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Old 07-25-2007, 07:14 AM   #1
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986 Carputer?

After looking through my options for an upgraded audio system in my 986, I'm thinking maybe a carputer would get the job done. I want the ability to play MP3's, navigation, mobile phone integration, and maybe some other guizmos that I most likely don't need.

There are literally dozens of questions as to how I'm going to get this done, but first things first: Has anyone already attempted this?

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Old 07-25-2007, 10:00 AM   #2
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I believe someone integrated a Mac Mini into a Boxster, once.

A carputer could be pretty neat... but would cost a lot for what you get out of it.

Personally, I'd find a MicroATX system, install it into an ammo can, wire it up in the front trunk and use a 7" touchscreen. Rig it up with a WiFi and Bluetooth controller, connect it to an amp to drive your speakers, wire up a mic for the wireless headset profile...

There's a ton you could do with it, but it won't be cheap, and it won't be easy...
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Old 07-25-2007, 11:45 AM   #3
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That's where it pays off to be a computer engineer =). I think I'm going to go with an ITX board. I've seen examples in other cars that fit right into the dash. With a custom enclosure, I'm sure I could throw a touch screen on the outside and flush mount it.

As far as cost is concerned, it's either this or an in-dash DVD player for show. Suprisingly enough, their about the same price.

For anyone who's interested in the concepts behind it all, http://www.mp3car.com has a nice faq on how it all works.

Last edited by cmarks20; 07-25-2007 at 11:48 AM.
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Old 07-25-2007, 03:20 PM   #4
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Carputer

I just read "Geek My Ride", which my local library happened to have. I have a 7" screen and HKS CAMP system that I'm going to put into my Boxster. The book had lots of info on carputers, but may be a little too basic for you. But I thought I'd throw it out there as a resource for ideas.

Personally, I think the Boxster would lend itself really well to a carputer. Think about it - the front trunk has a lot of space, it has the battery right there, the alternator has good output (120 A), and you only need to run cables through the firewall to the passenger compartment. It seems like the install of something would be easier in the Boxster as opposed to doing it in the rear trunk of a standard front engine car.

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Old 07-25-2007, 08:16 PM   #5
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Laptop

Seems to me you could disassemble a laptop and get the same thing accomplished with less space...
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Old 07-25-2007, 08:29 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dohertycm
Seems to me you could disassemble a laptop and get the same thing accomplished with less space...
Definitely... Find a decent used Pentium III laptop, free it of it's LCD screen, remove the keyboard and mount it in a box... use a touchscreen LCD in the dash and USB devices for what the unit doesn't have internally.
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http://www.zoto.com/frayadjacent/img...f27a-4a399.jpg <---- my car. ^ crap I post.

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Old 07-26-2007, 05:03 AM   #7
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Kirk, do you have a flip-out screen, or are you going to do a flush mount where the AC controls are usually? MP3car.com is missing some links on it's main page for some reason..... I was going to link a Boxster install they had there. They used a completely in-dash configuration, accented in Guards Red. It doesn't look bad at all, but he lost the cubby holes. The lower center dash (right behind the shifter) seems like it would have plenty of room. After all, besides the two pockets there, it's just open space in the back.

I've thought of using the laptop, but can't seem to find a ribbon cable to convert to a new LCD. The ribbon is pinned a bit different from a standard in-dash touch screen. I'll have to look more into it. I've seen some really hacked up carputers, and really don't want that. I love a clean install. An micro-ITX or even a nano-ITX solution seems like it would be efficient, just more expensive. The nano ITX boards are only 4.7" squares....I may be able to make a single DIN box and just live with one less pocket. I'll take some pics when I get a chance.

Rather than using a P3, I think I may go with a Dual Core, assuming I can find a decent ITX board that supports it. Cooling is another issue, but being that close to the battery, I'm sure I can manage to rig some kind of fan or even a water-cooled solution. Those water cooling setups for desktops are really efficient, and use barely any power at all.
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Old 07-26-2007, 05:45 AM   #8
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Don't bother playing around with a laptop. If you're interested in that route... go with a UMPC instead. I have a Samsung Q1 which I love and would make a much better base than the laptop since it has the touch screen already.
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Old 07-26-2007, 06:11 AM   #9
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I thought about that, but I just don't think the processors on those are powerful enough. Another issue is how you would expand one of those in the future. I'm sure most of the circuitry is proprietary; so fixing or expanding anything would be very limited .

