This is my first car PC install. I have no prior experience with car wiring or car audio. I do have experience in building computers and I am a programmer by trade. I'm going to try and include some of the details that are normally overlooked by more experienced installers and all my mistakes too.
Part 1 (Research)
I started out by reading the forums on this site. The FAQs are a good place to start. I also picked up 2 used books on Amazon:
- Car PC Hacks by Damien Stolarz
- Geek My Ride by Auri Rahimzadeh
The books work best after you have already done some basic reading.
The next step was to start looking into how to build a computer for use in a car. I decided to go mini-itx so I could put all the components in the space behind where the stock head unit used to go. My other goals were as follows:
- Components need to be as light as possible.
- Retain the original look of the car interior as much as possible.
Part 2 (Gathering Parts)
Using Google I shopped around for the best prices for the components I wanted. Be sure to look at shipping costs when ordering. Also, try and group items from the same supplier to minimize the shipping.
VIA EPIA-CN13000G 1.3GHz VIA C7
Lilliput 8-Inch 4:3 Desktop/Wall-mount TFT-LCD Touchscreen (FA801-TV/C/T)
OPUS 120 watt DC-DC power Supply DCX3.120
Western Digital Scorpio 120GB 5400 RPM ATA-6 Notebook Hard Drive
Kingston ValueRAM 1GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 533 (PC2 4200)
Cables To Go 36-Inch 7-Pin Serial ATA Device Cable
Sabrent SBT-TVFM / FM Radio / TV Tuner PCI Capture Card
Xtatix XCA-PMC 3 Port USB 2.0 HUB & Multi Flash Reader
Engenius EUB-362 802.11g USB 2.0 / Wireless Network Adapter
Black Vantec EZ SWAP EX HD-MRK-250FD IDE to SATA/USB2.0
Phidget Encoder (S-40-P1052) from Trossen Robotics
While the computer hardware was lightweight, the car audio (amplifier in particular) can become heavy. I looked at many amplifiers looking at weight vs. performance. The Alpine PDX-4.100 was only 6 pounds and gave the performance I wanted. Other amplifiers I looked at were the Kicker 06ZX700.5 and MB Quart PAB 5400.
PDX-4.100 Alpine 4 Channel Digital Amplifier
SCOSCHE FDK11B Wiring Harness
KICKER 4-Gauge 4-Channel Amplifier Power KIT
Replacement s197 Ford Mustang Faceplate
Rear: Alpine SPR-69C 6" x 9" 2-way 300w car speakers
Front: Alpine SPR-57C 5"x7" 2-way 300w car speakers
Door Subs: stock
Rocker 500 Custom front end made by me.