Building a carputer the most difficult, expensive and rewarding do-it-yourself (DIY) projects I have ever completed. If you own a car manufactured in the last 20 years, the chances are it has a specialized computer inside – the Electronic Control Unit (ECU) is a computer which originally only controlled fuel injection. In today’s cars, the ECU is responsible for more than just controlling the powertrain. Many standard features of cars produced today are monitored by the ECU, including emissions control, fuel saving, airbags, ABS braking systems, climate control, and many more. In a few short weeks I’ve found it to be the best investment I have made in my car. On the surface, the idea is simple, just take a computer put it in the car. In reality, it is several times more difficult than installing a car alarm or replacing a factory head unit with an aftermarket radio. Before you start, you need to ask yourself six questions:
How much can you spend?
What computer hardware do you need?
How will you interact with the computer?
How will the computer be powered?
Do you want any special features?
Where is everything going to fit inside the car?
Let’s find out.