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2004 GTO indash Carputer worklog

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  • 2004 GTO indash Carputer worklog

    I have a 2004 Pontiac GTO that is my wallet drain. It is loud, fast, and way too much fun. I am part of a group called Austin Modders. We have done a few Car PC's in the past but mostly customized PC's for our homes and businesses that want to make a splash at CES. While at a Austin Modders meeting the other day I saw an Intel Atom board that got me itching to do this. I need the keep the project on a budget and I think I have it covered. I had an old Dell Mini 9 that had a badly scratched screen and the battery didn't work. I cannabalized it and bam I have my atom For the screen a buddy of mine gave me a lilliput indash 7" that the gears were messed up on. He tried fixing it but never was able to get it right. I have been working on it for a few days and here is my worklog so far.

    Intel Aton N270 - This is basically the 230 desktop chip but only uses 2.5w of power
    512mb DDR2 - will be upgraded to 2GB
    4GB SSD HD - Haven't decided the best route for additional storage yet
    100MB NIC
    802.11G Wireless
    SD/MS Pro/MMC Reader
    3 USB ports

    Pictures of the Mini 9 in operation.

    Ubuntu is booting here but that is just what was on the system. I will most likely use Windows XP with RideRunner and DigitalFX 4.0

  • #2
    Thank you to the MP3car forums for helping me to figure out the relays. I even figured out how to build a power off relay without having to post

    When I went to pick up the parts after work I thought I got the right stuff, a 1000u cap, a 10k Ohm Resistor, and a SPDT 12v relay, and I did except I picked up a 10 Ohm resistor and not a 10K Ohm so in the first few pictures you will see the incorrect resistor installed and I later corrected it after finding that this didn't work :-P Luckily old power supplies are great resources when you need a resistor quick.

    The Mini 9 booted on the screen.

    Whoops this is the wrong resistor

    This is the relay after I was done wiring it.

    Here I was double checking the open/closed state of the relay during power off.

    This is the correct resistor

    This is a video of the relay being used to turn on the Mini 9.

    At this point I am not done with the relay as I plan to get it on a bread board and cleaned up a bit but this was my proof of concept for the power on relay. Power off will be next, hopefully tomorrow night.


    • #3
      So one of the other things I needed to do to get things going was make sure the LCD could operate while not connected to the motors. Sounds simple but some things have check and balances in place to make sure all components are connected before it will operate. So here is me tearing into the head unit.

      This is the back of the screen removed. You will see the ribbon cable from the head unit. You must always take great care with these as they are very fragile.

      Here are the motors that I was working to remove.

      The small board at the bottom is for the front buttons. Since I have a remote control for this unit that does all of the same functions this board and the buttons will be removed.

      After fighting with it and triple checking all of my ribbon cables and coming close to deciding that either it wouldn't work the way I wanted, or that I had messed something up, my eye caught something. A switch on the main board of the head unit. It wasn't a dip switch it was a momentary push switch. I looked at what could press it down and the only thing I could see would be the outer casing. The stupid thing was a chassis intrusion switch. It was put in to you couldn't power up the head unit while it was taken apart and electrocute yourself....... Great idea but not while I need it apart

      So that is it for tonight's update. We will be in the car soon. I think by this weekend if everything keeps falling in place like it has. Did you notice even the faceplace is connected via ribbon cable? That is perfect for the custom fab piece that is going to be made.


      • #4
        I got RideRunner and DigitalFX4.0 installed on the system last night. Don't really have any pictures of that but here are a few pictures of my GTO which this is going in.

        Here is a video of the exhuast, this is before I debadged the back and went with the Holden logo.


        • #5
          Ok so time for an update. I built the startup shutdown controller tonight. Remember the relay bit earlier? That was just a test run, I wanted everything mounted on a breadboard.

          This was the test placement of the components on the board.

          This is the back side of the board, it is done with the exception of connecting it to the power and the switch.

          Here it is completed. The side with only one relay is the startup portion and the side with two is the shutdown side.

          While I was at it I finished installing the front end. I used RideRunner with the DigitalFX4.0 skin. Unfortunately it was hard to get a picture of this right now. You will see more of it once it is in the car.

          This is just to give you an idea of how the screen bezel will look after I am done. I have to fit both the screen and the head unit controller in the double din slot. The din kit you see there is a single din but don't worry it won't be after the dremel gets after it.


          • #6
            looking good
            what about ur license plate
            is it for real im stig ? or just a plate for show
            i heard it was possible in us to get ur own name or something on it and that its legal

            love the pics keep m coming
            go to my new website:


            • #7
              Gorgeous ride mate. I find it funny how you guys put the Holden badges on, but over here, everyone puts Chev badges on lol.

