I had planned on finishing off my ICE system with just a few basic mods. My initial plan was to only install an LCD screen, DVD player, Upgrade the Head Unit, speakers and a decent Amp to power everything…Then I came across MP3Car…woops.
Anyway, after a few hours of reading forum posts, the “Auto PC” was really starting to interest me. I had never really heard of or seen systems like what I was seeing on MP3Car. Net surfing, Navigation, Media playback, etc…In a CAR?!
So after weeks of research, $2200 and a four day weekend, I’ve finished my Auto PC install. No, I haven’t much experience with wiring, electronics or computers (besides the occasional Word document, pic upload or net surfing)….But I am very “mechanically inclined”, and like most mechanics, if given an understandable set of instructions, I can usually “figure” it out.
Here’s what I’ve settled on:
Computer Case: Ampie
Via Motherboard: Epia SP13000
DDR Memory: 1GB DDR PC3200 DIMM
Hard Drive: 80GB 2.5" 5400RPM HD
Vehicle Power Supply: M2-ATX 160W DC-DC
Operating System: Windows XP Home
Monitor: Lilliput 7” Touch screen W/ WRX Bezel
WiFi Adapters: D-Link USB Wireless card
Bluetooth: Best Buy Dongle
Optic Drive: Pioneer external slot-in
Head Unit: Panasonic
Amplifier: Pioneer 4ch 600W
The pictures should illustrate most of what I’ve done.
I wanted the wiring done right. So I ripped out almost all of the interior, right down to the metal. (Everything but the upper dash and steering wheel). As much work as that was, I think it was worth it. I had easy access to everything and was able to bundle all of my wiring with the existing vehicle wiring harness (just make sure you zip-lock baggie all of your hardware and label it). Zip-Ties were my best friend. The end result was a very clean, very professional looking wiring job that looks as if it was meant to be there. I took care to run signal wires along one side of the car, and power lines along the other. I have to admit though, between tracks or when no sound is being played I can still hear a small amount of ground loop. I even added a Ground Loop Isolator between the Line Out of my PC and the Line In on my Head Unit. Maybe someone out there can critique my install and give me some tips….anyway
I’m sure some of you WRX owners are probably wondering why I located the Head Unit in the glove box rather than over the screen (Subaru sells a head unit bezel that replaces the clock sitting over the center air vents). I’m simply saving that prime location for a set of Defi Amber series gauges that are soon to be installed. I also liked the super clean look of having only my touch screen visible.
Getting to the Head Unit in the Glove box can be a bit of a pain, but the Head Unit remote helps…most of my music (around 30GB) is uploaded onto the PC anyway so its not too big of a deal. I also have the Optic drive located in the glove box as well…again, a pain to access…but far less used.
I remote located the IR sensor from the Lilliput (cut the sensor from the circuit board and re-solder some longer wires) into the vent. My Lilliput remote works perfectly and you can’t see the sensor any where. I tried using the code supplied in the forums to get my Lilliput to auto-on, but it doesn’t seem to be working for me. So for now, the remote will have to do.
At the moment I’m not running a Front End. For a few days I was using the demo download of Centrafuse. I loved it at first, but it kept freezing my PC and wouldn’t play music properly…so I ditched it. It’s most likely my fault, I’m learning a lot about Front Ends but I think something a bit more user friendly is what I need. I hate the thought of spending $200 for StreetDeck (with the Nav DVD), but for the convenience of something ready to go straight out of the box, I might as well. I did play around with Freeway for a bit, and it turned out to be a confusing nightmare. In my opinion, not suitable for a newbie.
Anyway, I welcome all comments, critiques or suggestions on what I might be able to do better.
I will be posting more pics today...Thanks for reading.
Hi Pennywise, very nice install!
looks very nice, but how you gonna reach your headunit lol, I own an evo and I thought about just saying screw the middle 2 vents to mount a headunit there. Still debating lol
Great install, you went ALL out. Alot more than most people are willing to go to install their carPC. Im sure someone has brought this up before, but just in case, I bought the stock piece to replace the clock and mounted my head unit right on top of the dash:
I dont have the part number anymore, but it is a stock piece that houses the stock gauge pod, it is DIN size, so it fits head units perfectly. I got it for like 27 bucks, you should be able to get it from any Subaru dealer or from www.subaruwrxparts.com .
There are a few reasons to keep a head unit.
-You always have a backup. Computers crash...head units usually do not.
-Easier to get radio. Don't have to mess with an HQCT or get poor reception with a TV tuner card
-Instant turn on. You can get sound within 5 seconds whereas most computers, even in hibernate, take significantly longer to load
-If you don't plan on ever burning CDs or watching DVDs in your car, a head unit is easier to install than custom fabricating a regular PC CD/DVD ROM Drive into your dash
-Saves money (in some cases) If you don't already have an amp for all of your speakers, and you eliminate your head unit, you'll have to buy a 4-channel amp most likely, but with your head unit you just have to buy and AUX-Input adapter
-They look cool! Who doesn't want more shiny colorful screens and buttons on their dash?
I'm sure there are a few more reasons why it's a good idea that I forgot.
I didn't keep my head unit, but I wish I would have sometimes.