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Thread: 2009 HHR LS panel conversion

  1. #1
    Constant Bitrate MindDrive's Avatar
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    2009 HHR LS panel conversion

    This is an all out vehicle mod, not just in adding a PC, but a complete vehicle overhaul... so i hope nobody minds that i throw in pics of other various stuff im doing to it, but heres the start of a project that may just take a few years to accomplish ~_~ but its gonna be damn sexy once im done with it ^_^

    less that 700 miles on the vehicle in this pic (666 to be exact):


    first mod: running boards




    second mod: adding panel rear doors w/o windows or exterior door handles


    i JUST obtained a new dashboard panel for the top portion of the dashboard that i plan on using for the displays and pc hardware... since chevy integrated the "onstar" crap into the stock sterio, i cant exactly pull the sterio and mount components into the area there, however there are LAN bus units made by metra.com that allow the LAN bus to still transmit data and allow aftermarket radio equipment to be installed but the onstar integration is kinda nice to know if the vehicle ever gets stolen, it can be tracked or if i get into an accident while playing around with the pc and i get knocked uncontious, they can find me LOL (that was a total irrisponsible thing to admit but weve all done it... adjusting this or that while driving and notice a slight swerve back into the lane... dont lie youve done it )

    anyway... the cadillac project is more to complete for myself, rather than a show quality vehicle as its kinda rough around the edges and far from trophe material... but this project is brand new very clean and has already cost well over 2 grand in collection of parts

    the pc i chose to butcher is one of the slim line HP pc's -- since its really cheap to buy, and its equiped very nicely, the only thing i have a problem with is that it came with vista home basic and their website doesnt come with drivers for xp. nvidia's website had quite a bit of help but it didnt have everything.

    drivers missing from nvidia's nforce package were the audio and the amd power controller for some form of "co-processor" :S

    ALSO HP's website claims that the onboard video/chipset is a 9100 something, so when i downloaded the driver package for that chipset, nothing worked, so since i figured it couldnt get any worse i tried the 7/8 series package and it now functions correctly across the board except for the audio!! ~_~ i dug and dug for realtek HD audio packages and nothing worked, the installer would run but 3/4 the way through an error popup would mention something along the lines of "no suitable hardware detected for this installation" and would self close after pressing OK....

    so i dug into an archive i have of previous nvidia motherboards with realtek hd audio packages and started installing the oldest audio driver package first... same results... nada.. then i came across the driver archive for my gamer pc and tried it.... it installed and works, but im thinking along the lines of not completely. the motherboard only has 3 audio jacks in the rear with one onboard jack for front headphone audio.

    the realtek sound program that i got working has auto sence, and worked when i plugged in the green jack (front audio) but would not function properly when any other jack was used for 2.1 (sterio and sub) or quadrophonic speaker configs... but other realtek audio mobo's i have with only 3 audio jacks will allow you to manually configure the rear ports for 5.1 which this new hp mobo is configurable for, but NOT for xp only vista driver packages ~_~

    the audio "works" i figured out how to get it to function... the "front speakers" must be plugged into the front headphone port, where as the rear speakers need to be plugged into the back GREEN port and opening the driver (SOUNDMON.EXE) needs to be configured to NOT mute rear audio when the front port is used.... it took several attempts of plugging in and removing and reconnecting the audio jacks before it acknowledged the correct configuration.

    another reason i went with this HP bundle was not only cost, but power... i now have 3 of these, and all 3 of them come with low power AMD processors... this new one came with the semperon, where as the first one i bought came with a dual core am2 athelon (35 watts) and the 3rd i got from a friend who wanted me to try and fix it-- something went wrong with the mobo and hp sells the mobo for bout 150 bucks, but it came with a am2 athelon x2 (i dono what the power rating is for this one but it cant be that much more since the power supply is only 260 watts). the pc's also come with card readers, external hard drive bay (usb) SATA lightscribe dvd burner/cdr combo drive, 250GB-1TB hard drive choices and the newest one i bought came with 2 gigs of DDR2 800

    heres a link to what they have:
    http://www.shopping.hp.com/webapp/sh...%20and%20sleek

    heres a basic layout of whats in the case: (i pulled the vista hdd and added a 2.5" sata drive)




    i really couldnt pass up the deal (350 bucks after taxes and shipping) on how much stuff this thing came with

    once i start fabricating the dashboard panel, ill post more pictures (sorry for the long 1st post LOL)

  2. #2
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    Looking forward to seeing your work. I have a 2008 HHR

  3. #3
    Sheepdog rdholtz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MindDrive View Post
    I'm surprised how much better the car looks with the windows deleted. Now it really looks like the '53 Chevy/GMC panel trucks. Nice.
    .
    If just enough is really good, then too much ought to be perfect.

    2006 Scion xB with in-dash Atom & Lilliput 889GL -- Worklog at http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/work...res-links.html
    .

  4. #4
    Variable Bitrate
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    Neat job so far. It's also good to see people still having faith in AMD processors. I'm interested in seeing how this low-power CPU performs.

