Tablet Install
September 8, 2013 — 11:28

So i had my Suzuki Grand Vitara since the summer of 2012, but i was never happy with the OEM-Radio.

oem_radio

So after a few weeks using this radio, i ordered a new one from China, which had alot of new features such as GPS, Bluetooth, DVD, mp3 player, iPod\iPhone support etc..

2006_suzuki_grand-vitara_RADIO

I was quite happy with the radio, but again, after some time i wanted a new more advanced one. I’ve seen in the past that some people have installed a fully functional PC in their car, with touchscreen and everything. At first, i wanted something similar, but i figured it would be too much work to set up a PC inside my car, and it would take up a lot of space.

After some thinking, i figured i could use an tablet as my new radio unit.. After some research, i saw that there was a few others out there that had a tablet in their car.
My main goal for the project was to keep it “OEM Look”

I wasn’t sure if i wanted an iOS device (iPad mini) or Android tablet, since i had iPhone at the time, i figured it would be nice with a iPad as well..But after some research, i found out that an android device would be better for this, as you can customize the home screen a lot better and put up all kinds of widgets on the home screen.

Thinking back now, i’m really glad that i went for the android instead of iPad, as you get so many possibilities with the android device that you couldn’t do with an ipad with out going through a lot of trouble.

Anyway, so i bougth a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7″, which looks pretty nice from the front – clean and simple.

samsung_galaxy_tab_landscape

What i didn’t like about the front panel, was the Samsung-logo on the right. It kind of ruined the the clean look when you have the tablet in landscape position.I did some google search to find out how i could remove it easily, but the same sentence came over and over again.. “Buy a replacement glass from eBay”.

The average cost of a replacement class was only around $55 or so, so not that big of a deal, but then i came across a forum thread on the mp3car-forum, where a guy told me about “Decal Girl“, which is a webshop that sells different decals for your phone and tablet devices.

For this model, i had the option between ‘Glossy’ and ‘Matte’, and since most of my interior in my car is matte, i figured it would be nice with a matte decal as well.

Decalgirl_matte_decal

If you buy one; keep in mind that it doesn’t protect your glass from scratches etc. it’s only a border around the screen that you get.
My next problem was how i was supposed to make the tablet fit nicely in my car, so it had the ‘OEM-look’ i was going for.
So i searched around the web for DVD\radio units, to get some inspiration, in case i needed to do some modding.
After a few lil, i found out that the double dinn frame would probably fit niceley, since they are about the same size as the tablet.

I found a double dinn frame that was made for my Suzuki Grand Vitara, and ordered it..

double_dinn_frame

After a couple of days, i received the frame and surprisingly it was a nice fit!

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After trying a few ways on how to mount the tablet to the frame, my dad came up with a decent solution

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So to be able to get any sound out from the tablet, i would need to use a jack cable from the tablet and over to the audio system in the car. But there was no room for any cables on any of the sides, even the USB-charge plug was bigger than i thought.

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Then i figured i could try and disassemble a docking unit, too see if there was a way to make things smaller, and maybe a way to get the audio out of the charge port as well.
I came across the Samsung Universal Tablet Dock that had both charging and audio output, so i bought one and started the disassemble process.

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So as you can see, i got enough room for the charge cable, and also had an audio out port.

So to be able to use the car speakers, i needed some kind of amplifier that i would connect my tablet too, so i bought one at the local store, just some basic one that might get replaced sometime in the near future.

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So did a few audio tests to make sure everything was working properly before i put everything inside the car.

The next thing on the to-do-list was to remove the old China radio and replace it with my new one..

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So, when we put the tablet in, we noticed that the HVAC\Heating unit pushed against the volume\OnOff button on the tablet, so we had to do a minor modification to the HVAC panel..nothing seriouse :)

After that was done, it came on nicely.
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Since there is no way for me to reach the power-button anymore, i can’t turn the tablet On\Off, so instead if stays on at all times.

I use this app named «Tasker» which cost a few bucks (totally worth the money!), which let me fully control the tablet on certain actions.
Example: If i give the tablet power (Ignition On), it will automaticly start certain apps, turn on whatever i need (WIfi, Bluetooth, GPS etc).

And if it looses the power (Ignition Off), it will close every app, turn off everything (gps, bluetooth wifi, screen etc) and go into power saving mode.
That way when the ignition is off, it can run on its own battery for a few days, and soon as i start the car up again, it will charge up.

Oh well, here is the end result :-)

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I’m also using an app named «Torque», which let me connect my device to the ECU in my car using a Bluetooth adapter.
With this on, i can read out lots of stuff such as Engine RPM, Speed, Voltage, Engine Temp, Air Flow, Air Temp, Turbo Boost etc. Which is kind of cool if you’re into that.. :-)

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You can also modify the screens however you like..

Here is an example when using Torque.

And this is what happends when i turn the ignition on or off :-)

..And a small audio test

 

If you like this build log, please leave a comment to let me know :-)

If you want to get in contact with me for any reason, you can also send me an email to; mail

 

Comments:
  • Kevin

    Saw this on LegacyGT.com. Very cool!

    September 25, 2013 — 12:56
  • Rafael

    Hi.

    What´s the bigger screen size you think would fit in these 2 DIN frame? 8″? 9″ maybe?
    Thank you!

    Rafael

    November 29, 2013 — 20:53
    • Merko

      For me, i found out that 7″ is perfect. 8″ might work, but i would test it before i purchased one.

      December 12, 2013 — 7:19
  • Rafael

    One more thing… Do the steering wheel controls work somehow?
    Thank you one more time…

    Rafael

    November 29, 2013 — 21:35
  • John

    Nice, did you have steering wheel controls? If so and you want them back Nav-TV has a device coming out soon called steer blue where you can get your steering controls back with the tablet. I can’t remove my stock radio too may functions depend on it so I am in for a much bigger project on my 2013 Dodge Journey.

    December 12, 2013 — 3:18
  • stian

    Hei. Hvordan er egentli lyden i anlegget ditt nå da? Var kult dette, men det går vel betraktelig utover lyden og ?

    February 26, 2014 — 21:45
    • Merko

      For min del, så er det helt ok. Jeg er ingen ‘lydekspert’ eller noe spesielt kresen til lyd, men du kan altså bruke en hvilken som helst forsterker.
      Er flere nettbrett som kan sende digial lyd ut (stedet for jack utgangen), da vil du få top notch lyd, så fremt du har en grei forsterker \ høytalere.

      February 27, 2014 — 1:32
  • Andreas V

    Hey man!

    I’ll write this up in English for future refence, I’m Ante83 from the suzuki forums :) — do you prefer questions here or there btw?

    Today I finished up my carputer using the nexus 7 (with kernel that hosts, but does not power slave devices), carpc controller, small switching voltreg (5V) to power a small hub that powers the nexus+carpc, a small mini amplifier I found in germany (postal order) and two fuses.

    Everything was going fine and I was ready for the maiden voyage.. however, I know _very_ little about audio system and appearently a car is not the same environment as my apartment (heh). I have been met with “thumps” and whining noises from the speakers when the engine is on from what I can only gather is probably caused by the generator and voltage variation? It gets so bad I cannot let it run for more than a few seconds for fear of damaging something.

    Have you ever experienced this, and if so how did you solve it. Where did you install your amplifier, and did you use the same ground for your amp as for the nexus? — this might be a super generic issue but since you have the same car as me I’m a bit sad that I’m having this dritt-problem :(

    Thanks! :)

    March 16, 2014 — 21:30
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