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Thread: TFCommanderBob's 2010 Corolla S CarPC

  1. #1
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    TFCommanderBob's 2010 Corolla S CarPC

    Hi all!

    So I've been asking questions and researching for the last few months, and I finally made my purchases. I hope they all play nice with each other! I made an excel sheet of all the things I planned to order, and just quickly added an "ordered" column for the stuff I just purchased! Hope this little printscreen is legible... There's a couple random things I haven't put in yet, like a mini-sata adapter and sata couplers and a rear view camera from the old setup.



    My hope is to have GPS Navigation, Music, Cell phone connectivity/charging, rear view camera, and later HD Radio and OBD II. So nothing out of the ordinary. I see a lot of people go through multiple incarnations of their builds, but I'm hoping that my equipment is powerful and versatile enough to allow me to simply reconfigure and add to the system rather than start over. Yet to be seen...

    The car:







    She is a 2010 Corolla S in classic silver with the moonroof package. My first new car! Got the 0% 3yr financing, but I'm paying for the short term loan in my monthly bills, let me tell ya


    Some plans:

    This is where I plan to try my hand at box fabrication, making a mold of this wheel well with 1 1/2oz chopped strand fiberglass mat and b-440 polyester resin. This is where the Elemental Designs SQ10 subwoofer will be going, the left trunk wheel well.






    This is a shot of the underside of the rear deck, with the junk factory speakers to be replaced by the Polk DB691 6x9s.




    The license plate, no hole behind it so I'll have to run wiring for a rear-view camera through where the lighting is, or drill




    The amp, distribution block, and computer will be under the driver and passenger seats, will have to test fit to see how/where, but both will fit easily. I haven't decided how I'm going to case the pc- I'm thinking of either just putting it on a piece of mdf or acrylic or fiberglass and not doing a full case but we shall see. Sorry, these pics are bad. I also have to figure out how to re-route those little ducts, which are actually heater/ac vents for the rear seating. No one will ever be in the back for now though, so I could also just cap them.

    Passenger




    Driver



    Working our way to the front, this is the center console armrest. I want to re-do the lid with MDF or fiberglass, and build a tray loaded DVD player into it, facing outward toward the E-brake. I've already tested fitment, it has enough room to eject fully even with cups in and the E-brake up. The OEM one is uncomfortably hard plastic, so I'd like to cover mine with padding and then some sort of leather or fabric.




    Mini upper glove box- can hold a small keyboard if I see fit to add one. Not very deep though.




    The radio- stock one is junk. I hate it. I already picked up a 2din faceplate, very cheap at 17$ or so. I'll be cutting it and fitting the Xenarc in- I'd rather not mold it unless I have to, as I'm wary of ruining my warranty by gutting it. If it looks bad, then I go for that more custom feel and swallow my fears. I'll also be figuring out a place for 2 JL knobs to manually control bass volume and a "master" volume. Either in the faceplate or perhaps below the armrest lid.




    Under the radio, there is this little panel with worthless info that I'd love to just stuff somewhere. It happens to be PRECISELY the dimensions of a 3.5" external bay, I just haven't found any useful gadget to put there! Any suggestions? On either side is a blank which is itching to get usb ports, and the left is an aux port which I'll either salvage from the stock radio or rebuild with my own parts.



    On our way to the left, there is this little cutout in the dash which is rumored to be for a glass breaking sensor in a security equipped car. Its nothing in mine- perhaps it might work as a stealthy mic location? The wheel gets in the way, but if I can find a decent microphone for it it should be fine. I DO need suggestions for a small but quality microphone though.



    Some blanks on the left where any switches or anything else extra could go. I also wouldn't mind finding a way to get a blackberry dock there or somewhere for my 8310 blackberry.





    Finally some pics on what equipment I already have. They include a Pioneer avic-f700bt, my first forray into this which I got at a steep discount. It never worked how I wanted it to, so I'm selling it for funding. Look for it on ebay in the coming days! It IS a good unit, especially when upgraded to 3.0 firmware (which this one isn't- it costs like 60$! I did my girlfriend's and it improved maps and functionality drastically) but I'm moving on.








    I like pictures. So a couple random ones for you picture junkies out there:

    Old 2001 Eclipse GT, major paint issues that developed over time:


    My home theater- it shows the reason for me doing this project. Its all about sound and functionality, though unfortunately my knowledge lies in audio and in computers- not in fabrication or cars. I'm finishing a masters degree in Vocal Performance, I'm a Penn State University choir director for a satellite campus, and a minister of music for a church. I love sound, I love music, and it has to sound good. I worked at circuit city as a HT supervisor until we closed the doors for the last day, and I definitely had a passion for electronics.





    Life is busy for the next two or three weeks, so things wont get started until maybe even after the holidays, but hopefully I can put up some pictures of the items as they arrive en-masse over the next week or so. Feel free to comment, tell me what you think, call me an idiot noob, etc. I'm sure I'll be begging for help soon enough- already got a lot of 'personal' assistance from Nexson on fabbing a box, tweeter pods, and my screen faceplate. Big props to Brian for being a down-to-earth expert.

    Cheers

  2. #2
    Sheepdog rdholtz's Avatar
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    Welcome Aboard, Bob.

    Don't sweat the n00b name -- we all start out that way. You've done a good job of documenting where you are and what you plan to do. It'll be fun to watch it unfold.
    .
    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
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  3. #3
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    Get that receiver off the carpet! thats like a sin or something . Welcome to the board
    mp3Car.com Senior Tech Blogger (Want a product reviewed? Contact me.)
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  4. #4
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    Thanks for the well-wishes.

    Technically it is a HTPC (home theater pc) on the bottom of the stack, and there ain't nothin' wrong with computers on the floor! Although I agree, there is something sacrilegious about HT gear on the floor. Waiting till I get a chance to build a stand for my gear, or have a relative who is an expert woodworker do it for me :-p. I suppose the custom HTPC is proof that I like doing things my own way, rather than cookie cutter solutions.

    I can't wait to dig into this project. I already started playing with sanding down some pvc for my tweeter pods, but I decided my first one was about 1/2 inch too short, so I'm gonna try again when I have free time. I'm trying to be very picky, because the audio portion should last the life of the car, while the computer will likely have its fair share of upgrades!


    rdholtz: Your worklog thread is epic, and I definitely mean that in a good way. There are many similarities between the corolla and xB, so I have read through significant portions of your build, and you do nice work! While I doubt mine will cover 1/4th the time period and amount of work and pages of documentation, I hope that people can also enjoy reading my trials, tribulations, and hopefully successes.


    Update: Half of the vendors have sent email confirmations. I purchased from so many places that Discover got mad and held the money til I gave a confirmation that it wasn't fraudulent, so that may delay a few of them by a day or so. Regardless, I appreciate that they are watching out and catch things like that.

    So far, I've received shipment confirmations from MP3Car, Elemental Designs, Newegg, and MonoPrice (who has an estimated receive date of tomorrow!) Still waiting on info from AutoToolWorld, DealerCostCarAudio, Parts-Express (who is usually prompt), and USComposites (who uses a form submittal system, and I expect that takes a couple extra days to process)

  5. #5
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    help

    Please, I need hlp replacing rear speakers on my 2010 how dod you do it?

  6. #6
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    Continuing to receive information and goods

    I've received contact from most of the vendors. The only two lagging behind are "auto tool world" and "dealer cost car audio". They were the ones I was most worried about as I've never dealt with either before, but we shall see if my stuff just magically appears in a couple days with no shipping confirmations. "DCCA" has charged my card, "ATW" has not, though I can view my order on their site.

    Here are some pictures of what I've gotten. MP3 car came in first, with part of a newegg order and monoprice a close second.





    I had to put a quarter for reference. I love this Kingston ram for sff PCs. It is half height and works great, I've use it in a couple builds.




    I'm already thinking of possible problems. I ordered "premium" 3.5mm-RCA cables from Monoprice, and the 3.5mm ends are awfully large. They barely fit side by side on my desktop pc jacks, even touching a bit and slightly angling the ports. The cabling is very thick and stiff, and I'm not sure if it will route properly. I might have to *gasp* buy the cheaper stuff!

    I'm wondering why I didn't put more thought into doing an auxiliary battery. Perhaps too in-depth for my initial setup, but my car is a daily driver and I shouldn't be taking risks of the battery getting drained and leaving me stranded. In the future, I'm going to plan out the pieces to add that to my system so that once the key is off, the aux battery is separated from the main and virtually nothing could cause me reliability issues. First, I'm just going to concentrate on getting all the parts together, fabbing things up, and getting it all running!

    Other things should be arriving shortly!

  7. #7
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    More updates

    Wilddash, you have a PM.

    Still no word from the two vendors, I sent an email to "ATW" to see whats going on.

