I am gonna try and make this the most authoritative Car PC thread on Legacy GT forums; linking to past attempts and other threads as well as offering advice on how to do one for yourself.
Obviously don't expect my work to be on par with either West Coast Customs or Unique Autosport...Heck not even Car Boutique of Schaumburg, IL but it is reasonable to say I came across most hurdles and since I have done most work myself - I have gained some knowledge. What I have done is neither the best and I hope nor the worst job one could do and like most people, I worked on a budget.
First - if you want in car navigation - the easiest and cheapest way is to get an aftermarket portable navigation: Garmin; Lowrance i-way; Tom-Tom - there's so many of them that you lose track of all those names. Some have big hard drives that allow you to store music, movies; they're portable and easily moved from car to car and certainly is theft-proof since they can be removed from sight whenever you park the car. Maps are easily uphgradeable...and I have not even scratched the surface for the list of advantages. Some disadvantages include usually listening to music/navigation thru an FM transmitter which is a pain in urban areas; small HD; small screen among others.
But what if you are a music buff and have 10 gb of music ? Or perhaps you spend a lot of time in the car that you probably want more from your car - perhaps ability to play DVDs (DANGEROUS) to your kid while driving; watch TV or need a back-up camera ? Perhaps you want to monitor some car parameters? Or you simply hate cables and things hanging from the windshield (which is illegal anyways in some states) ? What then ?
There are always a number of aftermarket manufacturers of extremely good navigation/car entertainment packages: Pioneer; Kenwood; Eclipse; Alpine and many of us have gone that route. They cost about 2000 dollars when done and certainly do the job better than anything else you will ever be able to squeeze in a car.
The alternative to aftermarket navi solutions is building a Car PC which has several advantages:
1) highly customizable (choice software, hardware)
2) ever improvable
3) cheaper to build
4) bling factor ? Think that Windows XP logo in the middle of your dash
I chose a Car PC because I wanted to try some unique features (navi, multimedia, TV, camera, OBD-2) that would have been pretty expensive to implement using the aftermarket infoteinment options available.
There are a few websites as well as a few threads that one should become familiar with, before attempting such a project.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
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www.mp3car.com The mothership: will have EVERYTHING from the knowledge database to the hardware and software to purchase.
www.newegg.com For most computer cables, USB hubs, adaptors and everything else in between.
www.xenarc.com Makers of the Xenarc Monitors
www.mini-box.com Car PC Automotive Computing Solutions
www.logicsupply.com Another great store for your micro computing needs (cases, drives).
www.gnetcanada.com 7 inch motorized VGA in dash display
www.globalsources.com In-dash Panasonic Car LCD Monitor
www.autonode.com 7" 1-DIN In-Dash Motorized VGA LCD Monitor
www.digitalww.com Yet another 7 inch in dash monitor
www.usglobalsat.com USB GPS units
www.tigerdirect.com USB touchpad controllers (also available from Newegg)
www.3dconexion.com Neat Space Navigator controller (to replace the mouse/touchpad) for your Car PC - similar to the I-DRIVE (BMW) or MMI (AUDI) controllers
www.ccstick.com Neat controller like AUDI's MMC or BMW's M-drive button for your Car PC
www.rallitek.com JDM, AVO, Rallitek (call it what you want) Clock Relocation Kit for the 05-06 LGTs
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2005+ Subaru Legacy GT Car PC Projects
Stage3Legacy's install - MP3Car.com Forums
JiMb0's install - Subaru Legacy Forums
foobark's install - Subaru Legacy Forums
NSFW's install - Subaru Legacy Forums
3 Solutions for an AUX input for the 2005-2006 Subaru Legacy GT
f1anatic's cost breakdown: $1,000
NSFW's cost breakdown $1,500
You need to budget about 1300 dollars.
