1996 300zx TT - Carputer w/ sound system upgrade
A little about me and my project. I have been buliding my own computers since 1978 and have been planning this project for years. I have been lurking here, reading up and watching the developments in the industry, that have taken this concept from home brew to main stream.
I work as an application engineer for BSS Audio, a pro audio company and a division of Harman Int. This gives me access to the wide cross section of Harman products to choose from when designing this system.
1996 Nissa 300zx TT 5sp auto. Only 1 of 117 imported this the final year they were available in the U.S.
It took me 6 months to find this car, I had no idea how rare it was when I started my search. I found this one with only 78k on it, it was the wifes daily driver. What a score! It was in pristine condition.
I added the Wings West full body kit and the Stillen nose clip. Due to an unfortunate over spray incident, My insurance paid to have the car completely repainted and all trim replaced. I was out my deductible, but what a deal. It looked like it just came off the assembly line....this is if Nissan had a killer body kit as stock.
The engine has been lovingly cared for by Greg and Seb over at Specialty Z. You guys Rock! I've added a POP Charger, Under Drive pulley, and CAT Back exhaust system. That puts me somewhere between Stage II and Stage III. Estimated rwh @ 335.
My first Interior mod was shortly after purchasing the car I had the stock Bose front end replaced with a Pioneer AVH-6500DVD and a nice alarm. Unfortunately the installers where hacks and did not even know about the stock Bose systems and that they required balancing transformers on the outputs. Needless to say I was underwhelmed by the performance of my $1500 new stereo. This was another reason I needed to move forward with the carputer project, to rectify the problems caused by others.
Note:I lived with that crappy install for so long I forgot how bad it was. When I first heard the system through the Soundweb as balanced audio I was amazed how much better the sound was.
I spent years designing and then redesigning the system as new technologies and equipment became available to me.
Here is the current System design:
==Parts list (Phase 1)==
Lilliput 7" TFT Touchscreen
Jetway VIA C7 1.5 GHz
M2-ATX 160W DC-DC PSU
USB Class1 Blutooth transceiver
USB 802.11n WiFi
Nissan Datascan ODB2
QStarz 810 Bluetooth GPS receiver
Pioneer AVH6500DVD (already installed, but need to switch to pre outs)
Pioneer Pre out adapter
Bullet Camera kit - 380TVLR w/ integrated power&signal cable
VGA extender cable
USB Repeter cable
8pr audio snake cable
Gold Plated Positive Battery terminal kit
18" Negative Battery terminal kit
17' 8AWG red power cable w/ in line fuse
2' 8AWG black ground wire
2 way fused distribution block (large enough for Phase 2 amps)
inline fuse holder
4 rolls of 16AWG hookup wire (red,black,white,yellow)
After carefully considering that placement of the monitor, considering the location of my existing monitor (AVH6500) and some very nice dash installs by others, I decided to investigate the visor as a location for my monitor. Initial research into dimensions and power made the Idea of the Lilliput 7" vary feasible. Based on this I ordered the Lilliput and waited for delivery.
The Lilliput arrived and the time had come to remove the sun visor for a little investigative surgery.
More to come.......
==Carputer Assembly and Configuration==
The Computer build went like any other system build.
Step one: Ground yourself, You know if you live in a high static environment. Take appropriate steps to ground yourself when working with electronic components. Most electronics stores sell cheap ground kits that you can reuse.
carefully unpack every thing and take inventory.
Mount mother board and power supply, and VOOMPC front panel USB and fan card to the chassis.
Configure all jumpers on the Mother board.
Connect Power supply* (for initial setup and test I am using a desktop power supply. I will test and configure the M2-ATX later)
Connect data and power to the SATA hard drive
Connect data and power to the DVD drive* (I am only using a DVD drive during the setup to load drivers)
Insert the Windows XP disk and throw the power switch....
No flames...that's a good sign.
She booted right up!
Enter the BIOS and set your time and basic configurations, tweaking this will come later.
reboot and let Windows install.
After the Core Windows install, connect to the home network for access to the Internet for Windows updates.
Download and install all Windows updates.
Load drivers for all components:
Motherboard and chipset drivers
USB 802.11n adapter
USB Bluetooth adapter
USB Touchscreen driver
Load front end software
copy media files from server
==Removing Interior trim==
Patience is a big part of interior work. Take your time. When removing panels held by clips, cover your screwdriver or prying device with a towel to prevent scratching the trim.
Keep all your screws together in a small container to prevent loosing them.
Dixi cups are a great trick too. They stack nicely and you can write on them with a sharpi where they cam from. Trust me after you have unassembled most of your interior you start to forget which screw goes where. Place your trim pieces in a safe location covered. I wrapped mine in towels to protect them.
Here are the sections I removed:
Rear hatch carpet
Left and right equipment viod covers. These are just behind the driver and passenger seats on either side on the "tray"
Rear center "tray"
Center cable chase
Center arm rest/storage box
Shift console and parking break boot
Driver side lower center console trim
Lower dash trim under Steering column
Driver side windshield pillar trim
Drivers sun visor* (already removed)
==Confirming Equipment Location==
After all the trim was removed I could start placing equipment and test fitting. I quickly found a perfect place for the Soundweb where the center tray was. After looking at several locations I decided the best location for the PC was on top of the Soundweb.
==Mounting the Soundweb==
The sensor boots for the active suspension provided a nice rubber isolator and rear support for the Soundweb. I used "L" brackets to fasten the front of the Soundweb to the interior deck.
this was used as a test mounting during the prototype phase. Final installation ended up being integrated into the amplifier platform
This was actually the most difficult and time consuming part of the project. investigated several routes before I found the optimal path. Unfortunately the easiest path was not the shortest path.
I had four locations that needed to be connected together:
Head unit (front dash)
Center tray (PC/Soundweb location
Here are the cable runs:
More to come.......
This was the one area of the design I neglected until late in the design. I underestimated how critical a good power distribution design is to this type of system. Fortunately there is a lot of great info in this forum that helped he make the correct decisions in my power design.
After running the prototype on a #8 feed I realized this would need to be upgraded to a #4 to support the amps I had chosen. Time to pull it all apart again and run new power cable. I getting good at disassembling my interior.
More to come.......
==Rebuilding the Battery Terminal Connections==
I used a gold plated battery terminal with lots of accessory ports.
=== The Hardware arrives and is ready for installation ===
=== Test fitting the sub enclosure ===
=== Modified rear speaker mounts ====
==== running the speaker wires and connecting the sub enclosure ===
==== Wiring the dual voice coil sub ====
==== Finished sub installation ====
==== Both subs installed ====
You can also get a nice look at the new smoked tail lights!
==== Test fitting the custom amplifier deck ====
Making sure it fits, then off to the upholstery shop to get covered in fuzzy stuff.
==== Mounting 6.5" speaker in custom bracket ===
Sealed the back with plastic. I used some of the excess black sticky ***** that Nissan used everywhere.
==== With the crossover mounted ====
==== Here is the front speaker mounted ====
==== Front speaker tweeter mounted on door ====
==== Back side of door ====
Plenty of room for running the cable.
==== The finished door ====
No more Bose !
==== Mounting and pre-wire of the amps ====
Mounting the amps on the deck.
==== Amp wiring close-up ====
==== Amp deck installed and prewired ===
Ready for final wiring.
More pics to come.....