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'97 Civic DX 2dr ~ Turtlegrip's NeuroPod -MicroATX Slim-

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  • '97 Civic DX 2dr ~ Turtlegrip's NeuroPod -MicroATX Slim-

    Hello and Greetings,

    My name will be Turtlegrip and this is a post to show you my 'CarPC' that I built for my 1997 Honda Civic DX Coupe. I decided to start this project because I love my car and I love computers... So I guess I will just get to the point and give you some specs...

    Computer:
    Gigabyte Motherboard, older and dont remember exact model
    Pentium 4 Dual Core @ 2.8GHz
    1G RAM (1333) x2
    Patriot 60GB SSD
    TP-Link WiFi USB
    Bluetooth USB
    420 watt Micro ATX PSU
    Rosewell MicroATX Slim Case\
    ELM ODBII-USB

    Monitor:
    TFT LCD 7" LED Backlight

    Stereo:
    6" Acoustic Speakers x2
    6"x9" 3-way Alpine SPJ-69C3 x2
    12" Rockford Punch x2
    Sony xPlod 600 watt 4 channel Amplifier
    Performance Tenikue 1000 watt 2 channel Amplifier

    Power:
    Interstate Basic Battery
    Optima Blue D31
    BOSS 2-Farad Capacitor x2
    Cobra 800 watt Inverter

    Protection:
    ANL 150A Fuse x2
    PAC-500 Isolator
    1/0 Gauge Wiring and 4 Gauge Wiring

    Technically I am not entirely done, I need a high output alternator...

    Here is my project in chronological order, I kept a "work log" on another forum...

    Anyway, long story short, I upgraded my 97 Civic's heater core/blower, dash, climate control to a 99-00 Civic model:















    And everything is mounted in the trunk, eventually I will move the amplifiers and inverter to the back of the rear seats, and make panels over the PC and battery, but that will but cosmetics in the future (I know it is pretty sloppy right now):







    Here is also a picture of the switches, (not my kill switches lol), the red button is the PC power with a green LED as the power light, then the left switch is the amplifier power and there is one just like it on the right that powers the inverter, it just is not in right this moment:





    While I did this I also painted the interior black and refabriced the headliner and visors black, got new floor mats and plan on getting del sol seats.

    To break down the way power is run: Parallel with the engine battery is the Optima Blue Top D31-M, both being grounded to the chassis, right before the 1/0 gauge cable leaves the engine battery is gots to a 150A ANL fuse then to a PAC-500 Isolator, the wire then runs through the firewall, through the car, into the trunk where I have mounted the Optima. From the Optima the 1/0 gauge starts anew and runs directly to another 150A ANL fuse and then to a 1/0-4 gauge 5-way Distribution block. From the Distribution block then runs out 4 4 gauge wires, 1 to the inverter, 1 to each amplifier and 1 is split to the capacitors. The computer and monitor are powered from the 2 AC slots from the inverter.

    The computer has a USB splitter in the trunk to make 1 port run the WiFi adapter and Bluetooth. The computer then runs 1 VGA and 3 USB cables to the front of the car, there the VGA and 1 USB go to the 7" touch screen mounted in the dash, another USB goes to the ODBII-USB module, the last USB is free to be split for flash drives and what not. I had a sound card but it was causing more trouble than it was worth, so for now I have on board sound running to a 3.5mm Stereo split, then each stereo is split into RCA cables, 1 RCA pair runs to the rear 3-way speaker input on the sony amplifier, while the other runs to the sub woofer input on the other amplifier, the sub amplifier have an pair of RCA outs on it, so those run to the front speakers RCA input on the sony amplifier. A little confusing but it sounds fine and works until I can one day find a suitable low profile sound card.

    Software wise, I use Project64 and play super smash brothers haha. Then I have windows 7 running and use media player classic for videos, while I have been using Centrafuse for music and everything else (currently on the free trail version, I will end up buying the real thing once this runs out). Also using a free ODBII reader until I can afford PCM scan, or at least just DashXL. Ill try to get a video up of everything running soon...
    Last edited by turtlegrip; 03-15-2012, 03:06 PM.

