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2010 Jeep Patriot - bolt-in mini-itx/core i3/connected...

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  • 2010 Jeep Patriot - bolt-in mini-itx/core i3/connected...

    First, just wanted to mention that even with a number of years of IT & software development experience, I just never really thought of putting a computer in the car, didn't even realize people did that...

    Then I came across this site, and I'm finding that I'm putting an increasing amount of time & money into this. Thanks...

    So here's the concept - a bolt-in in-dash system, mini-itx board, that'll give me music, navigation, and integration with all of our mobile devices (a few iPhones, a couple of iPods, a Zune, a couple of cameras, a couple of Nintendo DS's, etc etc).

    Since there aren't any commercial in-dash mini-itx cases, and custom manufacturers are few and far between (and those that I have found are pretty busy), the boss (wife) has convinced me to make my own. I know nothing about metalwork but it's a good opportunity to learn and perhaps create something unique.

    Here's an outline of the build:

    Fitment: Metra 95-6511 Dash Kit. This will provide mounting to the car's built-in head unit mounting holes, as well as filling the extra horizontal space. I'll be dremeling/drilling one or two holes to mount full-size USB ports (for device charging/music players/etc).

    Harness: PAC C2R-CHRY4 - provides the BA amp's audio inputs, a remote start for the amp (to send the power on/off to the amp over the CANBUS), and maintains integrity of the CANBUS. With the Dash Kit and Harness, I will be easily able to replace the factory head unit at any time...

    Steering Wheel Controls: PAC SWI-PS - connects to the above harness and converts the CANBUS signals from the steering wheel controls into analog resistive outputs

    Case: Custom built (by me) with some sort of sheet metal, to use the available space behind the dash cover. It won't be exactly double-din as there's some more vertical space available which I'm going to use...

    Monitor Fitment: ByByte double-din LCD Frame - the monitor's screen & pcb will mount in this frame, which will in turn mount inside the Dash Kit.

    Monitor: Lilliput 669GL-70NP/C/T-5HB - I know Xenarc's probably a better choice for quality (but 2-3x the price...), but this is a new/brighter Lilliput model with a 5-wire touch controller and HDMI input (the comparable Xenarc with HDMI uses a separate box for the input which I really don't want to have to deal with).

    Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-H55N-USB3 - Mini ITX, socket 1156. GPU is on-chip with the CPU, motherboard has HDMI output, 8 USB 2.0 ports, and 2 USB 3.0 ports.

    CPU: Core i3-540

    CPU Cooler: Corsair H70. Self contained water-cooling. (What? Watercooling in a car? ) Self-contained and will perform better than air using FAR less space above the chip itself. The radiator is fairly big but I think it will end up basically being one wall of the case. Scyth Slipstream Slim's (120mm x 12mm thick) will be on each side of the rad, haven't decided yet whether air will be pulled from the case or from outside. Will have to test this to see where the performance is, and this may change from season to season as well...

    Case fan: One more Scythe Slipstream Slim on the other side of the case.

    RAM: 2 or 4 GB DDR3 1066. Not sure whether I'll need 4GB yet, the software footprint will kind of determine whether it's needed, but the tradeoff will be resume speed. But even with 4GB it shouldn't be too bad, my desktop system (though with higher-end hardware) resumes from sleep in about 5 seconds and hibernate in 20 seconds, with 6GB...

    Hard Drive: 256GB SSD

    Power Supply: Was seriously considering the M4-ATX (for the price) but I've settled on the Opus 360 Watt, it's more expensive but better quality, and will also power the monitor.

    GPS: Haven't decided on the specific one yet, but there's a couple of $30 USB GPS receivers that are basically the same.

    Bluetooth: Same as above, cheap and easily available.

    WiFi: Same as above, cheap and easily available.

    3G: Rogers internet stick

    Steering wheel interface: Joycon EX, connects to the SWI-PS output, and to PC via USB.

    Radio: None - this was a big issue, as we need both FM and AM... But, with full-time 3G access, everything we would need (and much, much more) is available online anyway.

    CD/DVD/BD: None - not as big of an issue. Can't remember the last time I used a CD or DVD, especially in the car (either radio or iPhone). Now we'll just synch up our home server music library to the hard drive, in conjunction with 3G radio there's no need to fight with case space to try and wedge a drive in there.

    Mic: None - (at least I hope so) - I'm going to try to use the mic outputs from the uconnect mirror, they appear to be analog outputs (not canbus) so I think this might just work...

    Software: Custom front-end, written by me... (WPF) Will likely use some open-source .net libraries for audio buffering (pause/rewind/recording/etc), and some 3rd party Nav software (MS Mappoint probably, which I have in my MSDN sub). Audio control will be via my custom front-end, actual playback will be handled through WMP api's. Probably also some other libs/apis for bluetooth to my phone.

    USB count: (touchscreen, GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth, 3G, Steering Wheel Controls, front port) 7, with 3 left over for expansion without using hubs...

    I think that's it for now. OBDII, screens in the back for the kids, and maybe a camera or two might be future expansion ideas, but I need to get the basics done first.


  • #2
    a note about the new ByByte lcd frames

    Having a front USB port will be great....

    But - who's bright idea was it to use a mini-B connector??? I've never owned a computer that has mini-B connectors! So I can either use a clumsy adapter cable off the front (defeats the purpose IMO), or retro-fit (dremel) a full size A port myself...

    Really poor decision on somebody's part, I feel...

    So ByByte - how about an option for a full-size A port?



    • #3
      So I'm really not a CAD person. I write code & design databases, but 3-d stuff just isn't for me. I discovered Google SketchUp a while back, but my brain just doesn't work that way I guess.

      So here's my version of CAD (cardboard and duct tape, or in this case electrical tape):
      Attached Files