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1998 Mustang GT - New install

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  • 1998 Mustang GT - New install

    | Most recent update: 09.28.06
    | Updates at end of thread with link to pics

    Just starting a new install into a 1998 Mustang GT. Pics will follow soon. Two poor photos of car at end of this post. Components installed so far include...

    Original list created 12/31/05. New mods the date they were added beside them...

    - 1.3 GHZ AMD Athlon/256MB/20GB HD/Radeon 7000
    - Soundcard: Turtle Beach Riviera

    Input: Update 01/15/06!
    -SP7 Touchscreen
    -Griffin Powermate

    -01/15/06 UPDATE!
    1 Griffin Powermate
    + disassembled Saitek ST10 joystick (
    + MouseWheel software (
    iDrive for less than $50

    - Frontend: To be determined
    - Navigation/GPS: CoPilot laptop ver. 8 with Delorme Earthmate USB GPS
    - Audio: Winamp
    - Additional software:
    MouseWheel Interface (MWI) by Zorro

    - SP7 Touchscreen (pending a backlight upgrade of some sort!)

    - Headunit: Panasonic 8100
    3 RCA preouts with seperate adjustable sub output
    7 band equalizer
    Built in adjustable high and low pass crossover
    25 band spectrum analyzer display
    1 AUX RCA input, multiple Panasonic CD changer inputs

    - Speakers:
    Front: Ford Premium Audio 6x8 with Cerwin Vega Component tweeters in the sill panels
    Rear: Ford Premium Audio 6x8
    Sub: 12" x 2 Rockford Fosgate Punch HF - sealed box

    - Amps:
    Main: 60x4 RMS Pioneer Premier
    Sub: 360 x 1 RMS Pioneer Premier

    - Interconnects:
    Monster RCA cable...don't worry, bought at a deep discount!

    Other car mods:
    - Eiback lowering springs
    - Steeda Underdrive pulleys
    - Steeda shifter
    - K&N Air filter and removed air silencer
    - Latemodel Restoration Supply billet shifter knob
    - Smoke/tinted headlight covers
    - K&N Air filter and removed air silencer
    - Rare factory striped hood/wheel package
    --> 5mph wreck with both airbags deployed ;-(
    --> $3200 repair
    --> coweled fiberglass hood that blew through windshield
    --> $1500 repair of cowled hood
    --> coweled hood blew through windshield again (!)
    --> $3200 repair with stock hood ;-) No stripe :-(
    - Mustang GT insignia in rear 3rd brakelight
    - Tires 245/45/17 Firestone Fuzion (great performance for the money!)
    Attached Files

    An amateur built the Ark. The Titanic was built by professionals.

  • #2
    1994 Mustang GT Punch 240.4 2 12" Kicker Comp SOLD :(

    2006 Suzuki Aerio Sx Kicker KX 650.4 RE 10

    2003 Eddie Bauer Expedition DVD - Navigation Package Traded in for 2008 XL-7 Limited

    Car PC


    • #3
      Will get some pics up soon. Going back to start my next semester of med school tomorrow, so it will be as I have time, unfortunately. Happy New Year, everyone!


      An amateur built the Ark. The Titanic was built by professionals.


      • #4
        I still want pics
        1994 Mustang GT Punch 240.4 2 12" Kicker Comp SOLD :(

        2006 Suzuki Aerio Sx Kicker KX 650.4 RE 10

        2003 Eddie Bauer Expedition DVD - Navigation Package Traded in for 2008 XL-7 Limited

        Car PC


        • #5
          Yeah, sorry about the lack of pics...but that's also because there's been a lack of work. Medical school has been keeping me 6/7 days a week at the hospital lately, and two of those are overnight as well. Just haven't had time to work on the 'ole project...working on people instead ;-) Next three months will be pretty sparse with updates, I imagine.

          Anyway, I did make a bit of progress on a controller similar in concept to an iDrive...and for a grand total of $50. I'm going to post in the I/O devices forum with a description soon.


          An amateur built the Ark. The Titanic was built by professionals.


          • #6
            08.01.06 update
            Still working!

            Multiple issues with the original installation convinced me to make some major changes to the wiring, layout, and components.


