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Thread: '97 Civic DX 2dr ~ Turtlegrip's NeuroPod -MicroATX Slim-

  1. #1
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    '97 Civic DX 2dr ~ Turtlegrip's NeuroPod -MicroATX Slim-

    Hello and Greetings,

    My name will be Turtlegrip and this is a post to show you my 'CarPC' that I built for my 1997 Honda Civic DX Coupe. I decided to start this project because I love my car and I love computers... So I guess I will just get to the point and give you some specs...

    Computer:
    Gigabyte Motherboard, older and dont remember exact model
    Pentium 4 Dual Core @ 2.8GHz
    1G RAM (1333) x2
    Patriot 60GB SSD
    TP-Link WiFi USB
    Bluetooth USB
    420 watt Micro ATX PSU
    Rosewell MicroATX Slim Case\
    ELM ODBII-USB

    Monitor:
    TFT LCD 7" LED Backlight

    Stereo:
    6" Acoustic Speakers x2
    6"x9" 3-way Alpine SPJ-69C3 x2
    12" Rockford Punch x2
    Sony xPlod 600 watt 4 channel Amplifier
    Performance Tenikue 1000 watt 2 channel Amplifier

    Power:
    Interstate Basic Battery
    Optima Blue D31
    BOSS 2-Farad Capacitor x2
    Cobra 800 watt Inverter

    Protection:
    ANL 150A Fuse x2
    PAC-500 Isolator
    1/0 Gauge Wiring and 4 Gauge Wiring

    Technically I am not entirely done, I need a high output alternator...

    Here is my project in chronological order, I kept a "work log" on another forum...

    Anyway, long story short, I upgraded my 97 Civic's heater core/blower, dash, climate control to a 99-00 Civic model:















    And everything is mounted in the trunk, eventually I will move the amplifiers and inverter to the back of the rear seats, and make panels over the PC and battery, but that will but cosmetics in the future (I know it is pretty sloppy right now):







    Here is also a picture of the switches, (not my kill switches lol), the red button is the PC power with a green LED as the power light, then the left switch is the amplifier power and there is one just like it on the right that powers the inverter, it just is not in right this moment:





    While I did this I also painted the interior black and refabriced the headliner and visors black, got new floor mats and plan on getting del sol seats.

    To break down the way power is run: Parallel with the engine battery is the Optima Blue Top D31-M, both being grounded to the chassis, right before the 1/0 gauge cable leaves the engine battery is gots to a 150A ANL fuse then to a PAC-500 Isolator, the wire then runs through the firewall, through the car, into the trunk where I have mounted the Optima. From the Optima the 1/0 gauge starts anew and runs directly to another 150A ANL fuse and then to a 1/0-4 gauge 5-way Distribution block. From the Distribution block then runs out 4 4 gauge wires, 1 to the inverter, 1 to each amplifier and 1 is split to the capacitors. The computer and monitor are powered from the 2 AC slots from the inverter.

    The computer has a USB splitter in the trunk to make 1 port run the WiFi adapter and Bluetooth. The computer then runs 1 VGA and 3 USB cables to the front of the car, there the VGA and 1 USB go to the 7" touch screen mounted in the dash, another USB goes to the ODBII-USB module, the last USB is free to be split for flash drives and what not. I had a sound card but it was causing more trouble than it was worth, so for now I have on board sound running to a 3.5mm Stereo split, then each stereo is split into RCA cables, 1 RCA pair runs to the rear 3-way speaker input on the sony amplifier, while the other runs to the sub woofer input on the other amplifier, the sub amplifier have an pair of RCA outs on it, so those run to the front speakers RCA input on the sony amplifier. A little confusing but it sounds fine and works until I can one day find a suitable low profile sound card.

    Software wise, I use Project64 and play super smash brothers haha. Then I have windows 7 running and use media player classic for videos, while I have been using Centrafuse for music and everything else (currently on the free trail version, I will end up buying the real thing once this runs out). Also using a free ODBII reader until I can afford PCM scan, or at least just DashXL. Ill try to get a video up of everything running soon...
    Last edited by turtlegrip; 03-15-2012 at 03:06 PM.

  2. #2
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    Similar setup, facing issues

    Hey,

    I have a 99 honda civic and am running a very similar setup for my carputer. I have a question for you, how many watts (RMS) are you pushing through the whole system and are you using the stock alternator? I am asking this because I am having power issues where the power inverter is shutting off and refusing to supply power but then will randomly turn back on while driving. I am trying to figure out if the issue is the inverter for my alternator. Based on my battery dying last week (its only about 3 months old) and having odd starting issues, I am thinking that my alternator is toast. This weekend I am planning on swapping out the alternator for one i picked up from a salavage yard for ~$35, sooo I am assuming that I am likely to kill that one too. Have you had any issues with that inverter? (I am using the exact same inverter-- 400W right?)

