2005 Sprinter kludge install Taxicab
Apologies in advance for the length of this entry as well as the lack of pics. I'll get some of those as soon as I can lay my hands on a digital cam.
The first thing you should know is that although this van belongs to me, it isn't a PERSONAL vehicle as most of you have...it's a Taxicab. I've been doin this gig ever since I stepped behind the wheel 13 years ago "Just until I find a better job". Less than a year after getting behind the wheel I entered the dark world of car audio with an aftermarket stereo in a vehicle that didn't even belong to me...and a monster was born.
OK. So...What I have.
:) The vehicle:
2005 Dodge Sprinter 118" wheelbase high roof (but not extra-high, there are 2 heights...why they didn't call mine the normal height version I'll never know) passenger van.
:) The computer:
Standard mid-tower chassis with (can't remember) ATX mobo, 512mb memory & AMD 3000+ processor
NVidia dual output video card
Generic IDE controller card (will make sense further down)
1x 60gig 7200rpm 3.5 HDD
1x 120gig 7200rpm 3.5 HDD
2x 250gig 7200rpm 3.5 HDD
1x 300gig 7200rpm 3.5 HDD
1x 400gig 7200rpm 3.5 HDD
1x DVD+/-RW drive (it was just as cheap as a standard dvd drive so I grabbed it)
:cool: USB peripherals:
Backlit slimline keyboard (EL-610)
IOGear Phaser wireless trackmouse
Nostromo Speedpad N52 (this is my pride & joy and probably my most used controller)
54G wireless adapter (about the size of a keychain flashdrive)
GPS reciever (came with MS Streets & Trips for $50, couldn't pass that up)
External 200gig HDD for transferring media into the cab-puter
3x Dell E153FP LCD monitors
1x Datalux 14x touchscreen (serial port)
:) Power systems, etc:
The whole monstrosity is powered by a 1200watt Coleman inverter with a couple of standard power strips.
3x 24" flourescent blacklights mounted in the ceiling in the back of the van.
Pioneer CD/head unit
2 pair of 6x9 Infinity Kappa in generic carpeted speaker boxes secured to the headliner, 1pair mounted directly behind driver/passenger seat, other pair mounted very back of van.
1 pair of 3.5 Infinity Kappa mounted in front dash
1 pair of Kicker Solobaric 12" subs
1 dedicated subamp (can't remember brand or model)
1 4channel amp for the 6x9's & the 3.5's (can't remember brand or model)
1 Memphis dash mountable crossover/eq (more on why for this later)
OK: On to how it's configured:
First thing you'll be asking, I imagine, is...why so much drive space? Unlike some people (myself included a few years ago), I don't go the MP3 route. All of the media I have in here are video files...mostly mpeg2 (yep, same format as you have on dvd's & svcd's). As you can imagine...9600+ (and growing all the time) music videos take up a BUTTLOAD of space...btw, anyone interested in that list?
:) Build & general look:
Most of the hardware and audio equipment is built into a "kiosk" type structure that sits directly behind the front seats and stares you in the face when you open the sliding door to get in the back seat. The "second" row bench was removed to make room for this monstrosity. So to get in you have to go past the box to the THIRD ROW bench and sit down. Inside are the amps, the inverter, all the power wires, a bunch of fans, etc.
Strapped to the front so I can remove it quickly at need is the computer itself. The back of the computer is ugly as hell since there are wires everywhere, but you gotta climb into the van, around the kiosk, and under the driver-side rear monitor to see it...so I ain't too worried.
On the rear face of the "kiosk", which is slanted at about a 30degree angle so the rear seat passengers can see the display even in bright daylight (this display isn't as bright as I'd like and I'll replace it with something brighter when this one finally dies), the touchscreen is inset into the box.
2 of the Dell LCD's are mounted on 2 arms (something similar to http://shop2.outpost.com/product/440...H:MAIN_RSLT_PG) which are mounted about 1.5 feet above the top of the box on long pieces of structural metal, so these monitors are set in such a way that the bottom edge of the monitor is about even with the top edge of the driver & passenger seats about 8" back from the seats (had to leave room so I could recline my seat when I wanted)
The third Dell LCD, the keyboard, and the Memphis crossover are mounted to a custom stand originally designed and welded out of structural steel by a Sheriff friend of mine for use in his squadcar to mount his laptop on. He said that this rig (which only held the laptop with velcro) survived a 60mph collision and the laptop still operates. I saw it & begged him to build me one too (at the time the "system" was a laptop and a stack of external HDD cases). I have since modified it to fit a different function and use it for the monitor, etc.
