"Dude, I'm going to put my laptop in my car to play my Mp3's".
"Why the hell would you do that when you can just burn CD's man" I replied. "It gonna be a pain to try to look at the laptop and change music, and dude...why would you want the whole computer in your car. Thats just too much."
And here I am...I built the first one out of my group of friends.
The MP3 box, a long time projtct that went 3 major changes is my excuse for not wanting
to burn CD's anymore. It is my computer juke box if you will. In the trunk is a Celeron 566Mhz processor mounted on an Asus CUWE-FX motherboard (ebay special 15$!!) that has onboard 10/100 LAN, video and sound. An 8.4 gig hard drive and 32 MB RAM. This way no extra cards would have to be used, previous vibration, hardware conflicts, and size constraints were no longer a problem. The box runs Windows 98SE and a stripped install, with only the volume control. A Microsoft Sidewinder sits in the trunk for control, with a custom keypad (courtesy of my buddy Oliver, who origonaly told me about the laptop thing) connected to the sidewinder. The key pad was made for the ash tray of my 85 760. But when that car was totaled it needed a new home, and found it in the factory Alpine tape deck. The deck was gutted to make way for the key pad, which fit perfectly if I don't say so myself. So all control of the game pad is done at the drivers seat. The player is standaed winamp version 2.8 and I run a program called JoytoKey which is a joypad to keyboard emulator. A plugin which contains menu and visulation options for the LCD is used, hence I have full control of winamp and an unlimited amount of music at will. The box boots in 35 seconds and has been nothing but reliable. Music transfer is done by simply plugging it in and hooking up a net cable to transfer files and rework playlists. Powered by an ATX power supply and power inverter, music is fed through the Alpine headunit via the CD changer/Aux input harness where is comes out of the 4x6 inch infinity front door and 5 1/4 infinity rear speakers, powered by a 540 watt 4-channel infinity amp. A 12" infnity sub with 310 watt infinity amp bridged for one channel brings up that missing low end in the rear.
This is my latest creation. Since they dont make white face guages for the 700 series, at least that I have seen, I took it upon myself to do it. I had origionally done this to an eariler 700 cluster by using 10 micron thick white plastic, just thin enough to let the backlight of the cluster pass through. I had used rub on stencil letters and numbers, it came out nice, but not as clean as I had wanted it. So, for my 90' I has gotten another cluster from the bone yard, from a car with 27,465 miles on it (blown motor, but an otherwise clean 88 760 turbo, and identical cluster) I stripped this one down only to find the guage needles float, hence the pegs at the 0 marks on the guages. So if I remove the needles, I will loose the calibration of the guage, because the internal mechanism of the guage will then float to where ever it normally rests, past the peg. This is what I did. Took the other cluster apart, and scanned the guage faces. Inversed the faces, so the black went white and so fourth, cleaned up the little marks on the faces, then printed them out on transparences for the laser printer. Cut those out then cut out identical shapes from the same 10 micron thick plastic I used for the first cluster, hence the white face. When I dissaembeled the working cluster from my car, I was able to lift the faces enough to get the pins out so the needle would then fall to its normal resting place, doing this allowed me to see exactly where to put the needle back, before putting the peg back in, which soon posed a problem. The pegs mounted in the origional guage faces, but I quickly learned that I could still punch holes in the thin plastic I used, and put the pegs in. (I got lucky here, if that couldn't be done, the faces would not work.) They look great in the daylight, and at night, you can see the outline of the workings of the guages, not distracting, and they are still easy to read in my opinion. And all you have to do to change the colors, is change the bulbs in the cluster.
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