Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Bugbyte's 2001 New Beetle -Mac Mini Install

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Bugbyte's 2001 New Beetle -Mac Mini Install

    Thought I'd post a worklog about my second carputer install, a Mac Mini in my 2001 VW Beetle. The current install is an Epia M10000 and is detailed at the website in my sig.

    I haven't exactly begun the work of installing the Mini but I've begun the planning and if it turns out like I think, it's gonna take some effort. After taking a look at a number of possibilities like right over top of the existing PC...

    Pic1

    or along the sides of the TINY hatch area...
    Pic2

    or in the center console where the nearly useless cupholders are...
    Pic3

    I'm beginning to consider putting it where the head unit is. In checking this out, I noticed that the Mini is not as tall as my current Sony Xplode headunit. Here it is with the bottom lined up with the bottom of the HU opening...
    Pic4

    And it also isn't as wide as the headunit...
    Pic5

    There's enough depth, too. Here's the original console on the table saw during the first PC install. You're looking it it both upside down and backwards. I've outlined the "box" that the head unit slides into.
    Pic6

    In order to completely preserve the stock appearance, I think I'll leave the faceplate of the HU right where it is and extend it using wires to a location where the actual radio is hidden -probably inside the cavernous dash.

    The idea would be to allow the faceplate to flip down, exposing the DVD slot on the Mini. Also, the faceplate could detach, as it does today, and allow the Mini to slide in and out of a "dock" that I would build.

    Ambitious? Yes. Am I going to do it? Not certain. The easiest thing to do would be simply swap it out for the existing PC. But where's the fun in that? I've already got a working PC in the car. The challenge is to take it to the next level. You'll find out in future postings.

    I'm still not really ready to begin the installation, no matter where I decide to put it. First, I need to buy the P1900 power supply. I'll probably do that while mp3car.com has free shipping this weekend. Then I need to do more planning and that means I'll probably be driving around with a huge gaping hole in my dash for weeks at a time, without so much as a radio to listen to. I'm gonna have to work my way up to that one.
    Originally posted by ghettocruzer
    I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
    Want to:
    -Find out about the new iBug iPad install?
    -Find out about carPC's in just 5 minutes? View the Car PC 101 video

  • #2
    I would say under the rear shelf where your existing PC is, or your ambitious in-dash install. Looking forward to seeing what you do with this. =)
    Dr. Ron Paul for President 2008

    Hope for America - http://www.ronpaul2008.com

    Who is Ron Paul? - Why do we need Ron Paul?

    __________________
    CarPC Newbs Start Here: All your questions answered, as if by E.S.P.

    Comment


    • #3
      I'm definitely looking forward to this install also, looks VERY ambitious

      Good luck.
      replicant
      Audi A4 (flickr pics)

      Comment


      • #4
        Progress update - Still searching for install location

        Took the center console out today to check on a location a friend suggested.
        Under dash pic

        So I took the car apart to investigate. First, my VW manual show that it looks promising...
        Manual pic

        Here's the before:
        Before pic

        And here's the after:
        Taken apart pic

        Problem is that there's heater ductwork and a riser to carry heat from the dash down to the floor for driver and passengers in front and back.

        Also, the Mini isn't as Mini as it needs to be without some serious modding. Doesn't mean I won't do it, just that it's not as straightforward as it looked to begin with.
        A little tight pic

        Since I had the dash open already, I pulled the radio to see if my in dash idea holds any water. You'll note that the radio and the Mini are almost the same size.
        Side by side pic

        Especially when stacked on top of each other. It's actually not as wide as the radio but it will need space at the back for the VGA adaptor and cables and stuff.
        Stacked pic

        But it does fit in the dash REALLY nicely! I'm still kind of enamored with this idea but I'm certain the reality of how hard it is will turn up pretty soon.


        On the plus side, I've ordered the Carnetix P1900 to power the system so that should be here in the next couple of days! I've also loaded the Mini with my iTunes library and confirmed that the Beta CCarProject front end runs on it flawlessly. It's only a 256mb machine and that does show up from time to time but it ran full screen visualizations very smoothly and I'm generally pleased with it so far.

        I usually don't get a chance to work on the system during the week so it may be awhile before my next post. Thanks for looking!
        Originally posted by ghettocruzer
        I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
        Want to:
        -Find out about the new iBug iPad install?
        -Find out about carPC's in just 5 minutes? View the Car PC 101 video

        Comment


        • #5
          Entry #3. Diving into the Dash.

