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Thread: hacking a stereo faceplate? been done?

  1. #1
    Variable Bitrate telekineticfool's Avatar
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    hacking a stereo faceplate? been done?

    Hey all...I was wondering if anyone had more info on the possibilities of hacking the faceplate of my stereo. I will seperate this into a few questions:

    1. Is it possible to use a stereo faceplate as an input device?

    2. My current stereo is a JVC with a graphical LCD screen...is it possible to use something similar to that to display actual useful information?

    3. Barring both of those, and kind of as a preamble, is it possible to extend the wiring harness for a head unit, so I could leave the main unit in my glovebox, but put the faceplate, say, up by my dome light?

    4. My uber pimp setup would be a faceplate mounted up by the dash, with a volume control that still controls the HU, with all the buttons controlling functions on my PC, and the LCD screen displaying information to compliment my 5.6" TFT (Like...equilizer bars, track times and titles, etc etc). Any hints/clues as to how to get that to perform? Anyone else think that's cool?

    I did a search and only found one person who talked about having done it (someone with a VW van?) but he had no pictures or more information, and his www just lead to an old show off thread.

    TIA guys, sorry if this is a n00b question and I just don't realize it...I do have some electrical skills...I am typing with a blistered index finger from an encounter with a soldering iron while I was hacking a joystick to a keyboard controller board so that i could use it as a controller (ie, up down left and right on the high-hat registered on the PS2 connector as asdf, and the four buttons were qwer) but I didn't know how sealed and impregnible the faceplates were...I'll probably just end up buying one to play with if i find a nice cheap one on ebay.
    MP3 MR2 (click here for details)
    Hardware: EPIA M10000, 512Meg Ram, 5.6"TFT, Opus 150watt DC-DC PSU
    Software: Windows 2000, Media Engine 2.0

  2. #2
    Variable Bitrate Superduck's Avatar
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    I'm not completely sure I understand your question, but if you just want to remote-mount a stereo faceplate, most newer decks just use pin contacts between the faceplate and the deck, so theoretically you could just solder wires from the faceplate to the corresponding wires on the main part.

    There have been several examples of people in the car audio show scene dismantling their stereos and installing them into the cars. I remember one years ago that made the cigarette lighter into the volume knob, the CD slot was right above the ashtray, and the display was built into the stock gauge cluster. That must have taken hours of cutting and splicing and extending wires. Oh well, whatever works for you.

    Good luck,

    Kris

  3. #3
    Constant Bitrate Suprapc's Avatar
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    Do some searching somebody hacked the SONY bus system to control a PC before. there was talk about doing pioneer also but I lost track.
    2002 Golf TDI With Phatbox . Blue 87 Supra Needs to go, Grey 89 Targa with stock Radio.

  4. #4
    Maximum Bitrate deadweasel's Avatar
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    I think one of the questions he was asking was how to get his faceplate display to actually display information he sent to it via carPC, such as Track/Title info, etc.

    To that I would say, you would have to know the logic they used to get that display on there in the first place, which means hacking and copying the firmware, then intercepting the signals with similar ones from the PC. Now it's into the micro- and surfacemount electronics area, where I gave up after frying my VESA video card years ago, trying to figure out which chips were memory chips. Hey, it wasn't mine so I didn't thrash my own $300.00 card. Whoops. I hope my old buddy isn't reading this...

    *hides under desk and sets up food stores to last a couple weeks*
    The ALEXIS Project
    MP3---VIDEO---GPS---REARVIEW---OBD---SKINNING
    Color Coding :
    DONE / MOSTLY DONE / BASE FEATURES / WORKING CONCEPT / NO CODE COMPLETED

  5. #5
    Newbie H8tred's Avatar
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    Haha Qwer... Any way, I have no useful input so I'll shut up now...
    Helping the world hate me one person at a time...

  6. #6
    Low Bitrate Knightofoldcode's Avatar
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    If your attempting to take a HU and hack the HU so that the HU main unit is in the glovebox, and the display is in another location, the previous suggestion of theoretically it would work, is probably accurate. Just remember this.... The people designing that HU didn't expect that. And tehy might not have high voltages going through the wire. Sometimes wires can't be exntended more than 3 feet as the signal diminishes.

    If you want to use a HeadUnit to control the Computer/MP3 player while retaining the original HeadUnit functionality, good luck. If you succeed let us know. If you are wanting to use a old headunit hacked so that you can use it for a controller for the computer then this is similiar to what I'm intending to do.


    I purchased a graphic serial LCD controll from matrix Orbital. It has a keyboard interface on it. The LCD was originally going to be the entire display. However I changed my mind, to go for a touch screen.

