Look forward to seeing those pictures.
First off let me say that this forum is soooo f’in awesome. I have always been very into car audio and upgrading cars in anyway possible. About 3 years back a friend of mine sent me a link to a car that had a computer installed in it (Thinking back it was probably a link to this site). Ever since then the idea of having a carputer had always lingered in the back of my head. The only reason I never took action on the idea was because I was so content with my car audio set up at the time in my 93 Lincoln Town Car. Well that all changed at the beginning of this summer when my little brother decided to borrow my car and smash it into the back of an SUV. The accident totaled my car, but all my audio equipment was ok. I was bummed for about a day until I saw an almost identical 1993 Lincoln Town Car on the side of the road for 2000 buckaroos (It is so identical to my old one, it really freaked me out). Well I bought it, got it all in shape and inspected, and then almost reinstalled my sound system. Luckily I decided to wait until I knew exactly what I wanted to do with the car this time. I had a fresh start and wanted to take advantage of it. I then proceeded to find this amazing site and from there I was determined to install a pc in my car. I feel bad because I am currently pretty far into my install but have just now started a worklog. I have just been really busy. I will try to keep this up to date with pictures and other information.
Below is a Parts List of all the parts I currently have….
Dell optiplex gx260 SF (Slim Factor)
-40 gb hard drive
-Pentium 4 @ 2.26 ghz
-512 mb ram
M2-ATX 160W Intelligent DC-DC PSU
Lilliput EBY701-NP/C/T (2009)
CABLES AND ACCESSORIES
15 Foot VGA Cable
VGA Female to Female Adapter
3, 16 foot usb extensions
StarTech 4 Channel PCI Sound Card
Sabrent 802.11n Wireless PCI
BU-353 Weather-proof GPS Receiver
2, Hifonics Atlas AS12SQD4 (900 rms each) (wired to 1 ohm load)
Hifonics Brutus BXi 2006D mono Amp (1600 @ 1 ohm) (w/ bass boost remote)
Hifonice Zeus 4 channel Amplifier (50 rms x 4)
4, Infinity Reference 6x9 Speakers (50 rms each)
Rapter 1 Fared Capacitor
Kicker Ground distribution Block
Hitron Fused Power Distribution block
50 feet 4 Gauge Wire
+ and - Battery terminals
I STILL NEED TO PURCHASE
External DVD Drive
Additional Cooling Fans for Amps
A couple Relays for some accessories in trunk
As of this point in the install I have completed the following.
Integrated power supply with CPU
Bench Tested proposed setup
Installed Monitor into dash
Ran Cables and wires from front of car to back of car
Created Large Custom Fiberglass Box for Subs
Created Custom Amp Rack
Wired up and tested audio
Pretty much all that I have left to do is to create a sort of bracket to secure my computer to the car frame, Create a durable case for the computer, and then hook up the computer and proceed to fix the million mistakes I made.
I am trying to create a case out of ¾ inch mdf board. I am doing this because I am installing the computer in the trunk with the subs and I want to do everything I can to protect it from the harsh vibrations of the subwoofers. Right now I am running a standard desktop hard drive but if it fails due to vibration I will probably just upgrade to a laptop drive or spend the cash on a SSD. I know this forum is filled with information on how to protect drives from vibration (those off roadin dudes), but if anyone has any personal suggestions I would love to hear em.
I am at work now, but when I get home I will proceed to upload pictures.
Look forward to seeing those pictures.
Alright. Here are some pictures of the fiberglass box and amp rack install. I have more on another camera and will try to add those later. These images were all taken from my phone. Sorry.
First off for pictures of the car itself just check out 93TC's pictures of his car. Mine is literally the exact same car, exterior color, interior, everything.
I ended up having to make a single baffle so that my subs would fit in the alloted space in my trunk. I actually found this easier to work with in the long run. As you can see I used big beefy columns to support the baffle before I put the fleece over top. I did this because it added rigidity and gave me an ease of mind when pulling the fleece really tight to eliminate the wrinkles
This is after the box was fleeced and fiberglassed over. I was testing it to see if it still fit in my car. It was actually a lot tighter and got stuck in some places but this was eliminated after sanding
I then proceeded to install an amp rack for the amps.
You cant exactly see it in this picture but to the left of the amps I have two distribution blocks. A fused distribution block for the +12 and another distribution block for the ground. I also have a 1 fared p.o.s cap hooked up between the two blocks.
As you can see the amp cover has vents on both sides so the amps can breath.
After this all that was added was a piece of plexi glass and another board identical in shape to this one but with a larger rectangle that fit around the plexiglass and made it sit flush against the 2x4 supports. I then added "tabs" of wood to keep the glass up against the first board. These tabs work just like ones on a picture frame. Sorry again for not having pictures to explain.
finished product. kinda. Still have to work with some things.
The computer I am working with is a dell optiplex gx260 that I got off of ebay for like 60 bucks shipped. super steal. The first thing that I had to do was install my m2-atx power supply. I did this by simply removing the regular ac-dc supply and using the same sliding brackets (with a little modifying of course) to install the m2 right in its place. This will come in handy for easy removal when the m2-atx starts putting noise into my system. I really should not have installed it so close to the computer although through all tests I have no signs of any whine or other interference.
