Long awaited I guess some people have asked me to do it and honestly I just haven't had the time to take all the photographs i've wanted but I will put up the process and the diagram, and will later put up more photos of the kit. This will let you be able to get 90% of the way there just by the description of it, the rest is up to you to do your research as every installation is customized to the owners taste.
So far finished product:
Stock double DIN unit is notorious for having the lights flicker at some point in it's life. Mine started sporadically, then evolved to basically a light show... to not working at all. Instead of wasting $100 dollars to buy another used unit that will inevitably fail, and having done many hours of research into aftermarket Double DIN Navi units that cost upwards of $700 dollars I decided what I wanted most was just an Tablet interface whether it was iOS or Android that is customizable and works the way I want it to. No appsync or mirroring or whatever. I just wanted it to work like a tablet. I used my phone alot in the car with Waze, Google Music to stream bluetooth audio to a little Bluetooth-Aux adapter in the car anyways. None of the headunits in my price range offered this ability.
If you plan to embark on this journey you’ll be doing a lot of this. I will warn you now, if you’re not handy with things like this, maybe it’s not for you. Trial and error, Android configuration, soldering, and just doing the nitty gritty research. I looked at maybe 30 DIY’s before attempting mine, because not all components will work with whatever. There is no “purchasable kit” for you to just buy and run with it, but i’m going to make it as close to that as possible.
This thread on Reddit inspired me, it was a guy who put a N7 into his RSX-S and knowing that the RSX-S has a factory integrated amp (Bose system) made it feasible for me to do the same thing.
RSX Type-S Nexus 7 Dash Installation : Nexus7
Following that thread I found the factory integration harness thread for being able to use our 8th factory Premium Audio.
The following are builds that I just ran across, or took something from, or really just inspired me:
BMW E46 Install:
I installed a Nexus 7 in a BMW E46 this weekend, and it looks/functions nearly like factory. Take a look! : cars
BMW Z4 Install:
Tablet Install - DIY - iDrive Replacement - LOTS of Photos
Suzuki SX4 Install:
This entire playlist of videos of this guy adding a Nexus 7 into his car, covering almost everything I will:
For DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) choices:
Use a standard USB DAC with a Nexus 7 (step by step guide) - Page 3
Priceless diagrams of the audio wiring of 8thCivics:
There’s a whole gallery dedicated to installations on the timur Kernel’s site.
Breakdown of parts acquired in my current build:
Currently have an Amazon Wishlist for this:
- Hosa Cable YRA154 Stereo 1/8 Male to Dual RCA Female Y Cable - 6 Inch
- Hosa YRA-104 RCA Male To Dual RCA Female Cable x2
- OHCOME 2in1 Kits Micro USB Host OTG Cable with Micro USB Power + Micro USB Host OTG Cable With USB Plug Power for Samsung Nexus 7 Galaxy S2 / S3 / S4 & Galaxy Nexus, Samsung Galaxy Tab3 S4 i9500 i9505 S3 i9300 S2 i9100 S3 i9300 i9500 N5100 N7100
- PowerGen® 4.2Amps / 20W Dual USB Car charger Designed for Apple and Android Devices - Black
- Joycon EXR Steering Wheel Control PC Interface with Accessories and USB Cable
- Motorola Micro USB SKN6258 Adapter for RAZR2 V8 Q9m V9
- Turtle Beach Audio Advantage Micro II USB Analog & Digital Audio Adapter
Parts not acquired via Amazon but you may want to:
- Neuxs 7 2013 16GB Wi-Fi (eBay)
- 4 port USB 2.0 hub (Anywhere)
- RadioShack Accessory 12v plug
- USB Charging Cable 5’ long atleast
- Add-a-fuse Connection (Parts store?)
- Aftermarket Stereo Harness with Factory Integration wired (Anywhere)
- Timur’s Kernel for Nexus 7 2013 (https://timur.mobi/timurs-kernel-n7-2013/)
- Double DIN or OEM Navi Trim Bezel of your choice (Anywhere, Honda, eBay etc.)
- Note I currently use a Ground Loop Isolator to stop some of the initial turn on feedback from either the USB-DAC choice or power/ground location.. this is a work in progress still but the addition of Ground Loop Isolator has no real impact on sound quality.
Diagram of how things go together:
Assembly is fairly straight forward. Assemble it out of the car because it’s easier that way. I had to trim the Navi bezel pegs to let the Nexus 7 sit flush.
First things first, make that Nexus 7 2013 from a tablet for carrying around, to a car head unit. This is achievable by using Timur’s Kernel that is supplied in a link above. it’s not free, as it shouldn’t be that’s why it’s not really in any of the open-source forums. It’s a one time unlimited updates Kernel that will turn the N7 into the incredibly useful Double DIN replacement.
