Author Topic: Android tablet in dash  (Read 7938 times)

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Offline Concho

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Android tablet in dash
« on: January 26, 2014, 05:07:09 PM »
Hi, I have a Mazda 3 sport, 2008 model with Bose, but wanted something a bit more.  I was looking at the Chinese Android head units for quite a while but after a lot of research and debating with myself I went for an Android tablet instead.

I bought an Asus Google Nexus 7 tablet from ebay, second hand for £100 or so (with 3G), a sim card from giffgaff for cheap data every month, and a fascia kit on ebay for £17.

I then took a dremel to the fascia kit to sand it down so the tablet could sit quite close to the front, otherwise there would be a fairly big indent in the dash.  I stuck it all together in a very high tech method - duct tape!!  I decided I wanted to keep my current radio in and the full use of the info screen so I decided to power and plug in the tablet by normal car charger and 3.5mm plug, but wired these through the back of the dash under the handbrake and into the armrest, pretty easy really.  I took the front fascia off the radio and tested it still worked, everything was fine and I still have all the control I want over it from the steering wheel controls.

The tablet is using an app called Tasker to come on when it receives power (when key is turned), and turn off when it loses power (turn key off)

Apps wise, I have Sygic & Waze for sat nav, Tune in for radio, Youtube and a few other for when I'm waiting to pick the missus up from work!

It was a very tight fit with the radio sitting in it's normal place and I could have done with a fraction more depth in the cavity, but for a first effort it's ok.

Here's a few pics, I did unfortunately scratch the fascia when sanding but I'm not too bothered as I'm glad I managed to do it, and I may end up buying another fascia as the first was more of a test. 














Offline richij101

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Re: Android tablet in dash
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2014, 05:17:09 PM »
That looks fantastic, dosent look slap dash at all like i have seen alot of them. I have been looking at doing something similar for some time but never got round to it.

I was going to take a few bits from this http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1819175

nice install though cant wait to see more
No point in doing half a job, it will only get you half way home.

Offline Concho

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Re: Android tablet in dash
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2014, 06:39:03 PM »
Cheers, it's not perfect but I've never done anything like this so I'm happy with the results so far

Offline richij101

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Re: Android tablet in dash
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2014, 07:41:05 PM »
How did you go about routing the tablet audio to the car speakers
No point in doing half a job, it will only get you half way home.

Offline gazpot0111645

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Re: Android tablet in dash
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2014, 07:50:53 PM »
If i am being honest, i think its great what you have done. But for me it looks too plain. What about cd/radio functions? They will be gone now wont they?
Carbon Grey 2007 (07) Mazda 3 2.0D Sport 5 Door hatchback.

Offline Concho

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Re: Android tablet in dash
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2014, 08:10:33 PM »
The CD function has gone but it didn't work anyway, I have the 6 CD multi changer and it has CDs stuck inside so I never used it.  I have full radio controls through the steering wheel, using the Mode button to scroll through functions like FM/AM/AUX etc.

The sound is wired simply to the aux socket through the dash into the 3.5mm connector in the armrest.  I did it this way because I wanted to keep the radio sitting behind the tablet.  2 reasons for wanting this - 1, it's Bose and I couldn't find the proper connectors, and didn't want the big job of the tablet going straight into the amp, and 2, I wanted it to be simple so I could remove it easily when I sell my car which will probably be in the next year or so.

Offline richij101

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Re: Android tablet in dash
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2014, 09:01:11 PM »
ah clever , so you have the existing radio sat behind. when i looked at doing it i was going to wire it though an amp. you going to use USB host for anything i was looking at reversing cameras etc
No point in doing half a job, it will only get you half way home.

Offline Concho

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Re: Android tablet in dash
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2014, 10:34:06 PM »
Not even thought about that to be honest, just wanted a sat nav and music apps so far.  The only thing I would like that is missing is phone bluetooth, but I might add a parrot device for that.  My old Audi A4 had a reversing camera and I never liked it, my Mazda has rear parking sensors instead, but I am also thinking of a front facing recording camera for the future too.

Offline richij101

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Re: Android tablet in dash
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2014, 10:56:20 PM »
look at running OBD diagnostics, i run torque pro. i would be lost without it so useful
I have a generation 1 nexus 7 running cyanogenmod absolutely love it use it for everything.
one thing i was looking at doing was a dash cam going to it for easy playback and raspberryPi control but need to mount the thing first.
This is my failed attempt. i tried with a USB touchscreen monitor controlled by a laptop. project kinda crashed and burned.


No point in doing half a job, it will only get you half way home.

Offline Concho

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Re: Android tablet in dash
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2014, 08:24:24 AM »
I am running Tourque Pro to, with OBD adapter permanently in the port, it is really useful.

