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2007 Camry LE: Project '07 MACry

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  • 2007 Camry LE: Project '07 MACry

    A long time ago in a 1990 Hyundai Excel...

    I thought about having a computer in a car. Now of course, when you're young, you think about doing lots of stuff. But for me, it never stopped there. I drew pictures of dashboards with large screens similar to that of KITT. If it were to talk back to me, it would sound like Peter Cullen. It would have a cassette player and a CD player, and all sorts of other stuff...

    Fast forward to 2007. I bought my Black Viper, a.k.a. the 2007 Toyota Camry LE. The thought of a computer in my car was furthest from the mind. Modifications to a perfectly good car would be totally unnecessary, and there was life to take care of. Two years later, I went to church one Sunday, where my pastor spoke of dreams, and how we should always pursue our dreams. Driving home, I thought about the dreams I had as a child; and they all brought me back to the visions of a carputer...

    I always knew about; as well as the now defunct websites. I knew that people across the planet were making this happen. I felt, and still feel, that if I could fulfill this dream, any dream can be reality. And so it began, August 1, 2009: I would begin to fulfill my quest for the ultimate automotive experience...

    The Black Viper. Host of the '07 Toyota Macry...

    By the christened title, you can tell what machine is gonna run in this vehicle. I'm working on some pics and an actual listing of what's been done so far.
    To be continued...
    All systems are a go...
    Currently in "tweaking" mode.

    The Worklog

  • #2
    Personal log... supplemental...

    My Mac desktop background

    Alright, so how did I envision this thing starting out? And what have I been up to since then?
    Hereís what I do have so far:
    Apple Mac Mini 1.83Ghz computer with 512MB Ram, 80GB Hard Drive, 4 USB ports, AirPort Card for wireless internet, Bluetooth v2.0, OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, and Combo drive - $470
    Bybyte Double-Din Kit +7" Lilliput EBY701 screen - $289.50
    Regular $50 slim Apple USB Keyboard
    Kensington Slimblade USB mouse - $33
    500GB Seagate 5400rpm internal HD - $75
    Kensington 2GB Ram Upgrade - $25
    Civilian Lab Leather Manila Sleeve for 13" MacBook Ė Black [To house keyboard, mouse and other peripherals when not in use] - $54
    Griffin PowerMate [The very first edition] - $40
    Carnetix P2140 v1.1 regulator - $140
    Globalsat BU353 USB GPS Receiver - $37
    Rockford Fosgate Prime R300-4 4 Channel Amplifier with 3rd party wiring kit and extra RCA cable - $195

    Here are some unforeseen expenses that Iíve acquired:
    Portable soldering iron: $20 [It goes places my regular one canít]
    Dremel 200 series rotary tool kit: $45 [Iíll explain later]
    5pc Dremel metal cutting bit/mandrel set for aforementioned rotary tool: $10
    My brotherís hobby/modeling experience: $200

    And, what is yet to come:
    Mac Pac connector kit (Yay!) for the Carnetix regulator
    iGuidance / Street Atlas / some other[better] GPS software

    The Bybyte Dash/screen kit may be taking the easy way out, and it probably is because I feel to lower the LCD a bit so the top of it wonít be cut off the way it is. But all the credit in the world to these guys in Cali, the package is well put together, and takes the guessing game away from assembly.

    The mini was an obvious choice because 1) I love Macs, 2) if I ever wanted to use Windows, that option is still available to me, and 3) it leaves a small footprint.
    The biggest obstacles, well only two obstacles were this: sound, and Mac Mini placement...

    More to come later...

    My Windows desktop picture...
    All systems are a go...
    Currently in "tweaking" mode.

    The Worklog


    • #3
      Loving it so far. Glad to see another Camry car PC enthusiast

      Where do you plan on installing the Mac mini?
      2007 Camry Altise In-dash Car PC


      • #4
        The Obstacles

        Amp sound connection

        I thought about the setup for the 4 channel amp to sound card provided by this site. My only problem is that I wasn’t too excited about using two RCA cables instead of one. I thought it more logical and practical that instead of splitting the mini stereo to two and four connections, I would join the front and rear right & left connectors to form two unified left and right connections. That is, using a 2 male to one female RCA Y-adapter, connect the red plugs for front & rear, then do the same for the left, and connect to the mini using one cable. One RCA cable advantage aside, I have a right angle cable for the mini that would perfect for this setup.
        Then I went to Radio Shack.
        As luck wouldn’t have it, they didn’t have the 2-male-to-1-female y cable necessary to perform the task.
        So, it is back to the original plan.

