1999 Corolla Mac Mini install
If I had to summarize the dashboard of my Corolla in a word, it would have to be "compact." Everything fits perfectly just the way it is, and there really is no more room for anything else. For this reason, the install requires extra planning-- and I still managed to get it a bit wrong.
I measured the size of everything on the dashboard and the center console, as can be seen by my rough sketch below. My main problems stem from the fact that I didn't measure the inside of the dashboard. More on this later.
I ordered all my parts, starting with a 1.83 GHz Core 2 Duo Mac Mini. I went with a Mac Mini for four reasons:
1. Compact size
2. Near-instant boot time of OS X
3. Relatively easy to hook up for power
4. No need to locate components all over the car
However, I realized I couldn't use OS X as my main operating system, as there are few Front Ends and GPS options for it. I decided to run Windows under Parallels, to get the "best of both worlds." :D This is where the first of my "compactness" problems started. I have a little box in the center of the dashboard where I wanted to locate the Mac Mini. I measured everything, and it was perfect. It wasn't until I tried actually fitting the Mac Mini in that I realized that the inside closes in a bit. I really want the Mini in-dash and hidden, so I'll likely have to pull out the dremel. Fortunately there is a little extra room on either side outside the box.
I decided that I would have to go with a slide-out screen unless I wanted to do some serious fabrication work. I went with a Xenarc 700IDT, since I haven't heard great things about motorized units, and I really wanted reliability. This was my second, more major, size problem. Apparently, the depth of the single-DIN slot is really shallow. The screen, of course, is not. The back runs right into the air conditioning duct... and that's without even attaching any cables! I may need to reroute the ducts, and that's a more major project than I (or my wallet) feel comfortable tackling. :( In case that wasn't bad enough, the Xenarc is slightly too large to fit through the single-DIN opening in the trim, which will likely require me to file it out a bit.
Since I had to ditch the head unit in order to have room for everything, I picked up a Radioshark 2, which seems to work decently at home, but I haven't tried it in the car yet. I plan to use the external antenna connector to connect it to the car antenna. I'm thinking I should be able to just splice the car antenna's Motorolla connector onto the end of a (preferably gold-plated) audio extension cable and simply plug it in. I'll be working on this later.
For power, I ordered a CarNetix P2140. I was originally going to go with a P1900, but I decided to get the P2140 for the USB connection... and it was only $35 more. :D This may actually be easier to hook up than I initially anticipated. Since I'm removing the head unit, I should be able to just wire everything up to the (now disused) wiring harness... right??? It's got +12V, ground, ignition, everything I should need... I just need to make sure the wiring/fuses can handle the load.
I have a GPS receiver already, the Pharos iGPS-360. It currently has a CF slot and I don't have a drivers disk, so I'm going to try to locate a USB adapter (I know they make such a thing) and drivers online.
I also still need to order an amp. I have no idea what to get. I think there are only 4 speakers in the car, and I don't need something amazing... I'm thinking of something like this right now, as size and cost are issues, though of course I'd need it to do four speakers. I'll likely pick something up within the next week, because I really can't start running cables until I know how big everything is/where everything is going.