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Mac Mini in a Mazda Protege

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  • Mac Mini in a Mazda Protege



    There is something new in my shop: My Car!
    I am taking a 3000 mile trip pretty soon, and I thought I better get my Mac Mini installed before I go.

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    I don't have enough money or time to replace my headunit, or buy the Radioshark.
    So instead I am integrating a iTrip FM transmitter directly into the Mini.
    This website gave me the idea:
    badacetechshow.com/psp_itrip.htm

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    The iTrip was wired up, I choose to wire it to +5volts from the USB, as I couldn't find a reliable source of 3.3volts.
    A dummy headphone jack allows the iTrip to turn on.
    Later when I replace my headunit I can just jack into the headphone jack and get straight audio.

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    The Mac Mini may be small, but with a DVI to VGA adapter, and a VGA connector onto that it can get pretty long in the back

    In order to fit the mini into the car I had to make my own right-angle DVI to VGA adapter.
    I did this by pinning out, taking apart, and re-wiring an existing DVI to VGA adapter.

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    Hot glue was used to create a solid right angle jack.

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    In order to have a remote power button I installed a small jack in place of the security cable.

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    The mini will be installed in the center console.
    First I had to take it out of the car.
    I had to cut a lot of the front middle to get the mini to fit properly.

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    The mini fits VERY tightly into the spot I cut out for it.

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    Installed below the Mini is a powered USB hub.
    I provide +5 volts to the hub using a old cell phone charger.
    The Hub powers the keyboard and mouse receiver, GPS puck, and the USB cell phone connection. It also charges my cell phone via USB.
    I have one extra port which I will use for a Secure Digital card reader.

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    Under the passanger seat is the bulk of wiring. (for now)

    Most of this is temporary, and will be hardwired when I get some spare cash for a proper PSU.
    The Gyration mouse is charged via another hacked up Cell phone charger (+9volts)
    Everything is held down by velcro.
    All the cables are routed through the center console.

    Currently I am using a inverter and the stock apple PSU. Everything is wired to a switched power block, and then to the +12volts always on shared with the car radio.

    I also have a 12volt lead acid battery that I can jack in to allow for power while starting the car, or independent power.

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    Here is the planned final install, with the headunit replace by amplifiers and a LCD.
    Currently this is not the case.

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    Closeup of the Mac Mini in it's final home.

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    This is the Mac Mini carputer as it right now.
    The headunit is installed and running, and the LCD hangs off a holder that I used for my iPod.

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    Not bad for just three days so far.

  • #2
    pretty awesome job.
    "I'm going back to Cali(Iraq), Cali(Iraq), Cali(Iraq), I'm going back to Cali(Iraq), Cali(Iraq), Cali(Iraq), I know so!!!!" Now I'm here!!

    By "ToneRiddle"

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    • #3
      try to use 3 days more
      Plan for project = 100%
      Part the project. = 100%
      Built...................= 99%
      Finish.................= 99%
      Install ...............= 99% -50%
      Ditail at 4u2n.dk
      Here

      Comment


      • #4
        Updates:

        I moved my GPS unit from on-top of the dash. I velcro'ed it under the dash, so it's totally stealthed. And since there is just plastic above it, there is no loss of signal.

        There are no visible wires anywhere now, including my radar detector which has had a wire running along the edge of the windsheild for years now.

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        The touchscreen is now properly installed.
        I dremeled off the bottom curved part to get it to fit properly.

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        Kit built 50-watt amplifer.
        These amps sound awsome, have tons of volume, and don't get hot.
        They cost $25 from www.41hz.com, you have put it together, but it is more compact then any commerical amp.

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        Two amps installed into a radioshack project box.
        Along with a ground-loop-isolator, fuse, and nice speaker and audio connectors.
        These amps are so power effecient they don't have to be turned off when cranking the engine. The music just keeps playing.

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        The completed amp. The heatsink doesn't need to be that big, but in the Texas heat I figure it couldn't hurt.

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        The amplifier in it's home behind the dash.
        There is lots of room for more stuff, such as a DC-DC power supply for the Mac Mini

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        I rewired some of the LCD buttons to a USB keyboard controller:
        http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/show...754#post787754

        Comment


        • #5
          Wow, it is amazing to see that the Mazda Protege is so similar to the Protege 5 in so many ways. Its like the only different in the front dash/ floor console is that the P5 has a different shifter with a tabby clutch (for auto).

          It only reassures that everything I've already ordered should fit without a problem. I have lucked out a bit more than you because the PC and the amp fit under the rear hatch area under the carpert where the spare tire is so it is transparent.


          You are my hero, your pictures have given me some even better ideas about how to route the cables from the back of the car to the front, excellent!


          One question I have for you is how do you currently have the screen hooked up? Is it in place of the head unit as pictured later in the thread or is it a dual install with the head unit in tact and the LCD as a hang off as pictured in the first post?

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Splash-X
            One question I have for you is how do you currently have the screen hooked up? Is it in place of the head unit as pictured later in the thread or is it a dual install with the head unit in tact and the LCD as a hang off as pictured in the first post?
            The first pictures were just a three-day hack up I did before a long road trip.

            The final install is as in my last post, no head unit. The LCD is installed where it used to be. You have to modify either the LCD case, or the dash to get it to fit 100%. Or install it some other way, like deeper into the dash, but that requires more hardware.

            Here is another image of the lCD.
            http://www.flickr.com/photos/zapwiza...7594054134962/

            Comment


            • #7
              Very nice. Your pictures give me a pretty good idea of what it will look like installed. That area is just too small for a 8" LCD but the 7" looks good.

              I lucked out that my P5 has a silver dash kit with carbon fiber on the outer edege so my silver screen will go good with it.

              I'm kinda jealous of your tiny amp. Thats pretty nice, I wish I had gone that route. I had an amp and new speakers installed at a local audio shop for $630 total parts and install. That was Kenwood speakers, front w/ components, rears, and an Orion 4ch amp.


              So, now that its working are you happy with the outcome?

              Comment


              • #8
                cool stuff zap

                Comment


                • #9
                  i'm not really a fan of mac's, but so far so good on the install. keep up the good work.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I am not really a fan of Mac's eithere, but I won the parts in a contest.
                    I am by no means a fan of Intel BTW, Considering I worked at AMD for years

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                    • #11
                      lol... completely understandable
                      on the other hand, i've noticed that most of the frontends available are for either XP or linux... what's it like to use a mac for a carpc?
                      Any plans on making your own frontend?

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                      • #12
                        One thing about the mac so far, is it goes to sleep reliably and comes back the same everytime. I have never had a PC that could do it reliably.
                        But ya, it's a bit light on the front end, I have some plans if I ever take the time to do them. Until then I am using front row.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          zapwizard: What screen protector are you using on that LCD?
                          Your pics came out great.





                          -Rich
                          http://www.mybimmer.net

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            No screen protector.

                            The shot only came out good as the car was in the garage, it was evening, and I took the photo at a sharp angle.

                            Other then that, it's the normal hard to see glaring LCD screen.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              From that pic it looked like you had one. the bottom left corner looks lifted. Pics came out great.
                              http://www.mybimmer.net

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