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Thread: My Lexus SC300 Carputer adventure begins!

  1. #1
    Newbie MikeFD3S's Avatar
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    Post My Lexus SC300 Carputer adventure begins!

    I've been wanting to build a carputer for quite some time now. I've been a computer/gadget geek for as long as I know and still have one of my first 'X-Treme' builds from the 90's sitting around somewhere (P60 overclocked to 66mhz, 512mb HD, 64mb RAM, 4x CD-ROM, 14.4 Winmodem) and have 3 other computer systems performing various functions at the house. (1 gaming rig hooked up to a big flat screen LCD, 1 workstation for graphic design/video editing, 1 fileserver). I was into l33t Dial Up BBS' back in the day.

    I'm also a big car nut. I do marketing for one of the major Japanese performance manufacturers and have a sizeable stable of Mazda Rx-7s and other vehicles. Doing a carputer was a natural next step for me.

    I'm putting a carputer into my '92 SC300 5-Speed- One of the very first cars that I ever wanted. In Japan, the 1992 Soarer (SC300 in North America) was a technological marvel, featuring in car navigation, a rear view camera, hands free cellular and other novelties that were unheard of over 10 years ago, and are features that only recently became more common within the past few years. My SC300 had none of the above since it is an American model, so I of course would like to add them, but with my own customization and tweaks!

    This is the worklog for my project, for reference, and to help keep me on track.
    Carputer: 92 Lexus SC300 5sp - EPIA MII M10000, Fujitsu 2.5" 60gb 7200rpm, Xenarc 700TSV, Opus 150w, 1gb RAM @ 2-3-3-6 133mhz, Panasonic Slot Load CDRW/DVD

    Carputer Progress: 5%

    Other cars: '93 Rx7 R1, '87 Rx7 Sport (x2), RMS13

  2. #2
    FLAC Pudge's Avatar
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    Boris
    My Carputer! (More Car Pics at the end)
    2 Kicker Comp 10"
    Epia M-9000, 256 MB DDR, 120 Gig HD
    Lilliput 7" VGA Touchscreen
    Check it out?!

  3. #3
    Newbie MikeFD3S's Avatar
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    Stage 1: Gather basic Carputer Components
    (COMPLETE!)


    Via EPIA M10000 1Ghz Nehemiah
    Old stick of Kingston Value Ram 1Gb (Have Corsair XMS, but may be unnecessary for this motherboard)
    Xenarc 700 TSV 7"
    Panasonic CW8124B
    Opus 150watt Power Supply
    Fujitsu 7200rpm Notebook Hard Drive 60gb
    Various Adapters, Connectors and Wire Extensions
    MP3Car Ampie Mini-ITX Case

    I ordered all of these components last week and they all arrived this weekend. With these I can get my basic software and testing done, as well measurements for fabrication of supports, panels, and other parts during the integration of my carputer.

    Stage 2: Assemble Basic Carputer and test/install Operating System software
    (IN PROGRESS)


    1. Assemble Motherboard and core devices, check that all are working.
    (COMPLETE)

    I took some computer spare parts that I had and rigged up a power switch and power supply so I could install my essential hardware, OS and some other basic software. I installed my 'copy' of Pre SP2 Windows XP and loaded all the necessary drivers.(COMPLETE)

    Here are some pictures of the bare system sitting on a small table for testing. It's connected, powered on, and sitting on cardboard. Not the safest to have sitting out and powered on like that, but it'll be ok.

    There's a spare power supply that i'm using for testing, as well as the connected slot load and HD. She's running like a champ with a fresh install.
    Attached Images Attached Images   
    Carputer: 92 Lexus SC300 5sp - EPIA MII M10000, Fujitsu 2.5" 60gb 7200rpm, Xenarc 700TSV, Opus 150w, 1gb RAM @ 2-3-3-6 133mhz, Panasonic Slot Load CDRW/DVD

    Carputer Progress: 5%

    Other cars: '93 Rx7 R1, '87 Rx7 Sport (x2), RMS13

  4. #4
    Newbie MikeFD3S's Avatar
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    2. Perform Basic Tweaks and Customization
    (COMPLETE)

    I did some basic tweaks on WinXP and my BIOS to improve boot up times, standby operation, and some other minor functions to improve performance. I had Windows load into memory instead of the HD, and changed my boot screen logo (eliminated welcome screen).

    Heres how my boot screen looks (bad camera phone)
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Carputer: 92 Lexus SC300 5sp - EPIA MII M10000, Fujitsu 2.5" 60gb 7200rpm, Xenarc 700TSV, Opus 150w, 1gb RAM @ 2-3-3-6 133mhz, Panasonic Slot Load CDRW/DVD

    Carputer Progress: 5%

    Other cars: '93 Rx7 R1, '87 Rx7 Sport (x2), RMS13

  5. #5
    Newbie MikeFD3S's Avatar
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    3. Choose a front end and Media Software (IN PROGRESS)

    I need to choose a front end that I will use as my main carputer console, as well as download some other media software and codecs.


