View Full Version : Sheila gets a voice

10th September 2008, 08:42 AM
So who is Sheila? And why would you care if she gets a voice?

Sheila is the name my wife gave my Patrol... after the tank from Red Vs. Blue (If you have never seen red vs blue I recommend finding it and watching the first season as its freakin hillarious. Only if you are a nerd tho... otherwise you just wont get it)

Sheila is a talking tank... so I really need to give my Sheila a voice. She kinda has one, but its pretty ordinary... in the form of the standard Nissan (VDO Dayton) SatNav. If you ever intend to buy a Nissan, do not, whatever you do, spend money on this hunk of poo. I got it for free, and I still think it cost way too much.

Sooooo... This thread forms the worklog of my PC install into my Patrol. This will be my second attempt, the first never got finished.

My last effort was a HP SFF Pentium 4 machine, with a Lilliput 8" touch screen. The intention was to mount this only when I needed it, and remove it when not touring... but in reality it was all too cumbersome and so although it did work, it didnt get used.

Lessons learned here were very simple. If it doest integrate nicely like something I buy from a (very expensive) store, I simply wont be happy with it.

My intentions are to make a fully integrated satnav/ice system. Stage one will be satnav only, possibly with the ability to play MP3's if it isnt too hard (which it shouldnt be!)

Planning -

I have decided to ditch all of my current hardware are start fresh. The reason behind this is simple. The screen Ihave doesnt fit where I want to put it, and no ammount of hacksaw work will make it fit. Solution - sell the screen and buy something else. I also was never happy with the performance of the old desktop I was using - it had too many small fans which made too much noise, and it was quite big for what it was. Add to that I never worked out a way to power it from the car, and power on and off with the car, and it seems easier to ditch it and start again.

After searching around to try and work out what I wanted, I picked up my eeePC and thought... that screen is just the right size to fit in the space available... and it would have all the workings with it. I then looked around to see who was using an eeePC for this purpose and came up with.... nothing. A few people are using them to power carPC, but not using the screen of the unit itself. This seems a real waste to me as it is a nice screen, the only thing that would make it perfect is finding a way to get a transflective coating put on it to make it sunlight readable. Of course, its also not touch sensitive, but I already had a plan to fix that, so that wasn't a concern.


Already Bought -
Asus eeePC 701 4G ($240 second hand)
1Gb RAM already fitted


eeePC Car Charger ($12 ebay)


bluetooth dongle (had this from before - think it cost about $5)

To Buy -

Touchscreen kit ($53 ebay)


GlobalSat BU353 GPS ($94 gpsaustralia.net store)


16Gb SD Card ($63 ebay)


TinyXP (Rev09)

Centrafuse (possible - in testing)
if not, then...
RoadRunner with Map Monkey



(post to be continued, I've just run out of time right now...)

13th September 2008, 08:40 AM
have decided that I dont want to use the eeePC I have, so have been hunting around for another... preferably second hand, as I dont really need a warrantee... I think that Asus are unlikely to let me claim on it when I'm done with this thing :D

Have purchased a 3 month old stock standard 701 for $210 + shipping... so just waiting on that to arrive before I can start the hardware side of the project.

On the software side, have built a virtual machine and started playing with various software configuration, and testing that everything works together. I can't seem to get Map Monkey working... yet, so more time needs to be invested there. Oziexplorer needs to be integrated into whatever front end I decide on, and I am watching the thread on mp3car about oziexplorer embedding into roadroad with interest.

I tested up a demo of Centrafuse LE... and while its slick, I dont think I can justify the expense. More to come as I play with it more I guess...

18th September 2008, 07:48 PM
Hardware Check - Car Power Adaptor arrived today. Still no laptop tho... hopfully tomorrow, and I an make a start this weekend :D

22nd September 2008, 01:32 PM
Laptop arrived this morning.

Ran out and bought an 8Gb SD card for it. ($47 from Officeworks... a 16Gb may not work, and I couldnt wait to get started with this project while one shipped)

Am sorting out a way to get a thinned down XP loaded. Will post up my guide when I'm done.

22nd September 2008, 05:31 PM
no point in recreating the wheel...


this is the way to do it. At this stage I'm just going to load a default XP on the machine, and work out what I dont want from there. When I've done that I will nlite a new XP image and load that. Will report on the steps on that when I get to it :D

Check the dimensions against the car tonight (never got beyond I reckon that will fit before) and it does look like it will fit. The screen area is pretty much perfectly sized for the area available in the dash of the patrol. The guts of the unit may be tough to fit, but I dont think so... as long as I dont mind never being able to use the unit as a laptop again :D

I have an alternate plan to begin with (as I want to use this asap, and build the project while in use) which is to narrow the screen surround down slightly to get it to fit in the space, while leaving the base connected. There is enough space underneath that it can sit there, I just cant have the dash plate installed when I do it. Depending on how that fits, I may cut the dash up and mould the unit in without modding it too heavily, which means I might b able to setup in such a way as I can still take it out and use it away from the vehicle. I think thats unlikely, as that will defeat goal one, which was to make something that looked fully integrated...

26th September 2008, 10:59 AM
So getting XP up and running wasnt too stressful, and I have already taken the plunge and created a stremlined XP with drivers etc all included. Including Page file and hibernation file, installed applications etc. I still have over 1gb of free space on the 4Gb drive.

So far I have run into one problem with Road Runner in that it doesnt like the 800x480 resolution. Not quite sure how to get around this at the moment, apart from to ignore it.

Oziexplorer works fine, as does Map Monkey. If anyone wants to embed Oziexplorer in Road Runner, then checkout this thread on MP3car --> http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/sb-skins/96031-oziexplorer-7.html

Oziexplorer and Mpa Monkey both run at good speed with no noticable pausing. This was one of my other concerns with the low powered eeePC, but so far its worked just fine.

Two apps that have proved invaluable so far are eeeCTL (http://cpp.in/dev/eeectl/) and eee PC Util (
eeeCTL allows screen brightness increases (on full brightness its quite readable in sunlight) and eee PC Util adjusts the resolution becuase 800x480 is not a native resolution in Windows XP.

This weekend I intend to get ito the dash and see what I need to do to mount this thing. Still need to get a touchscreen kit for it, and a usb gps (will deal with my bluetooth gps for now, but its more hassle that I dont want :D)

17th October 2008, 07:29 AM
This project is on hold at the moment - its proving hard to fit eh screen, and I've had to spend the moeny allocated to this project elsewhere at this stage...

18th October 2008, 04:02 AM
Went the COTD 1000HD route. :hatoff

Bunged in 250GB HD & 2GB ram stick, V470 mouse

Running Ozi and Garmin Mobile PC on TinyXP with Touch GPS.

Car charger from Brando

Very happy

Good luck with your project

18th October 2008, 05:24 AM
Any photo's of your setup gomax? What did it end up costing you for the lot?


21st October 2008, 07:18 AM
have you integrated that in to the car in any way gomax?

I'm going to make a mount so I can mount mine from the windscreen using a ram mount for now, as I have too many tasks and not enough time before I head off on my next trip...

22nd October 2008, 02:06 PM
this guide (http://www.i64x.com/eeexp.php) on how to setup xp on the 701 is excellent!