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2002 Nissan Altima Car PC

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  • 2002 Nissan Altima Car PC

    Here's my first shot at a mp3car - though I've been planning for over a year.

    This is the back of the enclosure - what will face the trunk

    Front of the enclosure

    With the screen - it's not *gasp* a lilliput. It's a NEC. And yeah, I probably paid way too much for it- but that's the price of finding months after beginning the project. Sadly, I spent the first few months at, but I wasn't getting much out of it. My late find also explains my inverter setup, instead of an Opus. Version 2.0 is allready in the planning least I've gotten somewhere with it. Better than where I was 6 months ago.

    Here's the box running - it has a 1Ghz athlon, 512 MB of ram, ATI All In Wonder 7500, SB live, Holux GM210 USB GPS, 120GB IEDE drive, Serial touchscreen, 11 Mb/s wireless ethernet, and can use my cell as a modem back to my house, where I'm setting up a dialup server.

    Last pic from the side.

    I'm using a DPDT switch to turn the computer on/off. I have a BX24 microcontroller that is on all the time (draws <35mA). It monitors the ignition line. If the switch is in the center position, the microcontroller turns the computer on and off with the ignition. If it's up, it leaves the machine on all the time. If its down, the car pc is always off. It can be reprogrammed on the fly - but that takes my second serial port.

    It runs WinXP - I would like to put Mandrake on it. All in good time. I'm hoping to find someone who actually has the unit from hooked to a USB-> Serial converter working. I'd like to get that bought and installed soon.

    It's got the RF remote that comes with the AIW card - with the USB receiver. Thinking about a keyboard as well. I have a mic run to the steering wheel, but there's some definite friction here about voice recognition. Maybe I'll throw it on and report how well it works.

    I'll try to post some more pics this week. Sorry if the pics aren't online all the time. Still looking for a decent host with some room.

    Hopefully it'll stop snowing here and I can put the equipment in the car. I'll take some good pics during the install.

  • #2
    Looks very good. Let's see it in the car!

    Got any details on that screen? Model #? How much did you pay for it?


    • #3
      It's a NEC NL6448BC20-08 from a kit (

      6.5" - 300 cd/m2, 640x480, 262K colors, VGA inputs.

      For the inverter, screen, touch controller, and touch layer I paid $695. Painful lesson, since I've seen what a lot of people here are paying. But it is a really nice screen, and I haven't had a single problem yet.


      • #4
        EarthLCD is not cheap.

        But I think the monitor is the most important item. It's the part of the computer that you interface with. It's usually the piece that would require the most work to upgrade. It's what everybody else (non-geeks) is going to be impressed with.

        I spent about the same as you on a monitor, but I went a different route. I bought cheap ones at first. Each monitor that showed up was a disappointment. I thought I was satisfied when I finally stepped up to a Datalux (monitor #5), but that was scrapped for a 10.4" NEC 800x600x262k (nl8060bc26-17). I think that I'm finally happy with screen #6.


        • #5
          Nice work!! I'm having trouble with that transition from bench to car too, but the weather is finally working in my favor. I scrapped my laptop and went with a Micro ATX PC now. Where's the screen going??


          • #6
            I had a machine shop cut me an aluminum faceplate that sits in the oval where my radio used to be. The screen mounts to the back of the faceplate and the sides are beveled in to make the touchscreen easy to work with.

            Here's a closeup of the screen in the dash molding


            • #7
              thats pretty nice I'm still trying to figure out if I want to mold a place in my dash... or just use up one of my DIN's... We'll see what happens - good job!


              • #8
                very nice indeed
                It aint no family car.

                SEE MK2 At : -


                • #9
                  I concur, a beautiful housing
                  [Insert witty comment here]


                  • #10
                    More Pics

                    Got the box installed in the trunk today:


                    • #11
                      2 More

                      Just have to cover the shifter, connect to the battery, and close my breaker.


                      • #12
                        Looks great. Do you have any finish on the aluminum faceplate? I'd recommend wax at least. But if it were me, I'd look into anodizing or other finishes. It is a little too shiny, IMHO.


                        • #13
                          I was going to get it done in stainless - would match a little better and be more durable. But then I saw the price....

                          I was thinking something to tone it down and provide it with a little protection. Aluminum scratches almost as easily as touchscreens.


                          • #14
                            Machining SS sucks. It's tough as hell.


                            • #15
                              very nice.