            I decided to relocate the climate controls (HVAC) to a non-factory location below the two DIN spaces to make room for my 7" LCD and headunit in more ergonomically pleasing locations. Though not completely finished (still needs some sanding, paint, and work on the trim pieces), the basic fab work was finished.

            Attempted a backlight upgrade with Compact Fluorescent lights that was largely successful...until a stray bit of metal shorted my controller board and killed the LCD. Not to parts arriving 08/03/06 will hopefully have me back up and running.

            Thread discussing my decision to attempt CFL lighting instead of CCFL or LED is here:
  's a good read, with valid arguements on both sides.


            After my first M2 fried my original motherboard and processor, I haven't had the time or money to replace it...I decided instead to pull the computer from the car until I had the audio/video side of the installation finished to minimize the amount of variables I was dealing with.

            So, now I need recommendations...I've decided against going with another AMD Athlon/Duron processor, as the power requirements are just too high, leaving little reserve on the M2 for other components.


            - Frontend: To be determined - still looking for something that can run with CoPilot...although it appears I will never find something compatible. So, I may look at using a Boost Mobile phone with an always on internet connection and Google instead. StreetDeck is looking better and better, however...I'm gonna demo it soon.


            - Speakers: added 12" x 2 Rockford Fosgate Punch HF subs with a sealed box
            - Amps: added two Pioneer Premeire amps (purchased at 50% off!)
            Main: 65x4 RMS Pioneer Premier @4 ohms now wired with 4ga
            Sub: 360 x 1 RMS/800 Max Pioneer Premier @ 2ohms now wired with 4ga

            An amateur built the Ark. The Titanic was built by professionals.


            • #7
              08.11.06 update
              LCD backlight upgrade continues:

              I have an SP7 screen from, which has been great, but is not sunlight readable. I've been contemplating how to best accomplish a backlight upgrade for a while, and I think I've settled on the following:

              After reading the multiple threads on, (including turbocad6's thread detailing his liquid cooled Luxeon LCD upgrade), I decided that my most cost effective option was to use multiple 13W Compact Fluorescent lights (note, that is NOT the same thing as a Cold Cathode Fluorescent light). Everyone and their dog on the forum attempted to dissuade me from doing this due to the heat issues, but there are/were several advantages to using CFL bulbs:

              1) Cost: I was able to get 4 13W bulbs and inverter for $14.
              2) Color temperature: bulbs are available in multiple color temperatures.
              3) Easy installation: disassemble and place behind screen
              4) Long life: not likely to burn out over during normal car usage
              5) Form factor: the bulbs are almost exactly the length of the LCD, and provide even illumination across their surface.

              But, there are also some significant disadvantages:
              1) Heat: CFL bulbs are less efficient than normal fluorescent bulbs, and so generate a fair amount of heat. Not nearly as much as an incandescent, but still nothing to place behind an LCD without some significant additional cooling. However, the heat IS perfectly managable. Assuming an efficiency of 50%, a 52 watt array of CFL bulbs would generate 25 watts of heat to dissipate.
              2) Change in color temperature: one forum member who had attempted a similar upgrade reported that his bulbs exhibited some change in color temperature after extended use. However, after investigating, he related that he had housed the bulbs in a closed MDF box with NO additional cooling...hardly an ideal environment.
              3) No dimming ability: The light fixture I bought was meant to be used as a shop/work light, and the inverters were not capable of dimming the bulbs. There ARE dimmable CFLs available. I decided that at night I would turn the CFLs off, and just use my stock backlight (which would remain intact).

              Unfortunately, I was unable to proceed with the upgrade past the initial testing phase because a secondary controller board on my screen was shorted by a stray piece of backlight reflector...a 1 in a 1000 accident! Fortunately, I was able to source an obtain a replacement LCD screen (for only $55 from digitalww...I highly recommend them!) and the screen was successfully repaired. The delay was probably fortunate, as I have since revised my design, reconsidered my choice of illumination, found an additional product to help cool the upgraded backlight, AND come into some more funding for the project.

