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Thread: '05 Nissan Altima- Intel D945GCLF2D Mini-ITX in Center Console (Storage Bin Mod)

  1. #1
    FLAC hexxamillion's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007

    '05 Nissan Altima- Intel D945GCLF2D Mini-ITX in Center Console (Storage Bin Mod)

    This project was originally an EEEPC 2G Surf Install. I have since decided to redesign my project.

    ##### NEW Project Details #########

    Click Here to jump to my new Project Redesign Worklog- Starting from POST #21

    Updated checklist on post #199

    So this is what I plan for my completed CarPC/Audio system to contain..eventually:
    Most of these things I already own. The car audio components will be mainly Alpine.
    UPDATE: Some of the planned components listed may change throughout the project. See worklog starting from POST #21 for updates.

    • * M4-ATX Automotive DC-DC Power Supply, 250 W
      * LED Backlit Touch Screen Monitor -- Still Need but PC build can still proceed
      * 120mm Case Fan - airflow exhaust for center console storage bin
      * Windows 7
      * 1 GB DDR2 Module -- Still need to upgrade to 2GB but 1GB will do for now
      * USB Wifi Adapter
      * Centrafuse Navigation- US -- Need to purchase License
      * Intel D945GCLF2D Mini ITX Mainboard
      * Logitech DiNovo Mini Bluetooth Keyboard
      * 32GB SATA SSD
      * Micro Bluetooth USB Dongle
      * Alpine SPR-17S - 6-1/2" 2-Way 330W Component Speaker System
      * Alpine SWE-1042 - 10" 750W 4-Ohm Subwoofer x 4 -- Custom trunk installation (I already own all 4 subs)
      * Upgraded AMP...still researching.
      * Alpine rear deck speakers -- Still need to upgrade but not ncessary for build
      * Alpine SPR-17C - 6-1/2" Speakers for rear doors --- Still need but not necessary for build.
      * Install grill behind back seat center drop down armrest -- Still need but not necessary for build
      * LCD Rear View Mirror Monitor
      * Backup camera
      * M350 Mini-ITX Case w/ mounting brackets
      * 120mm Washable Fan Filter
      * Prewired HDD Green LED w/ motherboard header connector.
      * Reset/power/power LED Switch cable with MOBO header connector
      * Latched Power button w/ Green LED Ring
      * USB CarPC Amp -- Still Need

    ########## END NEW PROJECT DETAILS ################

    ############### OLD PROJECT & 1st Project ##################

    I plan to use my EEEPC 2G Surf as my carpc. I am actually using it now but only with a temporary mobile solution. EEEPC's are so fun to hack and versatile. The 2G Surf is "bottom of the line" when compared to the more recent eeepc's. But it still does exactly what I need and more.Now that money is tighter than ever I figure that I would make some adjustments to my project...the best part of mobile computing...can fit almost any budget. I also will be having a professional shop perform the electrical portion of my install...atleast it will be my vision and design...though I'm sure others out there have similar or better setups than this.

    Current Temporary Setup
    • EEEPC 2G Surf
      EEEPC/Netbook Car Floor Mount
      Sony CD/CDRW/Mp3/WMA Deck
      Wii Remote
      Audio Jack for AUX input to Stereo
      Power Inverter (cigarette lighter plug)
      Alpine 10" subs x 3 (only 2 are active)
      Stock component speakers
      Stock rear window speakers
      350 watt amp

    My temp setup will actually work quite well for anyone that may want a relatively low cost carpc solution. I happen to already own an upgraded amp and additional 10" sub and speakers. So though my New Hardware idea that I will list later looks like more items. I am actually utilizing components that I already own that I have not installed yet.

    My Original Main Hardware Idea:

    My New Hardware Idea

    I am running a EEEBuntu Linux Distro (Base 2.0) on my EEEPC off of an 8GB SDHC and I am using XBMC as my media software ( I prefer Linux over Windows). I really like the looks of the Street Deck, Centerfuse and other software that MP3Car offers but they are only for Windows. I also have tried many many open source front ends and I am not completely satisfied with how they handle music. The main function for my PC is music and mobile internet. GPS is not a big deal to me since referring to apps like google maps is sufficient for me. I will eventually be adding OBDII. I also currently use bluetooth dialup for internet access. I use my Wii Remote (using bluetooth) to navigate my XBMC . My goal is to have as few wires and as less hand contact with the PC for safe driving and convenience.

    My Proposed Installation Plan

    I plan to install (mount) my EEEPC either under the front passenger seat of my Altima or in the glove box with a custom grill on the front of it for ventilation. I will be connecting the VGA out to the 7" Rear View Mirror w/Bluetooth/TFT/Backup Cam. I chose to keep my aftermarket deck installed (atleast for now) in case I perform other hardware/software updates on my EEEPC. This will allow me to still have access to music. Both the mirror and my mobile phone (Verizon XV6900 a.k.a. HTC Vogue) support A2DP so I also could explore that option for streaming music from my phone to the Mirror which will be connected to my stereo..but I may lose audio quality with that option.

