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Thread: Nissan SUV NAV/DVD/CD/MP3/Wifi/SQ Audio

  1. #1
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    Feb 2006
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    23

    Nissan SUV Aopen Mini PC NAV/DVD/CD/MP3/Wifi/SQ Audio

    Here’s a walkthrough of the install I just finished in my new truck. I’ve been chipping away at it since February, and am finally getting to the point of usability.

    Components include:

    Aopen Pandora Mini PC CD/DVD w/ 60 GB, 1G RAM, Celeron M 370 (MP3car.com)
    Aopen wireless kit with extension cable (eBay)
    Carnetix CNX-P1900 140W DC-DC PSU (MP3car.com)
    CNX-P5V 15 Watt +5V Regulator (MP3car.com)
    7 port powered USB hub (Tiger direct)
    Holux GPS unit (eBay)
    Turtle Beach Advantage Micro USB sound card (Tiger Direct)
    WRX brushed aluminum bolt-in WRX 7.5” touchscreen kit (MP3car.com)
    Wireless mouse/keyboard combo (eBay)
    Wireless video remote (already had)
    Various car audio gear (head unit, 2 amps, 10 speakers)

    First, a look at the truck itself - it's a 2006 Nissan X-Trail - probably unfamiliar to you Yanks, but this machine has been available in the rest of the world for a quite a few years. I think this is the second model year in Canada.

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    The touchscreen took a while to get, but was well worth the wait, it’s a really nice unit and matches the factory bezel pretty nicely.


    The Aopen mini is unbelievably small - less than the size of an average head unit - gives you a lot of options at install time. As read in these forums, I soldered the two wires from the P1900 power supply to the start button of the Pandora. This way, a ‘short’ is sent to the power button each time I turn the key on or off. I set the bios of the Pandora to send the computer into standby when pressing the power button. (Important tip - resume needed to be set in BIOS, and not just in windows power options) This gives me resume times of less than 15 seconds.

    I decided to locate the mini right where the factory NAV system would have gone in my X-Trail.
    After removing the map pocket, I just put the computer in the desired position, and marked the spots for mounting using the existing brackets. I then drilled 4 holes through the case of the computer so that I could thread bolts through from the inside.

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    Here I soldered the leads to the Aopen's start button for control from the Carnetix:
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    Here's my test fitting of the Aopen in the intended factory Nav position:
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  2. #2
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    Found an ideal spot to mount the GPS locator - under the corner speaker grill. There is a small ledge towards the front of this compartment that offers just enough room to Velcro-mount the receiver. The receiver has a straight look at the sky from this position.

    The last barrier to reception was the solid plastic backing behind the grill cloth. I simply removed the cloth, drilled out a pattern directly above the receiver and glued the cloth back in place. I threaded the wire down through the dash and attached it to the USB hub. Perfect reception.

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    continued....

  3. #3
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    Feb 2006
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    Found a way to mount my wireless internet antenna in a position that was nice and high and offered good ‘sightlines’ for picking up WiFi, while remaining ‘stealthy’. I removed the A pillar plastic cladding and using wire-ties, I ran the wire up to the roof and across and under the headliner. Antenna is usually flipped down for best reception, flipping it up hides it almost completely.

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    Got this custom made touch screen assembly from MP3car, it was originally built to bolt into another vehicle (Suburu WRX), but happens to fit the double-din dash opening of my X-Trail almost perfectly. Height-wise, it was a little too tall, but I was able to sand down the excess plastic from the bezel using a sanding block and a lot of elbow grease. The result was almost perfect, and I even managed to avoid scuffing the surrounding areas. The factory radio should be able to go back in without a cosmetic problem (if the need ever arises).

    I ended up using the brackets that held the factory radio in place to mount the touchscreen. The width between the two was almost identical. The only difficult thing was getting the touch screen in exactly the right position, and then marking the location of the bracket’s existing bolt holes onto the screen’s case so I would know precisely where to drill mounting holes when I put the bezel back on.

    The answer was to slide the screen in through the front of the hole (with the dash fully assembled) until it was sitting in exactly the right position. I then removed the air-duct grills on either side of the screen, which gave me access (with a very short pencil!) to mark the factory bolt-hole locations onto the screen’s case. I then drilled the holes in the screen’s case, and removed the plastic dash bezel and the truck’s mounting brackets. I then bolted the brackets to the screen and inserted the whole shebang back into the dash hole. I put the bezel back on and the fit is as perfect as it can be.

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    continued....

