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Thread: Unusual New Install... Ideas?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2007

    Unusual New Install... Ideas?

    Hi, am new to these forums, and to CarPCs in general. I just got a new vehicle, and I'm considering a fairly ambitious installation, so any comments or advice = most welcome!!

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    As you can see, this is a slightly unusual vehicle. For the less observant amongst you, it is an ambulance

    Purchased (relatively) cheaply, I'm in the process of converting it into a camper.

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    This is the view inside the cab, where I intend to install the display; this is really why I am posting in the fabrication forum, as I recently got hold of a brand new 17" (yes, seventeen) touch screen TFT, also very cheaply (are we seeing a pattern?), in fact for less than the cost of a 7" lilliput.

    The display is very large, but I am thinking that it just might fit. I was particularly inspired by seeing this photo, which shows a 15" screen:

    I imagine I will need to mould a large section of the dash in order to fit the screen. For scale, the empty slot (which presumably used to house a CB radio) and the switch array to the left of the steering wheel should be DIN sized.

    Perhaps this is hopelessly ambitious, but I thought that if I could extend the main black part of the dash down, so that it does not angle up underneath the switch array, but continues at the same height as just beneath the vents, there would be room to install the screen in place of just about everything on the black panel. The grey panel underneath would probably then have to be replaced, and could perhaps have the ventilation control and diff. lock (!) switches installed there, or lower down in place of the cubby holes in front of the gear lever.

    Also, there are a lot of holes drilled into the dash where equipment has been installed, so a lot of the dash is unsightly. I would like to fill the holes and then if necessary spray the dash to get everything in the cab to a nice finish.

    The steering wheel is also quite worn, and and replacement would probably be likewise. Does anybody have experience of refinishing steering wheels (i.e. so that the finish does not come off on your hands!!)?

    So, as I said, any comments or advice much appreciated. I am at the planning stage, but really want to start work in the next week or two.

  2. #2
    Maximum Bitrate
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Hmm.. around here, there is a trend among some young people to convert old hearses into everyday cars...

    Not sure what is worse, driving around in a souped up hearse or sleeping in a converted ambulance where people have bled to death.

    Anyway, good luck with the project!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Hehe, thanks I am pretty much completely refinishing the interior; ripping out and replacing all the "furnishings", carpeting over the GRP panels, and laying a new vinyl floor, so the morbidity thing doesn't bother me too much! I was thinking of re-trimming the front seats as well; although the foam in them is a bit squashed and tired, new seats are very expensive :/

    It's actually an excellent candidate for CarPC installation it terms of space and power requirements, as it has a high-performance alternator and split charge leisure battery system. It appears to have a mains charging hookup as well, though I can't work that out. I have an excellent 2kW inverter, which will even operate a kettle off the battery!

    I have a old-ish Shuttle XPC with an Athlon 1.8 which has been sitting idle for a while, so I think I would like to put that in charge of music, GPS, DVDs and possibly a reversing camera.

    As an aside, what do you guys think about a paint job? I have stripped off nearly all of the old decals and managed to removed all of the residue, and had the bonnet sprayed back to white. I used to do a lot of vinyls in my job (though not usually on vehicles), and thought about either wrapping it or devising some kind of graphics scheme. Going to black all over would change the look, but might be tricky not to mention quite expensive in materials... any thoughts?

  4. #4
    Neither darque nor pervert DarquePervert's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Considering the use of the vehcile, I think bullet holes with dripping blood would be cool.
    Have you looked in the FAQ yet?
    How about the Wiki?

    Under normal circumstances, a signature would go here.

  5. #5
    Newbie jdamb89's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Miami, Fl
    Just curious...where did you get the screen?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2007

    Not sure if they are still selling them, but if you want to search for the model it's a 3M MicroTouch.

    If anyone's interested, I just bit the bullet and got an 8" Lilliput now anyway, which should fit quite nicely into the apertures. I will hacking up the dash soon (though trying to leave the screen unmolested), and possibly moulding some kind of angled recess for it. I will post some pics as work proceeds!

    I'm also looking at this 26" TFT TV... wondering if it is too much! It weighs nearly 20 kilos, and so will probably not be safe on a cantilever wall bracket. Has anyone mounted stuff this size in a vehicle before?

  7. #7
    Low Bitrate
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Gloucestershire, UK
    Yeah bullet holes with blood! haha! I also live in the UK! It's nice to see someone a little closer to home! :P

    Good luck buddy!

  8. #8
    Constant Bitrate TheLandYacht's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Austin, TX
    Is that a sprintervan frame or something else?


  9. #9
    Maximum Bitrate BarryWoods's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Quote Originally Posted by TheLandYacht View Post
    Is that a sprintervan frame or something else?

    Cause he's on the wrong side of the pond!
    Failure is not an option....

    It's installed by default on every version of Windows.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    To answer question; yes is Merc 312D

    Right, done a bit of work at last... went and got an 8" Lilliput and Griffin Powermate to fit into the dash.

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    Original dash with original radio / switch apertures.

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    Moulding shape of surround using glass reinforced filler.

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    Holes cut for Powermate, power and reset buttons. First coat of primer laid down.

    Got a lot of finishing work to do to smarten up the bezel and devise a tidy mounting for the screen and buttons, but should look pretty stealth once I'm done!

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