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1997 Infiniti QX4 (First Install)

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  • 1997 Infiniti QX4 (First Install)

    1997 Infiniti QX4 CarPC Install.

    A little background about myself and the vehicle:
    I am currently 16 years of age. I will soon turn 17 in May. I have been "playing" with computers from a very very early age. My parents bought me my first desktop at age five. The QX4 was purchased after I totalled my fathers 2000 Toyota Tundra. The accident was not my fault in any way (some idiot crossed stop traffic blind into my turn lane and bent the frame). My father has agreed to sell me the QX4 as soon as he can afford to purchase a new truck. I do not know when this will be. It could take up to two years so I could have a lot of "planning" time I am new to this hobby and do not fully understand how everything works. I joined a year ago and have been reading and reading on how these things work. If I post something that will not work or is stupid to even attempt please let me know in a polite way. Again I'm only 16. With that said lets get into what I wan't to do to this beast!

    Minimum CarPC requirments:
    • 1GB Ram (low profile)
    • Small physical footprint
    • Must be located on the right in cargo area
    • 250GB HDD (lots of music)
    I want the gig of ram because I don't like system lags. The small footpring is required because the rear seats will be folded down quite often. I am a drummer and even at my early age I have gigs around town often. My drumset will be located back here and I don't want the carpc to get in the way. The right side is just preference. There is a cargo bay on the right side in the rear of the SUV. I'm hopping I can either get an amplifier or the actual carpc inside of it. As for the 250GB hard drive well let's just say I have A LOT of music. On my home PC right now I have around 18GB's. I originally had 28GB's but my computer crashed and I had to reformat the hard drive.
    Okay lets get down to some business
    Items to be purchased for CarPC (links provided):
    This is just for the initial install. I will add things like GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth, ect. later. I want to get the actually computer in before I add things like that. I have built computers before and have come to the conclusion that you add the bells and whistles after you get your bare system up and running smooth.
    Now a little about the audio in the car.
    The stock system is a Bose "high quality" stereo system. I put quotes around that because I am not to impressed with its performance. Granted it is a ten year old car but I've heard better out of a stock system. I would like to replace all four speakers in the doors with some high quality Pioneer speakers. If any of you out there think I should use different let me know I have Pioneer speakers in my daily car that I use to drive back and forth to school right now they sound good to me.
    Items to be purchased for Audio System:
    I'm going to try, once I start installing, to be as detailed as possible without confusing people. I got a lot of useful information out of vladcarpc's worklog. He was clear about his actions and gave detailed photographs and diagrams. Thank you vladcarpc. I hope that other new hobbiests can use this worklog to tutor themselves.
    Here is a diagram of what I will do.

    (Made in Powerpoint)
    I stole the general idea from vladcarpc's diagram. I like his setup so I think it's a good idea to use it
    Now for a few pictures of the vehicle:
    The exterior of the vehicle:

    Here's the cargo area where I have decided to place the amp:

    The cargo area measures:

    Length (Left to right) at most narrow point = 9 inches
    Height = 14 inches
    Depth = 5 inches
    That means the area of this cargo box is 630 cubic inches.
    Hopefully plenty of space to get an amplifier in

    Okay. I'm currently looking for a job. Once I get one I will start purchasing all the items I need to install. Maybe I can even talk my father into letting me tear into the QX4 haha. I seriously doubt it but it's worth a try. I'm going to make a drawing of the enclosure the computer will be in. I will mount the enclosure over the wheel well so I can still fit my drums inside the vehicle and fold the seats down.

    Thanks for looking. I'll start posting as soon as I start working on this. I just thought I would post what I would like to do so people can either lend me guidence or critisize me.

    Any input would be apreiciated!

    Thanks again.

  • #2
    This is good stuff, Drummer. It's pretty clear you're taking a methodical approach. It looks well- and thoughtfully-planned.