As for the dash cam, it's something I looked into for a while, I tried one which was mounted with a windscreen suction mount but I didn't bother going through taking out of the glove box every trip as I didn't want to leave it on show, I work in one of the more unsavoury areas of Liverpool, would be like an invitation to some people, so I'd need a camera that is either very small or well hiddenm I'm considering this one:

http://www.aliexpress.com/item/FreeShipping-Dual-Lens-Car-camcorder-DVR-DOD-cam-i1000AV-2-0-inch-TFT-Night-Vision-USB/629294856.html

The camera that sits on the dash is really small so could stay there, and it's only £36.

I believe if you are trying to add a screen like your pics, if you strip the casing of the screen it fits perfectly into the fascia.  I was considering that route, planning for either a full PC build, a Pi, or even something like a netbook.  Decided tablet was easiest in the end and does everything I want (except Bluetooth)

If you are building that, I bought the Android operating system on disc (haven't tried it out yet though), I planned on installing that myself I could do you a copy if you like FOC, if that's the way you wanted to go, but I've seen on youtube a few good Windows 8 installations too.  Personally I think Android is better in car currently.

Here's the monitor I was considering at one time:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lilliput-Frame-Touch-Screen-Monitor/dp/B005TX3HSA

My whole tablet was £50 cheaper!

Offline richij101

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Re: Android tablet in dash
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2014, 08:45:56 AM »
Just looked at your profile your not to far away from me am in hightown. That would be excellent if you could sort that for us, I will be in touch once I Finnish my turbo project and get some cash for it.
I looked at using android on the pi but due to broadcom not releasing the drivers for hardware acceleration its really laggy. The second consideration I had was I didn't want to lose radio functionality, at the time of looking I was mainly driving back and forth between Liverpool and Southampton and needed the radio as back up. You can add radio to your tablet using the USB port and a USB TV tuner and a tuner app. I would Iook at using an otg cable so you can charge the tablet at the same time or if its a generation 1 nexus 5 use the power and audio pins on the side used by the dock
No point in doing half a job, it will only get you half way home.

Offline Concho

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Re: Android tablet in dash
« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2014, 09:27:09 AM »
I only wanted to keep the radio because it was Bose, and that means annoying connections, otherwise I wouldn't mind losing it as the TuneIn radio app is really good.  You can also get specific apps for a lot of stations, and I got the 3G tablet so it works ok.  Otherwise I was thinking of ways to extend the leads and place the stock radio somewhere else but it didn't really work out.  It is a very tight fit in the dash behind the tablet but not too bad. 

I haven't really looked in to what this Nexus (1st gen) can do, I just wanted sat nav initially and found that apps on a 7 inch tablet were better than a dedicated sat nav, but I couldn't find anywhere I liked a tablet to fit so I started thinking of projects.  Don't think I'd really use TV but definately want a front camera, I may look at properly getting rid of the radio and connecting it properly to the amp but not sure, then I'd look into your idea of a tuner. 

The only problem I really have with the installation (apart from the scratches which will be fixed with a replacement £17 fascia) is the bottom sticks out slightly, as the screws to attach the fasia are only at the top and it doesn't connect 100% with the heater controls underneath, and the radio sitting behind is pushing it out.  I've had it in about 3 days now and I'm getting to like it actually as it is like a step effect all the way down and you don't really notice it, but if the radio wasn't sitting behind it that wouldn't happen, I've just taken this pic now to show what I mean, look carefully at the bottom where it meets the gloss bit (please ignore really dirty car lol):



And yeah I'm not too far from Hightown, I've just moved house from Southport to Maghull so just down the road really. :)

Offline richij101

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Re: Android tablet in dash
« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2014, 09:44:29 AM »
I wouldn't use the TV if I installed it either but you need to have the usb TV tuner to receive radio unless you use your method, I doubt I would install a TV tuner app just the radio tuner app.

I us tune in radio a lot with the sonos system and its brilliant how data intensive is it and how have you found the quality. Dose it become muffuled from time to time when driving.

With using the android tablet you have the added bonus of a sort of car tracker with Google device manager
No point in doing half a job, it will only get you half way home.

Offline Concho

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Re: Android tablet in dash
« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2014, 10:18:11 AM »
The first few days have been good, haven't noticed anything with it yet but I've only been driving to and from work in Walton, or to Southport and back, no real big trips so maybe time will tell.

I've been looking at more apps, a tracker sounds good, cheers, will look for one now.

Offline richij101

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Re: Android tablet in dash
« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2014, 12:29:00 PM »
The tracker is already built into android. From the web panel you can remote lock and wipe. Its a good bit of kit , you can also get it to ring if you lose it. Bit hard to lose a tablet fitted into your dash but the feature is aimed at phones. I will send you the link when am home.
No point in doing half a job, it will only get you half way home.

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Re: Android tablet in dash
« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2014, 12:29:00 PM »