- Screen $400
- Computer $500
- Power Inverter $100
- GPS $100
- Software (front end & navigation - together or separately) $200
The prices are just to form an idea. At the time of print (29 December 2008) you can buy a BU-353 GPS from MP3CAR.com for $55
dollars. The screen that most of us have: Xenarc 700TSV is nowadays $365 and the Carnetix Power Inverter precisely $100. Most of us have an older laptop somewhere around or can get either a new one like this EEEPC can be had for as little as 220 dollars on Newegg but you surely can go overboard and spend a lot more. Navigation and front end software is another choice: there is the free Road Runner or the elegant, OEM-like Centrafuse which can be had from 125-250 dollars.
As you can see there is a lot of room for savings or spending when building a CarPC. You can easily overspend but you can certainly do it for 600 dollars. Listed above is just the price of the parts - tools and or custom labor performed by others is a different matter.
I wish you Great Success !
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Miscellaneous Threads here on LGT forums
Factory fit bolt in aftermarket screen, carputer, navi, video - Subaru Legacy Forums
The I just want to see pix of installs thread... - Subaru Legacy Forums
Dual HVAC, Double Din, XM, Back up Camera Finally Finished - Subaru Legacy Forums
How to remove the factory radio - PDF
I will update this TOC as time allows.
About my system
Xenarc 700 TSV touchscreen monitor
Toshiba Staellite 3005 (with bad monitor) 1 GHz, 512 Mb RAM; 60 Gb hard drive
BU-353 GPS receiver
Front end Software: Centrafuse build 4.5 (c) 2006
Navigation: iGuidance v.3 North America (c) 2006
plenty of USB cables
Serial to USB adapter (for OBD-2)
Hauppauge USB TV tuner
Carnetix smart startup-shutdown controller
Jazzy MT aux input to the OEM headunit
Adesso USB touchpad with programmable buttons
I would like to thank all my forerunners in this field for inspiration and advice: Sebbery; Prelude/Stage3legacy ; Darkforx1; my Father who has lent me his tools and often a helping hand; the helpful people at MP3car.com.
Here are some specs of my CarPC:
DWW-700M motorized indash touchscreen
Via EN15000G mobo
MS-ATX power supply
1GB DDR2 ram
BU-353 GPS rec
O/S: XP sp2 n'lited
Nav: Microsoft Mappoint
Sound: Turtlebeach Roadie USB
Gamepad: Logitech wireless gamepad
OBDII: Tactrix cable
DVD: Slotload DVD-RW USB 2.0
Internet: Connection via Blackberry device (t-mobile service)
just a question, i would like to build a car pc in my ride, right now i have the kenwood ddx-7015, kenwood gna-510 navigation and the kenwood i-pod interface thing.
Just wondering what other stuff would i need to build the PC. any input would help??
With regards to the fabrication of the clock relocation bracket for the 2005-2006 Legacy GT cars; I have discussed it here:
My alternative to the $ 200 relocation kit: peer critique plz. - Subaru Legacy Forums
Simply put it; I found the 200 dollar AVO bracket to be too expensive to be worth it. It depends from person to person but to me; my end result (UNPAINTED as of 15 Jan 2007) is acceptable.
With regards to the screen, the cubby on our cars is 6.5 inches long and the space between the HVAC ducts is something like 7 inches. The Xenarc monitor is something like 7.3 inches long so I ended up cutting the monitor's edges and upper corners to make it fit. This is the solution adopted by Prelude (see the MP3car link) but Sebbery decided to mount just the screen and the circuit board - fabricating a new bezel by himself. This way one does not cut thru the housing of the monitor. Regardless; the warranty on my 400 dollar Xenarc touchscreen lasted about 4 hours.
I must mention at this time that there are a number of other monitors such as Lilliput that are much cheaper but perhaps not as good as well as several in-dash monitors such as the Xenarc 700 IDT which is a mechanical flip-out screen - similar to most aftermarket navi screens. Unfortunately, the housing is about 8 inches long and there are plenty of hurdles in making that fit inside our dash. You may read at your leisure about it on the www.mp3car.com website. There are a few other in dash monitors available both 1 DIN and 2 DIN but for any in dash solution you will need the AVI 1 DIN/2DIN kit and will end up cutting in the dashboard. For some people it worked great using other "bulky" units (fweasel)...others like me were discouraged.
