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350z - 2nd install Xenarc 840tsv 8.4" - {Update: Replaced with Dynamix 8"}

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  • 350z - 2nd install Xenarc 840tsv 8.4" - {Update: Replaced with Dynamix 8"}

    Hey All,

    Just wanted to post my new project to see if anyone has used the same items in their 350z and hope this can provide help to other as well. (for 350z owners. This is a non bose system)

    Reason for the 2nd install-2nd lilliput monitor broke. 2nd one in 1 year.
    (It was the 8" widescreen touch 889GL-80NP/C/T . The first one burned out due to heat and was covered under warranty. In the second install removed the rear housings and mounted it with a cpu fan. I did a rewire with some switches to turn the fan on and off since it was a little loud with the monitor off but Fan didnt turn back on and once again it blew out. ) Depending where you live these 350z can build up a lot of heat behind the radio from playing the radio itself.

    I say this is my second carputer install but actually it is just an of the monitor and clean up of the system. The new monitor I will be using is the Xenar 840tsv 8.4". The lilliput hardly fit even with some custom housing made out of radio blanks as the side and rear holders. (its was a horrible look install from the back)

    Current systems consists of
    *Stock radio with convertor for RCA outputs with an RCA channel switcher- To switch between radio and pc audio. FYI - The AUX line in adaptors dont work for this radio. It only works for the bose system. Trust me I tried it.
    *Kenwood eq to clean up sound
    *Old school soundstream amp -still puts out clean sound
    *Bazooka BT1014 for bass - (I know - Being lazy)
    *dell c840 laptop from ebay - just base with no lcd
    *dell docking station- power button wired to dash button to turn it on and off-
    *Rearview camera - BOYO VISION VTL200- I think its the best plus its all metal.
    *3Dconnexion SpaceNavigator PE - for controlling- simular to the bmw toggle wheel. can work as a mouse also(fully programable too with freeware)

    Whats being installed
    *xenarc 8.4 touch screen monitor

    Clean install and so that it can be restored back to factory appearance.
    Finding a why to install parts in a way not to void the factory warranty.
    Making the 8.4" monitor fit in the dash. (The lilliput barely fit after cutting and making the custom housing. One of the problems in the 350z is that the space where the pocket goes is very small and is not in any type of uniform shape(lots of odd angles).

    Plans for install of monitor
    Going to order lexan material press the front of the monitor against. For the lilliput I had used the original front housing and shaved it down on the sides. The lexan will keep the monitor from falling out and I will use the radio plastic blanks (the plastic sheets they sell in the car radio shops) to cut a housing around the lcd. The lexan will be glued to the plastic blank and painted black. I will then run some small brackets to the back of the lcd to keep it from falling out. Then I will use more brackets to mount the lcd to the dash front.

    Last I will use some lexan to create a tunnel for the fan to blow air way from the Lcd controller board(Just a 2 or 3 inch box tunnel. Also use some plastic blanks to cover the top of the radio that the heat came out of.

    This is the cheapest and most easy way for me to mount the radio as I have no experience with working with fiberglass and wood takes to long to cut and sand to get just right.

    I had a budget of spending less than 900 on this projects. But if I add up all the time and effort I should have bought the all in one system for 2g.


  • #2
    Please don't double post

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


    • #3
      My Bad.


      • #4
        sounds good, got any pics?
        Life Dosn't come with a reset button, if it did you might as well turn the game off.


        • #5
          yes, pics please

          i just sold my 240 and am getting a 350z shortly... i plan on doing an install. i would like to see how well the 8 inch screen fits before I decide on a screen size. thanks for the posts!



          • #6
            Stick to a 7", the console will take a 6.5 or 7 inch screen just right, anything larger and you're either not going to see the rest of the screen or you're cutting away some of the dash.

            I will be creating a work log quite soon for an install to my new 07.


            • #7
              8.4 monitor project scrapped for Dynamix 8" widescreen

              Ok. Here are the main components of the carputer.
              I had to change the screen to a smaller size as I found the dimensions of the other screen would fit but not without extreme modification. I was also worried that the screen would burn out again due to the heat and I found out that the screen was not a wide screen monitor.

              For a little less money I got the Dynamix 8 on ebay. It sold as an 8.4" but I it was actually an 8". (The title said 8.4" but the details said 8". I wanted an inch anyways). Its actually built well comparied to the lilliput. Component seems smallers and the housing was metal. The internal usb controller is also seperate from the main board so it works while viewing different inputs.

