Loc: Florida, USA
Audio wiring: To power your amp you will need a AMP install kit or two 6 to 4 gauges wires and a 14 to 16 gauge wire. The two beefy wires will power and ground the AMP while the small wire will turn on and off the amp. The main power goes to the + side of the battery and the ground can go to any metal surface that is connected to the chasie of the car. The Remote wire (The small wire) connects to the accessory power from the ignion (IE when you turn on the car the AMP will turn on.)
For the connection from the AMP to the computer is very simple. You need a wire that has RCA jacks on one end and a standard computer speaker connector on the other.
The only problem with this setup is you won't have a Fade function for the front and rear unless you play with the AMP's volume. Now you just have Left and Right stereo.
Speakers: If you want to upgrade your speaker cable or you have to rewire your speakers like I had too then just follow a few easy steps. If you installed your AMP into the trunk you will have to take out the backseat to beable to run the cables from the front. Or if you have plenty of space you can run them on the step board near/under the doors.
Cables: When running your Power cables, USB, VGA, etc etc.. You can hide them easily. Depending on where you install the computer say the trunk you can hide the cables under the step board next/under the car doors. Most of theses just pop out and you run the cable then put the steap board back on. If you plan to use more then one extintion cable then I would recommend usubg electrical tape to hold the connections. The vibrations of the car could jiggle the cables enough to disconnect over time. Also if you plan to install your computer in the trunk with the AMP then just splic into the power from the AMP.
Computer power supply: Theres two ways to power your computer. 1 Power inverter 2 DC to DC power supply.
The power inverter is easy as it follows. Plug it in and you're good to go. A DC to DC power supply is a littlke more work but is way better in the long run. A lot of DC to DC power supplys have a shutdown controller so when you turn off the car it will send a shutdown command to the computer. How this works is it tricks the computer that it is a laptop and when it sees a low battery (IE the car is off) it will shutdown. There are many PC DC to DC power supplys out there and a few for the mac mini. In my detup I used a sawtooth as a test system and got a ATX DC to DC power supply and did the standard ATX power supply mod and it worked fine execpt the shutdown controllor didn't work with the logicboard. The system turns on when you start the car but you have to manuly shut it down by issueing a shutdown with in Mac OS X.
Heres a picture of a DC to DC car power supply.
This is the same one I used and it can power 160watts and I tested it on my sawtooth and a P4 PC with no problems.
LCD wiring: Theres two ways to wire up your LCD.
With radio method: Splice into the 12volt constant power connection, 12volt igntion connection and the ground. You can do this by locating the pinout of your car's wire harness on the net. Some stock car radios will have a pinout printed on the radio itself. All you need is butt splices or vampire taps to make the connections.
With out radio method: With a After maket wire hanress for a radio you will just simply use the power connections from the harness. You can use the audio connections as well for your speakers so you don't have to rewire your whole car but it will end up as a mess inside the dash. The wire harness is very simple, the kit comes with a pinout telling you what wire does what and you just use buttsplices to make the connects from the harness to the LCD then just plug in the harness to the radio plugin with out messing up your car's wiring so if you ever want to get rid of the car you can pop your old radio back in with in a few minutes.
Software: Depending on your system you are using there are plenty of programs out there to make your system easy to use with the touch screen.
What is a front end? If your on a mac then just run FrontRow to get a idea. It's the same setup but more options and fectures. All it is a program that lets you easily control the system. Sadly FrontRow doesn't let you use touch screens and only does music, videos and pictures. Grat for the home but not goos enough for a car.
PC Frontends: DigitalDash CenteralControl
MacOS X frontends: AMP
Theres a lot more to choose from but I listed the ones that work the best and have way more options. To make theses work just make them go into the startup when the computer is booted up. If you ever want to use the desktop just close or minimize the front end and you're good to go.
Since this is macmod I'll talk about AMP a little more.
AMP is a OpenSource front end that works like FrontFow but with out the Remote and has way more toys.
Internet surfing Wardriving DVD MP3 Pictures System control (IE restart, shutdown) Plugins (IE Add more programs to AMP) GPS Incar disnostics
ODB-II: This is totaly optional. OBD-II means On-Board Diagnostics. They are in allsorts of cars and the OBD-II has been around since 95 but used in cars from 1996 and present. The OBD II test can determine whether there is a malfunction in the components that control exhaust/emissions through utilizing the vehicle's computer system. Overtime since cars are more computer like they can tell you pretty much anything that is wrong with the car. If you get a check engine light you run the OBD-II scanner and it will give you a code and then you look up the code and it will tell you what that code means. This way if you're not a hands on kinda guy/girl with cars you can use this to find out what is wrong and take it to the shop. A lot of people see the check engine light and take it to the shop and the grese monkeys will charge you a fee that is not cheap to find the reason why the check engine light is on. ODB-II scanners can be hand held and only give you a code and you have to hunt down what that code means. You're in luck though, there are software controlled ODB-II scanners out there fro PC and Mac that connect via USB or Serial and you just run the program with in the front end and it will tell you the code for the check engine light and also tell you what is wrong.
CLOSEING:::: In all its easy for the end computer geek to do this. If you're the type that only knows how to turn on the computer and surf the web then you better let a pro do this.
This is my setup.
Dash: LCD Trunk: AMP and computer
Dash wireing: LCD is connncted to the radio wire harness
AMP wiring: 16foot 4gauge primary wire with a 40amp bus fuse going from the + side of the battery then under the car to the trunk. Ground is connected to the trunk's wall and the remote is connected from the AMP to the LCD's 12volt igntion line.
Computer: Power source is spliced with the AMP's power using 14 gauge wires. Two USB extintion cables running under the stepboard on the right side of the car to the LCD. Two VGA extintion cables running from the computer to the LCD hidding with the USB cables.
Speakers: FRONT speakers, cable running from each speaker in each door to the dash then running under the center of the car under the carpet and the backseat to the trunk. BACK speakers cables are running from the speakers and droped down into the trunk to the AMP. Then with the special cable from the AMP to the computer.
GPS: since it has a magnic it is sittin out side on top of the trunk and the wire is just sitting though the water seal into the trunk and connected to the computer.
OBD-II: connected to the OSB port under the steering wheel and ran to a USB 2.0 hub inside the dash sharing with the LCD.
USB hub: 4 port USB 2.0 hub inside the dash for furture addons and for the LCD and OBD-II scanner to share off of one USB.
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