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Designing a double-din case for 2003 WRX

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  • Designing a double-din case for 2003 WRX

    I've been thinking about how I want to put a 7" or 8" widescreen LCD and the guts of a Mini-ITX board (Commell LV-670/LV-670M/LV-671) behind the double-din area of my 2003 WRX's dash.

    Today I opened up my WRX's radio bezel area, took some measurements, and came up with a few simple sketches.


    The idea is to build a box, approximately 180mm square, with the appropriate flanges to match the radio's mounting holes. I'm not planning on using the original radio's mounting brackets.

    Attached to the front of the box will be a simple frame to hold the LCD panel -the LCD frame will be attached to the box, and the face of the box will be parallel to the inside of the bezel.

    With the LCD fixed flush and parallel to the inside of the bezel, all I should have to do for adjustments would be up/down/left/right of the LCD frame.


    One note: the motherboard is indeed mounted backwards, with the rear ports facing front. I'm thinking I'll be able to get more clearance (2-3cm) for routing cables.

    I'm not planning on using the standard VGA connector, but if I did, I'd have a short cable made with high-density ribbon cables and HD15 crimp-on connectors to re-route the video port.

    Also note that the board I'm planning on using (Commell LV-671) has PCMCIA and CF slots on the underside of the board - I'll either use them as-is, or re-route them elsewhere with appropriate ribbon cables, connectors, and sockets, all available from Digikey.

    I've attached pics of the sketches I've done - they're only a rough draft.

    Comments, suggestions?

  • #2
    Wow that looks great! How are you going to get power to it, mount the PSU elsewhere or in the DIN area?
    Providence is borne on the breath of prophecy.
    P4 2.66 | 1024 MB PC3200 | 4x Memorex DVD+RW | Memorex 52x24x52 CDRW | 200 and 60 GB HDDs | Antec 400W PSU

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Providence
      Wow that looks great! How are you going to get power to it, mount the PSU elsewhere or in the DIN area?
      I'm thinking of using the Opus 150w, which I believe is fairly small.. I'll be able to tuck it up somewhere.


      If I get the Commell LV-671, I probably will be able to just get a 12v regulator or something, as the board can run from 12-volts.

      Comment


      • #4
        Simple box.

        I roughed out a simple box that's sized 180x180x100mm - I'll add in the various cutouts and such in a bit.

        This was done with eMachine Shop.

        The cost for one simple box was about $145 - however, if I order more than one set, the cost drops significantly.


        The material I picked was Aluminum 6061-T6, 2mm thick, and will be laser cut, if anybody's interested.

        The box should fit any Mini-ITX board sized 170x170mm, with 5mm clearance on all 4 sides.


        Would anybody else be interested in a group buy?

        The cost drops to about $50/box if I order 5 - prices may vary a bit with the finished product.

        Edit: Updated for material thickness (2mm vs 1mm), picture, and cost.

        Comment


        • #5
          I to have been modeling my own lcd housing for the lilliput 7" using emachineshop. I need to get a case so i am definetly interested in a grp purchase since it is much cheaper. I hope more are interested in this.

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          • #6
            Looking like a case..

            Slightly more developed - it's got:
            • Mini-ITX spaced mounting holes, tapped with 6-32 threads for standoffs.
            • Hole in the back for an ATX-size I/O shield.
            • Roughed-out hole for 2 PCI slots.

            Refinements to continue.

            Current cost for Quantity 5 is $55.92 each.

            Includes surface treating of a brushed surface, clear anodized, with the anodizing baked on. Color anodizing is optional, but they'd all have to be the same color.

            Comment


            • #7
              Is that just for the case w/lcd housing? I am just working on the lcd housing. I have 2 differant models one is a laser cut/bend the other is cmill. Cost differance is about twice the price for the cmill version, and prices vary depending on finishings. If your model is a computer housing only, I dont think anodizing is worth it cause, its behind the dash?? i might be missing out on something here but thats my opinion.

              desing ref. http://www.tmz.com/wrx/build3.htm

              (Both designs might not be 100% acurrate in measurements cause i dont have LCD yet and have yet to take apart dash)




              My opinion on the 2 is the cmill will fit fuller and flusher with trim. You might not be able to see it but, the Cmill design has a bevel around the screen unlike the laser cut. I just made the laser/bend model as a cheap alternative. When buying in bulk even 2-5 ppl makes a big $$ diferance.
              Attached Files

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              • #8
                Originally posted by CousinOpey
                Is that just for the case w/lcd housing? I am just working on the lcd housing. I have 2 differant models one is a laser cut/bend the other is cmill. Cost differance is about twice the price for the cmill version, and prices vary depending on finishings. If your model is a computer housing only, I dont think anodizing is worth it cause, its behind the dash?? i might be missing out on something here but thats my opinion.
                That price was for the parts as you saw, just the box, so far.

                As far as the anodizing, it's probably not worth the trouble, though a light polish might be good to deburr edges.

