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not sure but i use all-in-wonder card on my pc to push video

it has about 10 outputs from composite to s-video to dvi to component etc. i use it to output to hdtv it has setting switches buuilt into the vga to component adapter but the software can remember custom settings and more....combined with the windows actual resoulution you can tweak it just right i have it for 1080i through component so i can switch it via the home theater

not sure but converting video can be expensive and this was the best option i had found for the money
 

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Discussion Starter #22
Re: not sure but i use all-in-wonder card on my pc to push video

brianjpugh said:
it has about 10 outputs from composite to s-video to dvi to component etc. i use it to output to hdtv it has setting switches buuilt into the vga to component adapter but the software can remember custom settings and more....combined with the windows actual resoulution you can tweak it just right i have it for 1080i through component so i can switch it via the home theater

not sure but converting video can be expensive and this was the best option i had found for the money
Two issues with the all in wonder: It needs a PCI or PCI Express slot and if it doesn't support native RBG video out you will need PowerStip and then it works only when Windows is fully loaded.

If the AIW has the option to output RGB video though one of the ports it may work. Maybe you can give it a try.
 

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AudiA4B6US said:
A minor update for those who are still interested. The video in of the RNS-E is a standard RGB video in. I was finally successful using an old PC to TV adapter I had lying around that supports VGA to s-video, composite video and RGB/YUV video.

The converter had a 15 pin Sub-D (HD-15) plug for RGB/YUV and it took a while to figure out that the C synch signal is on pin 15 (H/V synch are on 13/14 and usually H synch is used for C synch when using a PC video adapter).

Anyway, the converter is one of the cheap kind that allows you to adjust the picture but doesn't store the settings so they get lost when you remove power. Nevertheless, after some fine tuning I got a clear but resized 800x600 picture from my Aopen Pandora mini-PC. The good thing when using the VGA to RGB converter is the fact that you can see the picture even during boot up before Windows fully loaded. That was one of the issues using PowerStrip and a video adapter that would support RGB video.

The next step will be to find a better VGA to RGB converter that stores the settings and also to continue playing with the CANUSB adapter to figure out how to control the PC via RNS-E.

Stay tuned...
I think this is the miniPC that I want to get. How do you like it? How much and where to buy? I just got rid of my Mac Mini because I didn't really care for mac operating system. I mean it was nice but to me being a Windows user my whole life, it just wasn't user friendly.
 

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VGA to RGA converter

Nice work AudiA4B6Us looks great. I have one of these that works pretty good, but you would need one open PCI slot? TCP2200 PCI VGA to YPrPb Transcoder http://www.crescendo-systems.com/transcoder.html = $129 I was using it when I was trying to run RGB to my High_def TV (that only had Component Inputs, no DVI or HDMI)...and that is where I had a blast (just kidding) messing around with PowerStrip. If you want to test with it let me know, I can ship it to you for some testing? I reallt want to do this CarPC deal...I just haven't pulled my RNS-E unit from my car yet...but I did order some tools so I can get to work...but let me know if you think it will help. I assume the MiniPC you have is the AOpen one? http://minipc.aopen.com/us/
 

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Discussion Starter #25
Thanks for the offer but your converter may not work with the RNS-E.

The RNS-E needs a PAL or NTSC RGBS signal. This RGBS is basically a VGA RGBHV signal with composite synch and within the certain frequency range. RGBS is not very common in the US but more popular in Europe as the European SCART standard uses the same signal.

The converter I was using in my first test was a Grantec Ultimate 2000. It is capable of converting VGA (640x480, 800x600 and 1024x768) to s-video (S-VHS), composite video, RGBS video or YUV. It would be fine if there would be an option to store the settings made but unfortunately that's not possible.

I'm now looking for the Grandtec Ultimate XP, a newer version capable of outputting higher resolutions and component video (YCrCb). The feature I'm looking forward to most is the fact that you can store the settings and expand the screen in x/y direction to avoid the typical black frame. However, one message on a forum said that this device may need a press on the power button to turn on which is not ideal in a CarPC environment. The other issue is the fact that it's RGBS out is a 9 pin mini-DIN jack. While the European version comes with a mini-DIN to SCART cable that could be used to build a harness for the RNS-E, the US version comes with a YUV/YCrCb cable for component video that is not usable for the RNS-E. If anybody has any recommendation for another VGA to TV convert that has and RGB out, please let me know.

