My Carputer has Arrived!

Raspberry Pi installed in car, Raspberry pi installed in car dashboard, my mini computer or carputer is installed and working in the car.

It’s here at last!

After 2 months of shipping delays, getting held up in Slovak customs, and then costing me €108 in import taxes, my car’s media centre has finally arrived!

Raspberry Pi installed in car, Raspberry pi installed in car dashboard, my mini computer or carputer is installed and working in the car.

Fwoar! I’ve been waiting a long time for this!

I wasted no time in getting the unit installed. I put the car in the garage, rigged up some extra lighting, made a cup of tea and started taking the dash apart.

Raspberry Pi installed in car, Raspberry pi installed in car dashboard, my mini computer or carputer is installed and working in the car.

Wired for sound. And video. And GPS. And a Raspberry Pi.

As you can see from the picture above, the unit has everything you could imagine. It has a TV receiver, a very fast and intelligent GPS system (those are actually quite rare!), a reversing camera input – with a function that activates the reversing camera the instant I put the car in reverse, and so much more.

Raspberry Pi installed in car, Raspberry pi installed in car dashboard, my mini computer or carputer is installed and working in the car.

No installation can start without a cup of tea. If it’s not the law, then it should be.

The TV/DVD/GPS unit is specially designed for this model of Suzuki Swift, so it should be a matter of simply plug & play. I was hoping this was the case as I wasn’t really in the mood to start troubleshooting after this much waiting.

As many of you will know, I already installed a Raspberry Pi computer in my car, and it has been sitting under the dashboard waiting for this car monitor to be purchased for many months. Finally it’s time to put it to work.

Raspberry Pi installed in car, Raspberry pi installed in car dashboard, my mini computer or carputer is installed and working in the car.

Awesome! It’s alive and kickin’!

Believe it or not, the installation was an absolute piece of cake. I was expecting at least a couple of problems, but everything just plugged in and worked. It was almost surreal.

The unit even has two video in points. One for my reversing camera, and another for an auxiliary video – the Raspberry Pi in this case. It also has auxiliary audio inputs, so the audio from the Raspberry Pi can go straight into the car.

Raspberry Pi installed in car, Raspberry pi installed in car dashboard, my mini computer or carputer is installed and working in the car.

Star Trek: The USS Suzuki Swift

It works! It really works! I have to be honest: this is by far the coolest car gadget I’ve ever purchased. It has so many functions, and so much room for learning and improvement.

The first improvement that springs to mind? Let’s connect the Raspberry Pi. 😀

Raspberry Pi installed in car

The Raspberry Pi is installed in the car at last!

Woohoo! My geek gland is tingling! There’s something so cool about a Raspberry Pi booting up on your car’s dashboard.

Raspberry Pi installed in car

This is the pinnacle of cool car gadgetry.

The system works, the audio quality is superb, and the Raspberry Pi is ready for programming. I’m pretty happy at the moment as you can imagine.

So you can see and hear it in action, I made a simple video showing the unit, including the Raspberry Pi operating in the dashboard:

From here on things get interesting. I’ve brought the book “Raspberry Pi for Dummies” which should arrive any day now, and I plan on learning how to get the Raspberry Pi computer to do all kinds of cool stuff.

From turning on interior lights with voice commands, to reading my email to me as I drive, there’s a massive amount of things you can do with these versatile little computers. If you have any ideas that might work in my car, write it in the comments below!

Check back soon! 😀

You can use all images from this site, but please keep “suzukiswift.info” in the corner.

30 thoughts on “My Carputer has Arrived!

  1. Hi – this model says it has ipod support and functionality, but where would you plug it in from – is it the USB on the back or is there another auxilary unit I cant see?

    I assume all connectivity works well with the steering wheel controls and that you can use multiple applications at once – eg music and sat nav?

    Great video – and great subtle mods to your swift! very interesting to follow!

      • yes great to see actually, I was interested to find out if it worked off of the 5v 8pin connector ( the one you pictured) or the rear usb – as often with the 8pin’s you can hear a digital buzz when the ipod reaches full charge. Usb seems to be grounded better.

        I’m still in two minds over this computer or the smaller 7inch OEM thats available – or a 3rd party system such as the pionneer’s 7 inch. I’m abit concerned about the user interfaces in both the OEM’s – i fear it will feel cheap.

        Thanks again – though you didnt have to give your self a manicure for the photo!

  2. Hello !

    I was watching your youtube demo of the headunit and you had mentioned that the GPS receiver was under the dash.
    I am about to get one myself and was wondering if having it in the dash rather than out will affect its performance?
    Do you feel that it is slow when connecting for the first time or if its intermittent or anything like that ?

  3. Hi, I recently bought the same sat nav system as you. I got it from Aosino in China for £160 delivered to the UK. I also have a Pi, I am trying to connect them using a HDMI to AUX pins but it does not want to work. Are you using a HDMI or just a plain RCA and 3.5 mm audio? If this is how you are doing yours does the system make a noise when you turn the PI on?

    Thanks for you help and your site really helped me during the installation, keep up the good work.

