Ownership Verified: Lunacy and Eternal Optimism part II - 2001 Disco 2 V8

Matt2000

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Episode 5 - The Light Was a Train Coming the Other Way

Final part! Everything was complete, I had solved the problem of the audio being too loud, the 3D printed parts were made. I should probably show you the finished job now.



The final 3D printed part is there, under the head unit. It supports the screen (which may still be tilting down a little - not sure), hides the screws and fills in that space.

Time for a test then. Phone connects perfectly, music starts playing. I'll just turn this up a bit... and I'm at full volume, but it isn't very loud. Fine, I'll try a navigation app. Trying voice search, I actually can't hear the response from the device until I go through the source settings on the head unit and increase the Siri volume to max, even then it's very quiet. Navigation voice is even quieter. There's also still a high-pitched whine on the right A-post tweeter that I was hoping to eliminate, maybe it's the amp or maybe it's a wiring issue with the speaker itself.

So I'm back to the drawing board when it comes to wiring and volume. The line converters may have potentiometers under the heat shrink for me to adjust the gain but without taking the whole thing apart I don't know. I may also be able to swap out the components on those units (capacitors primarily) to increase the volume. I may need to remove those converters and find a way to limit the volume of the high-line signal coming from the head unit, apparently this is possible but not ideal.

The other alternative is to dump the under-seat amp entirely. I don't doubt that the head unit can support the speakers but there are twelve of them. The front and rear speakers seem simple enough, I can buy a pair of 3-way crossovers for about £40 to sit in place of the amp to handle the front speakers and the rear speakers are linked together. The subwoofer however is a different matter. There are simple subwoofer filters out there but I'm concerned that the volume won't match the rest of the speakers. Maybe it doesn't matter. I'm also concerned that even with this effort the overall volume will still be too high or low.

I've been studying the wiring diagrams and have isolated all of the speaker wires going from the head unit to the amplifier and all of the wires going to the individual speakers, so it's possible for me to create a replacement for the amplifier without cutting any of the original wiring. I'm actually very tempted to buy another old amplifier for cheaps on eBlag simply to use the connector, they're only around £25 in working order. I imported all of the diagrams into Photoshop and combined them to make a readable diagram for this purpose. Wires are not in order of their pins in C0491 (amplifier plug) but instead in logical order and grouped. Spoilered because I didn't want you to see this image before reading the text and realise there were still issues. :razz:

Spoiler Text: (Click here to toggle display)


As you can see, the rear speakers are tied together at the first speaker, so without running new wires there's no way I could feed them both individually from 2-way crossovers.

I won't be able to do anything until the weekend but maybe I just need to take it out and investigate those line converters first...
 

Matt2000

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After all that More problems! :D
Tell me about it. :LOL:

I'm not sure now if the head unit would support all of the speakers by itself, it's only rated at 4x50W. Really don't fancy running power to another amp so hopefully if I do get something I use all of the existing wiring. If I can't adjust the gain of the converters then I reckon inline attenuators are the way to go.

Edit: Spoke to Autoleads, no adjustment in the line level converter. Looking at them again I reckon the things that look like caps are choc blocks for connecting the cables...
 
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Matt2000

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Progess! Episode 6 - Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em



I wrote out a post on a car audio forum yesterday after looking at my options for attenuation, figuring that this was the only option now unless I went for a full amplifier at great expense. I had been looking at DIY circuits using a pair of resistors to create a voltage divider and while I had asked the question on there my mind was already working on the problem.

I needed to know the voltages I was working with, so I got the head unit back out of the dash. Finally a chance to show you the cable spaghetti that gets vomited out and which needs to be crammed back in. This isn't everything, either. You can see the metal bracket I've mentioned before.



I set it up on the bench, played a test tone through an FM modulator and probed the output. 12V at full whack. I did the same with the factory head unit (I was using an FM modulator on my phone for both tests as the old unit doesn't have an aux input and I wanted to ensure the test signal matched). Around 2V at max volume.

Calculations showed I needed a 2K resistor to get the voltage down to 2V but the closest standards are 1.5K and 2.2K, so I set up a pair of voltage divider test leads with a 10K resistor and 1.5K or 2.2K respectively. Both worked well but the 1.5K gave my more volume sweep so I went with that one. I got out the perfboard and made a simple mock-up circuit with the resistors and cables.



That looked fine so I cut up some board to make a little one for each channel, which were all covered with heat shrink. The little bits of dowel stop the cables from moving and straining the solder joints. I admit that these could've been made smaller but I wanted space around the resistors.



