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Thread: My 1st CarPC in a 2001 BMW 325 Ci

  1. #1
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    Talking 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:
    http://www.sounddomain.com/ride/2532312
    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).

    I hope you like the newest addition to the Bimmer carputer family!

    Please leave comments and have a Merry Christmas!!!!!!
    Toyota Tacoma Install
    BMW 325Ci Install - Old

    ZOTAC H55-ITX, Intel i3 & 320 Series SSD
    7" Lilliput 669GL, M4-ATX, SB X-Fi, XMPCR
    Win 7, RR, Garmin, DashCmd

    Morel Elate 9 3way & IDQ10 ported (active 4-way),
    JL Audio HD Amps, Audison BitOne.1

  2. #2
    FLAC sama's Avatar
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    lovely install dude. Really good work on that bezel, you got the bevels in there and the spray's very good.

  3. #3
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    Thanks! It did take me a few do overs to get both the bevels and the paint good enough for a Bimmer.
    Toyota Tacoma Install
    BMW 325Ci Install - Old

    ZOTAC H55-ITX, Intel i3 & 320 Series SSD
    7" Lilliput 669GL, M4-ATX, SB X-Fi, XMPCR
    Win 7, RR, Garmin, DashCmd

    Morel Elate 9 3way & IDQ10 ported (active 4-way),
    JL Audio HD Amps, Audison BitOne.1

  4. #4
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    Nice looking install, and I hear you about those bezels. I eventually had one off srcstc for my E36 after 2 or 3 attempts myself.

  5. #5
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    Looks great man. I'm still in the planning phase. All I have so far is the case but thanks for sharing your work of art.

  6. #6
    Fusion Brain Creator 2k1Toaster's Avatar
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    Looks good. My only question is what is that little 80mm fan in the trunk above the PC case? Doesn't look like it is part of the case, just on top of it.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2k1Toaster View Post
    Looks good. My only question is what is that little 80mm fan in the trunk above the PC case? Doesn't look like it is part of the case, just on top of it.
    Yeah, living here in GA and in AZ has taught me to plan for the worst when it comes to heat! Using the Dell in the below picture, I was having some heat issues. In order to remedy it, I worked on circulating the air as best as I could.

    To do this, I added the little wire soap dish under the PC (to allow the PC to have enough room to breath in through the bottom air holes) and I also added the 12V fan you noticed. That seemed to do the trick (so did getting a system that wasn't a superheated P4).



    This extra fan is powered off of the 12V rail on the Carnetix P1900 so that it turns on and off when the power supply does. It doesn't care if the PC is on or off. So while the carPC is turning itself off, the fan will continue to blow the hot air away from it for about another minute (or longer if I manually shut the PC down and don't turn off the car). This allows me to cool it faster if need be.
    Toyota Tacoma Install
    BMW 325Ci Install - Old

    ZOTAC H55-ITX, Intel i3 & 320 Series SSD
    7" Lilliput 669GL, M4-ATX, SB X-Fi, XMPCR
    Win 7, RR, Garmin, DashCmd

    Morel Elate 9 3way & IDQ10 ported (active 4-way),
    JL Audio HD Amps, Audison BitOne.1

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blind32 View Post
    Looks great man. I'm still in the planning phase. All I have so far is the case but thanks for sharing your work of art.
    Thanks! I'd be glad to answer any questions or provide more pics if requested. But after I deploy in a couple weeks, it might make it a bit harder to take newer pictures. But good luck! It's very worth it in the end.



    Quote Originally Posted by Enforcer View Post
    Nice looking install, and I hear you about those bezels. I eventually had one off srcstc for my E36 after 2 or 3 attempts myself.
    I almost got to that point. I'd contemplated it a few times. Thankfully my wallet talked me out of it.
    Toyota Tacoma Install
    BMW 325Ci Install - Old

    ZOTAC H55-ITX, Intel i3 & 320 Series SSD
    7" Lilliput 669GL, M4-ATX, SB X-Fi, XMPCR
    Win 7, RR, Garmin, DashCmd

    Morel Elate 9 3way & IDQ10 ported (active 4-way),
    JL Audio HD Amps, Audison BitOne.1

  9. #9
    Maximum Bitrate david69leonard's Avatar
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    dats a purty nice lookin beemer you got thur!!! Nice install too!!! That bezel looks real good!!! doesnt your computer get upset from all the vibrations from that audiobahn sub you got it bolted to? I know mine would... I just got off a deployment myself, fortunately it was on a tropical island out in the middle of the pacific...

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by david69leonard View Post
    dats a purty nice lookin beemer you got thur!!! Nice install too!!! That bezel looks real good!!! doesnt your computer get upset from all the vibrations from that audiobahn sub you got it bolted to? I know mine would... I just got off a deployment myself, fortunately it was on a tropical island out in the middle of the pacific...
    Nice. I wouldn't mind an assignment like that...but somehow I don't think Iraq will live up to that.

    You'd think the vibration would be a problem...but so far, a CD hasn't even skipped (when it was in the actual PC). And this goes for both my current computer and the Dell I was using as a test unit. I suppose the carpet and the pollyfill in the box are enough cushioning.

    I plan to post something as soon as something starts going wrong with my setup. I figured I'll be the longevity test for vibrations...so we'll see. But so far, 6 months have gone by without a hitch.
    Toyota Tacoma Install
    BMW 325Ci Install - Old

    ZOTAC H55-ITX, Intel i3 & 320 Series SSD
    7" Lilliput 669GL, M4-ATX, SB X-Fi, XMPCR
    Win 7, RR, Garmin, DashCmd

    Morel Elate 9 3way & IDQ10 ported (active 4-way),
    JL Audio HD Amps, Audison BitOne.1

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