  3. #3
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    i have a 600w and 1000w amp, the computer has a 800RMS inverter with 1600peak... Run your car and then unplug the negative battery terminal, if the car dies then you probably have a bad alternator (there are also other ways to check, but you wont be getting the 14v from it you should be when the car is running). I am running a stock alternator and really want a high output so I can set up my capacitors. If I were you I would make sure the inverter is not getting too hot and probably get a bigger one, I know my video card takes a bit of power and the sound card died on me for some reason, so just using on board sound (i have a new sound card waiting to go in)

  4. #4
    Constant Bitrate
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    Yeah the battery disconnect resulted in an almost immediate stall out. Having it checked out at a shop and possibly getting a higher output alt from them. Not really loooking forward to the price tag on that lol.. ive read through your work logs more and I am definitely impressed. You have done quite a bit for the civic! What are you using for obd? And have you heard of sheeva plugs? There's some absolutely crazy stuff I've seen with that installed.

  5. #5
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    Haha greatly appriciated, this project has kept me busy for awhile now. Its funny I actually just had a spare computer and decided I should make an isolated system in my car for it after having a laptop in my car for a week, I found these sites and wealth of information after the fact, but I am now aware of these sheeva plugs ect and plan to make use of them at some point. And you need a new alternator, high output I would look at around $300 (for my car anyway) and you can install yourself but if you have someone else install do not pay much for labor, it is a really easy job in a lot of cars.

    The last three days I have developed insane alternator whine, so today I am gonna rip the car up and move wires, reground, fin foil speaker wire (LOL), add USB/3.5mm inputs in front, and finish the trunk set up. Also looking at new LCA bushings and brakes, but I should get most of it done today I hope, then I will post a video of everything running.

  6. #6
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    As promised here is a follow up. Everything has been running for a few weeks now, some connections came lose here and there and have been repaired. Only serious issue is that it seems 2 channels have gone bad on my 700w Sony amplifier, thus I have no front speakers. I must say it is a very weird problem though, definitely some internal problems on the amplifier that I may take a look at, but for now the rear speakers are much much better anyway so no big loss until I can afford new front speakers and a bigger amplifier. While I upload the short video clip here are some pictures I just took.

    Dirty Engine Bay


    Driver Side of Trunk (and some MTG )


    Passenger Side of Trunk (CarPC)


    Interior (Restored/Paint it Black)


    Black Headliner


    Monitor and Climate Control


    Switches (PC/Amps, will add one for capacitors/isolator or some sort of relay system)


    Center Console/Floor Mats (you can see my loose usb on the left)


    Loose USB


    Glove Box (N64 controllers with usb convertor)


    Amplifiers Mounted to the Back of the Back Seat


    Sub-woofers Right Next to Amplifiers


    Little Bit of a Rat Nest In-Between...


    Last Touch will be Mounting this USB/3.5mm Jack where the Cig Lighter is now








    And a quick run down video of the car:


    http://www.youtube.com/embed/2S3m7WIAb70
    Last edited by turtlegrip; 03-30-2012 at 12:28 PM.

  7. #7
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    So I looked through your pics and watched the video. Definitely a nice install up to this point. I just had a couple of questions. For your subs, I see that you have them facing upward as opposed to toward the rear. Is there any specific advantage to orienting the subs in this way? I also am having a problem with my four channel amp. One of the channels is definitely bad and causes all kinds of power issues when I use that rca input. However, I was able to create a workaround by using the speaker level input. The factory wiring is still in place and the rca from the pc is going through the head unit in the front (sounds weird but solves a nasty ground loop somehow). So this meant the audio signal is still going from the speaker level output of the head unit to the wiring that I just tucked out of the way in my trunk. With that in mind I just ran some wire from the factory wiring to the speaker level input and the speaker worked great (actually much better than before leading me to believe that RCA channel had always been faulty). Anyways, moral of the story is you can try that method if your amp has speaker level input.

  8. #8
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    I actually solved my problem, it was the front left speaker being too close to the power wire by the door, I am just going to shield it with some tin foil and wire to the body of the car haha. But Ill do that once I get better speakers because the ones i have suck, and ill probably dynomat a lot of stuff at the same time, or likely some cheaper imitation heh... But as of now all my money is going into a new exhaust and then engine rebuild to get ready for a turbo, (a very slow rebuild -_-) . But one day or when I can ill upgrade the stereo system, but ill probably get a high output alternator before i add anything on!

  9. #9
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    Since I cant edit my post maybe the person that reviews them can, but:

    PS. as far as all my music and recording classes have gone, sub level waves are omnidirectional, so direction of the sub doesnt really matter, i mainly did it for protection honestly since they got beat up from having stuff in my trunk... and it looks cool when i have the back seats down (and it is pretty loud too)!

  10. #10
    req
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    just a fy, your subwoofers (old school rockford pro from the 90's?) are totally destroyed. the surrounds are rotted out and i think that you should go and buy some cheap replacement speakers.

    i just wanted to point that out. regardless of the wavelength of bass below ~80hz being omnidirectional, they are busted. and besides, the direction of the subwoofer does matter, because the frontwave being in phase with the midbass is important - without time correction the only way you can adjust this is physical placement. aiming the speaker at the trunk forces the frontwave to reflect off the rear of the car and travel a few more feet of distance causing a slight time delay... you could also swap the polarity of the subwoofers at the terminals for a 180* phase shift, but thats a hit or miss kind of thing.

    either way - your subs are tore up and dry rotted. you need to change them.

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