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Thread: 1998 Cadillac Deville Concours Install COMPLETE!!!

  1. #1
    Variable Bitrate quantum's Avatar
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    1998 Cadillac Deville Concours Install COMPLETE!!!

    Hey all,

    Looks like I can chalk my install up in the “done enough to post” column. Really, are they ever “100% completed”??? Thoughts, comments, suggestions, etc. welcome.

    First, the car:
    1998 Deville Concours (I LOVE this car!)
    300 HP Northstar
    Fully Loaded
    Zebrano wood trim
    88K Miles





    The system:
    Cappucino PC 1.3 Celeron (story below)
    256MB Ram
    Pioneer Slot Load DVD
    Earthmate GPS
    3 Powered USB Hubs
    Motorola Bluetooth Dongle



    The software:
    Win XP
    Office XP
    RoadRunner FE
    Digital FX Skin
    Delorme Street Atlas
    iTunes
    Winamp
    Speedfan

    Here is the obligatory before shot. As you can see, it came with a factory head unit that handles AM/FM, CD and Cassette. It also has a source button for controlling a 6-12 CD changer that was in the trunk. More on that later…



    I wanted to retain a 100% factory look with this install, and also wanted to utilize as much of the original factory functionality of the car as I could. Cadillac put some real nice features into their cars, I felt it would be a shame not to mesh them with the PC so I could use them to my advantage.

    I also wanted to be able to return it to factory stock if I ever sell it. That goal was accomplished. Nothing is permanent, and anything I modified (like the roof console) I have a spare in my shop. Basically, in about 2 hours I could make it look like there never was a PC installed.

    Cost on this project was CHEAP, and has been running rock solid all summer. I am now a firm believer that you don’t need to drop a wad of cash to get a great system, unless of course you want too.

    PC was purchased via e-bay for $40.00. The seller had a few dozen of them, which were used as slot machine controllers for about 6 months before they were retired and replaced. A little research led me to this website, where I narrowed it down to the EZ-3. I called the company, as was able to purchase a cover for it for $60.00.



    Then I took a trip to the computer show, and picked up a Toshiba 60GB 2.5” drive for $25.00, a few USB cables, a VGA cable and a few USB hubs all for $50.00. I already had the Pioneer CD/DVD drive that was about $80.00. For those of you keeping track, the PC final cost was $255.00

    The monitor is (in my opinion) the best part. The size of the original factory radio made a 7” LCD the best and only option. Promate (also known as AU Optronics) sells LCDs to auto manufacturers and offers the parts separately as a kit. Basically what I received was a TS panel, the LCD, driving board, button board, inverter, TS controller and remote control…and a wiring diagram. It was a 400 nit CCFL panel.

    A while back, we discussed them in this thread. At the approximate time I ordered a 7” kit, they went ROHS compliant, which meant they ditched the setup I had just got and made some changes to the boards. Bummer too, because I blew the board within a month during the planning stages, and had to wait close to 6-8 more months before the factory re-tooled to make the new ones, or so I was told.

    Luckily, that is when they also came out with an LED backlit display (400 nit), and a super bright 650nit CCFL display. The boards were better too. I ordered one set of each to play with, but chose the LED version for my install. Cost was about $350.00 ea. for my “prototype”

    The beauty of the LCD “open frame” kit was I had the ability to design my panel and mounting system the way I wanted, without ribbon cable limitations, etc. that I read so much about when pulling apart a Lilli or Xenarc. Plus, I figured why pull apart something only to put it back together again??? The kit was the way to go for me.

    Next stop was an engraving shop that had a laser cutter. I had a few pieces of black plexi cut, one size with a rectangular hole that was a few mm’s bigger than the LCD overall size, and one with a rectangular hole that was the same size as the viewable area of the screen. My design plan was to attach one to the other, then drop in the screen into it’s own little nest, resting flush against the inside of the front piece. The back piece is about ” thick (3 pieces) and the front is about 1/16”.





    E-bay was my source for real Zebrano veneer, a bunch of scrap sheets cost $10.00 shipped, which gave me plenty to work with. Cadillac used real Zebrano wood in this model year and trim level vs. the fake plastic crap they use in the base models and today. The stain took a little trial and error to match, using 3 different colors to achieve the exact factory look, and about 10 coats of Polyurethane to match the glossy factory finish.

    I glued the veneer to the plexi, then used the face of the factory radio as a template. Once it was cut and sanded, I stained and sprayed it to match the dash. Then I built a mount behind it for all the LCD boards and connections.