                I'm trying to get the majority of pieces machined as simple laser cuts, taps, and bends.. Some of the smaller bends, like for flanges and such, I may have them just cut, and I'll hand-bend myself.

                Work in progress, still more things to cut like venting holes, cable access, etc.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by CousinOpey
                  Cmill design (Both designs might not be 100% acurrate in measurements cause i dont have LCD yet and have yet to take apart dash)
                  [url
                  http://www.geocities.com/cousin_opey/Cmill.jpg[/url]

                  Laser/Bend
                  http://www.geocities.com/cousin_opey/LaserCutBend.jpg

                  My opinion on the 2 is the cmill will fit fuller and flusher with trim. You might not be able to see it but, the Cmill design has a bevel around the screen unlike the laser cut. I just made the laser/bend model as a cheap alternative. When buying in bulk even 2-5 ppl makes a big $$ diferance.
                  Image links don't seem to work with Geocities - opening them in another window works, but you should be able to add the pics directly to the post.

                  Edit the post, and then go down to Manage Attachments - upload them both.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Guiliano,

                    Paul has already done this design for his WRX. Check out this thread and his web site. He has some very nice pictures.
                    MikeH

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by MikeH
                      Guiliano,

                      Paul has already done this design for his WRX. Check out this thread and his web site. He has some very nice pictures.
                      If you mean http://www.tmz.com/wrx , then no, the design is not quite the same - similar, because a 2003 WRX dash is like his 2004 WRX dash, but slightly different in the approach.

                      I'm planning on making the case so that the board faces backwards - with the rear ports facing forward, just behind the LCD.

                      I'm also basing the design on the assumption that I'll be able to locate an 8" LCD panel in the next few months, instead of basing it around a 7" LCD.

                      -Giuliano

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Giuliano
                        If you mean http://www.tmz.com/wrx , then no, the design is not quite the same - similar, because a 2003 WRX dash is like his 2004 WRX dash, but slightly different in the approach.

                        I'm planning on making the case so that the board faces backwards - with the rear ports facing forward, just behind the LCD.

                        I'm also basing the design on the assumption that I'll be able to locate an 8" LCD panel in the next few months, instead of basing it around a 7" LCD.

                        -Giuliano
                        Looks good, but I'd recommend making one and doing a full install in your car before offering parts to people. The kicker for me was all the wiring that had to be done from the box to the other comonents - allowing clearance for the wires to be routed in the openings inside the dash and being able to easily install and remove the system once I was done.

                        Even after having the system running for 3 months, I'm still finding ways to make improvements, its an iterative process.

                        Good luck.

                        -Patrick

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by phc
                          Looks good, but I'd recommend making one and doing a full install in your car before offering parts to people. The kicker for me was all the wiring that had to be done from the box to the other comonents - allowing clearance for the wires to be routed in the openings inside the dash and being able to easily install and remove the system once I was done.

                          Even after having the system running for 3 months, I'm still finding ways to make improvements, its an iterative process.

                          Good luck.

                          -Patrick
                          Thanks - I'm primarily designing the case for myself, so additional production runs will be optional.

                          I'm also designing it around a specific board, the Commell LV-671, so the case will have a few specially placed openings, for example, on the bottom so the bottom-mounted PCMCIA and CF slots are accessable.


                          Right now I'm trying to see if I'll be able to use the PCI slot, using a right-angle riser card.

                          The board supports up to 2 PCI slots via riser, and it'd be nice to be able to use both, but I don't think both will fit (appears to fit, but it's tight).


                          I'm also having a little difficulty finding a PCI riser (1 or 2 slot) that's bent the right way - most are bent to the left, away from the board.

                          I'm trying to find a 1-slot or 2-slot PCI riser that faces the slots to the right, over the motherboard.


                          I'm thinking I may have to settle for a 1-slot riser, possibly one that uses a flex cable to make the connection. A flex cable riser would allow me to place the opening for the PCI slot wherever, without having to worry too much about exact positioning.

                          I also have a few thoughts about cooling the case, airflow, exhaust, and so on - I'd like to see if I can place a tall heatsink (vs the low-profile kind) on the CPU, and cool it and the case with a slim 60-80mm fan on the side, on either the inside or the outside.

                          Kind of the L-shaped path to cooling - in the side, out the back.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Giuliano
                            I'm also having a little difficulty finding a PCI riser (1 or 2 slot) that's bent the right way - most are bent to the left, away from the board.

                            I'm trying to find a 1-slot or 2-slot PCI riser that faces the slots to the right, over the motherboard.
                            Something like this would probably work, though I'd have to measure:

                            http://www.mycableshop.com/sku/PCITX4-2-5B.htm

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              More case refinements...

                              I chose this right-angle 1.75" PCI riser, and designed the slot to match:

                              http://www.mycableshop.com/sku/A-PCI-175R.htm



                              Current price estimate is about $125 for 1, $45 for 5 each.

                              More refinements to continue...

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