Simple 2006 MacPrius

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Accessories & Modifications' started by xtopher, Jun 1, 2007.

  1. xtopher

    xtopher New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2006
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    I first read about the MacPrius on Engadget (http://www.kusnetz.net/prius/) long ago and was instantly hooked, I was so psyched about putting a computer in my car I bought the computer before the car. The idea of owning a Prius instantly resonated with me in knowing the car could last 10 years or so, but gas prices would not stay in the sub two dollar range for long, along with the built in display, and the ability to add a CarPuter and I could not wait.

    After reading Kusnetz‘s install page it became clear that I had a lot of work to do, and it turned out more research less work. My system is a simplified version of the First MacPrius since I did not use the Can-View (http://hybridinterfaces.ca/products.html) interface

    Problem one:
    Video to Display.
    I know that Kusnetz used the Can-View, but that did not interface with the 2006 models video.

    Solution:
    CoastaleTech.com ‘s Lockpick. I chose to get their big package. It was a bit less, had fewer features (more on that later), but was easier to install.

    Problem two:
    Video Quality:
    More on this later



    Problem 3:
    Control
    One of the coolest things about Kusnetz’s hack was the software he put on his computer that read the touch screen data and treated it as a remote input. I did some research and asked a few questions on Priuschat.com trying to find out if it were possible to tap/sniff the transmit line from the screen to the car’s computer and use it. It turns out not to be a viable solution as the car’s computer will still get the signals and act on them accordingly.
    Faced with the prospect of paying $400 just to read the screen’s inputs I started looking for other solutions. My answer was Keyspan’s front row remote. Its RF, relatively compact, usb, and cheap.

    Integration:

    I wanted the control to be as integrated into the car as I could. I considered dremeling the top of the cup holder to accept the remote (damaging, and not pretty), or dremeling the bottom and drilling holes to accept the buttons (prettier but still damaging). My answer is magnets. I ordered high strength magnets that would fit in the remote and hot-glued another one under the cup holder cover. This worked but the remote slid around a bit. Putting small rubber feet on the remote solved that. Added advantage to the remote being unattached is it can be moved when we need both cup holders or the back seat passenger wants to control the unit. It is RF, which means it does not need line of sight with the receiver to work.

    Magnet bonus 1 :
    Since the magnets are strong enough to hold the remote anywhere, I set up a secondary resting point on the grey trim between the glove box and map box where the computer is housed, and intend to add another set in the back seat somewhere should I ever have kids and or some other need.
    Magnet bonus 2 :
    After the computer was installed (done the same way that Kusnetz did, I realized I had no way to restart the carputer, short of taking of the battery or disassembling the dash( which was stupidly easy). I put a reed switch (RadioShack) behind the grey panel between the steering column and radio. Now, if I need to restart the carputer, or turn it off for some reason, I can hold the remote against that panel for 5 seconds, the time you normally had to hold the power button for a power cycle, and it will do a hard shut down.

    Power supply:
    I used the same model mentioned in the article, setting the jumpers to stay on for 15 min after the car shuts down. This is handy for me as the main thing I use it for is podcasts, and this gives the unit time to download them when I get home. It fit neatly under the macmini helping to prop it up.

    Audio/Video output:
    I used a macmini and used the DVI->RCA made by Apple option.
    For the audio a simple 1/8th inch stereo jack -> RCA
    These things interface the CostaleTech stuff directly with out the need for any auctioning cables or filers (I think, more on that later).


    Dilemmas:

    Videosize:
    Mac OS X comes with an overscan option, and the Prius DVD system comes with 3. I cannot find any that would show the entire screen while filling the screen. If I were using some sort of scan converter to change the DVI to RCA instead of the built in functionality I might have more options. This problem seems to be more a problem with the mac and less the prius. It is not bad just slightly annoying. I loose the last character on the time remaining and the first character on the time past.

    Flicker:
    This is the one that vexes me most.
    When viewing the desktop on the display there is a constant flicker in the last 3 or 4 scan lines on the screen, and every 2 seconds or so there is a slight flicker through the entire screen. Not horrible just annoying. I started trying to adjust the resolution natively, then some hackish software to do the same with a bit more fine adjustment. They did not work due to the RCA adapter having a fixed output. I thought this might be due to some sort of week signal since it does not seem to be as bad when the head lights are on (night mode). I bought a 4-output adjustable RCA video amplifier. It did nothing, but now I can connect more monitors in the car if I want. I have looked into video hum filters but they seem too expensive to purchase on a whim. Any ideas ????? would love some help
     
  2. rnlvideo

    rnlvideo New Member

    Joined:
    May 24, 2007
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    Topher,



    I'm interested in following your install and whether you're able to solve the flicker issue on the screen. I've often thought about doing an install like this, so I'm hoping you'll keep updating your post! Pictures would be great - prices (especially on the "extra's" you're using, etc) would be helpful as well.



    Rick
     
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