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DIY: Do It Yourself
Post here to share or improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW E46 DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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Old 07-28-2010, 11:45 AM   #1
yusufm786
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Carputer Technical Questions

Hi Guys

I decided to embark on my first big DIY, so I need some help with some technical details. I want to install a carputer in my e46, to control basically everything - aircon, audio, cd-shuttle, pdc. It must be interfaceable to my steering wheel audio controls, and removeable when I sell the car. I also want to have a GPS module and rear view camera installed, together with Wifi and Bluetooth.

From my understanding, I will have to interface to the IBUS to gain control/intercept communication between the various devices. From what I have read, I think I am capable of designing my own IBUS interface, similar to this one: http://www.reslers.de/IBUS/index.html

I will install the computer system in the boot, and remove the radio and climate control systems (I'll control these via the carputer). I want to be able to view my PDC sensor distances individually on the screen something like the e60 (I think) 5 series. Also have a solid state hard drive to store music/movies with an auxilliary input somewhere near the driver (USB + 3.5mm jack). I also want to use the bluetooth as a car kit, and if possible add voice control. The GPS must allow for turn by turn navigation. If it's not too difficult, I want to read diagnostic data, and display meaningful messages (not codes) on the screen.

As far as possible, this must be a D.I.Y. i.e. I'm not going to buy a system to do this - I will build my own IBUS interface and assemble my own computer.

I need to know the following:
1. Has anyone fully reverse engineered the IBUS communication on an e46, so that I can know exactly the addresses and data formats to use to control all the OEM equipment?
2. What carputer software is good to use for all the specs listed above? Ideally I don't want to use windows xp and have to browse through the start menu depending on the function I require. There should be some sort of front-end with big buttons and must be easy to use.


Thanks
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Old 07-28-2010, 12:25 PM   #2
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To save yourself some effort, you could buy the Bmw HVAC relocation panel, which moves the AC controls to just above the ashtray. For the ibus interface you need a TH3122. For the commands, you can use navcoder to monitor the ibus. You will find that the hvac does not broadcast to the ibus. You will need inpa or SSS to stimulate the hvac and navcoder to log the diagnostic commands. You should visit mp3car to find out the best software to use. You may find most of the ibus stiff is written already. E39 uses the boardmonitor to control the hvac and the e46 is largely compatible. You will find the bezel for the LCD cost a lot of money.
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Old 07-28-2010, 02:20 PM   #3
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Hi

Thanks for the reply. Can you please clarify the inpa/SSS for the HVAC? If the HVAC doesn't broadcast to the IBUS, then even if I'm able to work out the codes, surely I will have to broadcast to another bus in order to execute them from a PC?
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Old 07-28-2010, 04:20 PM   #4
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INPA is the diagnostic protocol that bmw uses when programming the car and inspecting electronics. It is usually connected through the odb II connector. SSS is something that uses INPA (there are a few others).

There are a few different bus systems in the car.
here is a good document talking about the bus systems although it is for other cars.
http://www.e38.org/bussystem.pdf

You theoretically could reverse engineer the M-Bus and control the climate system but that would require a lot more work.

With reiser interface you can control I/K buses as they are technically the same but with different peripherals.
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Old 07-29-2010, 10:25 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yusufm786 View Post
Hi

Thanks for the reply. Can you please clarify the inpa/SSS for the HVAC? If the HVAC doesn't broadcast to the IBUS, then even if I'm able to work out the codes, surely I will have to broadcast to another bus in order to execute them from a PC?
HVAC doesn't broadcast to the bus. For example it won't send "I just turned on the AC" but it can take diagnostic commands from INPA "Turn on the AC".

However, the HVAC also does "It's 24C, turn down the fans" or "Move this stepper motor, stop this stepper motor here" internally, so you would need to mimic that in software. The HVAC relocation panel is only about $30 and is fairly easy to fit.

So you need INPA to mock up the commands. Search for a post entitled "BMW and INPA success" to find a guide.
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Old 07-30-2010, 04:18 AM   #6
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Hi

That makes sense. I guess then you are right Arty, it would probably would make most sense to get the relocation panel from BMW. I'm in South Africa, so I just hope the dealer doesn't rip me off - they tend to do that here :-)

burnhamd: Thanks for the link to the guide. I'll have a read through it. I want to properly understand the system before beginning the project. I also want to build the IBUS interface and be 100% sure about its use before I even buy any of the carputer's components. I'm just a bit worried about the double din bezel for the LCD - so far from the searches I've done the prices seem to be rip offs, considering it's just a piece of plastic.