              I was looking in Compusa for cooling fans/ideas when I came across a $29 Antec hard drive cooler (see pic at end of post...I can't figure out how to include the pic within the middle of the text) with two aluminum heat sinks, an aluminum backplate, two temperature regulated 40mm fans, and a digital readout on the front of the case capable of displaying the temperature from either of two attached thermistors in either C or F. Normally, a hard drive is mounted between the two lateral heatskinks on the backplate, but convieniently, the backplate and rails are almost exactly the horizontal and veritcal dimensions of my LCD screen, allowing me to use the cooler as the case for my backlight upgrade and mount the additional backlight (CFL or LED) directly to the cooler. The built-in temperature monitoring and display will allow me to measure the backplate temperature, assess the relative heat rejection ability of the assembly (by comparing temps with the cooling fans on and off), and simultaneously monitor the temperature of the LCD display to ensure that I have enough thermal isolation between the LCD and backlight upgade to avoid overheating/damaging the LCD.

              I've also more thoughly researched using LEDs to increase the backlight, similar to Turbocad6's upgrade. Luxeon LEDs are the highest brightness LEDs on the market, and are available in 1, 3, and 5 watt versions. While they are more efficient than other light sources, they are not 100% efficient. Normal LEDs, like those used in stereos as indicator lights, do not normally "get warm" because even though they are not 100% efficient, they are typically drawing very low current (<30 mAmp) and have a low voltage drop (~3V), for total power consumption of only 0.09 watts. Assuming 50% efficiency (quite an underestimate), only 0.05 watts of heat must be dissipated, an amount that is easily dissipated away from the LED and into the surrounding circuitry by the metal legs of the LEDs themselves.

              Conversely, Luxeons are consuming up to 1 watt of power, and are also less efficient than "normal" LEDs, so they do generate a significant amount of heat. Turbocad6 reported that using 33 1 watt Luxeons @ 350mA mounted to a 1/4" thick copper plate 12.1" on diagonal (with no other additional cooling) resulted in the plate "becoming too hot to touch" after approximately 30 minutes of continuous activity. I am planning to use 12 1 watt Luxeon emitters, on a 7" diagonal screen.

              Unfortunately, I have not been able to determine the efficiency of the Luxeons, as the manafacturer data sheet does not provide that spec. However, it would be ideal to keep the temperature of the backlight below 25C, as the LEDs begin to become less efficient above that temp. Without the efficiency data, I can't calculate how much heat dissipation I need, so I think I'm going to need to rely on careful experimentation....hence the importance of the nice temperature monitoring features built into the Antec HD cooler.

              Hopefully, the cooling capacity of the built-in fans will be sufficient, although I am somewhat doubtful of this because they are so small. If additional cooling capacity has to be added, several finely-finned copper coolers are available at CompUSA that I could attach to the back of the back plate.

              I plan to get pics and a google Sketchup 3D model up of all of this as it progresses.
              Attached Files

              An amateur built the Ark. The Titanic was built by professionals.


              • #8
                09.12.06 Update with pics

                09.12.06 update

                The screen, suffered another failure(!), but I have NO idea why this time. Possibly a loose connection, but I was so mad at it that I decided to postpone my screen project for a little while due to the continuing frustration it was causing me, and turn my attention to other important issues. So, I've been working on:

                1) Rewiring the car with 4ga power and ground cable and routing the various signal cables, power cables, and speaker wires properly.

                2) Buliding an amp rack behind my fold down rear seats and finishing installation of the amps.

                3) Fabbing/reworking console trim pieces to finalize my HVAC control relocation and return to an OEM appearance.

                Pics at - mouse over for captions.

                So, currently I'm sort of in a holding pattern. My original PC processor, motherboard, and hard drive was fried by the M2-ATX (and I _really_ don't think it was my fault after reading the multiple stories of identical failures that keep cropping up around here), and I am really reconsidering reinstalling a PC based system. The Mac Mini is looking REALLY attractive right can now run Mac OS X and Windows XP simultaneously, has that fantastic form factor, can be purchased with a nice, fat three year warranty, and will fit wherever (almost) I want to put it. Oh, and it will also run StreetDeck (which looks to be pretty nice).
                Attached Files

                An amateur built the Ark. The Titanic was built by professionals.


