it's been a few months since I've done anything with the carputer (besides using it that is ;)) but I have "refined" my installation in the last few weeks. the bezel I made out of countertop laminate was only a temporary solution until I had time to make a better one. I was originally going to use an ABS/acetone mix to make a new bezel, but later decided to use fiberglass instead.
I wrapped the factory bezel in 2 layers of aluminum foil. then spread out a 1/2" thick layer of plaster on a piece of cardboard. then pressed the foil-wrapped factory bezel into the plaster and gave a few minutes to harden up.
next step, pour in fiberglass resin, add fiberglass cloth/mat, and repeat (in my case I used about 2 layers of cloth and 3 layers of mat)
next step, cut out holes for the LCD bezel and HU sleeve (I thought I took pics of that but I can't find them, so onto the next step ;)).
next step, epoxy the screen bezel and HU sleeve in place, let dry. then flip over and apply a fresh layer of resin over the screen bezel and HU sleeve to create a smooth, uniform surface to paint
next step was to add some body filler to the low spots and rough sand the high spots down until everything was level. I couldn't get it perfect with the body filler alone (small pieces would chip off and create small holes) so I smoothed it out as best I could then brushed on a thin layer of resin. then fine sanded the resin into a nice smooth paintable surface. then sprayed on some primer. I bought a special paint made for appliances ("Thomas' liquid stainless steel").
it came out "ok" but it didn't match anything else on my car, I thought I would like the look but I didn't. so I sanded it all down again, primed it again, and repainted it... this time with black spray paint. I didn't want a flat black, but i also didn't want it very glossy either. i compromised by using a gloss black w/lacquer. normally lacquer would make it shine even more, but i applied it between coats of gloss black (while the black was still wet). this created a nice semi-gloss black finish (it shines, but not enough to see your reflection in it ;))
overall I'm quite pleased with the way this came out. (in this pic the new bezel is not flush with the dash. so it looks like it doesn't fit right, but it actually fits perfect. I'll add a better pic later when everything is finished.
now onto the info/hazard buttons...
making a new bezel for those two components meant I had to find another place to mount the info center / hazard buttons because the monitor would use the spot where they used to be. at first i just had them hanging from the wires and left them in the glove box. this quickly proved to be very annoying.
My solution was to remove the cig lighter / coin tray from in front of the shifter and make a new flat panel to hold the buttons. to move the buttons I had to extend the wiring a couple feet to reach the lower console. to make sure I would never have a problem with it I soldered and heat-shrinked every wire at both ends of the extension. it worked out fine and the buttons work and light up just as they are supposed to.
I made a simple panel to hold the factory buttons. there are also two black buttons added. the bottom button is wired to the laptop docking station's power button (to turn the carputer on/off). the upper button turns the charger on/off. I used a cheap charger i bought on eBay for $15, it works fine but causes an annoying squeal in the audio. for that reason i needed to be able to turn it on and off, which is OK because the carputer/laptop can run off it's own battery for about 3 hours.
here is the top and bottom of the original panel:
a used that panel for a few months but needed to modify it later to add a couple more buttons. one button to turn the monitor on/off and another to change it's input (PC, backup cam, aux-2). I also added an analogue 15vdc voltmeter mainly to fill the extra space, but also to make sure I don't run the battery down too low to start the car ;)
here is the top and bottom of the new/modified panel:
everything is wired using quick disconnect harness connectors for easy access/removal
I may make a curved fiberglass panel to replace that one later one. the purpose of a curved panel would be to tilt the controls toward the driver, but it's nothing urgent just something I may do if I get bored ;)
here is my car's interior now that this carPC installation is complete:
so that's it. I can now say that my first carputer project is officially done! :D
I'm glad that you can said "officially done". Well my was never done even I been using it for the past couple years. ;) You know what I mean down the road.
Nice install and the 2nd try cuz the screw on the first try just throw off the look.
I seem to like the SS look better (probably because the black is a little glossy.) Flat would make it look better.
I'm just curious, but how exactly is the bezel staying put in the dash now? If you need to get behind it, how would you do it?
I suppose you're never truly done ;) I will upgrade components and software here and there, but the fabrication work is done, after all that was the hard part
Originally Posted by MatrixPC
lol, I know that first bezel was awful! but oh well, I learned from that mistake :lol:
Originally Posted by MatrixPC
I did like the SS look too, but it didn't really fit well with my car's interior. If I decide to get back to SS again then I will also paint the lower bezel and center console SS so it all matches.
Originally Posted by MatrixPC
and BTW, it pretty much is flat. I didn't want a completely flat finish, I wanted a little shine just not too much. I think it came out pretty good. you really can't judge from that picture. I know it looks glossy in that pic but it really isn't if you saw it in person
there is a plastic "shelf" behind the bezel that the headunit sits on. the "shelf" tilts down so the weight of the headunit pulls the bezel into the dash.
Originally Posted by elimenohpee
also, the dashboard tilts at about a 60° angle and the weight of the monitor keep it tilted back.
to remove it I just grab it from the bottom and pull straight out :)
Removing the Bezel
How do I remove the Bezel to access the head unit without damaging the Bezel? I'm afraid if I pry it off, I will break it.
Nevermind, I figured it out.