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Advice Request: Mounting components in my Custom Carputer Box

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  • Advice Request: Mounting components in my Custom Carputer Box

    As detailed in My Worklog, I'm going to attempt to mount my carputer under the drivers seat of my 2006 Ford Territory (Australian SUV). Yes, I've read through the FAQ: Reasons for not installing anything underneath the seats, but my main reasons are:

    1) There's virtually no room in the rear boot/trunk area as my Territory is a 7-seater, and
    2) The car comes with a lockable "valuables" box housed under the drivers seat that I hope to use.

    Here's the lockable box:



    And here are the dimensions of the internal space I hope to use:







    So my challenge at the moment is to mount the following components in this box (approx sizes):

    17cm x 17cm x 3cm (6.7" x 6.7" x 1.2") - Motherboard (Via Epia EN12000EG)
    13cm x 10cm x 3cm (5.1" x 3.9" x 1.2") - Power Supply (Opus 150 Watt DC-DC)
    15cm x 10cm x 3cm (5.9" x 3.9" x 1.2") - Hard Disk (3.5" Seagate 200Gb SATA)
    13cm x 13cm x 2cm (5.1" x 5.1" x 0.8") - DVD/CDRW (Sony CRX830E)

    So basically, I'm after any advice I can get.

    The top of the box is not removable and remains fixed to the under side of the seat. So in theory I "could" mount components to the top of the box as well, although this would add significant complexity. I've read plenty about others mounting hard disks vertically, but I'd be interested to know which components (Motherboard, Power Supply, and/or Hard Disk) "could" be mounted upside down ?

    I also want to know if there's anything else I need to be concerned with. Like, does the motherboard need to be mounted on metal ? Do I need to use the traditional motherboard mounting screws/standoff's or can I get creative with this stuff ?

    I'm open to any suggestions. Thanks in advance.

    Cheers,

    Long.1
    Worklog: 2006 Ford Territory Ghia (Melbourne, Australia)
    Mounting Components in Custom Carputer Box
    Attention Aussie's - Say G'day Here

  • #2
    I was a bit sketchy with mounting my m2-atx on it's side using normal standoff relying on the thread to kepp it in, so I used these which screw in from either side so it's not going anywhere. The ones in the link are 10mm long, but the ones I used are only 5mm long and came in a pack of 10.

    If you were going to mount anything to the side of the box of upside down, these would work well.
    I installed my carpc into my pet Kangaroo, mate.

    Comment


    • #3
      Why would you put a DVD/CDRW in there? You might also save some room by using a 2.5" drive instead. The space you have is plenty for a car computer.
      Gen 1: Pentium 3 1GHz - ATX - 2005
      Gen 2: Pentium M 1.6GHz - ITX - 2006
      Gen 3: Pentium M 2.0GHz - 5.25" SBC - 2007
      Gen 4: (coming soon: Core2 Duo - 3.5" SBC - 2009)
      ...it never ends

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by NiSlo View Post
        ........so I used these which screw in from either side so it's not going anywhere......
        Originally posted by psyrex View Post
        Why would you put a DVD/CDRW in there? You might also save some room by using a 2.5" drive instead. The space you have is plenty for a car computer.
        Thanks Nislo - I had hoped to hear about something like that. Being able to screw into both sides would be perfect. I'll have to take a browse through Dick Smith / JayCar.

        Thanks Pyrex, the optical drive is mostly so that I can watch DVD's - I have two rear headrest monitors. As far as location of the drive goes, I believe it's the most convenient place given I'm trying to keep things relatively concealed. You're right though as far as CD's are concerned, I'll probably never listen to them via the carputer. My car's ICC / Head Unit has a stock in-dash 6-disc CD player.

        Cheers,

        Long.1
        Worklog: 2006 Ford Territory Ghia (Melbourne, Australia)
        Mounting Components in Custom Carputer Box
        Attention Aussie's - Say G'day Here

        Comment


        • #5
          That's pretty tight. Remember, if a board is 1.2" tall, you need a little room underneath and some room on top for airflow and so things don't short out, although the box appears to be plastic, huh?

          I see no reason why the motherboard couldn't be mounted upside down. It might be better since dust settles with gravity, right?

          I don't believe the motherboard needs to be grounded through the standoffs. I'm pretty sure full sized ATX motherboards come with plastic standoffs and there are guys on this site that have built computers in plastic cases, so I wouldn't worry about that.

          Your Opus dimensions are kind of big compared to my M2-ATX. Have you purchased the parts yet? If it works for you functionally, you might consider the M2. I think it would fit next to your motherboard in the 27 cm dimension.

          Good luck.

          Comment


          • #6
            I would lay it out in a 3d cad application for best results. That way you can see how everything is going to mount and more importantly, if it will fit, the way you intend to mount. In my experiences your dimensions are more than enough room to work with.

            From a fabrication P.O.V. I would probably mount all components on a solid sheet of aluminum with 1/4" standoffs. Then mount the sheet inside your box. A computer system likes to be grounded to the other components its communicating with. Thats why virtually all mass produced computer cases are made of metal and even the mass produced acrylic cases come with grounding straps. I'm not saying its impossible or bad to run the system on all plastic ungrounded, but I have found using a metal chassis to be very successful in my builds.
            Build Things, it keeps your brain busy.

