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Here we go again... it's been a while, new build

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  • Here we go again... it's been a while, new build

    Hello again mp3Car peeps, I've been lurking around here for years, built a few carPC's once upon a time, bought one of those fabled Infill G4's (which I loved), and it's time to do another build. It's been a long time coming.

    I'm a little out if the loop on this stuff because it's been almost 6yrs since my last build and things have obviously evolved. I have a couple of pieces left over from previous builds and a couple of new pieces that I picked up but never installed. I searched for hours this weekend and came up with a few pieces of recent information but most of the threads/ posts I found were pretty old and I want to take advantage of all that has been discovered here since my last build.

    Can I get some advice from my carputing brothers and sisters here? My main concern is audio quality, I need to get up to speed on sound cards and such. From what I found this weekend I'm leaning towards something like the Sewell Direct SW-2979 Digital to Analog Audio Converter running to a digital optical amp, like an Alpine MRA-F350 (they are pretty inexpensive these days). Thoughts?
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    The carPC I'm running is made by MCS, it looks pretty much like the one pictured below except the keyboard and mouse ports are separate and I think I may have an S-video out. I bought in '09, it's an MCS-BB-CF2, 1.6ghz Dual Core Atom 330, 1024mb/1g DDR2 667mhz, m2 ATX, B/G Band wifi, and I also got the slim Slot Load DVD combo drive for grins.
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    I have a Xenarc 700IDT 7, flip out monitor but I'm thinking about going with an MCS Mini Touch 695 Double DIN monitor instead and putting a head unit in the center console, unless you guys have found a viable way around the head unit???
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    I want to be able to do internet on the fly, I have a Samsung Galaxy S I could set up to tether via Bluetooth or something, what's the hot ticked these days?

    OBDII would be cool but not necessary because the truck already has a Bullydog GT Tuner that does all that for me, but it uses an OBDII plug with HDMI out and I think it even has a mini USB port on it so there's possibilities there too, any ideas?

    This is all going in an '02 Chevy Silverado 2500hd Crew Cab 4x4, I swapped out the dash and center console for an '03+ to get the double DIN opening in the dash and an easy place to put a head unit in the center console. I'm thinking about putting the slot load DVD drive in the overhead console. The PC is going inside the center console with either a Sound Processor or Crossover/ EQ, haven't decided yet, I want to be able to tweak the sound easily from the front seat.

    What do you folks think? Give me the benefit of your knowledge, opinions, doubt, encouragement... whatever ya got!
    Thanks in advance

  • #2


    • #3
      Glad to see your jumping back in! I look forward to your worklog.

      Here are my thoughts on what you have mentioned above:

      -I am not familiar with that DA convertor but it is probably fine assuming the drivers work well, that is usually the only issues with most of these units

      -The MRA-F350 is a discontinued amp so you will likely end up on ebay or craigslist to get one. It will be used or NOS if that matters to you. You may want to research that amp a little further, I believe it requires that an Alpine HU is attached to it to "make it go". I believe it needs a AInet signal. Nik's AInet circuit board (from this forum) would probably do that for you if you know what you are doing with it. There really is very little choice out there in Digital input amps unfortunately.

      -regarding the Xenarc 700IDT 7 monitor, my only caution is that all flip out monitors have 3 states of condition: New and working, slighly used and starting to act up, completely screwed. The moving screen apparently becomes a problem on pretty much all of them and installing one is a 3/4 ton truck will certainly not help it's longevity. I have no first hand knowledge of this but have heard it from enough people from when I was investigating them. I steered clear of them for that reason.

      - not sure on phone teathering on the Galaxy S as I don't have one but I'm sure it's easy to do.

      - As far as OBD, I'm not sure what the Bullydog tuner is capable of but if it performs enough functions to suit your needs, then you are good to go. I replaced my fairly basic scan tool with AutoEnginuity software as I wanted access to every PID on the truck and the ability to run tests such as buzzing injectors, etc. It is bi-directional and reads just under 500 PID's with the Ford expansion pack including Airbags, ABS, transmission, basically everything the dealer has access to.

      I hope my opinions give you food for thought, I am no authority on this stuff, just another guy hoping to someday complete my project (if that option even exists )

      Again, I look forward to watching your progress!
      My 2007 Ford F350 Work Log located HERE


      • #4
        Ya, I'd really like to go with a digital amp, I could get an Alpine AInet head unit if needed, although it would be cool to go without it
        The Xenarc is monitor is a flip out but it's not motorized, haven't had any trouble from it yet but it wasn't in my last truck long before it was removed.
        I'm leaning towards the 6.95" Double Din VGA Touch Screen Monitor Mini Touch 695 from MCS instead but I can't find any info or reviews on them. I did see a lot of bad reviews on the 700 model but none on this one.
        I'll probably try to do the OBD II thing just to get the codes from the trans and ABS system if it's not really involved.
        Thanks for your input