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Thread: 03 Jetta - If I Can, Any Idiot Can

  1. #1
    Constant Bitrate randomjohn's Avatar
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    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.

    Background
    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.

    The Goal
    Typical. I want the carputer to "do it all": GPS, Sirius satellite, mp3s, divx, phone, wireless networking. PC will be in the trunk.

    Parts

    The Computer
    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.

    The Display
    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.

    The Sound
    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.

    The Software
    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.

    PROGRESS
    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)
    GA-K8VM800M, Sempron 64 2800+, 512mb DDR400, D-Link USB BT, Linksys .11g NIC, 250gb IDE, BU-353, SIR-ALP1 w/ MJS, DSATX 220w, DWW-700H

    Worklog: http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/worklogs/65059-03-jetta-if-i-can-any-idiot-can.html
    Now with pictures!

  2. #2
    Constant Bitrate randomjohn's Avatar
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    Pictures from the Bench

    Due to popular request (and I love the Christina Model Avatar), here are some pics. I'm sure everyone has seen a freaking Silver 2003 Jetta so I won't bother.

    Here's everything all nice and boxed up Name:  Computer parts 002.jpg
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    The Athenatech case all opened up
    Name:  Computer parts 006.jpg
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    Inside of the case with motherboard, cpu, and fan installed, case leads attached, etc. I'm not planning to run an internal optical drive, so it's hanging outside the case on the same IDE ribbon as the system drive.
    Name:  Computer parts 011.jpg
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    Holy crap! It boots on the first try
    Name:  Computer parts 012.jpg
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    HDD installed, standing upright, everything running
    Name:  Computer parts 013.jpg
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    Incredibly, I got this thing up and running on the first try. I've never had that happen before. It actually took me longer to get Windows installed than it did to put all the parts in.
    GA-K8VM800M, Sempron 64 2800+, 512mb DDR400, D-Link USB BT, Linksys .11g NIC, 250gb IDE, BU-353, SIR-ALP1 w/ MJS, DSATX 220w, DWW-700H

    Worklog: http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=65059
    Now with pictures!

  3. #3
    Constant Bitrate randomjohn's Avatar
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    reserved 2

    Pictures!!!

    The trunk
    Name:  carpc 008_2.jpg
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    Looking at the trunk from the back seat with the seat down
    Name:  carpc 009_2.jpg
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    The dash
    Name:  carpc 012_2.jpg
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    Monitor extended
    Name:  carpc 013_2.jpg
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    Interior at night
    Name:  carpc 015_2.jpg
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    GA-K8VM800M, Sempron 64 2800+, 512mb DDR400, D-Link USB BT, Linksys .11g NIC, 250gb IDE, BU-353, SIR-ALP1 w/ MJS, DSATX 220w, DWW-700H

    Worklog: http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=65059
    Now with pictures!

  4. #4
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    good luck with it

  5. #5
    The Lavender Tie Just
    Made It Obvious
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rafster
    I could not agree more.. Nonetheless, I have subscribed

  7. #7
    Constant Bitrate randomjohn's Avatar
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    Ok, I'm back from Florida, but I didn't have a chance to pick up the monitor from the office where they're holding it. I spent about 6 hours yesterday sorting out 2500 mp3s. I can't believe how much I hate itunes. Every CD I had ripped with that had to be re-tagged, renamed, etc.

    I'm going to make a hard push to get all of the software handled this week so I can begin in-car installation next week. I'm using Roadrunner as front end with the CFBlue skin but I'm really not happy with it. I'd prefer something with a black background to match my Jetta's panel and personally I just prefer it to be absolutely sparse. I keep getting distracted by thoughts of making my own skin but I really just need to get everything working first. I also spent some time tweaking WinXP yesterday and will do some research this week into the best setup for hibernate with the DSATX PSU.

    To placate my (two) fans, I'll upload some pictures of the computer installation on the table later.
    GA-K8VM800M, Sempron 64 2800+, 512mb DDR400, D-Link USB BT, Linksys .11g NIC, 250gb IDE, BU-353, SIR-ALP1 w/ MJS, DSATX 220w, DWW-700H

    Worklog: http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=65059
    Now with pictures!

  8. #8
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    One more fan-good luck!!

  9. #9
    Constant Bitrate randomjohn's Avatar
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    Not much to report today. I added pictures above in post #2 so if nothing else, this will bump the thread so you can go look at those.

    I got the DWW monitor yesterday. Feels nice and sturdy. I also got the Logitech microphone, so I'm going to rip that apart. I'm going to do something similar to what Webdog did here

    a good button mic?

    but I'm just going to mount the pcb somewhere in the glove compartment and whatever length of cable runs up the huge stand I'll run somewhere inconspicuous on the dash and stick it down. It'll probably be a little ghetto but I don't want to deal with the hassle of trying to extend the cable and running it all the way around the windshield to mount on the rearview mirror. I don't mind a 9" run of wire covered by black tape on a black dash for now.
    GA-K8VM800M, Sempron 64 2800+, 512mb DDR400, D-Link USB BT, Linksys .11g NIC, 250gb IDE, BU-353, SIR-ALP1 w/ MJS, DSATX 220w, DWW-700H

    Worklog: http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=65059
    Now with pictures!

  10. #10
    Constant Bitrate randomjohn's Avatar
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    Well, yesterday was completely frustrating. In tweaking XP I somehow screwed up RoadRunner so bad that it would completely lock up every time I loaded it, no matter what skin, etc. So I figured this would be a good time to upgrade to XP64. Woops. No drivers for anything. Even the disk GigaByte shipped with the motherboard didn't have 64 bit drivers for the on-board features. So back to XPPro it was. At least the system is entirely clean again. Just Firefox, RoadRunner (and all the crap it needs), and the K-Lite codec pack. So just when I thought I was about ready to switch over to the car battery and test everything I had a big setback on the software side. That forces me to take another week playing and tweaking the front end before I can start installing.
    GA-K8VM800M, Sempron 64 2800+, 512mb DDR400, D-Link USB BT, Linksys .11g NIC, 250gb IDE, BU-353, SIR-ALP1 w/ MJS, DSATX 220w, DWW-700H

    Worklog: http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=65059
    Now with pictures!

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