  4. #4
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    I used the massive area behind the touch screen to mount the Carnetix power supply, as there was a lot of unused real estate there. The power supply is a neat unit: it takes the 12-14V output of the truck’s electrical system and provides a regulated 12V output to the touchscreen, a 19V output for the Pandora computer, and a 5V output that runs the 7 port USB hub. It provides turn-key control for all the attached devices and even has a low battery sensor that cuts the trickle of power to the computer should the battery’s voltage get too low when the key is off and the system is in standby. Lots of wires, but each one with a purpose…

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    System has 2 remote receivers - one for the cordless mouse/keyboard combo, and one for the controlling movies and DVDs (play/pause/rewind/menu etc). I wanted to mount these in a place that was within their 4-5 foot operating range, yet still remain hidden. Found that the ideal spot was in the front panel air-ducts, behind the grates. Mounted them with some industrial strength Velcro.

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    continued.....

  5. #5
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    Nice work, cant wait to see the rest

  6. #6
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    Audio set up carries the same theme as the rest of the setup - stealthy as possible. The back of the X-Trail is awesome for putting in a system. There are two storage compartments on either side of the spare tire that allowed me to install all the wiring, distribution blocks, capacitor and two amps - all completely hidden with no major mods.

    Using 2 ten inch subs that I already had, I built a box that is sort of wedge shaped - it follows the slant of the back seat, is vertical on the mounting surface, and comes up to the height of the ½ tonneau cover. The top is only 6” wide, so the final product takes up very little cargo room, and is virtually invisible from outside. I also installed quick-connect terminals in the box so that it is easily removable if I need to fold the seats down for big cargo. This is the 3rd box that I’ve had these subs in, and easily the best sounding. The bass is tight with a really snappy feel to quick transients in the music. The subs are wired in parallel and wired mono to 2 channels of an old Soundstream amp - they’re seeing about 300 watts.


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    continued.....

  7. #7
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    The front stage was originally handled by Alpine 6.5’ type R coax’s, but they weren’t doing it for me, sound quality or SPL-wise. So I bit the bullet and sprung for some CDT HD 6.5” components. I ended up putting the Alpines in the back doors. The CDT’s are a lot louder, and a lot clearer, which is good combination. I also got the CDT image enhancement kit (IEK), which is basically another set of tweeters with a volume pot that you use to raise the level of the soundstage. It took a lot of work getting the exact size baffle needed to mount the CDT woofer in the door. I think there is 1/4'” of room left between the magnet and the window, and about that between the front of the speaker and the factory grille!

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    I modified the factory tweeter brackets on each corner of the dash to hold the CDT IEK, and aimed the tweeters towards each other firing across the dash board as much as possible while still firing through the perforations in the grill. The volume trim pot for the dashboard tweeters was mounted on a flat panel underneath the steering wheel (and outta sight).

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    The back speakers are run off the other half of the Soundstream amp (75 watts), and the 6 up-front CDT’s are getting about 100 watts out of an Orion amp I’ve had since the mid-nineties.

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    The crossovers for the front speakers are mounted up and under the dash, next to the USB hub.

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    All the audio is channelled through a Kenwood HU with an auxiliary input that provides active crossover and level control of each amp, as well as parametric EQ and time alignment capabilities for all the inputs (CD, AM/FM, computer).

    continued....

  8. #8
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    After testing, I found that the receiver for the keyboard and mouse didn’t work well that high up in the dash, so I relocated it to the underside of the top of the compartment in front of the shifter. I drilled two small holes the diameter of a USB cable so that I could also install a USB ‘in’ port, for use with thumb drives, iPods, etc.

    I had to cut the USB cables, thread them through, then re-attach and re-insulate all the tiny wires.

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    Things left to do:

    - Upholster the SW box

    - Build a removable ‘visor’ for the touchscreen that I’m gonna fab from ABS to make it more viewable in direct sunlight.

    That’s pretty much it! It took a lot of work, but I’m happy with the usability, and the sound is the best I’ve ever had in any of my previous installs. Everybody knows that you can never be satisfied, but this is as close as I’ve been.

    Of course, a little more bass wouldn’t hurt, and a front 3-way system anchored by 8” woofers in the doors would sound unbelievable…. :^)

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  9. #9
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    Thanks to everyone at MP3 car, and everyone that posts. Tons of ideas and inspiration!

  10. #10
    Maximum Bitrate Dennis5587's Avatar
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    Nov 2004
    Location
    NY
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    ...wow, love the install, and considering how long you've had most of that equiptment, I'd say its safe to say you've been doing this for a while, however looking at your install makes me want to go back and redo my whole stereo, lol. Good job man, love it

    2006 Mazda 3
    Behringer DCX-2496
    JL300/4 Focal 6W4311B Focal TN52
    JL500/1 JL10w6v2

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