Car PC in a self-contained double DIN unit (Subaru Legacy B4 RSK install)
I actually finished this at the start of the year, but have only just thought about posting it here.
The project goal was to be a fully self contained double DIN headunit replacement that I could drop into any car and use. I eventually gave up on the onboard amplifier, it fit in just fine but turned out to be faulty and I'd voided the warranty just a bit. Couldn't be bothered to buy another one when I had a pair of larger car amps sat around doing nothing.
I started off with the mechatroniks.com kit. This is an aluminium bezel and 3-sided chassis with a lilliput screen mounted into it. With a few modifications to the lilliput's mainboard (ie. removing the PSU connector) you can squeeze a Mini-ITX board in behind it.
The kit looks like this:
Next stage was to figure out how to squeeze the HD, PSU, fans and amplifier in there. I decided to design and get made, a metal cover to attach to the 4 spare holes at the top of the kit, and attach everything to that.
I used an M1-ATX PSU, a Hitachi TravelStar 40gig laptop drive, a radial fan that my GF found lying around in work and an AMP-100 from David Navone.com that I really should have tested before dismembering.
A quick testfit and it all seems to be going well
Actually wiring the thing was a nightmare. The 'Liliput wiring was hacked up, with the USB wires attached to an internal USB header, and the monitor wires soldered onto the underside of the motherboard. I left the join in the lilliput cable in place so that removing the screen later would be easier, and hacked up some spare pats of the lilliput cable to provide a power connector that could also be removed.
Finally the mounting brackets were removed from the car and attached to the casing..
And installed it into the car
Of course, that's never the end of the project is it? I soon decided that the onboard audio was crap, so I bought an M-Audio Sonica Theatre USB. I could have dismembered this and put it where the amp was supposed to go, but I decided that since the dashboard area of my car is noisy, I'd mount it behind the handbrake, very close to my amps, for a nice short cable run
It's held in place with a few sticky pads left over from replacing my front number plate.
I also got an unpowered USB hub, USB bluetooth, USB wi-fi and USB->OBDII. The wifi isn't good enough to get a signal from the access point in my house, so out comes the soldering iron again..
attached to a 7dbi antenna that sits on my rear parcel shelf. I realise this will only get me signal in one direction, but I always park pacing away from the house and I'm not into war driving.
Here you can see that I can indeed get on the internet over wifi, and that I can watch stupid flash animations while driving if I really wanted to (hint: This is generally a bad idea)
Oh, and the car it's in is a 1999 grey-import Subaru Legacy B4 RSK. 2 litre engine twin turbo.
Oh and here's a bonus video of me grass tracking it at a recent Digital Car meet here in the UK, complete with unintended drifting at the end. Car PC survived all this (as well as my many blats down pot-holed farm roads at silly speeds) without any problems, so I guess I can call it a success!