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Speedy (Mazdaspeed6 Carputer Project)

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  • Speedy (Mazdaspeed6 Carputer Project)

    I'm just getting started on my carputer project now that I have my audio system installed. I will be installing a Mac Mini Intel Core Duo using the space of the glove box and mounting a Lilliput EBY701 in the top dash cubby. Plans right now are to use a Carnetix P1900, mounted in the glove box next to the computer. I've been experimenting with various Mac front ends and will likely use Contour Design's ShuttleXpress controller as well as Apple's IR remote. I've removed the IR receiver from the Mini and will extend it somewhere, which will probably be a simple, but intricate job to solder extensions on the tiny wires. Finish is important to me, so I'll be looking for factory-type IR lenses and USB panel ports for connecting peripherals or transfer media.

    Applications will of course be music and video, as well as Bluetooth calling through the audio system and an installed microphone, and a GPS application. Suggestions on appropriate software are welcomed.

    I would also like input from anyone that has installed a carputer in a Mazda 6 that could give me ideas for a clean install. I've done pretty well with my audio system so far, but drilling holes in the dash or console makes me nervous. I want to make sure my end result looks stock (or better ).
    Attached Files
    Any day is a good day for golf.

    Mazdaspeed6 Carputer Progress: Gone
    (Check Speedy's Install)

    Speedy was traded for a 2004 350z - Install complete except for permanent screen installation.

  • #2
    Screen mount work in progress

    I created a balsa wood frame for my Lilliput EBY701 that I covered with speaker grill cloth. Next step is to use fiberglass resin on the grill cloth to create the base for fiberglass/bondo application. Lots of sanding and painting will follow.

    The screen mount will be attached to the dash map pocket and (semi)-permanently mounted on the dash. This is the same location that Mazda uses for the Nav screen, although it is motorized. I wanted something not hinged or motorized for longevity and reliability.
    Attached Files
    Any day is a good day for golf.

    Mazdaspeed6 Carputer Progress: Gone
    (Check Speedy's Install)

    Speedy was traded for a 2004 350z - Install complete except for permanent screen installation.

    Comment


    • #3
      Fiberglass on the screen mount

      I laid fiberglass matte over the grille cloth and started to sand on the screen mount. Still lots of work to make it look good.
      Attached Files
      Any day is a good day for golf.

      Mazdaspeed6 Carputer Progress: Gone
      (Check Speedy's Install)

      Speedy was traded for a 2004 350z - Install complete except for permanent screen installation.

      Comment


      • #4
        Using Bondo to fill gaps

        I covered the tray with cardboard and a plastic sack to keep the Bondo from running down into the tray. I slathered on the Bondo to fill the gaps between my frame and the tray to begin improving the mating between the screen mount and the tray. Still more resin and Bondo to go, but things are improving.
        Attached Files
        Any day is a good day for golf.

        Mazdaspeed6 Carputer Progress: Gone
        (Check Speedy's Install)

        Speedy was traded for a 2004 350z - Install complete except for permanent screen installation.

        Comment


        • #5
          Mac Mini Mount

          I ordered a Hang With Mi from Macessity to use to mount my Mac Mini under the dash. I used steel strapping to create brackets that fit quite nicely over a steel tube that happens to be in a convenient place to mount the computer. I cycled the A/C to make sure none of the mounting hardware would interfere with the vent actuator, and it appears that there will be plenty of clearance. Of course the back of the glove box will no longer fit where I mounted the computer bracket, so I cut the box part away from the front, leaving the door intact, so I can lock access to the computer, while still having access to the DVD drive
          Any day is a good day for golf.

          Mazdaspeed6 Carputer Progress: Gone
          (Check Speedy's Install)

          Speedy was traded for a 2004 350z - Install complete except for permanent screen installation.

          Comment


          • #6
            Brackets and Mount

            This is the mount and the brackets for it.
            Attached Files
            Any day is a good day for golf.

            Mazdaspeed6 Carputer Progress: Gone
            (Check Speedy's Install)

            Speedy was traded for a 2004 350z - Install complete except for permanent screen installation.

            Comment


            • #7
              Behind the glove box space for Mac Mini

              The steel tube to which the mount will be attached, test fit of the brackets and installing the Hang With Mi mount.
              Attached Files
              Any day is a good day for golf.

              Mazdaspeed6 Carputer Progress: Gone
              (Check Speedy's Install)

              Speedy was traded for a 2004 350z - Install complete except for permanent screen installation.

              Comment


              • #8
                Modifying the glove box and test fitting the computer

                I used a Dremel to remove the back of the glove box, which is a single molded plastic piece. The Mini fits nicely. I will need to clean up the back of the glove box lid to make it look a little better after a rough Dremel job.
                Attached Files
                Any day is a good day for golf.

                Mazdaspeed6 Carputer Progress: Gone
                (Check Speedy's Install)

                Speedy was traded for a 2004 350z - Install complete except for permanent screen installation.

                Comment


                • #9
                  More resin for the screen mount

                  Added another couple of coats of resin to the screen mount. The surface is starting to get smoother. Still plenty of sanding to do, though.
                  Attached Files
                  Any day is a good day for golf.