Here are my pictures but I will edit at a later time; to include Prelude's pictures - to make for a complete walk-thru. Mine just complement his.
The full set of installation pictures by Prelude are available here:
2005 Subaru Legacy GT install - MP3Car.com Forums
As you can see; I had to cut the edges off the housing of the monitor. I also had to cut the upper left/right hand corners; to be able to "lift" the monitor - and have access at the front panel buttons (these functions are also available thru the remote control)
I have modest goals in mind. The picture showing the screen already installed in the car represents my targeted end-result: Prelude's install (although he has since revised it).
my screen setup is the same as yours, but i just need some pointers as to what kind of hard drive and other parts to get??
Also, would it work with the kenwood screen that i have already in my car...
It will most likely NOT work. I doubt the kenwood is touchscreen enabled thru a USB cable (as my Xenarc).
Keep reading as I will add to it. Since I use a laptop - I had to buy a 60Gb hardrive 2.5 inch format. But I believe if you build your own car computer you will need a different type of HD - still a 2.5 inch format. Look it up on the www.mp3.com website.
awesome collection of links and info. I'll see if I can't add a few things.
As a mention of hardware specifics..
The carPC/carputer/mp3car market has improved quite a bit in the last 3-4 years. As such theres a lot of stuff thats a TON easier now than before.
The two biggest factors in having a carputer would be heat and power.. Of course if you live in the south you know the interior of your car can get pretty warm in the summer months..
Because of these 2 factors, the miniITX motherboard platform is probablly your best bet with this kind of applciation. It is for the most part a normal motherboard, the I being that its an integrated CPU. This keeps heat and power down from other boards such as Matx that I have seen some other people use.
Another advantage would be that mITX boards are very small (about a 6"x6" square) and can be fit about anywhere if you have the proper airflow.
The easist thing to do obviously is to use an mITX case however (I'll dig through my bookmarks and link to this stuff in a sec) such as the "ampie" that mp3car sells (its also sold by another name elsewhere but I cant locate the website) This case, like most of the mITX cases is made of machined aluminum and has a very easy slide in/out design for the component board.
Ok.. I guess thats all I have on systemboards..
You CAN run a simple a/c DV converter and run a small psu or laptop if you want.. but.. this is kind of the old way of doing things.. the best way to get clean power to your carputer obviously is to run a direct DC/DC psu. I run an M1-ATX. It offers standard power on/off like a caraudio amp, but also has a jumper setting on the psu itself to soft power your system in 15 seconds, 30 seconds, 30 minutes, and on up.. I was disappointed it did not have a 15 minutes because Ithought that would be best.. but 30 works fine too.
The M1-ATX is only about 90w, but when you use an mITX form factor motherboard, its generally more than enough power. The exception being if you run a 3.5" harddrive, cdrom, and lots of usb options, you may need to go with something larger.. or a usb hub thats powered to take the load off the psu.
I wired mine through a relay switch directly to the battery with accessroy on the ignition. Baiscally, if the relay is on, when the car starts the pc will boot. Once you turn the ignition off, the pc will keep running until the preset jumper time, then soft power the system down. The 5v rail will continue to run so usb devices will still have lights and whatnot on them, but the PC will not be on. The power consumption on just the 5v rail is relativley low and isn't a problem for long stays, but its best to power the system down yourself and hit the relay before going in at night or any time the car will sit for days just to make sure you can leave when it comes time to do so.
When talknig about wiring the legacy.. theres no real easy way to get wiring into the cabin.. the grommets are all ill placed it seems for under hood and cabin routing. What I wound up doing for my direct battery run was running through the grommet thats about... 8-10" above the turbo on the passenger side. This comes through behind the a/c system.. but fishing it in with a coat hanger proved that it would eventually show itself in the floorboard. I then routed it under the carpet into the kick panel and down the door jamb like any other wiring.
Some of this is redundant.. especially considering the kind of person to do this kind of thing generally knows this already, having done their own audio installs n whatnot in the past, but if this is going to be a complete post, then I figured I'd add what I can.