    Left to do:

    Download appropriate codecs
    Install a front end
    GPS Receiver + Software
    Bluetooth receiver + Software
    Handsfree telephone software
    Fabricate Center Console Panel for Xenarc + Slot Load
    Fabricate Center Console Panel for Climate Control Relocation
    Fabricate Panel for USB and Firewire into Ashtray/Lighter area
    Fabricate holder for Opus 150 + Ampie Case
    Fabricate Bracket to place Carputer into car
    Fabricate Ducting for AC --> Carputer for cooling
    Lots of Testing
    Lots of Skinning and Configuring
    More Performance Tweaking
    Actual Installation into car
    Choose and Amplifier and Audio System
    Put some media into my Carputer

    Still a long way to go, but i'm hoping I can get her right the first time!
    Carputer: 92 Lexus SC300 5sp - EPIA MII M10000, Fujitsu 2.5" 60gb 7200rpm, Xenarc 700TSV, Opus 150w, 1gb RAM @ 2-3-3-6 133mhz, Panasonic Slot Load CDRW/DVD

    Carputer Progress: 5%

    Other cars: '93 Rx7 R1, '87 Rx7 Sport (x2), RMS13

  6. #6
    Newbie MikeFD3S's Avatar
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    uh oh...I accidentally posted in "Show Off" area instead of Worklogs area...mods can you move this? sorry bout that!!
    Carputer: 92 Lexus SC300 5sp - EPIA MII M10000, Fujitsu 2.5" 60gb 7200rpm, Xenarc 700TSV, Opus 150w, 1gb RAM @ 2-3-3-6 133mhz, Panasonic Slot Load CDRW/DVD

    Carputer Progress: 5%

    Other cars: '93 Rx7 R1, '87 Rx7 Sport (x2), RMS13

  7. #7
    My Village Called 0l33l's Avatar
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    Hey.... are you a member of ClubLexus? I'm planning (not 100% sure) to go to the meet on the 11th.

    Were are you planning to put the screen?

  8. #8
    Newbie MikeFD3S's Avatar
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    Yup, I'm a member of CL, and have been lurking on that forum from before forums were around

    I heard there was a meet this weekend, and if there's one next weekend...i'm unsure if I can make it. I'll have to check with the other significant other (Human, not car) if I'll be able to make it.

    Right now, I have placement of the Xenarc near the top of the center console. The small space above the Xenarc (the curvature near the top) will be used for the slot load DVD.

    I'm decent with making molds, so I plan to make a one piece cover for the Slot Load, Xenarc, and Climate Control (Installed in order from top to bottom). and have a "chiseled" splitter in the mold seperating each device. I'm going to attempt to make a duplicate housing for the climate controls and dissassemble the one i have so I can go back to stock if I need to. Anxiously awaiting your results with the reverse engineering of that unit!

    I'm debating if I should use the Volume power pinout to be a sleep/standby button. Have you had any progress in integrating the analog volume control with your custom front end?

    Also planning to either put USB and firewire ports in the ashtray area, or put them in the cup holder area (with cover that flips open to the side)

    Heres a better half size pic of my boot screen, and a horribly out of focus snap of my sketches (center console, and ashtray mod)
    Attached Images Attached Images    
    Carputer: 92 Lexus SC300 5sp - EPIA MII M10000, Fujitsu 2.5" 60gb 7200rpm, Xenarc 700TSV, Opus 150w, 1gb RAM @ 2-3-3-6 133mhz, Panasonic Slot Load CDRW/DVD

    Carputer Progress: 5%

    Other cars: '93 Rx7 R1, '87 Rx7 Sport (x2), RMS13

  9. #9
    My Village Called 0l33l's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeFD3S
    Yup, I'm a member of CL, and have been lurking on that forum from before forums were around

    I heard there was a meet this weekend, and if there's one next weekend...i'm unsure if I can make it. I'll have to check with the other significant other (Human, not car) if I'll be able to make it.

    Right now, I have placement of the Xenarc near the top of the center console. The small space above the Xenarc (the curvature near the top) will be used for the slot load DVD.

    I'm decent with making molds, so I plan to make a one piece cover for the Slot Load, Xenarc, and Climate Control (Installed in order from top to bottom). and have a "chiseled" splitter in the mold seperating each device. I'm going to attempt to make a duplicate housing for the climate controls and dissassemble the one i have so I can go back to stock if I need to. Anxiously awaiting your results with the reverse engineering of that unit!

    I'm debating if I should use the Volume power pinout to be a sleep/standby button. Have you had any progress in integrating the analog volume control with your custom front end?

    Also planning to either put USB and firewire ports in the ashtray area, or put them in the cup holder area (with cover that flips open to the side)

    Heres a better half size pic of my boot screen, and a horribly out of focus snap of my sketches (center console, and ashtray mod)
    It would be cool if you could make it. Like we'd be able to compare notes and knowledge. Yeh.. the AC board is taking a bit more time than we wanted, but we did get it partially figured out. It now does the relays properly (verified). Analog inputs are still in the process of being worked on (I think I fried the SMD part while sodering it). So after that gets done, I we're gonna upgrade to the PIC18F4455 with more I/Os.

    Hooking up the vol button for power is very easy. Just look at my diagrams, and you can wire it straight to the pin header since that's a momentary switch.

    I think there's a problem with mounting the slot loading DVD above the Xenarc. There's a peice of the frame or vents or something there to block it. So it would have to be curved down a lot. My idea... what I'll probably do next time is shove it instead of the stupid cupholder. Its got no use anyways, except having the ability to fry the screen when you're cornering.

  10. #10
    Newbie MikeFD3S's Avatar
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    You know what, you're right I think I remember when I originally put in that retarded cup holder to fill that empty space, I remember looking back in there and there was some possible interference... hmm I'll have to look at it again and make sure that the angle i would need to install it isn't too extreme...otherwise...time to relocate.

    Yeah I figure the Power button would be pretty easy since it's not providing constant power or signal...but i'm trying to think of how many times i've hit that thing with my knee and turned off my radio

    hah happy 10k posts
    Carputer: 92 Lexus SC300 5sp - EPIA MII M10000, Fujitsu 2.5" 60gb 7200rpm, Xenarc 700TSV, Opus 150w, 1gb RAM @ 2-3-3-6 133mhz, Panasonic Slot Load CDRW/DVD

    Carputer Progress: 5%

    Other cars: '93 Rx7 R1, '87 Rx7 Sport (x2), RMS13

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