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2007 Mustang Install

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  • 2007 Mustang Install

    This is my first car PC install. I have no prior experience with car wiring or car audio. I do have experience in building computers and I am a programmer by trade. I'm going to try and include some of the details that are normally overlooked by more experienced installers and all my mistakes too.

    Part 1 (Research)

    I started out by reading the forums on this site. The FAQs are a good place to start. I also picked up 2 used books on Amazon:
    • Car PC Hacks by Damien Stolarz
    • Geek My Ride by Auri Rahimzadeh
    The books work best after you have already done some basic reading.

    The next step was to start looking into how to build a computer for use in a car. I decided to go mini-itx so I could put all the components in the space behind where the stock head unit used to go. My other goals were as follows:
    • Components need to be as light as possible.
    • Retain the original look of the car interior as much as possible.
    Part 2 (Gathering Parts)

    Using Google I shopped around for the best prices for the components I wanted. Be sure to look at shipping costs when ordering. Also, try and group items from the same supplier to minimize the shipping.


    VIA EPIA-CN13000G 1.3GHz VIA C7
    Lilliput 8-Inch 4:3 Desktop/Wall-mount TFT-LCD Touchscreen (FA801-TV/C/T)
    OPUS 120 watt DC-DC power Supply DCX3.120
    Western Digital Scorpio 120GB 5400 RPM ATA-6 Notebook Hard Drive
    Kingston ValueRAM 1GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 533 (PC2 4200)
    Cables To Go 36-Inch 7-Pin Serial ATA Device Cable
    Sabrent SBT-TVFM / FM Radio / TV Tuner PCI Capture Card
    Xtatix XCA-PMC 3 Port USB 2.0 HUB & Multi Flash Reader
    Engenius EUB-362 802.11g USB 2.0 / Wireless Network Adapter
    Black Vantec EZ SWAP EX HD-MRK-250FD IDE to SATA/USB2.0
    Phidget Encoder (S-40-P1052) from Trossen Robotics

    Car Audio:

    While the computer hardware was lightweight, the car audio (amplifier in particular) can become heavy. I looked at many amplifiers looking at weight vs. performance. The Alpine PDX-4.100 was only 6 pounds and gave the performance I wanted. Other amplifiers I looked at were the Kicker 06ZX700.5 and MB Quart PAB 5400.

    PDX-4.100 Alpine 4 Channel Digital Amplifier
    SCOSCHE FDK11B Wiring Harness
    KICKER 4-Gauge 4-Channel Amplifier Power KIT
    Replacement s197 Ford Mustang Faceplate
    Rear: Alpine SPR-69C 6" x 9" 2-way 300w car speakers
    Front: Alpine SPR-57C 5"x7" 2-way 300w car speakers
    Door Subs: stock

    XP Pro
    Rocker 500 Custom front end made by me.

    2007 Mustang - RockCar Front End

  • #2
    Part 3 (Fabrication)

    The screen I'm using is an 8" Lilliput. This will just barely fit into the area where the head unit was. I was not going to be able to use a kit to mount the screen so I needed to fabricate the faceplate to accommodate it. I picked up another faceplate from my local Ford dealer for about $60 so I could work on it without having my stock one out.

    My idea was to integrate the screen bezel from the Lilliput into the faceplate. To do this I had to get the Dremel out and do some cutting on both parts.

    The faceplate needed the area where the head unit went to be slightly taller and wider to accommodate the screen bezel. I used the bezel to mark the areas where I needed to cut.

    The screen bezel needed to be cut shorter so I removed the area where the buttons are. I can relocate this elsewhere in the car.

    I also cut the back bezel of the screen to match height of the front. This way I could just screw the parts back together when the screen is inside the faceplate. You will need to shave some of the sides of the back bezel so it will fit between the metal supports when it is installed. I went right up to where the screws were.