    • Hi Eamon, you got quite a bargain there! I just use the RCA plug and 3.5mm plug for audio, not the HDMI. It’s more basic how I’m doing it, but I’m a big fan of keeping it simple. No, my Pi doesn’t make any noise on startup as far as I’ve noticed! Thanks for your kind words. :)

      • Thanks for the quick reply. I found out that the RCA to HDMI cables are all basically a scam. I should have looked at the feedback before buying from Amazon.

        My unit does not have an audio jack on it, so hopefully I can covert my USB to one or even a 3.5mm to RCA.

        Thanks again.

  4. HI, Great install. I have just installed the exact same one in my Swift. Have you had any issue with the time changing? i have tried setting mine but every time i turn off/on the ignition the time has reset back to factory default. I tried turning on the gps sync but that only works if i start up the GPS software. Also did you ever buy a digital TV tuner for this unit?

    Regards
    Jamie

    • Hi Jamie. I know exactly the problem you’re talking about. The bloody clock keeps changing, and I can’t get it to stay correct. I can program it to the correct time but 20 minutes later it’s gone back to a weird time zone. I have no idea how to stop that from happening. As for the TV tuner, I bought one but it hasn’t arrived. :(

      • GOOD NEWS!!!!! i have fixed the clock. Basically i had to do a master reset from within the settings(not the button on the front) and after this i set the clock, Left the GPS sync off and it has stayed on the correct date/time for the past week. Only downside is you have to reset everything up.

        Regards
        Jamie

  5. Hi Andrei!!!
    First of all i want to thank you all your work and to put it here, Thanks!!!
    Second sorry but i am a spanish person so mi english is a little bit simply.
    My question: I have a Golf mk2 from 1989 that i want to put a display.
    I have a raspberry Pi, but not any display. I see that the system you use is not very cheap, do you know any touch display that works with the Pi but that is very cheap??? xD
    Thaks for all, great work men. 😀

  6. Hi there,

    I’ve recently purchased the same head unit, I’m having problems with the steering wheel controls.

    At present they dont work, I’m assuming because I have a wire that is loose from one of the harness’ called “Wheel Key1” there is also a loose ‘ground’ and ‘k1’ and ‘k2’ – the instructions are in realy sloppy chinglish and was wondering if you knew where to plum these into? the conector ends seem to be round crimps and any available slots in the harness seem to want square crimps.

    Any advise appreciated.

    Cheers –

    Jon

  7. Hi,
    I’m planning to install raspberry PI with my 2 din CASKA CA3651 on Honda Civic.
    My doubt is how enable the current CASKA touch screen with raspberry PI.
    Did you make your Raspberry work fine with your current 2 DIN multimidia using what modification?

    Congratulations for your project!
    Thanks and Best Regards from Brazil!

    • Hi Fabio, my Raspberry Pi only uses an RCA video connection. The OS in the stereo is a Windows-based system that came with the stereo.;)

  8. Thanks for this site Gavin. I’ve just installed the same unit, but a slightly different reversing camera into my Swift Sport. Your site gave me the confidence to attempt it and it all works!!

  9. Hey,

    Just wondering if you could send me your config.txt for the pi? I have the same head unit but i can’t get the Pi image to display correctly.

    Cheers
    Jamie

  10. Hi! This is awesome! I was tinkering with my Raspberry Pi as a comms centre (wi-fi access point function inside my travel van, bridging to a 5dBi external wi-fi antenna and a LTE antenna for backup). Antenna also has GPS function/wire. I wasn’t sure how and where to fit a display and you gave me the inspiration to pursue a central console solution. Could you post the complete specs of the unit you scored off eBay? Brand name? Model name? OS? (please tell me it is not WinCE 6.0). I searched a full day and all I can find for my van (Fiat Ducato 2012) are ugly WinCE based interfaces. Yours looks so cool compared to that.
    Cheers,
    photis

    • Hi Photis. Well, I have bad news and bad news, I’m afraid…
      While the layout looks cool, the unit is indeed operating on WinCE 6.0 unfortunately. The Raspberry Pi shown on the display is simply connected to the head unit’s Aux video input. It’s nothing complicated and the unit is just a regular TV/DVD player underneath, designed for Suzuki Swift dashboards. I don’t have the full specs, but here’s a link to the same item on ebay which lists some details: http://www.ebay.com/itm/7-CAR-DVD-GPS-NAVIGATION-RADIO-AUDIO-BLUETOOTH-IPOD-TV-IPOD-FOR-SUZUKI-SWIFT-/271295790364?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3f2a7d3d1c.
      Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. :)

      • Thank you very much for your reply. I’ll obviously need to study this some more. Of all the units I’ve been looking at today (lots and lots of them) I haven’t found one yet with 2 aux video inputs. I’d like to keep the option of fitting a rearview camera too later on. How do you connect the Raspberry to the aux input? What kind of interface is this aux input?

        • Okay, I got it, from the earlier comments. My apologies for being the lazy bastard that just fires away questions. I understood (and found it documented) that you use an RCA video input plug on the unit. Back to my drawing board and keep up the good work. Very inspiring!

  11. Hello,
    I am interested in buying one of these units. Is it reliable enough?
    Have you had any problems since you installed the unit?
    Thanks!

    • Hi Alejandro, yes this model supports the wheel buttons. It’s really easy and needs no set up. I don’t know about the other model though.

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