The JEEPuter


First off, let me preface this entire post by admitting that I am a "Jeep guy." I eschew modern amenities like a functioning heating/cooling system and gas mileage above 15 MPG for necessities like the ability to drive over rocks. With that said, I think this project is awesome for anyone who has a car, SUV, truck, or Power Wheels - the JEEPuter.

The JEEPuter, created by SparkFun customer Eddie Zarick, is a Jeep Wrangler that has been hacked with an Arduino. By building a custom interface, Eddie has the ability to control many features of his Jeep all from one well-designed platform. For example, when Eddie gets in his Jeep, he simply punches in a number on a keypad and the Jeep starts up.


The guts of the JEEPuter.

From a small control module mounted above his windshield, Eddie can control things like interior lights, exterior lights, his garage door, his garage lights, and his CB radio. Eddie did a great job of design and implementation of this project and it is a great example of seamlessly incorporating your project into its environment. The JEEPuter looks like it truly could have been a factory option. For more information about the JEEPuter and Eddie's other projects, visit his website. Awesome work, Eddie!


Comments 30 comments

  • Sweet. It is really great to see the whole thing finished and installed. There is a lot of charm in seeing the intermediate stages, but I have probably 10 times as many projects that got no further than proof of concept for everyone I put in a box. Very inspiring. Good work, Eddie, and thanks to SF for featuring the project.

  • Great project! Lots of consideration for the all important details. Can’t wait to check out the website!

  • Looks great. I’ve been buying parts to build some stuff for my jeep as well.

  • Okay, a solution to your power issue would be using the Accessory line for the Jeeputer and all that gear, and then have the Jeeputer switch the ON line on when you try to start it, and have it switch off on secondary press. Also, you could monitor RPM to see if the engine have ignited yet, and have it automatically handle ignition.
    Also, the keypad is in a kinda cramped position…
    Apart from that, neat!

  • Awesome project!
    Maybe the following idea is usefull as an addition.
    In the present set-up you switch of the entire system to stop your engine.
    You can find a few indicators on a car to let the computer know if the engine is running (Eng=1) or stopped (Eng=0).
    On fuel-injected engines there are a few terminals on the ignition computer but it’s a pretty long search, to find the right one (car companies aren’t very opensource)
    Most of the time I just use the Oil pressure indicator (PiOil) as an engine status indicator
    (If PiOil= 0 then Eng=1 elseif PiOil = 1 then Eng=0)
    if engine is on, there is pressure, the light is of.. viceversa
    Maybe you can program the top arduino to change it’s status from to after the engine has started. E.g. you can place a normally closed relais in the ignition system, which opens when you give the computer the command. So the auxiliary electrical remains on and the engine stops…
    With this setup you also prevent the startermotor to engage when the button is pressed accidently during driving.
    You can even add a speedometer to the equation to prevent the engine to stop when you accidently push the engine stop button during driving.
    I.e.
    if speed is more than 5mph the engine can be stopped.
    if speed is more than 5mph, block engine stop function.

    • On that note, he could tap the Jeep’s actual ‘puter (can’t tell if he has) and harvest all kinds of sweet data to use in his project. I remember reading a Hack-a-day where a guy built a homebrew OBD-Scanner based on PIC that was really simple, that way the JEEPuter would have access to diagnostic codes for the car, it could control dash lights, even keep an eye on engine sensors. Heck, toss a Wi-Fly module on the pile and you could turn it into one of those ridiculously cooshy soccer-mom-mobiles that sends E-Mail alerts when it needs maintenance, lol

  • Very Very, Nice project… Great fit out as well. The keypad for the ignition reminds me of the transporter…
    Little bit worried about his work though, listening to police stations, keypad to start engine, driving around at night.. in the bush…. Hmmm
    Awesome project though…Will definitely look at your blog :D
    Thanks

  • Simply awesome! I love my wrangler, theyre the perfect automobiles for tinkerers.

