Update May 8, 2015

Unfortunately, I've abandoned this project. It's a simple case of cheap Chinese manufacturing catching up with and then surpassing anything I can build myself. If you're looking for a high-function / low-cost in-car computer, I highly recommend checking out the Pumpkin line on Amazon. I wound up installing this guy. It's got everything I want in a head unit, runs Linux (Android) from the factory, and has a surprisingly polished and configurable UX. After you add on the wiring harnass and a backup camera and install it yourself, you're looking at right around $400. Can't beat that.

High Tech Redneck

So, I'm from the Midwest and now live in the city. Even though the only time I'm "off road" is when I'm driving up the ramps into a parking lot, I've still got to have myself a real truck. Hell, I helped some guy move an 8' couch with it the day after I got it. These things are useful. Anyway, what does every geek need in their big ugly truck? That's right, a 4-channel surround, 2-sub-woofer, flush-mount touchscreen, USB, Bluetooth, WiFi, GPS, OBD-II in-dash PC.

So far, the closest thing I've found to what I want to build is the Kenwood DNX9980HD eXcelon In-Dash Multimedia Navigation System. This thing has a couple of cons that make it likely not the head unit for me: It costs $1k new ($535.44 refurbished on Amazon); getting OBD-II connectivity still means buying a $90 Garmin ecoRoute add-on dongle; According to Crutchfield, it doesn't fit the truck anyway. (Not that that would actually stop me. Have Dremel, will travel.); and most importantly, it's not hacker friendly.

That said, the thing does have some great features that I want. Primarily, it's the only deck I've found that takes OBD-II seriously. I like having the extra / more specific gages and I like having the trip computer. Most importantly, though, I like the error code analysis. Currently, I use my iPhone and a GoPoint BT1, which works surprisingly well. As I'm getting more into the DIY aspect of things here, I'll likely pick up an ELM 327 because they're cheap ($15) and already have existing open-source software which means writing some more open-source software won't be impossible.


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