CarPiHat: The DIY Raspberry Pi Car Interface

(Image credit: TJD's Electronic Stuff)

Putting a Raspberry Pi inside of a car is nothing new, OpenAuto Pro has made the process easy by providing a nice automotive head-unit and complimentary interface. But the TJD's Electronic Stuff seller on Tindie decided the project could be made easier with the help of a new dedicated HAT, called CarPiHat.

 With a custom OpenAuto Pro setup, you can add things like hands-free Bluetooth support, media streaming and navigation to your vehicle. It provides a touchscreen and is totally powered by a Raspberry Pi. This is especially useful for older cars that don't come with any modern features like these. 

The CarPiHat module connects directly to the Raspberry Pi, enabling it to interface with any 12V system. In addition to cars, this includes things like boats and trucks. Even simulation rigs can work using the CarPiHat PCB.

According to TJD's Electronic Stuff, the board is designed with a standard HAT format, down to the EEPROM used to autoconfigure some device tree overlays. The connections are made with latching Molex nano-fit connectors.

It features a 12V to 5V buck converter to allocate power to both the Pi and touchscreen module. It has safe shutdown circuitry and 5 opto isolated inputs. It can maintain system time between reboots thanks to a real-time clock chip.

To explore more details and spec information for the CarPiHat, check out the official CarPiHat product page on Tindie. If you want to get your hands on this PCB, you may have to hit the brakes and wait--all units are currently sold out.

Ash Hill
Contributing Writer

Ash Hill is a contributing writer for Tom's Hardware with a wealth of experience in the hobby electronics, 3D printing and PCs. She manages the Pi projects of the month and much of our daily Raspberry Pi reporting while also finding the best coupons and deals on all tech.