        Mac Mini Placement
        Under the car seat. The glove compartment. The armrest compartment. These locations provide a mac mini lair so discreet that even I cannot get easy access to it. I actually began looking at the work necessary to put it in these places. The car seat was awesome, until I want to upload a CD/DVD. The rain and snow was also something to consider…
        The glove compartment was okay. But the mini can shift around, even with the strongest mounting tape. Then drilling was involved… it just was just not my cup of tea.
        The armrest compartment was the second best location around. I can still access the drive, pull it out when I need to, and all I lose is a little room. Then I put the mini inside…
        The height of the armrest compartment is shorter than the width of the mini. The distance between the mini and the proposed regulator location might have been too long for efficient use.

        Then, I looked under my nose.
        The cigarette lighter compartment with the AUX port. I rarely use it, save for my iPod connection. If I can pull this out, this would be perfect. I got Crutchfield instructions, and disassembled everything to get to the compartment, and yanked it out.

        And while I was able to retrieve my AUX port, the cigarette lighter was not budging from its spot. The mini barely fit inside the unit. And I mean barely. To facilitate this install, some modeling experience would be required. My brother, who was more than happy to do something new in light of losing his XBOX 360, had the gall to charge me for not just the labor, but the supplies necessary!! This so far has consisted of a portable soldering iron, and a Dremel 200 series rotary tool kit.
        Figuring I’d get a head start, I “sawed” off the back of the compartment, and broke the supplied cutting bit in half! “Congratulations! Looks like you'll need a new bit though!"

        A few hours later, we got most of the compartment mini-ready.

        The Moral?

        Hard work...

        ...pays off.

        That was just a test run. I didn't connect anything here as yet. That will come later...

        All systems are a go...
        Currently in "tweaking" mode.

        The Worklog


        • #5
          Putting It All Together

          The Initial Run

          Between the excitement of the Yankees games, church, school (my brother's), and work, we decided to place two days to finally finishing this project. Phase one of this assignment occurred last Sunday, where we spent most of the afternoon/night connecting, wiring, soldering, and testing.

          The best bet to keep the mini from sliding around and back was to construct this rather "sophisticated looking" device that would cage the mini in a way, while still allowing air to circulate in the compartment. It has been five whole days; that mini is not going anywhere anytime soon.

          This is where my problem starts to lie. It took my brother and I nearly an hour to stuff the mini, connections and all, into the compartment's space. The reason was primarily the wire connections you see here. My brother, annoyed at the amount of time spent, exasperated, "can't we cut some of this stuff?"
          Well, we actually can. As you can see, the audio connectors here are reminiscent of the original 4 channel amp plan found on this site. I decided that since this was affecting my compartment space, and I really hate those two 20 ft RCA cables going to the passenger seat instead of the trunk like most cars, I would go back to my original plan and find my 1 female - 2 male connectors. It turns out that Best Buy of all places sells them by Rockford Fosgate for $5 a piece. A trip to radio shack later will begin Phase II of putting all this together.
          The second culprit here is the video adapter and adjacent cable connection. It took up just as much space as the audio connection. I knew Apple sold the cable adapter for $20, but after reading the negative reviews about how long it lasts (5-6 months from what "they" say), I kept on with my free option. After Sunday, and actually finding the cable at Best Buy for $25 (the opportunity cost of going to the Apple Store), I am going to buy the cable and pray for the best, in an attempt to shave nearly two inches of space.

          The MacPac adapter came in lightning speed (compared to the GPS software), and connection for my brother was easier than expected.

          And so, it begins. About 8:40PM. Putting it all in for the initial run...

          And it works!! After an hour plus of adjustments. Hurrah!!

          You cannot tell me that this doesn't look sensational! Scroll back up (I'm not kidding either!); look at the plain-jane digital display and look at what was accomplished! I was proud as a peacock!

          You wouldn't believe I got a ticket for my window tints two nights after the initial install. But for what I got, I'll dodge cops and keep my tints if necessary! This is truly golden.

          So why is this the initial run?
          Because I didn't put the fuse in yet.
          Because I didn't mount the GPS USB device yet.
          Because I screwed the screen to far from the mount, and now it is slightly slanted.

          Most of all, all my music isn't on there yet!

          Stay tuned, I'll bring in video. I promise...
          All systems are a go...
          Currently in "tweaking" mode.

          The Worklog


          • #6
            Coming up next... on Phase II

            The Audio Connection.
            With video.

            Also, in the midst of the Yankees Parade, I'll try to find a decent mic that will work with the mini...
            All systems are a go...
            Currently in "tweaking" mode.

            The Worklog


            • #7

              that looks incredible! could you say where specifically you got the replacement fascia? a link would be perfect if you have one. thanks!