The PC is an Aopen Pandora with a 1.72GHz Mobile Pentium, 512MB RAM (1GB max), a 60GB 2.5" IDE hard disk and a DVD+DL optical drive (I got it from MP3car.com). A little oversized for a CarPC but in case the CarPC project fails it can still be used as HTPC. It has an internal mini-PCI slot for a wireless card but no PCI or PCI Express. The onboard Intel GMA 915 is fine for most applications (including component video in 16:9) but doesn't support custom resolutions. That's why I prefer at the moment an external converter.

If I wouldn't have bought the Aopen I would by a Mac Mini instead. Why? Because I used today Boot Camp beta on my MacBook Pro to install Windows XP. And it really works like a PC except for a couple missing drivers and no right mouse button. So a Mac Mini with Intel CPU would give you the best of both worlds for a little more money.
 

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I see

What about this TID I found...looks like we could potentially build our own device with this information...read through and let me know what you think

http://www.epanorama.net/circuits/vga2rgbs.html

Here is someone with a 350Z with a similiar issue:

http://www.swooby.com/z/navpc/display1.htm

I assume something this simple would not work...I assume we would still have resolution issues?
http://www.m2cables.com/VGACableHDBtoRCAL12.html

Anyone know a good place to buy some RNS-E removal tools?
 

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Bypass the screen problem by replacing the screen?

The next idea I've had while purchasing everything I need for this install (Mac Mini, CarNetix P1900 power supply, Dietz adapters) is to buy a Lilliput 629GL-70NP touchscreen (which would fit in the casing of the RNS-E moving screen) and replace the current screen completely. Since this has multiple direct inputs to the monitor itself, I could theoretically focus on the CAN problem and have the VGA-RGBS problem we are having solved directly... Although it could get very messy trying to take apart the RNS-E screen casing and replace the screen outright.

We'll see... I'll hopefully have all this stuff in hand soon (including the Mac Mini with Boot Camp!)
 

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Great News

Now your talking...I was looking around trying to find a touchscreen that would work...has this been done before using the Lilliput 629GL-70NP? I would be willing to swap out the screens...that would solve the control issues with the PC and allow the normal control of the RNS-E, for $250 bucks it would be worth it. If we know it will fit (with some finesse and re-soldering I assume) this may be the first step I am going to take, since we know the CarPC is the easiest part of the whole deal. Great news though, great ideas...we are making progress towards a total solution. Anyone one with some ideas to go from the RGBS to VGA? Here is the link to the site http://liz-lilliput.ebigchina.com/sdp/198976/4/pd-1016344/1324163-509514.html but it doesn't appears to have much useful information. Here is an RGB to VGA (actually DVI) http://www.ihse.de/english/238-3f.htm this may work, but I am going to keep researching. I am wondering if quite possibly the Lilliput screen may take the RGB with the proper cable...take thinking out loud (wishful thinking that is). I may get one to test with.
 

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Not to my knowledge...

Unfortunately, I have no knowledge of someone doing this with a touchscreen, so we'll have to do this one ourselves. I'm going to try and buy the screen to test with as well, i'm up in the air on which screen to use... it has to fit in the casing and have the proper inputs for both the nav and any other external inputs i need. Lilliputs look good size-wise, but I am straying away because the input methods seems to be RCA style which pretty much defeats the purpose. Suggestions, anyone?
 

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Discussion Starter #30
A couple minor updates on my little CarPC project. I got the Grandtec Ultimate XP VGA to RGBS converter and got it working properly. The setup is pretty temporary right now but I got a nice full screen picture in 800x600:


The Ultimate XP has a 9 pin mini-DIN plug for RGBS out. Since nobody carries such a plug I have ordered one from Mouser. In the meantime I pluged the wires directly in which is probably the worst setup in regards to shielding but still produced a nice picture.



For now all I have is Windows running at 800x600 using the Extra Large Fonts appearance and there is no flickering at all. I also confirmed that the Ultimate XP remembers the saved the settings (other than the Ultimate 2000 which forget all settings when you remove power).



As expected does the Ultimate XP not power on automatically. But trial and error confirmed that if you ground one of the 4 pins at the power button the unit turns on. Since the carnetix PSU I got for the Pandora has an unused, isolated relay switch (usually used for ACPI power on), I'm planning on using that for the Ultimate XP and connect the Pandorra to the conventional ACPI connector. If that doesn't work there is still the option of connection a 2 way relay to power on both the Pandora and the Ultimate XP.

Next steps: Wait for the 9 pin mini-DIN plug and the new CANUSB adapter to arrive. Once the video harness is complete I will focus on wiring the carnetix PSU to the Pandora and also build some power distribution for the other components.

There is also still the question where to put the Pandora. My favorites are the CD changer location in the glovebox (may get hot in sommer though) or the empty space in the trunk where the BNS navi would go.