The measurements of the resistances were all correct and on the bench the voltages all looked good when plugged into the head unit so I tried it in the car again. Bingo. There was no distortion or noise, it seemed a little louder than earlier using the same resistor values but that was only using one channel so combined I suppose it would be louder.

It gives me plenty of scope to adjust it in the head unit now, something I've never been able to do before. Strangely the navigation voice and Siri are always quieter by default. I'm happy and assuming the resistors don't explode during future testing this will finally fix my issues!

While the dash is out again there are a couple of things I need to show you. Firstly I remembered that there's a fourth 3D printed part in there, supporting the top edge of the dash and stopping it from flexing. Sorry about the strange angle of the photo, it was upside down originally.



Finally there was one job to do that I hadn't done before, some extra decoration. When I first made the part that sits below the screen I thought it looked very plain, it needed something to break up the block of black. As it happens, when I was shopping on eBay for some putty to smooth out the parts I found a 1:10 scale number plate kit. Now there was an idea.





OK so the letters aren't all completely straight but whatever. :p

Hopefully I'm now back to the position where I can see light at the end of the tunnel again. Unfortunately, refitting and longer tests may have to wait until next weekend as work and dark nights will get in the way.
 

captain_70s

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Excellent work, slightly more elegant than me fitting a random brandless cassette player to the Acclaim and relying on the interference fit between the surround and the fascia to wedge it in place...
 

MXM

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A couple of weeks on from getting the replacement washer jets for the bumper, I finally found the time to take it off. Getting it off wasn't too difficult apart from yet another stripped screw head that I had to drill out. Why they didn't use Torx I have no idea. With the bumper off I could repair some of the cracks on the bottom and replace a chunk of plastic that came off when I removed the inner shields using the same method as posted above. All of the black plastic was then cleaned and coated with Gtechniq C4. It's not bad if you ask me.



Having done all this and the back end of Mina the Smart I had used this much C4 coating:



I need some hose clip pliers and then I can fit the new washer jets before putting it back together. The jets may actually need a coating of C4 themselves as they now look a bit lighter than the bumper...
Does the bumper still look good after half a year? Also, is that a 15ml or 30ml bottle? I bought some with intention of bringing Panda's faded plastic back to life... but there's an awful lot of plastic on the Panda, and C4 is stupidly expensive :)
 

Matt2000

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Excellent work, slightly more elegant than me fitting a random brandless cassette player to the Acclaim and relying on the interference fit between the surround and the fascia to wedge it in place...
Thanks, I really didn't intend of putting this much work into it but I'm (mostly) proud of the result.

Does the bumper still look good after half a year? Also, is that a 15ml or 30ml bottle? I bought some with intention of bringing Panda's faded plastic back to life... but there's an awful lot of plastic on the Panda, and C4 is stupidly expensive :)
I keep meaning to check actually, I thought that when I saw the old picture last week. I haven't noticed any difference at a glance so hopefully it's still good. I got the 15ml bottle for around £20. It goes further than you would think, the idea is to spread it as thinly as possible with the applicator.
 

Blind_Io

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Looks better than OEM! Now I want to do something similar to the Xterra, but I don't have the talent - so I'm just going to slap a tablet on a RAM mount and call it a day.
 

Matt2000

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Looks better than OEM! Now I want to do something similar to the Xterra, but I don't have the talent - so I'm just going to slap a tablet on a RAM mount and call it a day.
After looking at some pictures the X is double-din so you shouldn't have anywhere near the issues I've had with mounting. Wiring is another matter entirely. A tablet certainly seemed tempting but in this country I suspect you would still be fined for using a mobile device if you were touching the screen at all while driving. A fixed device is much less likely to get you in trouble unless you're driving like a lunatic (of course concentrating on the screen while driving is dumb, I'm more talking about changing navigation settings at red lights and such).

After buying this unit I came across one by a company called Joying and it seems to be an Android tablet stuck on the front of a head unit with impressive mounting options.



Still wouldn't want one though as the CarPlay integration is based around a knockoff app that could disappear at any minute or be blocked from connecting to the phone by Apple. I'm not playing that frustration game.

Anyway, I'm a bit of a fan of the intro sequence of the game Observer (don't know why, just like it) so was watching it again and the dash on Daniel's car reminded me of something...

 

Blind_Io

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The issue the Xterra faces is the depth of the headunit, many aftermarket units don't fit in that space. Since I would mostly be using the device for off-grid navigation, I'm fine using a tablet with GPS and offline maps; that way I can remove it when not in use, or take it out of the car and sit around the fire while planning the next day's route.
 

