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2010 Mazda 3i Touring CarPC build

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  • 2010 Mazda 3i Touring CarPC build

    My wife doesn't know it yet but I am GOING to put a carPC in our new car (she doesn't read this forum so I think it's safe) I use to have a 93 Mazda MX3 that had a carPC in it but I sold the car and kept the pc so now it's time to tweak some things for my 3.

    Things I had from my MX3:
    -32GB SuperTalent SSD
    -Dual Core Pentium E5200
    -2GB Patriot DDR2 800
    -BOSS 400W 4 channel AMP - pretty old but works well

    I sold my dual screen setup to someone else with a MX3 so I had to had get some parts for the 3.

    -Lilliput 7" LED lit, w/backup switch
    -DoubleDIN radio bezel for 2010 Mazda3
    -Fusion Brain for my steering wheel controls
    -Instrument case from that I turned into a PC Case
    -Upgraded to Centrafuse 3
    -Radio adapter plug

    My first thought with this build was where to put the PC. With my MX3, I was able to put the pc behind the screen, right below the blower system because there was plenty of room and I didn't mind taking a hack-saw to some of the interior parts. I ended up deciding to put it under the passenger seat and my AMP under the drivers seat. Both fit well and with almost no modification to the car.

    My next feat was taking apart the stock radio and vents. Some Mazda3 forums made it seem pretty easy but it took me awhile to figure out where to put pressure and where to pull.

    Stock radio vs Double DIN Bezel

    Bezel in the car

    So I bought a lilliput monitor, took the front bezel off and fiberglassed it into radio bezel. I still need to sand it so that will take a while.

    I will add more tonight about the computer.

  • #2
    Just enough pic's to keep me waiting for more! Haha


    • #3
      So itís been a little big since my first post but I have been doing a lot of testing and just making sure everything works perfectly.

      My first big task was to finish the monitor. I fiberglassed it, sanded it and then spray painted it with a car primer paint, then more sanding and then finally, my final coat.

      Here are some pictures of the finished screen:

      I rewired the IR sensor so I could put the sensor elsewhere:

      Some pics of my actual CarPC:


      Switch board:

      Itís not the prettiest thing but I will be hiding under my arm rest in the center console. Three LEDís, Red=Fuse blown, Yellow=HDD Activity, Green=M2ATX Power. Big Red button is power button, single throw switch is master power to PC, double throw is my ignition switch (0=off, I=CarPC, II=CarPC & Amp). My 12V AMP switch is also connected to my M2ATX to as an anti-thump switch. This way I can turn on my amp in the event my CarPC is not on.

      Switching Circuit:

      I decided to design a switching circuit so that I could use standby for my system and not drain my main car battery. I have a 12V sealed lead acid battery from an old UPS that Iím using as my auxiliary battery. When the car is off and the PC is off, the M2ATX draws about 60mA. So the circuit runs the CarPC off my auxiliary battery. When ignition is turned on, a relay switches power from my auxiliary battery to my car battery. Then, when ignition is turned off, the relay disengages and turns the power back to the auxiliary battery and the PC goes into standby mode, consuming about 85mA. To charge the auxiliary battery, I use my Fusion Brain to measure the voltage and when it drops below a certain point (currently 11V), a relay is engaged and charges the battery until the charging current falls below around 100mA. I have three current sensors in my circuit, one measuring the current from my Aux battery, one measuring current from the Car battery and one measuring the CarPC current. I also have a bunch of voltage dividers for measuring temperature and voltages. Also on the circuit is a frequency to voltage sensor for my speed input. I hope to use this to increase volume automatically when driving at higher speeds.

      First time testing in my car running CF3 and iGuidance:

      That's all for now! I will add more later as I do more!


      • #4
        That is looking really good so far! Good work on the monitor bezel. I will be trying my hand at it soon for my jetta!


        • #5
          Yea the bezel took me a while but I like it now. It was debating putting some nice buttons along the side for power, fusion brain buttons, etc but then I thought it might look cheesy... so it's good how it is, clean looking.


          • #6

            Traded my M2 for an M4 and I am liking the capabilities of the M4. It is a bit overkill for my power needs but I'm in love with the USB connectivity. It is a slightly tighter fit but I have been monitoring temperatures and everything seems to be ok.

            I also RMA'd my motherboard. It would no longer turn on via the header on the motherboard. Zotac is pretty amazing with their RMA process. Fairly fast and they just send you a whole new board (accessories and everything) so I have lots of SATA cables and various things from them. So I got my new mobo in and a new PS in so I am good to go!

            We also just bought a house so my wife will now actually let me put the PC in the car (now that we don't have to be saving as rigorously as before). So more will be coming soon!


            • #7
              I'm working on a build in a 2010 3 S Grand Touring. I was hoping you could confirm which two wires are for the steering wheel controls. I have a joycon EX I want to install.

              Also, by chance do you know the exact location of the bluetooth mic and the color of those wires?


              • #8
                The steering wheel controls are kinda strange. The buttons that deal with bluetooth functions (hangup, answer and talk) are separate from the audio buttons (seek, volume and mode). The bluetooth buttons go to the bluetooth module behind the glovebox. I'm going to try taking apart the steering wheel and tapping in directly there inside of going to their end points.

                Below is the pinout of the audio connector. The steering wheel controls are 1P and 1N.

                The bluetooth mic in my "i" model is right where the center speaker is. So inbetween the information display and the main center vents. If you are looking at the "cloth" piece from the top, it's in the lower left corner.

                ---------- Post added at 08:31 AM ---------- Previous post was at 08:24 AM ----------

                Oh and I don't know the wire colors but I do know that it's a digital interface so it would hard to use (unless you're smart, unlike myself). I use my own microphone that I place in the same area.


                • #9
                  Thanks for the quick response. Another site referenced 1P being the data line and 1N being gnd. would you say that is a true statement?

                  What mic are you using? I'm currently using a line in Microsoft desktop mic I have mounted between the driver side seat and center console. Works ok would like to have a more concealed option.

                  Thanks again and nice work on the dash kit.


                  • #10
                    Not sure why I didn't check before, but the pac-audio website also has good diagrams. Your input, another forum, and pac-audio has confirmed what I needed to know.

                    If you didn't already know, per the pac-audio site, the pink wire #3 pin is the data line for the bluetooth buttons, which you already know is located behind the glovebox.

                    Not sure if I can post outside links in this forum, but if you enter in at the pac-audio website make/model/year of the car along with some other info and select the universal steering wheel control (SWI-X) it will show the location of pin #3.


                    • #11
                      Thanks for that Acer! It's kind of a pain to get to the bluetooth module but if I can use the OEM microphone then I may try that out.