          As Kandyman's signature says, "If it ain't broke, don't f* with it." I got in the car today after quickly pulling the radio out yesterday (see previous post) and hadn't tested the radio. It wasn't working, so after a silent ride to work and back, I decided to throw caution to the wind and pull the dash out. What the hey.

          From my previous posts, you can see what the assembled dash looks like. Here's a photo with the center console cover taken off. This also shows where the back of the Mini will touch the rear of the radio "box".

          There's not enough depth for the plugs and stuff that I want to put back there, whether I make it "dockable" or not. BTW, who hasn't driven around with their dash looking like this for weeks at a time?
          hole in the dash

          Here's a closer picture of where I would have to install a dock for the Mini, if I install it here.
          center din
          If anybody has any suggestions on how to make a dock, particularly what material to construct it out of, I'd appreciate it. I'm thinking fiberglass poured over properly positioned plugs to "capture" the connectors. The challenge would be to 1) position them accurately; 2) to find a way to pour the fiberglass without it leaking all over or clogging the connectors somehow.

          Here's the center panel taken out, front view.
          center panel

          Here's the back:
          back of console

          Fortunately for me, my PC carputer still works, even with the mess I've got going, so I'm still cruncing mobile bits and not hating it too much.
          daily ride

          Thanks for looking and I'll post back as the project progresses.
          Originally posted by ghettocruzer
          I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
          Want to:
          -Find out about the new iBug iPad install?
          -Find out about carPC's in just 5 minutes? View the Car PC 101 video

          Comment


          • #6
            The Carnetix P1900 arrived today! I've got everything I need to make the install happen -except time!
            Attached Files
            Originally posted by ghettocruzer
            I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
            Want to:
            -Find out about the new iBug iPad install?
            -Find out about carPC's in just 5 minutes? View the Car PC 101 video

            Comment


            • #7
              I'm going to make a go at putting a dock in the car where the head unit is. I'm still not certain if I'll put the faceplate of the radio over the front or perhaps a Vacuum Fluorescent Display that reads out info like what song is playing, etc.

              Doesn't matter right now, the docking mechanism and what goes in front of it are two different projects that can be tackled separately.

              Tonight, I put the Mini on the scanner and took a shot of it. I printed it out and whaddya know? The printout was 100% accurate to the actual back of the Mini. I measured everything and put it down on paper.


              I think, using epoxy putty (has anyone worked with this?), I can build a small 2 X 4 cm rectangular jig that I can cut holes in the side of and stick the cables through. I lay down a layer of putty, stick the cables through, mold putty around the cables, put a top layer on and put the Mini up against the cables to make final adjustments.

              At least that would be my plan so far. I still have to figure out how to undock it in the dash. Presumably, I can easily push it in and engage it. It would be removing it that is the problem. All suggestions welcome.
              Originally posted by ghettocruzer
              I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
              Want to:
              -Find out about the new iBug iPad install?
              -Find out about carPC's in just 5 minutes? View the Car PC 101 video

              Comment


              • #8
                Planning the dock

                I've decided against using epoxy putty in favor of an idea a friend of mine gave me. He's the same guy that worked with me in fabbing the foldup screen mechanism.

                He's an industrial designer, so he makes stuff like this for a living and I sent him my ideas for a dock. He sent back a simpler idea.


                Just use a piece of plexiglass, cut the holes out and stick the connectors through. Plug them into the Mini, then carefully remove the whole thing from the Mini, turn it over and force epoxy into the seams. That should solidify it.

                Build a bit of a frame around it and you'll have the dock itself. Then I'll figure out how to mount it in the dash.

                I'll start gathering the materials today and see how much I can get done on it this weekend.
                Originally posted by ghettocruzer
                I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
                Want to:
                -Find out about the new iBug iPad install?
                -Find out about carPC's in just 5 minutes? View the Car PC 101 video

                Comment


                • #9
                  Wow that looks absolutly wonderfull!...and clever . Any new pics?
                  Renault Megane...the OEM look

                  The Lost in Europe Ford Escort

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    No pics yet. Will begin work on enclosure tomorrow.

                    I can't freaking believe how much USB cables are going for at Microcenter! I never realized what the markup is on cables but it's no wonder some many companies make them. $14 for a USB cable?! I don't think so. I got the bare minimum I needed and came home to root through the parts bin and managed to come up with two USB cables.

