For a while now since I got this Nissan Note I have been toying aroud with the idea of having a Carputer. A carputer is a car-computer which handles connetivity of all devices in a car. Most are aftermarket and operate on a higher level that than the ECU.

Basic Requirements of a Carputer

  • Computing device
  • Screen
  • Input method
  • Power

Computing Device

This is perhaps the most important. A fairly sized computer will do. For me I fished out an unused Acer laptop which was in a very good condition. Due to the fact that am planning to have this in the car, I need to find a good casing for it. I also found an old Zuku set top box, removed the internal motherboard and to my suprise the laptop's motherboard fit inside snuggly. I just had to make some small adjustments.

This Zuku set top box is made of sheet metal casing and a plastic front panel.

For the battery, I noticed that the batteries have an output of 11.1V 4.8aH. I plan to open the battery cover, redesign the case and have the batteries on a different compartment. I think the laptop can run on a 12V which will be much easier to build.

In this new casing which I hope to be done by the end of this week, I will find a place at the back of the car, then run any wires to it. Its main functions shall be:

  • Storage location for my car's peripheral devices.
  • Single point access to any devices connected to it.
  • Connectivity ie wifi, bluetooth serves.
  • Internet source for the car.

Screen

For the screen I alreay have my Lenovo tablet which runs Android. Support shall be okay and I dont foresee any issues.

Input Method

For this I will still use the tablet which shall act as the inerraction point to the computer. The carputer shall have SSH on so that I can use the touchscreen or an external bluetooth keyboard for this.

Power

The carputers power requirements are as follows:

  • Voltage: 11.1V (Battery)
  • Power: 12W
  • Current: 4A

By building a separate power system, I hope to be able to meet these requirements well.