Good job, RH - luv what you're doing with the Tablet!
I have a spare "unused" Ibm X60T, which I was considering giving the same treatment you did
Keep up the good work!
HARDWARE: Fujitsu Stylistic ST5111w/WiFi and dock, internal Hitachi 500G HD, external 1TB HD, Sierra Wireless Aircard 550, DVD-RW, BoomzBox HD radio, XM Commander, Delorme GPS, Saitek X-52 Pro joystick, BluSoleil Bluetooth, TPMS, FB, Elm327
Can't wait to see that X60T, I'm sure you're going to do an awesome job as always.
I wouldn't have done it without your help in the Tablet forums. Thanks again!
Some updates. Just bought a Tascam US-100 to work as my USB sound card. It has line/phono/mic/XLR inputs, a mixer (you can mix the computer sound with the mic - karaoke on the road? LOL, or maybe produce your own podcast on the road...
It also amplifies the the meaky output voltage on the tablet to benefit my JBL OEM audio. The loudness improvement is amazing. I can't barely go past 14 on my OEM radio (14 out of 60, previously it was at step 30), with 3 out of 10 dial on the Tascam...WTF? That's loud! And since this was done with vocalists/guitarists in mind, the thing is tough, and absolutely shileded against noise. Even at high levels, no whining noise...amazing. Maybe not audiophile quality (what guitarrist is an audiophile anyway? distortion is part of the game!), but certainly good quality. Got it on a "deal of the day" at Amazon for a little over $50 bucks, a steal, if you ask me.
So this is the unit:
So this is where it's mounted, inside the console with heavy duty velcro.
I got it connected to the HD Radio and the line outputs are going to the OEM radio aux input. This is powered by the USB bus itself (via powered hub), and I have no problems with this so far. You can also see in the picture a second powered usb hub. I like those Logitechs, I've used other before, but this one gives me consistent performance (not affected if you mix 2.0 and 1.1 USB devices; good behaviour hibernating and resuming), there's also another unit inside the center console.
I also got a 640GB usb 2.0 Freeagent go 2.5" portable HD (only bought at Amazon, great deal). This is the drive and where I decided to mount it:
I had no use for this cubby hole anyway, no idea what it was for. I had 3 switches mounted on top of it, they're for the first mods I did to the car:
1. one button allows the rear seat dvd player content to also play on the front OEM nav screen;
2. the second one allows NAV input while the car is moving;
3. the third one turns on the rear view camera even when the Reverse is not engaged.
The usb cable connector is on the bottom of the drive, so I just had to secure a regular USB cable there and plug it into a powered USB hub.
But how to secure the USB cable in place? I decided to use this method:
Not pretty, but it is very solid. No glue or bondo involved, so it's easy to replace the cable or add another type if I ever need a bigger/different drive in the future. I prefer to use screw/rivets for mounting stuff in the car whenever possible, I think it's much more reliable and clean that way.
Very discreet too, I think, isn't it?
Easy in and out. I also bought one of those sticky mats to rest your cell phone on the dash, and cut to fit under the drive so as not to scratch it when removing it in and out.
There's 250GB of songs in there plus 100Gb of video clips, 100Gbs of kids movies/cartoons and 10Gbs of ebooks and magazines, other pdfs. Not all of it is to use in the car, of course, since I can take the drive with me, it easily fits my pockets, just a bit wider than an iPhone, but thinner.
I'm also putting an "old" HDTV tuner back on duty (it was last used on the M35), the Hauppauge HVR-950. I used the stock antenna that came with the unit and attached a 35' or something thin monster antenna cable, designed to run under carpets, but it's perfect to route inside the car where you want.
This is the tuner:
And this is the antenna:
There is a strong magnet under the antenna, but I don't want to place it anywhere fixed just yet. I'm still testing the best position. The best spot so far had been to open the sunroof and stretch that thin wire there, but it can be mounted outside permanently. First, I don't think the magnet is strong enough past 60mph, and secondly, it certainly the antenna base does not look water proof to me. It might ruin the paint if the base gets rusty. On the M35 it was hard mounted behind the back seats, but reception was poor. HDTV (ATSC) signals are highly directional and they can be very sensitive to positioning, I think, specially with an weak antenna such as these. So I'm looking for a better tv antenna to use in the car, maybe something to go over the glass, on the inside...will see.
I know Hirschmann, which makes OEM antennas for Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Porsches, has one (this one), but it's for the European digital format, DVB. Hirschmann are very nice antennas, I wish they had something for the ATSC, but they don't.
So far I've found this one (but "Pyle"?) and this one, to be mounted inside the headliner, and this amplified one. They all look cheap to me, still researching on this. Any suggestions are welcome.
Btw, when it works (only when parked), my current setup is great. I can watch HDTV, local news and sports, easily. I suppose if ever got stuck in abnormal traffic, I'll be able to watch the reports AND images of actually is happening...LOL. Of course, it would be great to see it work while moving too...
Okay, so I finally had an opportunity to test the HDTV receiver further. It works great! When connected to the Internet, Windows Media Center 7 downloads a lot of updates related to the programming, pictures, etc. I got a couple of channels working, but some of them freeze completely as soon as start moving. Note that in the east bay area where I live, antennas are about 20miles plus, and it's a very hilly area, so reception is generally bad. I was surprised I was able to get 12 channels in my driveway! YAY!
Most of them are Korean and Spanish channels though, so it's not that great. Can't wait to try this after the Caldecott tunnel, closer to the city (SF). ABC, CBS and NBC are 30miles away according to antennaweb.org. Not much of a chance with that small antenna. It picked up some 20 signal 20miles away though.
Here's some pictures:
Some more updates. I finally got my low profile VGA cable to go from the dock to a VGA to composite converter into the OEM rear entertainment screen.
I bought this one, Startech VGA2ViD converter at amazon for $86.00 ($120 everywhere else I looked) over this cheap one for two reasons. First, the more expensive ones accepts crazy high resolutions and my tablet standard is 1400x1050. The cheap one goes only as far as 1024x768, with no widescreen support. In addition to that, the cheap one does not save overscan, brightness, position and other adjustments, while the more expensive one is automatic. Both require only 5v, so that's easy to provide.
So I just removed the center console's rear panel and found a great spot for that (with a little dremel to help).
Strangely though, I can't use extended desktop with my current display drivers (or I lose pen control on the tablet). But I can clone the screens, even at 1400x1050, the converter does a great job sending a clean image to the stock 7" rear screen. Letters get better at 800x600, but that is not good on the tablet (it's a waste) so until I figure it out how to use extended desktop, I'm using clone.
Here's some shots.
As you can see, as long as the text is made to be seen from a distance, like WMC does, the converter does a good job even at 1400x1050.