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Carputer:

Dell Optiplex GX150
513MB Ram
Pentium 3 Processor 1GHZ
120MB IDE Hard Drive
Linksys WRG 54 Wireless PCI Card
Lilliput 7" TFT Touch screen
M2-ATX 12v to 12v PSU
Iogear USB Bluetooth Adapter
Holux GPS USB Sirfstar 3

The Vehicle:

08 Xterra Off-Road with tech pack (Rockford Fosgate System) Bluetooth phone.

Sound:

Stock! HU (Rockford)
Rockford 3sixty.1 Sound Processor- Allows for stock HU to be equalized like an aftermarket.
Front and Rear Polk MMC6500 6.5 Components
Pioneer 600W 4 CH X 75w @4ohm (Polks are 100w peak @4ohm)
Pioneer 760W 2 CH for 1 12inch sub(OLD polk)
5000k Farad Capacitor.

Starting with the idea: IMPOSSIBLE! without www.mp3car.com

I have wanted a Carputer/Carpc for sometime. I have researched self contained in dash units and products like the pioneer AVIC series etc. The problem/solution is that I have the Rockford Package. I paid for it. Didn't really mind losing the HU however, I wanted to keep the Steering wheel controls and my Bluetooth Phone capabilities. I would say about 80% of hard core Carpc users have eliminated their HU's all together, and gone with a custom in dash mod for a 7" touch screen. With this it is expensive and difficult to be able to carry the capabilities of a HU to be controlled only from a PC. Connecting a PC into your Car speakers without a HU requires a high quality sound card, splitting RCA's etc.. There is currently no user friendly way to adapt your stock steering wheel controls to a PC. Some people might not mind if they don't work, however it would bother me having “Dead" controls on my wheel.

So what I know so far. I want to keep my HU with all of it's functions. Play music through my system, navigate with GPS, connect to internet, watch movies etc...

I decided since the lovely Rockford System came with a 3.5 din AUX input right on the dash that this would be a simple way to get my PC sound to the Car. Next battle. How do you power a PC in your car? DC to DC ATX PSU. Computers by build are natively 12 VOLT! So your PC at home takes it's 110 volt and reduces it distributing it 12V. I opted for a product at MP3.car which sells many of these PSU's. I bought an M2-ATX. Most modern motherboards are ATX (the big 24 wire connector to your motherboard from your PSU.

It's a Smart Automotive PSU that connects to an ignition wire and has several startup and shutdown methods set by a jumper. It comes with vague instructions, but detailed ones can be easily found online.

Here's the computer Setup:

Dell Optilex 150. These are so cheap on ebay now, you can even get upgraded models such as GX240 and so on. I got mine for free so why not right? For what it is begin used for it does not need to be a powerhouse. It runs a program that embeds several PC functions into one. I originally removed the mother board from the case so I could put it under the rear seat area. I fried something! Got another computer, for free again. Decided I would leave well enough alone this time. My rear cargo sub deck storage is shot anyways due to 2 amps and the sound processor, so id doesn't matter to me that this is in the cargo space. I tied the ground wire for the M2-ATX into the sound systems ground as well for the power(Before the capacitor and Amps). It has low draw (provided you don't run 700 USB peripherials from it) and the capacitor is a help. I placed the capacitor after the PC splice in. All you need now is an Ignition or accessory on to run. I brought mine back from behind the HU. Now I connected the on off switch (2 wire connector from the M2ATX wich represents what computer case would have coming from it's ON/OFF button) and the ATX to the mother board and that's it. Fired up!

UPDATE: I have upgraded to a new Mini ITX motherboard and 1GB of RAM. Also a 250G Laptop SATA HD.

The screen setup.
Lilliput 7" TFT Touch screen.

The screen connects to the CPU via VGA cable and a USB cable for the touch screen interface. All the software included and a good manual from Lilliput.. Very easy to setup and use.

UPDATE: Have sinced removed HU and implemented touch screen right into the dash, See page 4.

The Program:

I use a program called RoadRunner. These programs are called Front End. It is open source free ware created by forum members of MP3.car. Primarily by one person on the forum who goes by the Forum name Guino. This program is incredible, especially to be created by the people, for the people. I viewed others that did not come close, that you had to pay upwards of 200.00 bones! This in itself requires a lot of investigation and searching to understand. I didnt take me long and the FAQs explain just about everything.

This is the main menu interface. This is Road Runner with different SKIN (which there are countless) which fitted my needs. It is call ed Digital FX 2.0, another creation of a forum member JohnWBP.

As you can see there is obviously music, video, DVD (if you have DVD drive) GPS etc. There are several GPS programs that embed, and I use iGuidance3. If you hit the menu key again you get this screen:

UPDATE: Now using Digital FX 3.0 and Iguidance 4

The music is cataloged like any MP3 player. You can scroll and even search the library. The player also displays the album art ! In the music player on the right corner, you spin your finger in a circle just like the I Pod and it scrolls down! Awesome feature! I don't have a pic of the player fearing this post will be WAY TOO long.

UPDATE: The DFX3 skin now has an "I List" feature. If you have ever scrolled up or down with an I Phone it's the same thing. Drag up and the whole list flies upward fluidly and vice versa eventually coming to a gentle stop, If you haven't stopped it manually.

One of my favorite options is the weather, which gives you an up to date forecast. (provided you have or did have internet connection to the PC). You can use satellite maps, Doppler, and interactive weather:

This is only scratching the surface. So that is basically it for the Carpc itself. It is ties to the stock HU with a 3.5 to 3.5 (headphone jack cable). Oh, one more thing now the Bluetooth Adapter comes into play!

The Sound Setup:

NOTE: As stated by many members before. Our X's scratch way too easy! Cover, tape, and avoid sharp things! You can breathe on the plastic in the vehicle and it will scratch.

()() Running wires to the under cargo area is easy. You can find the bottom of the tub if you lift your seats up. I just drilled 3 holes through the plastic and it went through pretty easy()()

Like I stated above, I opted for a Rockford 3sixty.1 sound processor. It has High level inputs (Speaker wire) and low level outputs (RCAs). So the general idea is taking the output speaker wires form your stock HU and into the appropriate channels of the sound processor. Now the output can be supplied to amps. It is setup wirelesly using Bluetooth which they now have windows support. I bought a cheap BT adapter and now I can control the EQ from my touch screen! I used the 4 Channel amp to supply front and rear Polk Components (listed above). I will use the sub output to the 2 channel amp to supply one 12 that will eventually go in the cargo. This can be done by splicing the rear speaker high level inputs to the sub input as well. The stock system DOES NOT use RCA's anywhere.

Ok the really hard part I had to figure out. A factory system with a factory sub and AMP. As we all know the amp is located under the seat. Next to that is the Bluetooth box for trims with this option. Fortunately the Bluetooth is NOT tied into the AMP. It runs it's own wires up to and plugs into the HU. Lesson learned: Have to bypass factory amp. You cannot feed amped power from a 600W amp to a dinky probably 25 watt amp. I originally (embarrassed to say) ran wires from back of HU to sound processor in the Cargo, back up to behind the HU where I figured the wires went to the doors. Forgot about that AMP! Bad noise! I now had to take the wires “I thought" went to the speakers and bring them down to the amp. I disconnected the amps power harness and speaker harness. They are pretty discernible as in the power harness has larger Red, Yellow, etc,, wires. The speaker wire harness is the point at which the factory amp sent output to the speakers. So now I have taken out the factory amp and it's output harness needed to be spliced to my 4 Channel amps speaker outputs. This SUCKED! I fortunately through trial and error figured out the necessary wire colors and where they were associated. Here's the run down hopefully it can save someone some time! They are arranged top and bottom in line with each other so like colors are easy to figure.

Front Right - Red / Light Green
Front Left - Blue / Brown
Rear Right - Orange / Gray
Rear Left - Black / Green
Front Right Tweeter - Yellow / Gray
Font Left Tweeter- Pink / White

So now I am all hooked up! Sounds awesome. The 3sixty is worth it! I retained my 6 Disc changer, AM/FM RDS steering wheel controls etc. All I have to do when I want output from PC is hit my AUX button. Oh no! But Doug, what if I don't have the AUX in? Well friends. The 3sixty has beautiful 2 Channel RCA AUX in if you need it! That is about the gist of it. Aftermarket sound from my Stock HU, Retained full functionality, and have a 7" Touch screen that can play my 5,000+ Mp3's, GPS Navigate, check the weather, Traffic cams, play DVD, PC video formats, surf the internet, display local gas prices and directions, view pictures, auto copy media from flash or any source, rip CD's, and make coffee. Why the hell not right? That's it! Sorry for the choppy format and skipping around I wrote this sitting in my ambulance at work jacking Internet from a Gas Station at 4 :00 AM. Any other questions about the install please ask. Doug
 

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you can wire a pc inside your car but you cant post pics?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!?? CMON! YOU'RE KILLING US!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Such an inconveiniance not to be ablt to dircet paste, there uploadin hang on.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
If an admin wants to ditch this they can I'll try to arrange it properly. I'm really not use to this forum setpu, obviously.
 

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The way you post pictures here isn't any different than posting them on most other php based forums.

BTW. I fixed your images above. You forgot the closing /img tag.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Go to MP3.car forums. /Software and Development/ Front ends/ Road Runner...and then from there there is general topics including "skins" I use Digital FX2.0
 

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Nice looking set up. One of these days I need to post mine again.

What are you planning to ultimately do with the your Lilli screen?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Eh, hoping to embed it into the bezel. I need figure out how to adapt my steering wheel controls and the bluetooth as well. It actually wokrs niceley where it is. It's bolted down through that tray though so it is sturdy.
 

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So you'll give up your head unit then?

You should be able to get better sound quality that way, especially with the processor you have.
 

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Doug,

I'm following the thread over there for Brett's unit. Hoping it'll be ready shortly. I thought about doing the same as you and might still if he doens't finish up soon.

As forthe steering wheel - the PAC SWI-X will dothe trick, you just need to get an IR link to the PC ofr the RR interface to see it. it'll work real well.

Also - check mp3car.com for the fusion brain project. it'll add a lot more capability to the computer for CHEAP!

and if you dont' mind, I'm sure I'll be PM'ing you in the future...
Mike
 

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speedy_parker said:
Also - check mp3car.com for the fusion brain project. it'll add a lot more capability to the computer for CHEAP!
I'll second the recommendation for the Fusion Brain. I've got a ton of ideas on what to do with that thing. Now I just need to find some time (next week?) to get the whole thing installed.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Yeah PM away. I have seen the Fusion Brain and it is nice. With the current setup I'm really not getting the LOUD I wanted. I'm running components amped at the right Ohms and wattage but...I think with the fact that I have so many different devices handling the sound before it reaches the speakers, it might be the problem. With eliminating my HU I think I will still lose the built in Bluetooth System. It comes into the Factory HU with two wiring harnesses I have never seen before. The only think I could hope to do there is relocate the HU somewhere just to handle the Bluetooth (THAT WOULD NOT BE FUN).. Let me know what you guys come up with for your setups I'd be interested to see, being that I am very new to this.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I looked at the factory Bluetooth Box under the seat. It comes into the HU through a harness with about 7-8 wires? What they are all for I don;t know. Unfortunately to ditch the HU would have to ditch the integrated Blutooth I think... :(
 
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