    I don't know what the under-seat situation is in the QX4, but that position has worked well for the few installs I've been involved in. The big advantage is that the VGA cable -- and all the others -- can be shorter, and you don't have to run power cables all the way to the rear of the vehicle.

    I may go with a DVD player, rather than a burner. I don't think I'll have much need to burn DVDs in the car, so it's a way to keep the cost lower. Or maybe I could go up in capability. I think that, since the Blueray format has won the war, I'd rather have a Blueray reader than a dual-layer burner, considering that they'll probably cost about the same right now. I have a burner in the house for the times when I need to burn a DVD.

    You said you would add capabilities such as Wi-Fi later on. An advantage to adding Wi-Fi early in your process would be that you can use it update and to back up the machine to your home PC, so you won't lose any more data on either of them.

    You have a great start, and I'll be watching your progress.
    If just enough is really good, then too much ought to be perfect.

    2006 Scion xB with in-dash Atom & Lilliput 889GL -- Worklog at


    • #3
      I don't know what the under-seat situation is in the QX4, but that position has worked well for the few installs I've been involved in. The big advantage is that the VGA cable -- and all the others -- can be shorter, and you don't have to run power cables all the way to the rear of the vehicle.
      I would love to put the PC under the seat. It would allow for easy access and such but since the QX4 has powered seats on driver and passenger seats I'm fairly certain a PC would not fit under there. I do have the option to put the computer in the dash where the stock Bose system is but I'm not sure I want to do that because if something goes wrong it will be a pain to get to it. Running the wires will probably be a pain but hey I have to learn sometime As for the wifi situation I think I'll take your advice and just add that in now And as for the DVD burner, I would really like to have a burner in the car. I have pulled into parking lots at gigs I play at and musicians are always asking what I'm playing in my car haha The burner would give me the option to just burn it and give it to them. Maybe thats a poor excuse but oh well. As the project goes on maybe I'll change my mind.
      Thanks for you interest and pointers rdholtz

      I am currently designing a case in Solidworks to get all the demensions and such down to a science do I don't just start cutting away at the material I decide to buy.


      • #4
        CarPC Model Case

        Okay so I downloaded Solidworks earlier today.
        After messing around for a few hours with this program I have found it is really REALLY easy to use.

        Here's a peak at what I'll make the case look like

        There will be fans (as you can see), I will power them with a second M2-ATX power supply. If any of you out there think I should use a opus 350watt let me know please.

        I have also decided not to put the CD drive up front in the dash. I won't need it while I'm driving anyway so I'm just going to mount it in the case. Instead of buying an enclosure I will purchase a Notebook IDE to Desktop IDE adapter.

        Thanks for looking!

        Again all comments are welcome.
        Attached Files


        • #5
          As for the IDE adapter you could use this
          i aslo have a qx4 and i use the ampie case it works well. Here's my llink


          • #6
            When you build that case, remember that nicely rounded corners like those on your design are difficult to achieve from scratch. On the other hand, some of the project boxes have very nice finishes and make producing a beautiful case an easy job.

            If you do it all from raw sheet metal, and use that little Harbor Freight bender, you're more restricted and have to do some good planning. I did a bunch of test bends on scrap before I ever tackled the real thing. I bent the sides and bottom from a single piece; the front and back were separate and riveted in. If I were redesigning it, I might make all but the one panel with the ports from a single piece. I'd still leave that separate because I might screw up on the holes or change the motherboard, and it would be a shame to scrap everything for a minor change.

            I would also consider hinging the lid rather than making it lift off.

            I'll have to admit, now that everything for my car is built, that I really like the look of the VIA Pico-ITX systems. One of those would fit almost anywhere -- even in the glove box -- and not require trunk mounting. They add to the cost -- probably close to $400 for the whole system -- but there's a huge cool factor there. Might be really interesting to see if you can get the Pico-ITX board and build your own tiny case. Here's a link to information on it:

            The whole Pico-ITX system is 5.9"(L) x 4.3"(D) x 1.8"(H). It's not low-cost, but low enough -- retail on the kit is $280. Add hard drive + 1GB SODIMM memory.
            If just enough is really good, then too much ought to be perfect.

