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1997 Mazda Lantis 323F (BG Astina) CarPC

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  • 1997 Mazda Lantis 323F (BG Astina) CarPC

    (updated status)

    Hey everybody!
    I've been planning/working my carputer on a 1997 Mazda Lantis 323F. I've been on and off on it these past couple of weeks and working mostly on my spare time (which isn't much). I'm posting the current stuff I have from my project along with some pictures and questions.

    As the first phase of my Carputer project I will be controlling the PC from my Windows Mobile device via WiFi and Remote Desktop connection. This seems to work perfectly so far. Later I will replace this with a car LCD screen but because I want to see how satisfied I am with the car PC idea I don't want to spend the 300$+ on the LCD screen right now. All the PC hardware shown here is from old computers I had in my house. I only bought some new wiring and the carpeting wraps.

    First the question so people don't miss it:
    - I'm not a big expert in car electricity. So do I have to attach the M2-ATX to the battery DIRECTLY? Like when you do to a car power amp? Or can I attach it to the same connector as the car stereo?

    - Car wiring (partially done)
    - PC hardware (DONE)
    - PC software (DONE)
    - Wooden box (DONE)
    - Box finishing touches (DONE)
    - LED "coolness" factor (waiting for arrival)
    - Pocket PC remote desktop control (DONE)
    - Installation in car (DONE)
    - Test drive (DONE)
    - Replace car stereo with AMP (DONE)
    - Replace dash stereo with LCD screen (IN THE MAKING)

    - Pentium 3 800Mhz
    - 768MB RAM
    - SB Live! Value
    - Geforce fx5200
    - USB 2.0 PCI card
    - 80GB HD
    - Centrafuse car media center
    - Windows XP

    Installing/testing PC hardware/software

    M2-ATX power supply

    The box I built

    Holes were cut on both sides for the fans and a grill was placed to prevent accidental touching

    I took an old PC case and cut it to minimum fit to the motherboard

    This is where the power supply goes

    Power supply and fans positioned

    I made a nice PC style power connector for the PSU

    The box was polished with sand paper and Dremel tool so that when I put on the carpeting there won't be any ugly lumps

    Carpeting (with glue!)

    Carpeted everything while covering the holes as well

    Holes were cut

    I only had one round fan so I had to cut the other one to fit into the hole better. This will put more open space inside the box which is better for ventilation

    Almost there...

    Added hangers for putting the case on the back seat of the car

    Back of the case.
    Attached everything tightly to the case so when the car shakes things won't loosen up or move too much. The PSU power cable was attached to the back as well for easy installation.
    You can see the reset button near the graphics card. Later I will put this button on the front dash of the car in case windows hangs during driving.

    All done Now I need to test all this.
    My Car PC project
    Current status: Fabricating screen

  • #2
    that is looking great,

    good work!


    • #3
      I started working on the in-car installation.
      Today I transfered the power wiring from the battery to the back of the car. Since the PC doesn't require a large amperage value I decided to use a regular house power wiring instead of buying an expensive power amp wiring.

      It was getting late so tomorrow I'll put the PC in the trunk and see what happens

      I'll be using all 3 wires, it will make the overall wire thicker and thus safer.

      I put a 15A fuse which will go close to the + of the battery. I wrapped the connection with isolation band so it won't touch anything by accident.

      Just a photo of the engine without the battery.

      The fuse is connected directly to the + screw of the battery with a C shaped connector.

      Wider view of the setup. I added some isolation bands where the wire touches the corners of the battery so that with the shaking and friction it won't cut open the wire itself and cause shorts.

      I had to drill a small hole in the area near the peddles. I saw a power amp setup on a 1996 323F which they did a similar thing.

      Cable going on the side rails so it doesn't show. I really hate cables showing in the car.

      I had to open the seat belts cover to transfer the wire to the back seat area. There's only need to open the bottom part, no need to remove it entirely.

      Rail in the back seat area.

      I forgot to take a photo but I had to lift the back seat and shove the wire from there to the luggage compartment. Here's the finished product.

