Armored 2008 Audi A3 Full Car Pc Install Brazil (lots of pics)
I've been wondering around the forum for the last few years always dreaming of the day I would do my own.
I learned a lot here with you guys and your installs, and my install is based mostly on your ideas and some of my own.
What I learned by doing this install is that this project WILL consume you totally, it becomes an addiction, at least for me I did.
My focus really grew on this project about a year ago, when my 18th birthday began approaching (in Brazil we can only get a license when your 18) and I began negotiating with my father which car I would get for my 18th birthday. We ended up settling on his 2008 Audi A3.
The A3 is really an amazing car, with a 2.0 Turbocharged engine that delivers 200hp it really goes when you step on it. For the US it's a small car, but in Brazil it's actually a really nice car to have. Because of the taxes that we have here, we pay like three times what the car is worth in the states. So obviously, I was incredibly happy when the car became mine, I have a lot of history with this car, its the car that I learned how to drive in.
Unfortunately, due to the situation in Rio four years ago when my father bought the car, he had the car armored. I know it sounds like something you only see in movies, but in South America its not uncommon to armor normal cars. Armoring the car involves changing out all of the tempered glass for 32mm thick armored glass, and covering all of the interior of the car with either kevlar or ballistic steel(underneath the trim). Visually it is impossible to distinguish an armored car from a normal one. However, the armoring does add about 200kg to the car, which weighs it down(thus compromising some performance) as well as promoting much more increased wear on the car's suspension and power train. Oh, and the rear windows are forever locked in the up position, the rear window motors are disabled. The armoring also provides a challenge for the carputer install, since I had to deal with running wires and mounting things over and through the kevlar. All of the yellow stuff you'll see in the pictures is the kevlar.
Well, enough background information, lets do this, first of all, following tradition, here is a picture of the car:
Obviously this isn't my car, but I don't have a picture of it from the outside so ill have to upload another one later.
Through my research I found out that the stock audio system has a subwoofer in the trunk, hidden behind a trim panel on the left side of the trunk. I decided to remove this sub and install all of the PC hardware in that space. To compensate for the lack of the subwoofer (the stock sub is a joke anyways) I decided to install another sub in the trunk. As my ideas for the project grew, I eventually decided to change out all of the audio gear in the car(sub, amps, speakers, tweeters and wiring) and also to add a sound processor to make the audio in my car audiophile quality(or at least close to).
I also thought that to be worth it doing such a large install, I had to have a pc with a lot of features, in other words, lots of peripherals. My goal was to to have my car pc be a superior system to the factory Audi MMI in my fathers A4, which he bought after he gave me the A3. So in order to have a lot of peripherals with a lot of features and still be very responsive and reliable and having a fast boot up time, I was resolved on having a powerful system. So these are my system's specs:
- Asus Motherboard (forgot the model number, will update afterwards)
- Intel i5 3.4Ghz CPU
- 8GB GSkill DDR3 Memory
- 120GB OCZ Vertez III SSD (Sata 3 yummy)
- M4 ATX Power Supply
- 669GL Lilliput with MoCoSo custom made capacitive touch
And for peripherals:
- Directed HD Radio with Mitch's interface
- Front and Rear Parking Distance Control
- 3G Cellular Internet
- Handheld Keyboard and Mouse
- CD Drive and two USB ports in glovebox
- Joycon EXR for maintaining steering wheel controls
- Backup Camera
- Mitch's relay box for controlling my home's gates
- OBD-II with RossTech's VagCom cable
- Over the Air TV
- JBL MS-8 DSP
- JBL MS-62C Speakers and Tweeters in all four doors
- Bazooka BTA8250D Active 250w Sub
- 40W Sony Amp for rear speakers
I spent about 4 months slowly buying all of the parts, as my father and I slowly brought them to Rio during trips to the states. Buying all of these parts in Brazil would have been ludicrous, since electronics goods are extremely taxed here. Here are all of the parts once they were all together:
I then started assembling all of the parts in a Morex case, at the time I was using a Zotac mobo which later out turned out to be fried and set back the project a month:
I then removed most of the car's interior, including driver's seat and a lot of panels in order to run wires:
I made my own "harness" to run from the front of the dash to the trunk, it has 6 USBs, 1 RCA, 1 HDMI and a wiring harness that I bought from MoCoSo for a power button and power led up front, all cables have 16 feet:
Then I ran my harness through the lower part of the drivers side (dont know what its called, dont even know if there is a name for that area):
Then I ran all of the new speaker wires through the car, german cars make it a pain to run wires to the doors, being armored made it even harder:
Then I proceded to install the actual speakers:
Then I ran the power wire from the battery to the trunk for the M4 and the amps, I purposely ran it up through the A pillar, through the roof and down the C pillar, making sure that the electromagnetic field that the wire produces doesn't interfere with the data cables in the main harness. I used a grommet that I new existed where the clutch pedal would go in a manual transmission A3, but the kevlar on the inside of the firewall didnt make it very easy for me to find the grommet, so I had to remove the battery and some other crap from under the hood until I could see the grommet, and from there using a really long drill bit I was able to drill a hole straight through the kevlar into the other side underneath the dash in the driver's footwell:
With most of the wiring run, I intalled the Amp and the DSP in the trunk behind the rear seat on the right side of the trunk. The JBL MS-8 is on the bottom, and the amp is on top. The MS-8's internal amplifier is bi-amping the tweeters and mids in the front, and the amp powers the mids and tweets on the rear doors which are running through the crossover that came with the MS-62c kits.