You saw in the links in the 1st post some legacy installs and some PC placement ideas. I originally had mine mounted to the back of the center fold down armrest trunk thing.. it was the perfect size for the carputer and made working on it very easy. The bad thing about it was short of screwing into the arm rest.. there was no easy way to mount it.. using velcro proved to.. well.. beat my harddrive to death.. I later moved it in place of the spare tire well foam tool bag thing.. I traced the foam tool cup on some ply wood, and went over it with the saw, belt sander etc. until it fit. I then put some wood on the sides of it so that it would support the floor. I drilled holes in it, ran screws in from the bottom and put peices of rubber hose between the computer and the board on the screws for shock mounting. This.. plus the spare tire.. seems to hold it well in the hole. I had planned to paint mine but I got carried away and before I knew it it was in the trunk working heh. The good thing about this is.. no trunk space wasted! no visible carputer to steal! it snot under the seat so detailers and the dealer wont bump it with a vaccume or passengers kick it. the bad thing about it is its a small enclosed space that can easily turn into stale air.. and that the mufflers are on either side of the well, making it hotter than the rest of the trunk. I compensated this by getting 2 small fans from newegg.com.. they each do about 11cfm and make no audible noise when the car is running. (small vibrating noise when the cars off)
Dash and Screen..
Ah yes, by far the most frustrating difficult and important peice of your carputer.. the part that makes the difference between "uh.. you did that yourself didnt you?" and "WOW! you did that yourself?!" unfortunatley.. with the perhaps permanent hiatus of my project for a bolt in solution for this.. as far as I know there are currently no projects going on for any buyable drop in kits for the screen. This leaves you with a few options:
1. fiberglass. If you're good at fiberglass, you already know you can make anything with enough time and patience. The easiest way to do fiberglassing would be to start with the factory non-navi cubby trim. This is because theres less cutting to do (just 1 small bar in the gap) and theres alerady a botom lip. You may find it best to build up the other lips in this bezel to sit the screen back some for visibility. Also, all the bezels position things at a very slight angle towards the driver, so.. that should work out well too.
2. Navi bezel and custom brackets. This is what I was trying to do.. an unmodified navigation bezel with a drop in bracket kit that fits your aftermarket screen. You'd just take apart your 700ts/tsv, drop itin, and assemble it then push it in your dash.. But.. we wont go into that. Using the navi bezel you quickly learn things are tight behind the cubby and between the a/c vents for your 7" screen. The benefits of the factory navi bezel is that its already formed, theres no paint matching or excessive fiberglassing work, this is really a better choice for those of you who dont want to go the fiberglass'd look. Benefits aside however, there is a slight disadvantage in that the factory navi bezel is ~6.5x3.75 and the screens viewable area generally is 6.5x4. This means you have a small amount of vertical cutoff that is the exact size of the taskbar in windwos XP @ 800x600 on a Xenarc 700tsv. this means if you watch anime or something thats sub'd, you will only get half the words, you may not know how much health you have in doom etc. But.. you can adjust this of course within your touchscreen software (such as roadrunner.. adjust your skin.ini to fit the new visible area) and you're on your way.
The biggest impact on your install about this viewable area however is not just what you can see.. its how you mount the screen. In our first design of the drop in kit, we basically burned out one of the screens touch controllers. If you put pressure in a rectangle around the touchable areas of the screen, it overwhelms the touch controller and smokes it. so. if you plan to use this method it is MANDATORY that the screen only have pressure in the mounting brackets on the outer edges of the screen where xenarc held it in their case. You can probablly just build a shelf.. and stand the screen off with small rubber bumpers on each of the 4 corners so your pressure comes from the housing and not the bezel.
3. fold out screen. I have seen this done in a few places.. I didn't really like the idea because of having to cut your cubby support bracket to clear a deep radio, and the look of the dash winds up looking like you have 2 radios. This method does work probablly the easiest out of the 3 however. As it is my understanding, you buy the cubby to din converter, chop out the supoprt bar in the back of the cubby, put in your brackets and buy a simple fold out VGA touchscreen (mp3car has one) and there ya go.. This is imo the easiest.. but least custom route to go.
theres other ways of doing this I'm sure, if you're doing a carputer project imo you already have some creative juices flowing and we'd all love to see what you come up with.
