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2000 Acura TL rebuild

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  • 2000 Acura TL rebuild

    this is approximately my fifth mp3car project. my first build was back in 1998 and used a 1996 corolla with a 4x40 lcd character display. some of those same original components are in use today (such as the irman controller). when i traded up to a 2000 ford f-150 in 2001, i used the ample dash space to get an 8 .4" lcd wedged in so i could gain GPS functionality (this is back when only the three richest kings of europe had such things). finally the truck was totaled by an uninsured driver and i got the acura.

    seeing as this was so much nicer than my fleet model ford. i took greater pains than just hacking the dash with a saber saw so i could move the A/C controls. given the way the dash was built i decided it'd be easier to build a very basic bezel out of ABS plastic. the fit was incredibly tight and i had to remove the screen and control circuitry from it housing and cram it in the cavity where the head unit was. the fit wasn't perfect, but it looked good enough for me and given that the panel barely fit(i mean less than an eighth inch of clearance on both sides-BARELY) it was as good as i could realistically hope to do without some serious work.

    the computer was entirely rebuilt. i used a VIA C3M266 motherboard with a nehemiah 1000Mhz processor unlocked and overclocked to 1.6Ghz. i broke away from using Epia motherboards for this one unlike previous builds because i got tired of being saddled to a motherboard with one expansion slot and the same processor.

    the first six pictures are of the LCD mount which was made from an after market adapter from and some A+B epoxy. the next five are of the case highlighting the construction, power supply, and sequencer.

  • #2
    The T30 starts showing up

    eventually, i became tired of hauling a big acrylic box out every time i wanted to update it. after seeing my friend's IBM thinkpad dock, i immediately decided that was the way to go. so i found an IBM T30 motherboard on ebay for $120 with a 1.8Ghz Pentium-M and went to town. i got a pair of docks (a small one for the car and the really boss big one for my desk), a replacement keyboard, a battery (to survive voltage drops during engine cranks), and a dc adapter. the idea will be to build and mount it on a little shelf in the trunk so it doesn't use up space on the ground.

    as of posting, i'm still waiting for the smaller dock and dc-adapter to arrive. i'll post pictures of the installation as it progresses. i've still got some humps to get over though since the dock only provides one comport and one usb port. i still haven't decided how i'm going to go about connecting both the irman and my nearly ancient garmin antenna. clearly i'm going to need a small usb hub though.


    • #3
      Install Begins

      so i ran a cat 6 cable from the front where the original sequencer controls were so i would have 4 pairs of low voltage wire to accommodate whatever closed circuit switches i might want to install.

      i absolutely had to use the port replicator if i was going to use the t30 as my computer. there is no way to access the power button without some serious surgery on the laptop itself. the leads just aren't accessible. the port replicator provides a power button on it that i was able to connect to a pcb with a two pin header to connect the front switch to. using my old sequencer was out of the question because it only "pushes" the button for about 400ms. the thinkpad needs to have the power button pushed for almost a full second before acting on it. presumably this was to prevent some big-thumbed user from accidently turning the machine on/off unnecessarily.

      the port replicator and laptop need a perfectly flat surface in order to mate properly. i used a small piece of plywood to act as a shelf. in order to save space, i countersunk the screws and used the face bolts to secure the plywood on top of the mcintosh amp. it's a damn shame i'm covering up those big beautiful VU meters, but i'm more keen on saving space in the boot. if i come up with a better solution that saves floor space and lets me show off the mcintosh i'll act on it. suggestions are welcome.

      there's quite a bit of hard drive noise creeping into the audio output. every time i click the mouse or drag a window i can hear it through the speakers. that white wire was an attempt to cut down by grounding the laptop more directly. it didn't help, but what did help, was using the audio jack on the laptop instead of the one on the port replicator. i think i'm still going to have to get an imic if i want it sound clean.

      finally, i added a 12v outlet to the trunk so i could connect the dc adapter. i thought about canabalizing the wires on the end of the adapter to connect it directly, but that oem adapter was just to pretty to ruin.

      TO DO:
      *connect Garmin antenna (or buy a usb gps antenna)
      *get a small 4-port usb hub (the port replicator only provides one port)
      *chase out the hard drive noise
      *connect the subwoofer
      *possibly get a cardbus adapter for usb 2.0 support (and more usb ports)


      • #4
        what adapter did you use from crutchfields for the screen? do you know the name or model number?


        • #5
          it was a metra kit. any kit will work really. you just need to cut it up so that it adapts to whatever screen you have. i had to go this way because the screen i had was such a tight fit. if you use a smaller screen you'll still have to bondo it.