BookPC Car MP3 Player

The MP3 Player

The Wired Remote Control

This is a computer I built for my car, itís an MP3 music system but can also do other tasks. Based around a super-small ďsub-micro ATXĒ motherboard from a computer known as the BookPC BKi810, I have put the motherboard, hard drive, and a 12 volt power supply in a small case that fits under the seat of my car. Total size is approximately 11 x 8 x 2 inches. The motherboard has a lot built in. The connectors, from left to right, are mouse, keyboard, 100 MB ethernet, 2x USB, printer, S-Video, composite video, VGA video, joystick/MIDI, audio out, line in, mic in, and then two connectors I added: power in and remote control.

The wired remote control is attached to the face of the rarely used car CD player with Velcro. I used a remote control from the first Nintendo game system for the case of the remote.

Inside View

Power Supply

The main case has latches to keep it shut, and make it easy to show off the internals. Unfortunately I have not found a source for these plastic enclosures, this was one salvaged from a 15 year-old professional modem! The CPU fan is also the system fan, and pulls air into the unit through a filter in the top cover. Also in the top cover are the power supply and 40 GB hard drive. Although not as tough as laptop drives, regular desktop disk drives are fine for use in cars. My other player has been in use over three years and I have not had a single problem. It also uses a Maxtor drive.

Build one for yourself?
Yes, I am documenting this enough for you to build one of your own. I built it for myself, but I used parts that can be obtained or substitutes found easily enough. This is a big project, however, and you must have enough skill and experience to take on such a project, because I wonít help you unless I think you can do it, and the amount of help I give will be limited to parts substitution or clarification here and there.

What you will need
Youíll need to have a BKi810 or equivalent motherboard. This sounds easier than it really is, because this motherboardís power requirements are special, and the power supply I designed will only power this type of motherboard. If your motherboard has more generic power requirements, please look at yammp3, my earlier player. Any other parts should be available or substitutable. Remember this is an extreme project, youíll need to build the power supply completely by hand, thereís no PC board layout available. Take another look at the picture of the power supply above! Youíll need a programmer for PIC microcontrollers. If you want to build one, I have plans and a PC board design listed in the navbar. You also need to be comfortable with the Linux operating system.

Still interested in building it?
Proceed to the next page...

Frequently Asked Questions:


It works and sounds great, but when are you going to put more features in the software?


This is a continuing project and I have it all figured out, I just need to finish it.




I wrote a new version of the software, do you want it?


Wow, someone who actually contributes, I must be dreaming! Yes, please!




I want one but donít want to build it. Sell me yours.


No, this oneís mine, I built it and Iím keeping it.




How do I get the firmware into the PIC16F628 chip?


With a PIC programmer. Here is one Iíve designed.




How about radio interference?


Yes, the plastic case isnít good at shielding. There is noticeable FM and AM interference. My previous player has a metal case and didnít generate any noticeable radio noise.


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