This is a project that's been in the books for several decades now. The idea of having a computer backed in-car entertainment system has fascinated me since my teens. Of course, over 20 years the planned implementation has changed drastically so to kick off this series of 3 installations I chose a raspberry pi 3 to serve as the brains of the system. Here are the specs and planned features for the install:

  • Integrate audio and video directly with Honda Odyssey's existing OEM fold down LCD and stereo system which also allows the OEM IR headphones to be used as well as retaining volume control with existing console / steering wheel controls.

  • An intelligent power supply that can survive the hazards of the automotive electrical system. Namely one that can resist load dump conditions and keep supplying power to the pi during temporary power cuts / brownouts (I.E., cranking car). Additionally it needs to be able to start the Pi when the key is switched to ACC/ON and shutdown the Pi gracefully when the car is shut off.

  • An easy to use front end that can be remote controlled via a RF remote OR Android / IOS devices via wifi. The idea being that small children can't operate a standard remote, therefore the parents will have the option to control movies from the front of the vehicle.

  • Local storage support

  • Resuming options for automatically restarting video from the last time the car was shut off.

Wiring Diagram:

Only meant to paint the broad strokes of the installation so understand that it is not completely comprehensive. For example the chassis grounds and the AV grounds aren't shown for the sake of simplicity.

Note: The Raspberry Pi's composite Video Out is handled with a 3.5mm to AV RCA cable and only the video is used. The audio output from the SYBA sound card uses a seperate 3.5mm to audio RCA. Both are combined to form a complete signal set at the AV inputs on the Honda Odyssey. The reason the Raspbery Pi's built-in audio isn't used is because the SYBA output is much cleaner and isn't PWM based, therefore it can be amplified in Kodi to make up for the losses in the Odyssey's AUX input.

BOM:

Here's what I used to build the system:

  1. Raspberry Pi 3 B

  2. LiFePO4wered/Pi3

  3. 32GB Class 10 micro SD card

  4. OSMC RF Remote

  5. LiFePO4wered/Pi3 Enclosure

  6. Raspberry Pi compatible AV Cable

  7. 3.5mm to RCA Audio Cable

  8. SYBA USB Sound Card

  9. 1ft Micro USB Cord

  10. Cigarette to USB Power Adapter

  11. 2.5" External Hard Drive Enclosure

  12. A SSD (preferably) 2.5" Hard Drive. The only important thing to consider is choosing a hard drive with a low current draw since power hogs will trip the Raspberry Pi which serves as its power supply. Aim for < 0.4A draw.

Required Software

  1. Download August 2017 (at time of writing this tutorial) OSMC Raspberry Pi 3 B Image here

  2. Download Win32DiskImager

  3. Putty or another appropriate SSH terminal for your specific OS

Optional Software

  1. Yatse Kodi Remote (Android)

  2. __________ (IOS)

Raspberry Pi Software Installation and Kodi Configuration:

  1. Write the OSMC image to the micro SD card using Win32DiskImager

  2. After writing the image, open the SD card and edit config.txt adding the following two lines if they're not already there: sdtv_mode=0
    sdtv_aspect=3

    This ensures that the composite video output is NTSC with a 16x9 apect ratio (Which is what the Odyssey's LCD format is)

  3. Setup tethering wifi network in OSMC menu if using Yatse or _______. This allows the Raspberry Pi to host a wifi network so your phone can connect to the Pi and subsequently remote control it over wifi.

  4. Select RF OSMC remote from the OSMC menu if using suggested remote (it should work after selection).

  5. If using Yatse, setup kodi for remote access using their most excellent setup guide. This also works if using  ______

  6. If using Yatse, install on phone and connect to raspberry pi's wifi network. At this point, remote functions should work

  7. SSH into raspberry pi using putty or similar (default user/pass = osmc/osmc). Assuming you have setup your wifi tether / host on the raspberry pi, you should have a new network you can join wirelessly via your computer and then SSH through this network.

  8. Install lifepo4wered­cli using its manual starting on page 3

  9. Configure LiFePO4wered/Pi3 (also documented in its manual above)                                                                                                         sudo lifepo4wered­cli set AUTO_BOOT 4
        sudo lifepo4wered­cli set AUTO_SHDN_TIME 1
        sudo lifepo4wered­cli set CFG_WRITE 70

    a. AUTO_BOOT configures the LiFePO4wered/Pi3 to boot up whenever it is plugged up to USB and allows the raspberry pi  to be shutdown with the touch button.                                                                                                                                                          b. AUTO_SHDN_TIME configures the LiFePO4wered/Pi3 to shutdown after 1 minute when power is removed (1 minute is ideal to cover cases where power is removed for short periods (I.E., cranking car) but a shutdown isn't desired)                                   c. CFG_WRITE saves LiFePO4wered/Pi3 configuration to non-volitile memory

  10. If this kodi box is going to be used by small children I would recommend locking down the menu so that videos / movies is the only usable selection, and lock configuration with a pin code.

  11. Under Settings\Player\Videos an option that's useful with children is to check Play next video automatically.

  12. Run the video calibration wizard under Settings\System\Video output\Video calibration. Just make sure that your settings level = Expert, otherwise you won't see the option.

  13. Format the hard drive and load it with media

Hardware Assembly and Installation

Using the diagram above, the assembly is pretty straight forward. For the details of the LiFePO4wered/Pi3 installation and its related enclosure, see their respective manuals. The wiring is a simple or as complicated as you make it usually rooted in how neat you want your installation. In my case I did some custom wiring to simplify the AV split between the Pi and the SYBA sound card to the Honda Odyssey AV inputs and also took the opportunity to wire the RCAs through the panels cleanly while the wiring was cut before I spliced it back together. Of course, this is not required and only cosmetic. See pictures below:

2016-12-15T20 35 06.599Z-IMGP8966.JPG.2560x2560_q85

2017_12_10_14_55-001

20171216_125425

20171216_125236

20171216_125435

hondascreen1

hondascreen3

Final Results - Coming Soon

As of April 17th 2018 the system has been installed for over 4 months and has survived wear and tear from my 1 and 3 year olds without any reliability problems. The power subsystem is the real unsung hero. It's responsible for handling all the little things you don't think about and makes the whole installation feel OEM. Planning on uploading a video showcasing how the everything works in the near future.

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