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Thread: 2007 Black Corolla S - Mini PC (Complete!)

  1. #1
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    2007 Black Corolla S - Mini PC (Complete!)

    After admiring so many of the cars here that have full pcs in there cars I have finally decided to take on the project and start it! It's all finished now so take a look.

    Stage 1 - Monitor mounting and Replacing stock CD player

    Inside of my car: I actually never took any pics of the insides of my car before i ripped it apart so here one thats close enough that i found here on the forums



    Like most of the other corolla installs, the best place for the monitor is where the stock cd player is. So I had to lose my stock deck... T_T

    So after some research, I decided to go with the 7 inch lilliput touch screen. And to actually get it in there i took some advice from bulgogi777 show off post and bought the scosche din adapter.

    (pic from bulgogi777 post, hope you don't mind)


    I follow his cut outs and it worked for the most part, i don't quite have the horizontal clearance i wanted though. Its off by like a centimeter. Not really much more I can do about that. I actually only cut to up to where the storage compartment was, it was just enough for the width.

    In order to fill the gaps, My dad (whos helped me a lot for this project) and I got some really fast drying stuff to make the mold for the sides (not sure what it was) But we managed to get something fill in the blank spots.

    Oh yeah the 7 inch monitor, doesn't actually fit into the scosche din, even after chopping everything off. The monitor sits behind it and the din just acts as frame. Luckily it actually fits in the corolla slot.



    You can see fast drying stuff we used in the white, and we just used a piece of wood bolted into the fast drying stuff to hold the monitor in place.



    Theres the circuit board of the touch screen we just had that mounted to a piece of wood. We still used the original mounts that held the stock cd player to mount the monitor together.



    Heres the back of everything and as you can see i bolted everything down to the wood. Kept the worthless speaker anyways incase we needed a load there. If you look carefully at the right metal mount i solder a wire to it. I had to do that because for some reason once that metal mount touches the circuit board it picks up some sorta interference and made my monitor fuzzy. So I just took a wire from the mount grounded it to the ground for the monitor plug. (I actually just guessed where the ground was and I guessed right)



    All right the monitor all slapped together. If you look carefully you can see that the original din has 3 tabs to hold the thing together. In order to mount the monitor at a good angle we had to chop off 2 of those tabs. In order to stop the monitor from getting pushed into one side when touching it we shoved some stiff wire into the fast drying stuff and that held it up pretty good.

    So my monitor is good to go. But now that i replaced the entire CD player, I've got nothing to power my speakers. So now i got to decide on deck or amp. I know how a lot of people are pushing the amp as a better choice but i chose the deck. Couple of reasons why:

    1) There isn't really a good solution on getting AM/FM back into this car. (If there is, i suck at searching) I don't really need it but I prefer not to lose it. Helps a lot when needing to know the traffic or just want something else to listen to.

    2) Not really planing to get a sub. Don't care too much for it, and don't wanna annoy people around me. I might want to change the speaker out later but who knows. So without a sub, i don't really need an amp.

    3) The most important one, my car will be dead silent until this project fully finishes. This is suppose to be a slow project because I'm gonna take my time with it and plus i need to save up money for other parts. So a deck will make a pretty good replacement for now. Oh yeah and I would get a mp3 player now too!

    So now that my monitor took the best spot for mounting a new deck in, whats left? The next best place to put it was in the storage compartment under all of the a/c controls.



    So as you can see i had to rip out the door of that panel, and cut part of the top part of the frame for the storage compartment to actually fit it in there. After the cut it becomes a perfect fit.

    Picking the deck was also a problem. I measured how much depth clearance room i had and it wasn't that much. I got around 18cm from where the deck would lie flush with the frame. It wasn't too bad but it just limited my choices. I also had to get a aux in from the back cuz i don't want no ugly 3.5mm jack sticking out from the front. That would ruin the point of a nice clean install. So that really limited my choices. I stopped by best buy and picked my deck. Man does your selection suck when the aux has to be in the back. JVC had the best clearance for depth but it had all front aux. So the next best choice was kenwood and it had the aux input from the back. So I got the Kenwood KDC-MP435U. It had USB in so that will keep my happy until this is finished.



    So you can see the cut job that was done to the back. 2 screws and that held everything together nicely. Even though the depth clearance was okay now, it still was not fun plugging the radio antenna in (that was a really short wire) Oh yeah the depth of this deck is 15.5, so i had working room and air for the heat sink in the back!

    After that was some wiring and soldering that had to be done in order to connect everthing. It confused the hell out of me that the corolla had an extra wire that the adapter i bought for corollas didn't use. And since the colours from the adapter and corolla didn't match it freaked me out even more. Luckily after some research, I found out that the adapter I bought was using the correct pins... despite the extra wire...

    So now to slap everything together. Heres what I drove around in for 2 weeks. Wasn't very comforting that the airbag light kept staying on. (Passenger airbag circuit is on the panel i removed)



    Finally I can have my entire corolla put back into one piece!



    Dam was there a lot of wires back there!



    So I left the monitor and power cables accessible to me so I plugged my laptop in to make sure everything still worked. And I'm so glad it did! For the din, I used some spray paint i had left over from painting the grill on my car. It doesn't quite match the lighter interior and the gloss from the clear coat probably doesn't help either but hey it still doesn't look bad.

    There we go, stage 1 is all complete. I got music in my car again and a monitor all ready to go. I'm planing to buy a new computer that uses the mobile equipment so I don't drain too much battery power and have that mounted to the trunk. I want keep this trend of nice clean installs and hiding as many things as possible. I would continue this project but thing is I'm a little low on cash to actually buy the pc thats needed so I'll leave at that for now and enjoy my new deck

    Stage 2 - Wiring the everything to the trunk

    <Will resume project when ready>

  2. #2
    Constant Bitrate Goddy's Avatar
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    Here's how I did it in my Corolla...
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  3. #3
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    nice

    what did you wrap around your screen to make that kind of mold?

  4. #4
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    Kinda looks like a layer of FG or something.

  5. #5
    Constant Bitrate Goddy's Avatar
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    Yes, its fiberglass. I need to sand it better and do a repainting, but I was out of time and couldnt wait any longer

  6. #6
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    Hi again everyone that reads this. Itís been a while since Iíve updated this... gees more than a year. Anyways this project has been slow due to many factors.

    1) Being lazy
    2) Not having all of the money for the parts that are needed

    But now the car pc is up and running now. If youíre wondering why there hasnít been updates on my log, refer to point number 1 above. :P

    Anyways letís get back to my worklog

    Stage 2 Ė Wires and lots of them

    Alright here is another reason why I didnít push forward that fast. I chose to have my carputer mounted in the trunk instead of under the seat. That make the project that much harder so I really took my time because of that.

    Anyways... So since the computer is in the trunk now I need to get power from the battery to the trunk. One of my friends works in the electrical side of construction so he helped me out and managed to get me 6 gauge wire. (Thanks!) I got about 25 feet of it. Now the cleanest way I found to get the wire back there was to go from the battery, though a grommet from the firewall, down the door sills, and down the side of the back seats. This required a lot of wire pushing. So let us start from the trunk.



    It helped that my carís back seats folded down and I am able to jam my hands between the seats and the rest of the car and pull the wire though.



    So once itís though the seats, I had to rip open my door sills for both the front and back door. Luckily the wire is stiff so it pushed though easily.



    Hereís a shot of the wire going though the back door sill.



    Here it is running though the front door sill. So the next step was to take off the foot guard where your left foot rests for automatic cars. Since so many wires run there anyways, it ends up being a very good spot for it.



    Hereís the mess of wires behind it. So all I had to do here was just line up really nice here and cover it up with the foot guard. Once itís back on, itís not even notice able unless your eye is at a very low level.



    So once the wire is pointed in the up direction we need to get though the firewall. In the corolla the best place for that is to go through a large grommet that is at the top of the firewall. So whip out the knife and punch a hole through it. Shove the wire though and then from the hood side start pulling and make sure there a good amount of slack. (Ignore the green wire that was for something else not related.)



    So hereís the result of the wire struggle. I now got a direct line from the front to the back of the car. Now to get it hooked up to the battery. We start off by the most important thing in the power line. The fuse.



    So all I have to do here cut line and put a fuse holder in series with the line. From many recommendations from the forums and other people I know, put the main fuse right after the battery to prevent a fire from starting in the side of your car. So I just popped in a 20A fuse and stuck it between the hood and the battery.



    So from the fuse all I had to do is hook it up to the battery. I just went out and grab a connecter that would slip in between the nut and the battery terminal. Once the connector was soldered to the wire I just unscrewed the nut and put the connector in. There we go! Uninterrupted power from the battery to the trunk.

    Those were the basic steps I needed to run a lot of the wiring from the trunk to the front of the car. I wonít put up other pictures of the rest of the wires I needed to do because itís just repetitive. Iíll just summarize it.

    So on the driver side I have the main power line, a pair of wires for 12V for the LCD, another pair for powering a USB hub which is under steering wheel, and finally a single wire for the ignition. The ignition is for the Carnetix power supply to tell it when the car is on. All I did there was just have it hooked up to the fuse box and connected to the cigarette lighter.

    On the passenger side I have the monitor cable and the USB repeater cable. My monitor cable also has a built in 35mm headphone male to male connector, so it saved me from running another cable. I got a USB cable with a repeater because itís starting to approach the limit of 15 feet. It probably didnít really need it but to be on the safe side, I paid a little more. These wires just went to the passenger side and I just tucked it away so they werenít visible and into the center console.

    I kept power lines and signal lines separate from each other just in case the signal cables pickup interference from the power line inductance.

    Now I am still missing one vital cable, negative/ground. I took the lazy way out and just connect it to the chaise of the car since itís already connected to the negative terminal of the battery. So after going through the 9thgencorolla forums I found out that the best grounding point was a bolt that was under the rear seats.



    So here shot of all of the wires coming into the back of the car. In order to access the grounding bolt, it required me to lift up cloth that covers the area. From there are some styrofoam pieces that hold things in place... actually I donít know what they do. From there so can see where the bolt is by following the red wire. (Yes my negative is also red :P)



    Here is a close up shot of the grounding bolt.

    So now that all of the necessary wires are hooked up to my car it was time to grab my pc and make sure everything will run together. Here is the computer I bought for this.



    Aopen Mini PC (about $450)
    2.0 GHz Intel Centrino Core Duo (about $110 used)
    1.0 GB of Ram ($50 I bought it too early T_T)
    120GB 7200 rpm Seagate hard drive (about $110)
    Loaded with Windows XP Pro and Roadrunner for the front end.

    I picked this computer because of its size and because it uses laptop parts it is more durable and should be more power conserving (hopefully). So it ended up to be the perfect PC. Unfortunately the price of it didnít really help and I did not have any spare desktop PCs to use that were very powerful.



    So here it is some of the crazy cables needed to be run to the back of the trunk. Hmm this is an earlier shot of me testing it so itís missing a few. But you get the idea. At least everything works like they are suppose to!

    Next this is to grab the power supply and solider everything together. I bought the Carnetix CNX-P1900 DC-DC power supply with the 5V regulator. Man did Canadian Customs charge me a lot! Dam you UPS!!! I wanted to keep the power efficiency going with a DC-DC power supply and laptop parts. No point of getting laptop parts and using an inverter. So just follow the instructions and solder everything up.

    Also I bought the power supply for more than 6 months ago so if it broke then Iím SOL. Luckily that wasnít the case. Everything powered up and ran like it suppose to. Even though it worked during my tests the touchscreen craps out when everything is finished. It detects my touch but it wonít calibrate and the arrow goes all over the screen. I still doní t know whatís wrong and I kind of donít want to disassemble my monitor because it was such a ***** to put together. Sigh...

    Stage 3 Ė Mounting and cleaning everything up

    Alright now that I know everything will run and function itís time to put everything where itís suppose to be and get it off the trunk floor. So the mounting point of the PC is going to be the roof of the trunk. Since it so small it wasnít too hard to find a spot for it.



    Unfortunately I donít have any pictures of the process of making the mount but itís fairly simple. My Dad helped me out with this part. What we did is we took a computer case and cut a rectangle that would fit the pc. Then we bent it into the appropriate U shape that would enclose the PC. We did the same thing for the base but what we did is we used screws to hold in place so now with this design its easy to remove in case I need to do some time consuming work with the PC. Also we put a little flap in the front and back so the PC won't slide around too much. It was a quick and dirty job. (My dad believes in speed *rolls eyes* but hey its in the trunk so who really cares). So we just took the mounting and just drilled it right into the roof of the trunk.

    For the power supply we just picked a close location to the PC and drill it right into the frame of the car. Just took 2 screws and locked it into place.



    So with all of that mounted, it was time to hide the wires. All I did was opened up the moulding on the sides of the trunk and shoved all of the excess wire there. Wasnít too hard, just shoved away and did the best I could to hide as much of the wire as possible. I would also zap strap where it was possible to prevent as many hanging wires from dangling. I also made use of some of those holes near the power supply to slip some of the wires there. But as you can see from this setup I lose virtually no trunk space and my seats can still fold down so my snowboard can still fit in there.



    Here we go the final result. Everything runs well with it except for the touch screen. You can see that I have the USB hub above my knees. There I hooked up the USB for the touch screen and a Bluetooth adapter. The hub is also really handy for quickly transfering new music with a USB memory stick. Since the touch screen doesnít work I have a Bluetooth mouse to control the screen. My GPS is also Bluetooth and itís in the storage compartment under the arm rest. It can still pick up a signal from there and there is a cigarette lighter in there to keep it powered. Plus no one can see it.



    Here it is running iGuidance. (If you can make it out :P) Man I love being able to get rid of my pocket pc and use a bigger screen for it!

    So there ya go. My carputer is up and running. I am probably still going to add more to it later on as the time come. What I am thinking is Bluetooth keyboard, USB wifi, change the Bluetooth GPS to a new chip and USB instead and maybe more. But for now everything is up and functioning enough to drive and enjoy music, videos and GPS. I am so glad I finally finished it and enjoying it!

    And finally, thereís enough pictures of the inside of my car. I should have at least one picture of the outside. I hope this log helps other corollas that are thinking about it and anyone else that is reading this.


  7. #7
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    thanks for the posts and all the info Inferno....i appreciate it. Real nice work also

  8. #8
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    ac panel

    I like the ac panel Goddy. which corolla is it (European right?)

  9. #9
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    i like the ac panel Goddy. what corolla is it ?

  10. #10
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    corolla dash hack

    hello everyone ive been trying to do something with that empty space under the a/c knobs and until i bumped into this thread i added a radio. it was a pain to do it but i got it its a clarion FZ409 i was able to leave the door intact and the wires in the back went in great,.the radio attena had no problem with it also.. hope this helps everyone
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