I have a plan to put a Raspberry Pi in my center console of my 2012 Nissan Maxima. I'm new to Raspberry Pi, but have experience with technology of this sort. In the center of my car, I have a:

  • USB charging port
  • RCA "Phono" Yellow White Red (white red for each side of car, yellow feeds into monitor of car for video)
  • 12 V auxiliary power outlet (I believe this is the right name for it)

Again, I am new to the Raspberry Pi, so I'm not entirely sure how they operate, but between the USB charging port and the 12V auxiliary power outlet, that should be enough to power the Raspberry Pi. From here, I will connect a simple power bank between the Raspberry Pi and the power source so my Raspberry Pi has enough time to do a proper shutdown after I turn my car off. Then, hopefully, I will be able to install navigation software on the Raspberry Pi, and connect it via the Internet through my phone (either by Bluetooth or WiFi).

To sum my problems up...

  1. What power source (USB charging port or 12 V auxiliary power outlet) am I going to need to use for my Raspberry Pi? (If the answer is the 12 V auxiliary power outlet, what adapters will I need?)
  2. Do I need a power bank for proper shutdowns? Or should this not be a concern?
  3. How do I properly hookup the RCA Yellow White Red Phono connections to my Raspberry Pi?

Additionally, please tell me if there is a better way to set this up, even if its a different approach. My resources were stated at the start of the question, and I'm willing to buy any equipment needed.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Ghanima
    Commented Nov 14, 2016 at 21:14
  • Please note that - after switching the whole plan to a Banana Pi instead of a Raspberry Pi - this is no longer on-topic here per site rules.
    – Ghanima
    Commented Nov 14, 2016 at 21:15
  • @Ghanima please review my post again
    – TrevorKS
    Commented Nov 15, 2016 at 1:30
  • You need to take the tour to understand better how the site works. The idea is not you ask a question, have other people spend their time providing answers, then you decide to change the question to something else. That is disrespectful toward the people who have taken time to contribute help. This is not a discussion forum, and a Q&A is not an endlessly evolving collaborative work. If you have further questions you would like to ask provoked by this one, great -- please ask them. Separately. You may of course link to this one if you wish.
    – goldilocks
    Commented Nov 15, 2016 at 4:23
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    Commented Nov 15, 2016 at 4:33

2 Answers 2

  1. Powering the Raspberry Pi

You should supply your Raspberry Pi via its microUSB port. It takes 5V and you should make sure it can draw up to 2A - that should be sufficient, if you don't plug in too much peripherals like keyboards, USB drives etc.

Using your 12V auxiliary power outlet, you would need a car-to-USB-adapter and a USB-to-microUSB-cable. However, your cars auxiliary power outlet will probably be turned off whenever you disable your ignition, causing the Raspberry Pi to crash. In this setting, you would need a power bank.

Using an internal power supply that does not die together with an ignition stop, you would not have to use a power bank. Examples of such power supply is the radio clock's power supply, indoor lights or instrumentation. However, this would require rewiring (minor) parts of your cars electric system which should only be done if you know what you are doing.

  1. Shutting down

You should always shut down your Raspberry Pi properly, meaning shutting it down using a software command which stops the operating system from executing. If you don't do this, you might corrupt your SD card. Once your Raspberry Pi is shut down this way, it would only restart after it is disconnected and then reconnected from/to its power supply.

In the power bank case, you would probably want a (software) switch to shut it down, a (hardware) switch to shut it off when you leave your car and turn it on, when you enter it again.

In the internal power supply scenario, you could try using another internal power supply that does turn off without ignition to trigger a shutdown via the GPIO once it stops. To connect and disconnect the continuous power supply, you could then probably use a relais switch controlled by your door lock system.

  1. A/V-Out

Apparently, you can use the "audio" jack to grab a video signal as well. Furthermore, you could solder your RCA cables onto the pi. And, the probably cleanest though most expensive solution, you can get HDMI to Composite adapters (they exist in both ways), too.

  • 1
    Steady plus as available for indoor lights and instrumentation doesn't die when the ignition key is put to 0. So you don't need a power bank, you have to re-wire the outlet to connect to steady plus if it doesn't.
    – Janka
    Commented Nov 11, 2016 at 22:44
  • Thanks for the answer, regarding the RCA cables, would I be able to use the HDMI port to connect to the RCA cables? I was about to buy one on amazon for this reason, but some people commented that it only work from RCA to HDMI and not HDMI to RCA. If you think it will work, ill take your word on it. A link to the proper one would be nice too :)
    – TrevorKS
    Commented Nov 11, 2016 at 23:02
  • 1
    You would do better with the Composite+Audio output i.e. (Yellow Phono + 3.5mm Stereo {3-pole} Jack Sockets on older Pi models / 3.5mm 4-pole Jack Socket on newer Pis - except the Zero or Compute Module versions) they are exactly the sort of signals that are expected on the, presumably leads with RCA Phono plugs on the end that the Car/Automobile expects. Obviously they are intended for ICE (In Car Entertainment) purposes and there can't be much more entertaining than a fully equipped RPi - at least for users of THIS site! 8-)
    – SlySven
    Commented Nov 12, 2016 at 8:54
  • Updated my answer to incorporate these comments' suggestions. Commented Nov 12, 2016 at 22:13

4 things:

  • proper shutdown: what is meant by "proper shutdown" in @Fantilein's answer is what we call a "software shutdown." You need to issue a "shutdown" command in the OS, either via the command-line or the GUI so that the OS shuts down completely. This only takes a few seconds, so not a lot of power is needed there.
  • power: the Pi runs on 5V but can draw up to 2 amps. Some USB ports are limited to 0.5 amps, so measure how much current yours can output.
  • power bank: you already have a powerbank in the car, it's your main battery. Now, as has been pointed out, the USB port of your car may poweroff when the ignition is turned off, but not all cars behave this way. I own 3 cars, 1 of them shuts it off, the other 2 don't. If your car doesn't shut it off, no need for a power bank, just make sure you power the Pi off or it will slowly drain your car battery. If your USB powers off with the key off, you can always rewire the USB port so it always draws from the battery, or steal power from something else that does (4-way blinkers are my favourite, your radio's clock is always getting power too).
  • powering back up: the Raspberry Pi is a little bit weird this way. After a shutdown, the absolute only way to power back up is to cycle the power. So, regardless of whether the USB port is continuously powered or if you have a power bank, the easiest way to power cycle is to add a on/off switch between the USB port and the Pi. So your shutdown routine will be to issue the shutdown command, wait a few seconds for the Pi to shutdown, then flip your switch to off (even after sutdown, the Pi still draws power. Shutdown only shuts the software down, the hardware stays on until you pull the plug.)
  • 3
    "the absolute only way to power back up is to cycle the power." That's not actually true- if you short pins 5 and 6 (or, I believe pin 5 and any ground) while in a powered but shut down OS state, the Pi will boot.
    – abegosum
    Commented Jun 7, 2018 at 5:35

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