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View Poll Results: What do you think?
Use the full Windows XP install 1 12.50%
Use the Embedded XP install 4 50.00%
For god's sake, get some new hardware! 3 37.50%
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Old 12-12-2010, 10:26 PM   #1
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Default Building an Embedded PC

In order to properly tune my car, I need to be able to datalog. Since megasquirt2 doesn't have a SD slot for datalogging like the MS3, and I don't have a laptop with a serial port, I'm building an embedded PC.

First step is hardware. The name of the game here is low power consumption, low heat output (no fans), and lotsa RAM.

So old computers are perfect. In this case a Celeron 566mhz, 512mb pc133 and a 40Gb hdd. The hdd won't be around for too long. I've got a CompactFlash to IDE converter with a 512mb chip in it (the XP embedded image is only 130mb). I just laid out all of the hardware on the table and set it all up.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=friD_MbI--4

Second is software. I wanted to compare a full Windows XP install to an Embedded install. So I did. The hdd is split into two partitions. XPSP3 on one, and XPESP2 on the other.

First, here'* regular old Windows XP. It takes something like a minute to get to the software.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgIWgaSTc2Q

I know the BIOS load time is ridiculous. But 512mb of RAM is a LOT of ram on a motherboard so old.

Here is XP Embedded. It copies everything off of the HDD and into RAM. Instead of loading Explorer, it loads the task manager instead. I had to edit the registry to get the megatune software to load, but it makes for quick load times.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGABsWH26OE

What do you think?
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Old 12-12-2010, 10:35 PM   #2
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If Embedded has enough XP in it to run your software, why not? It'll certainly be faster than the full version, and as long as you keep it off the Internet, you shouldn't need to worry about security.
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Old 12-12-2010, 10:38 PM   #3
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I know when I need to use hptuners, my laptop boots up in no time. That made tuning absolutely wonderful. Having to wait 5 minutes for a PC to boot every single time I want to datalog or tune would have been extremely annoying. I would highly recommend getting yourself a laptop for under $200 that will do everything you need it to, and getting a USB to serial adapter.
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Old 12-12-2010, 10:40 PM   #4
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LOL! That'* not an option! I've got a nice laptop, but I do not have a nice bank account! Besides, this will be a more permanent addition to the car.
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Old 12-12-2010, 10:45 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonpro03 View Post
LOL! That'* not an option! I've got a nice laptop, but I do not have a nice bank account! Besides, this will be a more permanent addition to the car.
Just saying, I know you want something permanent, but you also don't want it to be permanently slow. Hell, I can sell you a busted up DV4000 half laptop (no screen or lid), with 512MB of RAM, bad cosmetic shape, but perfectly functional with a 1.6ghz Pentium M for dirt cheap. Just needs a hard drive. You could probably fit it under your seat just fine, and that 1.6 Pentium M is the equivalent of a 2.6 Pentium 4.
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Old 12-12-2010, 10:54 PM   #6
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I'd say get some better equipment and run embedded if it does what you need. That list of hardware is just wayyyy too old
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Old 12-12-2010, 10:57 PM   #7
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I'm sure that once I get it installed in the car, I'll want to start playing videos or listening to music. Then I'll be hurting for a faster processor. But for just running one app with no HDD swapping or shell to speak of, 566mhz is plenty.
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Old 12-12-2010, 11:10 PM   #8
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I have this exact specs (to the letter) computer in my "still running" dust collection. It came with 256 MB RAM. Had a bitch of time getting it upped to the 512. Not even sure it reecognized it all, even though it said it did. The reason I did was to take it to XP from 98. It became very slow and quirky after the upgrade and I soon migrated to a new Pentium 3. I keep it and my 266MMX just for ha ha'* to dig out and relive the past at times. Reminds me, I should dig out the old AMD and reup the CMOS battery.
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Old 12-14-2010, 01:52 AM   #9
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I added an xbox controller and lost the keyboard and mouse. I removed the bulky power supply for a slim 100watt one I had lying around. I wanted to grab the power supply out of an xbox1 and use that, but couldn't find one. I wired the motherboard for hard power so I wouldn't have to worry about a switch and I overclocked the processor to 640mhz. I also removed the HDD for a 256mb CompactFlash memory card. The end result is a system that boots with the car, starts datalogging with two button pushes on the xbox controller, and turns off with the car with no fear of damaging the OS.

All done with junk I had lying around.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-CvgEtcKn0
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Old 12-14-2010, 08:13 PM   #10
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I dunno jon.. lol

Step 1 - get a job
Step 2 - get better hardware lol

Since Step 1 isnt going well for you, then play around with this setup but I wouldnt waste too much time on it, tis better spent looking for work IMHO.

Remember my carputer setup?? Boot up and into Centrafuse in 55 seconds or less and that was with crap hardware. Imaging what a cheap mini-itx dual core atom board with DDR2 ram and a fast HDD can do???

I liked my carputer, but I preferred not to use it for datalogging and tuning. My 8.9" tablet works wonders for that. But my arthritis in my wrists has restrained that unit to a garage computer for Mitchell and Alldata and I got a Compaq Mini for incar use..
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