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Designing and researching a Raspberry Pi car stereo - Carpi Project pt. 1

The first step to any successful project is to ensure that there is a working design and that it has been thoroughly researched. This is especially true when the project entails modifying a car stereo and replacing it with a project of your own, including the probability of completely breaking the car.

June 2nd, 2018.

What I plan to do is to first build a working prototype that demonstrates the features that I would like. Lying around the house, I have several old computers, but I also have access to a rather popular single board computer known as the Raspberry Pi. Specifically, the Raspberry Pi I have is the Raspberry Pi 2 model B. I’m going to use Etcher in order to flash the latest version of Raspbian Stretch Lite, which as of writing is the April 2018 build. This copy of Raspbian no longer comes with SSH enabled by default, but according to the documentation here, it appears that creating a blank file “ssh” in the boot partition will cause SSH to be enabled by default.

Next, I’ll have to change the default “pi” user password, and thus by extension the SSH login password in order to prevent a wireless break-in. I followed the documentation here in order to do so. What I did was enter the command
and then set my password.

Next, because the network switch and router for my home network is in the garage, I am going to choose to connect the Raspberry Pi to my local home network. I do not feel like it is worth the additional effort to try to route an Ethernet cable to my development area. I have already moved downstairs for this effort in order to connect the HDMI cable to the HDMI compatible TV since the unpowered HDMI converter to VGA draws too much power from the Raspberry Pi and causes random brownouts and blackouts. The documentation here should be enough information to get set up on the WiFi. I used the command
wpa_passphrase "ssid" "password" | sudo tee -a/etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf > /dev/null
where I replaced “ssid” and “password” with the actual network credentials of my home network.

One thing I quickly noticed was wrong with my setup was that the key above the 2, activated with Shift was supposed to be @ but in reality printed a “. I quickly noticed this, and realizing that I had no GUI or interface to solve this with, I would have to do so with command line. Since the Raspberry Pi is made in Great Britain, the default keyboard language is en-gb when the keyboard layout I really want is en-us. To solve this problem, I’ll quickly run
sudo raspi-config
and then scroll down to keyboard and language options, where I can select us as my country code and en as my language. I picked UTF-8 for my character set since I’m not sure I really need more than that for display output or SSH purposes. I then verified this with the command
sudo locale
and a quick reboot via the command
sudo shutdown -r now
and we’re back up and running with the correct keyboard layout now being recognized by the Raspberry Pi. As a side note, I personally think it would be really cool if the Raspberry Pi had an on-off switch.

I’m going to write a list of planned features, so hopefully I can build this in the future:

  1. AirPlay Speaker
  2. Aux Jack
  3. USB Audio
    1. Lightning
    2. USB-C
  4. Navigation
  5. Voice Control
  6. Offline Maps
  7. Dashcam
    1. Cloud Uploading
  8. Podcasts
  9. Music
  10. Phone
    1. Bluetooth
    2. GSM
  11. Messages
    1. Bluetooth
    2. GSM
  12. Car Statistics (via OBD II)
    1. Gas Effiency
    2. Trip/Mileage Tracker
    3. Check Engine Status

That's it for now...

Gideon Tong