A project like this requires a fair amount of fabrication to make things fit in to
places that they were just never designed for! On the other hand, that is part of the fun!
My first iteration of this project had the motherboard mounted in a homebrew plexiglas case. This looked nice but interference from the motherboard was causing lots of problems with my radio gear. I found this old electrical box at a local electronic supply house and modified it to mount the motherboard in. This provided a shielded case and cut down on the radio interference. Consequently, the new JetWay board doesn't produce the same radio interference that the VIA V10000 board did but it is definitely staying in the grounded, metal chassis.
Here is a shot of the internals of the PC. From right to left is the JetWay motherboard, the M1-ATX automotive power supply, the 2.5" laptop hard disk (barely visible under the power supply) and the power connections. I have two 80mm cooling fans mounted in the top of the case to provide cooling on those hot days in the South!
Here is the factory dash radio and heater controls. I have already cut some of the plastic structure out in order to move the heater controls down about 1.5". This allows room for the 7" Liliput LCD monitor to be mounted where the radio is. I did lose the factory radio with this project but I have added back Sirius satellite radio as well as an AM/FM USB radio to the system so I really didn't lose anything.
Here is a shot with the wiring in place for the monitor and other equipment. I have the Griffin RadioShark mounted in this area behind the monitor and have connected its antenna to the Jeep's factory radio antenna. Sadly, the reception is nowhere near as good as the factory deck, but I don't listen to over-the-air AM/FM a whole bunch unless there is news or traffic issues.
To retain a "factory" look, I wanted to mount the 7" VGA monitor in the dash where the radio was located. I took the plastic bezel and moved the heater cut-out about 1.5" lower and glued the front face of the monitor in place where the factory radio was located. I used scrap plastic to fill in as many holes as I could, then used fiberglass embedded body filler to fill in the small holes and smooth out the bezel.
Here is the bezel with the first coat of primer after lots and lots and lots of sanding. Did I mention there was LOTS of sanding to do to get a smooth surface?
Now that the bezel is getting closer to ready to install, I fabricated some small plastic brackets to hold the circuit board from my Creative Labs Infrared Remote Control receiver. I then drilled a small hole in the bezel for the IR receiver. The IR receiver connects to the CarPC via a standard serial COM port.
Here is a shot of the final bezel being installed. This shot shows the back of the 7" monitor as well as the infrared receiver. Also visible is the
small strips of plastic used to fill in some of the spaced before applying the fiberglas/body filler.