  • #2
    Similar setup, facing issues

    Hey,

    I have a 99 honda civic and am running a very similar setup for my carputer. I have a question for you, how many watts (RMS) are you pushing through the whole system and are you using the stock alternator? I am asking this because I am having power issues where the power inverter is shutting off and refusing to supply power but then will randomly turn back on while driving. I am trying to figure out if the issue is the inverter for my alternator. Based on my battery dying last week (its only about 3 months old) and having odd starting issues, I am thinking that my alternator is toast. This weekend I am planning on swapping out the alternator for one i picked up from a salavage yard for ~$35, sooo I am assuming that I am likely to kill that one too. Have you had any issues with that inverter? (I am using the exact same inverter-- 400W right?)
    "It's not worth having if you can't customize it"

    Comment


    • #3
      i have a 600w and 1000w amp, the computer has a 800RMS inverter with 1600peak... Run your car and then unplug the negative battery terminal, if the car dies then you probably have a bad alternator (there are also other ways to check, but you wont be getting the 14v from it you should be when the car is running). I am running a stock alternator and really want a high output so I can set up my capacitors. If I were you I would make sure the inverter is not getting too hot and probably get a bigger one, I know my video card takes a bit of power and the sound card died on me for some reason, so just using on board sound (i have a new sound card waiting to go in)

      Comment


      • #4
        Yeah the battery disconnect resulted in an almost immediate stall out. Having it checked out at a shop and possibly getting a higher output alt from them. Not really loooking forward to the price tag on that lol.. ive read through your work logs more and I am definitely impressed. You have done quite a bit for the civic! What are you using for obd? And have you heard of sheeva plugs? There's some absolutely crazy stuff I've seen with that installed.
        "It's not worth having if you can't customize it"

        Comment


        • #5
          Haha greatly appriciated, this project has kept me busy for awhile now. Its funny I actually just had a spare computer and decided I should make an isolated system in my car for it after having a laptop in my car for a week, I found these sites and wealth of information after the fact, but I am now aware of these sheeva plugs ect and plan to make use of them at some point. And you need a new alternator, high output I would look at around $300 (for my car anyway) and you can install yourself but if you have someone else install do not pay much for labor, it is a really easy job in a lot of cars.

          The last three days I have developed insane alternator whine, so today I am gonna rip the car up and move wires, reground, fin foil speaker wire (LOL), add USB/3.5mm inputs in front, and finish the trunk set up. Also looking at new LCA bushings and brakes, but I should get most of it done today I hope, then I will post a video of everything running.

          Comment


          • #6
            As promised here is a follow up. Everything has been running for a few weeks now, some connections came lose here and there and have been repaired. Only serious issue is that it seems 2 channels have gone bad on my 700w Sony amplifier, thus I have no front speakers. I must say it is a very weird problem though, definitely some internal problems on the amplifier that I may take a look at, but for now the rear speakers are much much better anyway so no big loss until I can afford new front speakers and a bigger amplifier. While I upload the short video clip here are some pictures I just took.

            Dirty Engine Bay


            Driver Side of Trunk (and some MTG )


            Passenger Side of Trunk (CarPC)


            Interior (Restored/Paint it Black)


            Black Headliner


            Monitor and Climate Control


            Switches (PC/Amps, will add one for capacitors/isolator or some sort of relay system)


            Center Console/Floor Mats (you can see my loose usb on the left)


            Loose USB


            Glove Box (N64 controllers with usb convertor)


            Amplifiers Mounted to the Back of the Back Seat


            Sub-woofers Right Next to Amplifiers


            Little Bit of a Rat Nest In-Between...


            Last Touch will be Mounting this USB/3.5mm Jack where the Cig Lighter is now








            And a quick run down video of the car:


            http://www.youtube.com/embed/2S3m7WIAb70
            Last edited by turtlegrip; 03-30-2012, 12:28 PM.