  5. #5
    Constant Bitrate MindDrive's Avatar
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    the windows werent actually removed... i completely replaced the back doors with doors i got from a junkyard that came off of an actual panel vehicle- the mod was easier and safer than buying a panel vehicle then buying the back seats, seat belts, cutting the carpet etc etc... 10 bolts and disconnecting the door harness- 2 hours later done ^_^

    the low power amds work great... to be honest, im an intel person for my main game machine, but in light of amd's low power solution (35-45watts) they do great for multi media-- both pc's that ive gotten from HP in this form factor perform great with gps, movies, the touch screen, and i know everyone in the hardcore pc building circles rip on the realtek audio as being 3rd rate, but when you add a few thousand watts of power, it sounds phenominal not to mention having the capabilities of shaking the car apart, with a few clicks crystal clear precise audio.

    one thing that ive grown accustomed to doing is benchmarking a stock system to see how it stacks up against my game rig... both of these hp's with their nvidia chipsets onboard dont fare too well using aquamark 3 benchmark (i like this one cause its actually entertaining to watch instead of 3dmark's obvious "your pc sux" performance) my game rig benchmarks usually 118~143 fps depending how much i tweek the graphix settings, these slimline hp's are a mere 22~30 fps so while its not actually going to play call of duty 5 or FEAR very well, older games that rely on the DX8 would be more than capable of being played

    then again i didnt get these to play games ^_^ LOL!


    PDMEDIC -- what im planning on doing is completely redesigning the upper part of the dashboard-- the part that holds the center storage compartment--- to give you a visual since you have one to look at, open that compartment door and imagine thats how high the newly designed dashboard will be from the edge of the compartment all the way to the left upto about an 1 1/2" past the gauges (the defroster vent is going to be redesigned over there too) im also planning on redesigning the defroster vent by the windshield so that it evenly thaws the glass--- if everything comes out ok and i can spec the custom work ill share it with ya

    thanks for the comments hopefully i can finish this one a lil bit faster than ive been working on my caddy ^_^ a whole year now

  6. #6
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    Ok thanks that should look good. Looking forward to watching ths.

  7. #7
    Constant Bitrate MindDrive's Avatar
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    got some more pics:


    this is the top of the dashboard i ordered ($160) which is going to hold the components of the carpc after i fiberglass from the left side to right up next to where the passenger air bag opening is. basicly im extending the gauge cluster 'hump' in both directions so the majority of the dashboard is just a little bit taller than the gauges. this will give me enough room to mount hopefully an 8" 4:3 touch screen, if not an 8" 16:9 screen will fit definately



    this is the front door which i plan on fiberglassing as well to accomodate more speakers and the crossover behind a piece of polycarbonate mounted where the compartment is


    the rear doors i plan on mounting either a 19 or 20" wide screen monitor with a motorized mechanism that will be integrated into the circuitry that controls the rear windows from the front drivers door. the way i have the mechanism designed, the monitor should be able to swing at least 50-75 degrees on a floating hinge and screw type drive similar to the way a floppy drive works


    parts i still need to obtain are steering wheel volume controls (OEM) with track up and track down selections as well, a new DC~DC power supply (prolly the M4-ATX as the power supply that came with my system is 260W), the touch screen, PCI-E tv tuner card OR multi channel security card for the various cameras ill have mounted around the vehicle--- one camera will be mounted on each side of the vehicle in the running board after i fiberglass it to make it more "ground effect" ish and will be tied into the monitor for the door (to give the illusion of having a window when a movie or something isnt playing) either that or ill get roof racks and mount the cameras there


    since i still have the original rear doors, the wire harness will have to be redesigned to accomodate the hardware change--- both sets of rear doors will have identical audio components, but when the doors with windows are installed, the camera/monitor cables will be capped in a water proof housing of some sort (still have yet to figure that one out)

    this project is definately going to take a LONG time as i just found out im $41K in debt @_@ ! it adds up quick when you go on spending spree's and buy 3 vehicles in 1 year ~_~ then use credit cards like oxygen

    anyway... now that the weather is getting better, at least i can start fabricating the fiberglass work and design the dashboard case---
    BTW!? does anyone have dimentions on an 8" 4:3 and 8" 16:9 screens --- i need the overall "glass" dimentions as HxWxD (height x width x depth) so i can moch up a piece of plexi glass or polycarbonate to stand in as a model for design?

  8. #8
    Constant Bitrate MindDrive's Avatar
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    Well, this past week, I ordered some more components for this install:

    an 8" lilliput touch screen
    M4 ATX power supply
    sheet of 1/2 " MDF
    sheet of 3/4" MDF
    2 yards of high quality black vinyl (to skin the dash pad once the fiberglassing is done)
    8 1/2 yards of fleece (for various mods: dashboard, speaker enclosures, a new binky)
    a keyboard circuit board with media functions to integrate into steering wheel controls
    cables cables cables cables cables ~_~

  9. #9
    Maximum Bitrate boomintrac's Avatar
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    Man you better speed it up only 13 days to the meet, I know your gonna have everything installed and finish. If it wasnt so far away Id drive up and throw a snowball at ya. Snow in April FTL
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  10. #10
    Constant Bitrate MindDrive's Avatar
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    ROFL!!!! i cant drive both at the same time heheheh

    i wish i could finish this HHR install in 13 days... i havnt even broken ground so-to speak, i just got a pile of stuff ~_~

    this ones gonna take a LOOONNNGGGG while... possibly a year or more... not only is it going to be a car pc install, its going to undergo a complete make over inside and out... and since im the only one working on it, that makes it all the more difficult.

    just some "stuff" i plan on doing:

    rear spoiler (completely custom)
    custom audio- doors, pillars, rear interior
    custom video- rear doors, dashboard, head liner, rear hatch
    custom grill
    custom front and rear bumpers (dont ask - i havnt figured out this one yet)
    tires n rims
    lowering kit
    exhaust kit

    i would prolly be better off buying a used HHR but ive got this brand new one im going to trash instead, i just am being very carefull to not take this 5yr 100K unlimited warrenty and throw it away by cutting into something that may be affected-- safety features SUCK ~_~

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