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88 Thunderbird TC project

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  • 88 Thunderbird TC project

    I've been lurking a long time and slowly collecting PC parts as I work on the car. Now I've taken the plunge and ordered the big stuff. I'd like any input you all may have.

    Keep in mind that this is a heavily modded car that has a 5.0/ 4R70W with custom turbo kit controlled with Megasquirt and a Baumann transmission computer. (Hence the need for serial ports) I'll still need to use 2 serial/ usb converters for the Mitch's cable and my wideband O2.

    I see myself using the PC for Megasquirt display / tuning and listening to music (of course!) along with nav and hopefully handsfree phone. (The phone part looks a bit dicey from what I'm reading in the forums.)

    That said, here's the stuff:

    FOXCONN R30-D2 D510 51S based barebone ($105 including case and PS)

    Selected this one for it's 2 serial ports and ps/2 mouse/keyboard to free up USB (supports 8 USB)

    Approved by Foxconn for this MB

    Random HDD for now until I can afford a Mushkin SSD

    Random ps/2 keyboard

    Windows 7 pro

    MCS-MT-700 Mini Touch 700 7" VGA Touch Screen Monitor

    MCS-ATX-M2 M2-ATX 160 Watt Intelligent Power Supply

    25w 12v-5v DC-DC converter and 2- 5v Dynex B4port powered USB hubs (500ma each port)

    BLUETOOTH ASUS USB-BT211 (Came free with 1/2 height PCI wireless card)



    ADESSO GP-410PB TOUCHPAD (ps/2) (Will mount in console in front of armrest)


    For sound I just have some Polk DB5251 5-1/4 speakers for the doors (from a previous purchase) and a pair of tweeters that came with them. I am not too picky about sound so haven't done much on it yet. I want to see how I like the output from the onboard sound before I finalize that part. I do plan on a low-mid end amp and sub, though. Looking for suggestions here.

    I plan to use RR with voice if W7 gets supported. I'll get a Superbeam USB mic when that day comes, or if I decide I can integrate my phone.

    Need to buy a GPS receiver also. I can use Mymobiler and my ATT Tilt for nav until I get one.

    I'm working on the power scheme now, and where to ideally mount the parts to work the best.
    The Megasquirt and Baumann TCS computers will be in the passenger kickpanel where the stock ECU lived. I know I need to keep the Directed away from the PS and close to the antenna. Locate the PC in my (huge) trunk and the Directed up front? Should I ideally keep the M2 away from everything, including the onboard sound? BTW, battery will be in the trunk. Did I mention that it is HUGE?

    I want to let the M2 fire a relay for 12v to the 5v converter and monitor brick. I am using the 5v converter to keep the load off the M2. I also plan to include a PC power switch to override the M2 for cold weather and/or short trips. Wiring it this way will keep all the temperature sensitive stuff off until the car can warm up, right?

    I am fabbing a custom wiring harness as I type, so please let me know what I may be missing or should think about!

  • #2
    Parts arrived!

    All my boxes showed up today. 3 from Newegg and 1 from Mo-co-so. The Minitouch 700 seems to be a very cool monitor. Bright and clean display. I only was able to hook it up via composite from my bedroom TV because the VGA cable was MIA. I'll call Chris tomorrow and I'm sure he'll fix me up. Not his fault the manufacturer left out a component. I am very happy out of the gate with both MO-CO-SO and Newegg. The biggest shock was that the speakers in it sound better than those in my 47" Samsung! It still sucks for music but it is at least bearable.

    From the looks of it the (supplied) headrest mount for the monitor is a near perfect fit in my center console and the Adesso touchpad will fit nicely in place of the shift console's ashtray. The Adesso has a nice, easy feel to it and I am sure it'll be a much used device. Worth the money in the end. I may take it apart and wire it to send discrete signals from the bottom buttons for RR control.

    The Foxconn barebone went together smoothly and fired right up with a spare 500GB MaxtorHDD and a fresh install of W7. It has a crazy fast boot time! All the reviews weren't lying about the Foxconn BIOS. Full featured for sure, and speedy. Video is crisp but limited by the hardware as to it's capability. Should be plenty adequate for my needs, however, and just sips the electrons! I'll be shocked if the M2 can't keep up, especially since I'll be powering all the high draw 5v stuff from a separate 5v converter. (The 5v ends up sapping the 12v eventually if I understand it right.)

    I am also pleasantly surprised by the cheap 1/2 height Edimax wireless PCI card. Great signal and W7 found the drivers in a heartbeat over the G LAN. My ATT Tilt phone will tether to provide internet when I am out of wireless range, but it'll be nice to pull up next to the house to download a movie or album from my home network. The free ASUS BT dongle is still in the package so no initial thoughts on it yet. Once I have my software loaded and stabilized it'll be time to yank the 110v PS and mount the M2-ATX and test everything powered from 12v.

    The Rosewill DVD burner is quiet and effective. It will only come out for to the car for software installs and the like since my music and video are all on disk. I just wanted to have a dedicated car DVD if I need it.

    I'm doing an experience rating as I type and will post the scores later on for anyone interested in a cheap little machine like this one. It's so CUTE!

    After reading the discussions on dual batteries, I may decide to put a small gel cell in the trunk for the PC to use and put a 1/2 size racing battery up front for cranking. It'd be easier to wire that way for sure. Hmm....


    • #3
      Plugged in the ASUS BT dongle and it paired to my phone in a flash. I may get one or two more of these at the cheap price. I'd like to check it out further, first.

      Chris at Mo-Co-So came through as I thought he would..... he's sending me a new VGA cable and I ordered a few more things from him. He's a class act, folks. Try to send some business his way and you won't be disappointed in the service. (No affiliation here, either!)

      I decided to use a single car battery trunk-mounted. Got the Taylor sealed box mounted and am wiring a relay for acc/run to trigger. I'll pull power for the amp, M2, and USB converter from that via a BUS 4 fuse panel.

      W7 experience ratings were a 3.1 on business graphics up to a 5.9 on data transfer. I torrented a couple of files to give the wireless card a workout and did some surfing and youtube'ing. I'm well satisfied at the moment.

      I seem to be talking to myself, but I'll keep a log running anyway. I know how much I was helped when I came across a thread that didn't peter out right away.



      • #4
        looks like a good start to a carpc!

        someones usually ends up reading it, the fact that there is no replies means that you haven't done anything seriously wrong yet
        My OLD 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT:
        "The Project That Never Ended, until it did"

        next project? subaru brz
        carpc undecided


        • #5
          Originally posted by soundman98 View Post
          looks like a good start to a carpc!

          someones usually ends up reading it, the fact that there is no replies means that you haven't done anything seriously wrong yet
          Glad to hear that!


          • #6
            how do you like that monitor? I'm considering it.


            • #7
              Mixed feelings at the moment. I don't have any access to info on the monitor other than a disk with touchscreen drivers and I can't get 800x480 resolution from my video yet. Ask me when I have those things resolved!


              • #8
                I've had the install done for a year or so now, and am pretty happy so far. The monitor seems to be getting a false signal at times and switches to a blank screen at random times. I'm going to put the reverse camera on a 528T device to try to combat that issue.

                I'm using Reborn skin on RR at present since it is easiest to see and use in daylight and matches the gages in the car pretty well. Uconnect also looks nice, but is hard for my aging eyes to see in daylight unfortunately.

                One other strange thing is that I have the Directed and my PC soundcard connected to an amp, then running to the speakers. I can't use winamp without it buggering my sound configuration in W7. I'll have to post up about that with more detail in the audio forum and see what I can do about it.

                I made a couple videos.