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'05 VW Jetta CarPC on the cheap

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  • '05 VW Jetta CarPC on the cheap

    Well, I finally took the plunge and ordered parts for my CarPC!!! My goal was under $500 for a working CarPC. [edit: new running total: 907.77!] I can add extra toys when I wanted/could afford them. But I needed something that would at least play Radio, mp3, flac and video. What I've ordered so far:

    }Lilliput 7" EBY7001 Touchscreen monitor (ebay) $173.95
    }Car PC (ebay) $259.95 +$18.45 S/H

    I took the easy way out (and actually a little cheaper) and bought a prebuilt PC. I did not compromise on this though, as it happened to have everything I wanted in the PC:
    M2-ATX PSU
    D945GCLF2 MOBO
    2 GIGS Ram
    VoomPC-2 Case

    }DIRECTED DMHD1000 Car Connect HD Radio Receiver - $56.98
    }MitchJ HDR-RS232 Cable - $24.25
    }Volkswagen Jetta A5 2007 Radio/Stereo Install Dash Kit - $6.99 +$6.99 S/H

    The monitor is what was really throwing off my budget. I wanted the double din version of this monitor but couldn't find it for nearly what I could afford. I'm going to install it OVER the hole where my radio was until I can afford a DD kit. I have a spare IDE HDD that I can throw in it until I can buy a better laptop drive.

    What I still need to buy:
    }Amp (looking at this one) ~$50.00 [edit - purchased for $50.00]
    }Wires ~$no idea

    Planned upgrades [aka, the "when I have money" list]
    DD Conversion for the monitor [here]
    Slot-load DVD drive (will have to do something custom for this)
    GPS software and antanae
    Back-up cam
    XM/Sirius Satalite radio

    The way out upgrades [aka the "dream" list]
    Wireless internet card to stream pandora and maybe hook up a lan phone via majic jack
    Infra-red driver's cam
    My VW Jetta Worklog

  • #2

    Got a couple of items today:

    The Radio Receiver

    ...and a NEW (used) AMP! I did end up going with the one linked above from for $50.00 (Thanks Chris!). Specs are:

    •70 watts RMS x 4 at 4 ohms
    •140 watts RMS x 4 at 2 ohms
    •280 watts RMS x 2 bridged output at 4 ohms
    •2-, 3-, or 4-channel output
    •4-ohm stable in bridged mode
    •Tri-way capable (Tri-Way crossover required)
    •requires 4-gauge power and ground leads — wiring and hardware not included with amplifier
    •PWM MOSFET switching power supply
    •variable 50-200 Hz high-pass/low-pass crossovers (12 dB/octave high-pass, 24 dB/octave low-pass)
    •ThunderEQ bass boost (up to 18 dB at 40 Hz)
    •preamp outputs
    •13-15/16"W x 2-1/8"H x 9-3/4"D

    Now I continue to wait (im)patiently for everything else I ordered to come in.
    My VW Jetta Worklog


    • #3
      the lcd

      yah, ive been looking at ways to install a screen into the double din hole. i found this (VW MKIV Bezel) or you could do custom bondo job (if you feel like it) just some suggestions, also what are your ideas on mounting the pc, i have a 02 gti, just wanna get some ideas
      If its not broke, try and fix it.
      My First Carputer


      • #4
        I have a 2000 Jetta and I put the PC in the trunk where the CD changer was. Put 2 fans in the door to pull the heat out and made a custom mount more everything. For the screen I went the make you own route.. , 8.4" Dynamix Screen and a Slim DVD.


        • #5
          Got most everything I need in now (except wires) and started puting things together and bench testing it.

          I took the case appart to install the spare HDD I had laying around and have a couple of words of advice for anyone who gets a similar set up

          1) this case only takes NOTEBOOK/LAPTOP HDDs. I'm sure you could rig it and find a place to put one, but the designed spot for a HDD is made for a laptop one.

          2) The case fans are attached to the case but pluged into the tray that you pull out. Pulling out the tray without unplugging these causes you to bend the connectors that they are plugged into. You must pull out the MOBO tray about 2-3 inches and reach under to unplug the fans before pulling it the rest of the way out.

