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2006 Ridgeline + Xenarc MDT-X7000

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  • 2006 Ridgeline + Xenarc MDT-X7000

    Two years after I started this project, I feel like I finally have something to show. Will post pictures later, but here's a wiring diagram, and it actually works.

    Here are the key specs:
    Shuttle SK43G PC - small form factor, stock desktop parts, nothing special. I have it installed under the back seat - fits fine. No issues with vibration or power (dedicated 12V line).
    Opus 150W Shuttle power supply - auto shutdown is key, as this PC kills my battery in an hour or so;
    Xenarc MDT-X7000 front end: 7" TFT touch screen, integral radio/DVD, dual USB on front
    Bunch of accessories: USB GPS, wireless mouse, etc.

    I'll post in-progress pix to the Worklogs subthread later - lots of lessons learned about wiring the Ridgeline and in making the perfect the enemy of good enough.

    Since the MDT-X7000 is pretty new (mine is from the second batch, received in April 2008), a couple of thoughts:
    -- Screen visibility is fine, even in sunlight. Touchscreen sensitivity is fine.
    -- Wiring is a pain in the butt. Lots of stuff coming off the back of this unit. Some of the plugs are modular, but they're bundled such that you need all of them. There are even some extras for features that didn't make it to release.
    -- That said, there are more inputs and outputs on this device than on any I/O device I've ever seen before. Anything you want to pipe in or out it can probably handle.
    -- The on-screen displays are unattractive. Poor choices of typceface and the buttons are too small - lots of wasted screen space. But if you live in the PC environment all the time, you'll never notice.
    -- I'm trying out the Xenarc radio tuner. Except for the buttons being too small, it seems to work OK. One Ridgeline note: you have to provide 12V accessory power to the antenna adapter. There's an extra wire on the harness for it.
    -- Connecting the PC PWR to the PC switch is a nuisance. So much so that I've not done it yet.
    -- I want to try having the PC output four channels; the Xenarc can take it, but I'll have to run another lead.

    Happy to field questions about the Ridge, the Xenarc, the Opus, or whatever. Hope this helps someone. - KLM
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Pictures

    As promised, some pictures.

    Here's the "finished" install. The Xenarc fits nicely in a single-DIN adapter console I bought from Crutchfield - trivial to install using the DIN sleeve that came with the screen (except that I had already connected all the wires and had to disconnect them to slide the screen in from the front of the console). It connects to the console adapter using two L5 screws - I had to get these from the local hardware store, since the metric screws that came with the Xenarc were too short. Note that the length of the screws is important - too long, and they'll impact the PCB inside the sealed display unit (bad).

    The pocket over the Xenarc is part of the aftermarket console; the one below is the original Ridgeline pocket that usually attaches to the stock radio brackets. Notice that the hazard switch is integrated into the pocket assembly - this would be a pain to build a bezel for, so I'm just as happy to use the original pocket.

    I think I would have preferred to have the Xenarc in the top position in the adapter console, but that doesn't work - they're slightly different heights.

    All in all, it's stable in here and the aftermarket look isn't bad.
    Attached Files

    Comment


    • #3
      Screen Extended

      Here's the unit with the screen extended. There's also a movie file attached that shows me opening and closing the screen - you can choose for the unit to do this automatically on powering up the car (it goes away when it loses accessory power) or not.

      The first pic shows the unit open and the Xenarc radio tuner in control. I decided to use this, for now, as my primary FM radio - since I can't get a radio to work in Streetdeck. The interface design of this radio is abysmal - awful typefaces and the buttons are too small - but it works just fine and the quality is acceptable.

      The second pic is the unit with the PC/D-SUB input selected, running Streetdeck nav, in full sunlight. As you can see, it's legible; hard to use with sunglasses on, but the voice prompts work fine.

