My 1st CarPC in a 2001 BMW 325 Ci
Well, this is long overdue…especially considering that I completed this by the end of May! I have posted a lot of pictures in my new CarDomain site at:
Page 4 is dedicated to the Carputer install.
I’ll start by saying that this install was my first carputer install. For well over a year before I began my install, I was inspired by the likes of Gork, CdRsKuLL, and srcstc (click on the names to see their install threads).
I love the fact that I now have radio (XM only for now), ALL of my MP3’s, my video’s/DVD’s, GPS, and WiFi internet access. I also love that I can control and expand things as I choose…no OEM restrictions. But what I really love is the wow factor by my passengers. It blows them away when I tell them I did it myself (even though we all know it’s not really that hard unless you’re really doing something new…it’s just time consuming). It is truly a rewarding thing.
In my signature, you can see what I used for my setup. I did make my own front bezel using this “how to” thread here.
That trim piece was the most time consuming part. It took me a week and a half to do!
I don’t see how srcstc could make so many of these trims…and so perfectly too! Mine is definitely not perfect but it’s hard to tell in the pictures.
Most of what I did was the same as everyone else with a BMW E46…so I won’t get into those details. I’ll just focus on what I did a little differently:
1. I used the Travla C138 case so I could put in a cheap PCI graphics card. The case accepts 19volts, so I went with my Carnetix p1900 power supply (with the 3v addon for the Audigy 2 NX). But having the 19v Carnetix also allows me to plug in my more powerful laptop if I ever wanted to switch out my Car PC.
2. I was cheap and went with the MS Streets and Trips 2006. It turns out that I was not lucky and I did not get the newer GPS receiver that uses the Sirf III technology. But in the picture below, you can see where I placed it and I have not had any troubles with it except in a certain spot between GA and AL.
I just made sure I connected the receiver directly to the PC and not through the USB HUB that is tucked into my center consol (which is dumbed down to USB 1.1 because the keyboard, Xenarc, and the Ibus chip are going through that hub).
3. My sound system is also listed below in my signature. You can see the box I made for the sub.
I originally had it firing into the rear of the car, but the trunk is very sealed. So now the subwoofer is firing up through the rear speaker holes (I say holes because I am not using any rear speakers). I built a false bottom to the rear deck so the air could only go into the cabin. Doing this made thing exponentially better. Unfortunately, with all the air and vibrations, I had to redesign the rear deck trim so it’d stop rattling. I did so by cutting a few extra holes, dynamiting, and using a lot of filler foam.
4. I am using TinyXP rev 5 with Roadrunner, BMV2 as my night skin/AMV2 for my day skin, the center flash clock/speedo/compass at http://www.wrx-carpc.co.uk/, speedfan, and of course, IBus software.
5. I also installed some extra buttons in my ashtray. I have a power button on the left, a mute button (for my Passport radar detector) in the middle, and a ACC kill switch on the far right. I also added a spare USB access port above the buttons too.
So far I have not had any major troubles with this setup. But while I was installing all this software, I decided to NOT install the software for the Audigy. All installed for it was the newest drivers and firmware but not the other software that it comes bundled with it. But by not doing this, I found that the output sound was noticeably louder. I also found that one of my issues went away…the bass output was cut in half even though I had a certain setting checked. So every time I would start my carpc, I’d have to re-check that setting to make the output go to full again. But not anymore! :)
My only issues were few and far between (thanks to the great info in the above links). Heat was my number 1 issue with the Dell SX270 I originally used. Some noise was another issue I originally had (coming from the XM input). But that was fixed with moving some wires around and tweaking my sound settings a bit. The final issue I ran into was simply getting software to play nice with each other. Some things don’t like to hibernate well, so I went with TinyXP to shorten the startup time. Since then, things have been hunky-dory. :)
To all the newbies…read and read some more! Do lots of searches before asking. That’s what I did until I had the money to start doing it myself. I’d say 99% of what you need is all here.
My advice is to really consider the heat or cold of where you live. It can be more of an issue (for only a month or 2 a year) than most people think. The heat is an obvious issue for the motherboard and some devices during the summer…so make sure you read the max operating tolerances and measure how hot it gets in your car. Believe it or not, I found that it gets much hotter in the cabin of my car than it does in my trunk. So that is why the brain is back there now.
And for those wondering…no, the vibrations from the sub have not been an issue; not once.
As for the cold, even down here in GA, I’d had issues with my LCD not responding first thing on a frosty morning. It turns on normal, it just doesn’t sense my touches very well until it warms up. But I’ve read of worse issues from our friends up north.
The last thing that I plan to get around to doing is installing a slot load DVD up front. I really like how Gork put his in the ceiling by the front overhead lights. After I get back from my deployment, that will be the last item that I tackle.
Some other things I know I will end up doing is adding an FM receiver for regular radio as well as adding Bluetooth so I can use my phone over the system. I know that I will upgrade my GPS system in a few years too. I would also like to get into the OBDII interface so I can watch what’s going on with my engine. But I won’t do that until I supercharge my car (in about 2 years). :D
I hope you like the newest addition to the Bimmer carputer family!
Please leave comments and have a Merry Christmas!!!!!! :buddy: