New 2006 Escalade - CarPC - Factory Look - Vehicle Integration Coming Up!
Needed to move up to an AWD SUV, so I picked this beauty up last week for a pretty sweet deal. This one's a keeper, and worthy of a first class install.
2006 Cadillac Escalade Luxury one owner, Raven Black w/ a shale interior, 20" factory chrome rims (special RPO code). Mint condition, 45k miles, fully loaded, sunroof, backup sensors, TS factory nav, rear seat entertainment (DVD and AUX in).
That's not a dirty carpet, just the way the pic came out.
Rides nice and smooth, nice quiet perfect interior, plenty of room for gadgets and gizmos and electronic things! Been planning the install alot longer than I've had the truck, so I've got a pretty good head start. As soon as the weather warms up, the games begin.
My plans, goals, dreams hopes and aspirations for Caddyputer 3.0 are:
Factory Look and Integration:
Personal preference is to go for the "looks like it came off the assembly line" look, and use as much and as many of the factory goodies as I can. I also think security plays an issue. Since this is one of the most stolen vehicles on the planet, the less "things" that attract attention the better. That doesn't mean they can't be there, that just means they need to be tucked away. ;) Also, Caddy integrates alot of the vehicle functions into they existing electronics, so just ripping them out is a no no.
Design & Style:
Cadillac and woodgrain are synonymous, so woodgrain finishes need to be factored into some of the interior mods and bezel work. I think a straight grain looks nicer than burl, but I'm learning to like the burl and might go that route. In 2005 GM went with this reddish-brown maple burl and stopped using the zebrano wood, bummer.
Since it needs to be done professionally, one option is the Phoenix Imaging process I used for the DTS install. The other, which I am leaning on, is real wood veneer laminate done by a company called Apsis (www.apsisusa.com). This isn't some peel and stick treatment, it is actually bonded to the ABS of the part being laminated. I have used them before and the work is first rate. In the Laminated Wood Dashes section, they have an Escalade all decked out.
These are the pics in that section (not my truck, theirs).
That full dash treatment is growing on me, at first blush I didn't love it. Some pieces will need woodgrain applied vs. the existing black ABS plastic factory finish now, but I wouldn't do things like AC vents and grab handles. The roof console all done up like that is a definite must.
If I decide to change the woodgrain entirely, there are a few choices of colors. One would be a color called black piano, which is exactly as it sounds, high gloss black lacquer. That might look pretty slick combined with the tan leather and semi-flat black instrument panel / switches. The other choice is a walnut brown straight grain or maybe burl. I may decide to match the OEM trim though, like I said I am learning to like it...we'll see.
First and foremost, a paging alarm. I'm doing some shopping and comparisons now. Most likely do the install myself, evidently it's not to difficult in an Escalade from what I've read, probably within my capabilities with a good wiring diagram and a few calls to the tech help line. :)
The CappucinoPC I have been using is still running like a champ with zero issues. See my DTS worklog for complete specs, but it's a 1.3 celeron with 256mb of RAM and has 1.0 USB ports. Time for an upgrade me thinks. I picked up it's big brother, made by the same company, the Mocha 5043 http://www.cappuccinopc.com/mochae5042b.asp
It's got a faster P4 processor, 2.0 USB and runs off a laptop auto power supply just like the one I have now. My needs don't require a super fast PC, and since the first one was great, this one should be better, especially with the faster USB and 1 gig of ram running windows XP and Riderunner.
I intend to use this setup for web access, weather, HD radio, vehicle integration like rear climate control, windows, rear seat entertainment controls and maybe interior lighting using fusion brains. Nothing too hard core for starters. Would also load some tunes on it. As a treat, I may send the case to Apsis and let them cover that in woodgrain! The could do it too (I already asked) :pound:
OK, it's a sickness! I also want a separate setup for just OBDII stuff using DashCommand or something similar. Just a PC that boots right to the display skin and gives me readings on a dedicated monitor :yum: I was thinking of a FitPC slim, but need to make sure it's got enough power to run an OBDII scanner and software. I'm pretty sure if nothing else was running on it, it will be fine.
Monitors monitors everywhere, but only the factory NAV shows.
This is going to be FUN (he says now)! Multiple PC systems will require multiple monitors, right? CarPC #1 will work off the 7" AUO TS I have been using for 2 years now. Bezel will be located where the clock/CD/storage area is now. I don't want a fixed mount for this, cuz, well, that's boring. My plan is to have a linear actuator move the LCD bezel and components in / out about 2", flush with the front of the dash when fully extended. Then I can trim the back off the factory clock and CD components and use the clock/CD/storage face as a false front when it retracts. When the faceplate is on, looks like any other Escalade with factory NAV. Remove it, and a woodgrain bezel slides forward and fills the void. Maybe a little red LED and a puff of fog for effect? Sound effects? :)
CarPC #2 will run off the 3.5" VGA TS I have for just OBDII. I am hoping I can get a gauge software program that will allow me to just flip through different gauges by tapping the screen or using a keyboard command, or a least tweak a skin to do it.
Something I can rotate through that looks like this would be ideal:
This 3.5" monitor will be housed in a flip down compartment on the bottom of the (slightly modified) overhead console. If I can rig the fusion brain to work the rear climate controls, I have room for a bank of switches and/or my remote Bel radar detector. Worst case scenario I'll relocate the existing rear climate controls to the glove box or something so I can still have my command center up there. A faceplate with just the knobs is also a thought.
Plus, there is a monitor in the back on the roof with DVD and an Aux in. I ran iPod movies off it already using an apple adapter. Kids loved it!
What about GPS Navigation?
I have multiple options here. They gave me a recent disc at the dealer, so the factory nav should suffice. If not, I have a Droid with Google Nav, which is the winner hands down. And, Delorme SA on PC1. I don't think I'll ever get lost again!
The Factory Nav???
Say what you want, but the Bose system rocks the house. I have in my possession 2 modules that will integrate with it and expand make the unit do my bidding. First one is called a NavTool http://www.tvandnav.com/. This module allows me to add 2 RCA video inputs to display on the factory screen. One will be a dedicated input for NiteMax backup cam with auto switching, the other input will be for something else. The other module I got is made by Peripheral http://www.autotoys.com/x/product.php?productid=10489 which allows me to control my iTouch music library from the factory nav screen! Also has one other input for carPC1 with a 1/8" to RCA stereo adapter. Plus, I'll also have AM/FM/DVD/CD/HD Radio (Mitch) /Pandora & Slacker (off the Droid) all through the Bose system and speakers. That solves the music issues, without cutting one wire.
Stay tuned for more updates, and wish me luck. I'll update this thread as I go and be sure to take plenty of pics! Opinions/suggestions always welcome, especially about the woodgrain stuff.