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Discussion Starter #1
Not sure if this goes under DIY or Electronics, so I'll start here and the Moderators can move it if they like. I bought a Lenovo Netbook a couple weeks ago and found that it had a GPS receiver built into the AT&T 3G card. That got me to thinking about how I could use it as a GPS navigator in the car. I researched a variety of options, finally settling on a half-homebrew mount. The Netbook tray and the ball-and-socket arm mount are both from Ram Mounts, the rest is my own ingenuity

I don't have an aluminum welder, so bolt-together had to do. The main mount is a piece of angle aluminum cut to fit onto the front seat mounting bolts nearest the center console. The angled support arm keeps the mount from swaying forward and back; it's attached to one of the parking brake handle mounting bolts. Everything is bolt-in, the only modification was to adjust the parking brake switch, as the brake handle doesn't quite go down all the way anymore (the brake is still released though).







The radio is an Icom IC-27A 2-Meter Ham Radio. No license yet (the test is in a few days), but I figured that I might as well install it now while I had all the tools out.

Greg
 

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nice job

Like your set up. It looks very stable and low. I thought of doing something similar but am very dependent on my parking brake. Because I have manual it was important to me to keep the mid cabin area a little free for flying elbows.

I used the RAM set up straight out of the box. It is a tad wobbly. I plan to shorten the bar and make a few other modifications. Right now I am using Earthmate GPS LT-40.
 

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LOVE IT! I got the whole Ram Mount with the big bracket connected to both passenger seat bolt mounts and haven't been very happy with the shoddy construction or the way it likes to bruise the passenger's heels. They take a standard bracket design and then try to force the vehicle to work with it Yours is a much better design for the E's needs and it doesn't make you give up the front passenger seat when the computer's mounted.

I'm not liking the angled brace to the rear. Hmmm...
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
LOVE IT! I got the whole Ram Mount with the big bracket connected to both passenger seat bolt mounts and haven't been very happy with the shoddy construction or the way it likes to bruise the passenger's heels. They take a standard bracket design and then try to force the vehicle to work with it Yours is a much better design for the E's needs and it doesn't make you give up the front passenger seat when the computer's mounted.

I'm not liking the angled brace to the rear. Hmmm...
Yeah, the angled brace is sort of compromise. Without it, the whole assembly sways forward and back pretty bad. The other option was to attach it forward, under the shifter. That would have required either drilling holes in the metal or cutting notches in the plastic to utilize the existing screws under the subwoofer cover. I also like to hang a garbage bag off the shifter, which won't work with that type of brace :)

OTOH, I already drilled a hole in the roof for the radio antenna, and I plan on keeping the car for a while, so notches in the replaceable plastic subwoofer might not be so bad.

If I could just figure out another place for the garbage...

Greg
 

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Yeah, the angled brace is sort of compromise. Without it, the whole assembly sways forward and back pretty bad. The other option was to attach it forward, under the shifter. That would have required either drilling holes in the metal or cutting notches in the plastic to utilize the existing screws under the subwoofer cover. I also like to hang a garbage bag off the shifter, which won't work with that type of brace :)

OTOH, I already drilled a hole in the roof for the radio antenna, and I plan on keeping the car for a while, so notches in the replaceable plastic subwoofer might not be so bad.

If I could just figure out another place for the garbage...

Greg
That's the problem with the smaller vehicles today. Everything is used so efficiently that there just isn't a lot of wiggle room for add-ons. I keep my garbage bin in the same location with a little adhesive clip on the subwoofer housing to hold it from sliding side to side - and a Kiwi trip computer mounted on the top lip of the same housing. It's not ideal but the Kiwi has too short of a cord to mount higher up.

You're working with extruded aluminum and that metal does NOT deal well with any repeated flexing so rigidity is a must. I think I would've used steel and possibly either run a flat, heavy brace out the front to sit on the floor under the lip of the speaker housing or made it more curved to avoid the brake handle. The Ram mount I'm using suggests that with a heavier steel bracket instead of aluminum, the brace isn't really necessary. In fact, I'd be happier with the Ram mount if they'd used the two center seat mountings instead of both on the passenger seat.

I'm still worried from the location of yours that the parking brake is at least partially engaged with the resulting wear and tear that follows. The only other concern is to watch out for corrosion caused by residual road salt at the seat bolts.
 

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LOVE IT! I got the whole Ram Mount with the big bracket connected to both passenger seat bolt mounts and haven't been very happy with the shoddy construction or the way it likes to bruise the passenger's heels. They take a standard bracket design and then try to force the vehicle to work with it Yours is a much better design for the E's needs and it doesn't make you give up the front passenger seat when the computer's mounted.

I'm not liking the angled brace to the rear. Hmmm...
Because of your post in another thread I did not want to go with the large RAM bracket set up. They sell a set of fixtures that are supposedly for putting a netbook in the E. Sadly the mounting bracket they provide does not fit any of the seat mounting bolt positions. I had to modify it to get a level fit. Long term I want to make my own mount. All of the wobble on the set up I got comes from the aluminum rod mount. It uses two set screws which I have learned from many years of experience is inadequete for holding a bar acting like a lever every time you touch it. Plus the set screws are stainless and eat away at the aluminum rod.
I will be modifiying the mount by adding a 3rd set screw and putting material on the end of the bar to close off any gaps for wiggle room.
The bracket set up from RAM was disappointing. They sell it as custom to E. Like you said they simply took bits and pieces from other kits that "kinda" fit the E.

Gregstoll80. Inspired by your set up I will make my own mount for the RAM aluminum rod that has no wiggle room. Then I will have a set up I am happy with.
 
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