Nexus 7 dash install (OEM head unit unmodified)
Here's a quick write-up on an install I just completed in my 2013 Sport.
What I wanted originally: Full-on Android double-DIN head unit running Marshmallow or Nougat, so I can run whatever apps I please. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are crippled in my opinion, and they decide what you can run.
What I realized: 2 companies make full-fledged Android units, and they're totally unreliable
What I ended up with: Mounting my own 2013 Nexus 7 tablet into a custom mount below the AC controls, complete with wireless charging, using tethering to my phone for data, and ability to run whatever apps I please, using BT audio input on the OEM head unit.
Here's the longer version, including pics.
So as obviously stated at the top, I originally wanted a double-DIN 100% Android-powered head unit. I looked into screen mirroring via a name brand unit (ie. Pioneer), but in the end, realized my choices were to get a standalone headunit or use my own tablet. After realizing that the 2 brand that make true Anroid headunits (Joying and Auto Pumpkin) are absolutely terrible on reliability and quality, I decided I'd proceed with attempting a Nexus 7 install. I wanted to maintain my stock system, so I searched for mounting options.
I lucked out, because a car audio shop in FL makes a for a handful of tablets (namely iPad Mini's, but also the N7 2013). This tablet mount replaces the cubby hole under the AC controls, something that I never really utilized anyway. This seemed like a good choice, because in the end, I'm already pretty happy with my current setup -- Image Dynamics CSX62.v2 front components driven individually by the 4ch's of a Soundstream TN950D, fed by an Audison Bit Ten DSP, and rear speakers fed by stock headunit. I was also happy with the sound quality over Bluetooth, so I had no plans to use the AUX input.
The Challenge -- Charging
I proceeded with purchasing the tablet mount, and had the idea of modifying it to support charging. As delivered, it has no cutouts/slots for AC power, nor would those plugs fit anyway -- it's just too narrow without having to cut into the silver trim rails on either side of the center area, so I decided to go with a wireless charging mount. Not the greatest route since inductive charging generates heat and depletes the battery's overall life faster, but we're talking about a 3.5 yr old tablet that I can easily replace the battery on if I need. The tablet itself is still blazingly fast and is to this day the best 7 inch tablet ever released, IMO. But I digress..
Once the tablet mount arrived, I tested it out in its stock config, and all worked well. It actually fits so well that you have to use a "suction cup device" to remove it. Funny enough, that just translates into them sending you a NERF dart -- hilarious, but 100% effective. With initial testing out of the way, I decided to proceed with measuring out the wireless charger's mount spot, etc. I'm using a Nexus 5 wireless charger (the official one) for this, and that turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as the mount has 2 magnets which ended up being inside the hole I had to cut out. The wireless charger essentially replaces that magnetic function.
Anyway, so after measuring everything, cutting the initial perimeter/square on the fabric with an Exacto, and masking off the remaining material, I proceeded to attack the mount with a Dremel cutting disc. Since the mount is about an inch thick in the center, I started by drilling 4 holes in the corners so I could easily mark my cuts on the backside (since the Dremel disc isn't big enough to cut all the way through). It took a long time and required getting a drywall handsaw to finish the job, but here's the pre-final, modified product:
I secured the charger using JB Weld, then filled in the backside/rear with a layer of hot glue for good measure (had to check that first -- hot glue melts around 220, so no worries about the sun/summer). As you can see, I also had to cut out a little notch to allow the AC cord to pass through. The crappy thing I discovered when planning this all out is that nobody makes a 90 degree bend microUSB cable where the cable goes down 90 degrees instead of up, relative to the "correct" plug orientation. As such, the only option was to make a long notch and feed a standard microUSB cable in. No biggie though, and I went back and smoothed things out with a Dremel grinding attachment, which really came in handy when trying to get the charger perfectly flush with the front surface of the mount. To charge the device, I went with a plugged into the cig adapter up front. I'm glad I went with that, because in the end, it allowed just enough room to feed the USB plug into the adapter without excessive stress/bending.
It was an afternoon project, so took about 4 hrs total, with only about 1.5 hrs of actual work -- the rest spent curing the JB weld and showering to remove 10 trillion specs of plastic and fiberboard specs.
I ended up automating things quite a bit, which is where Android really wins over iOS -- customization. I have Tasker installed on both tablet and phone.
On the tablet, I have 3 rules:
IF Wireless Charging ON, THEN Airplane Mode Off, GPS On, Screen On
IF Bluetooth near "HandsFreeLink" (by MAC address), THEN Launch app Car Launcher Pro & Spotify
IF Wireless Charging OFF, THEN Airplane Mode On, GPS Off, kill app , and perform System Lock (ie. display off)
On the phone, I have 2 rules:
IF Bluetooth near "HandsFreeLink" (by MAC address), THEN Enable Tethering
IF Bluetooth NOT near "HandsFreeLink" (by MAC address), THEN Disable Tethering
This setup seems to work pretty flawlessly. Questions?
2013 Accord Sport | Obsidian Blue Pearl
Previous: 2004 Jeep Liberty 4x4
- TRS 5500K HID Bulbs
- Zenex Ballasts
- Image Dynamics CXS-62v2 Components
- Soundstream TN5.950D amp
- Audison Bit Ten DSP