    A trial fit shows how the curves match and the corners meet with the Driver Info Panel (top) and the Climate Control Unit (bottom). Since it would look ridiculous if those pieces were black, I removed them, took them apart, veneered and finished the faces, then put them back together. Cutting out the holes in the Climate panel sucked, they are oblong with rounded corners, and needed to be just right so the switches didn’t stick. The top panel holes were even worse, so I decided to glue a piece of plexi over the face, veneered it and then put in momentary switches from Radio Shack. This required de-soldering the micro switches off the board, and wiring in these with 2” leads instead (no pics of that, sorry). They control the digital dash cluster, trip reset, Metric/English display and the driver info center. That was pretty exciting.









    Completely Installed with all three parts veneered. Note the new Zebrano wood shift knob and factory ash tray closed. Perfect match. Also, a little blue felt piping surround to finish it off.





    The PC doesn’t have a traditional power setup. It ran off a 19V laptop-style brick cord, ironically the same size as my Gateway laptop, for which I have a 12V cigarette adapter for. That made powering it easy enough…truly plug and play, and free.

    With the case, this PC is like 6” X 6”, and fit perfectly inside the glove box. A few holes, a few fans, and it’s totally hidden, lockable, and stays cool, hanging at about 140F all the time. Just once the temperature spiked, but ran fine at 185F, That was before the fans and with the glove box door shut. Duh! I was impressed though.



    All the wires run behind the compartment, through a hole and are neatly tucked away into the guts of the car, with the other billion wires back there. I could unplug this PC in less than 30 seconds and bring it in the house to add software, remove it from the car during service, etc. It runs off of one plug, spliced into the car (the ONLY splice I needed for the entire PC install, if you don’t count the radio relocation) to a 12V cigarette lighter adapter with a 3 way splitter, and it all runs off the same circuit. The 3 plugs are PC, LCD and 5V USB power adapter, all through a 12V regulator. This means I could also run an extension cord and a wall wart out to the car to work on it all day without draining the battery, and by only plugging in one plug. Simple…

    The circuit I wired it in to is also protected by a factory timeout setting that kills the circuit after about 15 minutes. It’s called Retained Accessory Power. This feature allows me to shut off the car and still have the PC running for 15 minutes or so to finish out a song or update or whatever. Even if I forget to shut it off, or if it hangs up during shut down, it won’t drain the battery. Basically it pulls the plug. Would be perfect as a startup/shutdown controller except the PC won’t survive crank under the retained power, so I can’t the car off and run into the store with the PC on then come back and turn on the ignition. No big deal though.



    Powering it up:
    I wasn’t fond of my other micro-ATX PC setup last year (we don’t talk about that one much) with the DSATX and instant PC turn-on with ignition. Don’t get me wrong, the PC was a piece of crap, but the DSATX performed very well. The problem I had was the times where I didn’t want the PC to fire up, such as short trips, rolling up the windows, etc. Yeah, I know I could have wired in an interrupt switch, but thankfully the PC didn’t live long enough, which led to the current setup. This one has a kill switch mounted in the light switch, for those emergency shut down needs, or when the car is in for service.



    Instead, I wired leads into the Cappuccino PC PWR, HDD and on/off pins using a short piece (6”) of Cat-8 cable, male end sticking out of the case. Then a coupler (so it can be unplugged), and another length of cat-8 running up to the roof console. Devilles that came with moonroofs had the switch up there. I just stuck a momentary rocker in and wired the cat-8 to it, along with a PWR and HDD LED drilled in the front of the console as well. Oh, and there is a coupler in the roof console too, so I can disconnect and remove if need be. One flick of the switch and she starts right up. I also have the BIOS set for a soft power down, so one more flick shuts it down in a controlled Windows fashion. I could set the BIOS to boot up as soon as it gets power, but I didn’t because like I said, I like the control of a switch much better.



    Cadillac integrates more functions into head unit then just tunes. Warning chimes, anti-theft and some of the memory modules run off it as well. So, just taking it out and shelving it wasn’t an option. Instead, I bough a male and female stereo adapter and spliced in 30+ wires (each one 20ft long) and relocated the radio to the trunk. I plugged one end into the factory harness and the other into the back of the head unit. Basically a big fat extension cord. It was worth it, because my steering wheel controls still had the ability to control the volume of the head unit.



    I bought a PAC Aux-Box for about $50. This unit is designed to plug into the CD changer harness in the trunk and will accept any audio input that you can plug into R&L RCA jacks. I ran a cable from the headphone jack of the PC to the AUX Box with an adapter, and voila, sound pumped through the rather impressive premium factory system just like it was a CD changer. That source button on the head unit is set to CD changer, so I always have PC-Stereo sound. The radio is useless unless I get out and change the source, but I could do it if I wanted too. I have some stations set, and can flip through them with the other steering wheel control paddle. A bit of a pain, but thankfully I don’t listen to the radio that much. I could take apart the radio, break out the soldering iron, re-locate the source button…hmmmm….

    Total PC-HU integration, very cool!!!

    GPS is Street Atlas 2006, and has been great. I have a Delorme port splitter installed, and usually get a signal in a minute or less. GPS receiver is mounted behind the rearview mirror.