    I have made an internal hardware mod on my 2G Surf which will allow me to power on/off my EEEPC using an external "momentary Off/on" switch. I followed basically a combination of two different tutorials located in both Mp3Car ( ) and from the EEEUser Forum ( and this one for describing how to take apart the eeepc

    I plan on installing the switch possibly in replace of my Cigarette lighter plug since there is already a hole there. I have a power inverter and do not like using my cigarette plug as a power source because I dislike the cosmetics of the bulky plug sticking out and there is feedback in speakers. I will be replacing it with an inverter wiring directly to my car battery. I will post pictures of my current setup. I also have a video of me using the Wii remote to navigate my XBMC on the EEEPC.

    This is the picture of my temporary EEEPC Car Mount. Its within arm reach and not in the way of either me (the driver) or the passenger. The pole is flexible yet very sturdy. EEEPC is attached soley by industrial great! It is also not in the way from viewing my stereo face (which is operated by remote control). I am running the XBMC software and this is the view of a current playlist (random play). I created a few of my own album art to use as default if the Artist album art is not available...but I also have Id3 Tag software to add what ever image I want as album art cover for each song.

    This is the video of me navigating my XBMC software on my 2G Surf with a Wii Remote using Bluetooth connectivity. Please excuse the quality as I shot this with my mobile phone. I also attached the video to this post :

    This is a picture of my EEEPC while performing my internal hardware hack/mod in addition to the external switch. I am modding it for an external switch to power it on/off which will eventually be installed on the dash. I completed the internal mod and the external switch to RJ11 connector. These are pics throughout the process. I am working on a budget so I worked with what I had with minimizing expense (lotsa riggin'). This is the video of the finished external switch mod:

    ************* EDIT ****************

    I've decided to mount my eeepc under the passenger seat. Even though the eeepc fits just fine in the glove box by the time I add the vga and audio cable its starts to not be too clean of a setup. I surveyed the area under the passenger seat and there is more than enough clearance and room for any extra cabling I may be adding plus devices. I also decided to purchase the cigarette-to-usb plug conversion that is supplied at the MP3car store. That will be installed to the right of my switch as seen here:

    My Altima actually has an additional cigarette plug inside of the center console so if I still need that connection for something else I will have one still available. I am also researching and will develop an enhancement to my power switch. I wish to eliminate as many wires as possible so I want to develop a way to power on my eeepc using bluetooth. The method may not be "bluetooth" per say but by channeling communication somehow through that connection telling the pc what to do. My bluetooth dongle still has power even if the eeepc is turned off.

    ************ Edit ************

    • I removed the powerful little magnet from beneath the lcd display of my eeepc so that now I can power it on with the lid closed using my external switch.
    • I received my TFT/bluetooth rearview mirror (w/ 2 video inputs) and backup camera imported from China. I am having them installed this Thursday.

    The shop that I am having my electronics installed (Kustom Kar Sound)suggested that through experience to not have my eeepc installed in the trunk (especially since I will have four 10" subs back there). Apparently this is regardless of the solid state drive. I'll take their word for since they are the professionals. So that is definitely ruled out and I have decided on mounting my EEEPC underneath the passenger seat for sure and on top of a laptop cooler/USB Hub.

    This may not be the exact cooler that I'm getting but you get the idea. It's powered by USB and has four 2.0 USB ports:

    ########### End OLD and 1st Project ###################

  2. #2
    Vendor - Qube colin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    First off, beautiful set up!
    In your fourth picture, theres a diamond pattern on the front side of your car.
    I saw something similar to that on a mustang I wanted to buy. Could you let me know where you got them?

    Loving the 3 subs too!

  3. #3
    FLAC hexxamillion's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    They're simple exterior accessories held on by 3M tape. You can purchase at probably any automotive retail store such as pepboys, checker auto, auto zone etc. These came with all six in the package (3 for each side). I thought it would set my car a little apart from other Altimas.

  4. #4
    Vendor - Qube colin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Thats sick, thanks a lot.

  5. #5
    FLAC hexxamillion's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    I just got the rearview camera and LCD Mirror installed along with my component speakers. Pictures soon to follow.

    I also purchased the laptop cooler/ 3 USB hub and I still need to do some clean up with the wiring and mount my eeepc under the seat.

    The backup camera is pretty nifty. I can also pair my cell phone with the mirror and I am able to display my eeepc desktop on the mirror via VGA to RCA converter box. It's fits just perfect because the mirror is 7" just like my eeepc.

  6. #6
    FLAC hexxamillion's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Here is the latest and greatest.

    • Extended an aux audio cable from rear of deck to underneath front passenger seat. This will replace the use of the front aux input.
      Had rearview mirror installed (bluetooth/TFT/LCD and 2 video inputs)
      Had rear backup camera installed.
      Purchased laptop cooler (powered by USB with 3 port USB hub)
      Mounted EEEPC under passenger seat on top of laptop cooler
      Connected external momentary switch to eeepc

    Regarding Power:

    This topic has been hot for a while and still is. How to power your laptop/netbook in the car: DC Regulator or AC inverter, smart power supply or startup/shutdown controller? Well if I were installing a regular desktop-like PC in the car then I can see where this would be something to carefully consider. But.... especially after spending much time testing out my setup and since I am using a netbook/laptop why not just rely on the supplied battery? Personally I'm definately not in my car often for over an hour so running on the netbook battery works fine.