            AutoPC v1 (Retired) - AutoPC v2 (in progress) - www.shocknet.us

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by long.1 View Post
              Thanks Nislo - I had hoped to hear about something like that. Being able to screw into both sides would be perfect. I'll have to take a browse through Dick Smith / JayCar.

              Thanks Pyrex, the optical drive is mostly so that I can watch DVD's - I have two rear headrest monitors. As far as location of the drive goes, I believe it's the most convenient place given I'm trying to keep things relatively concealed. You're right though as far as CD's are concerned, I'll probably never listen to them via the carputer. My car's ICC / Head Unit has a stock in-dash 6-disc CD player.

              Cheers,

              Long.1
              I think what he was getting at was "why put the dvd drive in that box under the seat". That makes it very difficult to get to. An alternate solution that others have come to is either to get an extra long IDE cable & mount an internal drive elsewhere, or get an external drive, run a usb cable to a relatively accessible location, but keep the drive unplugged and stashed except when you're using it.

              Comment


              • #8
                Yeah, mounting the DVD remotely in the tissue box slot would be my suggestion.

                Not only will it save space in the carputer box, but it will be easier (and safer) to change DVD's while driving.

                Panda
                Car - Ford Falcon XR6 Turbo, footwell lights, Pioneer front speakers
                Carputer- P3 966MHz, 256MB RAM, 200GB HDD, 300W PSU

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thanks All - this is exactly the kind of input I was hoping for - most appreciated. Some responses follow....

                  Originally posted by Profozone View Post
                  .....That's pretty tight. Remember, if a board is 1.2" tall, you need a little room underneath and some room on top for airflow and so things don't short out, although the box appears to be plastic, huh?
                  .....Your Opus dimensions are kind of big compared to my M2-ATX. Have you purchased the parts yet?
                  Thanks Profozone, Yes - the box is plastic. I know that airflow will be a concern, and I'm prepared to add some small fans to move the air in and out. Also, yes - all of these parts have already been purchased, so it's definitely the Opus 150 for me.

                  Originally posted by blk02si View Post
                  .....I would lay it out in a 3d cad application for best results. That way you can see how everything is going to mount and more importantly, if it will fit, the way you intend to mount. In my experiences your dimensions are more than enough room to work with.
                  .....From a fabrication P.O.V. I would probably mount all components on a solid sheet of aluminum with 1/4" standoffs. Then mount the sheet inside your box. A computer system likes to be grounded to the other components its communicating with. Thats why virtually all mass produced computer cases are made of metal and even the mass produced acrylic cases come with grounding straps. I'm not saying its impossible or bad to run the system on all plastic ungrounded, but I have found using a metal chassis to be very successful in my builds.
                  Thanks blk02si, I've been fooling around with Photoshop and AutoCAD to see what I can come up with so far. I'll see if I can post up a jpg tomorrow of what I'm working on.
                  I definitely like the sound of mounting all the components on an aluminium sheet first. That could actually help overcome the issue of the slight slant on one edge of the box. Maybe - we'll see.

                  Originally posted by TheLandYacht View Post
                  I think what he was getting at was "why put the dvd drive in that box under the seat". That makes it very difficult to get to. An alternate solution that others have come to is either to get an extra long IDE cable & mount an internal drive elsewhere, or get an external drive, run a usb cable to a relatively accessible location, but keep the drive unplugged and stashed except when you're using it.
                  Originally posted by Pandaman72 View Post
                  Yeah, mounting the DVD remotely in the tissue box slot would be my suggestion. Not only will it save space in the carputer box, but it will be easier (and safer) to change DVD's while driving. Panda
                  Thanks TheLandYacht/Pandaman72, I can definitely hear what you're saying, and I've seen others use those USB drive's to mount them in the dash or elsewhere. However, the irony here is that part of me wants to keep the DVD/CDRW drive in the carputer box for the convenience of the location. There's a little more to consider here, so let me elaborate. I'm really trying to keep the stock look of the dash, and at this stage I'm reluctant to put the optical drive up front. Now, I know that when I get a touchscreen, it will have to go somewhere, but that's another issue for another day.

                  I would consider mounting the drive vertically in the centre console, or maybe even in the glove compartment, but to be honest, these locations are probably equally or more inconvenient than the proposed location under the seat. There's also the concealment factor which is a positive for under the seat as well. So for now I'm going to see if I can get the DVD/CDRW in the carputer box. If it doesn't work out, I might consider the other locations detailed above.

                  Thanks again for all your thoughts/comments.

                  Cheers,

                  Long.1
                  Worklog: 2006 Ford Territory Ghia (Melbourne, Australia)
                  Mounting Components in Custom Carputer Box
                  Attention Aussie's - Say G'day Here

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Ok, here's my initial attempts at photoshop design of the box. I've just used some images of the components. Seems feasible and I'm excited. Will be interesting when cables and fans are introduced though.

                    As always, I welcome any members thoughts/comments.

                    Cheers,

                    Long.1

                    Worklog: 2006 Ford Territory Ghia (Melbourne, Australia)
                    Mounting Components in Custom Carputer Box
                    Attention Aussie's - Say G'day Here

                    Comment

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