Now this is where I start missing some pictures, I went through the entire night working on the install at this point and my sleep deprived brain partially shut down impairing me from taking photos hahaha...
Basically I chopped up the Morex case since it was too big to fit in the space previously occupied by the subwoofer, and I kept only the part of it that had the motherboard standoffs. In other words, I converted my Morex case into a motherboard tray. Then with a lot of hot glue and a 90degree mount usually used for shelves that I picked up at a local hardware store I fixed the tray into the car. The disadvantage of having kevlar all over the car is that there isnt much exposed steel to mount stuff to. The advantage is that hotglue adheres pretty well to kevlar, so I was able to basically glue everything in place.
Once my "tray" was finished, I dropped in the mobo into it with everything installed on it. I fixed the M4 to a piece of ballistic steel that was exposed just under where the mobo was mounted. To do so I used some adhesive backed nylon PCB standoffs that I had laying around, these secured pretty firmly to the steel.
With the mobo in place I began connecting all of the cables to it, here are some pictures of how it looks after all was connected:
I added an extra cooler with a very high flow rating on top of the Intel CPU cooler to make sure that a lot of air gets to the mobo. With a black car in the Rio summer the interior can get to like 60 degrees Celsius which is a whole lot of fahrenheits hahaha. So I thought it was important to keep good air circulation through there. I might add a few more later for the M4 or something.
With the glovebox out of the car, I took it upstairs to my room to hack it up a bit. The idea was to add a CD drive in it in some way that wouldn't look too conspicuous and add two USB ports in front of where there used to be a now deactivated iPod dock for the Audi factory system. I also added a 12v powered USB hub(taken apart) to the back of the glovebox. This way I was sure that the two USB ports wouldent lack any juice to charge my cell phone or operate the CD drive reliably. Here are some pictures:
I installed the MS-8's screen in a custom fashion, I removed it's back and built it into the A3's center console. I removed the factory phone preparation that the car ships with and installed the screen on the front part of the console. Then I used the "flush mount" dock for the remote and dremeled out an oppening for it where the preparations connector used to be, final product looks and works nicely:
I also modded the Andrea Superbeam Mic so that it would fit in the place where the Audi phone preparation mic used to go, didnt get many pictures of it though, sorrry :(
I had to hack up the harness that used to go into the factory sub in order to find myself some ACC power, to feed into the M4 Atx. I couldn't use the blue "amp on" wire that I ran along with all of the other cables because I built a small "valet switch" circuit. I hid a small button in a small compartment on the driver's footwell panel. When I push this button in it cuts the power on the blue wire, which shuts down my amps and the Lilliput. This way when I hand my car over to the valet I can keep the PC running, he just doesn't need to see or hear the system working. For someone who doesent really know what it is, it just looks like any average random radio in the dash that happens to be off. Im going to get some pictures of this and post here. Here's me hacking up the factory harness:
With everything connected I was able to boot the PC for the first time in the car. I had already set it up and installed Windows 7 on it on the bench, but I lost all of the bench pictures that I had for some reason...
So I finished up the wiring in the front of the car and snapped the touchscreen into place in the dash. I also re installed my modified glove box and the driver footwell panel. This is where things begin looking more final product like:
For now I consider the project pretty much finished. I've been driving it normally... Just need to close up the rear and tidy things up a bit.
Hope you enjoyed!
Please please please comment and ask questions, give me feedback, I want to know what you guys think!!