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Mac Mini installed in 2005 Mazda 3 Sedan

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  • Mac Mini installed in 2005 Mazda 3 Sedan

    Greetings all,
    I've never posted here before but have been lurking for quite some time. The info I've found on this site and others have been very helpful in my project, which I just finished this week.

    Here are the components I used in my installation:
    * Mac Mini, 1.25ghz G4, 512meg ram, 40 gig HD, OS X 10.3 Panther
    * Built in Bluetooth and Airport Extreme (wi-fi) cards
    * Carnetix CNX-P1900 power supply with CNX-P5V additional 5v output
    * Xenarc 700TSV 7" touch screen monitor
    * Belkin 4 port USB 2.0 powered hub
    * Griffin RadioSHARK radio module (modified)
    * Griffin PowerMate USB volume control knob
    * USGlobalSat BU-353 USB GPS Receiver (on its way to me)
    * NO stereo head unit
    * Kicker KX-200.4 4 channel amplifier, installed under driver's seat
    * Kicker KX-250.2 2 channel amplifier, on back of rear seat in trunk
    * Kicker Solo Baric 10" L5 Subwoofer, dual 2-ohm voice coils wired in series
    * Kicker single 10" vented enclosure
    * Apple wireless bluetooth keyboard and mouse
    * Metra radio install kit for Mazda 3 (99-7504), modified for use as screen bezel
    * Metra radio wiring harness/plug (70-7903)

    The overall system is laid out like so:

    And here's what the final product looks like:

    To see a complete walkthrough with lots of pictures and descriptions, please check out my project page:

    I am very much enjoying my new system, and would love to share ideas with other Carputer enthusiasts.

    Thanks for checking out my install!

  • #2
    Nice install


    • #3
      Nice, that powermate, would've looked better on the armrest, I think...
      Renault Megane...the OEM look

      The Lost in Europe Ford Escort


      • #4
        Nice! And nice description of the system. I dunno, I think the powermate looks kind of cool on the dash. Would have been nice if it was a red LED, though.

        What are you using for software to control the Mac?

        Edit: Nevermind, I saw what you're using on your web site.
        Originally posted by ghettocruzer
        I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
        Want to:
        -Find out about the new iBug iPad install?
        -Find out about carPC's in just 5 minutes? View the Car PC 101 video


        • #5
          Not too shabby. Only thing is you have the sub pointing to the side of the car and thats odd since sound waves travel backwards from the front of the sub. You probably want the back of the sub facing towards the front of the car for the best sound
          Philip Plante
          my projects:
 | |


          • #6
            Bugbyte: Right now I'm using a combination of CCarProject, iTunes (tho not to be tweaked while driving), and the RadioSHARK software. I'm also playing around with MacStumbler, and once I get my GPS receiver, I'll try out RoadNav. Again, would be awesome to find or make a front end that ties everything together and looks cool. I haven't done a lot of research yet in this area so any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

            I have another mac mini in the house, which is currently my main iTunes repository. My wife and I use this one to download/rip tunes. With the car in the garage, I have some simple shell scripts to rsync the car's Mac with the one inside to download the latest additions to the library (including the iTunes library definition files).

            The volume knob works best for me on the cig lighter panel. It's just right there, when I reach out my fingers from the gear shift. If it were on the arm rest, that would get in the way of my arm. If the LED were red, that would better match the stock red guage lighting, but I kinda dig the blue LED as well, since it happens to be my fave color. It's held in place by a small piece of clear mounting tape so as to be easily removed if I ever change my mind on the location.

            pplante: The pics don't show it but the sub enclosure is vented. The vent opens towards the right side of the box (hence, toward the back of the car). This was done on the advice of the install pro at the shop where I bought the sub/amps. I was kinda skeptical, but it sounds great to me, and I like having the deep trunk space (on one side at least).


            • #7
              Originally posted by Cris
              Nice, that powermate, would've looked better on the armrest, I think...
              Only problem is there really isn't any good spot on the armrest. Maybe velcro on the cup holder cover and the back of the powermate.

              Nice install. Makes me want to get my 3 done too.

              FastMatt, there is a guy on the mazda3forums that changed all his dash lights to blue.



              • #8
                Nice install. Definatelly very clean. Any plans to make the sub occupy less space(say put it against the amp.) I am struggling with the same problem right now.


                • #9
                  Looks real nice... You did an awesome job!!!

                  Just be sure to lock your glovebox at all times with that MacMini in there bro'... I learned the hard way...
                  VER. 3.0- Check out below:
                  車コンピュータ 3.0


                  • #10
                    LowMileDude: the blue LEDs in the dash are SICK. Right up my alley. I will seriously consider this mod. Thanks so much for that link.

                    Razor Feast: The sub is in my opinion a pretty optimal spot - it gives me more depth in the trunk for other cargo. But since I didn't bolt it down, I can move it around and experiment later on. I'm very happy with the bass I'm getting out of this one sub. This one Kicker Solo Baric 10 hits harder than the 2 Rockford Fosgate 10s I have in my VW Bug.

                    Fraychild: Very good point, and I will definitely lock it when not in my garage.


                    • #11
                      WOW!! Kudos to your Mac Mini installation fastmatt! I have been searching for a way to to have a carputer with a DVD player and large enough HDD but just enough CPU power to run DVD movies in my Mazda 6 and when I ran into your Mac Mini installation post that was the answer! The problem is I want a driving map software as like Microsoft Street and Trips. Does Mac sell or is there a Mac program like Street and Trips? Basically, I want to know if there is a mapping, not GPS, software for the Mac.

                      Oh by the way fastmatt, do you think a Mac Mini would fit into the Mazda 6's glove box?

                      Thanks everyone for getting me addicted!


                      • #12
                        Route 66 is the commercial mapping software widely available for the Mac. I'm not an expert on this stuff yet, but that's what I see at the stores around here. I've heard it does good maps but not so good GPS, so it might be what you need.

                        As far as fitting in a Mazda 6, I've never seen the inside of one - but keep in mind that the Mac Mini is only 6.5" square by about 2.5" deep. I bet it will fit in most glove boxes in production today.


                        • #13
                          Very nice installation


                          • #14

                            I don't suppose you could share your shell scripts...


                            • #15
                              looks pretty darn good!

                              do you have any more upclose pictures of the screen and how it's all integrated?

                              or is that on your web site?
                              Jan Bennett
                              FS: VW MKIV Bezel for 8" Lilliput - 95% Finished

                              Please post on the forums! Chances are, someone else has or will have the same questions as you!