    Another factory tie in is the driver memory system. The seat position, fan speed, radio settings volume and temp are all tied into driver #1 or #2, defined by 2 separate key fobs or the buttons on the armrest console. I set the drivers seat to the same position for 1&2, set the fan speed to low and the radio to off for #2. By pressing the #2 button while driving, everything basically mutes. So, if I get a phone call or go through car wash, I just push that #2 button, the car gets quiet and the power antenna goes down (since the radio is in the trunk). I thought that was pretty neat, and totally discovered by accident when I grabbed the wrong set of keys one day and almost got folded in half by the power seat doing its #2 thing.



    Internet is handled through my laptop card on the Verizon EVDO network. Speeds are excellent using the Kyocera K-1 router and a USB Wireless connection. USB Hub modified slightly to fit in the factory ash tray, totally invisible when shut.







    The keyboard in the visor…would you believe it fit as is in the mirror hole without any cutting of material or plastic? A little trim on the bottom part was needed, but still…



    Windows Start-Up (35 sec. avg boot up time) Boot Screen. See the position of the progress bar in the Cadillac logo? cool, huh?




    Digital FX




    iTunes




    GPS




    DVD





    And, as an anti-theft measure, I mounted a 1 DIN faceplate to a piece of sheet aluminum and covered it to match the rest. It slips into the slot between the LCD mount and upper controls. It slides on and off and seats almost flush against the LCD faceplate.




    Whatcha think???

  2. #2
    The Last Good Gremlin GizmoQ's Avatar
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    Nice install, I'll have to try that trick with the memory #1 an #2 in my car; that could be useful. I really like what you did with the veneers, I don't have the talent, patience, or guts to try it. Can I get a copy of your bootskin, I likey.
    HARDWARE: Fujitsu Stylistic ST5111w/WiFi and dock, internal Hitachi 500G HD, external 1TB HD, Sierra Wireless Aircard 550, DVD-RW, BoomzBox HD radio, XM Commander, Delorme GPS, Saitek X-52 Pro joystick, BluSoleil Bluetooth, TPMS, FB, Elm327

  3. #3
    Low Bitrate
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    awesome man!

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    Super Moderator. If my typing sucks it's probably because I'm driving.... turbocad6's Avatar
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    hey, nice install, love what ya did with the veneer, nice match...

    if you want to control simple radio functions thru your pc check out the fusion brain, it'd be pretty easy to use it's outputs to contrrol button presses & stuff...

    good luck with it

  5. #5
    Variable Bitrate bambam's Avatar
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    Really, really nice install. Looks OEM.

    Questions: what gps software are you running? It looks like the iGuidance skin with DigitalFX but certainly does not look like the iGuidance program. I use iGuidance but am looking to switch after it got locked into a endless "make U turn" loop this past trip. How do you like it and is it touchscreen friendly? iTunes, how is that working out? I use the DigitalFX skin with default winamp setup because it is touchscreen friendly...just curious. DigitalFX really rocks...fantastic skin.

  6. #6
    Variable Bitrate quantum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GizmoQ View Post
    Nice install, I'll have to try that trick with the memory #1 an #2 in my car; that could be useful. I really like what you did with the veneers, I don't have the talent, patience, or guts to try it. Can I get a copy of your bootskin, I likey.
    TY, I thought that was one of the coolest benefits, and it took the PC install to find a factory option. )

    The veneer work took some doin', but I absolutely love the results.

    I am working off of memory here on the boot screen, it's been a while.

    I believe I used Tweak UI, bootscreen tools or something like that (trial version). I set the progress bar to center, black background, and red foreground.

    I used this png file on a black 640 x 480 background in Photoshop, centered the logo and sized accordingly, and moved it around until the progress bar was where I wanted it. A little trial and error, maybe 3 tries in all. Where you see it in the pic is where it fell into place. I thought it was a nice finishing touch. At night it looks pretty cool and totally like something Cadillac would do. Hope it works for you!


    Quote Originally Posted by bambam View Post
    Really, really nice install. Looks OEM.

    Questions: what gps software are you running? It looks like the iGuidance skin with DigitalFX but certainly does not look like the iGuidance program. I use iGuidance but am looking to switch after it got locked into a endless "make U turn" loop this past trip. How do you like it and is it touchscreen friendly? iTunes, how is that working out? I use the DigitalFX skin with default winamp setup because it is touchscreen friendly...just curious. DigitalFX really rocks...fantastic skin.
    It is Delorme SA2006 on DigitalFx. It works just fine for my use, even loads in the GPS window of the music player if I wanted too. Going to try it on a road trip to VA next week to put her to the test. TS friendly to a point, but much of it can be voice controlled like zoom, last turn, repeat directions, etc. iTunes is great. I have all my music loaded, and really don't have a problem using the TS to select songs and things.

