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A few basic questions

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  • A few basic questions

    Hey everyone,

    I'm one that's been lurking and reading a bunch on these forums for a while in anticipation to install my own car pc. I've got a few questions for those of you who know way more than me on the topic...

    My details -
    Car: 2001 Chevy Cavalier 2-door, all factory
    Experience: Audio engineer/tech with knowledge of building computers/wiring basic audio cables.

    I'm looking to do something extremely simple, preferably somewhat pre-build. The ToughBox solutions at the MP3car store look like perfect starting spot (

    What i'm thinking about doing is installing the box underneath a seat/somewhere out of the way but where it still has breathing room. From there, take out the factory stereo which looks like this...

    ...and replace it with a touchscreen monitor.

    My problem is, I know pretty much jack about my car's audio/power wiring. For now i'd like to keep everything factory, i'll get more crazy when I have more money/knowledge. From what it looks like with this thing (here, there's a single factory installed cable that handles the audio I could conceivably attach an adapter to and plug into the speaker out of the car pc. I'm assuming that mobile car power supplies (ie work a similar way, attaching to the existing stereo power wiring?

    I know that unless I attach a harness, i'll lose my door chimes, which I don't really care about. I'd just like to do a build that is fairly easy and gets me into the basics of doing this, then i'll go totally crazy later!

    Thanks for the help and patience!

  • #2
    a great link that can answer a lot of questions you might have:

    for your car, you are going to need a different amp-- that particular deck you have powers the speakers, so removing the deck will remove the factory 'amp'. the amp that you get could be anything from a Focal or alpine model, or a motorcycle amp off ebay(usually about $30-50). the motorcycle amps are reported to be at least as good as the factory decks(though i don't have one, so i can't confirm this...)

    the link doesn't work for the harness your talking about, but i believe that it is a harness that would be use to attach a aftermarket stereo-- you could connect that harness to the motorcycle amp to power the speakers.

    for power, the absolute best way is a fused line off the battery, and i would never recommend connecting to the factory wiring for power(for kicks once, i tried it with a m4 and blew 4 fuses...)

    the factory stuff was never designed to operate anything other than the factory stuff.
    also, i have seen it more than once where a single 10 amp fuse labeled for the radio powers more than just the radio(in my car--mitsu eclipse, it powers the dome light, radio, and time display), so you would also need to take these other devices into account also.

    so if the power supply draws slightly more, you will either be blowing fuses, or melting wires. when you pull your own line from the battery, you know exactly what size wire it is, the fuse size, and the max draw of the line(or can at least determine the max draw).

    time for 2k1toasters artwork

    also, the chimes are part of the radio--so you remove the radio, and the chimes go away for all functions(seatbelt, door etc...). there are modules to get them back, but they ain't cheap...
    My OLD 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT:
    "The Project That Never Ended, until it did"

    next project? subaru brz
    carpc undecided


    • #3
      Thanks soundman! I'll keep digging through the link you posted. There's almost so much information here that it's way easy to get overwhelmed.

      All good information to know - and having control over the entire system (power/amp etc.) will make it way easier to understand and monitor as well.

      Thanks for the advice