            2006 Scion xB with in-dash Atom & Lilliput 889GL -- Worklog at


            • #7
              I'll have to admit, now that everything for my car is built, that I really like the look of the VIA Pico-ITX systems.
              Now that I have seen that I am thinking. If I buy a Pic-ITX or even a Mini-ITX motherboard I could get it right inside the dash. I'll have to think about it for awhile. I am not to sure if I want to mount the computer in the dash because if something goes wrong I would have to tear the whole dash out all over again. Doing that in my 87 Camry is a chore in itself. I'm sure its not to easy in a QX4. Thank you for this bit of information though I will consider it. As for building the case, my father and my grandfather have been working with metal for a long time. If I need any help doing the fabrication I can go to them. Heck my grandfather raced stock cars here locally haha so fabrication should not be a problem.

              After designing that case I was laying in bed last night thinking of how I will actually mount it in the rear of the vehicle. I thought about scracthing the case idea and try to fabricate something into the side of the vehicle. I'm not sure what I'll do yet. If I decide to keep the case I will mount it off the floor on the side with brackets that I have lying around the house. Right now that seems like the best plan because I need all the floor space I can get to haul my drums around.

              I have a question for those who are looking.
              I want to have some lighting in this case. It will most likely be made out of plexiglass and be mounted to the side of the vehicle like I stated above. (I will draw a rough sketch of what I'm trying to describe later today and post it) I want it to look kind of "flashy" but be functional. I will also have those three 80mm fans cooling the case.

              With that said does anyone think I should use an Opus 350watt or just use two M2-ATX power supplies? I have seen that some people are not to fond of the Opus brand and was just wondering which route some other people think I should go.

              Thanks for looking!


              • #8
                Hey just wanted to comment saying your not the only one on the "early" boat lol. I turned 18 last August, and have since started my install so I'm here with ya buddy! As for the power supply, the M2-ATX sounds like more than enough for what you need. 160 Watts may not sound like much, but don't forget, the motherboards you are talking about are very power efficient. I myself have the Intel D201GLY2 "little valley" motherboard and it works like a charm! I have lighting I am doing as well, and what I did was get 2 UV Reactive fans and put them at the top of the box for my computer, and then the 2 amps I have are mounted to the left and right of that box. I then have a 12" UV Cathode that runs along the top of all this, making a pretty cool light effect. Nice start though!
                PLEASE Visit My *Worklog*

                Tell me what you think!


                • #9
                  Holy S*$*

                  Dude, I JUST SAW YOU LIVE IN FORT WAYNE!!!! where ya at buddy? ill have to show u my car when its finished. I have about 1-2 more weeks until I'm completely done with the fab and everything. Let me kno! I go to Carroll, what about you?
                  PLEASE Visit My *Worklog*

                  Tell me what you think!


                  • #10
                    I go to Carroll, what about you?
                    haha sweet dude I go to North Side.


                    • #11
                      thats tyte dude check out my project page

                      if all goes well, I should have my car put back together within 2 weeks, and Im pretty psyched. if you need any tips lemme kno man
                      PLEASE Visit My *Worklog*

                      Tell me what you think!


                      • #12
                        yea all I can say is OMG the sound on the CarPC is OUTSTANDING and thats to say the least! So don't give up on it, it is definatly worth all of the trouble. I'm just waiting for my dash to hurry up and be finished fiberglassing. Once thats done, put it all back together and YAY! lol I can't wait! so yea, it'll be done soon, but I already got like 20 people at my school around my car and I didn't even know it and they were like DANG!!! cause the sound is crazy good. I'm getting the dashboard back any day now so when I do I'll let you know and find some time to meet up with you. maybe you could meet me at my work its around northrop and I could show you there.
                        PLEASE Visit My *Worklog*

                        Tell me what you think!