    What about charging? Ok..ok.. I know this is frowned upon by the professional carpc enthusiasts but I use a power inverter (yes it is inefficient) but it does the job just fine. In addition, because of the mobile nature of my setup I can also recharge it in my home. I am using the inverter for recharging only and not as the "power supply". I have also tested running my eeepc with it plugged into the inverter, essentially using it as a "power supply" and I oddly do not have the "buzz" in my speakers. It also does not take long to charge up the eeepc anyways. So after all that in consideration for me personally my solution for powering my eeepc in the car is solved. I cannot speak for everyone else.


    Videos of the Mirror in action with my Eeepc:
    • Eeepc Booting-
    • Displaying XBMC using Wii Remote to navigate-

    And here are the pics:

    This is the rearview camera at work. Switches the moment car goes into reverse then switches back to other video input or off.

    This is the pic of where I have the camera mounted. Its connected to my License Plate frame.

    The eeepc does not have a TV-out just VGA-out. So I am using a small VGA to TV converter box so the desktop can be displayed on the monitor. This is mounted using velcro in between the passenger seat and the floor console. This will allow easy access to the converter buttons if needed.

    This is the view from the backseat with eeepc mounted under the front passenger seat on top of the laptop cooler. Both are secured by heavy duty velcro. The USB hub ports and VGA connection are on the left looking at the pic and the audio jack and momentary switch connection is on the right side.

    Preparing to feed the momentary switch cable to under the seat. This is the floor console I removed to work with the cabling. In know this is a lot of cable but I was not sure where I was mounting my eeepc. So better more than too less. I will make adjustments to the cable and switch but that's a project for another day.

    This is the console installed back in place after feeding the cable to under the seat.

    View of eeepc from in front of the passenger seat on the floor. Preparing to connect the momentary switch using a regular phone cable to the modem port on the Eeepc.

    This is a top/side view of the floor under the front passenger seat displaying how the eeepc is still out of sight.

    A couple more views of the small VGA to TV converter box.

    Just another plain view of the LCD rearview mirror.

    The last piece I am missing is my bluetooth mini keyboard which I will get next week.

    ******************* Edit ****************

    I still have more work to do on this project. While using the mirror as my monitor for my EEEPC is fine for now, it is not an ideal solution for viewing the desktop (Opera, Terminal ..etc). Perfect for video though. I will be having a double din 7" Lilliput VGA touchscreen installed on the dash supplied by MP3car store: I will be redirecting my eeepc display to the touchscreen. Perhaps it may look something like this photoshop edit:

    So what about the mirror? I plan on getting a Samsung Omnia mobile phone ( has TV-Out, FM Radio, Accelerometer, GPS, blah blah.. I will output that display to the mirror instead. I rarely listen to the radio but this will be a mobile solution to replacing my aftermarket deck and also serve as a backup in case I am working on my eeepc. That way I can still have music in the car.

    ************** EDIT **********************

    I just received my cigarette lighter to USB converter and momentary switch from the MP3car store. I replaced my cigarette lighter plug with the USB port and I replaced the big red momentary switch with the small black momentary now supplied by MP3Car store.

    So here are the pics:

    This is the USB port and momentary switch installation process.

    These are the new after pics. I still need to do some minor clean up around the switch but other than that everything works well.

  7. #7
    Constant Bitrate
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    I tried using a phone cord for my switches in my car but the wire was so small I couldn't make a good enough connection. How did you do it?

  8. #8
    FLAC hexxamillion's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Quote Originally Posted by mdawg View Post
    I tried using a phone cord for my switches in my car but the wire was so small I couldn't make a good enough connection. How did you do it?
    A lot of It really wasn't that bad. The switch I have if you seen from the post is kinda bulkycompared to some of the nicer but it has the two prongs on the bottom with a hole in each. I 'threaded' the wire through the hole and twisted so it would stay in place while I soldered the wire to the prong on the switch.

    This was actually my test and first time performing this switch mod. So now that my setup works like it should. I am going to change it to this momentary button on the MP3Car store

  9. #9
    FLAC hexxamillion's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    I received my Logitech DiNovo mini bluetooth keyboard in and it works flawlessly with my eeepc. So now I can work with the desktop without dependancy on the eeepc keyboard.

    I also found that the keyboard works great with my HTC Vogue (xv6900) smartphone. So this will be great when I get my Samsung Omnia for use as my secondary carpc.

  10. #10
    FLAC hexxamillion's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    I know It's been a while since I've updated my worklog. I have been optimizing my eeepc software-wise. I still have plans to have a 7" VGA touch screen installed and move my eeepc display from the mirror monitor to the touchscreen.

    I will say that my current setup has been cool so far. I have not had issues regarding supplying power to my eeepc due to it having its own battery...even though it is plugged into an inverter (DOH!). I also plan on implementing solar energy into my car and will most likely start small by integrating with my carpc installation somehow...still brainstorming this.

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