          One thing I noticed is that there is only ONE output for anything else you want to put in the case. The output is a combo SATA and Molex. What I am wondering is if I want to power the monitor off the M2-ATX, will there be enough juice for both the HDD and the monitor on this one line. And what if I wanted to install an optical drive? What would I use to power it?

          I took a Molex to SATA power adapter and cut off the SATA part and taped it to the connector shown below who's screw looking end I also cut off (I have no idea what that was supposed to screw into)

          I didn't feel brave enough to shove a paper clip into one of the PUS connectors so I just connected it to the MOBO of the computer who's PSU I was "borrowing" so that it would show it was connected and power the 12 V rails. Powered on no problem. Loaded windows XP, winamp, centrafuge, codecs etx. Now I just have to load some music to get me started and wire the car. In other words, I'm like 10% done......

          My VW Jetta Worklog


          • #6

            Wow, I had almost an entire write up, and I hit the back button on my mouse!!! That button is going to make me kill myself some day!!! Ah well I'll start again.

            I took off a few day this week to get some work done on the CarPC (and to just not be at work). I got a lot done but not as much as I had wanted to. I had some things come up that needed my attention. I also had a few complication arise that required 6 or 7 trips to Pep Boys, 3 or 4 to Radio Shack, 3 trips to a local installation shop, and two to Lowe's and at least two to Microcenter. And on top of that the weather did not want to cooperate.

            Just so you can follow along, I used these two guides today:



            [edit: found a better guide since writing this up:]

            I started off removing the battery and battery box to find a place to run the 4 awg power line into the cabin. There was supposed to be something that looked like udders or nipples to run the wires through. I never saw anything that looked like that. What I did find was the plug where the clutch would be if I had a standard transmission. Pops right out and is big enough for 4 or 5 0awg wires! I poked a hole with a knife into the soft rubber plug just big enough to work in the wire (to avoid as much water as possible) and voila, I'm IN! I then added a 4 awg maxi fuse in-line fuse holder; the source of two of the trips to Pep Boys, three trips to a local audio install place one trip to Lowe's to try and fix it when I broke it, and $20.00 extra dollars to buy a second fuse holder when I gave up on that idea...I'm not even going to go into that story. (sorry, no pics for this. It was raining a bit during this process and I didn't want to get the camera wet)

            Once I was in I ran the big power wire [red] down the car under the door sill trim. The stuff just pops up. The guide mentions having extra clips, but all of mine were intact and unbroken. Some were still stuck in the door sill, but careful work with plyers got them out in pretty good shape. I also ran the monitor power wire [black/red] as well as the ignition wire [blue] from the trunk to the front of the car. The trim just pops back into place.

            I now started on tearing out the dash. The guide that I was following must have been for an MKIV jetta instead of the MKV as there were some sneaky screws holding on the dash that were not listed in the guide. I'll include some of the pictures from the guide here: [edit: now that I'm already done with this part I find a good guide =). Here it is:]

            In addition to the two screws here...

            ...there is one hiding right above the steering wheel to the left under the trim (the trim is just held on with clips, it pops right out)

            and there is one behind the headlight switch. You have to kind of push in and turn (can't remember which way) and it will pop out (the nasty scratches on the switch are not from me removing it, it is the crappy paint that VW used to cover everything that just peels right off! It's about the only thing I hate about this car. It's part of the reason I am replacing the's covered in the same thing and looks like it has leprosy. See pictures lower down.)

            same with the right side of the driver's side dash, there are a couple of hidden screws. I remember one was under the trim directly above the ash tray (again, the trim just pops out)

            I then started on the center console. I can't provide a lot of helpful info here as the person who had the car before me tore into the console and broke several of the clips and never put back a lot of the screws. I believe it's pretty straight forward though.

            I also took off the shifter cover (pops out) and the ashtray (two screws)

            Once the path was clear, I ran the black/red monitor power wire and blue ignition wire through this spot here:

            The monitor power went up to where the HU used to be

            and the blue wire went down under the ashtray and looped through one of the unused stock button spots where I will install a switch. I then ran it back out to the fuse panel where I was going to tap a fuse. However, I think I'm going to route it up to where the head unit was instead and tap the stock harness for switched 12V. I wrapped it around the gear shifter to keep it from falling back through the hole till I got around to installing the switch.

