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Thread: 40th Anniversary Mustang GT Vert

  1. #1
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    40th Anniversary Mustang GT Vert

    Hey guys!

    I recently acquired the base vehicle for what is soon to become my 'dream car' ... a 2004 Ford Mustang GT convertible in Sonic Blue with tan leather interior - mmmmhmmm!



    I've been lurking here since the day I brought it home, learning all I can ... and I think, I think, yes - I think I'm going to build my FIRST CarPC!

    There are several mods I want to do to the car ... some performance, some body, but the first I wanted to do was upgrade the head unit from the standard 6 disc changer the Mach 460 system comes with. I was looking at an Alpine all-in-one double DIN with NAV, but I didn't like the looks of the 'software' it ran on. Then I came across the whole idea of a CarPC by googling, found this forum, and wow! THAT is exactly what I need for this machine!

    I have extensive experience building PCs from scratch as I used to be a consultant in a former life. However, I have not built anything for a car platform so I am looking for suggestions and comments on my 'plan'.

    I'd like to retain as much of the stock look of the car as possible, with the screen of the PC being the only noticeable change. The primary use of the PC will be for music, then NAV, then the fun stuff like hands free phone, OBDII, movies, internet, etc.
    I have a USB GPS antenna that I currently Use with MapPoint on my laptop. I like the MS OS so I was planning a front end running Centrafuse on Win7. I also would like to Bluetooth my HTC Imagio to the PC for hands free operation and to hop on the internet.


    After perusing the forums, I see the preferred method in the New Edge 'Stang body style is to relocate the HVAC controls lower, and glass-in a touch screen in place of it. Dunno if I like that idea. I am hoping to mount the touch screen where the Mach 460 head unit sits - am I wrong to do that? Will it be too low?

    I'd also like to use as much of the existing Mach 460 amp/speakers as possible. I have read on the forums that the 460 system comes in two flavors, one has a hi-freq amp mounted under the radio to run the hi's, and two amps under the rear seat (in the vert) that run the four mid/low's in the car. The other uses a built-in amp in the head unit to power the hi's, and removing the head unit requires me to install another amp between the PC and the existing speakers.

    At this point I have not pulled the stereo yet, I am still in the brainstorm phase of planning my installation. I decided to post today to accomplish a few things ...

    1. If I tell you guys, then it's real and I have to follow through with it - right? (please tell the wife that's true)

    2. To get you opinion on some of the finer points, and help with the decision making of which way to proceed.

    Building the pc will not be a problem. Installing and configuring the hardware and OS - no problem either. Picking the 'right' components to accomplish what I want to ... that's priceless!

    So far I have acquired a Lilliput 450nit 669GL-70/NP/C/T/5HB for my main display, and a used non-functional Mach 460 head unit that I plan to gut and use the carcass as a possible 'case' for either the PC, or to mount a usb hub in the dash behind the touch screen.

    My first thought was to get a VoomPC-2 enclosure and mount the PC under the passenger's seat. However I have read that is not a good idea so I am tossing between in the dash, and in the trunk.

    I am also tossing between finding a MB with built-in HD audio or using an external USB sound card. My intial plan is to use a 5.1 setup with the sound card driving the Mach 460 amps to drive front L/R and rear L/R to the hi's and a mono sub to the low's. I also have two Alpine 10" dual-voice coil subs that I will add in the trunk later.

    My first thought was either a Intel DG45FC Media Series G45 Mini-ITX or a Intel DG45FC mobo, but I am not sure what processor to start out with. Then I saw the GIGABYTE GA-H55N-USB3 LGA1156 mini-ITX and I like a lot of the features it has. However, much more cost and I hear it boots slow?