I thought I should have a whole section to this.
You'll read a lot of opinions and information on mp3car about screens, but basically there are 2 major brands.. Xenarc and Liliput.
Some people have argued that Xenarc has a better picture functions and are more reliable, but the overall conclusion I have come to is that they are about equal in reliability. I went with Xenarc on my project and was designing the drop in kit based on one just.. because.. I didn't really have a reason other than I already had one, and it seemed most other people did too heh.
The Xenarc screens currently are not transreflective. This means that you wont be able to see it very well during the day.. you can compensate for this by offsetting the screen into the dash deeper whenyou do your install, window tint.. keepnig the moonroof cover closed, and using light colors in your daytime interface skin... Liliput does not make a transreflective screen either, however mp3car does.. The screen they use is based off of a liliput 627 (iirc, this is w/o looking) and is slightly larger than the xenarc in its physical dimensions. The transreflective upgrade makes a CONSIDERABLE difference (check out their store and watch the video) during the day for visibility. One of the things I really wanted to do was switch to a transreflective screen in my car.
The Xenarc screens run about $400 new for the TSV, I think 350? for the TS. The Liliputs dont seem to go as high, hovering around the $350 range. The transreflective screen.. is $679.. its considerablly more expensive, for considerablly more visibility.. I should warn you now that this carputer project can VERY quickly eat money if you dont keep a tight leash on your imagination and "gottahaveit" factor.
OK, link time
www.mp3car.com mentioned several times.. an endless knowledge base of anything and everything you may want to do with your carputer from the practical to the outrageous, you wont ever need to post in the forums there if you are good with your search parameters (and they dont like to reply to repeats.. speaking from experience :P)
http://www.mini-box.com/ A great looking place with some cool ITX parts, motherboards, cases, looks like from visiting the site just now they're actually selling LCD boards now too.
http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/forumdisplay.php?f=93 Link to the Roadrunner faq in mp3car. This will contain the download links and any question you may have about the software. Theres other software including mediacar, but iirc roadrunner is open source and therefore a lot more customizeable.
I think thats all I can add, I'm out of links..
oh yea.. heres one more
www.avoturboworld.com sells the information center relocation bracket.If you have non-navi and you're going carputer, you need this. In 05s you also need a wire harness fix (I'm sorry, we're sold out of them!!! :( :( :( ) as the 05s have an extra 2 wires that power the airbag light. Without the wires the airbag light stays on in your dash.. we're not clear on what it'd do in an accident. 06s.. you dont need to worry about the harness.
The info center relocation bracket is designed for RHD cars, so you will need to take a dremel to it It's fairly easy to do, just line it up,I used a whiteout pen to make markings where I needed to dermel to and just went to town, the whole process only took about 30 minutes.
One last thing..
www.subaruparts.com part # 66060AG07A this is the 06 navigation trim bezel. part # 66060AG05A is the 05/06 cubby bezel. Both of them include the a/c vents.
Hope this helps, happy modding!
My small contribution - integrated Valentine 1 radar-detector, "V1 Virtual Display" software:
With regards to the clock relocation kit.
There is NO need to splice the wires. I found out that if you just "delete" the plastic push-pin bracket that currently holds the clock/trip meter assembly attached to one of the walls under the dash, you are able to extend it enough downwards to make it reach the new location. I am not sure now if you are able to make it work with the AVO relocation kit since I mounted mine at a different angle. I believe either way you will have to cut thru a certain plastic tab to accomodate the harness. I have a few pictures but they are at home. Will attach it later to this thread.
Bottom line, I was able to do move the clock/info meter
without cutting ANY wires; using the original harness. I did cut thru the aforementioned plastic bracket though - which seems less detrimental than say cutting the dashboard support pillars as in the case of the AVO single DIN. To be more precise: I carved a portion of it - the bracket is still there and I did not affect the structural rigidity of that "assembly" - I just took away a portion of it to practice this passage for the harness. It will be more clear when I post the pictures.