            With these wires tucked away where they belonged, I put the ashtray, shifter cover, and dash back together. I left the center console apart as there are more wires headed for this area.

            The passenger side dash came apart much easier. I think I was just more confident and knew better what to look for. There are three screws under the glove box and three more inside the box. Again, I had to take out the trim above the ashtray to get a sneaky screw. I had to give it a good tug, but the glove box and dash came out. There are several wires and hoses that have to be disconnected from the glove box to remove it. Once out I ran 4 sets of 16 awg speaker wire to the center console via the passenger side door sill trim. I will be wiring these to the stock harness and use the stock wires that are already installed to go to the speakers. Then I ran the monitor extension the same way. Sorry, I was running out of steam at this point and didn't take any pictures, but it was the same process. Besides, any more pictures on this page and it will take half an hour to load.

            Now, I have to leave everything as is until my two USB extensions get here in the mail. One for the touch screen and another will go to another one of the unused button locations for flash drives and what not. I will have to eventually run a third for the slot load dvd drive I will install some day.

            And that brings us up to date. I also had to replace the negative battery terminal as the stupid bolt was striped (not by me). Then I had to do the same thing with the positive terminal for the same reason. The negative was a piece of cake...the positive was a pain! There is NO slack whatsoever in the positive wires and I felt like I was wrestling my car to get that one on. I'll have to work out some other option eventually, but it works for now.

            Besides running the USB wires I still have to find some way to secure the amp and PC in the trunk so they are not rolling around, ground the ground wire (I'm thinking about the roof of the that considered the chassis?), install the tuner and run the antenna to that it? I'm sure I am forgetting something.
            My VW Jetta Worklog


            • #7
              Costs you don't think about

              This project will nickle and dime you to death. This is just a list of some expenses you may not consider or I wasn't planning on or just hadn't mentioned yet:

              Antenna addapter: $5.70
              2 15' usb extenstions: $7.87
              5M Stereo 3.5mm to 2 2M RCA Audio Lead Cable $5.99
              320GB laptop HDD $79.99
              VGA extension cable $19.99
              F/M VGA adapter (they only had F/F cables in 15' length) $2.99
              Inline fuse holder: $20.00
              Inline fuse holder to replace the one I broke: $20.00
              New battery terminals : ~$15.00
              Power cable for the monitor and speaker wire ~20.00
              Main power wire, ground wire, ignition wire, distrobution block, ground block, ring terminals, fuses: $88.52
              Misc. switches, terminals and stuff from Radio Shack: ~$15.00
              Sand paper: ~$4.00
              Grounding bolt: $free from the nice guys at my local audio install shop.
              Electrical tape: $2.99
              Shot of wheat grass to get through the install $2.79

              Grand Total: 310.21

              Add that on top of what I had already purchased:

              and you get a grand total of (drum roll please): $907.77 (crap I hope my wife doesn't read this part) Wow, even I had no idea that it was this much when I started doing the math here! Jeesh! I had started the project in the hopes of staying under $500.00. After figuring out what I would need I had accepted it was going to cost me $600.00. But, every time you turn around there is some little part that you didn't realize you needed or something comes up and you have to buy something extra $300.00 worth of stuff.

              The moral of the story here kids, is that if you have a budget for a carPC, double it and you may come in a few bucks under budget. Fortunatly I had used the money from selling my old car (a whopping $500.00) and had done a few side jobs driving my sick boss around (an extra ~$120.00) so I'm less than $300.00 into personal money but still...
              My VW Jetta Worklog


              • #8
                I wanna see some final pics preeze
                If its not broke, try and fix it.
                My First Carputer


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Scrambles View Post
                  I wanna see some final pics preeze
                  working on that...