              Whats the go with the screen? Did you replace the headunit or is that an alteration to the head unit?


              • #8
                Originally posted by vincenttor View Post
                looking good
                what about ur license plate
                is it for real im stig ? or just a plate for show
                i heard it was possible in us to get ur own name or something on it and that its legal

                love the pics keep m coming
                Yes its legal.... Mine says ZX1. Only thing is, every year you have to pay a higher fee to have it renewed. On my Ford Focus (normal license plate), its $56.00 a year, while my ZX1 plate is $80.00.

                I love the GTO......... Its to bad there will never be a GTO in the future since Pontiac has been murdered. I am hoping though that it will be redubbed a Chevy or something.
                Nirwana Project, the Android/Win 7 hybrid system!

                1X Ainol Novo Flame Tab
                4X MK808b
                3x Perixx Touchpads
                3x 7 inch Screens
                1X 7 inch motorized Screen
                1x Win 7 PC


                • #9
                  Yeah the license plate is real, I was trying to wait for us to get the 7 letter plates here in Texas so I could have "The Stig" but then they said no custom plates in 7 letters yet, so I went with "Im Stig" for now.

                  Yeah there isn't a Holden here in the US and most of us GTO guys are a little proud proud of our Austrailian Muscle

                  This will replace the head unit, the Lilliput screen has a head unit built in. That is why I am trying to keep that faceplate with the knobs. The buttons for the screen are going to be gone. I picked up all of my body work materials this morning so the bezel will be my mission today.


                  • #10
                    So today I decided to work on the bezel. If you look at my earlier post you will see what it is supposed to look like when finished. So I busted out the dremel and got to work.

                    This is the single din bezel that I posted earlier, you can see it has lost a bit of weight and will serve as the frame for my new bezel.

                    Here I trimmed down the front faceplate to fit inside the bezel where I wanted.

                    This is the LCD bezel after it's trim job.

                    I test fit everything to ensure it would fit like I wanted. It took a few trys of triming to get it to set correctly. Once I had it where I wanted it I used some small dabs of hot glue to hold everything in place while it was being filled.

                    Time to fill. I decided on Fiberglass bondo after weighing all of my choices. It seemed to be the strongest option for what I wanted to do. Always wear a good safety mask while working with fiberglass and bondo. Even with a good mask I still have a headache.

                    Here is the fisrt go of the fiberglass. Doesn't look very pretty but it will be cleaned up. I don't think it is too bad for my first fiberglass job.

                    I cleaned up a lot of the fiberglass and did some sanding. I wanted to make sure everything still fit and nothing shifted so here is a quick test fit of the components.

                    After some more shaping to get what I wanted I needed to go to regular bondo to start filling some cracks.

                    That was then rough sanded and a coat of primer applied. After the primer is dry I can start sanding to find more cracks that need to be filled and do some more shaping where needed.

                    So that is where I am at as of now. More to come a bit later today.


                    • #11
                      Looking good!
                      After a 2 year break, I'm back! There are so many new and familiar faces here!
                      New vehicle, new ideas!

                      Chryssi - The Changeling CarPC Project


                      • #12
                        Hit a small snag. The fiberglass job on the bezel worked but not everywhere. The bottom piece came seperated from the LCD bezel. So I stripped everything off and am going to have to fiberglass it again and get it right this time :P Not sure when i will get to do that, maybe I will do it bit by bit throughout the week.


                        • #13
                          What's the status or progress? Curious about the fiberglass/bondo work. I never done that before and may be doing it with my new project.
                          "Live Free!!!...It's all about Open Source"
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                          • #14
                            I'm so jealous of GTO owners.. Holden knockoff or not thats a fun car to drive! I personally HATE that bondo hair crap and have never done an install that looked decent with it. I Epoxy then use duraglass then sand sand sand. Good luck!
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                            • #15
                              Well unfortunately right now it isn't going anywhere. I have rana into several problems all at once. The larsgest is that I cannot get the screen to work right most of the time. It will only come on if the power has been completely drained from the unit for about 15 minutes. If constant power is connected to the unit, it will never come on after first boot. The head unit locks up like a failsafe has tripped, which brings me to the second problem, I cracked my bezel again after taking components in and out so much so that needs to be sanded down once again and re-done. And then the next issue is the power supply I bought for the mini 9 isn't working. It worked when I connected it to my test bench but once in the car the mini 9 turns on for about a second and then right back off. I think I might have found the issue for this but haven't had time to look into it. I think I will finish this off eventually but not sure when, If I wasn't having so many issues with the lcd it wouldn't be so bad.