03 Jetta - If I Can, Any Idiot Can
I guess it's finally time to start posting a worklog, for two reasons:
1- I hope it will incentivize me to get things done in a timely fashion, and
2- If I have a stream-of-consciousness outlet for my thought process maybe I can post it here and get some help.
Basically, I've got more money than time or sense (but not much of any of them), nor do I have much mechanical experience. I'm decent with computers, having built several of my own over the years .... my first computer, btw, was an Atari 400 with a membrane keyboard, 8K of RAM, a tape drive, and a 300 baud acoustic-coupler modem. Ahh the good old days.
Typical. I want the carputer to "do it all": GPS, Sirius satellite, mp3s, divx, phone, wireless networking. PC will be in the trunk.
I've built a Sempron 64 2800+ based system on a GigaByte GA-K8VM800m motherboard in a mini-ITX case. I'm running a GigaByte motherboard with a Pentium for my main home computer and have found it reliable as hell. I also picked this mobo because of the onboard audio. I'm not much of an audiophile (and the VW soundsystem isn't that great anyway), so it's more than adequate. It's also got onboard video to further reduce my power requirements. It's got 512mb of PC3200, a 250 gb IDE drive, a USB Bluetooth adapter and a Linksys PCI wireless NIC. I don't have a monitor attached to it right now; I just remote desktop into it from my home network. It's currently running the Athenatech POS 200W PSU, but my mpegbox DSATX 220W is waiting for me when I get home.
The Relevant Accessories
I've installed the Garmin BU-353 GPS receiver. I had to go with the USB instead of the serial because I also have the MJS Sirius adapter. That adapter, for those who don't know, let me take the Alpine Sirius receiver and hook it into the computer's one serial port. I haven't subscribed for Sirius yet, but it is up and running the test channel. I think I'm going to have trouble with the 353, though. It seems like it somehow loses its connection to COM5 once in a while. I just ordered the Logitech USB microphone. I have to order a powered USB outlet/extension.
I was originally going to get the Xenarc 700IDT but I couldn't find it in stock anywhere and then I started looking for alternatives and found the DWW-700H. I just got an email telling me that it was picked up from DWW today for delivery on the 12th (when I'll be in Florida). I've got a 15' VGA cable en route from newegg.
I'm in typical Monsoon hell. I decided I needed to keep a headunit because I'm a diehard Yankees fan and I don't want to subscribe to XM just for that. I also like my local news station. So I'm deciding right now what HU to get. It will have to be a single-din with rear AUX. I'm thinking about some of those crazy DVD playing HUs I can order from Hong Kong on ebay, but I'm not sure. I might just go with something in the $150 range and get the free install at Circuit City because, as I said above, I have almost no mechanical skills. But at least if they do the first steps and get the 2DIN Monsoon out of there I'll have some room to work and see what's going on in there.
This is where I really need to focus. Obviously, I want to get this all running perfectly (or as close as practical) before I go out to the car. I'm running WinXP MCE and RR. I still haven't settled on a skin that I really love. I want something unbelievably stark, black background, and only with the buttons I use... which means I might learn Photoshop. I haven't begun tweaking the OS for quick loading. The other thing I'm seriously considering is just running MCE as the front end. I don't know how or if it's possible to integrate iGuidance and Sirius into that, though. That will probably be my project for tonight, finding out if that's feasible.
Well, that's where I am as of December 8, 2005. My plan is to post regular updates with how things are going. I'm also aware that pictures are the highlight of this forum, so I'll post those as I go as well. Please feel free to chime in as any help is appreciated.
12/18/2005 - Sorted and properly tagged mp3s
12/26/2005 - Reformatted... twice
1/8/2006 - Installed the parts and ran the wires to the trunk
1/13/2006 - re-flashed the PSU and BOOTED FOR THE FIRST TIME!
1/15/2006 - v0.9999 is online
1/19/2006 - added pics to post #3
4/17/2006 - explained wtf has been going on the past three months
??? - upgraded the wifi antenna
5/13/2006 - got cellular internet working, changed skin to LSX Void (Love it)