sábado, 2 de febrero de 2008

Updating Centrafuse to 1.47

After installing version 1.47 of CF, I customized the Aura skin using Photoshop. This is how it looks like now:

jueves, 30 de agosto de 2007


Now I'm facing new modifications to get an extra from my Caddy.
I already purchased a V's strut bar at ebay and then I will modify the suspension by installing a Hotchkis TVS 80079-1.
In addition, I made myself a CAI following the instructions given at
The result is quite good and I even gained some MPGs as well. Thanks Robert !!!
Finally I installed a Magnaflow custom dual exhaust, replacing the factory single. It sounds great even though I didn't change the resonator yet because the distributor in Spain will not receive it until September.
However, the rides really pushes when you reached 3000 rpm.
This is the original look:

The single exhaust.

The original resonator makes a Y, 2 inputs to 1 output.

The modification provides a X, 2 outputs.

The complete line before final welding.

And this is the result.

lunes, 30 de abril de 2007


As everybody knows, this is the main issue for this project. Mbai2 was too heavy to me and using a FM modulator is not a good option so we decided to make a custom harness to make it possible. Thanks to my friend vwcooper, who made it happen.

The first thing is to get a high enough level of sound from the PC so we used a minijack to RCA cable and plugged it to an ALPINE 2 channels amp, small enough to be located behind the climate control. Two channels is enough because the factory non-Bose system only provides right/left output.

The whole system is powered from one of the empty fuses at the box under the backseat. The cable (+) goes to 3 different fuses we located under the foam at the gearknob room.

The Yellow one (20A) is to feed the new amp.
The Red one (10A) is switched to turn on/off the computer.
The Orange one (5A) is switched to commute from one audio source (factory radio) to the other (computer).

To commute the audio sources we used two parallel 8 pins relays, so when the switch is off the speakers receive the audio from the factory radio and when it is on the audio comes from the computer.

Summarizing, the circuit is closed as follows:
All the outputs from the factory radio (ISO) are positive and they get to the 8 pins relays (that receive the signal from the computer as well and are switched by the button at the central console) and then to the factory amplifier (ISO).

If you are using a bluetooth hands free device to answer your phone calls (I have the Parrot 3100), you must put its ISO between the relays and the factory amp, so it will mute the audio no matter what source is in use at that time.

martes, 27 de marzo de 2007



I’m the proud owner of a 2004 Cadillac CTS (V6 engine and 181 HP). It’s black raven and Comfort finished, what in Spain means base equipment (no sunroof, no leather, no navigation). As you are aware all the CTS versions between 2003 and 2007 are basically the same, until the release of the brand new model this year.


I started thinking about upgrading the audio system once I realized the original is very basic and it doesn’t offer an auxiliary input to connect an external source such an iPod or any other MP3 player. I know there are original CD changers and navigation systems but they don’t have that aux input either. In the USA you can add an external source through the Xm radio device but in Spain that system is not very common so Cadillac doesn’t offer it.


Once I made my mind about changing the audio system I searched for different options. The first one was to upgrade to the original navigation system, following the guide provided at:


You can buy the navigation system via internet but the wiring job looked too hard to me and the fact that I would loose some functions anyway finally made me give this idea up. I turned my eyes to Cadillac then just in case they could give me a solution but they stated that it’s not possible to install the navigation unit if the vehicle has not the pre-wiring from factory (??). Cadillac in Spain offers an Alpine solution at € 3,500.00 with an In-Dash touch screen and a DVD player but you must sacrifice the DIC information.

Too bad and too expensive, so I thought for a while about an aftermarket system to be installed inside the radio chassis. I don’t like in-Dash solutions so my option was a double din system like the one described at:



Reaching this point, with a lot of DIY no matter what I decided to do, I thought that a computer would do it better because I could play all the existing audio and video formats, use the GPS navigation, internet connection, Bluetooth, a hard disk to store thousands of files, etc ..

There are loads of information via internet about how to integrate a computer in your car, but 2 guys had already took to reality what I have in mind:


Lately I checked another project at:


Some other forums helped me to complete my Project:

http://www.solocarputer.es/ http://www.mp3car.com/
http://www.cadillacforums.com/ http://www.cadillacforum.com/
http://www.cadillacfaq.com/ http://www.tupila.com/

THE SOFTWARE (under construction)


I installed all the software before at home because it takes a couple of hours to configure the whole system and it’s better to do it outside the car.

