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Thread: Help with tactile controls for Miata build

  1. #1
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    Help with tactile controls for Miata build

    Hello,

    I am in the process of putting together a low-budget system for my '92 Miata. I am having some trouble figuring out what to use and where to mount some dials and buttons to control volume, handle application/function changing, etc.

    On my last project (here: '07 STi, Gentoo Linux Build Thread ), I replaced the ashtray/cigarette lighter/aux in port with a custom fabricated plate that had the multimedia controls from a Dell keyboard hacked into it:


    Unfortunately, the Miata is much more cramped for interior space and places to mount controls. For those unfamiliar, this is what the interior of a Miata looks like (not mine):


    The touchscreen will be mounted where the 2DIN hole is in the dash. I can't see a good spot that I can punch through a bezel and mount some controls, let alone what controls to use. My only thought was to build an enclosure and place it on top of the bezel around the two center vents, though in my initial testing, it wasn't a comfortable reach Any suggestions?

    For those interested, the system consists of a jetway atom D510 12V mini-itx motherboard/CPU combo ($90), a gig of RAM ($20), a 30GB OCZ Vertex SSD sata drive ($55), a 60GB hitachi SATA laptop drive ($17 ftw!), the 7" 800x480 LCD from an Asus EEE 701 surf 2g and the Mini PCI-e Wifi card (EEE was free from my sister since the integrated SSD took a ****), an eBay touchscreen for the EEE screen ($27), a 40W mini stereo amplifier from eBay ($15), and some USB devices I had laying around (radio tuner, GPS, bluetooth, webcam, arduino, aforementioned touchscreen). The screen will be hooked up to the LVDS header on the motherboard by hacking the cord from the EEE screen into a 2mm pitch 30 pin header I bought ($2?) recently. The budget is currently around $230 not including $50 or $60 worth of USB devices I had laying around.

    The motherboard has an integrated 12V power supply, and it runs off of accessory power, so I still need to figure out how to switch it on and off. It will be loaded with Gentoo using compiz and some custom programming as the primary user interface like the Subaru, and it will have a megasquirt II connected to the serial port for data acquisition. I'm currently at the 80% mark with software and 30% mark with fabrication.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Newbie Cabe's Avatar
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    What about a SpaceNavigator/Powermate/<that Logitech one I can never remember the name of> or something in that little cut out between the arm rest cubby and the gear stick?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cabe View Post
    What about a SpaceNavigator/Powermate/<that Logitech one I can never remember the name of> or something in that little cut out between the arm rest cubby and the gear stick?
    Unfortunately upon closer inspection, it looks like that was a later model (94-97) with an updated center console. Mine looks like this:



    However, I could probably find the interior trim for the center console from a racer for one of the later models and retrofit it. Thanks for the idea!

  4. #4
    MySQL Error soundman98's Avatar
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    i vote for using the updated console-- it not only has a good spot behind the shifter, but it also moves the cup holders to the side of the shifter..(my eclipse has cupholders behind the shifter, and it makes it impossible to shift without looking like i am from a special-ed. class..)

  5. #5
    Newbie Cabe's Avatar
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    That idea gets my vote, they cant be that expensive or difficult to replace.*

    I would also look into moving the heater controls to the bottom of the "stack" and having the screen a "slot" higher. This should stop A) The shifter obscuring the screen B) You punching the screen when you shift.

  6. #6
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    I also have a '92 and the same center console as in the second photo. It came from someplace in Germany. Look around on Miata.net and you'll find links to it. It gives you way more storage space and moves the cup holders to a location that doesn't put your elbow in your slurpee.

    I have a thermaltake single DIN monitor in the top portion and will put a rotary encoder in the bottom portion along with some buttons for volume and such.

    Also, if you don't have power mirrors or windows, that little plastic flat spot you can see just behind the shifter of the aftermarket console makes a great place for buttons.

    Update: here's a link to the console

  7. #7
    MySQL Error scott_fx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cabe View Post
    That idea gets my vote, they cant be that expensive or difficult to replace.*

    I would also look into moving the heater controls to the bottom of the "stack" and having the screen a "slot" higher. This should stop A) The shifter obscuring the screen B) You punching the screen when you shift.
    i wouldnt be surprised if they were expensive. why dont you follow suit with where they put the cupholders in the updated console but put in a space nav in that spot. you could put it in a location that didnt require you to move your elbow to access it. just rotate. In my old install i had used a abs reducer coupling and hacked it into my dash for a clean recessed spacenav install.
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  8. #8
    Constant Bitrate
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    I've got a '94 and can tell you all first gen Miatas have the center console from your second pic. The one in the first pic is an aftermarket piece from IL Motorsports and it's by no means cheap. In either case, if you don't have power windows, that switch location would be a good place to mount something. Or if you don't need both cup holders, use the space from one of them.

    @Cabe, moving the the HVAC the bottom would be ideal, except that the Miata uses old-school levers which would make it a PITA. Plus there would be more fab work since you'd have to cut out the plastic that separates it from the DIN opening.

  9. #9
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    A friend contemplated putting a carputer in his '90 Miata and we discussed solutions to some of the same questions.

    I'd start by using a >'99 HVAC controller and move it to the bottom of the radio hole.

    http://forum.miata.net/vb/showthread.php?t=247969

    Then I'd customize the bezel to make the hole a 3-DIN stack and remove the divider between the stock radio hole and the HVAC controller hole. Square off the upper left corner of the HVAC area also. Lots of good tech on modifying bezels and such in this thread.

    http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/fabr...6k-killer.html

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