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Thread: VW Golf IV - Mac Mini install

  1. #1
    Newbie Fuse314's Avatar
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    VW Golf IV - Mac Mini install

    I finally got my CarNetix P1900 PSU, now I can get started with my install:

    Subject is a Golf IV and I'm installing a Mac Mini into it.

    Components:

    PC:
    Apple Mac Mini
    1.45GHz
    1GB RAM
    80GB HDD
    WLAN / Bluetooth

    Display:
    Xenarc 700TSV
    7" incl. Touchscreen / AV Inputs

    PSU:
    CarNetix P1900

    Audio:
    Griffin iMic
    maybe a RadioShark for AM/FM
    Blaupunkt Headunit (has to be replaced with a unit that comes with aux-in)
    Apple iPod 10GB (2nd Generation with only FireWire connector)

    Other Stuff:
    GPS: Garmin StreetPilot III
    - Will hopefully be using Route66 for Navigation and this one just to look cool
    - I don't know if this works with the mac, but my hopes are high...


    Last week, I started to take my Golf apart and looked behind the middle console.

    I'm trying to install my mac similar to BugByte's iBug install with his incredible Docking System.
    But instead of cutting a hole in the air duct I'm trying to get the Dock to fit in the space that is there: I will be cutting all the USB/Firewire plugs plus I will get a DVI Plug with only the connectors to solder the cable directly on the plug.

    I have not yet decided on where to put the screen, but I think I will go with Joris Carputer install, he has found quite a good place to mount the Screen.
    First I had plans on installing the Screen in front of the Mac Mini, but after taking some measurements I realized that this will be impossible (screen would stick out of the dash about 5-7 centimeters)

    One funny thing I noticed while taking the Golf apart is this:
    On the air conditioning controller unit is a german warning "do not throw"

    This is what my Golf looked like while taking it apart (now the glove compartment is out too and the radio cage is also sitting at home waiting for me to begin my install)
    (sorry about the quality, this was taken with my cellphone, my digital camera was unavailable at this time...)


    you can see the plugs from my Blaupunkt headunit (will have to be replaced because it has no aux in) and below the air conditioning controller unit


    Any comments highly appreciated (esp. on the placement of the Screen...)
    Mac Mini in VW Golf 4
    Current Status:
    35% - screen in car, dock almost finished
    [#######-------------]
    Check out my Worklog

  2. #2
    Admin. Linux loser.
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    Bugbyte's Avatar
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    Cool! If you need any help with the dock, don't hesitate to ask. If I had it to do over again, I'd figure a way around cutting a hole in the air duct. On the other hand, it worked and I'm typing to you from the iBug after 'grazing' a hot spot near downtown D.C. Gotta love Macstumbler!
    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruzer View Post
    I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
    Want to:
    -Find out about the new iBug iPad install?
    -Find out about carPC's in just 5 minutes? View the Car PC 101 video

  3. #3
    Newbie Fuse314's Avatar
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    some minor progress

    The DVI-I Plug is still on backorder, I will get it in about a week:


    I beeped through the DVI-to-VGA Adapter that came with the Mac Mini (using a multimeter that beeps when it measures a short) - I first tried to google, but I didnt find any DVI to VGA pinnings - so here is what I found out:


    I also found a perfect USB-Minihub for my kinda cramped car-install:

    It has a very small connector plug, but it also has a very short wire I hope it will be long enough...

    Now I'm planning on how to build the dock for the mac mini, I already got the plexiglass (5mm thick) and I "built" a distance holder to see how much space there is behind the radio cage: It's gonna be a VERY small space for all the connectors AND leave some room for the air to circulate...

    the mac mini in his new cage

    Since there seems to be no way to get a mac mini power plug, I'm thinking about installing another plug for the power and the power button (some 6-pin connector) - but I first have to open up my mac mini again to take a good look inside (the spot where the hole for the kensington lock is seems to be just fine for this)


    to be continued...

    Next weekend I hope to get some progress with the dock, I already had the back of the mac mini xeroxed for reference and for cutting the holes in the plexiglass back.
    Mac Mini in VW Golf 4
    Current Status:
    35% - screen in car, dock almost finished
    [#######-------------]
    Check out my Worklog

  4. #4
    Admin. Linux loser.
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    Bugbyte's Avatar
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    Don't forget about the power switch for the P1900 when you're inside hacking the Mini.
    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruzer View Post
    I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
    Want to:
    -Find out about the new iBug iPad install?
    -Find out about carPC's in just 5 minutes? View the Car PC 101 video

  5. #5
    Newbie Fuse314's Avatar
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    Opened the mac mini again...

    Today, I opened my mac mini again to plan the modifications for the dock:

    I will install another power plug into the mini and the dock because I don't like cutting the original power cable to be able to use the mac in my house (what's the point of having a removable mac mini if you can't use it inside the house anymore )
    Since it has to be really small (to fit on the back of the mini AND on the inside between the back and the optical drive) I got a 10-pin connector (male and female) to (hopefully) do the job:

    The connector (male) will go where the "security" lock hole is now.