The trackmouse, being wireless, sits wherever it ends up...usually in the cupholder.
The Nostromo Speedpad is what I use for 90% of my operation of the system from the driver seat. It's a left-handed pad (ergo-designed for sittin under yer left hand) because it's designed for gamers who mouse with their left hand and use a keyboard (or gamepad) with their left. Dammit, I really wish this item was available for the right hand. A combination of the software that came with the Speedpad and another macro program called "KeyText" has allowed me to assign almost every function I use on a regular basis to one of the 25 keys on the keypad. There was a bit of a learning curve, but WELL worth it once I learned by habit what each button does. Anyway, when I'm in the Cab (12 hours at a stretch), I have this item strapped to my left thigh where my left hand naturally rests while I drive.
The interface for the touchscreen is a webpage that I put together that is essentially just a "jukebox" of sorts for passengers in the back seat to choose their tunes.
The media player I use is a program called Zoom Player (www.inmatrix.com). It's the most well rounded, functional, configurable media player I've been able to find while at the same time having a TINY processor & memory footprint. The program itself is under a meg. It doesn't have a really pretty interface or visualizations like winamp or some others do...but almost all of my files are videos so no love lost there.
I bought a gps reciever with MS Streets & Trips...but almost never use it since I always know where I'm at anyway...and all the usb ports on my hub are otherwise occupied.
Yes, I know it's a kludge job. However, I've always been a function-over-form kinda guy. I figure out what I want my system to do, and deal with esthetics later (or never).
Always interested in constructive criticism, ideas, etc. Matter of fact...just in the last couple days since I found this forum I've gotten BUTTLOADS of ideas just lookin around.
Hope to have pics up within the week. Cheers.
First set of pics...more to come as soon as I find my camera.
OK. First set of pics I was able to track down was when I first got it and got it painted and started the installl...not much to see here yet...but...
Here is what it looked like when I first got it back to Austin (picked it up in Houston and drove it home).
Here is a shot of what it looked like (from the front) when they were done painting it.
Here is another shot of what it looked like (this time from the side). Notice the 2nd row bench inside the sliding door? That's where The Monstrosity sits now.
Here is a really crappy view of what the 2nd & 3rd row seats looked like (as seen from the front passenger seat) before we pulled the second row to put The Monstrosity in.
Here is a view of the box (unfinished with nothing yet installed) the system is built into as seen from the 3rd row seat...remember the 2nd row seat is now out...and the box is in its place.
Here is a view of the same box (without its lid in place or any of the shelves) as seen from the front passenger seat.
The Next Installment of the Installation
Sorry in advance, I'm sure this probably should be in the WorkLogs subforum...but in essence...as most of you will agree with your own rides...my system will ALWAYS be a work in progress...Moderator: Feel free to move it if you feel it's better suited to the other location.
Ok. Decided to do away with the kludgy bungie cord died down computer tower and mount the mobo, drives, psu, etc on a board (shelf) inside the main box (The Monstrosity) since I had the room...
Here's what I have so far...on a board approximately 2.5 x 1.5 feet...
Here is a view of the build so far from the front...the power supply & the dvd drive have yet to be mounted (secured).
Front View 1
And another somewhat better view from the front.
Front View 2
Here's a good pic from above that gives a good idea of placement.
Haven't figured out a way to secure the cards the way they would normally be in a case...there's nothin to screw into like you normally would...so they're just slotted in and I have to hope they don't come out...unless someone can gimme a heads up here.
The PCI cards & video
The 6 hard drives...they're mounted on their sides. I remember seeing a discussion about mounting them on their sides to prevent platter-slap...plus there wasn't room to mount em flat...not enough vertical clearance. The rig they're mounted in sits on top of a piece of medium density upholstery cushion as a bit of shock absorption.
The Hard Drives
Feedback always appreciated as I'm lookin for ideas & suggestions here.