    Quote Originally Posted by turbocad6 View Post
    hey, nice install, love what ya did with the veneer, nice match...

    if you want to control simple radio functions thru your pc check out the fusion brain, it'd be pretty easy to use it's outputs to contrrol button presses & stuff...

    good luck with it
    Hey turbocad, TY. And thanks for the heads up on the fusion brain, that is one cool piece of equipment. Would I still need to tear apart the radio to access the source switch though? I think now that I have a stable platform to work with, I want to start playing with Phidgets and Girders and Brains and OBDII stuff and and and

  7. #7
    The Last Good Gremlin GizmoQ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quantum View Post
    I am working off of memory here on the boot screen, it's been a while.

    I believe I used Tweak UI, bootscreen tools or something like that (trial version). I set the progress bar to center, black background, and red foreground.

    I used this png file on a black 640 x 480 background in Photoshop, centered the logo and sized accordingly, and moved it around until the progress bar was where I wanted it. A little trial and error, maybe 3 tries in all. Where you see it in the pic is where it fell into place. I thought it was a nice finishing touch. At night it looks pretty cool and totally like something Cadillac would do. Hope it works for you!
    Well that didn't work, but I did find Boot Editor 1.0.1 (totally different from TweakUI or TweakXP) that had the tools to do what you said. Thanks
    HARDWARE: Fujitsu Stylistic ST5111w/WiFi and dock, internal Hitachi 500G HD, external 1TB HD, Sierra Wireless Aircard 550, DVD-RW, BoomzBox HD radio, XM Commander, Delorme GPS, Saitek X-52 Pro joystick, BluSoleil Bluetooth, TPMS, FB, Elm327

  8. #8
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    good job. I love the wood work. Very clever installation. How did you get the wood to wrap around the shift knob? That's a neat trick.

  9. #9
    Super Moderator. If my typing sucks it's probably because I'm driving.... turbocad6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quantum View Post



    Hey turbocad, TY. And thanks for the heads up on the fusion brain, that is one cool piece of equipment. Would I still need to tear apart the radio to access the source switch though? I think now that I have a stable platform to work with, I want to start playing with Phidgets and Girders and Brains and OBDII stuff and and and
    I guess pop the face off & solder will be the easiest way... you can control serveral things with that right thru the pc screen, would be really cool if there was a way to read the display of the radio & show that on the pc screen, maybe possible but a challenge for sure if the source switch alone is your only goal it might be a better idea to just wire in a hard switch too, but if your after being able to select presets & maybe other functions too the brain would be cool.

    it's nice once the install is done to start playing with stuff like that, that's the benifit of the carpc though, expandability is only limited by your imagination

  10. #10
    Variable Bitrate quantum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GizmoQ View Post
    Well that didn't work, but I did find Boot Editor 1.0.1 (totally different from TweakUI or TweakXP) that had the tools to do what you said. Thanks
    GizmoQ, I found the program: TuneUp Utilities 2007 Hopefully that will do the trick.


    Quote Originally Posted by Crawdaddy View Post
    good job. I love the wood work. Very clever installation. How did you get the wood to wrap around the shift knob? That's a neat trick.
    I must confess, I didn't wrap that. My initial intention was to whittle a piece of solid Zebrano and hollow it out to make my own. For 98, the only aftermarket place that had one was APSIS USA It was $150.00 plus I had to return a core (a junkyard piece).

    I spoke to them and found out they actually tear the leather off and wrap the ABS underneath, which is why they need the core. Most likely a heat and pressure operation, something that I wouldn't be able to do cost-effectively, either in veneer or solid wood. It was worth it. They also said they could wrap anything and stain it too match. Wish I would have known that before I got out the Gorilla Glue and did the veneer work on the three pieces I did myself. Nahhh....

    I will probably get one of the wood grain steering wheels (about $300.00), but they said they could even cover my glove box door if I sent it in. I thought about it but that might be too much wood.

    Quote Originally Posted by turbocad6 View Post
    it's nice once the install is done to start playing with stuff like that, that's the benifit of the carpc though, expandability is only limited by your imagination
    I took the front off a test radio and it's just those same board mounted momentary switches I re-wired up front over the LCD. I think I'm going to pick a fusion brain up and play.

    I am actually imagining putting a little color camera in the trunk, facing the radio and focused on the display. Then connect it to a 1.5 or 2" monitor up front so I can "see" the stations. Then, to make it very cool, put a source button, band button, tune down up buttons, in RR.

    HVAC is pretty well covered from GM, but heated seats would also be a cool thing to wire into the brain...and so would the fog lights, and the brand new electroluminescent sail panel crests I have (like they put in the old Fleetwoods)...DAMMIT Turbocad, I thought I was done!

    BTW, sucks that I need to miss the NY meet, next one for sure.

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