I'm kind of leaning towards a VoomPC2 enclosure with an Aopen i945GMT. Those boards use socket M, so a Core2Duo processor will go nicely; not to mention functionality for 8 USB ports, 4GB of memory, and PCIe for enhanced video. Not bad for a 170mm square board. I just hope there is a riser so that I can stick a PCMCIA slot on there for wifi
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Old 07-26-2007, 07:50 AM   #10
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As for the laptop and the ribbon cable for the LCD, don't bother with that - use the VGA port on the back of the laptop!

a UMPC would be neat, but they're not all that cheap.

Would be nice if someone came up with a nice in-dash dual DIN PC with a hard drive and touch screen built in. It would probably be uber expensive, tho...
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http://www.zoto.com/frayadjacent/img...f27a-4a399.jpg <---- my car. ^ crap I post.

"The existence of the flamethrower is evidence that someone, somewhere once said 'I want to set those people over there on fire, but I don't want to have to walk over there to do it.'"
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Old 07-26-2007, 08:04 AM   #11
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Found the link I was checking into. Double DIN in-dash setup. Very nice.

http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/fabrication/69068-just-finished-porsche-install.html

As far as using VGA, I'm honestly considering HD video....so either DVI or S-video most likely. I'm finding a plethura of thing to tinker with =)
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Old 07-26-2007, 08:06 AM   #12
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Don't forget you'll want to make sure you get a transreflective LCD otherwise the display will be washed out (re: unreadable) in the sunlight with the top down.
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Old 07-26-2007, 09:05 AM   #13
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Thanks for reminder. I'll have to see if I can find a double-DIN one. Either that or maybe some kind of "hood" to block the sunlight without blocking visibility of the LCD. $400 or so is still $400.....
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Last edited by cmarks20; 07-26-2007 at 09:53 AM.
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Old 07-27-2007, 05:05 AM   #14
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After much research, I've come up with a requirements / function list and a few things I'll be implementing:

1. MP3 audio
2. DVD playback
3. Navigation with voice (GPS based)
4. Wifi via USB
5. Bluetooth via USB
6. OBDII diagnostics via USB
7. In-cabin access for USB devices
8. Mini wireless keyboard
9. AM / FM Radio (possibly XM or Sirius as well)
10. Touchscreen (transreflective)
11. PCMCIA slot type I & II
12. Voice recognition

I've decided on a VoomPC2 case mounted in the front trunk with a "molded in" LCD touchscreen and CD \ DVD slot loaded drive in the dash. I'm thiniking a VIA C7 enabled board, as they run on around 20w at full load. This project should be interesting, and cost around the same price as a high end in-dash DVD unit.

I'm currently looking for a fabrication shop that will be able to mount a 7-8" LCD in my radio bezel (I'll be relocating the AC controls to the lower bracket) locally. I'm in Northern VA, so if anyone has any suggestions, please share.

I'll make sure to take lots of pictures and keep this thread going throughout my install for those who may be interested in this as a future modification.
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Last edited by cmarks20; 07-27-2007 at 05:07 AM.
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Old 03-15-2008, 09:05 AM   #15
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Question Finished??

Did you ever finish this project? I'm looking to do something similar.
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Old 03-16-2008, 07:19 AM   #16
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Unfortunately not =(. A slew of things got in the way of doing any modification to the car. Now that things have slowed down a bit, I'll have more time to start working on a few of the dozen projects I have in store for it.

I'm loving the C4S cluster. How much trouble was it to get it in there?
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Last edited by cmarks20; 03-16-2008 at 07:23 AM.
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Old 03-16-2008, 10:05 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmarks20
I'm loving the C4S cluster. How much trouble was it to get it in there?
Actually, it was not that bad. If you are planning to do it, use C2 cluster, it is even easier and less problems.
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01 Speed Yellow Boxster S
- Tip
- PSE
- C4S Cluster with new style OBC
- 18" with 7mm rear spacers
- Litronics
- Fully de-ambered
- LED taillights
- Aluminium Pedals
- Integrated Garage Door Opener
- 986 emblem
- Yellow brake calipers with Brembo stickers
- Yellow center console
- Aerokit II wing & trunklid
- Eibach Pro springs
In memoriam: Black 935 Street
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Old 03-16-2008, 08:08 PM   #18
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I'm just looking for something that's a bit more functional and appealing than the standard 986 one. I love the idea of being able to use the on-board computer, but cringe at the thought of installing the stalk.
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Old 03-16-2008, 08:19 PM   #19
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I'm just looking for something that's a bit more functional and appealing than the standard 986 one. I love the idea of being able to use the on-board computer, but cringe at the thought of installing the stalk.
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Old 03-16-2008, 08:23 PM   #20
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