Man great job!!!
The first time I heard the idea of putting a pc in a car was from my roommate bob. I thought that would be an interesting and challenging project. It could also serve as to upgrade my stock corolla audio system to something better (anything is better than stock). He claimed it would only cost about one grand, and boy is he wrong.
I came across mp3car.com and discovered a wealth of information of other carpc installers out there. I dared not post any questions fearing someone already asked that exact question. Regardless, after scouring the forums, googled every other problem I had, and couple hundred dollars and many hours of labor later.. I have finally finished my carpc. I started on feb 2008 and finally finished aug 2008.
Here are my specs
white 2003 toyota corolla ce (completely stock, with no power options)
front: 6.5 in infinity refs 2 way ($60)
rear: 6 x 9 kenwood 4 way ($50)
amp: kenwood 4 ch 600W ($150)
case: voompc (ampie) ($70)
mobo: JetWay J7F2WE1G2E-OC-LV ($170)
CPU: VIA C7 nano (embedded) 1.2 Ghz fanless
RAM: 512 MB (448 MB shared) ($12)
HD: Hitachi Travelstar 5400 rpm 160 GB ($80)
Optical: USB slotload dvd/cd combo drive w/ enclosure ( $90)
Wi-Fi: Linksys wireless g adapter ($50)
Bluetooth: Azio bluetooth v2 adapter (toshiba stack) ($18)
USB: 7 port powered Dlink USB hub ($26)
Touch Screen: Xenarc 705TSV ($300)
GPS: BU-353 gps receiver with iGuidance v4 ($140)
mouse: usb optical mouse ($7)
key: usb mini keyboard ($12)
obd2: elmscan 5 w/ right angle adapter ($144)
volume knob: griffin powermate ($45)
Rear: Rearview license plate nightvision ($109)
Power supply: M2-ATX 160 Watts ($90)
Radio: Silabs USB FM radio ($ 35), antenna adapter
Misc* + Hidden cost of shipping ~ ($142)
*includes: copper wires(they arent cheap)-including 8 ga amp wiring kit, distribution block, toggle switches, LEDs, USB extension wires, additional cooling fans, various tools and other things I can't think of at the moment.
Brings the total to be about $1800
Enough talk... Here are some pictures of the install:
Pictures of the carpc components
note: At first I bought 1GB ram, it was the cheapest 1 GB ram on newegg. But after a while, I noticed my bios would just sit and count all 1GB of ram, even with quick bios boot enabled. So downgrading to 512 MB actually sped up my boot up time. It was 45s for hibernate resume, 1 min 15s cold start. With less ram, it was 25s for hibernate, and 1 min for cold start. XP still runs without noticeable lag.
Note: so I was paranoid, and I bought a fan less cpu/mobo combo, having extra fans can’t hurt, especially in the summer time.
Note: Wireless Internet: there are plenty of wifi points at UVa so I figured why not?
Note: lots of wires.
Note: most popular GPS unit talked about on mp3car
Note: griffin power mate is uber awesome.
Note: Inside the ampie case, comes with a really really loud fan
Note: the ampie case is very sturdy and quite heavy, despite being made of aluminum. I can run it over with my car without a sweat.
Note: My messy workbench at home…
Note: my messy workbench at school…
Note: pinball works on my carpc!
Note: my roommate jeff snuck into my room to test out pinball on my new carpc… my other roommate bob caught him in the act.
Pics of upgrading car audio…starting with some wiring for the amplifier
Note: 8 ga wiring kit, 60 amp fuse
Note: Messy trunk with borrowed tools from my friend
Note: power dist. block.
Now removing old, and adding new speakers
Note: Look at all that insulation (lack of). Makes me feel real safe as I drive my corolla.
Note: check how crappy the stock speakers are… and how much better the new ones look. Disregarding the looks, the rear stock speakers were actually good, nice round bass, but have muffled highs. A 4 way should fix that.
Pictures on integrating the pc in the car.
Note: whats with the monkey face on the corner of screen?