                    I also found a solution to help with the depth problem. As I noted above, the DVI-VGA adaptor sticks out a lot and I need as little depth as possible to put this thing in the dash. I picked up a VGA slimline cable. It will help, I think.

                    VGA solution

                    I'll start working on a template tomorrow and see if I can't come up with a back plate.
                    Originally posted by ghettocruzer
                    I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
                    Want to:
                    -Find out about the new iBug iPad install?
                    -Find out about carPC's in just 5 minutes? View the Car PC 101 video

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      There are also right-angle VGA connectors if that would help.
                      MikeH

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Thanks, Mike. I looked at them and they appear to be virtually the same size as the slimline connector. Perhaps a bit smaller. I'm also worried a little about stacking a connector on a connector to a cable to a... you get the picture.

                        I intend to cut the strain relief on the slimline connector and right angle the cable. That's what I had to do with the Xenarc connector on the screen install and if you're careful, it works.

                        I suppose the proper way would be to get a DVI-VGA cable and cut the strain relief that way. But they're $$$ and no matter what, the fact that the cables project even an inch out of the back of the mini means I have to cut into the heater box behind it. Once you do that, you get an extra couple of inches of space.

                        If it looks REALLY tight back there, I can always go to the right angle connector.
                        Originally posted by ghettocruzer
                        I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
                        Want to:
                        -Find out about the new iBug iPad install?
                        -Find out about carPC's in just 5 minutes? View the Car PC 101 video

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Building the Dock

                          While I didn't get quite as much time to work on the dash dock for the mini this weekend as I'd have liked, I did get a basic dock partially constructed. By next weekend, I'll be ready to work on cutting out the heater box in the dash.

                          I started by scanning the back of the Mini as you saw in the post above. Then I printed out the scan and used an X-acto knife to cut out the ports. I then laid the paper template over top of the actual Mini and plugged the cables in.

                          paper template

                          You can see the paper printout above. I traced the hood of the connectors onto the paper, cut that out to match, and then transferred the result to a piece of 1/4" plexiglass.
                          plexiglass traced

                          Since there was VERY little room between connectors when you allow for the hoods, I was concerned that my Rotozip saw would just shred the plastic when I cut it. I tested it out on a scrap part of the plastic to see how closely you could cut.
                          test part

                          It worked pretty well and didn't melt the plastic, so I thought I'd try it out. Here's the initial cuts.
                          back plate cut

                          I then test fit the plastic directly on the back of the Mini. It needed a little adjusting, so I CAREFULLY went back with the Rotozip and managed not to wreck everything, although I did lose the pieces between the power cord and the ethernet cable and the two USB connectors. Fortunately, the curves between them helped keep the connectors in the right spots.
                          final cuts

                          I also checked to make sure the plastic was still aligned with the bottom of the Mini.
                          checking alignment

                          I then cut the oversize piece to the dimensions of the HU opening, including a notch so the vents aren't covered, and hot glued the connectors in place from the back. I'll epoxy them in place from the front when I remove it from the Mini. Hopefully, that will be strong enough to hold them for inserts/removals.

                          I then built two sides to form a "U" shape to the dock and tomorrow I'll put a top piece and bottom piece on to give strength to the dock. In the pic, I've covered the Mini with green Saran Wrap to keep from gluing the dock to the Mini.
                          dock drying

                          After the pieces dry, I'll remove the dock carefully, epoxy the connectors in from the front, and figure out how to secure the dock inside the HU opening. I think it's pretty straightforward. I'm going to use screws through the side of the HU "radio box" and through the side of the the dock. That will secure it quite well, I think.
                          Originally posted by ghettocruzer
                          I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
                          Want to:
                          -Find out about the new iBug iPad install?
                          -Find out about carPC's in just 5 minutes? View the Car PC 101 video

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Hey Bugbyte..... I have an extra DVI-VGA cable that I don't need lying around, if you are interested.....let me know!! It's looking good!!!
                            Progress: |##########| 99.99%
                            - Tweaking and enjoying!!!! Never really done.....


                            -= MachPuter Project =-
                            -= MachPuter Project Worklog=-

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Aww, man! I just glued the DVI adaptor into the dock today! Thanks for the offer, I'll take you up on it if it looks like space is so tight that the current solution won't work.
                              Originally posted by ghettocruzer
                              I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
                              Want to:
                              -Find out about the new iBug iPad install?
                              -Find out about carPC's in just 5 minutes? View the Car PC 101 video

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X