Saturday, March 04, 2006

cPOD - DVD on ArmRest + MB on back of back seat

The DVD mounted based on 51/4" rack mount from a PC case

DVD in arm rest
Placeholder for the MB
A helping hand - Eyal Hershko spark "ART"
cPOD colors

Monday, January 16, 2006

cPod back view

cPod back view
Originally uploaded by ZeN workshop.

some work was done at the back
Some 220V power outlets are in the back

Saturday, December 31, 2005

RVC spin off project - The cPOD

Thc cPOD (temp name?) is a spin off of our main RVC project.
After we cut the car into 2 - we had an idea about what to do with the "other half" - the back
We'll let you guess what it is as we go a long...

Under Construction
cPOD front working

Pump in some Power
cPOD power

New Wheels
cPOD new front wheels

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Where did we go??

It's been a while since we last updated the blog. Both of us were busy working on other stuff such as the Invisible Handle in the Israeli GeekCon camp. Rest assured, that we did not abandon the Real Virtual Car project.

We decided that the car was too big and took too much space in our small garage and decided to cut it. The front seats will still remain (and be further enhanced) simulator, and the rear seats will be used for other purposes (more details soon). Cutting a car without having all the tools was not an easy task but we managed to do it in a few hours.

We started with the roof. Drew a line a started cutting it with a jigsaw:

Cut Here!

We then moved to the floor, which was more difficult...

and yes it does BURN when it hits your HEAD...

After three hours we had the car split into two...


Saturday, June 11, 2005

RVC at Microsoft Digital City

RVC at Digital City big gauge
Originally uploaded by ZeN workshop.

We got to present our project in a movie theater.
Ever seen a gauge this big?
They gave us a 64bit machine to demo on, it crashed once in the middle of presentation...
Was a great adventure, we thank Yaron L. from MS that invited us to show off and meet some cool people.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Custom Gauges with stand and electronics ready

12 hours before dead line - tomorrow we hope to post pictures from Microsoft Booth on Digital City - Tel Aviv, where it should be displayed and open to the public to play with.

Custom Gauges with wheel

There are 2 controllers here - A servo controller for the gauges (RPM + Speed) and a controller for the gear LEDs, also the Wheel is connected to the USB HUB on the controller.
Custom Gauges electronics

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

"The Lab"

"The Lab"
Originally uploaded by ZeN workshop.

24 hours before dead-line, we are close to finishing the Gauge panel for display.
We connected the 7 gear leds to the game using a USB controller - it now show you which gear you are on (also N, R and P)
it looks great! especially in the dark : )

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Gauges Servo install complete

RVC URL on panel
If only Bill knew how hard we work to show this panel on Microsoft Digital Days he will probably send us XBOX360!!! (I need really need one)
Anyhow, if you follow this link :
you can see a "How to" pics series on modding a regular Dash Gauge Panel, adding servos and connecting to a PC.
rear of panel connected to PC with USB

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Custom Gauges

DSCN0002 1
Originally uploaded by ZeN workshop.

We have been asked to prepare a frontal presentation about our project for Microsoft Digital Days (next week)
We got very nice large gauges (american brand) and took it apart to customize it for the live demo.
There goes another weekend...

Saturday, May 21, 2005

We were on TV!

asseen on TV

Today our car was shown on national television - channel 2 on their Saturday night news broadcast.

It was short and fun! You can download the entire movie clip (2:30 minutes) from eMule. Some pictures from the clip...

We assemble all the parts for a run:

Zvika is driving the car:

Yuval is driving the car:

Zvika is explaining to the reporter about the project. Short transcript:

Reporter: But it's complicated to build such a thing, no?
Zvika: Not that complicated. You just need to really want to do it.
Reporter: Now please explain - why do you really want to it?
Zvika: Good question :-)

The reporter, Yuval Dror -- thanks man, for a great report!

-Zvika and Yuval

Thursday, May 19, 2005

We'll be on TV

well... at this point we're on a video tape of TV crew...
It should air this Saturday May 21st at 20:00 israel time.

Channel 2 news came to visit us (the power of the BLOG) for 3 hours at the workshop
to see how we setup the RVC, drive it and try to explain why the hell are doing this.
I think that they answered themselves when each of the crew members had to take it for a ride before he left (see the pic)

-CH2 News shoot and play - RVC

More pics on

Monday, May 16, 2005

Desgin draft for new Gauges Panel Faceplate

We plan to modify the panel faceplate to support some usefull information for the RVC
for example - Current Gear - see draft
Sketch for new gauges faceplate

here it is inside the panel:
RVC Main Gauge board out

If you have any ideas about other interesting info to put in - please write a comment

Original guages are back in place

Today I went with Gil, a friend of mine, to install the original guages back in the car. It took us a while to put everything back together, having the lights work and the microcontroller moving the needles. It turns out that most of the light bulbs got burned while we played with them. Also, it took us a while to figure out that our power adaptor did not have enough juice, so we hooked up a computer power supply and used the 12V to get more amperage.