One more question: Does anyone know if the e90 also uses the I-BUS i.e. if I design the system for my e46, and then decide I would prefer it in my e90, will it be easily done?
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Old 07-30-2010, 09:35 AM   #7
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It is my understanding that the e90 uses a fiberoptic bus system. It would be very difficult to implement a car computer that uses it.
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Old 07-30-2010, 07:48 PM   #8
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E90 is optical, via the MOST protocol.
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Old 07-30-2010, 08:41 PM   #9
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Hey i got a carputer, but i never ventured into the ibus system as of yet.
if you got any questions, post them up and i'll try to answer the best i can.


for a frontend i used centrafuse. there is a BMW skin so it looks pretty stock.
fools everyone in my car till i tell them its a carputer, and then their eyes get all funking and ask me wtf am i talking about.
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Old 07-31-2010, 04:08 AM   #10
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Can you post some details about your carputer setup, maybe with some pics as well? I downloaded Centrafuse yesterday - still need to play with it. I want to interface it to IBUS though, to be as OEM as possible
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Old 07-31-2010, 09:41 AM   #11
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There have been several people to do similar projects. Check mp3car.com One guy even used the buttons from the oem nav to work with his computer along with some other very cool things on the ibus. I think an ideal setup would be to put the computer part in the trunk like oem and then interface it to the oem nav screen. You could put a new lcd panel in there if you wanted and upgrade the resolution and make it touch screen.
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Old 07-31-2010, 03:29 PM   #12
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Thats actually a very good idea. Thanks a lot. I'll look into it
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Old 08-01-2010, 12:32 PM   #13
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i got a 705 lilliput touch screen
intel atom 2ghz dual core with HT
2 gb ram
Apline 75 watt 4 channel preamp
200 gb sata drive
m2 ATX 90watt power supply

i'll post some pictures up later
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Old 12-01-2010, 09:41 PM   #14
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i see this post is a little old but if your still planning on this take it from someone who has had one already, carputer is quite a bit of work and costly in the end even tho it seems cheap at first. The dynavin for e46 will likely do everything you want minus the heating controls for far less and be much more user friendly than doing a full blown car pc. Not saying a carpc isnt cool and unique but if i had to do it all over id just buy the dynavin and hvac relocation and call it a day.

Good luck on it.
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Old 12-02-2010, 06:20 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 95seriesbmw View Post
i see this post is a little old but if your still planning on this take it from someone who has had one already, carputer is quite a bit of work and costly in the end even tho it seems cheap at first. The dynavin for e46 will likely do everything you want minus the heating controls for far less and be much more user friendly than doing a full blown car pc. Not saying a carpc isnt cool and unique but if i had to do it all over id just buy the dynavin and hvac relocation and call it a day.

Good luck on it.
Hi

Thanks for that info - I didn't know of the existence of the dynavin, but according to the website the dynavin does look good as you say. I don't see any IBUS interfacing though, so I'm guessing there won't be steering wheel audio control/cd changer interface?

I'm doubting now whether to actually do the carputer. The e46 is aging a bit, and i'm wondering if it's really worth all the effort and investment. My primary interest actually laid in the IBUS interfacing, with the carputer just there to give purpose to the IBUS interface and make the whole system look OEM. But we'll see....
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Old 12-02-2010, 06:46 AM   #16
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The dynavin will give you the steering wheel controls. It's in the install diy in the soundworks section.

Still, I'd go carputer any day. Now i'm actually saving for an 8" transflective LCD install. The frame-less versions can be fitted I think
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Old 12-02-2010, 10:25 AM   #17
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yes 8" will fit. that pic in my sig is a lilliput 889 8" with a bezel i made. Carpc is for some but not for others. there are a lot of quirks about it. Very cool and fun while i had it but i found myself wishing the sound quality was better and didnt want to shell out a fortune to do an audison bit 1 in addition to a sound card with optical out. Also steering wheel controls arent exactly plug and play. Many of the plugins are glitchy (i was using centrafuse frontend) given they were often designed by very clever but also novice level guys. But like i said it was fun and a lot of people were blown away by it but i perfer the fabrication side of installs and not so much the technical stuff with software and all.
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Old 12-02-2010, 01:54 PM   #18
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Do you have more pictures with the screen/bezel? I'd love to fit an 8" in there!
Thanks
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Old 12-02-2010, 11:49 PM   #19
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http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/fabr...3-bmw-e46.html

heres some more info on the bezel build. Sorry bout the pix and order of them but i just get to into the work and loose intrest in taking in-progress pix.

notice the screen is bigger than the bezel and actually goes up in behind the upper trim and down into a cavity i cut into the dash beneath it. Everyone had a 7 in the e46s, so I felt the obvious desire to win. lol

no possible way to fit bigger in there without it looking ugly or until they come out with a really wide widescreen.
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Old 12-03-2010, 12:37 AM   #20
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From your pictures over at mp3car, part of the screen (up/down) is covered by the bezel, this does not affect viewing area? I am considering an 8" frame-less transflective screen from Inelmatic or Xenarc, but honestly, fabricating a new bezel is not for me at this point so I'm thinking to modify the existing one (or purchasing one......... ). Regarding the controls, did you just disconnect everything? or are they tucked somewhere behind the screen?
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