Project: SmartR

The Plan: (click pics for larger size)

2004 Volkswagen R32

I will first start off by saying this is not my first car pc (carputer) build, it just happens to be the first one that I am installing in my own car, hence the reason I care enough to document all of this and post it on the internet in hopes of some compliments.

So the platform I will be modifying is that of a MK4 Volkswagen radio cage.

First let me start off by saying that the space this cage offers is huge.

Not only is opening and depth never ending, but the whole face has no curves in it what-so-ever. Which anyone that has done a custom dash install knows that its a major plus when it comes to fabricating your own holders and mounts to make everything look nice and tight.

Because of the space this cage offers, I will be fitting an 8-inch, 4:3 aspect ratio lilliput in the dash of this car.

As far as planning goes I have most of that covered, just letting the funds build up so I can make all those various purchases.

Fabrication Plan


All of the components for the audio side of things are going to go under a false floor that will be installed in the trunk. As you can see in the picture above, when you open the hatch of the R32 there is just under a 4 inch drop down to the factory floor of the trunk. The plan is to custom fit a nice piece of MDF on the bottom to act as the new floor of the trunk. Then custom air channels will be fabricated to direct air where it needs to go. The height of the chamber walls, combined with the thickness of the second piece of MDF on top will make the new floor sit completely flush with the height of the hatch latch edge. The piece of MDF on to will be wrapped with carpet or leather (part of the 10% left of planning).

Here is the parts list:

Stereo Equipment
Alpine Type R 6.25" Door Speakers (x2) link
Clarion SRU310H Tweeters (x2) link
Clarion EQS746 Equalizer link
Hifonics HFi100.4 Speaker Amps (x2) link
Hifonics HFi1000D Subwoofer Amp link
Rockford Fosgate Punch P3D212 Subwoofer link
Rockford Fosgate RFC1D Capacitor link

The breakdown:
So I chose these components because for the car I drive everyday I want "real" sound. Basically what I mean by that is I'm not looking to be one of those people who only listen to music with lots of bass with the EQ heavy on the low hertz with my windows open. (not that there is anything wrong with those of you who are, i respect a powerful system) I just want to have good quality sound.

Speakers: I chose the speaker combo because the R32 already has the 8 speaker monsoon sound package with 4 tweeters and 4 rounds. All of the speakers on the list are a direct fit. The Type R's have extremely clear mid tones, however the highs sound kind of tinny. I will be running an inline treble cut filter on the Type R's to block the high sounds coming in to them and let the Clarion tweeters pick up all that is bypassed in the filter.

Equalizer: I threw this in there just to have easy access to all my tuning on the fly. It doesn't matter what day or how long im going to be in the car, I always want to change something about how the system sounds. I have installed many of these equalizers before and love how they perform. The only downside is that the outputs are Front and Rear (instead of left and right). Not a huge deal, but its still something to look into.

Amps: Simply put, HiFonics makes the best amps out there. I use them for all my installations and swear by them all the way. They have banging power and they are priced very reasonable. The aesthetics have always been the best in my opinion as well. The three that I chose are the just release models (we'll see if thats the case when I actually order them). They have already got amazing reviews and they will work perfect for my application.

Subwoofer and Cap Another brand that I swear by for a certain category is Rockford Fosgate is in the sub and capacitor department. Ive been powering Rockford subs with HiFonics amps for years and these two absolutely pound your brains out together. The other reason I love the Rockford subs is for their "clean" bass. I'm sure everyone has heard a bad sounding sub in there life. One that hits when its suppose to but then the sound kind of fades away instead of abruptly stopping. Rockford subs have this nailed down, the sub hits, and then it stops. Simple. Clean.

Computer Components
Lilliput 8" (4:3) VGA Touch Screen Display link
Carnetix P2140 Power Supply link
M4-ATX 250W 6-30V DC-DC Power Supply link
Zotac IONITX-D-E Mini-ITX Motherboard link
G.SKILL 2GB DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 Ram (x2) link
Intel X25-M Mainstream SSD link
Western Digital 500gb 7200rpm Hard Drive link
Slot Load DVD Burner link
APEVIA CF4SL-URED 80mm Red LED Case Fan (x5) link
MASSCOOL FD08025S1M4 80mm Case Fan (x10) link
ZALMAN 6 Channel Multi Fan Controller link

The breakdown:
Personally I like the atom core type that intel has come out with. They take very little power to do a lot of computing with it. The three main goals of this computer are: Endless space for my already 70+ and growing gigs of music. A video center that is able to hold all of my videos in a single location. An in car web center....just for fun.

Screen: As stated before in this post, the radio cage in MK4 Volkswagen line is a black hole of bliss. This hole is big enough to fit an 8 inch 4:3 aspect ratio lilliput VGA screen. I didnt really have many credentials that a screen had to meet to be included in this install. Just a 4:3 ratio, 8 inch diagonal, and VGA input was a must.

Power Supplies: The reason for the Carnetix Power Supply and the ATX is for functionality. I have yet to find a device that can survive cranking amps, had an ATX output, and powers multiple devices. The Carnetix I think is a great product. I use it in all my applications. That, combined with the ATX power supply give you all the perks you need. The monitoring software/integration that comes with the Carnetix is really quite useful for tuning power where it is needed.

Motherboard: I chose this motherboard because of the atom core type and the quick video playback. This board got really go reviews all around. The 1080p HDMI output is pretty nice if you are using this for a media center in your home. When I look at it for a carputer application, what that tells me is this board has more than enough balls to power an 8 inch lilliput. There have been reports about nagging hardware issues but its windows, no one likes them anyway

Memory (RAM): I went with G.SKILL just because it is G.SKILL. You cant go wrong with any of their sticks. They are known to run a bit hotter than other brands, but to me that is to be expected when they are faster. As long as you keep some airflow around them you will be sittin pretty. I am going to be running 4gb (2gbx2) total or ram on the sticks. The OS will be windows 7 64bit edition so I can utilize all of my ram instead of just 3 gb of it.

Hardrives: The first hard drive I chose is and Intel SSD. This hard drive will be used only for OS material and programs. Everything else is going on the second drive. I have one of these installed in my home pc with a good ol' Q6600 processor and it flat out screams. Im hoping this SSD will help the read/write speeds of the low powered atom cpu as well.

Cooling: So needless to say if you looked at the parts list, the back of my car is going to be forming tornadoes. Lets start with the Masscool fans. Your probably thinking why do you need 10 of these things? My answer to you is why not? I can use them for something. Free shipping at a dollar a pop, you cant beat that. All of these Masscool fans will be underneath the floor and moving hot air through the fabricated channels in the chamber away from the components. Now the 5 Apevia's will be mounted in a horizontal fashion in a hole that passes through the false floor and the ambient air in my trunk. They will be placed next to various componets to act as an exhaust for the hot air in the chamber. They also have a bright red LED to make my trunk look like satan. The fan controller will be hooked up to the Apevia's. The Masscool's will be running full speed all the time. Noise will not be an issue do to their location and road noise that comes with any car.