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Thread: 2000 Miata SE - in-dash carpc

  1. #1
    Newbie
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    38

    2000 Miata SE - in-dash carpc

    I'm actually mid-way through this project, but I thought I'd start a worklog on this anyway to get some comments. I had some key criteria for this build:

    • Has to fit in the existing dash slot (2 x 1-din openings). Didn't want to run cables to trunk etc.
    • No permanent modifications to the car
    • Has to provide radio, mp3/ogg/other audio playback, video, GPS, Bluetooth
    • Must have a touchscreen (at least 7")
    • Would like to be able to take tis with me to any new car I might own, such as if I ever build that westfield I want (http://www.flyinmiata.com/westfield)
    • Minimum amount of parts fabrication possible
    • Initially running Linux, maybe later use Windows. Generally, Linux lends itself to optimization a little better for these types of projects(IMO), so I'll start with that.


    The first item is somewhat tricky, since the DIN slots on the Miata are vey shallow at 6.5" deep, so fitting everything is a real challenge. I needed a Nano-ITX board to get everything in there, so I went with the following hardware:

    Via EPIA NX15000G board (C7 1.5GHz, CX700M chipset) - fastest nano-ITX I could find, CX700M has MPEG-2 acceleration to facilitate video playback, although support under Linux us still only in the experimental stage.

    1GB SODIMM - lots of memory just in case. The stuff is cheap.

    160GB Toshiba 2.5" Laptop hard drive. Laptop drive is more resilient to shock , much smaller and less power-hungry

    M1-ATX power supply. This is plenty (90W) for the via board, since it only needs about 20W total, plus the HDD, RAM etc.

    I thought about using one of the double-DIN kits for mounting a touchscreen and putting the components inside, but I didn't fancy the amount of fabrication that would need for the dash opening. Also, the existing kits are very deep and are bolt-in (as far as i can tell), so they don't lend themselves well to moving to a second vehicle easily.

    For a case, I was able to get my hands on two old MTSVO units with dodgy touchscreens, so I saved one to replace the TS on later, and the other one I've gutted to provide me with a relatively roomy case. I thought about using an old headunit for this, but they often have big heatsinks on the back of them, which reduces the internal room for the components. I might still aqcuire one, just for the faceplate to provide a more OEM feel for the unit and make it a little less conspicuous in the (open top, convertible) car.

    Putting it together:
    I played with a lot of different configurations for the component layout, in order to maximize the use of space inside the case. There were some tradeoffs required, such as the fact that the ethernet port is inside the case, so if I want to connect a cable to it, I'll need to open it up. I might put in an extension cable with a female jack to the glovebox, just to provide me with easy access. Ultimately, the final layout allowed me to put everything above in the same case (including the Power supply and HDD), and enabled me to leverage some of the features of the original MTSVO case such as the VGA connector location, so I didn't need to cut new holes and fabricate parts. It also leaves the MiniPCI slot open for future use if I want to put a wireless card or something in there, though more likely I'll just use a USB dongle instead.

    Component layout:


    Clearance under the standoffs:



    All the wires in place:


    Routing around the VGA connector


    HDD in place:


    I'll be using USB parts for the bluetooth connectivity and radio, as well as for a glove-box mounted DVD burner. For the radio I've got a Datacoach USB FM radio piece that I'll be hooking up to the car's antenna (silabs FM radio chip). As an aside, anyone know of a linux driver that'll work?

    Anyway, looks like it will all fit. I need to improve the cable routing inside the box a bit, and I'll be moving the USB cables to exit on the right side of the box. Just waiting on some mounting hardware (DIN sleeve etc) I've ordered, and I'll be test-fitting it to the car.

    I'm not sure what to do about the HDD - it's pretty well wedged in there once the top is on, so I might just leave it "loose", but I may decide to secure it some how. Any ideas?

    Comments/thoughts are welcome.

  2. #2
    Newbie
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    San Francisco
    Posts
    28
    Hey miatacarpc,

    I too have a miata (2002) and am working on a CarPC using an AMD Geode based SBC, Windows XP, and RoadRunner FE. The double din space looks like a good fit for a 7" LCD - I am trying to fit a CarTFT 7" LCD in mine, without modifying the car beyond the point from which I can put it back to stock later.

    If you have any details about how you fit your screen in that space, I'd love to hear about it.

    Cheers,
    Matthew.

  3. #3
    Low Bitrate
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    85
    Any pics of your dash install? I'm doing a 99 MX5/Miata right now... using some dash/lcd kits I found online so I don't have to fabricate with that dirty fibreglass stuff...don't know if it will be successful yet though!

  4. #4
    Newbie
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    38

    Update:

    I finally got this all in this weekend... Taken me a little while

    I ended up buying a 7" Transflective panel from TrioLCD, with an anti-reflective touchscreen. Cost a pretty penny, but it's absolutely amazing. I mounted in a piece of Plywood for now, which I took a router to, and cut the opening, plus a channel to hold the screen - I'm a little worried about it warping, but we'll see how it goes. The screen is then mounted to the front of a single-DIN unit, so that it covers the full double-DIN area. The single-DIN unit contains all the LCD electronics, including A/D board, inverter and Touchscreen controller.

    I've also replaced the Toshiba HDD with an OCZ SSD, since I was concerned about vibration, given the stiff suspension on my car, and replaced my USB Wifi card with a Mini-PCI card, in order to reduce my USB port requirements.

    I'll try to post some pics at some point.
    EPIA NX15000G, OCZ 128GB 2.5" SSD, 1Gb RAM, 7" anti-reflective, transflective touchscreen, M1-ATX, HD-Radio, Bluetooth, GPS, WiFi, USB DVD+-RW.

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