    I did get my motherboard, dvd player, and elemental designs stuff in the mail, both blessings and curses here

    The 3.5mm did prove to be a problem. I'm probably going to fix it just by dremel sanding some of the plastic back, because I'm sure it is just a pretty thick unnecessary chunk of plastic. I think MonoPrice began manufacturing cables with thicker jacketing and ends because the average user perceives it to be of better quality. I do feel like it was beaten into me that thin cabling is cheap junk, although I wouldn't try that statement on someone using silver interconnects...

    Pictures...



    This guy wont fit in the orange jack...


    My sub had issues out of the box- A top cosmetic piece was peeling off the subwoofer. I went on to their live chat to ask what I should re-affix it with, and they volunteered to give me the b-stock price for it and that I could fix it with superglue. Great! Saving money and I didn't particularly care what it looked like- I would have bought b-stock had I known it existed prior to my order! I'm planning on putting a soft grill fabric over the sub so it is both hidden and protected. Its a good thing too, because a bit of the superglue got on my finger while I was holding the piece down (un-beknownst to me!), and it pulled a little of the pretty silver finish off. No biggie though as it will all be hidden. I might use some of the spray paint to finish it in black anyway to hide it even better. No pictures of the mistakes, it was still drying up (as are my gluey fingers!). The silver ring also isn't perfectly round, which probably also would have bothered me. Perhaps their QA is suffering a bit. They are manufactured in the Philipines, in case you are curious, but i don't think that is either a sign of quality or lack there of. I'm just excited to get it boxed and running! The typical quarter used for scale...






    Finally the eDead_80 and roller. I went with _80 because it was on sale. This is a roll of 25 feet, and it weighs a lot! If given a second chance I wouldn't bother purchasing their applicator, aka the roller pictured. Its basically a bed caster with a handle! I'm sure it will be handy, but definitely not worth the $12.50 purchase price.





    Enjoy, I'm sure you are noticing that I'm the real picture junkie here... I don't mind reading a long paragraph if I get some visuals afterward, I hope you all feel the same!

  8. #8
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    Shipping Woes

    So Dealer Cost Car Audio still has not shipped my volume knobs. I'm not too worried yet, but they do say that 95% of their items ship out in 1-2 business days, and they charged my card on the 1st. I'll probably call on Tuesday if I haven't received a notice of shipment. This particular piece isn't that critical to the beginning of my project.

    My order from Auto Tool World however is a pretty important shipment for me to get rolling. It has most of my fabrication stuff, including a mask so that I can do the fiberglassing without otherwise damaging myself. I left a message through their system, as they didn't list an email address and had apparently removed their telephone number from the website at some point (it says "phone" but then is blank). I was suddenly relieved today to find that they had issued me a tracking number only to be thrown again to the rocks when I found it was being shipped to the wrong address in another state in the opposite direction. I left another message in their system, in the hopes that it leads some where. The shipping address is the same as the billing address, and both are correct in their order details. I'm not sure how you screw that up. I'm quite a bit worried about this one, but they haven't charged me yet. I would avoid this vendor.

    I did receive some stuff from USComposites and Parts express yesterday. 4 yards of chopped mat, resin/hardener, and some latex gloves.




    Some explanation on the PE stuff. I plan on using a pre existing hole for a bracket in the trunk to wire the sub. It is a bit exposed, but I prefer that to cutting a hole into the wall fabric or pinching the cable between the flooring and wall. It will also be convenient if I ever want to remove the sub for maximum trunk space. Because of the exposure, I took the liberty of ordering a pair of gold binding posts and closed screw banana plugs for the wire. This will also allow for quick disconnect/reconnect. I'm not quite sure how I'm going to crimp the 4awg ring terminals to make my ground connection. Either a vise or a hammer!



    It was a beautiful day, my mid-evening picture doesn't do it justice. A few inches of early season snow are on the ground and trees. I love snow, but I hope the roads are clean by tomorrow morning!

    The camera doesn't make the cameraman. I'm using my girlfriends wonderful Canon Digital Rebel xti, but am virtually clueless how to operate its many features, and this wasn't a shot for auto-mode.


    I mocked up how I'd like to enclose the computer using cardboard. I'm thinking about just laying everything out in one thin layer. I could build upward if I wanted to, but I think this would be best for airflow with a grill on one side and a fan on the other to draw air across the components. In this configuration the case fits cleanly, coming out an inch or so shy of the start of the rear floormat which is already under the passenger seat about 3 inches. I think I'll face the cabling toward the front of the car, and utilize the carpet holes for the ducting to run wires without cutting anything up. The only downside would be that the seat would need to come out to remove the PC because you cannot get to the wiring, but 4 bolts aren't too much. I could also build the case to be secured by precise fitment against the seat rails...