With regards to the mounting of the PC and the power source: I wholeheartedly concur with Darkfox1. I chose teh Carnetix DC-DC smart controller with similar features as the M1/M2-ATX unit that he described. I am a firm believer in as many safety nets as possible. I would NOT recmmend wiring your computer or monitor directly to the battery ... and not even the cigarette lighter - even if that is fused at the car and fused at the cig lighter itself. This being said, my power source is "fused", connecting to the cig lighter (the dashboard one) with another fused thingie...and the cig lighter source itself is fused in the main fuse panel. I hope I would rather burn a few fuses than a 400 dollar touchscreen.
I will attach my power source unit in the trunk, hanging from one of the screws under the 3rd brake light. The source itself
is ventilated by a fan and will have the entire trunk space around it filled with air, to ensure adequate cooling. And the more powerful (more wattage) it has: the cooler it will work.
I will mount the laptop in a little custom plastic box: will attach a 12v fan to complement its existing cooling capacity and dampen vibrations with some foam. I will attach to the back wall of the trunk with velcro (at least this is the current thought). Obviously a built in pC is better but the laptop was available to me free: it is a pre-assembled package and I find having a battery an advantage since I can be sure the computer will shut down nicely even if I just yank the key out of the ignition. Sure the battery will only hold charge for like 15 min but that is plenty of time for the software to turn off the computer / or make it hibernate.
With regards to the screen, obviously one of the reasons I chose to modify the original housing is to prevent excessive tap force being applied to the screen and burning the controller. As I said - and look to the pictures again - I just shaved the edges off the housing - the rest of the components will fit right in and the entire housing will be assembled back with the OEM screws. Takes some accurate measuring and a steady hand at using the Dremmel (do not try after a night of heavy partying) but nothing too dramatic that one cannot handle.
I was looking at replacement controllers
but 1 lb ? No way !
this is what I have right now
oh yea, the fuses, I kind of left that off sorry. I have mine fused at the battery, just before the relay, and back by the carputer, fusing is a good idea and I certainly agree, you would much rather blow a fuse than a touchscreen. heh, btw.. your xenarc cig. lighter plug has a fuse in it.. but the a/c adapter does not.. if you use the a/c adapter at all for the screen and something is wrong.. it will fry the screen. I'm speaking from experience there :P
sebbery, is that still an ITX mobo? I haven't seen any that small, I'd like to see pics of that that would be very cool. I have heard that plexi is not a very good material for cases by the way it handles heat, but I dont recall any technical explanation on that one.
oh yea, for keyboard and mouse I got a small all in one RF keyboard called a "scorpion" apparently.. its a rebadged no name into another no name lol, but it has a full feature keyboard with an analog stick like a psx controller has to use for mouse pointer. It works very well if you just cant get your fingers on something on the screen. but you need to keep the receiver close to the keyboard or you get a lot of interferance (from my experience) I got it from www.pcalchemy.com he sells a lot of them there, mostly for HTPCs I think.
awesome thread! I think I'm going to get rid of my current set up and just start all over again from scratch. the screen, PC, all of it.
Have you seen the new Toshiba 7" units? or the Sony's?? I may have to bring my bezel into Best Buy and see how it'd fit...
I have some trouble getting the OBD-2 feature to work with Centrafuse. I use the Cobb AP with a serial-to-usb converter. The solution is good enough for TARI DataLogger (it works). Nighthawk and I tried for 1 hour to make it work tonight and to no avail.
Display Name - OBDII
COM PORT - COM4 (for me, the same port used by the Tari Racing Software)
BAUD RATE - 9600 (we tried the lowest, the highest - did not work)
OBDII DEVICE - ELM 320,322,323 or ELM 327 (which one; tried both did not work).
In the end, all it did say was connecting. But it was saying that for far too long, with engine running...so I know it did not work. Advice needed. Thanks.
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