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Thread: Advice on putting a computer into a Impreza

  1. #1
    Newbie Macfamous's Avatar
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    Advice on putting a computer into a Impreza

    Hello all, I'm new to these forums as well as the "carputer" hobby. I have always threatened to install one but never had the money. Now that I'm not so stretched I'm looking into a carputer. I have been reading though the forums for awhile, and after searching the web I have come up with a couple questions I would like to ask the more experienced hobbyist.

    I currently own a naturally aspirated 2004 Subaru Impreza TS 2.5L Wagon. What I would like to do is install an in-dash monitor, while keeping my deck in there as well. I looked around on the forums here, as well as searching around on Google and I have decided on a Xenarc 700IDT LCD this seems like it would be a good fit for me.
    Here is a picture of my dash.


    What I am hoping to accomplish is taking out the tray below my deck, moving the deck down to where the tray was and installing the 700IDT monitor above it. Downside to this would be losing the 1 cup holder Subaru gave me and having to move my Parrot hands free system. Neither of which will really bother me to do. So basically what I would like to know is, will they both fit in there together and is the 700IDT a good monitor?

    Next issue I am having is finding a suitable case; I am planning on putting my computer case underneath the passenger front seat to keep it away from the subs in the hatch. There is a lot of room, measured it out and a case around 10L x 14W x 5H would fit with no problems. This would also be convenient as I could run all the wiring down the center console alongside the E-brake. What I am looking for is maybe some suggestions on cases that may work. Preferably ATX as I have access to very cheap components for that style. But if thats not possible I would be willing to use ITX.

    Next up on my list of questions is temperature. I live in Alberta, Canada and the temperatures have a very wide range. In the summer I have seen it get to +35C (+95F) and in winter as low as -50C (-58F). Now, I read through a topic posted on these forums talking about how to deal with the cold, but Im not really sure what to do with the heat?

    Additional information:

    Stereo Deck Model: JVC KD-AVX11

    Thanks for taking the time to read through this, and I thank you in advance for any help you may be able to offer me.

    -Mac

  2. #2
    Constant Bitrate Ramb0_Command0's Avatar
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    First off I'd like to say, Welcome!

    I have an 06 WRX and I actually moved the pocket to the top and put my 700IDT in the bottom. But since you are keeping your radio, that probably wouldn't work so well for you. If you put the monitor in the top one, you'll not only lose the cupholder but also the air vents will be completely blocked.

    As far as fitment goes, I'm not sure about the newer 700IDT, but the older doesn't fit width-wise into the dash, I had to buy one from a junk yard and use a dremel on it to widen it(It looks pretty clean). Make sure you check the dimensions of the 700IDT though.

    Now for cases, your main problem is gonna be the height, meaning you can't have any PCI cards most likely. I don't know of any ATX cases that would be thin enough. But you could always make a case out of Acrylic or Lexan. I just use a mini ATX case with an ITX mobo and its sits in my trunk right beside the sub.

    And for the heat, I don't see that being an issue at all, if you have a fan in your case it'll be fine.I would be much more concerned about the cold if I were you
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  3. #3
    Newbie Macfamous's Avatar
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    @ Ramb0_Command0

    Thanks for the reply,

    That’s a very good point about the vents, which could also cause heat issues with the 700IDT if I were to have the heater running. I would be willing to lose the deck, since it’s not looking very feasible to keep it there at the moment. However, the reason I would like to keep the deck is for its cd/dvd capabilities. The original plan was to have it hooked up to the 700IDT as well to watch dvd’s.

    Also, if I was to eliminate the deck from the setup how would I go about hooking the cars speakers up to the PC? I assume I would need to get a separate Amplifier for the speakers, and somehow install an external volume control? Back to searching the forums, as I’m sure this has been addressed already.

    Do you happen to have a picture of your 700IDT installed?

    Thanks again,

    -Mac

  4. #4
    Constant Bitrate Ramb0_Command0's Avatar
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    Yeah if you lose the HU you need an amp, the volume control is the PC, you can get a USB volume control knob like the powermate if you want. You can also remotely mount the HU, but I don't know much about that. I think if it has a removable faceplate you put the actual radio in your glovebox and attach the faceplate with some wires and mount it wherever.