              • #8
                Putting It All Together

                Phase two:
                The audio connection


                Yes, my friends. I have sound!!!
                But as I said back then, only from the rear speakers.
                The front speakers all have bass. Great for me, but I should still get sound from the front...
                There were some questions about the screen in the day time (and morning in particular).
                So I give you Part II: The day time...


                I will get front sound and details in a bit...

                @ omicronbp - the fascia was part of a packaged deal. I bought the screen with the fascia already installed for close to $300. Here's a pic, clicking on it takes you to the site:

                Best of luck!!
                Last edited by Project07MACry; 02-10-2011, 02:38 AM. Reason: Updating video posts
                All systems are a go...
                Currently in "tweaking" mode.

                The Worklog


                • #9
                  Amazing build. I also have an 07 Camry LE and want to do the very same thing. I have a question that may have been answered in your write-up but I didn't see it. Do the steering wheel controls do anything anymore? Or are they now useless? Also, where did you find instructions for getting to and removing the stock radio?


                  • #10
                    @ sinisterouge:

                    The entire enchilada can be found here:

                    And yes, the steering wheel controls have been rendered useless.
                    That, however, is subject to change...
                    All systems are a go...
                    Currently in "tweaking" mode.

                    The Worklog


                    • #11
                      Your install looks great in and too bad about the tint but I'm running mine at more than allowed also.
                      "A rose by any other name is still a flower"


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Project07MACry View Post
                        You wouldn't believe I got a ticket for my window tints two nights after the initial install.
                        Originally posted by Pathos View Post
                        Your install looks great in and too bad about the tint but I'm running mine at more than allowed also.
                        I'm running darker than allowed, too. One suggestion: if you get pulled over, roll the front windows down. If the stop is for anything other than the tint, they probably won't notice -- their concern is to be able to see in the car easily.
                        If just enough is really good, then too much ought to be perfect.

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


                        • #13
                          Officially in Tweaking Mode

                          I know it has been a minute, but here's the video log of what I've been up to.
                          I'll give you a more in depth play by play in a bit...

                          Last edited by Project07MACry; 02-10-2011, 02:40 AM. Reason: Updating video links
                          All systems are a go...
                          Currently in "tweaking" mode.

                          The Worklog


                          • #14
                            Merry Christmas!!

                            With work and church and life and such, it's a Christmas miracle I could post something here!! But now that I'm here, typing this in my car, let me first wish you all a wonderful holiday season, and hope that it's not as cold where you are as it is here in BK...

                            As far as my Macry goes, with some occasional tweaking, the unit has been working fine over the past month or so. It has successfully operated with the recent blizzard that hit; it serviced me through two trips to Riverhead; and it has turned more heads than the Camry itself!!

                            A lot of credit must go to Apple for upgrading their remote; I have since velcro-ed it next to the screen so it looks one with the setup. As long as the compartment door is up, and the mini is visible, I can switch songs, play DVD's; it's an awesome thing.
                            Also, Bybyte gets my full endorsement. The only the thing about the fascia is that unit itself is receding behind the air vents. And the reason it might be doing that is because I used the housing panels that were in the car, instead of the included panels. Something to look into when I pull open the unit one last time.
                            Also of note: since the last youtube video I made, I did in fact purchase the 2-AA operated bluetooth keyboard, as well as the new Apple magic mouse that came out. While ergonomically, the mouse may not bode well with me, the scrolling functions make operating Safari, iTunes, and QuickTime player nothing short of amazing. And it's always good to free up some USB connections from the Mini.
                            Also, I have temporarily retired my PowerMate. Not that I wanted to, I'm just not using it as much as I thought. Maybe with this applescript VMTSquad made, that will definitely change.

                            Okay; I'm heading up for my presents. Happy Holidays!!
                            All systems are a go...
                            Currently in "tweaking" mode.

                            The Worklog


                            • #15
                              Happy New Year!!

                              Just a few quick updates:
                              Since Christmas, due to a snow storm, my left fender has been dented. Uggh!
                              And yes, the Macry did come on in 10 degree weather. It may have taken five minutes, but it did come on. The surmise is that the P2140 had to reach a certain temperature before it fully activates...
                              After receiving a J&R gift card for Christmas, I invested it in the Blue Eyeball 2.0 Mic/Webcam. Haven't figured where I'm gonna mount it; but it should solve the mic issue so I can now use my Macry as a bluetooth head-unit for my iPhone.

                              Hope TwenyTen is prosperous for all you guys! Take care!
                              All systems are a go...
                              Currently in "tweaking" mode.

                              The Worklog