Check out my install(s).
Although it ain't neither my favorite car or the one i'd chose to make any cool installs on, it was a present from my dad when I graduated from college. It's a Speed Blue 2004 VW New Beetle 2.0l GLS with black/grey cloth interior, it's got stock sunroof, stock 16" wheels and four speed automatic transmission. I already have a Kenwood MP5028 head unit, a dbDrive PA475 amp and a 12" Rockford Fosgate P212S4 in a selad enclosure; they all will be replaced pretty soon (even sooner if I get to trade my car for a 2006 VW Jetta GLI 2.0TFSI DSG or an Audi A3 2.0TFSI... Love that engine and the DSG trans!).
Before I begin, this is totally an experimental project, which will be growing trough time. I'm not planning on making this system speciffically for the Beetle, it most be able to be fit in any other car, as well as require as little modification as possible.
I've been reading all over the internet for tips, checking out your installs and projects, it's been months of planning and now I'm ready to do my install! There are some really important things I haven't yet made up my mind about, but I've been trying lots of different programs to work with, have solved the fitting, spacing and wiring issues, have already bought the touchscreen and the slot-in DVD player (I even thought of getting a DVD+/-RW, but this one will do for now), got the power inverter...
So, here we go, ready to start!
First of it all, the fitting for the LCD in the dashboard will take quite some work, and as for I don't feel like having a huge hole in my dash board for months, I bought an extra main dash, the piece holding the air conditionin controls and the head unit. I'll be relocating the air conditioning controls and placing the LCD right over them and the head unit. It should take a little time to get it done properly, but I'm pretty sure the results will be pretty good.
I'm, placing the DVD-ROM in the glovebox, the wiring won't be that easy, but should work it out with not much of a problem.
I'm still making up my mind about using either a notebook or ATX based CarPC, depending on the notebook's pricing, I should make up my mind the most by wednesday. If i use an ATX MoBo, I think the beter choice will be an ASRock 775VM800, because it's cheap and has everything i want. In this case, I'm also still making up my mind about using notebook HD's or RAID 0 dual SATA HD's. I'll get a PC3200 512MB DDR (to start with, later on I might add an extra DDR), a Pentium 4 630 (LGA775) processor and a standard 300w PSU with a power inverter. If I use the notebook platform, I'll have most of the PSU issues solved by using an standard car cigarrette lighter DC-DC converter; I'm trying to get a used laptop, hopefully carrying a Centrino processor, but I don't want to either spend way too much money on it or buy anything lower than a Celeron 1.0GHz or Pentium 3 850MHz and 256MB RAM. The one thing that is certain, is that I'll be placing the MoBo in the trunk, just like Bugbyte did.
I'll be using a USB Bluetooth dongle to interact with my cellphone, I'll add an RF wireless keyboard that will be able to stand just below the front passenger airbag, otherwise being kept in a custom made enclosure below the backseat, and a trackpad which will be placed on the armrest.
The wireless and GPS systems are in hold until I get the rest of the system figured out.
I'll be running WinXP Home SP2, DFSL (Drivesoft Lite), FrodoPlayer and WinAmp (gotta keep trying them out...).
I hope to have some pics ready by this weekend!
Suggestiones and comments are all welcome!
I did already check your install's and got quite some inspiration from them...
Although, I think the screen is way too far to operate it by touch... I thought of doing something like you had originally planned, but it requires way too much modding and I'm not that good with tools (yet...), besides, as i already said, I'm planning on changing the car.
I agree, the touchscreen is pretty far away, plus it is really obvious when in use.
I'd look into the motorized foldout screen. The Beetle dash really can't be added to very easily without modding it.
I made up my mind and I'll be using a power inverter for now, with a D101GC MoBo and a Pentium 4 630, with 512MB of DDR400. I've chosen a Hitachi Travelstar 7K60 HD, 60GB at 7200RPM with 8MB buffer and a Pioneer DVR-K06 DVD burner (not much a difference for the price, so it was worth it). I'll be trying out the system this next couple of days to see how many watts it requires and then make up my mind about getting an OPUS 150 PSU.
I decided that I'm still gonna have a HU available, only i will take the HU apart and have the display installed on the roof dash, right beside the sunroof controls. I will use an old HU I have from a VW Golf I sold lontime ago; but I won't be using the tape deck, only the AM/FM radio and the CD changer controls (for my iPod); it also has the advantage of matching VW's original dash ilumination colors.
I'm actually pllanning to buy a Rockford Fosgate 3Sixty processor, and use a switch box to select the audio signal from the PC, the XBOX, the TV tuner or the HU. This way I should get a better and cleaner signal for my amps, as well as adjust it trough Bluetooth.
Notice that I had already installed the TV tuner and the XBOX as well as two headrest 7.2 displays with my audio install, so I won't be trhowing them away, I'll rather integrate them with the CarPC.
Next thing to figure out, is which GPS device is a better choice and choose the software to work with. Here in Mexico there are not many option on maps and stuff, so this will shorten the available options.
Although I already have an 8" touchscreen monitor, I'm thhinking of getting a Xenarc 700IDT, as for it would require way less modding in the dash... My other choice, is modding my monitor so it flips down and hides... Gotta check what's better cost effective!
One more thing... Just the other day I was driving home and saw a White 2004 Nissan Altima in a used car dealership, checked it out as for the price tag seemed quite a deal... I loved it! It is the 2.5 model, with black leather trim and brushed aluminium look-a-like details; might be considering it although it had a rather high mileage (52,000Km). Salesman said the car had been owned by an old lady, but I don't think an old lady would drive over 25,000Km a year...
This is pretty much how I would like my dash to look like. I know I didn't make much of an effort to make the image, but i guess you can get an idea...
I want to place the air conditioning controls behind the screen and use a couple of actuators to flip down the screen and show the controls.
That would be cool but how about putting servos on the HVAC controls and operating them from the computer? Then you wouldn't have to mess with a bunch of actuators.
BTW, that's quite a mod for the dash. Make sure you set up a worklog and take plenty of pics. I'm curious to see how you do it.
I don't actually think it is way too much modding, it will just take long to get properlly done... One thing, though: The shape of the dash ain't flat at all, that's gonna be interesting.
I think you're right about the servos, they might come cheaper! The thing is that I have no experience at all with them... But let's check out what comes out from this.
I thought of using only one actuator and two sets of memory coils to flip down the screen, maybe the servos will do a better job!
One more thing: I might be painting the whole dash in speed blue (just as the exterior of the car), so I guess texture won't be an issue!
Servos are dead simple. Even an idot like me could figure it out. Use this:
It's a servo controller from polulu.com. It connects to the serial port and you can run up to 8 servos with it. Just write a simple VB script and you tell the servo to set itself to one of 256 positions. Easy.
Here's some photos of the dash piece that I dredged up from my archives: