Saturday, August 1, 2009

iLux not OBD-II

So I plugged the laptop and USB/OBD-II adaptor into my sister-in-law's 2005 Toyota Yaris and guess what - it worked first time.

Therefore, the laptop is configured right but the iLux must not support OBD-II. I'm leaving this part of the project for a little while to focus on other aspects. My GPS puc arrived in the post yesterday so I'll be having a look at that soon.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Touch Me, The Sun Always Shines on TV

A central element of any Carputer is the interface. De rigueur these days is some kind of touch screen display embedded in the dash to look like it came with the car.

Before I left on holiday, I came across a guy on e-may selling 8" Lilliput touch screen displays. He was in Ireland (Mayo) and the screens were good value compared to buying new in US and paying shipping and import tax. When I got back I ordered one and it arived on Tuesday.

As a complete aside, it turns out the seller (Hi Damian!) is a bit of a techie interested in Carputing and SageTV, a PVR system that I'm currently struggling with as well. It's funny how you meet people!

Today I had a look at how I might mount the screen. First task was to remove the centre console and the radio. I discovered I had a model 86120-0k050 for which there is absolutely no information available anywhere in terms of pinouts etc. It has two sets of interfaces on the back, one of which appears to conform to the standard Toyota configuration, the other is a set of 12 and 20 on smaller pins that I assume is for hooking up optional cd changers etc. (I found an analysis of the 12 pin set here, I still have no idea what the 20 pin connector does.)

Not that any of this is too important as that radio will be getting shelved. Here's a picture of the centre console with the radio removed;

In this picture, the clock has also been removed. The display is a Lilliput 8-Inch Touch Screen VGA Monitor 889GL-80NP/C/T. Most people seem to go for 7" units which fit well into double-din spaces, often with the panel removed from it's casing. Having measured my dash and looked at the specs, I thought I could make the 8" unit work. Here's the general idea;

With the clock and radio removed, I have just enough height for the full screen and all of the buttons to fit and the width is just about perfect. I'm happy that I don't have to remove the panel from the case. There were a couple of contours on the inner plastic frame behind the dash that prevented the bottom of the screen pushing back far enough so I attacked them with a stanley knife and solved the problem. Here's the set-up with the center console back in place (that fake wood was in the car when I bought it, honest. It actually looks slightly better in real life than in the photos). Can anyone spot the problem here?

While the screen fits well in the space previously occupied by the radio & clock, the moulding dividing the two remians. While I was happy to hack away at the inner plastics with a stanley knife, I'll need to find out the best approach to cutting this panel. (If I make a mess of it, it's no big deal, you can pick up these fake wooden fascias online).

My only real issue is the fact that I need to tilt the screen in at the bottom to reduce glare and reflection. In doing so, I'm opening up a gap along the side and bottom, as seen in the image below. While I'm not overly concerned with factory quality fit & finish, I don't really want gaping holes either. I'm going to have to come up with some kid of solution here. I will also need to find a way to fix the screen in place firmly so it doesn't rattle around or jiggle when touched.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

OB Want To Know Me, Not

So, staying with the Star Wars theme.....

I posted earlier indicating that I'd found what looked like an OBD-II connector under the steering column on the iLux. (I now know this to be a DLC3 16 pin interface). I'd done some cursory reading on OBD-II dignostics and noted that it was supported in Centrafuse. With the connector there and all indications pointing to it being supported on the HiLux, I went ahead and ordered an OBD-II/USB device to connect the laptop to the car.

It arrived last week along with a Griffin Powermate (more of which in a later post) from

This week I got around to testing and it's been a bit of a disappointment. It's an ELM 327 v1.3 device supporting ODB-II. It works with any of the various free and paid-for OBD-II diagnostic software suites - assuming you have an OBD-II compliant car. I tried many different pieces of software (thanks to Quinny23 at and while all could communicate with the ELM device, none could communicate with the car.

I spent a couple of evenings doing all sorts of things including USB driver updates and even ended up trying to initiate a basic direct connection via hyperterminal following this guide. ame problem. I can communicate with the interface but not the car.

Thinking maybe my laptop was old and did not have onboard USB 2.0, I decided to eliminate the machine as the problem. I took a desktop machine to the garage, installed the latest drivers and connected everything up. Same issues.

My final test will be to take the laptop and OBD-II connector to a car with know OBD-II support and try that out. If it works, I'll know the iLux has no support. In fact, in searching almost the entire internet, I came across this page which is linked to an EFI Scan tool commercially available to talk to cars that do not have OBD-II suppoirt. Apparently, Asian Hiluxes like mine used a proprietary protocol known as MBOD up to 2006. While Hiluxes in other prts of the world had full OBD-II, those from Thailand did not.

I've decided not to stress too much more on this. It would be nice to have had support for diagnostics in Centrafuse but it's not the end of the world if I can't get it to work. I'll save it for iLux v2.0.

In working on this though, I've got to know my car a little better. The engine is a 1KD-FTV model, built in November 2005. I also now have an inkling as to why Toyota main dealers are not too keen to service imported vehicles - I'm sure their diagnostic tools won't interface with it either.

While not giving up on this completely (the guys at have just posted a ton of links to toyota/obd/diagnostics materials so some light reading for me tonight), my touchscreen has arrived so I'll be playing with that for a while.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Break

No posts, (or even thinking about project iLux), for the past week or so as we've been on a family holiday. Took the Hilux on a 1,000 mile drive through England taking in Legoland Windsor, some relatives in Kent and CenterParcs Elveden. Excellent time had by all and the car performed faultlessly - very comfortable and very practical.

I didn't get to do the air con swap and cruise control mentioned earlier as I failed to co-ordinate with the garage properly. Just as well as the carputer funds would have been sucked up.

STILL waiting for expansys to deliver those parts I ordered almost two weeks ago. Maybe a good thing as I have a lot of work to catch up with.

I did however, acquire a new keyring at legoland...

Friday, July 10, 2009

Audio Circuits

Getting ahead of myself a little, I'm thinking today about multi-zone audio. I've spotted a news post over at Centrafuse where they talk about and show a demo of true multi-zone in operation (see video below). I'd like this and there's a chance it will come in Centrafuse 3.0 so I might as well build my systems to accomodate.

I'd like a dual-zone system whereby front passangers and rear passangers can listen to the same or different content. I imagine I'll need a multi-channel sound card and a pair of stereo amps, one driving front speakers, one driving rear speakers.

The idea would be that software (centrafuse?) would direct eitehr the same sound to 2 stereo outputs thuse enabling all occupants to hear the same contenrt for direct different content to each stereo pair. For this to work, rear passangers would need to wear headphones.

I'd like to add a pair of headphone jacks in the back that, when headphones are plugged in, the rear speakers are cut and sound is directed to the headphones.

I've been googling and have come across this circuit that uses a switch to redirect amp output from speakers to headphones.

Another way to do this would be to add a third 'zone' to the system (headphones) and use the controlling software to switch outputs to this zone and switch off output to zone 2 (rear speakers).


In other news, I ordered the following items from expansys yesterday;

140985 BU-353 WaterProof USB GPS Receiver
142812 ToughDrive 2.5" 160GB USB-2
161623 USB Cradle for Nokia N95 8GB

These will allow me set up gps interface with centrafuse, copy all my .flac audio files to an external drive and dock/charge my N95.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Small Success

With my current problem getting my phone tethered to the Acer, I suspect that I've introduced a little too much complexity into my setup. When it installed my Belkin bluetooth adaptor originally, I installed the drivers that came with it on the disc. I later discovered that this adaptor was not supported directly by Centrafuse/BlueSoleil and I needed to hack some .ini/.inf files to make it work. In addition, I had installed a stand-alone driver for the N95 8GB before installing and updating the full Nokia PC Suite and mesing about with various configurations. I had also installed and removed some other bits of sotware to test and had turned off some windows services to save on resources and speed up the laptop.

I figured something was messed up there and any one or combination of the above factors could be causing problems. So, I backed up my driver & centrafuse demo downloads to a USB key and reinstalled windows and all the software. Before installing Centrafuse or any bluetooth, I got the phone working as a modem. This time, it worked straight away.

Having installed Centrafuse and configured bluetooth on top of that, everything now works. My phone connects to Centrafuse via bluetooth for hands free calls AND acts as a modem via USB cable connection.

The next step is to see if I can get the phone working as modem via bluetooth as well which would let me eliminate one cable (usb connection from laptop to phone. However, this is not such a big deal as I came across this Nokia n95 8gb docking cradle that will charge the phone, connect it to the laptop via usb and provide an additional USB port, this might work a lot better than a conventional car phone cradle. (Interestingly, the N95 cannot be charged via usb).

Anyway, the correct installation procedure is;
  • Install Windows XP
  • Install SP2 Update
  • Install WiFi dongle & software
  • Install Nokia PC Suite & configure N95 as modem via USB
  • Set up Nokia as modem in Windows modem set-up
  • Install Centrafuse
  • Install Belkin Bluetooth dongle & configure BlueSoeil to recognise it
  • Set Up & confirm connectivity to N95 in Bluesoeil
  • Restart
  • Open Centrafuse and configure Phone and Internet settings

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

New Rubber

Nothing to do with technology but got a new pair of front tyres on yesterday. Hercules TerraTrac A/W 265/70's to match the rear pair that were put on when I bouth the car last October. Got them balanced and got the tracking done. Car now drives in a straight line!

In other news, I spent a few hours trying to get my N95 to work as a modem for the Acer. It works great as a tethered modem via Bluetooth on my MacBook Pro but did not want to work over Bluetooth or USB wired connection. Simply refused to connect. More work to be done here. What's an iLux without go anywhere internet access?