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Thread: Double DIN PC in 2011 Nissan Leaf

  1. #1
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    Double DIN PC in 2011 Nissan Leaf

    I'm well into my car PC project in my 2011 Nissan Leaf, so I figured it was time to put together a log here!

    Car is a 2011 Nissan Leaf. It presents some interesting design challenges, some of which I haven't quite figured out how to deal with completely, mostly involving integration of important functions into the factory av/nav.

    So first, the equipment:

    Mini Touch 700
    bybyte mini itx black box
    m3-atx psu
    (ordered, not yet installed) mct capacitive touch panel
    Sapphire pure white fusion e350
    8gb ddr3
    ocz vertex 2 120gb ssd
    bluetooth & wifi dongles
    joycon
    Win7 64-bit
    Centrafuse 4.3.6
    BlueSoleil 8.xx
    Navigator 12 free
    Virtual Audio Cable 4.1
    ASIO4All
    VSTHost & assorted plugins (crossover, time delay, and parametric EQ)
    JL Audio xd700/5 Amp
    JL Audio xd600/6 Amp
    Polk 12" sub
    2x Dayton 12" passive radiators
    PPI PC3.65c components
    Can't remember what speakers I put in the rear... some relatively cheap biampable coaxials with an external 12db/oct xover...
    Phone (Galaxy Nexus) auto connects on bluetooth, providing GPS, phone, and internet (yay unlimited )

    Some of the audio system pics are a bit out of date and show some equipment I'm no longer using (for example it shows an alpine factory integration system and 3 dayton subs), but the terrible audio quality of this factory unit, combined with the lacking UI design, etc. has led me to abandon the factory integration path altogether - and I didn't like the dayton subs (though they make acceptable passive radiators )

    Anyway, the biggest issue with the whole setup is needed functionality that's handled by the stock av/nav. This includes:
    -Display of climate control settings (most importantly temp and vent selection)
    -Climate control timers (it doesn't seem to handle the triggering, just selection)
    -Charging timers (selection, not triggering)
    -Energy usage display (a simplified version is on the dash, but the av/nav has a much more detailed view)
    -nav panel button functions
    -Car behavior config (auto-light sensitivity settings, door lock behavior, etc)
    -Carwings (Nissan usage logging and stuff
    -backup turn radiusing

    Things like audio, nav, handsfree phone, and backup camera fall into this category as well, but those will be handled by the car PC by default.

    Long term plan is to handle *most* of that functionality via custom software/hardware, but short term all of the above will, to some extent, go away. The one critical set of problems with that is the timers: Everything else functions fine with the stock av/nav removed, but the second time the car is started without the AV/NAV connected all timers reset to factory defaults. Since I almost always charge to 80% and the factory default is 100% all the time, that's pretty critical - and the morning warmup from the climate control timer saves some power as well, and is very convenient. So, as a short-term resolution to that problem, I decided to keep the factory unit installed but hidden away somewhere. At first I wasn't sure how well that would work, but as I looked I figured out that the space behind the climate control buttons is basically cavernous, and really had nothing in it ... I had to cut a small bit of plastic, but with that out of the way it fit there perfectly. Plus for now if I want to change the timers I can do so by pulling off the panel (~2 minutes).

    I've configured the 3 rear-panel audio connections to be all outputs (>400hz L&R, 80-400hz L&R, <80hz mono, and rear fill), "front panel" mic connects to the factory microphone, "front panel" output is configured as input for the aux in, and the factory backup cam is sent to the AV2 input on the screen, which switches automatically. Currently the rear camera is powered continually, so I have a relay wired in to provide connection from the camera signal only when the car is in reverse. The joycon will interpret steering wheel controls (but NOT av panel controls).

    The plan is to run the mids and tweets in 2-way passive from two bridged channels of the xd700 amp (4 channels bridged to two), sub from the other channel, midbass from a bridged pair from the xd600, and the last two channels running rear fill. All channels will be independently time-aligned (with added delay on the rears) and parametrically eq'd.

    For now I'll still lose most of the functionality outlined above -- Climate control diplay details, climate control and charging timers, energy usage details, and car behavior details are all primary vehicle CAN bus. The nav panel buttons are sent over the dedicated av/nav can bus (which as far as I can tell is pretty much dedicated to those buttons --- yes, Nissan set up a freaking dedicated CAN bus to carry info from 8-10 buttons! derp . Anyway, I also plan on interfacing with the EV can bus to get a better battery charge reading than what's on the dash -- anyone who has a leaf will tell you the battery display and mileage estimates are completely worthless other than giving you a general ball-park estimate of charge; there's a value sent on the CAN bus that can be used to calculate a more reliable and precise percentage. But for all that to work I need to interface with 3 can buses, parse through to get the info I need, and write PC software to handle that info (probably a cf plugin). The plan for that is to homebrew a 3-channel can device starting with a USB devkit (maybe arduino; definitely something AVR based as I've dealt with AVRs before).

    Anyway, will get more pics as needed, but here's what I've got so far...

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    Last edited by defiancecp; 01-04-2013 at 01:40 PM. Reason: adding forgotten pic

  2. #2
    Maximum Bitrate rray's Avatar
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    That's some nice clean work, and your fabbing skills are excellent, those front speakers look great! How deep is that Bybyte Box, it looks like you had to trim is some to fit?

  3. #3
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    I think its 215mm if I remember correctly. There's way more space than that in the leaf except for one structural brace at the top back. I had to modify the back of the case just a little bit for it.
    Planning to finish up initial software config this afternoon. Hopefully I can get it in the dash today if all goes well

  4. #4
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    Ok, got the dash put together, and an initial wireup of the trunk revamp - the trim panel is going to have to be completely reconstructed... thought I might be able to just modify it to replace the alpine processor slot with the new amp, but no such luck. Oh well, at least it works in the meantime.

    Still a **LOT** of software config to do..... but basic functions are all working

    sorry for the crappy cell pics, it's what I've got. And yeah, trunk's pretty dirty right now. But it sounds good

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  5. #5
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    Got the capacitive panel in and installed yesterday! looks great and feels great - but still don't have it back in the vehicle - few things I want to work through (bluetooth when resuming from hibernate, for example) on the bench before I put it back in, so maybe today, maybe tomorrow. On the other hand I'm seriously considering doing the win8 upgrade while it's out too, which might extend that delay, but better to delay a little bit now than have to take the thing back out later...

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