BeardinmyPi
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2013 6:04 am

Pi as a car audio head unit

Thu Sep 26, 2013 7:38 am

Hello everyone. I am very new to this so ill try and be as eloquent as possible. I'm wanting help with an idea i have. I have an old car (1954) that needs a stereo and i was thinking, why not use a raspberry pi? The possible problem is i dont want to use an actual cd player head unit, because i dont want to remove the oem radio and i think that cd players slapped in the dash look trashy. Ideally i'd like to have the pi in the glove box with a 1TB portable HDD connected and a bluetooth receiver. Then connect that to a slide out 7" touch screen hidden under the dash. Then of corse have the usual speakers and amp set up. Has anyone done this before or have any ideas about how i would go about achieving this? Did i actually make any sense? I want to be able to control the music through either my phone (via bluetooth) or the touch screen. Even do away with the touch screen if possible to be completely mobile. How would i go about powering the pi from the ignition and not having it run all the time or having to reboot everytime i turn the car on. Or should i not bother and just put a cd player in the car. I really hope someone can help me with this as i think it is a really cool idea.

Thanks

wouterel
Posts: 52
Joined: Thu Feb 14, 2013 3:09 pm

Re: Pi as a car audio head unit

Thu Sep 26, 2013 9:11 am

It's not unlikely that someone has done this already. Not me. But I can tell you one of the many ways this would work. I'm sure there will be others who think they have a superior idea... and they should just post below ;-).

No need for the touch screen. You can run a headless audio server as long as the server software has remote control apps that match your phone. I've done this with logitech media server (which controls your music library and receives commands from your phone) plus a small player program called squeezelite. I would use squeezeplug (=raspbian with some tweaks and extra scripts) to install both but I guess there are other ways to get that to work too. I'm not sure if bluetooth would work with this but you could use a wifi dongle and use the pi as a wireless access point for your phone to make the connection for the remote app. As an alternative to the logitech software (which is free despite the commercial brand name), you could use MPD which is a lightweight and rather popular music player daemon but I haven't used it so I don't know if there are any good remote apps.

matt@shagshaw.com
Posts: 38
Joined: Thu May 31, 2012 8:04 pm

Re: Pi as a car audio head unit

Thu Sep 26, 2013 2:56 pm

I use the awesome mpd on my pi at home, and the equally awesome mpdroid app installed on my
android tablet to control it.

there are loads of different clients to control it from normal browser based, to iphone etc......

As previous entry states, set up the pi as a access point, and connect with your android phone
or tablet or whatever and your well away !!!!

Matt

BeardinmyPi
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2013 6:04 am

Re: Pi as a car audio head unit

Thu Sep 26, 2013 11:23 pm

Setting up the server side of it doesnt worry my too much. It should be easy enough. Its just the integration with the car side of things im a little unsure about. Like the speakers/amp and powering on and off, not killing my battery and such. Thanks for the ideas guys.


wouterel
Posts: 52
Joined: Thu Feb 14, 2013 3:09 pm

Re: Pi as a car audio head unit

Fri Sep 27, 2013 7:54 am

You can make the car integration as complicated as you like. Just make sure you have a way to cleanly shut down the pi.

Ideally, you'd have it powered from a source that stays live when the engine is turned off (so that it doesn't shut down uncleanly). Initiating shutdown could be with a simple GPIO-connected button (with the slight risk that you could forget to push it when leaving the car) or using GPIO with the car's electronics to detect when it is off (with the unfortunate side-effect that the pi will shut off whenever the engine's off, even if you don't want it to). The internet (as AndrewS pointed out) is full of suggestions...

By the way it would take a busy pi at least a few days to drain a full car battery (probably more than a week if you use a decent dc-dc converter).

arduinoaudio
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Aug 24, 2014 3:56 am

Re: Pi as a car audio head unit

Sun Aug 24, 2014 4:06 am

I am working on a very similar project using an Arduino (but thinking of upgrading to a Pi so I can drive a better display which is how I found this thread).

I have created an I2C controlled pre-amplifier that can switch between three stereo inputs and drive four individually controlled outputs (for the front and rear car speakers) plus a subwoofer channel.

I am turning it into a head unit for my Honda Pilot.

I had the boards professionally made (they include the power supply IC and all the passive components and a TDA7419 for all the audio switching and tone control). I had some extras made so send me an email if you would like one for your project.

You can follow the progress of the project and post questions here:
https://www.facebook.com/ArduinoAudio

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