            Comment


            • #7
              So I looked through your pics and watched the video. Definitely a nice install up to this point. I just had a couple of questions. For your subs, I see that you have them facing upward as opposed to toward the rear. Is there any specific advantage to orienting the subs in this way? I also am having a problem with my four channel amp. One of the channels is definitely bad and causes all kinds of power issues when I use that rca input. However, I was able to create a workaround by using the speaker level input. The factory wiring is still in place and the rca from the pc is going through the head unit in the front (sounds weird but solves a nasty ground loop somehow). So this meant the audio signal is still going from the speaker level output of the head unit to the wiring that I just tucked out of the way in my trunk. With that in mind I just ran some wire from the factory wiring to the speaker level input and the speaker worked great (actually much better than before leading me to believe that RCA channel had always been faulty). Anyways, moral of the story is you can try that method if your amp has speaker level input.
              "It's not worth having if you can't customize it"

              Comment


              • #8
                I actually solved my problem, it was the front left speaker being too close to the power wire by the door, I am just going to shield it with some tin foil and wire to the body of the car haha. But Ill do that once I get better speakers because the ones i have suck, and ill probably dynomat a lot of stuff at the same time, or likely some cheaper imitation heh... But as of now all my money is going into a new exhaust and then engine rebuild to get ready for a turbo, (a very slow rebuild -_-) . But one day or when I can ill upgrade the stereo system, but ill probably get a high output alternator before i add anything on!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Since I cant edit my post maybe the person that reviews them can, but:

                  PS. as far as all my music and recording classes have gone, sub level waves are omnidirectional, so direction of the sub doesnt really matter, i mainly did it for protection honestly since they got beat up from having stuff in my trunk... and it looks cool when i have the back seats down (and it is pretty loud too)!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    just a fy, your subwoofers (old school rockford pro from the 90's?) are totally destroyed. the surrounds are rotted out and i think that you should go and buy some cheap replacement speakers.

                    i just wanted to point that out. regardless of the wavelength of bass below ~80hz being omnidirectional, they are busted. and besides, the direction of the subwoofer does matter, because the frontwave being in phase with the midbass is important - without time correction the only way you can adjust this is physical placement. aiming the speaker at the trunk forces the frontwave to reflect off the rear of the car and travel a few more feet of distance causing a slight time delay... you could also swap the polarity of the subwoofers at the terminals for a 180* phase shift, but thats a hit or miss kind of thing.

                    either way - your subs are tore up and dry rotted. you need to change them.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by req View Post
                      just a fy, your subwoofers (old school rockford pro from the 90's?) are totally destroyed. the surrounds are rotted out and i think that you should go and buy some cheap replacement speakers.

                      i just wanted to point that out. regardless of the wavelength of bass below ~80hz being omnidirectional, they are busted. and besides, the direction of the subwoofer does matter, because the frontwave being in phase with the midbass is important - without time correction the only way you can adjust this is physical placement. aiming the speaker at the trunk forces the frontwave to reflect off the rear of the car and travel a few more feet of distance causing a slight time delay... you could also swap the polarity of the subwoofers at the terminals for a 180* phase shift, but thats a hit or miss kind of thing.

                      either way - your subs are tore up and dry rotted. you need to change them.
                      ya they are beat up, but that is the rubber seal around the rim that has very very little to do with the sound produced; sound is made by the movement of the cone which has no holes in it. replacing the rubber rim would be a million times easier than getting new speakers. And trying to get waves in sync by the placement of the subs is going to be unrealistically hard (your trunk is not a perfect flat reflective surface), you just need to listen for it being close enough synced, and they way my speakers are now cause no cancellation, meaning that they add to each other and are in phase (you can switch one your subs or speakers +/- terminals and youll hear what cancellation sounds like). And I have tried no name, sony and alpine 12" sub replacements and none of them hit nearly as hard as these, these still sound perfect on every 808 and everything else, just because speakers are new does not make them better speakers. Appreciate your concern though... ;P
                      Last edited by turtlegrip; 04-26-2012, 08:21 PM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by turtlegrip View Post
                        ya they are beat up, but that is the rubber seal around the rim that has very very little to do with the sound produced; sound is made by the movement of the cone which has no holes in it. replacing the rubber rim would be a million times easier than getting new speakers. And trying to get waves in sync by the placement of the subs is going to be unrealistically hard (your trunk is not a perfect flat reflective surface), you just need to listen for it being close enough synced, and they way my speakers are now cause no cancellation, meaning that they add to each other and are in phase (you can switch one your subs or speakers +/- terminals and youll hear what cancellation sounds like). And I have tried no name, sony and alpine 12" sub replacements and none of them hit nearly as hard as these, these still sound perfect on every 808 and everything else, just because speakers are new does not make them better speakers. Appreciate your concern though... ;P
                        With all due respect, a few pointers;