      One note on the screen source switching (and opening/closing): doing this causes the PC to lose the USB connection to the touchscreen. Reestablishing the USB touchscreen after switching to PC mode takes as much as 15 seconds - a little disconcerting if you try to use your front end right after mode switching. But you get used to it.

      Also, the screen angle (up/down, not left/right) is adjustable. I usually keep it a few degrees down from what you see here to mitigate the sunshine effect.
      Attached Files

      Comment


      • #4
        how do you like the mdt x7000? I just ordered one from xenarcdirect...(probably the most expensive route, but i wanted to make sure I got the 2nd gen). Is overall quality of the unit good? Does the DVD Drive work as a regular DVD ROM drive in the PC environment?

        I should have this unit installed by the end of the week. Any comments or tips on it before I do would be much appreciated..doesnt seem like a lot of people have this unit yet.

        Comment


        • #5
          Nice screen shots. I have just installed a Xenarc in an evo and have some issues with it. Let me know if you have such issues as well.

          If I turn on the carpc/screen by placing the key in the Acc position, everything works fine. Once the system is on, if I turn on the car, the screen will go black, then it will come back but with the colors faded of different colors and the screen is useless. Have you tried this? If not, can u please try it and let me know if the same happens?

          Turning the car completely on doesn't provide the same result, it only happens if I turn on the system before turning on the car.

          I too have noticed the lag both in volume and touchscreen reconnection.

          Have you noticed any issues with the sound not coming back from bootup? I have noticed that once booted up, no sound will be present. If I switch the mode to radio or just back to PC, the sound comes back.

          Comment


          • #6
            how do you like the mdt x7000? I just ordered one from xenarcdirect...(probably the most expensive route, but i wanted to make sure I got the 2nd gen). Is overall quality of the unit good? Does the DVD Drive work as a regular DVD ROM drive in the PC environment?

            I should have this unit installed by the end of the week. Any comments or tips on it before I do would be much appreciated..doesnt seem like a lot of people have this unit yet.
            So far I've had nothing but issues with this screen. This is the second one that I've received because the first one was defective.

            In direct sunlight the screen is unusable, the new Lilliput 629 looks much better. The DVD drive does work as a DVD drive in the PC environment.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by wjc04wrx View Post

              If I turn on the carpc/screen by placing the key in the Acc position, everything works fine. Once the system is on, if I turn on the car, the screen will go black, then it will come back but with the colors faded of different colors and the screen is useless. Have you tried this? If not, can u please try it and let me know if the same happens?

              Have you noticed any issues with the sound not coming back from bootup? I have noticed that once booted up, no sound will be present. If I switch the mode to radio or just back to PC, the sound comes back.
              Yup, I have the exact same issues. Turn on to acc, and everything starts up and runs fine. Back to off and then all the way to start, everything is fine. From acc to start - not so good - the screen turns bright white, then a rainbow of colors. Looks like it's about to explode. Turning it off and back on fixes this. Nuisance.

              The missing audio is an issue, however. About half the time, if I start the system in PC-DSUB mode, I get no audio. If I toggle to RADIO and back to PC-DSUB, it's fine. Major nuisance - that operation takes about 30 sec.

              DVD drive is recognized as DVD-RAM by the PC. However, I've had little luck using it that way - seems to hang - it's easier to just drop a DVD in the PC.

              Once in awhile, the whole screen system will lock up, and I restart it by pulling the fuse. Nuisance. Has only happened twice in the last few weeks.

              There are two problems that are really vexing me, and I've not had a chance to figure out whether they are the PC or the screen:
              • Screen sometimes loses USB connection to the PC. I believe the screen is operating normally (MODE and MENU items work normally), but the PC doesn't recognize the input. I suspect the frequent connect / disconnects are having something to do with it (every time you change modes, the screen connects / disconnects the USB).
              • My PC audio is messed up. Sound from the radio is fine (although the fade / balance functions are very choppy), but PC sound seems to be rear channel only. I wonder if I reversed a lead or something. Very annoying.

              The power issues and loss of sound on startup seem to be corroborated - any others seeing the same things?

              Comment


              • #8
                i have the same problem....

                Comment


                • #9
                  I'm going to be sending the unit back to Xenarc, they are saying that these issues have been fixed by a firmware upgrade, but I don't believe it.

                  I found the same issue with DVD playback when I was using a 1.2GHz processor, once I used a 1.5GHz, the drive worked fine.

                  This screen has more issues then solutions. Xenarc should have just made it a screen, that's it. The radio and all other functions are useless. The color/brightness quality of the screen is not the greatest either, the Lilliput 629 knocks it out the door in quality.

                  Sound from both radio/computer is fine, so u most likely connected something wrong.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by kmarlowe View Post
                    The missing audio is an issue, however. About half the time, if I start the system in PC-DSUB mode, I get no audio. If I toggle to RADIO and back to PC-DSUB, it's fine. Major nuisance - that operation takes about 30 sec.
                    • Screen sometimes loses USB connection to the PC. I believe the screen is operating normally (MODE and MENU items work normally), but the PC doesn't recognize the input. I suspect the frequent connect / disconnects are having something to do with it (every time you change modes, the screen connects / disconnects the USB).
                    • My PC audio is messed up. Sound from the radio is fine (although the fade / balance functions are very choppy), but PC sound seems to be rear channel only. I wonder if I reversed a lead or something. Very annoying.

                    The power issues and loss of sound on startup seem to be corroborated - any others seeing the same things?

                    Hello,
                    I have the same problem as you for startup sound and usb loose and sometine usb hang !

                    For the rear sound i had the same problem, i double/triple check my connection and everthing was ok. The sound came back from front when i change the balance and the fade in audio menu ???!!!( just +1 or -1 , all settings are 24).
                    On my Xenarc sound control, fade and balance are very slow: When you change the settings it take time for the sound to change (about 1 or 2 seconds)

                    I feel not very happy with this Xenarc, there are so strange thing and it seems not finished !

                    Hope Xenarc will give us a firmware upgrade with a way to do it by yourself (i don't want to send it and to loose time and money for just fixing it !)

                    Pascal

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I got the exact same problems with my 2nd Gen. Xenarc MDT X7000 ... But am getting used to it

                      I had an issue when the computer turns-off the screen because of in-activity and Xenarc screen won't pick-up the signal when I touch the screen (so I turned off the screen turn-off from the power options and the screen saver options).

                      I do have the Rear Only audio issue, but I will try to increase or decrease the fade and balance and give it a try ... the first time it happened i was playing around with the audio settings

                      apart from that, the screen is doing fine

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                      • #12
                        Back for repair...

                        FYI, I had to send my second-gen MDT-X7000 (described in the worklog above) back to Xenarc for repair. One day, it stopped moving during extension, and never recovered (I'd been able to clear this condition before with a power cycle); Xenarc sent me an RMA in < 24 hours and I should have the unit back tomorrow (turnaround about 3 weeks).

                        I'm looking forward to seeing if the replacement has different software than the returned unit - anyone have advice on how to check the firmware version?

                        In the meantime, I've discovered that the Ridgeline subwoofer is powered by an amp that's integral to the OEM radio, so there's no good way to use the sub without the OEM unit unless I install another amp. I'm not game for that right now, so I'm going to try something different - back to the original design: PC->Xenarc->aux in on the OEM radio. I couldn't get this working on my first install, but it's worth trying again. The looks isn't as clean, but the OEM radio (sorry, I need radio here) is much better than the Xenie and it solves the sub and steering wheel control issues. Will post updates.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Any update on these issues? I have a 2nd gen I'm writing them about right now. All the same issues.

                          Anyone know of a way to change that horrible background image?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Does the xenrac have a removable panel? Isn't it a bit scary it might get stolen?
                            My Car PC project
                            Current status: Fabricating screen

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              no it does NOT

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