Adapting the Nexus 7 for a double DIN car dashboard opening

It turns out that the Nexus 7 Android tablet is the perfect size to fit in a double DIN opening. DIN is the form factor of a single CD head unit for an automobile. Many models have room for a double DIN, which is defined as 4″ high by 7″ wide. Once [Meta James] figured out that the dashboard bezel for his Subaru framed the Nexus 7 perfectly he set out to fabricate the mounting system for an in-dash tablet installation.

Unlike a lot of these dashboard tablet installs, [James] didn’t need any Bondo, sanding, or painting to get things to look right. Like we mentioned, the bezel is a perfect fit so his alterations are hidden behind the tablet itself. He removed the stock head unit and ordered a DIN adapter kit to get the black bracket plate seen above. He built an acrylic box the same size as a double DIN head unit, then mounted the plates to the sides and a Nexus 7 case to the front. This holds the tablet in firmly, lets him mount the entire assembly using the factory mounting points, and leaves plenty of room for the cabling that connects the device to the car. Since he already had a hands-free phone system he just uses that to amplify the audio fed to it via Bluetooth.

[via Reddit]

31 thoughts on “Adapting the Nexus 7 for a double DIN car dashboard opening

  1. If anyone else is wondering how he is connecting to the Audio system, I grabbed this quote from the comments on the build page:

    “Audio goes to my Parrot MKi9100 via bluetooth, it has a amp built in and all kinds of connectivity, very compact. Having that already in the car let me focus on mounting. The Parrot also has a line in so I might go the USB DAC/OTG route at some point.”

    1. You may be technically right but it’s such common usage that even products are labeled as being single din or double din.

  2. As a native German, i have to insist. DIN seems to be the abbreviation for “Deutsches Institut für Normung”.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deutsches_Institut_f%C3%BCr_Normung

    There are a lot of DIN norms, like DIN A4 for a sheet of paper. (slightly different from your letter format.)
    Or a norm for a screws and all the other stuff around here. So the measure of the standard car radio slot is held in ISO 7736:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISO_7736

    Which adapted the DIN 75490

    Just to say that DIN is NOT the form factor of a single CD head Unit…

    1. I never knew where DIN came from. Pretty cool that it comes from a standards institute. In my admittedly limited reading of car stereo magazines and catalogs, DIN always refers to the opening in the dash. Sizes are also indicated by letter codes: I,E,J,&K are marked “single-DIN” and DD is “double-DIN.”
      Of course, leave it to us Americans to grab a 3-letter abbreviation and run with it, improper use or not. :)
      As far as the hack, that’s a good clean mounting setup. Good, simple work.

    2. Indeed, DIN-something is a standard for the hole in the console. But it is usually referred to just by “single-DIN” or “double-DIN” and most people know what it means.

  3. Looks nice, and could find it useful, but I’d miss a radio broadcast receiver. This places video within view of the driver, how would law enforcement react to this?

    1. Law enforcement would usually call this a no-go, at least here in germany.
      This is why my carpc setup won’t let me do too much stuff with itself when the car is in move.
      Examples: no video, no fullscreen visualization, no input of new satnav destinations, no switching to the desktop of the Windows 7 – yes i was too lazy to mess around with Linux – running in background. All this just by reading the GPS-Receiver.

  4. Very nice, looks stock, I just think he should have drilled a hole over the tab camera and put in a small fish eye lens (from a door peep hole) over the hole so he could take pictures of the inside of the car, no reason for it but if you can do it why not? Oh and as for the whole DIN think let me be the first one to say “Danke” to our anal retentive German friends.

    1. Lookup the Torque App for Android… by far the best app out there… all you need then is an ELM 397 (I think its 397) bluetooth adapter (About £8 on the bay) and you’re away!

  5. Thank you very much to whoever submitted this. I actually am going to do the same thing in a few months and i had no clue how to mount the tablet into the dash. This is an absolutely perfect idea, not to mention i had no clue what i was going to do for a preamp. Woo, 2 problems solved with one visit to hackaday :D

  6. This hack is just a sliver before it’s time. In no time cars will drive them selves negating the blaring safety issue of strapping one of the better tablets on the market in drivers view. I understand it can play music but so can a 9.99$ mp3 player. The reason this rocks so much is having everything that is dangerous to do while driving in your dash. I’m not by any means discounting the hack (mount job?) if any thing giving him kudos for thinking ahead to when this will be safe and finishing early. The fact I almost died in a wreck caused by someone not watching the road probably explains my immediate fixation on the safety issue.

  7. The nexus 7 has pogo pins. One is +5v, two are L+/R+ audio and one is common GND. JellyBean support this. I would have used the pogo pins and directly use the line in on the Parrot, leaving the BT connection free for my phone :)

  8. I have been thinking about doing this for a while. Knowing that the Nexus fits so perfectly makes me want to go with that tablet, but which one? There’s a Google Nexus, an Asus Nexus, and a Galaxy Nexus, or are they all the same?

      1. Thanks a lot. There is one more question I’d like an answer to if you could… To fit my music I will have to convert from FLAC to MP3. Assuming I use a good quality setup with a decent amp(via headphone port to RCA) to drive the sound to JUST the factory speakers, what would be the best bitrate taking into account size/quality.

    1. Adding to Adam’s comment, there are Nexus One, Nexus S, Galaxy Nexus, Nexus Q, Nexus 7, Nexus 4, and Nexus 10. The tablet in this article is Nexus 7. All current Google-branded devices contain “Nexus”, just ignore that part and see which Nexus of it is.

    1. technically you’re correct: ISO 7736 would be 180x50mm, but anecdotal checks find on most cars you’re probably safer with the tiny bit smaller 7″x2″

  9. Sony has an app remote head unit that connects via bluetooth. It alowes u to control all the stereo functions with the tablet

  10. That’s brilliant. I’ve been wanting to do this for a while but I haven’t been able to figure out how I could get a tablet to turn on/off, or how you can avoid needing the hardware buttons like the screen on/off button.

    I was thinking of using an external amplifier with a remote gain knob for the volume.

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