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I’ve put this up here so you can see what the first and second version looked like, bear in mind that the project has moved on a bit since I wrote the article and a lot has changed! Version 1 was installed around May-June 2003

Installing it in the Car (Version 1)

First things first is wiring it in. I've wired it in directly to the battery to ensure it has a good, reliable power supply and that it won't interfere with any of the existing car wiring. By the battery there's a 15A in line fuse for safety. In the dashboard, I've fitted a main power switch so I can turn it all on/off when neccessary...

One problem with the switches is that 3 I bought from halfords where crap - the live connected to the earth!!! I got a good quality one from my mate Dave, who helped a bit with the wiring, mainly in an advisory role and letting me use some of his tools!

The blank where the switch is mounted had to be cut to allow a nice flush fitment of the switch. Once again, the dremel tool was useful!

Once in, the wiring underneath gets tidied up to unsure nothing will ever fall onto my feet, and that I know what everything is.

The big red wiring is the live. It's actually something like 45A cable that I used for my amp in my last car, (before some bastards broke in a nicked the amp & sub!!!)

I've wired 3 outputs from the master switch, all safely wired in using the automotive wiring connecteds you get from halfords etc with insulation tape where required. I'm using a bolt under the dashboard as an earth. The Car PC has a 5A in-line fuse located inside the Car PC case, and the wiring to the FM modulator and screen have 3A fuses, which should keep us safe.

From the front, the dash switch looks like this: (It's the red one)

At this point we went onto the testing stage, and found that the car gives 12.5V when off, and 14.5V when the engine is running (from the alternator). This is outside the motherboard's range, so a voltage regulator was required. After a bit of searching on the net, I found one at this site: http://www.zorg.org/projects/carpc.shtml

After a visit to RS Components I came home with all the bits and here's what it looks like:

I've fitted it inside the PC case, and it works when the unit is connected to mains power and when connected to the car battery.

Once the wires for the screen, audio and FM modulator were in, all the wires where in, but the dashboard was all in pieces and looking a bit of a mess!

And with it getting quite dark (About 10:30PM!!) everything could go back together!!!

 

31st May - Build update

I've removed the FM modulator - it is NOT hi-fi quality. Luckily, because of the way my Car's ICE is installed there is another option. My head unit doesn't have an AUX in, but it doesn't actually use it's OWN amp for anything. The car comes with it's own amplifier, bolted in behind the passenger's seat inside one of the walls. It takes RCA input, so all I needed to do was make a switch to choose between them, which is going to be in the glovebox. Not my favorite option, but at least it will provide better quality sound.

Here it is...

It's simply a switch with 3 set of wires - 2 input, 1 output. Took about 10 minutes to solder the lot together. (OK that's a lie, about 30 minutes the RCA ends are bitches to solder onto!)

With the glovebox removed from the car, my fioncee Lisa cut a hole in it for the switch and mounted it. Here you can see it attached to the frame of the glovebox...

To elimate any ground noise or buzzing caused by the HDD from the Car PC, a 'ground loop isolator' was required. This was cheap as chips and got rid of the most irratating problem in the system! For a sturdy installation it's cable tied to a support to ensure that it doesn't go anywhere.

I've also moved the LCD screen into the glovebox. It's better there as it's not noticable while I'm driving. Here's what it looks like now. The IRman is also fitted there.

Version 4 - complete
Version 3 - obselete
Version 1/2 - in the MR2

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