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Old 05-29-2008, 10:04 AM   #1
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My Ride: 04 330i ZHP
330i ZHP CarPC install - HEADUNIT RELOCATED - Lots of Pics

wzup people...thanks for looking at my car pc installation. I tried to take as many pics as I could during this process. Please note that this is only informative, and not a write up. I take absolutely no responsibility should any damage occur to your vehicle if you attempt to reproduce this. I am only sharing this for informational purposes with the e46 and mp3car community.

I owned a 93 prelude for 7 years or so...and did quite a lot of simple stuff to it...if you are interested...


I did some research on some forums, but I was not satisfied with some of the stuff I found...particularly the fact that I most people lost their head units, used all sorts of kits, and had random bugs here and there...bottom line, I figured I would do some homework before anything...

I m not sure if my way has ever been done before, but to me is came to the simplest, cheapest bug free setup I came up with...only 1 factory wire had to be cut and extended (the cd changer wire that plugs behind the radio in order for the OEM going back to stock would take approx 1.5 hours to 2 hours to take everything out and put everything back to normal.

Being that I had already done this before in the prelude, I just had to get familar with the bmw's electrical wiring, dashboard (to route wires and so on)...Spent 40 or 50 hours to complete...I worked on it for about 10 days...at about 4 hours a day...from about 8pm until midnight when getting home from work...Having the prelude still was handy since I still had work most day with the zhp being a wreck! the radio relocation took the most time since it I was going with the flow.

I already had the computer, docking station and everything else with it since it came from the prelude...I spent maybe 600$ on the project (350 for the transreflective screen and the rest on misc parts listed below)...I already owned the laptop and docking station.

Anyway, here are the 164 pictures...it was quicker for me to make an album and make comments on it directly so feel free to ask questions if you have any...I will respond if time allows it.


Here is a list of parts used:

-e46 Bezel from Rich @ mybimmer.net (Thanks for the good service)
- Lilliput EBY-701 Transreflective screen
-1 OEM reverse replacement factory harness
-2 Metra Harnesses 70-8590
-radio shack project boxes (as needed)
-ground loops isolator
-18 gauge wire (I used red and black)
-bunch of male and femal electrical connectors
-bunch of butt connectors
-3 Add a Circuit Kits from autozone - 2 used, 1 spare
-USB extension cables, AUX audio cables
-Dell D400 Laptop 1.4 GHZ intel centrino, 765 MB of RAM, 80 gb HD
-Dell D400 Docking station
-Duracell 90Watts Auto Air adapter
-Rikaline 6010 USB GSP - with Copilot GPS for laptop - Version 8 - I ve had this for years...still works well!
-Antenna Extension kits for BMW
-BMW NAV trim kit to move AC controls down

Thats as far as I can remember on the parts...the pics should tell.


-flawless going to and from hibernation
-GPS lock on 2 to 5 mins...10 mins to 15 when cloudy
-Audio quality and levels is perfect. Same as stock...nothing has changed...the HK system sounds very good when tuned properly
-Steering controls work flawlessly
-radio in the glove box is immaculate...access to AM, FM, RDS, IPOD, and CD when needed
-no freezing issues
-internet reception is great with verizon
-no battery drainage
-LCD screen is set to Auto on when VGA power is detected...so the computer is Off, the screen shuts off after 10 seconds...powers automatically once the switch to power up the computer is pressed.
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Old 05-29-2008, 10:19 AM   #2
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This sounds cool ... *click*
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Old 05-29-2008, 10:28 AM   #3
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wow...sucks no diy...but you can kind of make one up yourself by looking at the pics...very cool...thanks for sharing
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Old 05-29-2008, 11:25 AM   #4
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very cool... and seems very complicated... lol.
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Old 05-30-2008, 02:07 PM   #5
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Thanks for posting. I'd like to try this someday.
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Old 05-30-2008, 03:12 PM   #6
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Lots of work, glad you are happy with it. How is the radio secured?
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Old 05-31-2008, 09:44 PM   #7
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i want one
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Old 06-01-2008, 12:52 AM   #8
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very nice setup.
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Old 06-01-2008, 01:26 AM   #9
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So, this setup runs from a laptop? The CarPC only controls navigation, internet, pictures/movies etc. while the stock headunit is in the glovebox and is controlled by the steering wheel controls?
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Old 06-01-2008, 11:33 AM   #10
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Nice! Mind if I use some of your pics?
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Old 06-02-2008, 04:01 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by madchef View Post
Lots of work, glad you are happy with it. How is the radio secured?
Thanks...the radio is being held together with the radio harness. If you look at the pics, the harness has been mounted to the glove box. You know how the harness has a locking mechanism...same goes for the antenna harness...that prevents anything from ever being unplugged.

When the glove box is opened, the front of the radio can be lifted up or down without anything being unplugged...and the back remains secured since the harnesses are locked behind it...but once the glove box is closed, its a tight and secure fit on its own...it hasnt not moved an inch...I rarely open it, but I have checked for heat and melted wires and so far...everything is A OK.