If you are unfamiliar with Unlocking, Rooting, and Flashing Android devices well this will be a crash course for you. If you are familiar though; it’s a walk in the park. Here’s a link to explain how to do it:
Crazy people everywhere: Nexus 7 (2013) Car Dashboard : Rooting and installing Timur ROM
You can test the Timur functionality by simply removing the power source to put the N7 into deep sleep, waiting a few seconds, and connecting the USB power source again. I did this all before mounting the tablet for sake of testing.
I also took this time to customize the tablet user interface so that it will resemble not a tablet, but more of a refined look.
I first used “IdTamer” BMW dashboard background look that you see on my photo, here’s his Dropbox with required files.. If you’re handy with Photoshop or other editing programs it’ll be cake for you.
It does require some assembly, namely the specific Icons for the apps you want on the home screen.
I will be posting the one I used, but for now we’ll leave it at that.
To run a background as a user interface you need to install a few things as well as have some added functionality like custom row/column count, Swipe actions etc.
You need to run:
- NOVA Launcher
- Beautiful Widgets to run that time, weather, calls/messages (doesn’t work right now)
- Desktop Visualizer (Used to create invisible widgets/shortcuts to apps you want to launch from your desktop background UI you created)
- Simple Image Wallpaper Free (What I used to lock my background in place)
You need to lock the background in place, and create invisible ‘widget’ icons that will launch specific apps of your choice. That is how we get a nice UI that looks like this.
Now let’s get some of the wiring installing done.
With parts that i’ve listed above, the connections follow the diagram, but i’ll explain it here incase it’s not clear.
1. Motorola micro USB adapter is 90º plug that lets you make a really tight corner (in this case with how I mounted it, works well). Plug that first into the Micro-USB port on the tablet.
2. Connect USB-OTG cable (OTG stands for On The Go, it allows for charging of the tablet while allowing USB connections to be used)
3. Connect USB Hub (4 port or more, if you want to use more USB accessories you have to power the USB HUB as it only has so much power) to the USB-OTG cable
4. Connect ancillaries:
- USB-DAC of your choice (My instance is that Turtle Beach USB unit)
- JoyCon EXR Steering Wheel Control (Setup of this will be explained further down)
- USB extension cable if you want to have a plug somewhere in the car.
5. Connect 3.5mm jack into the USB-DAC, connect male to dual female RCA cables x2 so you have at the end of the row 4 RCA outputs that will adapt right into aftermarket stereo harness that will connect to the car.
6. Now is a good time to run the power, and the remote wire that will turn everything on.
- I used an Add-a-fuse to a blank fuse on the interior box for this for power. Run a 20A fuse for this. (I’m going to change this later down the line since I have a little bit of interference I want to eliminate, still determining if it’s the USB-DAC or the power source/ground) This wire is the positive for your 12v Accessory Outlet that you are going to plug the “PowerGen® 4.2Amps / 20W Dual USB Car charger” into, and from then, the USB Charging cable that will connect to the Micro USB Power input on the USB-OTG cable.
7. Time to tap the remote wire on the factory amplifier to the Aftermarket Stereo Harness so that the AMP turns on when the car is on.
- Audio Unit Connector B (20P) is the plug from the factory harness you will tap into, it’s the light blue wire. It’s B16 on the plug, LT BLU. That’s the wire you tap from your Stereo Aftermarket Remote wire to the factory harness. When you do this, you’ll realize you may as well leave it in the car and wire up the RCA’s when you bring the whole headunit into the car.
8. Now comes the fun part of the process. The JoyCon EXR is a incredibly simple interface that allows you to create buttons (resistive) into USB HID Keyboard keys.
- This unit itself has a learning curve, you will need to first check out:
RcJoyCon - Control Car PC with Steering wheel controls
- Connect the wires supplied with JoyCon EXR to the Honda 20-pin connector (Audio Unit Connector B (20) Again) to B6 BRN AUDIO REMOTE GND and B7 PNK AUDIO REMOTE SW
- You will need to install the JoyCon EXR software on your laptop, connect the JoyCon EXR to your laptop and with the wires connected from the Factory Audio Unit Connect B (20) and you should be able to configure each individual button on that part of the steering wheel. This means MODE, VOLUME UP + DOWN, CH + / - are configurable buttons. You can set them up for long-press actions, short press actions etc.
I myself am using Volume + / - to control volume, CH + / - to Skip tracks forward and back, Mode to Play/Pause. Long press functions include CH + / - will Search FWD or BCK within a track. Mode Longpress shuts the tablet on and off.
This video will help a lot in the setup of the Joycon EXR.
Now with that giant hurdle out of the way, you can start assembling in the car.
9. Put the assembled Nexus 7 (mounted into the Navi/Double DIN trim by method of your choice) with USB-OTG, USB HUB, USB-DAC, Joycon EXR, 3.5mm-RCA Splitters, into the car. Connect the RCA plugs into the aftermarket stereo harness that you already wired in there. Connect the Micro USB Power plug from step 6 into the USB-OTG cable so that it charges the Tablet, and triggers the tablet to wake from sleep.