The software base is the Windows Xp UE, an interesting version developed by a programmer that take the useless applications off and added some others like video and audio codecs, Microsoft Office SP2, virus scanners, etc .. You don’t need any serial and the only thing you have to do is to pick which components you want to install.

The Front End I used is the old ICT. At first I decided to go for the CENTRAFUSE solution (http://www.fluxmedia.net/), that looks great and have loads of mods. There is a complete guide to configure it at (sorry, it’s in Spanish):


However, I found some negative aspects and I was not able to get the GPS navigation either, so I turned to Incar Terminal (http://ict.cartft.com/), a classic front end so simple that it will never let you down. It has just a few skins but you can customize your own skin with a tool available at the web and offers most of the mods you will need. I guess you will miss an OBDII interface, but it can be made by any other means.

You don’t have to pay for ICT anymore, because some time ago the owners open the code source after the lack of money they got from the sells, but now they don’t give support either.

Even the ICT includes an OSK, I’m using another one because is much better to me:


The mother board includes a CD with the drivers and some tools to control the performance of the system, but I’m using Motherboard Monitor to check the temperature.



You can use the same maps developed for CENTRAFUSE but you must get the DESTINATOR ZOOMER, to resize them to 800x600 resolution, and get it launched a Windows start.


We’ve got a luxury alternative: to use the Google Earth maps. As you know, the GE Pro Version provides the capability to connect a GPS device but there is a tool to translate the data from GPS antenna to XML language that can be read by GE. The program is called nmeaGE and you can find information about how to configure it at these Spanish sites (you can get the software there and look for English sites as well).


The trick is to use the GE 400 Mb Cache memory to storage the areas you are going to navigate with the Internet connection on. The maps will be at the cache when the connection was not available and your position will be marked in the map.

THE HARDWARE (under construction)


According to these two projects all the components would be stuffed inside the original radio chassis, so the look would be quite close to the original navigation system, and the whole system would be controlled by me through a touch screen. However, the small room behind the screen determines the kind of components you can use to build the computer.

Most of the parts were purchased via internet (eBay is your friend) and for people in the USA is even easier to get the components at a very good price.

Mother Board I decide to use an Epia M10000, that is 17x17 cm and very capable at a reasonable price.

Power Supply Very important decision. The M2-ATX is an intelligent PSU specifically recommended for in car solutions. It can control the way you want to turn on/off the system, avoid battery wasting, etc ..

The rest of components depend on what you want to get from the computer. I mean, I used 1 Gb RAM, an 80 Gb HD (from a portable PC), a CD/DVD RW combo, a 7” touch screen (Lilliput 629GL actually uses a HITACHI screen), USB 2.0 hubs to connect Bluetooth & WiFi adaptors, GPS antenna, memory cards, TV, etc

In addition, since I didn’t want to damage the original radio, I purchased another one so I could perform all the jobs before swapping the units. This has a collateral damage to your wallet because when you try to install another radio the systems is blocked (THEFTLOCK message at the DIC panel) so you must take the car to a Cadillac dealer that will charge you what they wanted to. They charged me € 80 for a 5 minutes operation.
Anyone with a Tech2 tool to be connected to the OBDII port below the steering wheel can do it, so there is no need to go to Cadillac if you have a friend with such a $ 3,000 tool ….

To me, the whole thing caused me a € 1,600.00 pain, € 1,150 for components plus shipping costs and the balance to pay some guys to integrate the screen and to build a custom harness to make possible to get the audio through the original speakers and keeping the factory radio, chimes and DIC information.

There is an useful web site to solve a lot of issues with GM vehicles until 2005, including drawings, diagrams, manuals, etc … but who knows how long it will remain open to us?



The first thing to get the radio out from the car is to pull the air vents and the climate control apart. You can do it with your own hands but it’ll be better if you use some kind of flat trowel. The radio is only fitted to the chassis with 4 bolts and after unscrewing them you must disconnect the ISO connectors plugged at the back side of the unit. Depending on which system you had the connectors panel may change.

The front face is a plastic piece fitted by 4 torx screws and 2 red connectors that interface with the main board inside the radio chassis. Once you disconnect them, you will see 3 different PCBs, one bigger for the DIC panel and 2 side boards for the control knobs. They are fitted with torx screws to a plastic mount as well. When all the parts are pulled apart, you can realize the actual size of the plastic you can cut off to room the screen bezel. Though I wanted to keep the original function keys, the guys I paid to do the job misunderstood me so they cut them off too so I had to change my plans a little. Finally I kept the buttons at the screen bezel so I could change the video source to get the images from the rear camera or turn it off manually.

This is a guide to integrate the screen, but be advised that the chassis from the factory radio is big enough to size it is easier to locate the boards inside.

Since I couldn’t get a spare radio in the same colour mine was so I had to perform some extra jobs like sanding and painting, so if you intend to do it the way I did do not make the same mistake. It looks great at the end, but it makes you waste a whole week.

The chassis is a 6 walls box that can be easily taken to pieces. The front wall is again fitted by torx screws but the upper and bottom walls are fitted by pressure flanges. Inside the chassis we have the CD player and the radio main board and both must be fully disassembled to have room enough to locate the computer components.
It’s all about screws so I will not explain the process. However the radio antenna is soldered to the chassis so we must unsolder it. If you are not going to use the original radio later you don’t have to solder it again, but I did it because I wanted to.

Since the Epia board is too big for the chassis, we must locate it vertically and that affects the rest of the components. I did it this way:

Hard disk and M2 power supply screwed to the back wall.
Mother board screwed to the side walls and the I/O panel headed to the bottom.
Radio main board screwed to the front wall, inside the chassis. The connector panel is headed to the bottom too.

Be careful to keep the holes clear in order to allow the cables pass through and avoid any kind of contact with the chassis, so use plastic bushings or any other means when screwing the components. The bushings will be useful to cushion the vibrations as well.


The touch screen is connected to the Epia via USB (to act as a mouse and keyboard) and the VGA port. You can get the power from any switched source (I wouldn’t recommend to use the climate) but we used the fuse panel located under the back seats. Since I will not use the audio, I cut the speaker and the RCAs off.

The video in connector is used for the rear camera, so you will be able to switch from the PC to the camera with the front PC/AV button of the screen. I used a 120º angle waterproof camera, it’s good and cheap but huge (3.5 cm diameter) so you can look for a minuscule but expensive Alpine model that works even inside a glass full of water if you can afford it (€ 300).

I recommend you to use one of the back USB connectors to plug the GPS antenna because I found some problems to configure it when I plugged it through the HUB at the glove box. I wanted to locate the antenna inside the central air vents, but it wasn’t able to get signal through the plastic (at least mine), so it’s now over the dash board.

I headed the USB cable for the HUB behind the glove box and I practised some holes to pass the cables for the CD/DVD combo, so everything is hidden from outside. Inside the glove box we have the combo, Bluetooth, WiFi, TV USB, Memory Card reader and some available ports to plug any other device.

The main point of this project is to build a custom harness so we could get the audio from the PC to the factory speakers and keep the radio as well. You will find useful these links to wiring a connectors diagrams for the CTS:

There are a couple of ways to get audio 5.1 from an Epia MOBO, it doesn’t make any sense if you are going to keep the factory amplifier because it only has 2 analog channels.


The idea is to use 2 parallel relays so you can switch from a source to the other by a button at the central console. Since the signal from the PC is too low, you must use a 2 channels amplifier between the computer and the harness.


After painting, the new system looks like this. I started working with InCar Terminal, but I'm currently using CENTRAFUSE (at least until people at www.fluxmedia decided how much we will have to pay for their front end).

The "welcome" screen can be replaced using software like TuneUp Utilities.

The logos can be customized if you change the files "logo.jpg" and "splashlogo.jpg", located at the skins menus.

The GPS software is DESTINATOR, but I included its own menus and reduced the size with DESTINATOR ZOOMER because sometimes it becomes easier to handle through those menus instead of CF menus.

The media player can show pictures if you put them with the songs of an album and rename the photo as "folder.jpg".

The Matrix Mania Screensaver is classic for CTS fans. You can "buy" it out there ...

Have a look to the ICT Front End, with a customized Panel.

The whole project is posted at: