For an inside look... First the making of the bezel. I started with a Sosche GM1595 double-din dash kit designed for aftermarket head units, and then built it up with strips of ABS plastic to fit the 7” LCD, and put a panel on the left for knobs, buttons, LED’s etc. (As it turns out, I only put one knob, and a whole for mounting the LCD’s IR receivier).
Added some Goop epoxy paste to build up the voids and fill in the cracks.
Tested and practiced with SEM texture and paint on scrap until I got a perfect match with other parts of the interior.
Then applied to the finished bezel.
One of the trickier parts of the install was figuring out what to do about an amplifier. The “upgraded” sound system that came with my H3 consists of a smallish amp in the head unit and a Monsoon amp in the rear. The Monsoon powers all the speakers, not just the sub. I believe it requires a speaker level input, and thus I didn’t think I would be able to drive it from the soundcard output directly. The best solution would have been to replace the Monsoon with a line-level aftermarket amp and redo the speakers, but I came to the point where I needed to minimize cost and effort, so I decided it would be best to try to mimic an aftermarket head unit. However, I wanted to keep everything in the dash and space was getting tight. I was hoping to buy a small amp, but couldn’t find anything that would fit. Finally, I decided to go with a pair of AMP3’s from 41Hz. They are kits, so I had to spend a couple days putting them together, but they were cheap, sound great, and are very small. The pic below is of the 4x25W amp, and the dollar gives you an idea of the size.
Here’s a shot of the finished system on the bench. The original head unit is on the left, the LCD and bezel in the middle, and the front of the new computer on the right. The motherboard is mounted on the bottom of the chassis, and the DSATX and DS12V power supply boards are mounted upside down above it. These power supplies are really great. A little spendy, but worth every penny. I’ve programmed the DSATX to put the computer in standby when accessory power is removed and keep the 5V supplied, so that the system is available immediately the next time the truck is started.
Here’s a shot of the back showing a Silenx case fan (truly quite silent) and the 4x25W amp mounted. The hard drive is mounted on the bottom of the chassis, which was necessary to fit in the dash.
Here I’ve mounted the computer and LCD in the dash. Originally I had mounted the LCD to the front of the computer like you’d expect in a single unit. However, I misjudged the depth of the dash space and couldn’t fit it. Luckily I was able to separate the two, and fit the computer vertically. This also made everything more secure than the original plan.
The hard drive is mounted vertically so that up and down motions wouldn’t tend to drive the head into the platter. I was kind of worried the HD would need more protection, but recently I did about 4 hours of rough off-roading and it didn’t phase it. I even hit a dip hard enough to trigger OnStar to call Emergency Services.
And that’s it in a nutshell.