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> Sl5500 As In-car Display
dsample
post Jan 2 2005, 09:32 AM
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Hi.

I hope this hasn't already been discussed elsewhere.

I'm trying to use my SL5500 as a display for an in-car media/GPS system. I'm hoping other people have got ideas that could help (either software suggestions, or overall tips)

I'm thinking of it being as follows:
  • Laptop connected to the car stereo, used as MP3 server and backend for other things. Hidden from view, either underneath a seat, or in the glove compartment.
  • Laptop power connected to car using a Halfords 120W Power Point (Retail at £35)
  • USB cable connected to Zaurus SL5500, in cradle on dashboard (used for LAN)
  • Wireless & GPS connected to Laptop (gpsd used for GPS server)
  • qpegps used for GPS on Zaurus (suggestions of other software to use appreciated)
  • Suggestions wanted for ways to control the MP3 server, current thought would be a home-made app to send signals to the laptop.
Has anyone had a go at this sort of thing already?

Duncan
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ran
post Jan 4 2005, 11:44 PM
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QUOTE
USB cable connected to Zaurus SL5500, in cradle on dashboard (used for LAN)


I found the Z hard to read on the dashboard of my pickup, but that may be a result of my mediocre vision. My old truck came with a ceiling mount for a CB radio, and I used that to mount a bracket to hold the Z in a more-visible location. Not only was it easier to read, but it was closer to my normal line of sight: not exactly a "heads-up display", but safer than frequently looking down. It was also out of direct sunlight, so I didn't have to worry about UV damage or glare on the screen.

I'm thinking about trying to come up with a sunvisor mount for the new truck. But I might splurge on one of those overhead consoles like they use for custom vans, and mount to that.

I wouldn't trust the cradle to hold the Z without modifications. I used a bracket out of a Case Logic "Strongman" case. If you want to use the cradle (which, granted, is nice for cabling simplicity), I'd strongly suggest finding a way to attach some sort of elastic to hold the Z in place when jolted.

QUOTE
Suggestions wanted for ways to control the MP3 server


You absolutely want something you don't have to look at to operate. If you're going to use a laptop with USB, I suggest getting a cheap gamepad or joystick. There are apps that will convert joystick movements into keystrokes. You might even dismantle the gamepad, and wire up switches in a panel of your own design.

Ran
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dsample
post Jan 5 2005, 05:51 AM
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QUOTE
I wouldn't trust the cradle to hold the Z without modifications. I used a bracket out of a Case Logic "Strongman" case. If you want to use the cradle (which, granted, is nice for cabling simplicity), I'd strongly suggest finding a way to attach some sort of elastic to hold the Z in place when jolted.


I'd already thought about that, I was thinking of using a USB cable instead of the cradle itself, then I could buy a proper dash mount for the zaurus from ShirtPocket. Novel idea to attach it to the ceiling in some way. I was also considering making some sort of mirror arrangement so I would have a proper heads-up-display on the windscreen, but that's for another time, once I've got the basics sorted out.

QUOTE
You absolutely want something you don't have to look at to operate. If you're going to use a laptop with USB, I suggest getting a cheap gamepad or joystick. There are apps that will convert joystick movements into keystrokes. You might even dismantle the gamepad, and wire up switches in a panel of your own design.


Yeah, I'm going to try and get it to talk to me as much as possible (using Festival). I hadn't thought of using a joypad though, that's a good idea. I was thinking that I'd mount a proper (compact) keyboard inside the glove compartment door for full control, and find an even more compact keyboard or numpad for general control. I find that even on the zaurus, as long as there's thumb/finger size buttons I have very little need to look at the unit itself I have an LCD panel 1-for-all TV remote which has given me a lot of practice biggrin.gif

Now, the joypad idea is pretty ingenius, and cheap too, which is always nice wink.gif That would be especially good to use in my other idea, which was to put big control functions, like 'turn music on/off' and 'turn GPS on/off', into the dash itself (ie. using foglight/etc dash buttons taken from another car in a scrap yard)
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ran
post Jan 6 2005, 04:39 PM
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QUOTE
Laptop power connected to car using a Halfords 120W Power Point (Retail at £35)


I forgot to mention that I found an "air/auto adapter" for laptops at compgeeks.com for less than half that: takes 12V in, outputs various voltages from about 15-25V (switch-selectable), with changeable tips for the power cord to accommodare many models. Shipping to the UK would probably be awful, but there might be surplus dealers in the EC that have some.

I assume you're planning to buy an used laptop that's cheap because it won't run the latest MS bloatware?

QUOTE
put big control functions, like 'turn music on/off' and 'turn GPS on/off', into the dash itself (ie. using foglight/etc dash buttons taken from another car in a scrap yard)


You need to be cautious about this: cars are very electrically-noisy environments, and accidentally crossing wires could feed 12V into a part of your gamepad, or even laptop, that doesn't handle it well.

The circuitry of the gamepad/joystick won't be designed to handle long wires, which can turn into antennas that inject false signlas into its microprocessor, You can find simple protection circuits (usually consisting of a resistor, a cap, and a couple of diodes) that will all-but-eliminate the problem.

Ran
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