Matt2000

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Tonight, it was time for a longer test-run. With 4 screws holding the dash on and the cables spilling out of the front so I had access to check the temp of the voltage divider boards (and put them out if the burst into flames) I went off to get the cheapest petrol around. It seemed like a good excuse as the V8 had guzzled almost everything in the tank. It's about an hour round trip.

After some fiddling with the volume settings everything was perfect, absolutely no faults to report. Music sounded great (despite a whine on the amp that's still hanging around from before the head unit swap, I'll work on that), navigation worked perfectly and nothing exploded. The divider boards were only warm due to the air coming out of the dash vents, no hot spots or signs of them being overloaded. That's great news as I can finally get everything buttoned up and shoved back in the dash.

Turns out that CarPlay, or the Waze app at least, is lacking one thing. Auto night mode. Seems crazy but it's based on an ambient light sensor or 'headlight on' feed that most head units don't have. Why can't it be based on the time? Even my smart watch tells me when the times of sunset and sunrise.
 

WDWBen

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Tonight, it was time for a longer test-run. With 4 screws holding the dash on and the cables spilling out of the front so I had access to check the temp of the voltage divider boards (and put them out if the burst into flames) I went off to get the cheapest petrol around. It seemed like a good excuse as the V8 had guzzled almost everything in the tank. It's about an hour round trip.

After some fiddling with the volume settings everything was perfect, absolutely no faults to report. Music sounded great (despite a whine on the amp that's still hanging around from before the head unit swap, I'll work on that), navigation worked perfectly and nothing exploded. The divider boards were only warm due to the air coming out of the dash vents, no hot spots or signs of them being overloaded. That's great news as I can finally get everything buttoned up and shoved back in the dash.

Turns out that CarPlay, or the Waze app at least, is lacking one thing. Auto night mode. Seems crazy but it's based on an ambient light sensor or 'headlight on' feed that most head units don't have. Why can't it be based on the time? Even my smart watch tells me when the times of sunset and sunrise.
That might be just Waze; Apple Maps changes automatically for me. But that might be based on the phone's ambient light sensor. My mom uses Google Maps in CarPlay; I think that one taps into her headlights. I'm shocked that your head unit didn't come with a headlight wire to dim the entire screen brightness when you turn the lights on. Both my and my mom's head units (two different brands) use those.
 

Matt2000

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That might be just Waze; Apple Maps changes automatically for me. But that might be based on the phone's ambient light sensor. My mom uses Google Maps in CarPlay; I think that one taps into her headlights. I'm shocked that your head unit didn't come with a headlight wire to dim the entire screen brightness when you turn the lights on. Both my and my mom's head units (two different brands) use those.
Apparently it has a light sensor and auto-dimming, it must be in the front panel. I need to go in and set it up properly, I haven't even looked in there as I've been solely focused on the audio. It probably is Waze too that's at fault here, I've found others complaining. Thanks for encouraging me to dig further. :D
 

Matt2000

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Tested on the bench while I had a chance, the auto dimming works fine here. It's using the IR sensor or another sensor behind the same plastic window, documentation only mentions an IR remote sensor :dunno:. Exposure is locked off.


Also, I looked at the front bumper today with the C4 coating ant it does still look pretty good. I'll need to wash it off to really see but it still looks dark. Need to do the other plastics this spring. Maybe some 303 coating will make those last even longer.
 
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public

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Anyway, I'm a bit of a fan of the intro sequence of the game Observer (don't know why, just like it) so was watching it again and the dash on Daniel's car reminded me of something...

Haha, is this an FSO Polonez?
 

Matt2000

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Haha, is this an FSO Polonez?
You know what? It damn well is. Proof is this little screen, if any more proof is needed.



I thought it was just some made up retro-futuristic KITT alternative for the cop protagonist, I didn't think they would put that much thought into it. The game is set in Poland in 2084 as the only country that survived the apocalypse. I'm not familiar with FSO cars really so didn't spot the clues.
 

Matt2000

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You're all going to hate me as I have an update for all three of my cars, I've been quite busy this weekend. :D

The head unit and dash has now been reinstalled for the final time, at least until I get a reversing camera. I used cable ties on the bundles of cables to keep them together and actually tried to make things neat in there. The Connects2 box is also tied in place so it does't rattle around.

Everything worked when tested it and I even found out that the antenna power needs to be turned on for the DAB radio to work. Strange that I need to turn this on now because I've had DAB working before and haven't turned that off myself. 🤷

Looking forward to trying this out properly, I've mapped out a route that one of the magazines uses that goes up into the Yorkshire Dales. It might be nice to do the route in this and in the Smart...
 
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