The first would let me keep the wires much shorter which should be better for video. The latter might be better in sommer and could be completely hidden.

Questions, questions, questions - stay tuned.
 

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Video Conversion Device

Hey AudiA4B6US...how is everything going with the Car PC, any new news? I was reading through the latest copy of Electronic House (I used to design, setup, and install very very high end home theaters and home automation systems) and saw that in one installation they used a Extron RGB-464xi computer-video interface http://www.extron.com/product/product.asp?src=1&id=rgb464xi
From what I have read it looks like a good product for the conversion, lower profile and 12vDC...not sure about the pricing but I may look into it a little further...I am still thinking about how I am going to do the whole CarPC deal...but I am going to move forward with it for sure. Let me know what you think or if you have already seen this device.
 

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Discussion Starter #32
That device does only convert VGA to s-video or composite. That's a start but you will not like what you get since composite video is not really usable for a computer screen (greyish black, low contrast). What you are looking for is a VGA to RGB video (PAL) converter that will allow at least correct colors on the RNS-E (even though in 800x600 you can't really read to much).

The CarPC project is currently on hold due to limited time. I'm waiting for a new CANUSB adapter that can control my frontend on the PC. the one I have now doesn't map to a COM port and that's what the frontend is lookign for. I was successful to send a CAN message and enable TV on the RNS-E without a Dietz. However, for a CarPC we need video in motion which is a little more tricky.
 

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Another possible use for the CANUSB could be for importing a directory from outlook contacts into the RNS-E. The only problem I see is that to enter data into the RNS-E you use the dial instead of typing letters. But code could be written to turn the dial and depress the dial to enter letters.

It sounds like something we can persue though.

- Craig
 

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Discussion Starter #34
caykroyd said:
Another possible use for the CANUSB could be for importing a directory from outlook contacts into the RNS-E. The only problem I see is that to enter data into the RNS-E you use the dial instead of typing letters. But code could be written to turn the dial and depress the dial to enter letters.

It sounds like something we can persue though.

- Craig
There is no external device from Audi that would communicate with the RNS-E and do something similar. Without such a device I doubt that the RNS-E is even listening for CAN messages that would allow to add contacts. But I would be happy to be wrong...
 

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Hi AudiA4B6US, from Spain.
We are very interested in your project and your research. At this moment, we are waiting for ours audi a4 avant with RNS-E, and we want install inside a carpc connected at the canbus.
Only encourage you to continue your investigations, and, if it is possible, if you can explain how can we control the car pc from the RNS-E buttons. We are going to use the centrafuse software.
Thanks for all the information from Spain.
 

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Discussion Starter #36
Welcome to the forum.

I'm not there yet, or better I'm still pretty far away from being able to show results. I haven't looked at CentraFuse yet but you will need some software able to process messages from the CAN bus, is most cases through the serial port. There are a couple of CANUSB adapters out there but the one I have doesn't have COM port drivers. I'm waiting right now for one from Germany that maps to a COM port and I'm planning to use the cPOS front end because it has build-in support for such an adapter. The plan is to use the messages send by the RNS-E (posted earlier in this topic) and let the front end process those messages for certain actions.

The biggest issue right now is the fact that I don't want navigation to break if video in motion is turned on. The video in motion adapters I have seen so far (e.g. Dietz 1280) filter the speed signal to keep video enabled and that makes the navigation not as precise as it should be. There is a solution for this but so far I haven't found the right answer or product to keep both.

Watch this space for more details...
 

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Discussion Starter #38
A little update and still al ong way to go. I got my CANUSB adapter and got the RNS-E controlling the CarPC. So far it's just one menu, mainly to test what's possible and what isn't. The buttons are pretty easy but the MMI turn wheel is tricky because the signal it creates is too short (30ms) to get properly detected by the car PC software.

This is my test menu:


And this is how it works (very low res video):


Stay tuned...
 

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AudiA4B6US said:
A little update and still al ong way to go. I got my CANUSB adapter and got the RNS-E controlling the CarPC. So far it's just one menu, mainly to test what's possible and what isn't. The buttons are pretty easy but the MMI turn wheel is tricky because the signal it creates is too short (30ms) to get properly detected by the car PC software.

This is my test menu:
That... is so cool....... :shock: I want it.
 

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Looks great

That looks great...I am finishing saving up some $$$$ to get going on my Car PC...I am have been looking at Carbonio B7 A4 2.0T Cold Air Intake ($379 from APR) and APR's A4 Exhaust ($1049)...so I am trying to save some cash so I can do them all and not break into the savings :) but I am getting pretty antsy...good work, look forward to seeing more.
 
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