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2006 PT Cruiser -Mac Mini

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  • 2006 PT Cruiser -Mac Mini



    I have had this PT Cruiser for a week now and I am already getting to installing the Mac Mini car PC that I had in my Mazda Protege.

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    The stock radio in my PT Cruiser is a 1.5Din radio so it will be a bit tougher to fit the LCD in.

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    There is a removable cubby hole below the radio that looks just perfect for the Mac Mini.

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    There is a good amount of room behind the bezel for the Mac Mini.
    Also shown here is my homebuilt amplifier.

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    The plan will be to mount the Carnetix power supply between the air vents.

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    There is a perfect spot below the bezel that looks like it will fit the keyboard.

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    I will be taking apart my Liliput 7inch LCD and re-mounting it.

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    The LCD fits with a little bit of dremeling some of the tabs inside the bezel.

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    The LCD fits nicely behind the radio cut out.
    There is a small amount of overlap at the bottom, but with the OSX toolbar this isn't a problem.

    I will cut some trim pieces to cover up the sides.
    The trim pieces will have buttons for volume control.

    The goal is not to bondo, sand, and re-paint the bezel.

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    The mac mini fits perfectly into the space behind the cubby hole.
    It sits nice and level with the road.

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    I did a rough-cut on the cubby hole to test the mac mini LCD mount.
    The cuts will be cleaned up later.

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    The mac mini pushes up into the top part of the cubby hole.
    From the front, non of the cuts are visible.

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    My homebuilt amplifier fits perfectly in the space that was occupied by the radio.
    Details on this amplifier are in my Protege project log.

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    The GPS receiver fits perfectly into the spot above the air vents.
    This location will allow the GPS to receive a good signal though the windshield, without having to actually place the GPS on the dash.

    This is just a test mount, it will be mounted to a plastic bracket later.

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    The GPS receiver is perfectly stealthed.

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  • #2
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    There is a nice pocket on the center console that I use for my cell phone.
    It works nicely to mount the Gyration mouse charger.
    The cord will be hidden when installed, and the charger may be painted to match the console.

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    The mouse sits in the pocket nicely, it doesn't rattle and the charger makes good contact.

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    The keyboard fits perfectly under the mac mini.
    It doesn't rattle, and the keys aren't pushed down.

    However the keyboard is wide enough that it sticks out 4 inches into the passenger side.
    I may have to find a better location.

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    The Mac mini looks almost stock in the cubby hole.
    This is just a test fit though the mini isn't hooked up yet.

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    Comment


    • #3
      Looks good! Nice to see a fellow cruiser!
      2001 PT Cuiser
      VoomPC with 1.5Ghz C7
      M2 power supply
      in dash slim tray dvd drive
      DWW-750FM c/w 7" USB touchscreen,AM/FM, 4x45W amp
      See my install here

      Comment


      • #4


        I changed the location of the GPS so that I wouldn't have to make a bracket to hold it.
        I removed the top part of the dash easy enough and found room above the glovebox.

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        I stuck the GPS down with some velcro and routed the USB cable down to where the mac mini will sit.

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        I mounted the Gyration wireless receiver in between the air vents.
        This should keep any metal form interfering with the signal.

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        This is the guts of the Gyration mouse charger.
        I needed to reverse the locations of the power LED and Power outlet in order to have a clean install in the car with no visible wires.

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        Now the power cord comes out where the status LED was, and a new status LED sits where the power contact used to be.
        I painted the Gyration mouse charger black.

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        I cleaned up the cuts on the cubby hole.
        This photo shows how the mini press-fits into the cubby hole.
        It sticks out the top both to have more room for cables, and to keep the Mini level with the road so that DVD's read properly.

        Comment


        • #5
          Good job, Zapwizard - looking like a near-factory install so far

          and to keep the Mini level with the road so that DVD's read properly.
          Tilt/angle should not affect the operation of the optical drive, as there is slots/arms inside to guide and locate disc. Your install would look factory if you can tilt the mac-mini to the same angle as the rest of the fadcia.

          Keep up the good work though, this is going to turn out nice!
          F6 Tornado Project Log ; HP Blackbird Watercooled Server

          Beta Tester for Centrafuse and 3dConnexion (No business affiliation with either)

          Comment


          • #6
            I can't actually tilt it the same as the cubby hole anyways.
            The metal bracket behind the cubby holder is in the way, and I don't want to cut it out as I would like to be able to convert back to stock later.

            Comment


            • #7


              I wanted a rear-view camera as part of my Car PC install.
              A web-cam was out of the question, as they have terrible quality, narrow field of view, and can't see at night.
              What I did was take a VERY old logitech quickcam and gut the electronics inside.
              I replaced the camera with a very high quality analog camera model PC823XS from SuperCircuits.com

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              The plastic bezel on the front of the enclosure was modified to fit the new camera.
              The camera was then held in place with foam-rubber.

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              The new camera specs are:
              120 degree field of view
              480 lines of resolution
              Full color
              0.05 Lux low light rating (Can see in near darkness)
              Auto shutter, auto gain and auto backlight

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              I bought this cheap tripod from Best Buy.
              It's construction made it easy to hack into a new mount for the camera.