    I checked the connectors of the original power plug, the plug is symmetrical (pin 1+5 and 2+4 are the same, pin 3 (iSense) is in the middle) and the 18.5Volts come in on pin 2+4. (see picture below)

    Mac mini power connector and the mac mini (turned upside-down) main board

    I will attempt to solder on the wires to connect my new power connector (also using 2 pins for the +18.5V and GND, because of the high current) and will post back if it works or if it has gone up in smoke ;-)
    Mac Mini in VW Golf 4
    Current Status:
    35% - screen in car, dock almost finished
    [#######-------------]
    Check out my Worklog

  6. #6
    Newbie Fuse314's Avatar
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    mac mini - custom powerplug - mod progress

    I had very little time, but managed to get some progress with my mac mini custom power plug nontheless:

    I soldered the cables onto the mainboard of my mac mini (I know it's not perfect, but it does the job)


    ...and to the plug on the other side.


    God bless Victorinox for creating the swiss army knife! I managed to cut the metal shielding and the kensington lock with the small scisors!!

    It did leave some marks on my fingers, this was really a tough one, but what can one do if he's lacking the proper tools...

    btw: I am actually swiss, but we don't have these knifes in the army, we only have ones with about 4 functions: Knife,Screwdriver,Bottle-opener (very useful!), Can-opener (for rough times)


    And here you see an overview of the whole thing (it still works with the original power connector, I have to test the powering with the P1900 first but I'm very positive that this will work, too)


    The DVI-Plug is still on his way (see some post above).
    This weekend I won't be able to work on the project, but I hope to get some work done by the end of next week.

    [==] Fuse
    Mac Mini in VW Golf 4
    Current Status:
    35% - screen in car, dock almost finished
    [#######-------------]
    Check out my Worklog

  7. #7
    Newbie Fuse314's Avatar
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    progress with the dock, screenmount finished

    Finally, the DVI-Plug arrived and I have made some progress with my project:

    The custom Power Plug is finally finished inside the mac:


    Now the Back of the mac mini with all the plugs in place (I will add a second USB minihub for the iPod but that's minor for now)


    With a xeroxed image of the mac mini (thanks to bugbyte's project - link) I started to work on the plexiglass back plane:

    With the image directly taped to the plexiglass it was easy to drill the starting holes in the plexiglass.

    After about 3 hours of using the drill, various files and sandpaper (which I have VERY seldomly used before, but my father has a great workshop with lots and lots of tools laying around ready for use) I got all the holes to a perfect fit (even the custom power plug connector, which proved to be the biggest pain to do...)


    Luckily I only had to do 4 holes: DVI, USB, Power and the Fan outlet, I'm not very used to this kind of work


    The other thing I got done this weekend was the stand for my xenarc:
    It's not as "factory-looking" as I had in mind in the beginning, but you can't have everything: I rather go with a fully removable carputer that I can take out of the car anytime easily than have a great in-dash screen...

    To get the screen mounted in the heater-outlet, I cut off quite some material from the factory stand that came with the screen, then I needed some hole to run the cables into the console (also to run the power and serial-cables of my Garmin StreetPilot GPS unit)
    This is another time that my Swiss Army Knife proved a very useful tool, the plastic of the airduct is very soft and can be cut with the pocket knife.
    The result looks like this:


    ...and with the screen in place:


    Sidenote: DO NOT DRIVE AROUND WITH THE WARNING FLASHING LIGHTS SWITCH (what's the word for this thing anyway - it's the one with the red triangle icon in the middle of the console, see image above) TAKEN OUT ==> YOUR INDICATOR LIGHTS WILL CEASE TO WORK!!!
    This was kind of a shock for me (and kinda unlogical), I especially felt uneasy driving around in the city by night.
    Mac Mini in VW Golf 4
    Current Status:
    35% - screen in car, dock almost finished
    [#######-------------]
    Check out my Worklog

  8. #8
    Admin. Linux loser.
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    Bugbyte's Avatar
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    DO NOT DRIVE AROUND WITH THE WARNING FLASHING LIGHTS SWITCH (what's the word for this thing anyway - it's the one with the red triangle icon in the middle of the console, see image above) TAKEN OUT ==> YOUR INDICATOR LIGHTS WILL CEASE TO WORK!!!
    Ha! That's pretty funny! The same thing happened to me. I'd forgotten all about it. Of course, some people would take weeks to notice this problem the way they drive around here.
    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruzer View Post
    I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
    Want to:
    -Find out about the new iBug iPad install?
    -Find out about carPC's in just 5 minutes? View the Car PC 101 video

  9. #9
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    you know you could have just walked into a applecentre and ordered a second PSU for the mini :P

  10. #10
    Newbie Fuse314's Avatar
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    Mac mini Dock finished 90%

    Last saturday, I managed to finish the Dock for my Mac Mini to 90%.

    The Backplane now has the right size and all the plugs glued in place:


    Detail of one side piece, the front is slightly curved to allow a easy insertion. The slide for the bottom is also curved:


    The slides took me some time to finish, they are very small to allow the air to flow in through the slots on the bottom of the Mac Mini:


    So that's the (almost) finished Dock with just the top missing:


    The Dock works perfectly, although the USB Plug is very hard to pull out. Maybe I'll have to file it off a bit so that it plugs in easier.

    That's all for today, more to come later...

    btw: I got FrontRow to work, but it still has trouble with my XViD movies, takes ages to display the movies - I will give Dr. DivX a go if I find some spare time this week.
    Mac Mini in VW Golf 4
    Current Status:
    35% - screen in car, dock almost finished
    [#######-------------]
    Check out my Worklog

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