2004 Nissan Sentra
Last month, I bought myself my first carputer from mp3car.com- an Ampie case with an M10000 board, 512MB of RAM, a 60GB hard drive, bluetooth, and a M2-ATX power supply inside, plus a 7" Lilliput touchscreen. So far it's just been sitting on my desk while I configure software.
Last week, I decided to get started on putting it in my car. First project- getting the screen in my dash. My biggest requirement for this project is that the screen must not be visible from the outside while the car is parked- I don't want to just hang a 7" 'STEAL ME' sign in my car. My '04 Nissan Sentra has a funny little compartment on top in the center of the dash that looks like it's just perfect for a screen, and I was rather inspired by Tony N's install.
Fortunately, as an enginnering student at the University of Colorado in Boulder, I'm in close proximity to the greatest hardware store ever, and I have access to both a full machine shop and a pair of laser cutters .
Well, after a week of wandering around the hardware store looking thoughtful, buying four kinds of hingest, four kinds of glue, a sweet little butane torch, and more bits and pieces than I care to count, cutting myself twice, ruining several pieces (two drilled too big, two cut too short, one melted), and swearing a lot about there being half an inch too little space in several directions... I have a prototype!
I say prototype because many of the parts are imperfect or made out of cardboard and duct tape. I'm pretty confident that with a few hours in the machine shop when I get the time, I can make a pretty slick final version of this.
I made a backing for my screen with 1/4" acrylic (I may try 1/8", if I find it's strong enough) by laser-cutting out the shape I want, then using my new butane torch to carefully bend it in two places. Then I tapped an unused screw hole on the top of one of those vents to take a small length of threaded rod, which the aluminum rods slipped onto. On the bottom of the backing is a pair hinged-on plastic things that can slide back and forth on the rods. On the top of the backing is a hinge fastening it to the lid. There's piece in the back (currently cardboard, planned to be acrylic) holding the back of the rods in place.
One day, I want to motorize this thing. No plan on that at the moment.. that will come after everything is installed, but I have some ideas.
is there a plan to maybe integrate the screen in a bit more?
Maybe a shroud to where you think it's not a screen propped in there but rather a screen that's part of the lid?
Interesting, since i might get a sentra i was looking for the exact same thing. I just believe that if you reinstall the lid button it might cover a bit of the screen.
I checked b15sentra.net and some people have done it with smaller screens but never with a 7''. Anyway, keep the good work, you're quite ingeniuos.
Edit: And one more thing, don't you think that the screen might be a little too far for the touchscreen to be practical? I've put my touchscreen in the bin of a sentra and i feel it's a bit far for reaching it while driving. Of course, i'm a bit short too. And you might want to chech chillboy and gizaks installs, but scpecially tony n's since he was also making a hideaway. Just in case you hadn't already, that is...
Sorry, haven't made a whole lot of progress. I laser cut and bent up some acrylic to replace the cardboard in the picture, but that's about it. The screen is a bit harder to move in and out than I hoped, so I want to motorize it now.
Unfortunately, the end of school and now the beginning of work has been keeping me busy, but I really want to get some more progress done on this soon.
Motorizing the screen isn't looking to be a simple project.. I need to select a motor (thinking about a servo modified for continuous rotation), work out the drive mechanism (thinking about a long screw drive or a simple belt drive), then build a circuit to control it all.
For the cheapo/do it yourself minded (like me) you could use an old cdrom drive mechanism... At least that's what i think..
Unfortunately, motorizing the screen turned out to be a much bigger headache than I first anticipated. I looked into four and eventually tried two different ways of doing it, and they all had very significant problems. I finally got tired of my computer collecting dust while I futz around with the screen mount, so last weekend I decided to just get the screen and computer installed and working, and then work on fancier features later.
I wrapped the screen backing I made in gaffer's tape (greatest tape EVER) to eliminate a squeak, ran all the cables behind the stereo and under the armrest to the computer, which I put under the driver's seat. I have to open the screen by hand (poor me), but it's not too bad.
Now I need to mount a USB hub to plug stuff into, find better input devices, and get the software just how I like it (can't wait for Centrafuse to be released...), and make a simple mixer for the line in jack (ATM it's pulled behind the face, plugged straight into the computer).
very nice. my mom actualy want to put a 7" monitor in her sentra that flips up in that compartment.
Great job, gives me a few good ideas