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Thread: My E46 Project

  1. #21
    Variable Bitrate
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    So the bridge board is a USB to IDE converter?

    To have more than one cigarette lighter you can use a splitter. You can buy one at any automotive stores (Pep Boys, WalMart, etc.)

    In my instal the splitter is not plugged in to the car's actual lighter adapter because mine stays on even when the key is not in the ignition. The splitter is connected to a relay which is triggered by the carputer's power supply.

    The splitter is just temporary. When time allows, I'll strip the adapters' assemblies and have all devices hardwired.

  2. #22
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    Hi GeddyT, nice work on the trim piece.

    As for your wiring diagram, you may have trouble with the down the centre of the car route. That carpet is backed with foam at least three inches thick and won't budge!

    I ran all my cabling down the sides of the car - power down the right and vga/usb down the left.

    Jamie

  3. #23
    Newbie GeddyT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamieo
    Hi GeddyT, nice work on the trim piece.

    As for your wiring diagram, you may have trouble with the down the centre of the car route. That carpet is backed with foam at least three inches thick and won't budge!

    I ran all my cabling down the sides of the car - power down the right and vga/usb down the left.

    Jamie
    Yeah I thought about doing it that way, but what a hassle having to take the dash apart to get the cables to the sides of the car. Or taking the seats out or whatever. At first I figured I'd do it right and run them under the carpet, but I figure you're right and that might be somewhat of a hassle as well. So I've thought up a ghetto workaround that might end up looking pretty good. Not sure if I'm going to do it, though, so I'll talk about it when I get there. Which may not be for a week or two.

    I do have an update on that trim piece, though. Got a couple of days off of work and had some time to finish mounting everything to it, which was a pain. I realized shortly after cutting the carbon that it was going to be very difficult to mount the screen to it because the standoff posts to mount the clamps to would have to be in the correct place and this would be difficult with the screen moving around. So I installed some nylon set screws. One on either side and one on each bottom corner. Then I could adjust screen position by turning screws until it was seated in the perfect place. Then I made some standoffs out of tiny nuts epoxied to hollow aluminum spacers. They worked perfectly. Clamps screwed into them and the screen's held down tight. Then I used four more standoffs to attach the PCB that has the IR receiver for the remote just below the LCD. It BARELY fit with the seat heater control box installed. As for the seat heater control box, I affixed that by putting a long bolt through a 1/2" threaded aluminum spacer glued to the control box and a 1/4" threaded aluminum spacer glued to the carbon. It all worked out very nice. Five minute epoxy rules!
    Attached Images Attached Images      
    This goes for the guys, too. Because sometimes the guys are tapped out. But check your lease, Man, 'cause youíre living in F*bleep* City!

  4. #24
    Variable Bitrate WeeZyFellA's Avatar
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    wow, that looks great...neat install

  5. #25
    Newbie GeddyT's Avatar
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    Okay, so you know how in every movie there's a beginning where you are introduced to and grow attached to the characters and then there's some conflict that ruins everyone's day and you're all attached to the characters now so it bums you out, but then the resolution of the conflict usually right before the end? Well my project's kind of like that. Everything had been going so well for me so far and I was making tons of progress and it seemed like everything was going to work out without a hitch...
    ... and then came the conflict. I got a few days off this weekend and REALLY rolled up my sleeves and got crackin'. I started off by finishing off my screen bezel by buying hardware and mounting the main PCB (just kept it in the old cover to avoid soldering). Then I started making some power wires. Clipped AC adapters for my USB hub and USB slimline enclosure, soldered them to wires, and soldered the other end to a molex. It's at this point that I started to have a really bad day. I'm not sure why I so had it my head that on a computer power lead the yellow wire is 5V and the red wire is 12V, but for some reason that's the way I was looking at it right from the get go. Even bought yellow wire so it would match. So that was mistake one: Sitting there with a multimeter on the floor next to my chair and just wiring up to the 12V line without even thinking to check to make sure I wasn't backwards or second-guess the setup at all. Mistake two was trying the newly made cable out on my $75 slimline combo drive in a $75 USB enclosure first instead of the $20 USB hub. I have NO idea what I was thinking there. Well what happened was about what you would expect: the drive got really warm in my hand and nothing happened. THAT'S when I thought to put the multimeter on. And then crap my pants. After correcting the cable, still nothing for the drive. I'm hoping that the drive is okay and it was just the bridge board in the USB enclosure that fried. I guess I'll find out when my new enclosure shows up, but I'm not holding out much hope.

    So I shrugged off that $150 bummer and forged ahead. After a few hours I had my car COMPLETELY in pieces (never thought I'd be grinning ear to ear at the sight of a dismantled $40,000 car that belongs to me...) and all of the wiring ran to the trunk. I ran everything down the center tunnel and under the backseat, trying to keep the audio cable as far away from everything else. Also, just to be cool, I put the USB hub right under the rear area ashtray with an exension cable coming through into the compartment (I was originally going to have the whole hub in there, but it was way too big). Eventually I'll cover everything up in carbon so there'll just be a USB jack in carbon when you open the compartment door. But that's way later. As for the mess of wires along the center tunnel, I plan on using a little carbon to take care of them as well. Again later.

    So then it was time to install the screen and cross my fingers and hope everything fit in its place. Which it did beautifully. I was so stoked that I was able to make something look so well that I had to run into the house and yank out all my friends to come look.

    But then came Major Bummer Number Two. At this point I started doing a system check. I have all of the Lilliput buttons hidden behind carbon and my plan is just to use the remote control to turn it on and off. But the IR sensor is hidden behind four layers of carbon. I'm not sure whether I'll have to drill a small hole for reception purposes or not. So I put a battery in the remote, plugged the screen into the wall in the house, and tried turning it on. Nothing. So I disassembled my whole screen assembly so that I could get a line of sight to the IR sensor. Nothing. No matter what I did I couldn't get the thing to turn on. When I pressed the AV button on the button board, all of the tiny blue LEDs lit up. But that's all I could get it to do. Nothing at all from the screen. I had tested it when I first got it and it worked fine. But I hadn't tested it since taking it apart. It didn't make any sense, though. I didn't cut anything, didn't roughly handle anything. I simply unplugged a ribbon cable and two small harnesses and then plugged them in again exactly how they were. That shouldn't kill a screen! But apparently it did.

    I've since done quite a bit of looking around on the board and it turns out that this is not uncommon. Apparently the Lilliput's don't like to be opened up. Which sucks considering a significant percentage of people using them are doing just that to get them to flush mount. A lot of people said that the ribbon cable is the culprit so I ordered a new one from Armen just in case. I mean, why not? It's six bucks and may get me another screen back. I say another because I've already ordered another Lilliput. I hate to do it after how little it took to break the last one (simple disassembly/reassembly should not kill something!), but I'm not sure how well the Xenarc would mount up on the carbon piece that I made and there's no way I'm starting all over again on that!

    So anyway, the project is on hiatus for now. My EPIA is in the mail and I'm hoping my new Lilliput will ship today and arrive on Friday. In the meantime, I've got all of my wiring laid out ready to go, including the power and USB cables for the combo drive in the glove box. I'll leave you with a few pics.
    Attached Images Attached Images      
    This goes for the guys, too. Because sometimes the guys are tapped out. But check your lease, Man, 'cause youíre living in F*bleep* City!

  6. #26
    Newbie GeddyT's Avatar
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    And what it will look like all finished. Except the screen will be on and working...
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    This goes for the guys, too. Because sometimes the guys are tapped out. But check your lease, Man, 'cause youíre living in F*bleep* City!

  7. #27
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    wow, MAJOR MAJOR props. one thing though, is actual viewing of the screen might be really bad on a sunny day since its pretty low unless you have really dark tint on. i have 35 all around cept the front and i have a hard time seeing my laptop sometmies.

    currently im thinking of just using molding a box about width of the monitor and atleast 1 foot, mount it right next to the center console on the drivers side, i.e my leg could brush up against it when im driving, that contains an robot like arm that pops out and will just hold the damn screen up. then i could shove the arm (since it folds ) back into the box and hide the screen.

    course i still need to find where and how to get an arm like that, the i need to find a place to mold the box.

    anyways lookin great! i've always dreaded taking apart the 325i as well =D

  8. #28
    Variable Bitrate ryuandwings's Avatar
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    Very nice install!! It's been fun following your install.

    One question. What kind of glue and epox did you use?
    I always have trouble glueing metal to plastic.
    Do you have any problem?

  9. #29
    Newbie GeddyT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ryuandwings
    Very nice install!! It's been fun following your install.

    One question. What kind of glue and epox did you use?
    I always have trouble glueing metal to plastic.
    Do you have any problem?
    Well at firtst I used JB Weld, which is awesome stuff, but I lack the patience to wait 6 hours for it to cure every step along the way. So I went back to the store and picked up some five minute epoxy. I don't remember the brand, but basically it comes in this double saringe-type thing and dries kind of a creamy clear color. You can buy it in various curing times depending on your level of impatience. The stuff I got was 6 minutes unil hard and 16 minute until workable. This may have been too impatient. It was hard to get what I needed to get done before the epoxy got too thick. But it claims to hold 3500 psi and believe that. Way cool stuff.

    One thing to look out for when gluing plastic is what kind of plastic you're using. A general rule of thumb is that nothing but highly specialized solvents will stick to polyethelene. Or polypropylene, which is just a variant. Nylon is slippery stuff, too, and usually nylon weave is used as peel plies in vacuum bagging composites for this reason. So watch out with trying to glue nylon screws or spacers or nuts or whatever. If you've got acrylic, styrene, polycarbonate, PVC, ABS, whatever, any epoxy should do for bonding with metal. Even super glue, usually, but I'd opt for something a little stronger.

    Oh yeah, also of interesting note is that unlike JB Weld, that five minute epoxy put out some seriously deadly fumes. I'm talking visible stink lines like in the cartoons.


    Thanks for following along again and sorry to keep you waiting while I have to order more parts. If shipping is quick, I hope to be back at it on Friday. Maybe another update sometime around then.
    This goes for the guys, too. Because sometimes the guys are tapped out. But check your lease, Man, 'cause youíre living in F*bleep* City!

  10. #30
    Newbie GeddyT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tdevil
    wow, MAJOR MAJOR props. one thing though, is actual viewing of the screen might be really bad on a sunny day since its pretty low unless you have really dark tint on. i have 35 all around cept the front and i have a hard time seeing my laptop sometmies.

    currently im thinking of just using molding a box about width of the monitor and atleast 1 foot, mount it right next to the center console on the drivers side, i.e my leg could brush up against it when im driving, that contains an robot like arm that pops out and will just hold the damn screen up. then i could shove the arm (since it folds ) back into the box and hide the screen.

    course i still need to find where and how to get an arm like that, the i need to find a place to mold the box.

    anyways lookin great! i've always dreaded taking apart the 325i as well =D
    There's about an inch and a half lip that overhangs just above the screen and I'm hoping that this helps out quite a bit with the glare, but I doubt it. Plus I live in Bellingham, WA, so we get about three sunny days a year Still, I can see glare being a problem. That's why preloaded playlists and mapped steering wheel buttons will come in handy!

    As far as your install plan goes, are you replacing the HU? Because if you are, most people are just putting the screen where that used to be and there's somebody on this board that's making really nice looking bezels for relatively cheap. Maybe you've got a better-equipped shop than me and better technical skills, but I've probably easily spent $300 on my carbon fiber part between materials, tools, supplies, therapy, and beer. Maybe the setup you're suggesting would be easier to build, though. It would certainly be cool and allow you to keep your car stock. It will not, however, allow you to avoid taking the car apart because you'll still have to run wires. Taking apart the 325 is actually remarkably simple. Except getting that damned oddments tray out. Everyone who says that you just "push up on the roof of the compartment and gently pull out and it comes out in five seconds" is a filthy filthy liar!!!!!! Just give me a holler if you have questions about it. Or just search around here. That's where I found all the info I needed.
    This goes for the guys, too. Because sometimes the guys are tapped out. But check your lease, Man, 'cause youíre living in F*bleep* City!

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