      My Car PC project
      Current status: Fabricating screen


      • #4
        did i seriously just see a transformers logo on your car?

        but good looking box, very oem
        My 2003 Mercedes C230 Carlsson w/ carputer


        • #5
          You seriously did

          I have some updates but I don't have my camera with me. I'll post some tomorrow.
          My Car PC project
          Current status: Fabricating screen


          • #6
            Nice job..
            2011 Nissan Frontier SL
            AMD X3 2.2 | M4-ATX | 16Gb SSD | 2GB DDR3-1333 | MSI GF615M-P33 MB
            OBDPROS USB | BU-303 GPS l LILLIPUT TS | Car2PC adapter | XM Direct | USB Dual band N with custom mag-mount antenna.


            • #7
              nice to see other car pc freaks here from IL


              • #8
                I paid a visit to an electronics shop and did some shopping. Pictures of the stuff I got are ahead.

                So I went on with the project and guess what it works
                The computer takes about a minute to turn off which is good considering it's Pentium 3. The sound quality is really nice though currently limited by my sound system which is due to be replaced sometime in the future. The PC is sitting in my trunk in a crappy manner right now until I hook it up firmly in place.

                I'm planning on gluing all the parts with hot glue to make them sit better in place. I chose hot glue because it's flexible, strong yet removable if I ever have any need to do that. It will help prevent parts from moving too much when the car shakes.

                Here are some photos from the assembly:

                The car:

                I bought some high quality power connectors. It will be easier to remove the computer from the trunk this way.

                More fans!

                Cable connectors:

                Making the power connector:

                Fans in their new place. One for outing the air from the hard drive and one for outing the air from the CPU.

                I ran out of fan connectors on the motherboard so I make one to connect directly to the PSU:

                You have no idea how messy the cables were in the sound system. This is a photo of a bit after I finally figured out what's what and did a bit of ordering. Everything was glued together with isolation band and there were like 6 wires which weren't connected to anything. The story is that the previous owner had cellphone handsfree which was connected to the sound system. The person who assembled it did such a mess that it took me around 30 minutes to disassemble everything and figure out what's what.

                A bit more of the mess:

                So I did some new order with the wires. I made myself a new connector with markings on what's what.

                After connecting the Kenwood sound system and AUX connectors:

                Everything finished. Centrafuse is running on the PC with my pocket PC connected through remote desktop. REM is in the background

                The computer sitting in the trunk. Very ugly for now.


                My Car PC project
                Current status: Fabricating screen


                • #9
                  Reviving an old thread

                  I put the project on hold for a while to get all the parts I needed. Now I got everything, new amp, new speakers, lilliput EBY701 monitor, cables the whole shabang. The amp is already installed.

                  AND there's a video. You can see the amp and carputer mounted on the rear seat (I lowered the rear seat so you can see it in the car).

                  I'll be starting my screen fabrication soon. Can't wait to get this project finished
                  My Car PC project
                  Current status: Fabricating screen


                  • #10
                    Where did you get the monitor mount? I have been searching the forums for that type of mount for my 7" archos... touch screen, trying to figure a way to mount it in my BMW style dash.


                    • #11
                      I got it along with the monitor. Lilliput EBY701. It's attached to a metallic part that used to belong to a phone handsfree.
                      My Car PC project
                      Current status: Fabricating screen


                      • #12
                        There's a more detailed information on my blog:

                        Here's my screen fabrication results


                        My Car PC project
                        Current status: Fabricating screen


                        • #13
                          I thought I was gonna get a little more feedback than nothingness :|
                          My Car PC project
                          Current status: Fabricating screen


                          • #14
                            I started working on my radio module. Although I normally don't listen to radio sometimes I do and want it as an option.
                            So I picked up a USB FM module someone recommended me here on the forum from and it works really nicely with centrafuse. From tests I did at home the reception is really good but when I put it in my car I get nothing. The computer is in the trunk and I figured it won't work but I wanted to try anyway

                            So I'm working on connecting the radio module to my car antenna. I have a motorized antenna so I'm gonna have to come up with a solution to that as well.

                            The module:

                            Opening it up:

                            Soldering the new connector:

                            Finished product:

                            Haven't tested it in my car yet. Soon
                            My Car PC project
                            Current status: Fabricating screen