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Finally Done: 2006 Scion tC

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  • Finally Done: 2006 Scion tC

    Finally finished my car computer today in my 2006 Scion tC. I'm not one for flash, so the only way you would ever be able to tell I have anything in my car is by seeing the screen. With the tC center console cover down, you can't tell that anything is different about this car.

    First step was replacing the foam inserts under the rear carpet with wood enclosures. I built up boxes to the exact shapes and sizes of the foam parts, sanded and painted. I use the far right box for the amp, and the insert in the spare tire for the computer. Black wooden covers go over each of those to add support to the trunk, and the carpet goes on. Past that, you can't tell that anything is there.

    So the path of control for the computer goes like this:

    I have a Matrix 10 alarm in my car, and the trunk release isn't used for this car. I use the trunk release output of the alarm to turn on the computer via a relay in the trunk. Boot time is about 15 seconds, so I can hit it while walking to my car, hop in, and it's ready. I originally had the screen turning on like this also, but the screen is not powered by the computer, so it can't stay on during ignition because of the voltage drops. Simple momentary push button solves this, and I like being able to turn the screen off and on when I want anyway.

    Computer is a 1.4GHz AMD Geode with a Jetway mini-atx motherboard. 1gig of ram, GPS dongle, 100GB 3.5" hard drive, and best of all, Sound Blaster SB0350 sound card.

    Here is where it gets sexy. kX drivers. Crossovers and tweaking are all done here, and I'm able to assign each output port of the card for individual tweeters and woofers.

    Front end software is Centrafuse, which gives me access to my entire music library, videos, some mixer effects that I dont really mess with, GPS software (using iGuidance through Centrafuse), and all sorts of other nonsense.

    Sound card outputs go directly to my Planet Audio P400.4 amp, which has all filters bypassed. Planet audio amp powers RE XXX mids and ID NX30 tweeters in the front doors.

    Video output goes to a Lilliput 7" touchscreen mounted in the center console. The worst part of this entire project was making the screen look as stock as possible. I made a mounting bezel out of lexan, sanded and painted. In fact, I made about 10 before I got it right. I took other pieces of lexan, and mounted the electronics behind the screen. Screws go in from the sides of the center console, and the screen sits right where I want.

    The whole project from planning to finish took about 6 months and cost probably too much, but I'm not exactly sure how much. Either way, I'm ecstatic at how much control I have.

    Pictures coming soon...

  • #2
    Ok so here are the pictures I have for now. I'll add more of the back of the screen or inside the computer next time i have them apart.

    Bam. The black mounting bezel was hell to make, and my basement is basically littered with pieces of lexan in that shape that I wasn't happy with.

    Centrafuse in action.

    The kX driver DSP routing table. Very basic, very simple. Audio comes in, do some EQing, send it through a 24db/octave crossover that splits the signal at 2.5kHz, and then straight to the outputs. Incredibly powerful and flexible.

    Proof of the complete stock look. Little does anyone know what monsters lie in those doors....

    My trunk space, looks normal enough.

    Carpet cover off. Note the wooden supports where the foam pieces should be. Sorry for the blur...

    The computer itself. Nothing pretty, but it doesn't need to be. Weatherstripping on all sides to give it some shock resistance. There is enough tension from the wires and the space I built it into that it's not going anywhere, but it has some give, and hasn't crashed on me once yet. Fitting the hard drive, power supply, and the sound card in there was an absolute feat. Next time I have it out I will definetely take pictures.

    Computer feeding right into my 4 channel amp.

    The amp in action. The whole setup bumps hard.

    Things to do:

    1. Screen setup is still buggy. I was originally powering it straight from the battery, and it couldnt stay on during ignition. Added a push button switch to turn it off and on as I want, but it still gets crazy after the car is on. The whole idea is to turn the computer on as I'm walking to the car, then get in and turn the car on.

    Just did some power calculations, and the M1-ATX should definetely be able to power the screen in addition to the computer. Definetely going to change that soon.

    2. I have a USB hub up by the center console, but its hidden under everything because I don't really need it a lot yet. Eventually, the plan is to have 2 stacked USB ports in the cigarette lighter space. The ports are on their way from a company now, so I just need to wire them up and fabricate something nice looking for them.

    3. Boot time. Always trying to cut it. I'm thinking about booting to Centrafuse as a shell, but this has its down sides.

    Any ideas you guys have?


    • #3
      Funny how the M1-ATX can't handle the screen, I guess the 12V rail really can't offer that much. Time to upgrade...


      • #4


        • #5
          Any chance you have plans for the wooden inserts you made?



          • #6
            Thread moved to show off you project area.

            BTW: nice job.
            Never let the truth get in the way of a good story


            • #7
              The pictures are gone.....