I then used the regular ac-dc power supply that came with the computer to run bench tests with the touchscreen. I had to mod it a little according to a post I read on this site. As you can see I already have the screen in between the ac ducts where my old ac controller used to be. I kind of cheated on this part of the project because instead of molding it in I just kind of screwed from the back end of the monitor then through the plastic of the panel and then into the front of the monitor. Maybe way far later down the road I will try to make it more factory looking but I really don't think it looks too bad how it is right now.
I should also mention that you don't have to have the entire dash out like that. You can see in later pictures that there is a smaller piece that can be worked with for screen mounting that just includes ac ducts and the old ac controller housing. I was just doing this to see how it looked with the entire dash layout. I have 2 of everything since I stripped down the lincoln that my brother crashed.
I didnt have any problems with the m2 which was a big relief after everything I heard. I discovered that using hibernate mode resulted in super quick boot ups (about 15 seconds). I also messed with the bios a bit and did small things in windows like skip the welcome screen etc...
Alright. So I got very concerned about how my computer was going to be able to deal with the vibration from my subwoofers. So I decided to build a beefy box out of 3/4 mdf wood. Here is the beast that I came up with.
Added Second layer with larger holes to counter sink screws.
I then installed this on the "lid" along with an exhaust fan.
This will be the intake fan on the back side
I then added a screen vent by the inputs for exhaust etc...
Here is the entire thing put together. I am not sure yet how I am going to secure the top to the case. I was thinking hinges but I might just screw it down.
The back with Extra usb ports just in case. Probably will never use them. thus the cover.
I added a thin layer of rubber between the case and the hard drive mount to help with shock protection. Its very dense and thin so it should act as a damper and not as a spring
Yea I know. Huge overkill/maybe waste of time. Don't judge me.
keep up the good work...
Alright. Like I said I have more pictures to post of the install (Dash, Wire running, Computer Harness) but I just havent gotten around to posting them. I will try to get on that soon. Ok so yesterday I had the system up and fully running and I ran into some problems that made me go insane.
At first start up everything was fine. Computer booted up nice. I heard the boot up sound come from all 4 speakers and subwoofers. BUT my lilliput screen was not working. The light power button led was flashing redish orange in a pulsing manner with no picture. I was running the power for the screen back from the computer's yellow 12 volt and black ground line. I wanted to make sure the lilliput was still operating correctly so I spliced into the power and ground wires right after the 12 volt regulator and hooked it straight up to the battery. I am pretty sure I accidentally mixed up the polarities becauese the 12 volt regulator sparked and blew. At this point I am furious but of course I dont give up because I dont let stupid carputers ****** me around. I go inside and get out my regular ac adapter, grab a small power inverter and hook it up to the cigerette lighter, and it works! such a releif. I am not sure what was wrong with my innitial hook up and I dont know what that flashing light means but I am just goign to try again today and check everything 5 times with a volt meter.
OK so I have a picture. Next problem touch screen wont operate. Well I bring out my laptop and hook it up in the back (screen and usb) and the touchscreen works fine. So then I knew the problem lied within the computer. I simply reinstalled the touchkit driver and then everything was a go.
At this point I start having some fun and playing music and navigating through centrafuse. Satisfied with the days work (well nights work it was 3 in the morning) I decide to go inside. I turn off the ignition and notice the computer just cuts off. No minute delay like the m2-atx is supposed to. Also sometimes the m2-atx would actually re-boot even when the key is in the off position. Well I was confused for about 10 minutes and then out of no where it hit me like a ton of bricks and I wanted to kill myself for this mistake. I remembered reading a long time ago in this forum somewhere that you cannot hook the m2-atx up to the head unit ignition because that ignition is killed then restarted as the car cranks to not damage the head unit. So reallly when I turn my key I am starting the computer, killing it, then starting it again. This explains the hard off then the reboot. So that was my stupid fault and I am going to fix it today by running it directly to the ignition line next to the key.
Anyways those were my problems last night. But the future is looking promising.
Also at one point I got a white screen with vertical rainbow lines. It was only quick and went away but def. has me worried. To my knowledge that has something to do with the ribbon cable. Is tha right?
Does anyone know what that flashing redish orange light means on the screen?
Alright i did some tweaking today. I realized that it is not smart to install at night when you cant tell a red 5 volt wire from a yellow 12 volt wire. Yea, I originally hooked my monitor up to the 5 volt ant that explains the blinking orangish red light that I had going on. I hooked it up to the yellow 12 volt line and everything was ok. While I had the dash all apart I also took apart the lilliput and made sure the ribbon cable was not being interfered with. The biggest thing that I accomplished today was successfully hooking up the remote wire for the m2-atx directly up to the ignition and not the stupid head unit lead. There is minor feed back (faint static sound) but I feel this can be fixed with better grounding. You see I ran a 4 gauge ground straight back from my battery and that was not smart. 4 gauge is far too small, and the wire is far too long to properly ground the cpu, monitor, high amp, and low amp.
I think that I can correct this by finding a nice grounding spot in the trunk and running a thick 2 gauge wire to it. Also, i have yet to do the BIG 3 up front.
QUESTION: When I turn my up, with the bass level at a moderate to high level all the sound in my speakers cut out and i only hear the subwoofers. It literally sounds like it just sucks the juice from everything when the subs hit.
Is this due to grounding you think? Do you think by doing what I mentioned above (ground and BIG 3) I could fix this issue? it would be ideal if it was because that would eliminate me needing to upgrade the alternator or get a new battery.
Good to see another Town Car install. I have a 2000 Town Car that I am considering putting one in.