06 Pontiac Grand Prix Carputer

This project is just starting but I figured I’d create a placemarker as well as a list of the Parts already ordered or in hand:

  •  Mac Mini
  • GM AUX to RCA converter from Crutchfield
  • 7″ Touchscreen LCD
  • EVDO USB Card from Verizon
  • Cradlepoint Battery Powered EVDO router w/ Car Adapter
  • 12V DC to AC Power Inverter

Parts Needed:

  • Mac Mini DC-DC Power Inverter to replace DC-AC Inverter
  • Kit to allow graceful shutdown after powerloss with Mac Mini
  • LCD Mount for Dash or Vent – May have found something…
  • Possibly an Optimus Mini for application selection.

 Intended Features:

  • Music Player with iTunes Coverflow functionality via touchscreen swipe
  • GPS Device
  • Web Browser
  • In Car Calling and Video Chatting
  • On demand Traffic/Weather
  • Calendar with Sync’d Schedule
  • iPhone Syncing
  • Wifi syncing with home network when in garage

Progress

  •  04/22/08 – Installed AUX adapter from PIE – The install wasn’t too bad. Hardest part was actually finding a solid 12V power source without cutting into the factory harness. I instead wedged the positive end into the factory harness and it is pretty securely connecting to the orange wire. For the ground I unscrewed a bolt behind the stereo and put the ground connected behind the washer and tightened it down on top of it. I think both connections should hold pretty decently. Things seem to be working great from both the Nokia N95 and the iPhone. I do however worry that I might not be able to crank it up as loudly as I’d like to. Once I get the mac mini in I may have to look at usb soundcard options that will allow me to crank the volume up higher. We’ll see how that goes.
  • 04/23/08 – Waiting on LCD from Mp3Car.com - My LCD is supposed to ship out Monday with the powersupply and mac mini power controller adapter. I’m getting excited because that means by the end of next week the rest of the components should be in my posession. I pulled together most of the items that I knew I had either at home or over at OWL Computing (local shop I help run). A few more thigns I realized that I need after I started looking at the mini last night were a bluetooth fob…which I think I have 2 or 3 laying around somewhere…I also need wifi for my mini. I have one of the early mini’s and it didn’t come with the airport extreme. For the sake of simplicity I may take a look and see if I can just buy the airport extreme card and put it into the mini myself. Tonight I hope to test out the various various osx car platforms and pick one to start out with.
  • 04/24/08 Mac Mini ReFormatted – Last night I tossed a fresh copy of leopard on the Mini, ran the updates, and then started browsing for software….To be completely honest the apps I found were less than impressive. I guess I am used to a certain level of quality in Mac Apps and the 3 I tried seemed rather….windowsy…I got the EVDO card directly plugged into the Mini at this point. I’m still thinking that I am going to use the cradlepoint router in the long run but I have to get a Wifi adapter for the mini before I do that. The biggest benefit I see of going with the cradlepoint is that it will allow my other devices to log onto the wireless as well. For instance I was considering using my iPhone with RemoteBuddy to allow me to control some things without the touchscreen. Another thought was my n95. I’m going to have that device mounted in the car most likely and this may be a better way for me to communicate with it versus bluetooth. I’ve had problems putting too many devices on bluetooth to the same machine at once before. This weekend I hope to find a mount that I like for the LCD. I have a bunch of Ergotron mounts in use over at OWL for 19″ Flatscreens and I like the flexibilty they provide when it comes to screen placement. I may have to give something like that a shot. If I can’t find something I like I already went down and talked with someone at a new car audio place down the street that supposedly does fabrication…I haven’t seen their work yet but it sounded promising.