    The screen bezel now can fit inside the area I expanded in the faceplate. I then did the following steps:

    Using some glue I fixed the two pieces together
    Filled the gaps with some Epoxy plastic
    Sanded the gaps with 200 grit
    Added some filler bondo to finish up some of the rough spots
    Tape off the sides where the faceplate is not seen when installed
    Sanded everything with 400 grit
    Paint with grey filler primer
    wet sand with 400, prime again and wet sand with 800
    Final coat was SEM interior satin black

    Make sure the areas where the top buttons for info/reset/etc do not get too much paint build up so they stick. Sand these areas between coats.

    If I was to do this again I would have made the following changes:
    Roll the Epoxy plastic into long strips to fill in the gaps.
    The bondo is not as flexible as the plastic and it came up a bit.
    I would have used the Epoxy again to finish or found something else than the bondo.
    2007 Mustang - RockCar Front End


    • #3
      2007 Mustang Install

      Part 4 (Computer Build)

      You will want to build the system outside the car and get everything working before you install the pc in the car. I used a power supply and power on switch from an old computer.

      I chose TinyXP Beast for the OS. It was light and gave me a good base to start with. Here is how the install went:

      Burn the TinyXP iso to CD
      Connect the power supply and power on switch to the motherboard
      Connect the screen to the motherboard
      Attach the hard drive to IDE1 (You will need a 2.5” to 3.5” IDE converter)
      Attach a CD drive to IDE2
      Put in the bootable TinyXP install disk you created
      Boot the computer and install TinyXP
      Reboot and make sure the install worked
      Install the RAID drivers for SATA
      Power down and switch the hard drive to use the SATA on the Vantec EZ SWAP

      In my case I also had to install Windows Media Player 11, .NET 2.0 Framework, and the Phidget driver.

      I developed the front end using Visual Studio 2005. I designed the interface to look like the stock head unit to retain the same “look” for the interior. The Phidget encoder knob worked great and I will use it to change the volume and select media. This way I do not have to touch the screen all the time.
      2007 Mustang - RockCar Front End


      • #4
        thanks for the great write up. and the front end looks amazing too. i also might order one of those phidget encoders myself. i'm working on my mustang as well and have a similar setup, but my progress is a little bit behind yours right now. if you can be as detailed as you have been when you're writing up how to wire the power supply to the battery, you'll save me from many headaches. are you powering the monitor from the power supply too? i don't really know what i'm doing with any of the power stuff yet. good luck with everything!


        • #5
          Wires, sound cards and DirectShow

          Wiring is the part that I will have trouble with. I'm hoping someone on here can help out. I think the screen will be powered by the motherboard. I read somewhere on here where the 2005 Mustangs have a 12v in the wiring harness that I can hook the power to.

          Found out last night my TVFM card needs a line in for audio. I was planning on using the 3 connections for 5.1 sound. I might have to get an external sound card. SB Live! or something like that. Hate to spend cash on something already on the motherboard.

          The front end is moving along well. Trying to figure out how to get the FM and TV stations into the interface. DirectShow looks to be a good direction to go in.

          Tested the Engenius Wireless Adapter and it worked awsome.
          2007 Mustang - RockCar Front End


          • #6
            Give me a minute to put my words together and gather my pictures, and I will have a walk through on the battery power.
            Here's my setup, check it out.


            • #7

              Spent the weekend checking fitment and cutting out mounts for the motherboard, power supply and harddrive.

              To account for the bigger 8" screen I had to cut into the climate controls. No problems with breaking anything. The brains are towards the back. I covered the cutout with tape for added insurance.

              Power supply mounting:

              I needed to paint the EZ-Swap enclosure, so I went ahead and painted the mounts as well.

              The EZ-Swap is mounted in the glovebox. This way I could easily remove the harddrive. I doubled over some aluminum so the drive would also have a little shock protection.

              Screen installed:

              Motherboard Installed:

              Now I just need to run the wires and hook things up.
              2007 Mustang - RockCar Front End


              • #8
                Great install Hessian! Being a noob, I want to purchase a G4 but don't want to cut into the dash. your advice, would I have to to accomodate it in the factory radio location? The last thing I want to do is cut into my 'Stang.


