreen wipers and lifted the cowling up a bit. Plenty of room under there so I decided to put it right under the curved bit in the pic above. I wiped both surfuaces with Methylated Spirits and covered the top of the GPS mouse with double sided body moulding tape like this:
The I pushed it up onto the plastic cowling to make it stick:
Then I soldered an extended USB lead onto the other end in the car and plugged it into my hub behind the back seat. Bugger! it didn't work! OK, after some troubleshooting, I could isolate the device was not coming up. So cut off the end, round up a 4 port hub lying around and solder it onto the cable from the back of the car and run a 5 volt power lead from the Opus in the back up to the hub. I ended with something like this whh I cable tied up under the dash.:
Beauty, it worked! Found 5 Satellites while I was parked under a tin roof. Anyway it will be handy to have USB ports up in the front and I will add an extension lead from the hub up ito the glove box or some other handy place.
Went off to buy a new switch hen turned my attention to the wireless network. Because I have a a fibreglass canopy which I had tested and found was reasonably opaque to radio waves, and becasue I did not want to have an antenna getting in the road of my roof racks, I decided to mount it in the canopy at the back corner beween the tailgate and the side window.
There is actually a hollow section in the canopy corner which must be there for strength and it is open at the bottom, so I decided to mount the antenna there, Sorry I did not take a pic of it, but it is a good quality 5 db internal antenna about 8 inches long. I had a some self adhesive tabs designed to attach cable ties to, so I cable tied these to the antenna and poked it up into the little hidey hole like this inside the canopy:
You can just see the gold pigtail connector at the base of the antenna sticking down. I was able to route the coax for the antenna through some conduit that was already in place for the light built into the canopy, so I did not have to drill any more holes in the car. I routed the coax back to the laptop under the vehicle and back in the cab and encased it in some corrugated conduit. Getting a bit crowded under there now with canopy power, fridge power, reversing camera coax, aftermarket diff breathers and now a wireless antenna. In the process, I broke the end off the pigtail connector. Not a major drama but annoyed that I have to go back and buy another connector as Jaycar is 20 minutes drive.
Finished just on 5:00 and went for a quick drive and the thing would not start up after I shut it down. PC has its knickers in a knot. Mucked about for ages, tok th ePC out of the car and mucked about some more. Found that while I was mucking baout with the coax, I had broken a wire of the startup and shut down switch. Very annoying! Ah well, another thing to fix tomorrow! Still have not fitted the switch into the dash yet.
I really think I need to extend the status LED on the Opus and wire in a LED that is patched into the USB 5 volt feed so I can see what is going on with the gear that is hidden behind a back seat that is bolted down and not easy to get in behind.
Gets a bit tiring becasue just about every job I do on this project ends up getting done twice becasue something goes wrong. Quite a journey of discovery it has been! Anywasy, getting close to done. Let me see what's left
1. Reflash the OPUS BIOS when the correct programming header turns up from Opus so it works in laptop mode.
2. Mount the ON-OFF-ON switch and the manual laptop power on/off button.
3. Install a DVD player in the console
4. Sort out the Monitor switches and remote control sensor
5. Mount some status LED's in the dash
6. Tidy up the wiring
Never mind, the list is getting shorter.