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    Thread: DIY - Project Space Reclamation

    1. #1
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      DIY - Project Space Reclamation

      This is more like an IT project. I thought this is what I need to do, did it and then realized that I needed more. So lots of change requests. This can actually be considered an eternal project, with additions and modifications, as soon as the one I am working on is finished. So, please bear with me.

      Let me break this up into parts, so the flow matches what I was thinking.

      Part 1 - The "lagi kya" sensor

      When I bought my T-Jet, I had got reverse parking sensors fitted on the day of delivery. It was a plain vanilla system, with the usual four round sensors that go on the rear bumper and a IRVM, that clips on to the OE IRVM with a distance indicator and a beeper. While it did it's job well, I sorely missed not having day/night functionality, not to mention the annoying rattle this clip on mirror brought along as a bonus. I was able to reduce the rattle by adding rubber cushions, but it was still making an annoying tick-tick noise. So, I removed the mirror completely, with the plan of getting a dashboard mounted sensor display and was driving around with reverse sensors that sensed obstructions, but had no way of telling me about it.

      Then the boy in me woke up and decided to take the mirror apart to see what was inside. I found this:
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      The rest was just reflective surface, which FIAT already provided, that too rattle free and with day/night adjustment to boot. That has become a must have, thanks to all the morons with bright lights, driving around with high beams all the time. So, I started looking for a container in which I could fit this and mount on the dashboard. So, I sat here brooding, when I picked up the can of Orbit chewing gum and popped a couple to help me think, when it struck me

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      The boy being his impatient self, pulled out his tools and went to work on the poor little container:
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      and ended up with this:

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      So, I went ahead and placed this contraption at the corner where the A pillar meets the dash on the passenger side, held in place by a piece of Velcro. No more rattles and I had day/night adjustment back. But I was still not completely satisfied (am I ever?). So, I wanted to add a reverse camera and a display screen. That DIY is part 2

      To be continued....

      Rajan

    2. #2
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      Part 2 - Reverse Camera installation -

      The itch to not only hear beeps and see numbers, but actually see a picture of what I was going to back into was immense. Like any enthusiast worth his salt, I succumbed to the itch and got myself a reverse camera and a 3.5 inch monitor. Let's get on with the install

      The equipment:

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      1. Display Screen
      2. Camera
      3. Connecting cable to screen and camera
      4. Video input cable for the screen
      5. Power supply cable for the camera


      Tools:

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      1. Wrench kit
      2. Screwdriver it
      3. Insulation Tape
      4. Spade connectors
      5. Wire stripper Multi tool
      6. Pliers and cutter
      7. Drilling machine
      8. Hole saw, usually provided with the camera (not in the picture)


      Screws to remove:

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      Boot inside Panel:

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      Camera Position:

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      Screen:

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      Step by step:

      After much thought, I decided to mount the camera, just above the registration plate, rather than the usual location of the middle of the bumper. Positives as I saw it were, camera is protected from rain and muck, does not appear as a blemish on the bumper. Negative - you will end up seeing a portion of the bumper on the top of the screen (see last pic). I was willing to live with that. After all, I am trying to see what is behind me on the ground level, not 3 feet above

      • Step 1 - Open boot and remove the inside panel.
      • Step 2 - Remove the screws on the bumper, so you can pull the bumper and slip your hand inside.
      • Step 3 - Measure, mark the spot and drill a hole at that spot. Remember, once you drill, there is no undoing. So, MEASURE.
      • Step 4 - Pull the bumper forward, slip your hand in between and push the camera out through the hole you drilled. Of course, you will have to unscrew the camera top first.
      • Step 5 - Once you have the camera out of the hole, leave it there. Don't fix the top ring yet
      • Step 6 - Identify power source. In my case, since I already had reverse sensors fitted, I just spliced the reverse sensor's power wires.
      • Step 7 - Now, decide where you want the screen in the car. I decided to put it in the useless pigeon hole in the A pillar on the passenger side. The logic was, the display would be visible when I look at the left ORVM while reversing.
      • Step 8 - Pull out the rubber beadings on both doors of your chosen side
      • Step 9 - Pull your wires, Video out put wire, power supply to the screen and power supply to the camera all the way to the front of the car
      • Step 10 - Connect everything up, turn key to MAR and engage reverse. If you connected up right, you should see a picture in the screen
      • Step 11 - If you have a friend helping out, get him to sit in the car, while you get to the camera and rotate it to get the image straight on the display
      • Step 12 - Once done, tighten the camera outer ring, so the camera stays put
      • Step 13 - Tuck in all the wires into the gaps
      • Step 14 - Put everything back as it was before you started and you are done.



      Gotchas:

      1. Drill a hole on a scrap plastic or even cardboard with the provided hole saw and check the camera for fit. The hole saw provided with this kit was a tad too big and had I used it on the car, I would have ended up with a hole bigger than the camera.

      2. If you choose the location I chose, get down on your knees when drilling, if you do not want the drill chuck to rub against the bumper and leave a mark. Happened with me, damn my back . Look and you will see a black dot above the camera in the penultimate picture.

      3. In my case, I did not have a friend helping out. Explains the chair behind the car, to help align the camera

      Now I had all I wanted, or did I? I was not satisfied with the screen and the indicator being like that. So, I decided that I will build a fibreglass pod to go into that triangular spot, into which I can accommodate both contraptions and hide all the wires too.

      Now, that would be part 3

      To be continued....

      Rajan
      Last edited by Rengarajan B; 9th Jul 2014 at 22:39.

