RISC carputer 1 – introduction

My current project involves getting my pi on the road!
The intention is to put a pi and 7″ screen in to my car – a 1992 landrover defender. It’s been modified by previous owners and sports all sorts of additional  electrical connections in a centre console.

The centre dash currently looks like this:


Basically a 12v / 24v danger box for your hands!

It’s my 3rd landrover (previous vehicles were a series 3 & a 101) with one of the main attractions being their reliance on mechanical control – I’ve owned other vehicles and nothing irritates me more than breaking down caused by a software fault! Whilst I’m looking forward to having a computer onbard I really don’t want to  intergrate it too much in to the vehicle and I want an off switch so that it’ll all still work without the computer running.
I’d like to build in the facility to monitor & possibly control the cars temp, lights etc via the GPIO pins as a future upgrade however these need to be optional with the car running normally without them.

My shopping list for the o.s.:
Quick to start. Quick to turn off (and minimal chance of issues if the power just drops)
Able to play mp3’s
Good for low res screens.
RISC os fitted the bill perfectly. I’ve a real soft spot for risc since playing around with a borrowed BBC, my own Electron then an Arc 440 back in the day. I’ve had it very succesfully running on my raspberry pi since release and have had a go at programming the gpio pins thanks to the efforts of Tank.

I’m going to avoid the temptation of making something sofisticated to house all of the electronics – partly as it’ll be quite expensive but mainly as I enjoy the current look of it and it shows a progression of ownership with me as its current owner!

Luckily the previous owner was thoughtful enough to install additional wiring running form the console to the area behind the passenger seat which has the air compressor along with the extra fuse board which feeds the lights etc.
The existing radio was accompanied by a CB and they’ve become quite tired so I removed them, leaving all the connections and brackets in case they’ll be useful.

In order to get things working I need the following:
A Pi
RISCOS on an SD card
Keyboard / mouse combo (I can’t stand touch screens!)
Audio amplifier
Power to all of these
USB port to get music on the the pi

This is pretty simple. I’ve already got a pi from the origonal batch (256mb). It runs RISCOS perfectly so I think this one will be in the car (I’ll need a new one to power my night vision animal cameras running linux so a 512mb would be better used in this situation)

I’ve got a 4mb card hanging around and have installed the os.

So far the cost is:
£22:23 – Screen
£25:00 – Fuse board (halfords 🙁 )
£Free! – Wiring (thanks previous owners!)
£Free! – SD card (already owned)
£38:99 (incl P&P) – Pi (replacement for the 256mb version from CJE micros – CJE Micros ) I’ve also bought the reat time clock module and temp sensor – both work flawlessly on the pi and can be bought from the CJE website

£17:99 –  keyboard
£ 2:99 – cigar / usb connector
£Free! – OS (thanks ROOL! ROOL website) ( os download from raspberry pi foundation )
£ 8:29 – Amp (works well. It has flashing lights for no apparent reason and arrived via glacier which kept the costs down)
(prices exclude P&P unless stated)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.