    Good luck
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  5. #5
    MySQL Error soundman98's Avatar
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    for a case-- i decided to take the cheaper route and mounted all the components under the passenger seat, on a piece of plexiglass-- works great, and it is completely open, so cooling isn't a problem

    for volume, there are really a couple of ways to do it-- you can either use the computer volume control, or use a usb volume controller, or use one of two different external volume solutions-- either a 1/2 din eq with a volume knob, or a jl audio cl-rlc controller.

    the advantage to the computer audio volume is that it is free, but can be a little sluggish if you need to turn it down quickly, though this is where the external knobs excel, but are not as cheap, unless you have one already.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ramb0_Command0 View Post
    Yeah if you lose the HU you need an amp, the volume control is the PC, you can get a USB volume control knob like the powermate if you want. You can also remotely mount the HU, but I don't know much about that. I think if it has a removable faceplate you put the actual radio in your glovebox and attach the faceplate with some wires and mount it wherever.

    Good luck
    Thanks for your help, I'll have to think about losing the deck. Seems like a lot more work, since I'll have to wire in another amp, in the long run it would probably be worth it just in the sound quality gains.

    Quote Originally Posted by soundman98 View Post
    for a case-- i decided to take the cheaper route and mounted all the components under the passenger seat, on a piece of plexiglass-- works great, and it is completely open, so cooling isn't a problem

    for volume, there are really a couple of ways to do it-- you can either use the computer volume control, or use a usb volume controller, or use one of two different external volume solutions-- either a 1/2 din eq with a volume knob, or a jl audio cl-rlc controller.

    the advantage to the computer audio volume is that it is free, but can be a little sluggish if you need to turn it down quickly, though this is where the external knobs excel, but are not as cheap, unless you have one already.
    I was thinking of doing the same thing with my case, the only thing I'm worried about is people kicking it or dirt/debris getting into the components, this makes me lean towards an enclosure. However, having it open would leave me a lot of room to work with as far as large components.

    The volume knob is a bit of a must for me, I'm not to keen on waiting for it to quite down when my phone rings; plus, it's oh so convenient. Only trouble is finding a suitable knob, as well as a place to put it to keep it looking OEM.

    Thank you all for the input, I'm starting to get excited!

    -Mac

  7. #7
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    Hello again,

    So, I have an idea of what I am going to use. I'm still not %100 on the case that will hold the computer; I may use the Morex 5677 Mini-ITX Case from mp3car and also buy an m4-ATX psu. Or create my own case using Plexi glass, I'm leaning more towards the Morex alternative. Here is what Im thinking for the computer.

    Computer Specs:

    Intel mini-itx motherboard with an Intel core 2 Duo processor
    4Gb's of DDR2 Memory
    Some form of Solid state SATA drive for the memory
    A high end audio card either internal/external, haven't decided as of yet.

    As for the monitor I think I will be using the Preassembled Black Double Din LCD Frame with 7" Lilliput found in the Mp3Car store; although I will have to figure out if it will fit my dash or not?

    The way I would like to wire it in is have a 4 gage wire coming off the battery and then into a 80 Amp breaker inside the engine bay, then from there in through my firewall and into a Fuse block so it can be individually fused and distributed to each component. I think that this setup should work, but I figured it would be a safe bet to post here in case someone has any input. I also found an aftermarket pigtail that was originally used as a wiring harness for a Parrot Hands free system, If it will work I plan on using this so that I can plug into the factory harness and then use the leads off of it to wire in my amp for my speakers possibly even supply the power to my monitor. This makes it so that I do not have to cut the factory wires and I can re-install the factory components if I ever decide to trade in the car.

    Please feel free to give me any input you may think necessary! I would love to hear your comments and suggestions.

    Thanks,

    -Mac

  8. #8
    Constant Bitrate Ramb0_Command0's Avatar
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    Your computer specs sound pretty good, the price/GB is pretty high for solid state, if price isn't an issue, or you won't need more than 34 - 64 GB then thats what you'll want, otherwise I'd just go with a plain old HDD, either 2.5" or 3.5" depending on physical size constraints.

    The Morex case is nice, just a couple of things to note though, you won't be able to put any pci devices in it, that includes extra usb ports from the MB(no pci slot mounted ones anyway), you might be fine with that, just letting you know

    The monitor should fit, they have a diagram with dimensions up there, so you can measure and see for yourself to be sure.

