Today I finished the wiring on the amp rack. All of my wiring and braided shielding came in this weekend, so I was able to work on it a lot on Saturday and Sunday. I really enjoyed installing the braided shielding. It was pretty easy, and that stuff really stretches a lot from a 1/4" diameter. The only bundle I wrapped was the wires from the JL Audio controller. All the rest of the wiring that will be wrapped is in the trunk, going from the PC to the rack and also the power cables for the monitor and the RAM tough hub. This pic doesn't show the wrap very well, but the pics of the trunk wiring should be a lot more detailed.
All of the power is run to the bottom of the rack, and all of the speaker wires are run to the top, providing a lot of separation which will hopefully prevent or cut down a lot on EMI. There are only a few power wires that will connect to the rack, and I'm going to route them on the other side of the distro blocks to keep them away from the RCA cables that go from amp to amp. The JL Audio inputs are dangling, but once I temp fit the rack I'll know where the cables will be coming from, and I'll secure those as well.
I hope to have the final bits of soldering and wiring done in the trunk tonight, and then I'll wrap the wire bundles and temporarily install the rack and do a few days of testing to make sure everything holds up under the vibrations and heat. Once that's done, I'll be wrapping the rack in some black trunk carpeting, and it will be finished.
Thanks for reading.
It's been a while! I haven't done much more to the trunk area, as I'm waiting for a good break so I can remove the amp rack and bondo it. Instead of putting carpet down, I decided to try some bondo and texture paint, so that it looks like my computer rack. So, no new news on that front.
However, I decided to try a multi-zone setup. Unfortunately, CF doesn't work very well with this at all. There's a bug with 4.0 that prevents the front and rear zones from being able to play different music simultaneously. I submitted a bug report on it, but it's a low priority for the fellas at CF right now - I'm hoping to see a fix (or some other resolution) for 4.1 or 4.2. Instead, I decided to use my HTPC experience and try running XBMC for the rear seat passengers.
Here's the configuration: I installed my Lilliput 669GL 5 wire touchscreen (minus the touchscreen ability - just running a standard HDMI cable to it) in the rear seat, using a gooseneck mount I had laying around. I ran a 3.5mm stereo cable from the onboard sound card to the rear screen, put in a splitter (so both my boys can listen) and put in some decent headphones. Then I took my old MCE remote control and IR receiver and put it in the back, running it off of the Ram Hub.
Once the hardware was in place, I installed EventGhost and configured it to capture all of the remote button presses and send them to XBMC - this way XBMC doesn't need to maintain focus in order for the remote to work. Then I installed XBMC and configured it to run on the rear monitor (XBMC has native support for multi-monitor and multi-soundcard configurations) and use the onboard audio. After the software was configured, I rebooted and tested everything - and it worked perfectly. XBMC always shows up on the second monitor after resuming from hibernation, and the remote keeps working, too.
I fired up CF and started playing music, and then started playing back a DVD rip on XBMC - success! No bogging down, no skips, no slowdowns that I could see on either CF or XBMC. Finally, I have a true dual zone configuration, and all I had to do was use XBMC for the rear passengers.
Now that I know this works, I'll be saving up so I can upgrade the rear screen to a 10", and I'm going to buy some decent noise cancelling headsets too, so the rear passengers won't hear the music playing over the car speakers. I'm actually looking at some Pyle PLVWH6 dual wireless IR headsets, which would totally eliminate headset wire clutter, and the receiver would mount on the rear parcel shelf, and running the 12VDC power to it would be a snap.
Needless to say, I'm pretty stoked about the whole dual zone setup. And even better, this is all running on my ASRock E350M1 Fusion powered board with a single 80GB Intel SSD. I didn't even have to upgrade my motherboard to get this working. Sweet! Once I get all of the wires properly routed and hidden, and I decide on where the headphone jacks are going to be mounted, I'll take some pics and maybe a video of everything running at the same time.
Thanks for reading!
Just a quick update on the build. XBMC works great, and my kids love it. I have all the cables routed and hidden, and the install looks pretty good, if I do say so myself. I decided to run a 10ft USB extension cable from the carpc to the IR receiver, instead of going from the hub - I needed the hub connection for my LifeChat ZX-6000 wireless transmitter. I bought a 32GB class 10 SDHC card and USB adapter, and I put my movies on that instead of copying them to the SSD. That makes it very easy to update movies for the kids, and my SSD doesn't get filled up with movies that I will never watch in the front seat.
I bought a Pyle PLVWH6 Dual Wireless IR Mobile Video Stereo Headphones with Transmitter, to eliminate the wires in the back seat area. I put the transmitter on the rear deck, and I've powered it from the same 12V output that powers my front and rear screens. I used a type M DC power plug and socket (the same ones used by the Lilliput screens), spliced into the 12V wires that run from the carpc to the screens, so I can remove the transmitter if necessary (like when I have to remove the rear deck). I just send the onboard audio to the transmitter via a 3.5mm to RCA cable. Those things sound great! I can't believe the sound quality for something that cheap.
Overall, the standard remote control + XBMC for the rear seat passengers is a fantastic solution for a dual zone setup.
I plan on taking some pictures of the setup very soon, and also a video so you can see how fluid everything is.
Thanks for reading.
Merry Christmas! I hope everyone is having a great holiday season.
I finally got around to taking some pictures of my rear screen and my IR transmitter/receiver for the wireless Pyle headphones.
I ended up using a Pyle 18" gooseneck that I mounted to the front passenger rear seat bolt. I tried a 24" gooseneck but it was much too bouncy. Eventually I'm going to have a real bracket fabricated, but this will do for now. All of the cables are routed down the gooseneck and under the seats, so all the wires are hidden. There's an IR receiver mounted to the bottom of the screen for the remote control.
I mounted the Pyle IR transmitter/receiver for the headphones on the rear deck. That was the easiest install for this entire project. I ran the wires to the third brake light and down into the trunk. In case I have to remove the rear deck, I used a 2.1mmx5.5mm power plug and receptacle and spliced it into the wiring I have that powers my screens.
At some point I plan on finishing the amp rack...
Thanks for reading!