Sunday, October 12, 2008

Carputer / CarPC Honda Accord : Video

Ripping out the dash isn't for the faint of heart. Everything is still perfect.. and, more importantly, working. Now yank it out and dig in!

I found a manual via Google on how to remove the radio which is 95% of the task. The hardest part was removing the Change Tray which had a particularly stubborn clip. It really felt like I was going to break it. The next hardest part was prying the central AC vents out. This was difficult because I didn't have the appropriate tools. I ended up using to hotel key cards and a tiny screw driver. The connecting clip is in the bottom left corner. Once you get it far enough out, you can pull the rest out with your hands. No mars on my dash thank you.

The Navi in the center of the dash also controls the primary functions of the car like AC/Heat/Radio/XM, and 6xcd changer/player. This took a bit of wiggling to get out. All of these components are held in with spring clips. Some of the spring clips sprung off during extraction and I had to hunt them down with a stick magnet and pop them back on.

Because my car had an after market DVD player and two headrest consoles installed, it had a bunch of extra wiring as well as a video distribution box and an FM modulator (yuk!). Actually, the FM modulator works quite well for movies.. but not good enough for music.

This is my OEM Navi console. Quite a heavy box and lots of stuff. My goals are to figure out what kind of screen it has and how touchscreen inputs are read.

6 CD changer comes off in a big chunk.

This is the Navi unit completely disected. Whats really frustrating is that even after completely disecting, I can't find the touchscreen input. I thought for sure that this was a four wire resistive touch screen similar to the 2004 Acura Navi Touchscreens, but the units are quite different.

The screen is made by SHARP. I found on that this monitor takes an RGBS signal at 15khz which is a much lower frequency than most RGB signals. A regular RGB signal would cause lots of signal distortion and has been known to fry some screens.

I sent an email to SHARP asking about the touchscreen inputs and full specs of the video screen and they said that I have to talk to Honda because this model was made custom to their specs. I sent emails to Honda and received the run-around; no one knows about this or who to talk to about it. The Honda Service manual doesn't go into this detail. I found others on Google that were stuck where I was and.. we're still stuck.

Instead of calling it quits, I went ahead and created a Y cable for video input with 4PDT switch. I ordered the cable kit from which was nice because it came with the correct connectors. I also ordered a Scando 1024 I found on Ebay because a.) it runs on 5vDC (same as USB) and b.) its got RGBS out in 15khz AND composite out which I need for the two screens in my headrests.

The wiring for the Y cable harness plugs into the back of the Navi device in the trunk. When the switch is in the OFF position, it passes the video signal through from the Navi device to the Navi screen. When the switch is in the ON position, it passes video signal from my Scando which is in turn receiving a signal from my carputer.

My completed harness.

My first Scando 1024 was $50 sold on Ebay "AS IS" and stated it powers on and came with no manual, power supply or instructions. Although it powered on as stated, it was not ouputting any signals on the output ports.. rats!! My second Scando 1024 off of Ebay was for $36 with S&H and it put out the signal as well as powered up.

Most of the knowledge for this task came from the wise folks over at and most specifically from this post:

Video is working!!

To all 3 screens!!
Look at those pretty button that I can't push!! :-(

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Carputer / CarPC in Honda Accord 2004: Intro

Why have a carputer in a car? Thats something my wife has asked me several times. I don't have one big answer but I have several reasons:

  • Main reason: My car has OEM Navi with a touchscreen and two secondary screens behind the head rests built in tempting me to tap it.
  • Wouldn't it be cool if I could, listen to any music in my MP3 library on voice command, play any movie, use my 3G phone via bluetooth for Internet access, have Google maps display my GPS location instead of the quickly outdated stock Navi DVD?
  • Finally, and perhaps most importantly, what a fun, techy and geeky project!! Right up my alley!

So, enough explaining, on with the project. Main phases were:
  1. Get video to video system along with a switch.
  2. OEM Navi touchscreen must control PC
  3. Get true audio straight into the audio system. FM Modulator currently used will not do and needs to be replaced.
  4. Cables and power system routed and hidden.

Three Main Goals..
  1. Its gotta look completely OEM or better.
  2. No modifications to the OEM equipment. No cutting into the OEM wires or components for me. It has to be completely unpluggable.
  3. Don't break/scratch/ or damange anything.

If you can't get the video working.. thats a red flag which is why I started here. All the other steps are easier.. right? So, time to break into the dash to see what we're working with. Breaking into the dash without causing any blemishes is a time consuming task.

Go to the Video post.


If you can get the video running on the PC, it would really be a shame to put your great MP3's through a FM Modulator. I want high quality audio.
Go to the Audio post.


If all the above works, we need to get all the power needs addressed, auto-on - auto-off so it doesn't drain the battery, and USB/audio cables routed.
Go to Wiring post.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Hello World.

This is a test.. this is just a test.

We dream the same dreams that have been dreamt for an eternity.