    I ripped apart a old Blaupunkt deck. (Display was dead, so I didn't loose anything). I took the PCB for the display, and cut the traces that led from the tactile switches to the main board. Cut those, then soldered on my own wires, then connected these wires to the serial graphic display. Now the graphic display will just be for a Spectrum Analyzer exclusivly.

    I gutted out the Bluapunkt.... I took a 3.5inch Single Board Computer, and put this into the case, as well as a 2.5 inch slim harddrive, and a slim slot style DVD-Rom behind where the original CD mechanisim worked. Then I took a screw and permanently attached the face plate to the main unit. Then I put a VGA connection the my Touchscreen, and a USB connection, and put a external harddrive to the unit.

    (Internal harddrive holds the database of MP3's. It contains the entire freedb database. My car is Convertable, so I'm concerned that it will get cut some day, so I always park it in the garage. About once a week I leave the system on overnight and let it update the freedb database.) (External harddrive holds MP3's.) DVD Rom can be used for DVD, Divx, AVI, Mpg, MP3's, etc.

    I'm working on my own software. I'm actually really upset that Media Engie has decided to become closed source.

    Entire system should be self sufficient. Car has a "Mach Audio System".... in other words the factory installed a 8 channel amp. Uses standard linelevel voltages. I connected this to my computer, and instant sound.

    Inside the Blaupunkt case there is a Relay board. This board controls via software the following items....

    Windows, both up and down.
    OverDrive (For some sophisticated run times and racing.)
    NOS (Again for sophisticated racing.)
    Lighting.
    Locks

    Computer interfaces with car via a OBDII port and a serial port. This gives me critical information for racing. Including on the fly changing of idle speeds, etc.

    I have a Clarion headunit that I want to use with all this for Sirius sat.....however I need to figure out the bus protocal of the HU before I can use this...... some day.

    I have a degree in Software Enginerring, and my brother is a Electrical Engineer, so we have the ability, just can't find anyone with ANY info.

    I hope I helped you out, instead of gloating.

    *Knight steps off his soap box*

  7. #7
    Variable Bitrate telekineticfool's Avatar
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    thanks knight, that was helpful (I'm typing painfully, my soldering finger blister popped today)

    your intercepting of the LCD off the circuit board was exactly one of the things i was curious about: if there was a way to do that. I was looking, and it looks like there are some cheap faceplates out there...I think i'm gonna buy one and see what I can do. It might be fun!
    MP3 MR2 (click here for details)
    Hardware: EPIA M10000, 512Meg Ram, 5.6"TFT, Opus 150watt DC-DC PSU
    Software: Windows 2000, Media Engine 2.0

  8. #8
    Low Bitrate Knightofoldcode's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by telekineticfool
    thanks knight, that was helpful (I'm typing painfully, my soldering finger blister popped today)

    your intercepting of the LCD off the circuit board was exactly one of the things i was curious about: if there was a way to do that. I was looking, and it looks like there are some cheap faceplates out there...I think i'm gonna buy one and see what I can do. It might be fun!

    Just remember. The designer's oft he HU didn't expect that. And weird **** might happen.

    I have a garage door opener that I hacked, and extended the wires to a switch mounted in my car, and put the garage door opener in the dash. It works fine after tweaking it. I originally had aproximatly 10 feet of wire. It worked sparatically. After I chopped off two feet of wire it works reliably now. The wires were just to long to do what I was doing.

    BTW, If you're interested, it's a universal garage door opener from Radio Shack, about 30 bucks. It's excellent, works with alot of the older garage doors.

    Knight.

  9. #9
    Constant Bitrate
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    These were taken with a very cheap cam. Yes i'm the one with the VW van but i use that setup still in my VW GTI. It's pretty easy to do and the pay off is great since you have backlit buttons so night time driving is simple. I can't help you if you plan on keeping the head unit functional as a radio aswell since my vw radio was broke already it was a perfect time to rip it apart and use it soley as an interface. Just follow the circuit board tracings and connect them to the keyboard controller circuit board.
    GTI - Palm IIIe controlled with Radio faceplate hack for keyboard control of WinAmp w/ Vocal Genre playlist loading.
    VW Bus - 10.4" vga lcd. Loaded with same software as above.

  10. #10
    Newbie ANZAC's Avatar
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    Telekineticfool et al,

    I am looking at remoting the face off my JVC HU, mainly so that I can mount a 7" touch-screen across the double DIN slot it is occupying half off.

    I don't want to change the functionality, just lift it up the dashboad a bit (probably into a small binnacle on top of the dashboard.



    I will be watching carefully to see how you go with this aspect of the 'remoting', and would appreciate any feedback.

    Matt
    Canberra, AUST

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