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Thread: 1999 Buick Regal LS CarPC install

  1. #1
    Constant Bitrate ronjon228's Avatar
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    1999 Buick Regal LS CarPC install

    Well since I have yet to put up any good pictures of my current installment, here goes!

    It's 100% done by myself and my friend and is about 3 years of research, development, and trial/error. It's been great and I don't see myself going back to a head unit at any time in the near future. Too much customization available with this setup.

    I'm using a Pentium 4 1.8GHz computer as my control unit. The Sound Blaster Live card coupled with Kx drivers gives me full processing control over the music and output signals. Right now I'm running my setup all active, with the exception of the passive crossovers for the front component set. I've also ordered some PG RSD's to take the place of the 5.25" set I have in now. We spent 3 hours modifying my doors last night to make the extra size speakers fit. I'll take pics of that once the RSD's are in.

    Powering the comps and the subs right now is the Visonik V500HC. The Lightning Audio you see in the picture isn't being used anymore as I've bypassed rear fill. The amp rack, and the custom computer case were made with MDF and plexiglass. This was done to give me some usable trunk space. I'll most likely go to 1 sub in the near future and put it in a custom enclosure that goes behind the wheel well. This will give me much more usable space and be more practical as I'm more into SQ now than SPL.

    For the touchscreen, I semi-molded it into the dash. I made the mistake of buying an 8" screen 3 years ago before I knew about 7" widescreens. We just installed one in my friends WRX with very little mods, and completely flush with the stock bezel. Oh well, once my screen dies, I'll grab a 7", but for now, it works. The switch panel you see controls the entire system. The green switch is the "main". It turns everything on and off. The red switch controls my amplifiers. Then the grey button is the PC power, and the 2 LED's are the power LED and HD LED for the PC.

    All the wires are hidden for this and once the back seat is folded up, everything is hidden away nicely. I even installed a 4-port USB hub into the center console. When you open the center console, it's facing up, secured in, allowing connections from any other USB device. I also ran a data cable for my cell phone that allows me to connect to the internet with my CarPC. Lastly, since I missed FM radio I purchased a USB FM radio and modded it to accept a regular car antenna and installed that.

    For my DSP I'm using a 10-band EQ, crossover control (4th order set at 110Hz), time alignment, and sub volume control.

    And... after the book I've written, here are the pics.

    It's hard to see in the pics, but the computer case actually goes through the amp rack wall. This allows me to hide all the plugs and cords in that dead space behind the amp wall (along with all my amp wires, power wires, etc.). The back of the wall is shown, along with the PC interface in the first attached pic.
    Attached Images Attached Images        
    CarPC:
    1.8GHz Northwood, Intel 845 Mobo, 512MB DDR, 1x20GB + 1x160GB, Intel GPU, SB Live 5.1

    Sound System:
    Phoenix Gold RSD 65cs 6.5" Drivers, Infinity Tweets, Pioneer 305DVC 12", PPI Sedona 630IX, Alpine MRP-M500

  2. #2
    Low Bitrate yaniv's Avatar
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    Wow 3 years, I wonder what took so long? It's hard to understand what sits where, maybe you should make some wider shots.
    I would carpet the computer case so it blends better. Right now it's a bit on the ugly side

    Is the P4 giving you any heating problems?

    Looks really nice.

  3. #3
    Low Bitrate sedtc's Avatar
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    holy rat's nest of wires, batman!

    admittedly, i've seen bigger wiring messes but how about a bit of wire management back there?

    you also mentrioned that you may replace the 8" TS with a 7", i wouldn't if i were you. the 8" screen has almost 20% more viewable area and also makes the touch panel easier to use. with a little time and fabrication, your friends will wish they had chosen an 8" panel too.

    3 years of research and you still chose the inverter for power?

    i offer the above as constructive criticism not to be pejorative.

  4. #4
    Constant Bitrate ronjon228's Avatar
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    Constructive criticism is good.

    I'll have to take some wider shots so you guys can see exactly what the whole picture looks like. The amps are mounted on that MDF and it's a false wall. The PC in the MDF case goes through that false wall, as well as all the wiring for the amps. Then, when my back seat is folded up the area behind that wall is dead space and not seen. Hopefully that makes sense.

    As for the unfinished MDF, well, it will most likely stay that way for this car. The car itself has 170K miles on it and it's pretty much on it's way to the junkyard. As soon as it dies, I'll be getting a new car and I don't really want to put a bunch of money into this car, and then have to re-do it all for the new ride.

    The inverter, well, it works. I've had really no need to get a DC-DC power supply because the PC and inverter have worked without fail for the entire duration of my CarPC days. When/if my inverter dies, I'll get a DC PSU. However, at the time I really don't have the desire to add one.

