What do you get when you cross a Jeep Wrangler, a Garmin GPS receiver, and a Macintosh Powerbook? The answer lies at Navigate Different, one of the coolest Jeep modification sites we've seen in a long time.
Hailing from New South Wales, Australia, Ian Cossor's aim was to build an Apple Powerbook-based navigation system which can locate and display onto a moving digital map, in real time, the location of my Jeep Wrangler anywhere in Australia, in any weather, day or night using GPS". According to his site, the project was built with off-the-shelf components with the exception the of computer mount ("this was the tricky part", he exclaims on the site). Here's an excerpt from his description of his building the mounting bracket:
My Wrangler has an automatic transmission and a centre console with a lockable storage bin, so attaching the fixed base for the removable support arm was going to be challenging.
I fabricated a plate from 2mm stainless steel which bolts to the top front edge of the storage bin. This allows the lid to close and does not restrict access to the storage bin. A stainless steel tube was welded to the underside of the plate to provide a third point to bolt the fixed base. I drilled a hole through the top plate, aligned with the centre of the tube, matching the size of the pin at the base of the removable support arm (1/2 inch dia. or @12mm). There are 2 moulded openings in the console in front of the storage bin to hold drink containers. The rear one is useful to carry the 12/24volt power adapter for the Powerbook and the forward one is still available to hold a can or bottle of drink.
To hold the Powerbook onto the base plate I used Velcro. There are 8 self adhesive loop buttons on the bottom of the powerbook and matching hook pieces on the base plate. I had originally planned something far more complicated to clamp the Powerbook to the plate but opted for the very simple velcro solution because it was easy and seems to work perfectly. It only takes a few seconds to unplug the USB and power cables to remove the Powerbook from the mounting plate.
The only way it could fall out is if the vehicle is upside down (always a slight possibility in a Jeep but the least of my concerns). I also drilled an extra hole in the fixed base to allow the locating pin (and therefore the whole mounting arm, base plate and powerbook) to be rotated about 15 degrees to the left. This position can only be used when there is no passenger but it allows full access to the heater/air conditioner controls and centre outlets as well as the radio/cassette player.
The site also has descriptions of the rest of the components and how Ian put everything together including some fantastic photos. Check it out today!