                • #9
                  09.26.06 update with pics

                  09.26.06 update

                  Quick update:

                  LEDs have one primary disadvantage...they are point sources of light, and so require diffusion to result in even illumination of a screen placed in front of them. Unfortunately, sheet-style translucent diffusion that is sufficent to provide even screen illumination also significantly cuts light output (highly counterproductive).

                  So, I researched clear diffusing lenses that could be placed over each LED to optically diffuse the light near the source rather than diffusing it by obstructing it with a translucent material on the back of the screen. offers many different lenses of this sort, which can be found at

                  The most promising lens for this application seemed to be one that diffuses the light from a Luxeon into a long, narrow rectangular pattern, with an 80 degree span horizontally and only 10 degrees vertically. The data sheet is: Scroll to the second page to see the lens distribution graphic or look at the last two pics in this post. While this lens seemed to be a viable option, it is also fairly expensive, and would add $40 to the cost of the project ($3.50 each x 12 LEDs). In addition, they would require that the screen be placed at least 2.5 inches from the backlights...making the entire assembly a bit thicker than I had hoped for. So...back to the drawing board.

                  I reconsidered (again) the advantages of using CCFLs instead of LEDs. CCFLs provide even illumination along their length and so require much less diffusion than the point source LEDs. The reason I had abandoned pursuing their use in the past was because I wasn't sure that they could be effectively cooled. However, after attempting to do theoretical thermal calculations on both the LEDs and the CCFLs, I decided that the only way to determine if I could effectively deal with the heat that either source produced was to build a prototype backlight with each illumination method and measure their heat output. So...since I had the CCFLs on hand and the LEDs are a $120 order and 5 days shipping away, I decided to try the CCFLs first.

                  I built a test rig (pics below) with two 13 watt CCFL lights, turned them on, and monitored the temperature for an hour. Links to all pics can be found in my sig, and a description of the hard drive cooler I am using as a heatsink/active cooling can be found in my posts above. To my surprise, the heatsink was never more than lukewarm to the touch, and the internal temperature stabilized at 101 degrees after one hour. External air temp was approximately 80 degrees. The next steps:

                  1) Add two more 13 watt bulbs to the enclosure (for a total of 56 watts of CCFL light) and run the test again. This will likely be the amount of light I will need to sufficiently illuminate the LCD in sunlight.

                  2) Test the rig at higher ambient temperatures...similar to those found in a car.

                  3) More clearly describe the methods used and testing I plan to perform.
                  Attached Files

                  An amateur built the Ark. The Titanic was built by professionals.


                  • #10
                    09.28.06 update

                    Experimented again tonight:

                    I am hoping to achieve results similar to a PSOne display...which is pretty visible in sunlight. So, to determine a general "reference" level of brightness, I hooked up my PSOne display to my digital camera and displayed a totally white screen. Then, I set up my test rig as in the pics above, but used a single sheet of paper for diffusion and no LCD.

                    • Brightness: the test rig was comparable, if not a bit brighter than the PSOne.
                    • Diffusion: very even light dispersion across the paper diffuser. I plan to add an additional 13 watt bulb to the rig, which will further increase brightness and dispersion.
                    • Color temperature: the rig was a bit cooler (more blue) than the PSOne, but difficult to compare against the PSOne since the test rig did not have the LCD installed. I don't forsee color temperature being an issue.
                    • Temperature: I ran the rig with the fans off temporarily to make a quick determination of how much effect they have. The rig was up to approximately 120 degrees when I turned the fans on, and dropped to just less than 100 degrees within 10 minutes of turning the fans on. I don't forsee adding additional bulbs to be a problem.

                    I also tested a 1 watt Luxeon LED behind the same diffuser. From that test, I am going to pursue using the CFLs first. I don't think 12 Luxeons would produce an equivalent amount of light, and now that I believe that I can effectively control the heat the CFLs produce, there seems no reason to attempt to solve the dispersion problems inherent in the LEDs.

                    The CFLs do present a greater packaging problem, however, and require 120VAC, meaning I'll have to run an inverter in the car.