                  So, I went to a friends house who offered to help me out wiring stuff up. the amp and PC mounted to the back of the back seats. I took out the back seats and wired up the speaker wires to the amp and then cut into the harness and wired up the other end to the appropriate wire (hopefully). Wired the power and ground to the PC and amp. And...god is that all we did in 4 hours? Doesn't sounds like much but none of it was easy =). For one, the back sides of the rear seats are METAL! We had to try a few different options (including a couple trips to Auto Zone) before we found something that would get through the metal. And...other things, like it was hot...and there were mosquitoes...and...we broke several don't know, you weren't there. :P

                  Sorry, forgot my camera so no pictures. Oh, also...the harnes diagram on this page (close to the bottom) lists the Car Radio Accessory Switched 12v+ Wire: Plug #2, Pin #13 but in that wire! So, I have to find another spot to get my 12V switched. I can't even find a fuse tap locally, I may have to order it online and pay twice as much for shipping and wait 2 weeks for it to come in the mail.
                  My VW Jetta Worklog


                  • #10
                    I know...I suck. I said when I started this thread that I wasn't going to be that guy...the one that started a worklog and never finished it. Well, it's been a while, but everything is working. I just haven't made it pretty yet to take final pictures. I had some problems with the audio. (thread here: I ended up paying the nice people at cartunes in atlanta too much money (but well worth it cause I was tired of tearing my car apart to wire it) to take out the stock amp and run a couple of crossovers to the speakers. They also installed a groundloop isolator which it didn't need before I took it to them but it sounds good now.

                    I just put my monitor in a double din kit but the stupid dash kit that I had bought a while ago is too big for my monitor. You would think...Double din sized monitor + double din dash kit = fit like a glove. Instead there is a one inch gap (literally) between the monitor and the dash. I must have purchased a trim kit or some crap like that, but I think I've found one that will work for $20.00.

                    Ah well, I will be doing more work over the next few weeks and I promise to keep updated and post pictures. =)
                    My VW Jetta Worklog


                    • #11
                      Looking forward to seeing the final updates...when you get 'em
                      FAQ to the FAQ - Great Starting Point

                      My 2006 Honda Accord Carputer - Work In Progress
                      My 1997 Chrysler Concorde Carputer - Died


                      • #12
                        I own a 08' Rabbit and I'm planning to install it in the radio's place( a DD install) and I'm wondering if you don't have by any chance a measurement of the available depth. there it would be another 3/4" extra(longer then the oem radio). it's ok even if the space available at the top(MB could be installed at the top of the case).
                        I should do it myself, but I already opened so many times the A/C front panel that barely has some clips left.


                        • #13
                          I don't have measurements, but if it is anything like my Jetta there is more than enough room for most things you would want to put in there. It's pretty spacious.
                          My VW Jetta Worklog


                          • #14
                            Ok, finally some pics and some closure. This first picture here is what the monitor area looked like after I put the monitor in the "double din" enclosure. You can see that the trim kit I got for the car leave a good sized gap (see top and sides). Before I had the DD enclosure I actually had the original monitor rubber-banded from behind right over the hole. It actually didn't look half bad for what it was, but I wanted something a little more stock looking.

                            To put the monitor in the enclosure, I had to solder (yikes!) the IR receiver to the extension wire and put it over the hole designed for it. This is my AWSOME! (i.e. ghetto) first attempt at soldering. It may be ugly but it actually works.

                            I finally got around to installing the switch on the 12v turn on wire so that I no longer have an ugly blue wire sticking out of my ashtray and wrapped around my shifter. I also worked my magic and turned another one of the blank button spots into a USB port (again, ghetto ).

                            I got what I thought was the CORRECT kit for the Jetta. It was the Metra-Double DIN Installation Kit 99-9011. I installed everything and it looked.....well...better. It fits very snug top to bottom, but there's still space on the sides. All in all it looks good enough for me. If I get ambitious one day I might take some bondo to it...but I have other projects that take priority over that.

                            Here's a final overview pic. I still have stuff to do, like get around to installing the radio tuner and buy a GPS antenna. But I can officially say I am done. I tether my phone to the pc and listen to internet radio so installing the radio has taken a back seat and I always have google maps so ditto with GPS. I still want to take care of them but they'll wait. Oh! One more thing, I still have to connect the power wire to the power supply in the PC and hook it up to the monitor so I can get rid of the cigarette lighter adapter plugged into the ashtray (and get rid of the occasional lines that run across the monitor.)

                            It's been harder work than I thought and a LOT more money, but I would definitely do it again. I'm already researching ultra low powered mobos I can just leave on instead of hibernating every time I turn off the car. We'll see =). Thanks for following along!
                            My VW Jetta Worklog


                            • #15
                              nice install. You can add an intermediare 2din frame for lower screens so you can fill the holes arround the screen bezel. Look below:

                              Click image for larger version

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