    The wiring, you should be fine with a 4gauge, fused withing 12" of the battery, run it through the firewall, get a fused distro block (or unfused and put fuses on each line) and run 8 gauge to your components(one to the computer, one to each amp). Also I would suggest against powering your lcd off the radio harness, you'll get cleaner power off the power supply of your computer. And they also make reverse wiring harnesses so you don't have to ruin your factory harness, you shouldn't have to cut the factory wires for anything.
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  9. #9
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    It's Done!

    Well it's in, not at %100 yet but it's in my car and working.

    It took me about a day to do, but it was well worth the time. I learned a lot, and it was quite fun, there are some pictures below if that's your thing.

    Here is a picture of my engine compartment before I ran the power wire, that blue cord is my old power wire for my subs. Eventually I will eliminate that and run it all through my new distribution block.




    Now, here it is with my power wire run all the way through the firewall with the fuse in place, isn't it beautiful how clean it looks? I ended up using 2Gauge welding wire for the main line to the distribution block.



    Close up of my 150Amp breaker, with any luck at all that breaker should go LONG before that wire goes up! :P



    Next I removed my drivers side seat and disassembled my center console where my distribution block is located. I cleaned it up a little better and secured everything after this picture was taken.



    Next I tore out my old deck to wire in the speakers and such. To make this easier and without damaging my factory wiring I used an old harness I had left over from my old parrot hands free system. Just looked up with wiring diagram for it and cut what i didn't need and extended the rest. Picture of it below.



    Now, this is a picture of where my amp is sitting underneath my drivers side seat. I think it looks really nice since I crimped and taped on terminal connectors for each wire on the amp side.



    Next I put my computer in underneath my passenger seat. Now, I forgot to take pictures of this, which really sucks; but, I'm not overly happy with the placement. Eventually I will have to move it, where I have no idea maybe get a new sub box that will let me keep it in the back.

    Next the in-dash monitor, this is where i hit my first snag. The Double-din dash kit wasn't exact fit, but I figured this would happen so it was no big surprise. In the below picture you can see that the slots for the bolts weren't quite long enough to make it sit back far enough.



    But, when doing something like this it's to be expected. I was happy, I got to tell my g/f "See, I told you there was a reason I bought this file set!". I got to use my new files, I was happy. Here it is after I took a round file to them.



    I had to trim off a little bit on my bezel as well, and it's still not fitting exactly how I would like but I had to go back to work, so it will have to do, at least for now. Finished result!



    Problems I encountered:

    I purchased a M4ATX DC-DC PSU but I nor my brother could not get that thing to turn my computer on with the ignition. So, what I ended up doing was installing a tiny On-Off-On switch on my center console. I actually kinda like this a little better so I'm not to upset about not being able to get it to work.

    The +IGN wire coming from my radio harness would not work, for the life of me I could not figure out why, but this was easy to fix. Simply, installed a fuse tapper in my fuse box under my dash and ran a new wire from there to behind my dash and then off to everything else.

    Next, for some reason I cannot get my rear speakers and subs to work right, been messing around with settings in my media players and sound card options to no avail. If I test the speakers in the options for my sound card they all work, and when they are supposed to but other then that, nothing. Just another work in progress I guess!

    Edit: Never mind, I got it working. Been pulling my hair out over the last two days trying to figure it out and all I had to do was set my Amp to 2 channel, not 4.... >.<

    As for my software choice, I'm using the 30day Centrafuse Trial, and it works for sure. But I do not like that I can't just set it on random for my entire music collection so I'm looking into finding something else if anyone has a suggestion I would love to hear it!

    Thanks everyone for all your help, if you have any questions or comments please, feel free to ask/tell!

    -Mac

  10. #10
    Newbie s00pa's Avatar
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    As for my software choice, I'm using the 30day Centrafuse Trial, and it works for sure. But I do not like that I can't just set it on random for my entire music collection so I'm looking into finding something else if anyone has a suggestion I would love to hear it!
    I have Centrafuse play all my music on random. I have a playlist called All that contains all songs which I play on random. Every time I add more music I have to manually update the playlist which takes me a while to do because I find Centrafuse's playlist controls confusing. I would tell you how I do it but I can't remember.
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