                • #9
                  The first step in accessing the firewall is removing the passenger side front tire.

                  The second step is removing the plastic splash guard inside the fenderwell.

                  Now you have complete access to the factory firewall.

                  There is a small nipple in the firewall that can cut off and the hole can be used to run the power wire from the battery.

                  I purchased a power distribution kit from like Wal-Mart. I installed the in-line fuse close to the battery post, and then ran the power wire under the center console where I placed the distribution block.
                  Here's my setup, check it out.


                  • #10
                    PC Power and Speakers

                    Thanks for the great write up on running the power from the battery.

                    Is it possible to just use the yellow wire 12v constant/black wire ground from the harness for the power supply?

                    I plan to power the screen from 12v/ground on power supply.
                    I will power the amp from a battery connection for sure.

                    Using the harness to wire speakers would I just conect the amp to the correct speaker wire in the harness?

                    I'm using a SCOSCHE FDK11B harness.
                    2007 Mustang - RockCar Front End


                    • #11
                      Factory Faceplate

                      Originally posted by Mr_Bape View Post
                      Great install Hessian! Being a noob, I want to purchase a G4 but don't want to cut into the dash. your advice, would I have to to accomodate it in the factory radio location? The last thing I want to do is cut into my 'Stang.

                      There is a metra kit you can get to place a 7" screen in. This looks pretty good and no cutting is required.

                      If you want to fabricate without cutting the original parts then you can just get a replacement part from the dealer.
                      2007 Mustang - RockCar Front End


                      • #12
                        I guess you could use the 12v from the harness, but I just used the 12v from the PC PSU using a 4 pin molex connection on the monitor. That's the great thing about these types of projects, there are so many dfferent ways to get something accomplished.
                        Here's my setup, check it out.


                        • #13
                          Power to the Screen

                          Originally posted by 2 STanGeR View Post
                          I guess you could use the 12v from the harness, but I just used the 12v from the PC PSU using a 4 pin molex connection on the monitor. That's the great thing about these types of projects, there are so many dfferent ways to get something accomplished.
                          I'm just going to wire up the cigarette lighter adapter from the screen. There is a 12v and ground that I'm going to crimp on disconnect connectors. These will go to the 12v and ground that I'm steeling from the 4pin molex.
                          2007 Mustang - RockCar Front End


                          • #14
                            Powered up, no signal for the screen

                            I connected everything up today. I'm getting power to the motherboard. When I turn the key the fan on the motherboard spins and the hard drive spins.

                            I saw the computer boot and get the the Windows loading screen (one time), then the screen went black. The screen is powered and seems to be working fine, but it say there is no signal. Is the motherboard just not booting Windows or is it the screen?

                            The screen is set to auto on, but I have to manually power it on after it gets power for the first time. It seems to forget to auto on when unplugged.

                            Any ideas?

                            I feel I'm almost there...

                            My wiring went like this:

                            12v constant form the wiring harness (yellow) to the 12v input on the power supply (yellow).

                            Ground form the wiring harness (black) to the ground on the power supply (black).

                            12v switched (red) to the on/off switch (red) of the power supply.

                            12v (yellow) that was the 4 pin (pentium) connector to the (black/white) wire on the screen.

                            Ground (black) that was the 4 pin (pentium) connector to the (black) wire on the screen.
                            2007 Mustang - RockCar Front End


                            • #15
                              VIA Board and Input Signal

                              I removed everything from the car and brought it back to the workstation.

                              Back on the workstation I could not get the screen to power on. I had to reset the CMOS to get it to work again. Took it back outside powered up, saw the Windows boot screen again and then... blank screen again and could get a signal on the next boot.

                              Why would it do this when I power it from the car??

                              On a far outside chance I'm wondering if it was the sabrent TV card I installed. I did remove it for the second round of boot/blank screen. I wonder if the drivers or something has anything to do with it. Next step is to remove them completely. I don't have a restore point, but that would be nice. Still, this only happens when the system is powerd by the car.

                              This is frustrating...
                              2007 Mustang - RockCar Front End