We then put it back in the car...

Gil admiring his work at 2am..

(Sorry about the low quality of the pictures today, but I did not have my digital camera and had to settle for my cellphone)


Sunday, May 15, 2005

Getting the original guages to work

RVC Gagues electronics scheme

After we managed to make the gauges work by "implanting" servo's in them, we decided that it's not good enough, since we would like the original car to remain unmodified as much as possible.

The guages needles move according to the frequency that they receive. Since it is impossible to generate those frequencies from Windows (or any other non real-time OS), we needed to move into hardware (yeah!).

We decided to go with Atmel AVR microcontroller chips (mainly because that's what we could easily find in Israel). We got a sample of an ATMEGA16 and wrote some C code to generate the frequencies (WinAVR and AVRlib). Since this is the first time we used this platform it took us a few hours to get it working.

Generating the frequencies is not enough -- you need the PC to ask the microcontroller to generate the right frequency according to the speed/rpm in the game. Unfortunatelly, the AVR cannot speak directly with an RS-232 interface, so we had to connect a MAX232 chip in order to get it working.

The sequence is as following: there is a process on the PC which collects the games telemtry with Nascar 2003 APIs. It then translate the speed/rpm to commands which are written to the microcontroller via a COM port. The microcontroller parses the requests and set the frequencies to the gauges accordingly.

Nice :-)

Friday, May 13, 2005

Videos available via eMule

As you've noticed many people have accessed this blog, which exceeded the limit to the server on which I publish the videos. Many people have asked to share the videos with eMule/Bittorrent. For now I've published them with eMule and will later on make them available with Bittorrent.

The ED2K link is here - feel free to share.

If you can,post these Videos where you can and write here a comment with a link to the files.



Thursday, May 12, 2005

We’re on major geek sites - Hello World : )

Looks REAL

Just came back home, checked the blog and saw something strange – comments…
It seems that somehow somebody found out about our little project here and posted it on diffrent web sites (Slashdot among them - You can read it here )

As veteran geeks we’re extremely FLATTERED!

Wow, we were not expecting that, definitely not on this early stage.
We still have big plans and a lot of work – feel free to come back again and check the progress (usually we work on weekends)

We are building this project for FUN - learning more about cars, electronics and software.

Stage 2 will be all about hydraulics (we hope)

Due to bandwidth limitation - our video hosting site went down – sorry. we are trying to find a diffrent solution so you can get to see the action and hear the sounds.

We’re lucky we had most of the pics on Flickr.

Thanks for commenting , we appriciate your feedback and support.
For the sake of quick swift visitors I’ll reattach some milestone pics.

Drop off
Front cut1
RVC Steering
Speed Gauge electronics

Sunday, May 08, 2005

It's Alive Videos !!!

This is the first time we actually tried to get it working

We decided to have some fun with it

We stubled into a bug in Nascar which froze the whole system for a few seconds. Funny enough it was exactly when a Viagra car passed us :-)

This is how looks inside and outside

Saturday, May 07, 2005

It's Alive !!!

Running out of patience we kinda made some shortcuts "just to see it working... "
AKA "After a week of hard work, why don't we play instead of keep fighting against metal, plastic and electronics"

OK, so we had to finish the steering. Lot's of small annoying metal parts that need to work together smoothly. Finally the streeing part was attached properly but it needed to be raised somehow. So - yes the electronics are in a bucket : )

RVC Steering

Then we put some white (dirty?) cloth we had around on top of the front "window"


The projector was set on top of back seat and a "small" speaker right behind the cloth screen for an "IN YOUR FACE" sound.

Audio VIsual

Connect the power and.... Here you go -
It's Alive
Looks REAL

Zvika Ride the RVC
Was a great day!

Next we need to make the gauges work in the car...

Got the Gauges electronics to work, OH Yes!

After a week of trying (while going to work, eating & sleeping in between)
and after searching the web without finding the spec of how to get it to work
and after spending too much time on PWM
it turns out the Gauge needed a 12V + - and a regular 5V PULSE - and it worked!
I generated the pulse from a step motor controller I had - now we will need to generate it from a PC - I hope we can make it fast enough without additional hardware
The nice thing about it this way is that the Distance Meter Works too, how cool.

The SPEED & Distance gauge work - check out the video here

Speed Gauge electronics

The RPM Electronics - check out the video here

RPM Gauge electronics

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Gauges Guts

Speed electronics test

Took all the gauges out and took them apart to get to the electronics and front panel apart.
Tried to get the speed gauge to work based on 5V / 12V + A variable pulse signal (not PWM) - did not work : (
I don't have a board that generates a PWM - will have to wait few more days
Or will connect a servo instead...

RPM panel light

RPM panel flat

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Gauges are out

RPM + Fuel + Temp front
Originally uploaded by ZeN workshop.

RPM + Fuel + Temp front- click on the photo to see more gauges photos (front+back)