That is a massive project you have there. I admire your fabrication skills, an area I am unfortunately lacking in. I'm trying to figure out my carputer installation to avoid any cutting or drilling of my dash/console. Like you mentioned, I too am lacking skills in the software side of things. I got hold of software to design skins for Centrafuse but didn't get beyond setting a background colour and putting a few buttons and a Mercedes-Benz emblem on there.
I have a 1988 Mercedes-Benz 300E into which I want to install a carputer. I'm thinking of starting my own worklog here so that others can see how I do things and maybe help me with some advice. I'll be keeping it simple. Waiting on some parts still but this is a list of what I have to work with.
From Mo-Co-So I have ordered:-
Mini-Box M350 Mini ITX Enclosure
Intel D525MW Mini ITX Motherboard with 1.8Ghz Dual Core Atom 525 CPU
Kingston 2Gb Single Channel DDR3 1066Mhz SODIMM Memory Module
M3-ATX Automotive PICO Power Supply
Mini Touch 700 7" VGA Touch Screen Monitor
USB SiRF III GPS Receiver
Parts I already have:-
Kingston 64G SSD
Samsung USB External DVD-RW Slim Optical Drive
Internal Mini PCI-E Wireless Network Adapter, or
USB Wireless Network Adapter
USB Bluetooth Dongle (Tiny! But it works!)
PLL FM Stereo Modulator
What is a PLL FM Stereo Modulator? Don't know what PLL means, but it works like this. The modulator has a +12V DC and an earth lead for power. You unplug the antenna lead from the back of your head unit and plug it into the modulator. The modulator has it's own antenna lead which you plug into the antenna socket on your head unit. You run a lead from the motherboard's audio output to the modulator's audio input. The modulator converts the audio input to a FM signal which is directly injected into the head unit via the antenna lead with no interferance. You then tune the head unit into one of the frequencies the modulator puts out, you have a choise of two. Thus you use the existing sound system which saves you money and time.
I have an old desktop PC running Windows XP Pro which I am using to try out various front ends, Centrafuse 3 point something at the moment, and Destinator 9. I have installed the USB Bluetooth dongle to see how my mobile phone works too. Centrafuse installed Bluesoliel 6 software which just happend to be a later version of what came with the BT dongle. You mentioned in an early post that you were concerned with how the BT side of things would work so you didn't want to ditch the Parrot setup. I can tell you that in my trials it has worked well. I have paired my mobile phone and used the Centrafuse interface to make a call to my home phone and left a message on my answer machine. I heard the greating message through the PC speakers loud and clear, and the message I recorded on the answer machine via a mic plugged into the sound card was also loud and clear. The mic is salvaged from an old hands free carphone kit. Lets hope that BT works just as well with the carputer when I finish building it. I'll do some bench testing before I do the install and let you know how I go.
Thats it for now.