    Another decision I am struggling with is what to do with the media drive. My first thought was I just HAVE to have a CD in-dash. Then I thought, well - make it a DVD and be able to play movies as well, well - what about a Blu-Ray drive just so I can play whatever disc I want to shove into it! But where to mount it that it's easy to access? I wanted in in-dash, but the touch screen takes up all of the space. I like the clean look of the screen only too. What about mounting it into the glove box? But then how to get the drive cable to the PC? Then I thought .... hmmm, if I can configure it so that whenever I 'play' a disc, it actually 'rips' it to the HD and plays the resulting files - I would only need to put a disc in once as I build a librbary. If I mainly play MP3s (or WMAs?), then I only need a drive when I want to play something that is not yet in the library ... so I think I settled on an external USB DVD-RW or Blu-Ray just to have the ability to play discs. I have a nice USB extension that I can easily mount, and I would also be able to unplug the drive and use the port to access a thumb drive.

    I have a USB GPS antenna that I currently Use with MapPoint on my laptop. I like the MS OS so I was planning a front end running Centrafuse on Win7. I also would like to Bluetooth my HTC Imagio to the PC for hands free operation and to hop on the internet.

    Whew! I just re-read this post and it sure seems like a bunch of half-hazard thoughts just thrown out there, and I guess that is where my build is right now.

    I have looked at about every Mustang installation I could find on the forums, and I am hoping that I can get some 'experience' from some of the 'experienced' ... what do I need to look out for? If I could poll the 'experts' ... what do you think?

    1. Centrafuse or Ride Runner. I like free, but I think I like CF better, should I reconsider?
    2. Advantages of dash vs trunk mounting of the PC?
    3. Touchscreen too low if I put it in place of the standard radio location?
    4. Anybody got a recommendation for a decent, low cost MB that would accomplish my goals?
    5. What about the disc drive? What mounting location works well?
    6. On board or external USB sound card for 5.1 surround?

    Jim
    '04 Stang GT Convertible

    P.S. pyros, if you're out there - I love your install. Any tips?

  2. #2
    Variable Bitrate
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    I'm not sure if you've come across my install, but I've been running a carPC in my 02 v6 for over a year now. My screen is in the location of the radio and I think it is PERFECT. Glare isn't too bad(should be even better with the screen you've chosen), and i can easily change songs with my hand resting on the shifter.

    My 2 cents...I love Centrafuse, but as for the rest...I'm sure everyone else is more experienced than I lol.

    My install is in my sig if you're interested
    Over a year later I guess it's true...a carPC is NEVER complete

    2002 Mustang CarPC

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimwarneke View Post
    1. Centrafuse or Ride Runner. I like free, but I think I like CF better, should I reconsider?
    then go with CF. there really isn't much other then cost that make the 2 very different.

    Quote Originally Posted by jimwarneke View Post
    2. Advantages of dash vs trunk mounting of the PC?
    dash--you'll need to do something about heat displacement, and everything will be very cramped in there.. but the cable runs are going to be shorter.

    trunk-- longer cable runs, but more locations to mount everything..

    personally, i mounted my pc under the passenger seat(i got a '01 eclipse convertible)-i am 6' tall, so the rear seat is really useless-- there just isn't enough space for most passengers to fit back there.

    Quote Originally Posted by jimwarneke View Post
    3. Touchscreen too low if I put it in place of the standard radio location?
    try it and see what you think. just be mindful of the gearshift position-- it might get in the way..
    Quote Originally Posted by jimwarneke View Post
    4. Anybody got a recommendation for a decent, low cost MB that would accomplish my goals?
    a i3 board should do pretty decent with any software you want to run. zotac, and the gigabyte you posted are pretty common..

    Quote Originally Posted by jimwarneke View Post
    5. What about the disc drive? What mounting location works well?
    check my worklog-- i mounted mine in my center cubby under the radio, but the glovebox should work just as well..


    Quote Originally Posted by jimwarneke View Post
    6. On board or external USB sound card for 5.1 surround?
    again, personal preferance. i typically recommend to try onboard, and see how it sounds, and if it is lacking, then upgrade to a usb solution(just don't get the creative x-fi!!)

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