10. After you have all of that jumble in the car, you can either leave it loose to better organize it, or just snap the Double DIN trim assembled unit in the car.
11. Now comes the moment of truth, if you have setup your Timur Kernel and your Nexus 7 Tablet correctly it should sleep when you switch the car off (It’s going into DEEP SLEEP, i.e. puts every process on standby and reduces any battery drain to nil), and wake when power is there from the 12V USB Charge cable. When the tablet sleeps, the USB HUB will sleep as well meaning JoyCon EXR, USB-DAC will all shut off. When power is seen, it will all switch on again and be fully usable.
This is all possible because of the Timur Kernel that was specially developed for car applications. It allows for USB-DAC compatibility, multiple USB devices, though Lollipop 5.0 has taken USB-OTG and USB Host as standard, the ability to set the sleep mode and other little things make the purchase of the Timur Kernel a must if you want to get a clean install.
If your project has worked so far, then you’ll probably be wondering what to use for navigation, music playback, whatever.
What I use:
- Tasker $2.99
- PowerAmp $4.99
- Raindar or RainAlarm
- TuneIn Radio
- Gas Buddy
- Hondata Mobile
Because I got a Nexus 7 2013 Wi-Fi I didn’t have the ability to buy a SIM card and a data plan for it, that would be great and possibly in the future i’ll be doing this.. but right now I have my OnePlus One setup with Tasker, to automatically detect when i’m near the Nexus 7 2013 in the car to automatically turn on and off Wi-Fi Tethering. This lets me get in the car, Turn car on, Nexus 7 is already connected to my phone by then, and then I can either use Waze for traffic/navigation or stream music or browse the web or whatever.
PowerAmp is used over Google Music since Google Music’s Equalizer is garbage. I thought the factory integration had gone wrong when Google Music played because there was no bass, no kids. I thought something went wrong. I installed PowerAmp, messed with the EQ and it actually sounds significantly better than the OEM HU setup. Adjust to taste.
For local radio channels, there isn’t an antenna being used anymore, so I use TuneIn radio to stream the local channels if I need to, or any channel really works great.
Waze and or Google Maps, I use Waze way more often because of live traffic and reporting. Again, this was fundamental to my project. I love this program.
Hondata Mobile I don’t really have to explain why but hey, it looks cool on the tablet.
SuperBeam, Sometimes I download sets of music or tracks on my computer or phone and want to get it to the tablet. Instead of using a USB stick i’ll just “Beam” it to the tablet by means of using the forward facing camera of the tablet and the Phone which produces a QR code to scan, it then sends the files using the local Wi-Fi network that I already have enabled thanks to Wi-Fi tethering. Makes sending files … wireless. I’ll eventually setup a better method to transfer files whether it be server based or something.
Room for expansion:
There's the nifty ability to expand the functionality of this project.. some people have run digital receivers to watch TV in their car, this doesn't work in the US but it does in Asia.
Reverse/back-up cameras are very popular and easy to integrate with the Kernel having that functionality. I may be doing this in the future, who knows.
Along the lines of the TV receiver is the audio receiver for radio stations and such, i've seen this working on some units but haven't stamped out the full capability and whats needed for it.
Problems that i’ve encountered so far in few months of using this:
- I think my power source or ground is a bad since when I turn the ignition on, there is an audible pop (USB-DAC turning on) and some fizzle (Probably USB-DAC again, cheap crap, you should invest in a better one like Fios or something), but haven’t had time to really narrow it down and create a clean stream so for now i’m using a Ground Loop Isolator which removed all fizzle crackles but left me with the initial Pop of the USB-DAC turning on, and the pop when the subwoofer/amp is switched off when turning the car off.
- Screen brightness is at 50% for daytime and most nighttime driving but if you’re in a completely dark area you’ll want to adjust brightness down to 20%. It automatically will do this for you but it doesn’t adjust enough sometimes for me.
- Using a ****ty USB Charge cable will show you how bad the cable is - For the first few weeks I used a really bad cable, the charge was not keeping up with discharge, slowly battery crept to 90% and lower. Switch to a nice quality cable and I was seeing the full charge almost all the time.
- I tried to replace the crappy Turtle USB-DAC with a Sciit Fulla (great name and DAC) the DAC required more power and it needs a special player to fully utilize the chipset.. so that has since been put on my work computer.
OK so this is as far as I go for now, i’m tired of typing and my brain hurts from remembering. I will update with further things I remember or bits that will help. I will also try to take some photos of the setup as I tweak. In terms of discussion on this thread please keep it sane, don’t ask questions that are explained in this DIY, or if you have an alternative way please share. :bunny: