Lexus Install - The Carputer

Overview | Glove Box Part 1 | Glove Box Part 2 | Monitor | Final


 
   
 


Since this was the first time I've ever done anything remotely electrical before, I was kind of intimidated. I had no idea as to how I would hook this up to the battery of my car, what wires I needed, what kind of fuse, etc etc. I had a friend who actually came to help me out on this. Since he had already has a carputer, I figured it wouldn't be a prob at all. Let me just say this, after it's all said and done, it's really not that difficult at all and I could have easily done it myself had I known which wires to buy and what size fuse I needed.

In order to get the audio into the car speakers, I needed to tap into the factory wires behind the stereo. The reason for this is because I didn't want to use any crappy FM transmitter, and I didn't want to replace the stock amp or speakers. And most importantly, I wanted to be able to control the volume of the computer though the normal volume knob. So I decided to add a relay switch into the wires headed from the radio to the amp. Although I'm actually only writing about this now, this was actually the first thing I actually did on my car. Only 4 months later did I actually install the final computer. In the interim, I had my ipod hooked up to make good use of the aux-in. I found two great threads on how create an aux-in which I followed word-for-word on.

http://my.is/forums/showthread.php?t=220767

http://my.is/forums/showthread.php?t=253814

(the 2nd thread seems to be down, which is sad cause that was the one that showed me how to install a relay switch so I can toggle between the computer and radio). Here's a shot of the switches (my car doesn't have seat heaters so I already had the location planned out).

The switch on the left toggles the audio and the one on the right will be used to send the signal to the Opus. I figured sometimes I wouldn't want the PC to turn on (say I'm just moving my car cause of damn street cleaning). If I keep the switch in the off position, it'll either hibernate the PC or just not turn on once I start the engine. After installing it, I'm totally glad I added this switch and advise everyone else to do the same. It's great for when you give your car to the valet or bring it in for an oil change.

Again, I had no electrical experience before (I never even used a soldering iron before this) and although it took me a few hours, it wasn't too difficult at all. Oh, one thing I needed to buy was a "ground loop isolator." Since I wasn't able to ground all the wires at the same point, I had some interference, especially whenever I hit the accelerator. I bought mine at radio shack and now there's no problem at all! 

Anyway, now it was time install this bad boy. The first wall I ran into was how would I run the wires from the battery to my glovebox. I was mentally preparing myself to drill through the firewall but I really wasn't too keen on that idea. After inspecting my car, I noticed there was already a hole cut out for the air condition exhaust. It worked perfectly! I was able to squeeze in through that hole without drilling any additional holes in my car. Actually, the only piece of my car which is "damaged" is the glove box since I had to cut the back of it out. Here you can see the power wires (thick red ones) as well as all the others.

 The one thing which was great about install the carputer in the glove box, as opposed to the trunk as I see so many people doing, is that it was so easy to run all the wires. The battery is right there. The monitor is right there. And even the audio wires simply ran behind the console. It was actually surprisingly easy to plug everything into each other.

Here's everything nice a snug in the glove box. 

Here's the cover loosely set ontop of the glove box. (it fits a lot tighter once I tie it down.

The rest was really a snap. I just stuck the monitor in place.

 And then it was done! Behold, my very own Lexus PC Carputer. Complete with Navigation, MP3s, Divx, DVDs, Bluetooth, Internet, and Nintendo! As for the GPS antenna, I just placed it on top of my dash (all the way on the right) and ran the USB wire through the passenger door and into the glovebox. It's a perfect location since the antenna has line-of-sight, it's in an inconspicuous place, but most importantly, it was so easy to place it there! I didn't have to drill any holes into my dash. The wire is easily hidden by that rubber rain-protector thing (i think that's the official name). Anyway, here are some final pictures of the install:

 

 

 

 As for future updates, I still have not installed Phoco or any other phone program (as of Jan 07), but I definitely plan to soon. I already have the bluetooth link which I use for connecting to the internet. And after seeing a friend talk into his car and hearing the call through the audio of the speakers....damn! It's for sure my next project (if I can find the time).

Please feel free to ask me any questions you have or even to simply leave feedback. The original thread is on Mp3Car.com and can be found here: http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=85631 (although this site is FAR more detailed with a lot more pictures). The thread is simply an overview of what you just read.

Also, if you enjoyed reading this write-up and if it helped you in any way, please click on some banner ads! It's the least you can do, right? :-)