Welcome to project MP3VW.  What exactly is it?  It's a fully functioning PC tucked into the confines of a car.  Why a computer in a car? does it only play music?  MP3VW does far more than just MP3's, it's currently capable of MP3's, DivX/MPEG movies, GPS Mapping/Data Acquisition, OBDI/II based vehicle diagnostics, cell phone based wireless internet (EVDO Rev. A), and WiFi networking. In short, it can do anything you would want to do on a normal pc.



Nearly three years to the day without much of an update. I should really be better at this given that I've been at it for more than ten years now. Especially seeing just how much MP3B6, the 2006 VW Passat, has changed over these last three years. I'm also working on redesigning the site for really the first time ever. The old website went through 7 revisions, but the basic design never changed, just gradually refined and evolved even as the back end of the site when from vanilla HTML to early CSS 1.0 to PHP. This redesign is also giving me the chance to really learn about CSS 2/3, which is amazingly powerful. No longer do you need 8,000 tables to get a nicely laid out site, just a handful of CSS tags.

On the CarPC front, the second HP ePC based system bit the dust back in December 2009, so it got replaced in January 2010 with an Acer Aspire One 10.1" netbook from Woot. I've wanted to run a laptop in the new car ever since I bought it, but I wasn't shelling out big money for an ultraportable that would fit. Thank God for decent netbooks. The width of the netbook was actually the confining factor, what with all the connections that need to be made on either side of it. A right angle USB adapter was the only thing needed to make everything place nicely.

Even though there's a new system in the car, the startup/shutdown controls are still wired the same way. It's a small point of personal pride that I can use any of the "shutdown controllers" that I've built over the years with any of the systems in either car, I still have the pinout diagram from the first manual controller I built, which wasn't anything more than Power/HDD indicator LEDs and a power switch mounted in a project box. It was slightly unnerving soldering directly to the motherboard of the brand new netbook, but it escaped unscathed, and is now controlled by the uSDC shutdown controller.

The added bonus of running an actual laptop with a shutdown controller is that instead of having the system startup and shutdown fully (because the controller is set to disconnect all power after it has shut the system safely down) is that I can now have the laptop sleep instead, and rely on the laptop's battery for power while sleeping. I'm also running Windows 7 on the netbook, so I'm taking advantage of hybrid sleep, so that it writes the ram to disk as if you were hibernating (S3), but just puts the laptop to sleep (S1). So if the battery holds out, then the laptop resumes from sleep, which is fairly instant. However, if the battery on the laptop runs out and the system fully shuts off, the laptop simply resumes from hibernation right where you left it instead of a full boot, so the system is even quicker to start playing music no matter what the circumstances are.

site last updated 05/29/2011