  • laugh if someone tried to steal it. Hop into the jeep and go where’s the key? Where’s the ignition… Whats all this stuff…

  • I think you’re missing several red switches for the front and back missiles ;)

  • I was curious about that also…
    I would assume that if you were to accidentally hit the off button the car would just shut off, unless there was some kind of safeguard against this, i.e. only allowing the car to shut off if the parking brake is engaged (easiest way) or monitoring the speed sensor of the vehicle and making sure it was below a certain value (probably a little more challenging) or both if you wanted to be really safe.
    Otherwise this project is awesome!

  • So what happens when you bump the off button while your driving?

  • You will change the security code once you remove the steering lock right?

  • Just a side comment here about the use of scanners in vehicles… Some state (and federal) laws prohibit the use of scanners in vehicles. Even if you are “just passing through.” Most of those states will allow it if you have an Amateur Radio (Ham Radio) license. More info:
    http://www.afn.org/~afn09444/scanlaws/scanner5.html
    http://www.afn.org/~afn09444/scanlaws/federal4.html
    Enjoyed the video! Nice work! Be careful out there!
    -Jeff
    KCØMKS

  • This actually reminds me of a time when I helped a friend hide his Radar Detector (They’re illegal here in Virginia) It was one of the units you just stick to your windshield, with the display in the back.
    I de-soldered the display from the unit (a little 10-char LCD) and wired it to a parallel cable which I ran up the windshield column into the canopy where we found enough space to stuff the laser detector (It was a combo laser/radar). The Display fit perfectly into the digital odometer window of his dash (which we removed)
    It was an old Fiero (He was obsessed, he owned three of these mid-engine wrecks) and you couldn’t tell it’d been modified at all except that the odometer was displaying radar alerts instead of mileage, lol. One of my best attempts at “stock looking enclosure”

  • Very cool! I’ve been contemplating a similar system for my old VW bus. This project gave me some great ideas/directions to try out - very inspirational!

  • Eddie - Excellent work! I have been dreaming of a similar vehicle radio equipment consolidator for myself.
    Sparkfun - Now I am very jealous of Eddie.

  • As a fellow Jeepster, this is awesome!

  • I actually expected to drive its self when I saw the title…

  • I have a 2000 Wrangler, I love it and I’ve been wanting to do something like this for awhile… except I was gonna go a little different route with a full linux OS then set up an antenna for WiFi Scouting.
    This dude has his Jeep RIGGED OUT! Very, VERY cool. The best part is how legit it looks, it’s all very clean. Good work indeed.

    • I’m starting to think you are some sort of bizarro version of myself - drives a Jeep, has a beer blog, into electronics. Things…are getting weird.

      • Hahaha!! I, naturally, must charge that YOU are the Bizarro… Unfortunately, there’s no way to tell without getting out the green and blue Kryptonite.
        It’d be better if I were still working for RadioShack (I’m sorry, I mean, “The Shack”) which I believe could rightly be called “Bizarro SparkFun” lol

        • Yeah, you guys could be twins. If you’re into having blinkys inserted under your skin. Can’t wait for EL tattoos…

          • Subdermal Blinkiage, that’s all I ask…
            They’re coming, man, no worries, I’ve got the prototypes to prove it, lol :)
            (I can’t wait to be a cyborg)

        • Did you just compare yourself to Superman?

          • Jeep+Beer+Electronics.
            If I’m not Superman, it’s at least a Pepsi/Coke situation.
            Plus I’m wicked allergic to Kryptonite.

        • Sparkfun is what Radio Shack once was. A haven and a resource for enthusiasts of all ages. Thanks Sparkfun, you’ve filled a void just in time for my sons to have their own adventures in invention.

          • I feel the same way, I grew up on the “RadioShack 100-in-one” electronics kits. Those were brilliant, I was so sad to see them go. I’m glad to know that when the time comes for me to “pass the torch” I’ll have the resources.
            Man, my kids are gonna be smart, I wish I’d had Arduino when I was little!!

  • Beautiful interface. I love the look of the front panel. So clean, and looks to be very well made.


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