                        First of all, I was referring to the SURROUND of the speaker, not the gasket that is clearly made of paper in case you decide to invert the speaker for something like an isobaric type enclosure. You're subwoofers do not have a rubber surround. They are from the early 90's and do not have a UV treatment and they are made of foam. Now that we are both on the same page about that, they are at the point where i am surprised your voice coil is still intact. Based on UV exposure, moisture, and time, non-treated foam speaker surrounds decay and erode. After this happens, and they are still in use, the foam will literally fall apart due to the vibrations. it is clear that this has happened to your speakers. You see, the surround (as you called it, "the rubber thing") is a suspension part. Just the like suspension on an automobile, it is there to keep the movement of the voice coil former traveling in a linear path while it passes the magnetic flux gap between the T-yoke and the top plate of the speaker’s motor structure. The reason that it must be linear is one of distortion. Any movement in the lateral plane results in physical distortion of the music produced by the vibrations in the air, not to mention when the former hits the T-yoke or the top plate, it makes some terrible scratching noises. Therefore, the surround of a speaker is directly linked to the fidelity of muisc produced from said device. So your argument about it not having anything to do with sound quality means that you know nothing about how a speaker works.



                        Second, the placement of a speaker in a listening environment is very crucial. Since it is of one’s best interested get the environment set up as best as possible to start out with the best possible results before relying on outboard digital signal processing (or analog depending on one's equipment). Even though the trunk of an automobile may not be flat, it still causes a time delay function on the front wave of the audio output of a speaker that causes a phase shift. It might only be a 15* shift, but looking at your setup I can come to a strong conclusion that you do not have any time correction software\hardware meaning you only have the ability to adjust the speakers 180* by flipping the polarity of the subwoofers at the amplifier or enclosure terminals. Phase is one of the easiest disruptions for humans to pick up on, specifically in the low frequency range, so to me it is the most important function to try and get right. It really is not difficult to hear or adjust for either. You say that this is unrealistic, but manufacturers sell time correction equipment that can be attenuated in the 1 millisecond range, this would be equivalent to moving a subwoofer about one foot.So you're argument about how phase adjustment being unrealistically hard shows that you know nothing about setting up a speaker system properly.

                        Lastly, just because you tried an alpine speaker, a Sony speaker, or whatever else (I’m sure in the same enclosure that you had your Rockford’s in) and they sounded crappy, does not mean that they are inferior to the Rockford subwoofers. Each loudspeaker has its own Thiele-Small parameters that dictate what kind of enclosure would be optimum. That means that the box you had your Rockford’s in is most likely not suitable for the other subwoofers. Try building a proper enclosure for something and you may be surprised at what new technology has to offer over old, overhung voice coil topologies from the 90's. So you're argument about your old speakers sounding better than new\other speakers is out because it shows you do not know anything about speaker enclosures or parameters.

                        Did I miss something?

                        Please do not disregard the knowledge of other people on the internet based on their post count. I was only trying to suggest something that could help.

                        Andy.
                        Team DIYMA sound quality competitor
                        Last edited by req; 04-04-2012, 06:52 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Thats one crazy tear down. Might have to try swapping that 99-00 console into my 98.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I think req is a little butthurt. Just because you have more knowledge and experience in the field, does not mean that you can just tell everyone else "you know nothing". Some of us actually just do this for fun and therefore the philosophy of ONLY perfection does not really apply. Its cool that maybe you have useful information to provide, and that is appreciated, but no need to be a dick about it. Turtle grip has a sweet project and everything seems to work well for him. Enjoying music is not a science. Audio quality will always be subjective so you can't tell someone what the right way is.
                            "It's not worth having if you can't customize it"

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              troll else ware.
                              Last edited by turtlegrip; 04-26-2012, 08:22 PM.

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