Some folks may remember my post from four years ago '1987 S-10 Blazer with 3 Radios'
. The car is now a quarter century old and I am still adding things to it. The basic set-up is still going strong but I have added a few items to it so I thought I would pass on the upgrades. Just to be clear, this vehicle has no other purpose than being my runaround car and anything I put in it is just for the fun of it. But I guess that's what it's all about, isn't it?
I added a computer mount, which took a while to round up the pieces for as little $$ as possible. It is a used Jotto mount with a post that bolts to the side of the console. A Pro Copper console isn't all that sturdy so I had to add more bracing on the floor. I picked up a Toughbook computer to use for several reasons: 1) it was cheap, 2) it has a 9 pin serial port, 3) it has a touch screen 4) it's tough, and 5) it was cheap. I acquired a Lind 12V power adapter that fit it (freebie) but I had to hard wire the 12v input wires.
Right now all I am running on it is an ALDL monitoring program that shows what the car's computer and all the sensors are doing. It helped me pinpoint a problem that turned out to be a bad throttle position sensor. I can also use the Toughbook for programming the radios and other things. I might also use it for APRS, Geocaching and whatever else comes along.
I added a camera system that I came across when a department was going to toss it since all their others were digital and this was an old VHS unit. The only thing I did to it was replace the memory battery and everything else works good. I have it set to come on and start recording whenever the ignition is turned on. After 8 hours of recording (a long time in that car) I rewind the tape and start over again. I connected the sense wires that show on the screen when the brakes are applied, ignition switch is on, and when my headlights are on. Figure I might catch something interesting one day. The 'vault' for the recorder is sitting behind the seat and if I ever need the room, I can unplug everything and set it out.
I did have to replace the 'good times' radio because it developed an intermittent tuner problem that would always go away when I would pull it out to check it. Now I also have CD and mp3 so that is nice.
For now the radios are doing well and I can still listen to the departments that didn't get sold into the digital thing. I just have to turn the volume up a little more for the narrow band stuff. With ham, FRS, GMRS, MURS, etc there is still plenty to hear. Later I plan to put an APRS tracker in it but it will probably end up under the back seat somewhere.
Now if it gets me up and back to the hamfest in Lawrenceville Saturday I'll be happy!
Laptop and mount
I can fold the screen down when not in use for a handy dinner tray.
It can swing out of the way if needed.
ALDL monitor running
Camera console in the overhead
Please ignore the crappy headliner or lack there of.
Recorder vault behind the seat
Screen shot of previous recording
Fuse block and power adapter in console
I used the blue lit switch on the console to control the computer power adapter.
Breaker under the hood feeding the console
Also added an extra ground from the battery negative to chassis.
Thanks for looking!
David - WD4JKH