              Some cool things that are in this carputer is the tiny folding keyboard and the 3Dconnexion SpaceNavigator PE . Some programmer guru made a program that allows full customization of the device and even down to the sensitivity of it. It even autoswitches depending on which application you are in. So it winamp the functions send keystrokes and when I go back to the desktop the mouse profile kicks in. Too cool. This things has like 10 functions with the knob alone no including the two side buttons.
              Here is how I have mine setup in winamp.
              twist left or right= volume
              up and down =up arrow down arrow-scrolling in playlist
              move left or right= previous or next song
              TILT left or right= fast fwd or rwd 5 sec
              Push down = pause
              pull up = play from begining

              This device has to be a must for a carputer.
              Attached Files


              • #8
                Here are the screen pics

                If I had a 6 or 7 inch screen I would have just mounted in the double din radio area but wanted something that not many cars came from the factory with- an 8" widescreen.

                Ok The screen is not that clear in the pics but trust me its clear. The first pic also show the on screen keyboard that I got for 10 bucks. called touch-it virtual keyboard. Its has more custom features than the standard windows one.

                The second pic shows how I mounted it-work in progress- I was planning to either pay an audio shop or someone to do this for me. I am an it guy with previous mobile installer job experience but dont have any hardcore faberication experience. (I am in SF so if anyone has faberication experience let me know.) I mounted it using the mount bracket it comes with to some straps that screw to factory mounting points on the dash. The once thing that is nice is that I can remove the screen. Such as in a bad area or if the passenger wants to use it in their lap. (corderd of course)

                The last pic show how much space is availble and how ideally it should be mounted-of course with custom enclosure.

                Here is a link for all you 350z carputers that I believe is posted on this site. Very clean install.
                Attached Files


                • #9
                  Update-Daily Use, my review after two weeks (my Long winded review of having a carputer)
                  1. LCD/Touchscreen Use -The screen is pretty distracting to use while driving -Ex. Trying to select songs playing the next song (Using road runner interface).

                  2. Interference from the cheap ac/dc invertor is annoying. (Waiting for Monster 300 power invertor just ordered online)

                  3. Internet use- I have one of those dsl wireless cards that I borrowed from work. Playing streaming music again take more work than needed. I have a pocket pc phone that can play streaming music and that interface seems easier to use. (Resco Radio)

                  For day to day use I dont think I would need internet access unless on the very rare occasion I am traveling far from home or work. (I work in IT and have internet at work,at home, a blackberry and my personal phone is a pocket pc phone. The blackberry internet seems usable enough)

                  DVD/TV - I dont really watch movies while driving but for passengers the carputer has a dvd drive on it. No ones bothers-Since my car is a two seater I think people seem to rather talk to me while driving.
                  TV-Streaming Video- I have a slingbox that I can access via the carputer. Its pretty cool to listen to recorded program on it (I got a tivo at home too) but still can be distracting as I would be tempted to watch. (Again my pocket pc phone can stream video using the slingbox mobile program)

                  GPS- Dont have one yet but still reseaching. Does anyone have any recommendations?
                  I would need to find a good mapping program also. Again with the blackberry its got GPS built in and uses the free google maps program. Seems easier to type on while driving on the blackberry vs the carputer-Even with the wireless folding mini keyboard or the on screen keyboard.

                  Sound Quality-Seems decent enough. I dont not know how it compares to a IPOD but the mp3s definatly sound better than the radio. Since I have the RCA switcher I can go back between the radio and the carputer easily. I may plug in my pocket pc phone(MDA) to compare the sound quality.

                  Rear Camera-It seems almost a necessity in this car. The 350z has horrible blind spots and if someone parked to close behind you or trying to backout of a busy parking lot, the camera is a so helpful. I am sure all you 350z owners know what I am talking about.

                  One thing I was thinking about was being able to record or capture rear video in the the carputer but I am not sure how often I would use that or why?

                  Connexion- Space Navigator
                  Wow. This is the main source of control for the carputer. The freeware app that someone made for it make this device worth more than the 50 dollars I paid for it. Plus, it will auto switch based on the application that is in the active window. So if the windows desktop is the active app while winamp is minimized it works as a mouse. I set it up if I push in the navigator it left clicks,pull up right click.

                  I think without this I would have given up on the carputer. While playing winamp I can got to the next song go back,fast fwd/RWD pause,open up the visullizer, control the volume. Plus it does not look like I have a pc in the car like a mouse or trackball would. I believe the BMW and Mercedes have a similar contol device for their nav interface-I think they refer to it as a puck.

