Here's the obligatory car photo
After years of wasting time I finally decided to throw all this stuff into my car. I was originally considering upgrading my stock system to support bluetooth. However the price of the BT kit is close to 700 bucks, which is pretty much the price of components for a car PC - so I decided to build the car PC instead.
- Keep the stock amp and speakers and keep the function of the steering wheel controls.
- Everything powered from one source, with the smallest possible power load
- Easy removal of PC when needed, with secure mount
- Bluetooth for all peripherals
To meet these, here's what I have so far for the system:
- Lilliput 629 mounted in Rich's bezel, taking power from the car PC
- N1000 NanoITX based system w/ 1Gb RAM
- M1-ATX for the power
- Inline 10A fusebox from the battery to the car PC
- IBUS controller from Ralf Resler (v5) for steering wheel controls
- Freedom Mini BT keyboard for keyboard entry
- W810 SE cellphone for DUN
- Holux GPSlim 240 for GPS
- Turtle Beach Roadie for 4-channel sound, mounted inside the car PC
- Silverstone LC08 Nano-ITX chassis
- Audiocontrol Matrix line-driver with power from the car PC
- SVEN4 (not pictured) for interfacing matrix to stock AMP
- Intel 2200 MiniPCI card for wireless B/G
- Dlink USB BT DBT-120
- XP for the OS
- A flat panel TV mount to lock the car PC to the ceiling of the trunk.
- Standard fare shock dampeners to absorb impact since the flat panel mount rattles a bit.
Most of the components have also been chosen due to the fact that they have built-in driver support in XP.
- People have asked me about the quality of the Freedom keyboard- yes it sucks, but it does work under XP w/SP2, no drivers required. It is 100% plastic.. you get the feeling it may break or snap in half if you press the keys too hard (the keys have zero tactile feedback)...
Here's the obligatory car photo
The Lilliput didn't quite fit into the bezel, so some fabrication was needed. I also used some standoffs and a glue gun to secure it and separate the PCB from the back of the screen by about 3/4". You have to do this as the screen gets pretty hot (moreso at the top of the screen than anywhere else). Below you can see the offset and the final mount.
Mounting the case to the trunk was painful. Good thing BMW has knock-out inserts (they are the small panel cutouts with 4 spot welds). WIthout these it would be impossible to mount the fastening screws in place.
I put one half of the flat panel mount on the car PC case, and the other half on the ceiling of the trunk inerior.
The flat panel mount has security screws, removable with a custom allen wrench. They are mounted facing the front of the car just to make it harder to get them out.
Here's the finished car PC.
The Turtle Beach Roadie and hard drive are in the left side of the chassis, separated by a custom bracket.
I re-wired the PS2 mouse port cable to the second USB port. The Roadie's audio output cable now extends from the PS2 port.
There are three power connectors on the rear of the case, connected to the M1-ATX. The first providing battery power input, the second ignition, and the third power to the Lilliput 629. A fourth will be added to power the Audiocontrol Matrix.
In order to get everything in the case almost every cable had to be cut and shortened, which took some time. The power switch was replaced with a piece of plexiglass - the M1-ATX has a pot that sits right in the way of the switch!
I used an external CD reader to install the OS onto the 2.5" laptop drive.
For testing purposes I modified the stock power brick's PSU cable and added a extra + output to the ignition connector. (its the Y cable below). This works quite well and the PSU is also intelligent enough to switch off should you miswire the M1-ATX.
just want to say u have a hot car. i will alwayse love bmws and ur installation looks amazing. i have an x3 and i might have to copy some of your designs.
i just have some dashboard space issues b/c there is no real place to put the heat controls and ****.
Hey konfoo, can I ask you a favour? Can you help me get my Freedom Mini Keyboard working? I cannot find drivers. I manage to connect to it but it doesn't not do anything asked customer support and nothing. I see you got it running. Can you shed a light for me? I was gonna put it on ebay in few days since I wasted so much time trying to get it to work.
Thanks . When I first started building this I considered mounting the entire system behind the screen. However even though it is a nano-itx, the heat sink is huge and the 2.5" hard drive + touchscreen generate a fair amount of heat. I don't think it would last long in the dash or glovebox without redirecting some A/C (and then you could have condensation issues).
You could also mount the PC under a seat - the chassis I am using fits under my front seats. I considered using the flat panel mount to bolt the chassis to the floor or underside of the seat to prevent removal, but it actually has worked out easier to install it in the trunk.
1. Add a device from the windows BT control application
2. Turn on the Freedom, hold the link button till the BT light starts blinking
3. Click my device is ready for connection from the BT control app wizard
4. Set 'use custom code' and enter 0000 in the textbox in the BT wizard
5. Wait until the app prompts you to enter your code
6. Pick up the keyboard, type 0000 and then enter
7. Voila your keyboard is paired
Well this evening I got off my dead *** and installed the bezel. Unfortunately I ordered the incorrect AC relocation P/N, so that will have to wait until tomorrow. I am fully expecting Irvine BMW parts department to bend me over a barrel but this is the price one pays for a f! up.
I extended the IR from the Lilliput (just desoldered the eye and attached it to a cable run). It will sit next to the DSC tab.
I decided against putting the SVEN4 up front, instead I will just wire it by tapping the harness in the trunk. This wiring diagram is the one that is correct (the others I have found are incorrect and/or the active terminals or colors dont match up) - http://e46fanatics.com/faq/stereosaga.html
The only thing running to the front of the car is a microphone w/ cable, 22AWG cable to power the lilliput from the carpc when it is turned on, and VGA/USB for the screen. Keeping everything in the trunk makes maintenance down the road a lot easier.
I should add that having everything wired to a carpc using a low-power PSU is extremely handy. The whole system here was tested with the battery off. I just ran a extension cable from an outlet to the nano itx power brick which is outputting 12vdc and split (as noted above) to power and ignition. Very handy for debugging the M1ATX's power suspend modes. And any lengthy upgrades can be done without the car running. Just plug the carPC into the wall power, and access it via remote desktop.