Now some pictures of the CarPC in action
Note: For the screen, I used a Metra kit then cut the bezel of the lcd monitor to fit in that opening, then cement those 2 together. Then screwed it back on, It was a tight fit so I had to cut one of the vent tabs. I kinda wished I had a black interior instead of the all purpose tan. Oh well.
Note: Status panel. It really looks like I should label all the NOS switches.. haha, but they are (from left to right) actually a manual ignition switch tied in series with the ign aka valet switch. Then a 12V power switch for the monitor. Then Kill switch. External USB port, Aux in port, and a planned IR port for the monitor, but ended up not using it… because I bricked my first screen. So not having that IR port there to control the monitor was not very important. Anyways, there’s the slot load drive if you can’t see what the black thing there was.
Note: Had to sacrifice a cup holder for volume knob… until I find a better way to mount the awesome griffin powermate.
Note: glove box: containing keyboard (perfect fit), optical mouse, and easy access to usb hub.
Note: the wiring in the back isn’t very clean, it can be better, but right now I’m too tired to fix it, there are no potential shorts (knock on wood), I made sure everything used heat shrinks. I hope to add another amp and subwoofer.
Last but not least, the rear view camera on the license plate
So there it is, the hardware side of my RollaPC.
Software: winxp sp2 (I had lying around). With Roadrunner as the front end (thanks guino!) and digital fx 3.0 for the skin. (thanks johnwpb!) ( digital fx 4.0 was way too taxing on my system)
- Videos (only SD, none of that HDTV, the integrated gfx card can’t handle it)
- Excellent GPS
- Bluetooth: controls my phone, but I can’t do hands free calling although it works well as a caller ID
- Wireless internet in the car.
- FM Radio sort of works. The current software to control it juices up the CPU so it would freeze/crash the entire system.
- Rear view camera signal wire isn’t working, I’m currently too lazy to rip apart my car right now.
- OBD2 integration to the front end
- a real kill switch(ie: relay) for the pc, right now its wired to the power supply, and it doesnt work.
- Tweeters in the front
- Possible upgrading to dual core CPU and/or video card, but I is poor man now.
Will add more photos later..
Man great job!!!
damn great job!
Wow, the monitor installation looks exactly like mine.
(@skuller) I thought your way was the best way to do install the monitor, thanks for the inspiration (albeit late, my apologies).
No need to apologize.
It's great to see somebody else follow my route .
Can you elaborate on how you wired up the switch for your monitor and your PC?
I am about to start hooking up my Touchscreen and I wanted the ability to shut it off/override when the car is running since I have remote start and don't want unwanted attention when I am not in the car.
Any help would be appreciated! Thanks in advance
Since I don't have a IR port to control my monitor.. the only thing I could control was the power supply. My monitor accepts 12V power connection, so I had wired in a on/off toggle switch. This allows the monitor to be turned off while the pc is running. As for the power, instead of tapping into the car's 12v battery, I thought it was safer to tap into my regulated computer power supply m2-atx (I used the yellow(+12v) and black(gnd) wire from the HDD power connector).
The computer is hooked up to a dc-dc converter, m2-atx. which accepts 3 connections, 12v battery, 12v (switched/ignition), and gnd. So if you wanted to remote start, you can have the remote connected in parallel with the ignition/switched connector.
The switch for the pc: there are 2 ways to control it, one is the external switch from the m2-atx and the other is using a relay for the 12v rail (this becomes a kill switch).
Ok, so, from your PC in the trunk you tapped into the Molex connector and ran that up to the front switch?
I have the 706 TSA. My Separate input box will probably be in the trunk with the PC - I I'll tap into that as well.
I guess All i need to figure out now is what wire will be triggered by my remote start kicking in (not the key turning - since I'll most likely be in bed still when I start my car in the winter and would like my PC to be booted up and ready to go, but the monitor still off).
I need to figure out how to use a relay for a kill switch. I think I saw some other posts on here how people had 3 selections for their switch:
1 To turn off/stay off if car starts
2 Normal operation, starts when car starts
3 Override to stay on (in case I am running in a gas station/rest stop and don't want the PC to shutdown)
Yes, I ran the power from the molex connector all the way from the trunk to the switch panel.. seems to work okay.
good luck and hope this help your install