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Raspberry Pi 4 Car Dash Computer Takes Linux on the Road

Raspberry Pi
(Image credit: David Burgess)

It’s not uncommon to find touch screen computers in the dashboard of modern vehicles but if yours doesn’t have one, you’re not out of the game just yet. Developer David Burgess recently created his own from scratch using a Raspberry Pi and detailed the process along the way.

To power this automotive Linux machine, he’s using a Raspberry Pi 4. Fitting hardware into places it wasn’t designed for often requires ingenuity. In this case, Burgess 3D-printed a custom mounting plate for the Pi and a case used to house a touch screen. In addition to the Raspberry Pi, the system uses the original car stereo to help control the speakers and subwoofer.

The best Raspberry Pi projects are the ones you can recreate and, thankfully, Burgess was kind enough to share a complete list of parts used in this project in the original thread shared to Reddit. You probably won’t need everything on this list but it can help if you decide to develop a Pi-powered dashboard computer of your own.

Software-wise, the car dash computer is running OpenAuto Pro. This platform is ideal for creating custom menus and graphs to interface with. It’s a paid application designed just for the Raspberry Pi developed by Blue Wave Studio. It offers a selection of features to play with including things like media controls, OBD-II data reports and navigation tools via Android Auto.

To get a closer look at how this dashboard computer goes together, check out David Burgess at YouTube and be sure to follow him for future Raspberry Pi projects.

  • coromonadalix
    Why can't they add an fm tunner, not a dab+ based one, you have excellent tunners modules like the tef 6686 working on I2C bus, they dont cost a fortune ... and coding is known on a few projects

    I can't call this a car project until you add car related Am or Fm signals ?? I would if i could code :(
    Reply
  • jasonkaler
    coromonadalix said:
    Why can't they add an fm tunner, not a dab+ based one, you have excellent tunners modules like the tef 6686 working on I2C bus, they dont cost a fortune ... and coding is known on a few projects

    I can't call this a car project until you add car related Am or Fm signals ?? I would if i could code :(
    That's quite a bit of work adding a tuner, an amplifier, electrical noise filters. No audio in on a PI
    It's not just coding, it's hardware too
    Reply
  • Nugg81
    Actually to add fm radio would be pretty easy. All you would have to do is buy a software defined radio (sdr) and install an app. I've already started building my raspberry pi head unit.
    Reply
  • dbtechyt
    coromonadalix said:
    Why can't they add an fm tunner, not a dab+ based one, you have excellent tunners modules like the tef 6686 working on I2C bus, they dont cost a fortune ... and coding is known on a few projects

    I can't call this a car project until you add car related Am or Fm signals ?? I would if i could code :(

    The reality is that I have no desire to add AM or FM signals. I haven't listened to the radio in years. I've streamed Pandora or Spotify to my cars via bluetooth for probably 10 years at this point and haven't even plugged the AM/FM antenna into the my aftermarket stereos in that same 10 year period.

    Also, if you saw at the 9:50 mark in the video, OpenAuto Pro includes welle.io which is "an open source DAB and DAB+ software defined radio (SDR) with support for rtl-sdr (RTL2832U) and airspy. It supports high DPI and touch displays and it runs even on cheap computers like Raspberry Pi 2/3 and 100€ China Windows 10 tablets."
    Reply
  • coromonadalix
    The problem with sdr they usually take ressources to process / decode the radio stream, in my country you dont have many dab chanels, and i love to listen to the fm radio loll and dont want to invest in sirius or xm radio ...
    Reply