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Automotive HAT offers CANBus and 12V-5V converter

Sep 8, 2020 — by Eric Brown 1,576 views

TJD’s $80 “CarPiHat” is an automotive HAT designed to work with the Raspberry Pi focused OpenAuto Pro head unit software. It provides a 12V-5V buck converter, dual 12V outputs, CANBus, isolated GPIO, and more.

UK-based automotive engineer TJD has developed a Raspberry Pi HAT that works with OpenAuto Pro custom head-unit software for the Pi and has launched it on his Tindie store for $80. The combination of TJD’s Electronic Stuff’s CarPiHat, OpenAuto Pro, and a Pi or Pi compatible SBC can be used to build a touchscreen-enabled infotainment computer for any 12V compatible car, boat, truck, or other vehicle.

CarPiHat with Raspberry Pi
(click image to enlarge)

CarPiHat features include:

  • 12V-5V buck converter to power the Pi and touchscreen, with fuse and filtering
  • Safe shutdown circuitry for PI-based power control
  • Dedicated, opto-isolated reverse, illumination, and aux inputs
  • 2x opto-isolated GPIO for 5x inputs
  • 2x high-current, high-side switched 12V outputs (@1A) for switching relays, lights etc.
  • Independent CANbus port
  • Real-time clock to maintain system time across reboots
  • Broken-out I2C bus
  • Broken-out 1-wire interface for temperature sensor
  • Long pins (for stacking) and 4x standoffs and screws for mounting
  • Molex latching nanofit connectors
  • HAT-compatible EEPROM for autoconfiguration
  • 8x free pass-through pins, including I2S, for “theoretically” adding DAC HAT for audio

CarPiHat from two angles
(click images to enlarge)

According to the Hackster-io post that alerted us to the CarPiHat, TJD can supply an optional touchscreen interface. The photos show a v1 model, but shipments will include a nearly identical v2 model.

The Raspbian based OpenAuto Pro software offers head-unit features including Bluetooth Hands Free Profile, music streaming, integrated media player, navigation via Android Auto, screen mirroring, rear camera support, and more. The software supports OBD-II telematics integration as well as infotainment software including YouTube and Kodi.


Other automotive focused products related to the Raspberry Pi include CAN boards such as Copperhill’s PiCAN3 HAT for automotive and industrial CANBus applications, which supports Network Sorcery’s UCAN telematics software. On the high end, Excelfore offers a Pi-compatible eSync OTA SDK and dual-Pi based hardware dev kit. Last week, Elektrobit released a free EB Guide GTF runtime SDK for the Raspberry Pi for deploying its automotive HMI software.

Further information

The CarPiHat, which is currently listed as out of stock on Tindie, is available for order at $80 plus $15 shipping. More information may be found at TJD’s Electronic Stuff’s CarPiHat Tindie page.

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