Bugbyte's 2001 New Beetle -Mac Mini Install (56k unfriendly!)
Thought I'd post a worklog about my second carputer install, a Mac Mini in my 2001 VW Beetle. The current install is an Epia M10000 and is detailed at the website in my sig.
I haven't exactly begun the work of installing the Mini but I've begun the planning and if it turns out like I think, it's gonna take some effort. After taking a look at a number of possibilities like right over top of the existing PC...
or along the sides of the TINY hatch area...
or in the center console where the nearly useless cupholders are...
I'm beginning to consider putting it where the head unit is. In checking this out, I noticed that the Mini is not as tall as my current Sony Xplode headunit. Here it is with the bottom lined up with the bottom of the HU opening...
And it also isn't as wide as the headunit...
There's enough depth, too. Here's the original console on the table saw during the first PC install. You're looking it it both upside down and backwards. I've outlined the "box" that the head unit slides into.
In order to completely preserve the stock appearance, I think I'll leave the faceplate of the HU right where it is and extend it using wires to a location where the actual radio is hidden -probably inside the cavernous dash.
The idea would be to allow the faceplate to flip down, exposing the DVD slot on the Mini. Also, the faceplate could detach, as it does today, and allow the Mini to slide in and out of a "dock" that I would build.
Ambitious? Yes. Am I going to do it? Not certain. The easiest thing to do would be simply swap it out for the existing PC. But where's the fun in that? I've already got a working PC in the car. The challenge is to take it to the next level. You'll find out in future postings.
I'm still not really ready to begin the installation, no matter where I decide to put it. First, I need to buy the P1900 power supply. I'll probably do that while mp3car.com has free shipping this weekend. Then I need to do more planning and that means I'll probably be driving around with a huge gaping hole in my dash for weeks at a time, without so much as a radio to listen to. I'm gonna have to work my way up to that one. :)
Progress update - Still searching for install location
Took the center console out today to check on a location a friend suggested.
Under dash pic
So I took the car apart to investigate. First, my VW manual show that it looks promising...
Here's the before:
And here's the after:
Taken apart pic
Problem is that there's heater ductwork and a riser to carry heat from the dash down to the floor for driver and passengers in front and back.
Also, the Mini isn't as Mini as it needs to be without some serious modding. Doesn't mean I won't do it, just that it's not as straightforward as it looked to begin with.
A little tight pic
Since I had the dash open already, I pulled the radio to see if my in dash idea holds any water. You'll note that the radio and the Mini are almost the same size.
Side by side pic
Especially when stacked on top of each other. It's actually not as wide as the radio but it will need space at the back for the VGA adaptor and cables and stuff.
But it does fit in the dash REALLY nicely! I'm still kind of enamored with this idea but I'm certain the reality of how hard it is will turn up pretty soon.
On the plus side, I've ordered the Carnetix P1900 to power the system so that should be here in the next couple of days! I've also loaded the Mini with my iTunes library and confirmed that the Beta CCarProject front end runs on it flawlessly. It's only a 256mb machine and that does show up from time to time but it ran full screen visualizations very smoothly and I'm generally pleased with it so far.
I usually don't get a chance to work on the system during the week so it may be awhile before my next post. Thanks for looking!
Entry #3. Diving into the Dash.
As Kandyman's signature says, "If it ain't broke, don't f* with it." I got in the car today after quickly pulling the radio out yesterday (see previous post) and hadn't tested the radio. It wasn't working, so after a silent ride to work and back, I decided to throw caution to the wind and pull the dash out. What the hey.
From my previous posts, you can see what the assembled dash looks like. Here's a photo with the center console cover taken off. This also shows where the back of the Mini will touch the rear of the radio "box".
There's not enough depth for the plugs and stuff that I want to put back there, whether I make it "dockable" or not. BTW, who hasn't driven around with their dash looking like this for weeks at a time? :lol:
hole in the dash
Here's a closer picture of where I would have to install a dock for the Mini, if I install it here.
If anybody has any suggestions on how to make a dock, particularly what material to construct it out of, I'd appreciate it. I'm thinking fiberglass poured over properly positioned plugs to "capture" the connectors. The challenge would be to 1) position them accurately; 2) to find a way to pour the fiberglass without it leaking all over or clogging the connectors somehow.
Here's the center panel taken out, front view.
Here's the back:
back of console
Fortunately for me, my PC carputer still works, even with the mess I've got going, so I'm still cruncing mobile bits and not hating it too much.
Thanks for looking and I'll post back as the project progresses.