Originally Posted by Nismode View Post
So, this setup runs from a laptop? The CarPC only controls navigation, internet, pictures/movies etc. while the stock headunit is in the glovebox and is controlled by the steering wheel controls?
Yes indeed, the laptop controls the navigation, music, internet, and everything else carpc related. The stock head unit control the volume...The reason I went this route is because of the steering wheel controls...I figured the steering wheel control could control any output from the stock HU as long as it was stock...ie the ipod kit, CD, FM radio...so I figured that using the BMW AUX kit would solve my volume control issue on the CarPC rather than use software for vol control, so I purchased it and it worked wonders.

Keep in mind, the steering wheel buttons only control the volume output and radio seek. I hardly ever listen to FM radio or CD player...The ipod kit is for my passengers in case they want to share some music during a trip or something...with an 80gb hd, there is really no need for me to use an ipod in the car...so in order to control basic features of the stock HU such has input changes, audio level settings, the glove box must be opened...the only time I will ever need to do that is if I have a passenger...and they will be in charge of that ...other than that, once my settings were set after the project completion, I never had to open it...only to take pics for you all.

Basically all I really needed the stock HU for was for the volume controls and radio station seek and next or previous song for CD on the steering wheel...as well as the eventually of the need of the stock radio for some odd reason down the line.
- Also known as GC
- 04 Silver (tiag) ZHP 330i
- 06 Silver Grey ZCP M3
- 02 Black Civic. Beater
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Old 06-02-2008, 04:02 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by SrCsTc@MyBimmer.net View Post
Nice! Mind if I use some of your pics?
Ha! I just finally emailed you to let you know I had finally made a post. Go right ahead...i hope some people find this useful.
- Also known as GC
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Old 06-02-2008, 04:33 PM   #13
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that looks great! Nice setup...

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Old 06-16-2008, 03:17 PM   #14
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Gps Update And Relocation

My rikaline GPS 6010 receiver has been giving me issues for the past 3 months...The device simple stopped working every so often. 50% of the time the receiver would not turn on...then it would work after maybe 8 hours, or the next day...very random...I did some research and saw that some GPS behave this away after being exposed to high temperatures or sun light for too long...the way the gps was ran, there was no way for me to take it out when it was not in use to protect it. The lock on times went from between 5 to 15 mins to NEVER...or not even getting power...I tested the GPS even on my home computers and nothing was responding...it only worked when it was cool enough...so I had to get rid of it and find a better solution/location...which I did.

I ordered the Holux bluetooth GR 236 receiver, and paid a few extra dollars to get the external antenna and the USB data cable to get gps data via usb instead of bluetooth. Got the kit at gps4everyone.com. The cost was about $85 shipped for the gr236, usb gps data cable, and the external antenna.

The GR 236 comes with a battery for bluetooth charging, but I figured since I got the USB data cable, I do not need the battery as the receiver turns on via usb when the car is running and the laptop is powered so I too the battery out to prevent it from wearing out from getting discharged all the time when I didnt use it. The unit gets powered on when the car/laptop are started.

I must say, I am amazed at the quality of this setup. The external antenna, made for all types of weather conditions allows me to hide the GR 236 away from sun light exposure and high temps and still get excellent gps reception and lock on times.

After receiving the unit, I went to the car and look around for about 15 minutes in order to find the best install spot for the devices...and I must say this was pretty ingenious...The install took 15 mins and was a breeze. The external antenna has a clear view of the sky at all times, thus GPS reception is instantaneous during warm or hot start, and under 5 seconds during cold start.

Here are some pics:

Location: driver side rear seat corner cushion...removing this is easy...gently pulll and it comes right off. (Done this before when I run wires for the car pc install). The external antenna is plugged on the left side of the receiver.

gently ran the external antenna wire behind the panels without removing for forcing anything...

Gently slid the external antenna inside the 3rd brake light compartment. The unit is slim and fits with no issues...of course there is a bit of a curve, but its negligible.

This how the wiring looks from that angle...not that anyone will be look at it from that angle...i left a bit of wiring visible at the corner so I can always pull it out easily if there is ever a need.

This is how everything looks when someone is sitting on the backs seat and looks back...

Exterior picture...I think its pretty stealth...not many people will be able to tell what it is, or that its even there...of course those who know will know for sure...

The further...the more unnoticeable...

Now, Keep in mind, it was about 3:30PM on sunday when I did this and it was pretty cloudy outside...

GPS reception with the car inside the garage with the garage door closed:

GPS reception still in the garage, but with the garage door opened:

here I backed up the car up outside of the garage, and 10 seconds later, the gps signal significally increased...again this was on a cloudy day!

I use Copilot GPS, and the baud rate of the GPS is at 38400. If you plan on using this GPS receiver, make sure your mapping software's baud rate settings can be adjusted to 38400.

I took the car for a spin...this thing is accurate! I sent the carputer into hibernation as I always do, and woke up the system after 30 mins...it was as if I had never left...lock on was instantaneous...and I was on my way again.

This is hands down the best setup/install/functionality. Anyone with similar GPS troubles should look into this route...and this kit!

Just sharing more of my knowledge and dyi...if you have any comments...please post them!
- Also known as GC
- 04 Silver (tiag) ZHP 330i
- 06 Silver Grey ZCP M3
- 02 Black Civic. Beater
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