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Thread: MacMini in Lexus SC300

  1. #1
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    MacMini in Lexus SC300

    I was recently given a 1993 SC300 by my father as a college graduation present. I am computer enthusiast and I have been blown away by some of the mac mini installs I have seen online. I want to install a mac mini in my SC300, but here's the catch... I have absolutely no experience with car stereos, electronics, etc. The good news is that I am smart, motivated, and have all the time in the world.

    I have browsed every mac mini install I could find online. I am ready to start ordering parts.. my only problem is that I don't know how I want to do it. I am looking for advice from people who have replaced the stock stereo head unit in an SC, people who have installed aftermarket touch screens, and anybody else with good advice.

    I would like the Mac Mini to run my GPS, MP3's (Itunes), Movies, and DVD's. My mac will have wi-fi and bluetooth so some internet access will be available and I'm considering some sort of bluetooth connection to make it more available. (that can be done later though)

    My first decision is where I will install the screen. I am leaning towards a touchscreen so I don't have to use a wireless mouse. I would love to install the touchscreen in the dash where the stereo is now, however, it is so low that I worry about the GPS being difficult to look at. Does anybody have any other ideas? Has anybody seen a screen installed right in the lower dash?

    One of my biggest concerns is getting the audio to work. I am not an audiophile (or whatever you call them) and my stock speakers are plenty good for me. How can I make my stock speakers run off my mac mini? I know I could use an FM transmitter through my stock radio, however, what if I take my radio out? Is there a relatively easy way to hook up my stock speakers through my mac min? Do I need an amp for this? (Please keep in mind that I am totally new to this and I barely know what an amp is... ok, that was an exaggeration)

    I am hoping to get started on this project very soon and I can't wait to post pics of my progress and finished product.

  2. #2
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    Did you catch the "How to install a Mac Mini" FAQ in the FAQ Emporium? That will answer all of your Mac Mini specific questions.

    Most of the things you are asking are not Mac specific. This is the good news. The bad news is that you don't have experience with car audio or electrical wiring. However, you can find out an awful lot by reading the FAQ's, such as "How to install your Opus" (good advice, also fairly applicable to the Carnetix P1900), "How to find the ignition wire in your car", and so forth. There's also one in there about "How to get audio to your car speakers".

    In addition, you can look at 0l33l's (that's zero-l-3-3-l) installation and talk to him. He's a Lexus freak and can probably point you to the right Lexus forums so you can figure out the aftermarket aspects of your install.

    Also, post a pic of your dash here. You'll get lots of suggestions about where to put the screen.

    Lastly, do you know anyone with car stereo installation skills? The screen will be the most difficult part, unless you go with a motorized foldout touchscreen.
    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruzer View Post
    I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
    Want to:
    -Find out about the new iBug iPad install?
    -Find out about carPC's in just 5 minutes? View the Car PC 101 video

  3. #3
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    cardomain

    I would definately recommend you check out cardomain.com. You can do a search by vehicle and check out people's installs. This will give you a good idea of what others are doing with their dash's.

  4. #4
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    Thank you for your help. I am also considering a touchscreen install above my center console control panel. The dash board is quite large and it seems like a small screen (less than 8" or so) wouldn't instruct my view too much. I am just concerned about installing it in the lower 2-din slot because I like to keep my eyes on the road.

    Here is a picture of another SC300 dash... (my car is garaged about an hour from my home until the snow melts and the streets are cleaned- I live in Montana)

    In case you are not familiar with the SC300, the top 1/3 of the center console controls the climate, and the lower 2-din slot is the stock radio controls. There is a 6 Disk CD changer in the trunk (that I will never use) and an old analog car phone in the armrest that I am considering removing if I find a use for the space.



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    Quote Originally Posted by ckny
    I would definately recommend you check out cardomain.com. You can do a search by vehicle and check out people's installs. This will give you a good idea of what others are doing with their dash's.
    Thanks... I checked out cardoman.com and it's a great site. Unfortunately, there are not any mods of my vehicle. The other lexus mods are not relative to what I'm doing either. The ones that do have screens installed had very different dash's to work with.

    I think my main concern right now is determining what type of screen I should order. If there was a way I could bridge having a screen that looks like it is supposed to be there and one I could remove easily may be an advantage... I would hate to have my equipment stolen.

  6. #6
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    id definately go with a touchscreen in that double din space. Most double dins can accept a 6.5 - 7" pretty well.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ckny
    id definately go with a touchscreen in that double din space. Most double dins can accept a 6.5 - 7" pretty well.
    I agree that would look much better... However, with my lack of experience with car stereos, etc. I am worried about getting into a project I won't be able to finish... particularly how I will get the stock speakers sounding good without my stock stereo.

    I am also concerned that the double din space is too low to make my GPS effective... I guess I may have to do that unless I want my car to look like a taxi cab with the screen sticking out.

  8. #8
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    Put it in that double din slot. Even when the GPS is up high, you don't stare at it while you drive. Use the voice guidance and glance at it when you're stopped or not in heavy traffic. It will look SWEET in that lower spot.

    A 7" screen will work in there, but an 8" would be better! Check out the LCD forum for specs and size on the different screens (Stickies on "Everything you ever wanted to know about your XXXX screen"). And before you ask, the Xenarc is generally acknowledged to be of higher quality but the more recent Lilliputs are supposed to be pretty good these days and are cheaper.
    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruzer View Post
    I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
    Want to:
    -Find out about the new iBug iPad install?
    -Find out about carPC's in just 5 minutes? View the Car PC 101 video

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