    3. #3

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      Quote Originally Posted by Rengarajan B View Post
      Part 1 - The "lagi kya" sensor

    4. #4
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      Part 3 - The pods

      This post should bring us up to date on this project and from there on it will be live updates

      The thought process

      Now that I could hear the beeps and could also see, before that "thud" noise, I was wanting to organize it better. First requirement was to have both in one place, so it makes it easier to look at them. Second was to have some way of making it less of an eyesore. Since the display screen was already placed in the huge pigeon hole in the A pillar, which is the front quarter glass, with zero visibility benefits, I decided to make a pod that will fit into that hole. Material possibilities were multiple - ABS, wood or fibreglass. I chose to go with fiberglass. Now, if I just make the pod for the passenger side and leave the driver side stock, it will look bad. But at the sametime, I cannot create an empty pod for the driver side. So, I need to put something there as well. I thought long and hard about it and decided to go with a boost gauge and a voltmeter. I needed them like a hole in the head, but who can resist the show off factor that comes with it?

      Let's get started -

      Removing the A pillar cladding - Requires no tools. Just grab the edge of the A pillar where it meets the roof liner and pull away gently. It will pop off without much fuss all the way till the point where it meets the dash. The bottom black plastic is also part of the A pillar. Once you have the beige portion popped off, just wiggle and pull upwards and you should have this free from the car

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      You will notice that the black piece is sloping inwards - meaning, if we build a pod inside the area, we will not be able to remove it, without detaching the black plastic piece. Thankfully, it is just attached with hot glue, so I detached it first

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      All that was left now to apply fiberglass and resin on those surfaces, watch TV for a couple of hours and take it out, right? Wait. Not so fast. For this project, I decided to use epoxy resin ( Araldite LY 556 + ardor hardener), as polyester resin tends to shrink and we need a tight fitting pod, unless we want huge gaps between the pods and the plastic cladding. However, we cannot apply the resin directly to the plastic, as it will form a permanent bond and will probably eat into the plastic in the process of curing. So, the area to be glassed will have to be first masked with aluminium foil and masking tape -

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      Now we are ready to lay up fibreglass and resin. Let me post up the pictures of this, before explaining

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      Fiberglassing is messy, but not as hard as it appears to be. If you have ever made a sandwich and painted with a brush, you can fiberglass. Honestly, it is that simple. The advantages are that you can lay up complex curves, will end up with a strong product and is not very expensive. Of course the sense of achievement is priceless. Here is how I went about this -

      • Stick plain white paper sheets to the area being fiberglassed
      • Trace out the shape with a pencil
      • Remove the paper and cut along the traced lines, to form a rough template
      • Now lay the fiberglass material (I used fiberglass chopped strand mat) on a flat table and cut to adhere to the template
      • Cut as many pieces as you will need for the number of layers required. I used 3 layers for this project
      • Set up everything you need, preferably outdoors
      • Once you are ready, mix the resin
      • Apply a layer of resin directly to the area to be glassed
      • Now lay down the first layer of mat. The resin will hold it in place
      • Apply another layer of resin to the mat, liberally. Saturate it.
      • Now another layer of mat, another layer of resin - you have made sandwiches, right?
      • Once you have laid up as many layers as needed, leave the damn thing alone for the next 2-3 hours. It is not necessary to check it by touching it every 10 minutes
      • At the end of 2 hours on a sunny day or 4 hours on a cloudy day, we can pop the fiberglass thingie out for further processing



      If everything went well, you will end up with this -

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      Stand back, admire your work and give yourself a pat on the back. This is how far I have gotten with this project and will update here on the progress as I move forward. Problem with DIY is, it takes way too long for any project

      Before I close this post, a few tips with fiberglassing

      • Wear a full sleeve old tee and gloves. Glass fibers tend to get under the skin and give you a long term itch ( one you need to scratch with your fingernails)
      • Preferably work outside. The resin smells a bit like a wet dog who just took a swim in some chemical tank
      • Mix the resin in small batches, unless you want half the resin to cure and set in the mixing bowl
      • Use separate measuring cups for the resin and the hardener - I use those large scoops that are provided with a pack of detergent
      • Don't paint the resin on with the brush, like you would with paint. Dab the resin and try to push it into the mat
      • Trimming off the bristles will give a stiffer brush, that make this task easier
      • Avoid glassing on a very cold / rainy day, as it will increase the cure time exponentially
      • Mix resin and hardener very well. Else you will end up with patches, which will never cure.



      That's it for now. Watch this space for more painfully slow progress

      Thanks for reading.

      Rajan

    5. #5
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      BTW, I am yet to order that boost gauge. Any recommendations? Also ideas for additional stuff that can be accommodated in these pods are most welcome.

      Thanks,

      Rajan

    6. #6
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      After couple of failed attempts at making the pods, decided to fiberglass directly on the A pillar shroud. Fiberglassed, body filler applied and one layer of primer done. Now to cut holes for the components and then finish up.

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      Rajan

    7. #7

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      Your DIY projects are very interesting, neat and inspiring. Thanks for so much patience to present it in this way, with minute details that are otherwise not noticed/told. And, I am sure they are not all as easy as it looks while reading needs kidney for devising those innovative approach and solutions.

      -Thanks again.

    8. #8
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      This project is complete, well almost . Wired five switches. One controls the reverse camera display and one more controls the digital voltmeter. Remaining three are connected and ready for future use.

      The finish could have been better. The reverse camera display is not angled optimally, but still visible from the driver seat. Overall, I am happy

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      Rajan

    9. #9

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      Welcome Rajan, looking forward for more creative DIY. All these need great patience and creative mind/hand
      Think Blaze - Drive Safe

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