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              I cut and bent some aluminum to make a mounting bracket for the camera.

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              The camera mounts just under the third tail light.
              A rubber bumper prevents it from scraping the glass.
              It is held tightly against the car with 3M mounting tape.

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              The camera mount turned out very slick with no modification or holes to drill into the car.

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              I can tweak the aiming of the camera using the tripod mount.

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              I will wire the camera to the LCD once I get the LCD mounted.

              Comment


              • #8


                While the mac mini has built -in WIFI, it is not fast enough to transfer large amounts of data.
                So I installed a Ethernet jack that I can access under the glove box.

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                I installed a powered USB hub in a location where I can reach the plugs without having visible wires.

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                I cut away a lot of plastic on the back of the bezel to bring the LCD closer to the front of the bezel.
                The LCD is mounted with high strength bonding tape.

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                The LCD electronics are mounted to the back of the LCD.
                The IR receiver will be wired so I can use the LCD remote to change any settings.

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                I powered up the Mini and tested the LCD.
                It fits perfectly, the active area of the LCD is slightly smaller then the cutout.

                Comment


                • #9


                  I installed a power button for the Mac Mini in a place I can reach but is hidden from normal view. The power button is hardly ever used.

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                  I put down one of those cellphone grip things to keep the keyboard from sliding out of it's spot.

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                  I installed a USB jack in the center console.

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                  The USB jack is located right by the power outlet.

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                  The main use for this jack will be to connect the Mac Mini to my cell phone and also charge it.

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                  I got rid of the "naked" USB hub I previously installed because I needed more then 4 jacks. This hub has seven, three I can access from the back, and four that will be internal to the installation.
                  All four internal jacks are already in use:
                  -GPS
                  -Wireless keyboard and mouse
                  -Wired keyboard controller
                  -Center console USB

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                  I used lots of velcro wire ties to keep the cables in check and allow the mini to be pulled out for service.

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                  Once installed all the cables are neatly tucked away.

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                  In order to provide quick control of Front Row I took apart a USB keyboard and ripped the PCB out. (This was done previously on the Protege install)
                  I installed the USB controller onto the LCD control board. I used the old touchscreen USB connection for the keyboard controller.

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                  I made two PCBs with two buttons each, these buttons control Up, Down, Enter and ESC.
                  I completely forgot that I also need Left and Right to properly control front-row. I will change my setup later though.

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                  The buttons are large enough to stick the plexi right on-top

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                  I made some half-circle shaped buttons to fill in the existing cutout on my console.
                  I did this using a drill press, a file and sand paper. I will try to get some laser cut at some point later.

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                  I loaded up a keyboard test program and made sure the buttons worked as needed.

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                  The buttons work perfectly..except that I need to add Left and Right to the controls.

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                  Comment


                  • #10
                    looks amazing as always zap

                    2006 Mazda 3
                    Behringer DCX-2496
                    JL300/4 Focal 6W4311B Focal TN52
                    JL500/1 JL10w6v2

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      great job on a very clean install. i can't wait to see how your LCD cleanup goes.
                      Et ipsa scientia potestas est.

                      Worklog for my 2007 Civic Si ...f*** it...
                      Pictures of the Corolla (retired)here
                      Need to make something? Here are a few ideas.

                      Comment


                      • #12


                        I rebuilt the button PCBs so that I now have Up, Down, Left, Right, Enter, and Esc.

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                        I got my Carnetix 1900 power supply installed.
                        I wired a switch that allows me to select a 6-second, or 15-minute timer till sleep mode.

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                        All the parts are finally installed.

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                        The entire car PC is now up and running.

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                        Before my next road trip I will probably install a boost mobile handset for live internet.
                        For now I can dial up using my Sprint phone, or pull into someplace with WIFI.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          would you show in more detail how you've covered your switch PCBs with the acrylic pieces?
                          Et ipsa scientia potestas est.

                          Worklog for my 2007 Civic Si ...f*** it...
                          Pictures of the Corolla (retired)here
                          Need to make something? Here are a few ideas.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            There is not much detail to show on that.
                            The back of the acrylic was covered with some very thin, and VERY strong double sticky tape, the acrylic is just held onto the top of the buttons with this tape. It actually works very well, the tape holds up to the heat, and doesn't fall off. yet I can take the buttons off for cleaning or service, replace the tape and push them back on.
                            The buttons are just springy enough that it works kind of like a hat-switch. I press the right-most side for right, the top-most edge for up, and the bottom-most edge for down.
                            Sorry, I don't know where to buy it or what kind of tape it is, I just have a friend who can get it.

                            I used a thicker 3M molding tape to hold the LCD in place, and a few other parts.
                            Other parts I used velcro with industrial adhesive (Black backed, not grey adhesive) I find it doesn't turn to goop in the Texas heat.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              i think that explains what i was looking for. So there aren't any separations on the acrylic piece for each switch, there's just enough freedom to actuate one without the others. I've been thinking about ways to do what you've done. I think your method is very clean. I'll be interested to see how it holds up over time.
                              Et ipsa scientia potestas est.

                              Worklog for my 2007 Civic Si ...f*** it...
                              Pictures of the Corolla (retired)here
                              Need to make something? Here are a few ideas.

                              Comment

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