                  Startup/Shutdown- The carputer start up in about 29 seconds. I used a lots of utilities to get the time down. The one that made the most difference was a 160gb harddrive that I bought. I try not to shut it down but I have been trying standby mode,which seems to be putting a drain on the laptop battery. I will try hybernation works better. But using the laptop is ideal since you turn off the car the carputer stays on and it wont put a drain on the car battery.
                  Here are the specs
                  Dell C840- No LCD attached.
                  P4 2.0ghz
                  1gb Ram
                  120gb hd
                  64mb video

                  Why did I install a carputer-
                  Initially, I was looking for a monitor and a backup camera which lead me to look for a monitor with a vga input and to this carputer install.

                  1. Wanted better sound than the headunit could provide for mp3s.
                  2. Did not want to spend 1500 dollars for a headunit that only could provide GPS and play mp3s/CD/Radio but no other features like internet browers. Especially visulaor that made the radio look cool. Apparently, They stopped making radios with these as it was considered an distraction. Now I understand and agree but its still too cool have it.
                  3. Always wanted one. (I was using a laptop back in 96 to play mp3's to in my system when I worked in car stereo installation. Had 3 phenoix gold amps, 3 subs- jlaudio 12w6, and mb quarts components)

                  Now finally my conclusions,
                  For me its not worth it so far. I don't drive as much as other people may and even if I did it would only be good for uses a an mp3 player. I just dont spend as much time in my car for the other uses. Its cool to have all my music on one harddrive but these $##@ Ipods are catching up. (its just my preference but I dont really like apple computer software and I refuse to put one in my car).

                  Unless I can determine I can get better sound (looking to upgrade the sound card to an creative audigy) compaired to my pocket pc phone or another headunit that can play mp3s I am probably going to sell it off. (Not going to scrap it as I put to much work into it. Hopefully someone else can appreaciate it. ) And, I will just install an smaller lcd to view the backup camera. Setting up a carputer just takes so much time to install and refine. I have spend countless hours on installation and research of components and refining the operation system.

                  I will probably it for a few more weeks with the installation of the monster invertor to see if the hum goes away. The hum is only present when the cheap invertor is plugged in.

                  My sugestions
                  Unless you have a 4 seater or spend a lot of time in your car I would not recommend one.

                  1. If you do install one, use a laptop (if on a budget order just the base without the monther board on ebay.)

                  2. Use your existing monitor if your car has gps (just by an add in vga convertor). If not buy one that does not have a touch screen.

                  3. Just use the mini bluetooth keyboard (tiny folding type) and the usb Connexion personal explorer for a mouse and navigation applicaiton.

                  4. Be prepared to spend lots of time on this project. At least 10 hours installing and refining the scratch windows installation, looking for and installing/configurating applications and refining the os for startup time. Maybe save 5 hours if you dont worry about the startup time.

                  Hope this info can be helpful to someone.


                  • #10
                    Review update: After a few weeks of use

                    Playing Music.
                    Well I have been driving one hour each way to to a different office for work I am finding that I appreciate the convenance of the carputer attached to the Connexion Personal Explorer. Currently just put winamp in shuffle mode and just skip songs I dont like.
                    If only I could find a decent touch interface I would be more statisfied. It seems roadrunner seems the best so far as a free interface. The only draw back is that sometimes it will freeze when you go into an unconfigured app and that there are no shortcuts so I cannot control it using the Connexion. I was going to get Streetdeck but my first montor blew out so I count not use it before my trial expired. But from what I saw it may be worth getting as it seems to give the carputer a more professional factory install.
                    (If anyone has expierence with either it would be great to hear your opinion.)

                    The laptop (base assembly only) seems quick enough as far as turning on and off but its only a pentium 4 2ghz. with 1gb ram. I would have liked to have use a desktop motherboard with a faster processor but I haven't seen a cost effect battery solution prevent it from turning off if I have to restart the car. (I drive a stick and occasionally my call will stall). With the laptop it has a battery built in and if the computer locks up or doesnt turn off when I walk away it will just drain the laptop battery instead.
                    Anyways their is an quite a few time the laptop will stutter when switching between the graphic visulaizer and winamp.

                    Future projects
                    I will be installing eclipise component speakers all around with dynamat.
                    Changing the cheezy power invertor with a monster 300 that requires its own power cable to the battery.
                    Also am in the process of swapping out all of the generic rca with monster interconnects.