    You can see in this first picture that my mobo 4pin power cable will only need to be a couple inches long. I'll likely just cut out a section of wire and splice it back together.





    I learned that it would be handy to have a right angle sata connector on the end of the sata line of the DSATX harness, as well as use a 90* data cable. This allows it the connection to take up minimal space and gives it a much cleaner setup. I found an old 4pin->90*sata adapter, and I plan on simply cutting off the straight connector and splicing on the new one. I uncapped the old cable and found that it uses a wire-tap style of connection, so reattaching it should be painless. The cable awg matches as well.




    I'll have to read through the FAQs again to figure out how to give regulated power to my Xenarc once it is in the car. Hopefully I can just t-tap into the 4pin molex line and run 20awg cable to it?

    Hope the weather is treating you all nicely!

  9. #9
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    Just some minor updates...

    I received part of my order from Auto Tool World, and they've finally been communicating with me through their messaging system. The problem is, they didn't send the duraglas or rage xtreme. I sent them a message asking about the other stuff and its been a day with no response. Oh, and apparently they gave me someone else's tracking number for the original package, and I didn't receive the correct one until after the package was in hand.

    Still no word from DCCA, need some free time when they are open to give em a call. It has officially been a week since they charged my card, this is a quote from their customer service FAQ page:

    Most products are available, in stock, and ready to ship. These products typically arrive in 3-7 business days following transaction verification and processing. There are some instances where an order may take longer, and in one of those instances, we will notify you of a new estimated time of delivery. We do state that all orders ship within 7 business days, but fact being 95% of our orders ship within 24-48 hours.
    Somehow I fell into the 5%, and haven't notified why. Double Fail.

    I did receive my processor from PCConnection, another vendor I'll probably avoid. Newegg didn't have it because it was discontinued so I was forced to shop elsewhere. I ended up receiving the processor as OEM, which I was slightly disappointed about. It did only picture the CPU but I was hoping for retail with the heatsink, and it didn't say either one in the info. That one was "my bad" though. They charged me like $11 to ship the processor and I couldn't figure out why, because a bubble package could have shipped an oem processor for a few bucks. When it got here, it was in a bulk processor tray (could have held about a dozen processors) wrapped in cardboard with binding straps inside a bubble wrap bag, inside a box filled with bubble wrap, inside a 16"x12"x10" box filled with packing paper. At least if you're gonna overcharge for shipping, make some money on it. Don't ship it like an idiot and make us both pay!

    I got the cpu safely seated, now I'm trying to figure out the heatsink. The motherboard came with one but it looks cheap and has a 3wire fan that cannot be managed by the mobo. I have a "low profile" heatsink/fan that I intended to use with another build but it had been too big. It is about 2.5" tall, which would put my total case height up to about 3.25. It would still fit under the seat, so it is possible, but I'm not 100% sold. It would be cool (pun) to build the top panel so that the fan vents directly out of the case, like a blower on an old muscle car. I'm undecided. Maybe I'll post pictures of the two so someone out there can factor in.

    I'm jam packed for the rest of the week as I complete my graduate degree, so very little will get done. Hopefully once all that work is done, I'll be able to put some real work into this build.

    I feel fried like it is the end of the week, and it's only just begun.

  10. #10
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    Further Woes

    So DCCA failed to mention that my product is out of stock, though I did get a prompt reply from a 'sales manager' when I sent them a terse email, quoting their service statement and my current predicament. He said that the cl-rlc would be out of stock "for a few more days". I replied with a question of whether that was a guess or if they knew of a shipment they'd be receiving in a few more days, and he replied that they would look into it. I'm not holding my breath, I think I might cancel and reorder from another vendor even if it costs me a few more dollars. They might still be an OK vendor if the product is in stock, as they seemed relatively prompt. But I fell through the cracks.

    Onward to the AutoToolWorld purchase, they have now informed me that because of hazmat restrictions they are unable to UPS me the rage xtreme or the duraglas. I told them to refund my money and I would not be shopping with them again.

    And I still haven't received that discount from Elemental Designs for the sub, but I'll let that one simmer a bit longer.


    I did find an Auto body shop that is somewhat local. I'm hoping they will have what I'm looking for, or at least a similar product so I can get started next week or so. Couple more days, and the bulk of my stress is over.

    Cheers....

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