                  Mazdaspeed6 Carputer Progress: Gone
                  (Check Speedy's Install)

                  Speedy was traded for a 2004 350z - Install complete except for permanent screen installation.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    More screen mount work

                    Over the weekend, I completed the in-car wiring. I soldered the P1900 input harness to power, ground, and ignition and test-installed the computer and screen. Everything worked the first time, surprisingly. However, the startup/sleep/shutdown sequence was not working properly, so I need to troubleshoot that. No pictures since it's all just a rat's nest of wiring and not much to look at.

                    To smooth the transition between the screen case and the mount, I covered the screen with a plastic sack and pushed it into the mount. Then I spread Bondo around the seams and sanded it down. The edges and seams now have a nice, smooth joint that should look nice when painted.
                    Attached Files
                    Any day is a good day for golf.

                    Mazdaspeed6 Carputer Progress: Gone
                    (Check Speedy's Install)

                    Speedy was traded for a 2004 350z - Install complete except for permanent screen installation.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Primer for the screen mount

                      Now that the screen mount is mostly smoothed out with fiberglass and Bondo, it's time for primer. The primer will make it apparent where I need to add bits of Bondo to fill the small imperfections remaining.
                      Attached Files
                      Any day is a good day for golf.

                      Mazdaspeed6 Carputer Progress: Gone
                      (Check Speedy's Install)

                      Speedy was traded for a 2004 350z - Install complete except for permanent screen installation.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Painting the Screen Mount

                        I smoothed out the areas that needed a little extra Bondo and re-primed those spots. Next comes paint.

                        To make the screen mount match the pattern of the vinyl on my dash, I decided to try a hammer finish paint, followed by a flat black coat. Here you see the first hammer finish coat, then the black coat. The black separated like the hammer finish, which is not what I wanted. I'll try again tomorrow after it dries real well.
                        Attached Files
                        Any day is a good day for golf.

                        Mazdaspeed6 Carputer Progress: Gone
                        (Check Speedy's Install)

                        Speedy was traded for a 2004 350z - Install complete except for permanent screen installation.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Difficulties

                          Well, the texture is working out great, except for the part of the black paint covering the hammer-finish texture. For whatever reason, the black matte paint won't cover all of the the texture. I may have to seal it with clear first, then paint over.


                          Also, when I previously installed the computer and tested, the startup/sleep/wake sequence did not seem to work. Turns out, the Mac Pack cable had a green wire that leads to the Mac Mini power switch to invoke sleep that was not properly crimped into the connector, so the sleep signal didn't get sent to the Mac. I'll have to request a replacement.
                          Attached Files
                          Any day is a good day for golf.

                          Mazdaspeed6 Carputer Progress: Gone
                          (Check Speedy's Install)

                          Speedy was traded for a 2004 350z - Install complete except for permanent screen installation.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Screen and Mini Installed

                            I finished up the painting after repriming the areas that would not cover with the Matte Black. After the primer, the black covered properly and I could proceed to installation. I installed the fan and the screen in the mount, screwed the mount to the dash tray, and ran the cables down to the glove box. Then I connected everything and started it up. Everything works good, except for sleep/wake because of the bad MacPac cable. When I get a new one it should work fine. I haven't extended the IR sensor cable yet, so I can't use the Apple remote right now, and I haven't settled on a mounting and wire routing for the Contour Designs ShuttleXpress rotary controller I plan to use, so it's not in the car either. This is a pretty good start, though.
                            Attached Files
                            Any day is a good day for golf.

                            Mazdaspeed6 Carputer Progress: Gone
                            (Check Speedy's Install)

                            Speedy was traded for a 2004 350z - Install complete except for permanent screen installation.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Apple Remote Install in Console

                              Inspired by this thread: Apple Remote Steering Controls I decided to integrate the Apple Remote into my console.

                              First, I had to extend the length of the IR sensor board wire. I had previously removed it from the Mini and bought some three-wire connectors from a hobby shop. I spliced the wires one at a time, to make sure I didn't confuse them while soldering. Then I disassembled an Apple Remote and used the top as a template to drill holes in my console. It conveniently had screw holes which I used to secure it to the panel. I mounted the sensor board to the underside of the console panel, then ran the wire through the back of the console, up to the glove box where the Mini is and connected the sensor board to the computer.

                              The console panel is thicker than the Apple Remote casing, so I had to use felt and milk jug plastic to create a spacer between the control circle and the buttons on the remote assembly. Unfortunately this makes the clicks spongy, so I'll probably try to figure out another type of spacer that gives a more positive response.
                              The Mini also responds only intermittently to the remote, so I think the battery contacts are somewhat loose. The battery holder is not secured to the console which is most likely the problem. The Mini responds fine if I aim another remote under the console. I'm probably going to use the back of the remote case to put pressure on the battery contacts and tape it to the panel.
                              Attached Files
                              Any day is a good day for golf.

                              Mazdaspeed6 Carputer Progress: Gone
                              (Check Speedy's Install)

                              Speedy was traded for a 2004 350z - Install complete except for permanent screen installation.

                              Comment

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