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New! Long-time PC enthusiast! Now... how do i put one in my car?

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  • New! Long-time PC enthusiast! Now... how do i put one in my car?

    Hi all, Nice to meet everyone!

    Im a long time nerdy type and have probably built every kind of PC imaginable... except for a CarPC. So, time to change all that. I have the following car (which im planning on driving till it cant drive no more): 2001 Mazda protege ES/GT.

    What am I hoping to have?
    1) Dual DIN touch screen.
    2) Very, very finger friendly OS (I live in canada - its cold - and i dont want to have my gloves off for too long in winter)
    3) Interface with the car to read _____ <insert cool useful information here>? (Fuel mileage? Temperatures? Pressures? etc etc)
    4) USB Port? Cause i need to get music on it somehow - it still my only car radio (or is it?)
    5) 3 pairs of RCA outs (Front/Rear/Sub) - Cause it still gotta play nice with my existing amps/speakers
    6) Some way to hide the obvious or remove it so my car isnt a target for theft?

    Am I dreaming if I say I want...
    A) Some level of actual control over my engine? ECU? Improve fuel economy on the fly? (is that even possible?
    B) Some sort of decent (or better) quality GPS navigation function?
    C) Control of my cars existing power features? (I.E.: One button touch on the screen to open all power windows.)
    D) The ability to expand on the system to good degree (I've always been interested in electric cards... so when my car's engine dies... who knows? Maybe i convert it to electric and will want to be able to monitor the inverter, dc/ac motor temp, etc)

    And lastly, and possibly the most cool-ly:
    Can I integrate my car's (admittedly pathetic) security system a la "Transporter" - to use a code to allow my car to be started?

    What will a project like this cost me?

    Sorry for all the questions everyone, but this is literally my first serious step forward for this project. Thanks to any and all who want to respond!

  • #2
    Welcome to MP3car!

    I would suggest you start by reading the FAQ's, they will answer a lot of your questions as to what can be easily acheived and what you need to get up and running.
    They are located here:

    Read a bunch of worklogs to see how others got started.

    They are located here:

    Then, for the answers you can't find on your own, post the specific questions and I'm sure you will get help. Nobody here is good at spoon feeding (described here) but they sure will help if you have done a bit of homework!

    When you have some of the stuff gathered up, start a work log of your own with lots of pics. People love pics.
    My 2007 Ford F350 Work Log located HERE


    • #3
      3) OBD2..

      5) not easily possible-- there are no car-audio sound cards. but there are plenty of work-arounds if you look for them

      6) check the parts you need--this one will work it's self out once you get a rough parts list

      a) there are programs out there for this, but this is a very tricky business-if you make too much/little of a change, it could destroy your engine, or worse- when anyone mentioned this in the mitsubishi eclipse forums, they were told to do LOTS, and LOTS, and LOTS of data logging to learn where the sensors were supposed to be in all conditions before even considering changing anything.. also it is a very good idea to get a understanding of what everything in the motor needs to do.. it is not something you can just tinker with.. anyone that i have talked to that did this was very focused on 1/4 mile times, many times they were also boosted-- either turbo, or super-charged... the last one i kinda remember reading was attempting trying to get times lower then 13 seconds while staying N/A..

      B) faq's/search

      C/transporter) possible, but not a great idea. the 2 main issues here is that the pc will need to be on all the time to allow the feature to work--which won't happen with most hardware--to power hungry (the only solution is something like tripzero's [insert name of project] worklog), and pc's fail. if you are really interested in a 'transporter-like' coded ignition, it is probably better to use a hardware solution.

      cost: depends entirely on what parts you use, and where you get them from.. i have seen setups for as little as $300--they use parts they have on-hand, and needed a screen, and power supply.. and ones that have well surpassed the $2,000 mark..(i think mine counts as one of those, though i don't keep exact track of hobby costs so not positive...)
      My OLD 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT:
      "The Project That Never Ended, until it did"

      next project? subaru brz
      carpc undecided