Friday, April 1, 2005

Gadgets galore...

If you remember my post here about that cool shopping/gadget site, Woot, you'll remember that I had bought that fantastic gadget deal of a mobile hard-disk based tune box and the streaming media box from Rockford-Fosgate's Omnifi division (which I understand they've recently jettisoned).  Well, I spent the last weekend installing it into my car.  I might decide to post a few photos of the install.. I don't know.  But, anyway, I wanted to preserve the existing factory head unit and only add the DMP1 using some sort of auxillary audio input.  Well, it turns out that even though the radio head unit already has a 6 disc CD changer built int, it also supports an external CD changer as well.  Well, it turns out that Discount Car Stereo sold a really cool little box that connects to the existing head unit using one of the unused connectors and provides two auxillary inputs.  To the stereo, it looks like an external CD changer and by selecting a different track I can switch which of the two aux inputs are being used.  So I ordered it.

The tricky thing about the install was that I wasn't sure where to place the Omnifi controller/display.  My stereo head unit takes up most of the center console space so there was no place to put it there.  So I went a'Googlin'..  I found a place where another Omnifi user had installed the controller unit onto a little sun-visor that was just above the rear-view mirror.  Well, I don't have anything like a sun-visor there, but there is a bit of space.  So I built a bracket that fit between the two existing sun-visor mount points and then extended down out from under the headliner with two other bracked to which I attached the controller.  Then ran the wire under the headliner and down under the A-pillar moulding.  Then I did some surgery on the aux-input adapter cables to tap into them in order to grab the requisite power, switched power, ground and dimmer and feed them to the Omnifi adapter. Then placed the hard-disk carrier under the passenger seat.  I then ran the USB cable to the WiFi adapter out on the back window deck.  (yes this did come with a WiFi 802.11b adapter :).

Then there is a bit of software you install on your computer system where you have all the media files stored (or on a machine that has access to those media files).  This software is then used to sync with the player out in the driveway.  That is the coolest part of the whole setup.  At 2:00am, the DMP1 wakes up, boots itself and connects to the network.  It then will automatically sync with the server based on what you want it to sync.  For example, I created a playlist with some songs and then went to bed.  In the morning I got in the car and drove into work and there on the device was my playlist.  I checked the status on the device and it said that it completed the sync operation at 2:03am.  This is cool!  So now I pull into the driveway at home and the device connects to the network.. so even my car is WiFi enabled.  For the gadget freaks out there, this is getting good.  The next thing I can look into is a full on “car-puter.” ;-)..

Update: This is not an “April 1st post”.. it is actually true ;-)

Update: Here's some pics of the DMP1 install.  Again.. Sorry for the awful camera phone pics..