01-15-2010, 08:17 PM
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Chicago, IL
My Ride: MKV GTI
| The Carputer Install:
I ran my setup with the two amps, two subs, four component pairs, and stock head unit for almost half a year, using an Audiocontrol LC6i in conjunction with an Audiocontrol 6XS to get signal to the subs.
I was content with the DICE Silverline Pro and my 80gb fifth gen iPod, but since my media library extended beyond that and I wanted to add more features, I decided I’d have to either get a double-din head unit, or install a carputer. I weighed the pros and cons of both for quite some time.
A single din install was out of the question, since I have yet to see a good looking single din head unit that would match the e46 interior. The upgradability, lack of AC modification, functionality, my love of computers, and the coolness factor all led me to go for the carputer install.
I built the machine with the following components:
Lian-Li PC-Q07 (Lian-Li makes the most excellent cases)
Zotac GF9300-G-E (HDMI, WiFi, LGA 775…)
Intel Core 2 Duo E7500 Processor (2.93Ghz)
Intel X25-M 80Gb SSD SATA HD (for quick booting)
WD Caviar Black 1TB SATA HD (for media storage)
Kingston HyperX 2Gb DDR2 800 SDRAM (would have gone bigger, but hibernation concerns limited it to 2Gb)
AuzenTech X-Fi Forte Sound Card
and of course, Arctic Silver 5
I built the machine, ran some tests, installed Windows XP Pro, configured some software (ultimately settling on Centrafuse 3.0). I had it configured the best I could outside of the car, so I started the install.
Wiring To Trunk and USB Hub:
Running the cables to do a test run was the first priority.
It took a lot of work to do this part of the install, and I had to remove a good amount of the material below the rear center console storage compartment.
Wire management to keep cables from being pinched.
I used the existing cable route to get them all into the trunk.
Next I wanted to get the USB hub powered up front. I used a D-Link 7 port USB hub and a 15 watt DC-DC power source from Opus Solutions.
I tapped the leads in the engine bay and ran them through the grommet that was also used for the turn-on wire for my myCarr 81 LED angel eyes.
Routing the cables through the rear of the glove compartment and up into the center console wasn’t too tricky. I used a fuse-tap to get an accessory ignition wire from the upper left block of the fuse box.
Center Console Installation:
Preliminary test of the system, still running the computer off of an AC-DC power supply in my trunk. USB hub works!
Differences in the existing sunglass holder trim versus the new AC relocation trim. I had the single-block button setup.
My next task was creating a clean way to access two USB ports up front, as well as give an AUX in port for allowing others to share their music on the fly. I decided to re-use my spec.dock 2point5 as a starting point (since I no longer was using the DICE).
A little bit of help from Bondo body filler led me to having a decent set of jacks for up front.
Modifying the spec.dock to fit the modified iPod plate.
I wanted to be able to turn off the amps ignition wire if I was concerned with saving battery power, and throwing in a second one to control the PC’s ignition line was an easy addition.
Originally I was going to rely on the auto-on feature of my PSU to turn on the carputer, but I decided it would be better to be able to not turn it on for short trips. Not the prettiest switch, but it isn’t visible to anyone but the driver.
I removed the screen from the original housing to get it ready to mount to the bezel from Rich at mybimmer.net.
Even though the bezel was designed to fit all Xenarc 7” screens, my 706TSA didn’t seem to fit quite right, so I used a Sharpie marker to cover up the visible touchscreen features.
Rear Deck Hardware Installation:
After getting the front all put back together, I started in on the back of the car. The HD radio I bought needed to interface with the Diversity antenna amplifier in the back.
Removing the rear deck liner was necessary to put in the GPS, WiFi antenna, and HD radio module.
There’s a lot of space available underneath the trim, and installing the carputer here could be a good way to go—if you give it enough ventilation.
The GPS antenna was mounted to where I think it nominally would be placed if it was the OEM one. The WiFi antenna is magnetic and was stuck down on the rear deck sheet metal.
I secured the HD radio (Visteon HDZ300) to the rear deck as well and ran the antenna extension over to the diversity antenna amp, running power, WiFi antenna, GPS USB connection, etc.. down into the trunk via the speaker opening.