    I guess the title was a bit misleading. I've had the setup for 3 years, but constantly changed and reworked amps, speakers, touchscreen location, etc. I'm the kind of person who's never happy and "tinkers" too much. Since I decided I was set with my current configuration I just recently did the work to make everything permanent and clean up the trunk. Trust me, you should have seen it before.

    As for the P4 overheating, I've never had any issue. That MDF computer case has 4 fans, 3 80mm and 1 120mm. They keep it nice and cool.

    Here's some more pics to clear up confusion. Shows my back seat with the center section folded up and the amp wall.
    Attached Images Attached Images    
    CarPC:
    1.8GHz Northwood, Intel 845 Mobo, 512MB DDR, 1x20GB + 1x160GB, Intel GPU, SB Live 5.1

    Sound System:
    Phoenix Gold RSD 65cs 6.5" Drivers, Infinity Tweets, Pioneer 305DVC 12", PPI Sedona 630IX, Alpine MRP-M500

  5. #5
    Low Bitrate yaniv's Avatar
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    It actually looks much nicer now that I know what's what A carpet would make it look awesome though I understand what you're saying about replacing the car soon.

  6. #6
    Constant Bitrate ronjon228's Avatar
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    Thank yaniv. I kinda figured once you got the wide angle shot you'd see how it all comes together. I'm thinking about painting the MDF flat black, or maybe a dark grey. I figure I can do it on this car and see how it looks. I'm not a big fan of carpet. If I do so, I'll get pics and put them up for opinions.
    CarPC:
    1.8GHz Northwood, Intel 845 Mobo, 512MB DDR, 1x20GB + 1x160GB, Intel GPU, SB Live 5.1

    Sound System:
    Phoenix Gold RSD 65cs 6.5" Drivers, Infinity Tweets, Pioneer 305DVC 12", PPI Sedona 630IX, Alpine MRP-M500

  7. #7
    Variable Bitrate breaker021's Avatar
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    holy crap @ 3 years. i bought a tablet laptop and in 5 minutes, i had the solution to all my carputing (movies + navi + music) needs!

    nice screen placement, btw.
    Duct tape and a Bandana for the win, b!shes!!!

    My Setup:http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/show-off-your-project/73500-06-scion-xb-tablet-in-the-box.html

    Cost so far: Less than a grand ;]



    _________________
    Economy/Commuter cars + Computers = many entertained miles

  8. #8
    Who am I? HiJackZX1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by breaker021 View Post
    holy crap @ 3 years. i bought a tablet laptop and in 5 minutes, i had the solution to all my carputing (movies + navi + music) needs!

    nice screen placement, btw.
    Well some people it takes longer..... Mine is going on almost a year, even though most of the planning I did was a big flop..... the new system has taken about 4 months....
    Nirwana Project, the Android/Win 7 hybrid system!

    1X Ainol Novo Flame Tab
    4X MK808b
    3x Perixx Touchpads
    3x 7 inch Screens
    1X 7 inch motorized Screen
    1x Win 7 PC

  9. #9
    Variable Bitrate breaker021's Avatar
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    agreed, it does take longer and my install was not integrated, but 3 years? it's supposed to be a fun hobby and be on the road asap - as opposed to being a day job. =X
    Duct tape and a Bandana for the win, b!shes!!!

    My Setup:http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=73500

    Cost so far: Less than a grand ;]



    _________________
    Economy/Commuter cars + Computers = many entertained miles

  10. #10
    Constant Bitrate ronjon228's Avatar
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    Well it's been 3 years because I'm never done tweaking and playing. The original install was done 3 years ago, and it's evolved many times since then. I think I didn't word this too clearly originally.

    To me, it's more than just a means to an end (PC for music). It's a hobby. I completely enjoy spending hours with my buddy just fabricating, planning, and implementing different things. I honestly could do it every weekend if I had the time.

    Also, I change things often. The concept hasn't changed much over the 3 years, but components and software has. I've been through too many FE's and skins to count, changed up amps, switched components, added buttons, and dabbled with all kinds of signal processing stuff over that time. I'm always trying to learn/try something new.

    I started with "on the road" asap philosophy and I achieved that. My original install was done in a weekend and consisted of the a dash mounted touch scree, an inverter, and a PC on the floor of the trunk. I was happy at the time, but that didn't last long. I just decided to post up these pictures because I feel the amp/PC MDF work is the cleanest, most durable, and practical modification I've done to date. Thought I'd share that with all y'all. I just think most people thought it took me 3 years to do this install. That's not the case, this is just the latest "revision".
    CarPC:
    1.8GHz Northwood, Intel 845 Mobo, 512MB DDR, 1x20GB + 1x160GB, Intel GPU, SB Live 5.1

    Sound System:
    Phoenix Gold RSD 65cs 6.5" Drivers, Infinity Tweets, Pioneer 305DVC 12", PPI Sedona 630IX, Alpine MRP-M500

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