Sunday, November 19, 2006

Cup holder upgrade

The first of the changes is to upgrade the center console to the 2005 Jetta console that contains cup holders.

When the LCD screen is installed and deployed for use, it will obstruct the in-dash cup holders. Since I spend a lot of time in my car, I really wanted to have cup holders ;-)

Below is the before picture which shows the stock 2000 Jetta center console.

The rear of the stock 2000 console has an ash tray (which I'd never use) and two fold out cup holders (shown stowed below).

I used the How-To guide found at The parts were ordered from

I decided to go the cheap route and modify my existing E-brake handle's mounting holes (vs. buying the 2005 E-brake handle). But if I were to do it again, I'd buy the 2005 handle. It took me about 4 hours of filing, fitting, re-filing, re-fitting...and a lot of patience in order to find the right fit. It probably would have been a 30 minute job if I just purchased the 2005 E-brake handle.

Here are the after pictures.

From the picture above, you can see the slightly different angle of the E-brake handle. This is what all the filing was about. I had to "o" out the handle's mounting holes to allow it to shift 5 degrees towards the driver's seat. It turned out well, but it was a royal pain.

The rear has one cup holder, and the ash tray is gone (just fine with me). Also, it appears the cup holder slides rearward to create some sort of temporary bin in front of the cup holder (like perhaps to hold trash?). But if you pull the cup holder fully rearward, the bottom of this bin opens I'm not sure it that's really its intended purpose. Oh well, I don't sit in the back, so who cares.

When it was all done, I actually gained one cup holder, bringing the grand total to 7 in my Jetta! The nice thing now is that when I stow the LCD screen, I'll still be able to use the in-dash cup holders, so I'll have 4 usable cup holders in the front seats.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Measuring for the LCD

I plan to use the DWW-700H in-dash LCD screen in place of the existing cubby hole (so it will go above the factory radio and under the cup holder tray).

I pulled out the radio to take some measurements.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Before Pictures

The dash before the project. Notice the XM radio receiver to the far left. This will be incorporated into the carputer when I'm done.

The existing CD-changer compartment. This is where I plan to put the carputer's main CPU/motherboard enclosure.

Here is the existing CD-changer mounting bracket. I've taken the CD-changer out already to take measurements.
This is looking into the trunk, and slightly to the right. The box in the center of the picture is the factory Monsoon amp which I plan to keep.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Project objectives

My main objectives for this project are:
  • Add GPS navigation to the car
  • Integrate the XM radio (get rid of the separate receiver)
  • Maintain an AM radio
  • Stealth installation
  • Most importantly - be able to upgrade any piece of software anytime I wish
I really like one of the local AM stations, which incidentally has the best traffic report for the area (no contest), so I want to keep an AM radio. Also, since I frequently park in the city and sometimes drive co-workers & customers, I want an inconspicuous installation that won't draw shady eyes (or trigger a recurring Car PC conversation every time someone new rides in my car).

Monday, October 09, 2006

Purpose of this blog

This blog will capture the work on my Carputer (Car + Computer) project.

Carputers (aka Car PCs) are the product of a class of hobby which follows the commercial Telematics industry. Carputers use an in-car PC to combine audio and video entertainment with GPS navigation, satellite radio, and other inputs into a central (often) dashboard mounted touchscreen similar to the factory navigation units seen in luxury cars sold today.

The main difference is that a carputer can be put into any car (like my non-luxury VW Jetta) and the software it runs is completely up to the owner. This is in contrast to the factory navigation units seen in Lexus, BMW, Mercedes, etc...where once you bought it, you're stuck with whatever functionality it has at that moment (or more often the functionality it doesn't have). Therefore, as this industry and hobby matures, carputer owners can upgrade their capability as easy as installing new software on an Windows PC.