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Thread: Adding a car computer to Buick Century, advice needed

  1. #1
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    Adding a car computer to Buick Century, advice needed

    My car is a 2004 Buick Century, and I have been slowly researching and acquiring materials for a car computer over the past few months. This is what I have so far:

    Computer itself (I know the amount of processing power is excessive, but I figured having too much speed is preferable to having too little or just enough, so I have more flexibility in the future for running more cpu-intensive applications):

    Phenom x3 (cannot remember core speed offhand, 2.6ghz iirc)
    4gb inexpensive memory
    Micro-ATX board
    64gb SSD

    It will be powered through a 600 watt inverter, since I already have one of those to save a little money for now.

    I would like to use the release candidate of Win 7 as the primary operating system to start.

    One thing that is important to me is that i would like all of the main components to be entirely removable. How I will mount the touchscreen in a way that it can be removed is unclear to me at the moment, although I would appreciate any suggestions. I know that this makes the project a little more difficult and a little less polished, but not physically cutting the trim is important to me. The sight of unconcealed wiring does not bother me, so long as it is neat and not intrusive.

    I'm thinking of trying to shove the computer underneath the drivers seat instead of mounting in the trunk for the sake of simplicity..... cooling should still be sufficient so long as the intake and exhaust vents on the case have some exposure to fresh air.

    I will control the computer through the touch screen and through voice command when possible, and a keyboard will be stowed away as well for use when needed.

    Any suggestions for me? I can provide pictures or any other information, and I'm very good with computers as well, just never tried to install one in a moving vehicle before.

  2. #2
    Newbie corvettecrazy's Avatar
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    2000 Buick Century Install

    I bought a spare dash trim at a pick n pull junkyard for 5 bucks. My stock one is collecting dust unmodified.

  3. #3
    MySQL Error soundman98's Avatar
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    for all the components being removeable, it should be relatively easy to mount most of them to a peice of plactic, and then mount that under the seat(i am working on uploading pictures of my build that was designed along the similar principles). the biggest issue will be space-- i ended up being 1/8" to tall, and ended up using some creative, well placed hammer swings to the bottom of the seat(only in a area that holds foam, not on any part used for structural integrity of the seat).

    for the monitor mount, that will require some very creative mounting ideas.

    my first idea for this would be to use wire loom to hold all the wires going to the monitor(so there is only one large cable going up to it-- less wire to tangle up), and use some sort of latch-- a slot in the dash with a locking pin the goes up the middle, and a button that releases it--similar to a cell phone clip, to secure the screen to the dash while it is in use.

  4. #4
    FLAC
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    You'll save yourself work if you place the computer in the trunk instead.
    You won't have to worry about heat, and most importantly, you won't have to hear your fans running inside your car!

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    Will I really be saving myself a lot of work? How would mounting the computer in the trunk be any more efficient? Wouldn't the wiring be substantially more complex?

    Also, corvette, I looked at the pictures of your install and I am impressed. I would be interested to know how you ran the wires from the trunk all the way to the front, as I am new to modifying vehicles and I am unaware of how much of the interior trim fits together. The most I have done up to this point is install an aftermarket radio and replace a mirror, both of which weren't too hard. I suppose I am just intimidated by how complex all of this seems at first. For the screen, I am wondering if there would be a way to fasten it to the curved plastic on the top of the dash somehow. My idea up to this point has been to use some sort of strong velcro adhesive, but I'm still trying to work out how it would all be done.

  6. #6
    MySQL Error soundman98's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Punky View Post
    You'll save yourself work if you place the computer in the trunk instead.
    You won't have to worry about heat, and most importantly, you won't have to hear your fans running inside your car!
    I would argue that there are more serious heat, or ventilation issues in the trunk than in the cab, there is also a some fine points on where most of the equipment is located-if you were planning a full-on aftermarket sound system with amps and all, it might be best to mount the pc in the trunk, but in most cases, anywhere there is room is good enough. there would also be alot of extra wire that would be needed to mount it in the trunk (this would be run through the sill panels)..

  7. #7
    Newbie corvettecrazy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oneillium View Post
    Also, corvette, I looked at the pictures of your install and I am impressed. I would be interested to know how you ran the wires from the trunk all the way to the front, as I am new to modifying vehicles and I am unaware of how much of the interior trim fits together. The most I have done up to this point is install an aftermarket radio and replace a mirror, both of which weren't too hard. I suppose I am just intimidated by how complex all of this seems at first. For the screen, I am wondering if there would be a way to fasten it to the curved plastic on the top of the dash somehow. My idea up to this point has been to use some sort of strong velcro adhesive, but I'm still trying to work out how it would all be done.
    I had to go with the trunk because of the computer size. I wanted to put it under the passenger seat but it was just not possible. The wires are run under the rear seat cushion, above the carpet, under my floor mats, under the passenger seat, up to the top of the tunnel and then back to under the dash. I'll try to get a few more pictures with things tied up a bit more soon.

    I'm sure you could mount the screen to the top dash pad. There really is not much under it.

  8. #8
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    So if I wanted to mount a screen like this one:

    http://www.amazon.com/Lilliput-Touch...236198&sr=1-16

    on the top of the dash pad, how would I do it while keeping it level? Remember, no holes can be drilled and the whole assembly must be removable. The main problem that I see there is that the dash pad is curved in the area right above the radio where I would like to mount it. Take a look at the pics that corvette posted, as my interior is pretty much identical to his.

    Also, I've revised the specs of the pc slightly as well, I'll now be using a 250gb laptop hd as opposed to an SSD, because I was able to get one at a price low enough that the cost benefits outweighed those of going with an SSD.

    The computer itself is now assembled and running Windows 7 RC (64-bit) quite nicely.

  9. #9
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    Anyone have any ideas for mounting that particular screen? I've been looking around the internet for a good solution but it seems that a lilliput mount that works for this monitor on a curved surface is difficult to find. Any ideas?

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