                    So, while the LEDs are down, they're most definitely NOT out.

                    Pics tomorrow.

                    An amateur built the Ark. The Titanic was built by professionals.


                    • #11
                      09.28.06 morning update

                      I'm going to need to do a bit more research into the CFLs before comitting. LIke all fluorescent lamps, CFLs require a high frequency, alternating current to operate. This current is produced by a ballast. There are two types of ballasts available...magnetic and electronic.

                      I was planning to use a 12VDC to 120VAC inverter to provide power to the ballasts for the lamps, but this struck me as a bit inefficient. So, I searched for 12VDC input ballasts. While 12VDC ballasts can be purchased, they are all electronic ballasts, and the PL bipin base type CFL lamps that I had planned to use require a magnetic ballast. I also discovered that cheaper ballasts can produce radio interference, which is definitely something I want to stay far away from.

                      I contacted, who told me:

                      As a rule, bipin PL tubes are made for use with magnetic ballasts. All of the ballasts we handle are electronic. To use one of these tubes with our ballasts you would first have to come up with a socket ( or ) and then remove the starter from the plastic base on the tube. The starter is either a diode/resistor or a neon light/resistor and is in parallel to the two pins. The IOTA and LIT inverter/ballasts are designed to operate a single tube.
                      I don't know enough about flourescents currently to know if removing the starter is a feasible option, so more research (again) is in order.

                      'til tomorrow...

                      An amateur built the Ark. The Titanic was built by professionals.


                      • #12
                        has any one noticed that he stated that his original list was created on 12/31/2006... um if he has a time machine, i would like to know next weeks lotto numbers. or any thing that i can bet on would be great. or you can lend me your time machine, and let me reek havoc on the space-time continum.... think of the posibilities, i mean just look at "Back to the Futre" parts I-III. how the hell they make it out of there is beyond me....

                        Planning [XXXXXXXXX-] - 90%

                        Building [XX--------] - 20%


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by JpLelko View Post
                          i would like to know next weeks lotto numbers.


                          An amateur built the Ark. The Titanic was built by professionals.


                          • #14
                            10.26.06 update

                            Nothing much doing the past few weeks. I built an in-car test rig out of a PSOne screen to test the different methods of backlighting (CFL, LED), and have decided to go compact fluorescent based on the results of the test.
                            I'll post pics of the screen in the sun at some point in the near future.

                            I decided against LEDs after testing a 28 LED array Vector (brand) worklight from HomeDepot (LEDs were arranged in roughtly 3 rows) in addition to the 1 watt Luxeon I mentioned testing earlier on the PSOne LCD. The primary, and ultimately limiting disadvantage of LEDs is that they are point sources, and as such, must be heavily diffused to prevent spotting on the screen. That much diffusion cuts the light output significantly of course, which is counterproductive.

                            Short story is that two 13 watt CFL bulbs provide more than sufficient even, diffuse light to allow the screen to be clearly seen with direct sunlight shining on it. My primary concern was excessive heat generation and buildup, which was not an issue when testing, and which I don't believe will be a significant consideration in the final design. Color rendition is more than satisfactory with the 5000K bulbs I had on hand, and should be even better with the 27W four tube 6500K full spectrum CFLs I plan to use in the final design.

                            Next, I need to fab up an cardboard mockup of the aluminum/lexan backlight enclosure for the SP7 screen I'll actually be using. Hopefully, that will get done in the next week or so. When all is said and done, I think this will be a competitive alternative to TurboCad's Luxeon backlighlight upgrade.

                            An amateur built the Ark. The Titanic was built by professionals.


                            • #15
                              10.26.06 update numero dos

                              Forgot to mention the other news...I've decided to ditch CoPilot and go with StreetDeck. That is one NICE program...well designed, fully editable and skinnable, and a great value for the money in my opinion.

                              I'm planning to run it under XP on a MacMini Core Duo, but only if I can get confirmation that it is fully functional AND that the Mini will properly hibernate with a Carnetix 1900 PS.

                              ...but all of this is awaiting completion of my screen. I see no use in an in-car computer that is unusable when the sun happens to be up.

                              An amateur built the Ark. The Titanic was built by professionals.