It’s been quite a long time since I’ve posted here. To tell the truth I’ve been quite busy lately, and lazy when not busy. That doesn’t mean however that I’ve stopped hacking, or discovering new things though.
At the beginning of the year, reading PlanetQt, I discovered the Automon Project
Based on Qt, it allows you to monitor various sensors from your car using the ODB II interface.
In parallel, I’ve been doing a bit of electronics with an Arduino and learned about a new board the UDOO which basically is an Arduino embedded on a 4 core Arm board.
In addition to that, I’ve made a XBMC remote in Qt/QtQuick2 which allows you to nicely go through your media libraries, launch medias on your XBMC server and (in some mesure at the moment) play them on your device.
It works on Linux and Android at the moment.
All those things seem unrelated at first but as a side project, I’m also in the process of restoring / improving a car. Thinking about how easy it is to retrieve sensors’ data with an Arduino, how easy it is to make nice UI with QtQuick and how powerful embedded boards are becoming, I though why not recreate my car dashboard.
Using a UDOO with a Qt Yocto operating system, it could have a screen with gauges instead of regular analog gauges. As for the central dashboard. Why not, remove everything and keep a large touchscreen there. XBMC could be installed on the UDOO and, the remote would act as a frontend for it. Or I could just rewrite a complete media player with QtMultimedia.
I’ve already started making some gauges in QtQuick. Keep in mind I’m not a UX designer. QtQuickCarGauges
I tried to make them as customizable as possible to adapt them to pretty much any kind of style or sensor.
Instead of making this alone, I believe if other people are interested that we could build something great together. I’ve already contacted Donal of Automon and he might be interested if some parts overlap with his project.
This could become the Open Dashboard Project.
This project could be divided in 3 parts regarding the software:
As for the hardware, any platform capable of running Qt with OpenGL 2 support should be fine. The UDOO looks quite interesting but other board could work. The advantage of the UDOO being having easy access to the GPIOs and being able to have things run independently on the Arduino, not interfering with the rest of the system. Maybe using Android as an operating system on the UDOO could also be something to think about.
The only issue that I see at the moment, is having a protected voltage source in the car. I’ve already started looking through that. Basically it needs protections against :
A circuit based on a LM2917 or LM2678 for voltage regulation and protected by a RBO-40 would do the job but I’m no expert either. Also, in case of sudden voltage drop (cold winter engine start), the system should either shutdown quickly or stay alive thanks to some kind a battery or capacitor.
Anyway, there is plenty to do, on many different aspects so if anyone is interested in working on that project, please let me know. I’m open to ideas and the goal is just
to have fun and possibly produce something that can compete with 5000$ car systems for 500$.