Suburu Dash Mounted Nexus 7 Looks Like Stock

Nexus 7 tablets, being cheap and really quite decent for the price, have long since been used in the dashboards of people’s cars. Sometimes they’re mounted quite good — sometimes not so good — but every once in a while, someone gets it right.

Usually the reason mods like this don’t work out so well is because people are worried about damaging their car’s interior. But [tsubie320] had a better idea — buy a radio bezel off eBay to mess around with — that way he can always revert to stock when he sells the vehicle.

With a crisp-new-freshly-injection-molded-bezel in hand, he got to work. Funny enough, Nexus 7’s tend to be almost the exact size of double DIN stereo slots — hence their appeal. He wrapped the tablet in blue painter’s tape and positioned it in the bezel. Using fiberglass, he created a new shell for the tablet to sit inside of the bezel. Lots of sandpaper later and a whole bunch of bondo, he was done.

The cool part of this mod is how he’s mounted the car stereo behind the tablet. He created a new mount for it using acrylic to allow the radio to sit farther back than it normally does. Then he threw on an inductive charger right behind the bezel, oh and Bluetooth — look mom, no wires!

[via Reddit]

40 thoughts on “Suburu Dash Mounted Nexus 7 Looks Like Stock

    1. Correct, unless you stream them of course (3G/4G). I installed a Kindle Fire in my dash (video url below if you’re interested). To be honest I never really missed the radio stations because I can load up as much music as I want. The thing that I do miss is having an physical volume control knob.

      I’ve seen some hacks where people throw together bluetooth control knobs and they work okay, but nothing you can buy off the shelf. Although I haven’t looked for quite some time so there might be something available by now.

    1. Maybe try to run a VNC server on your phone and a VNC client on your tablet. Should be possible to use different OS’es between the tablet and phone (for example, using an iPad with an android phone, if needed).

        1. It’ll never work via bluetooth, it’s just not fast enough for screen sharing… Also, why install an entire tablet only to mirror your phone’s display, that’s a lot of wasted/unused hardware, just find a small display with HDMI input and buy a WiDi adapter or even a Chromecast so you can see everything that’s on your phone on the car’s display…

    2. Don’t quote me on this, but I heard that the appradio head units work well with appradio unchained in the play store. I heard it works well, but I haven’t tested it myself

    3. Well you can try to use something like “Weak Control” for android. It’s a browser-based streamer app. Your phone has the server application, while your tablet opens the stream from the browser. You can also set your tablet’s personal hot-spot too, and use that as the wifi connection between the two devices

  1. This guy has been making dash mounts for iPads for years. In this episode he uses a sandwich of plywood to make a mount for a Galaxy Tab. If you want to do this process yourself, he’s the guy to learn from.

  2. I have been wanting todo something like this for quite some time but haven’t cause I don’t know what the sound would be like, from the tablet?

    Can anyone, who has done something like this, confirm wwhat the audio quality is like, especially if compared to a car radio with 4.1 surround sound?

  3. Out of curiosity I checked the current local prices of the N7 to see how low it dropped, and much to my surprise the price actually almost doubled! Seems they are exploiting the market since so few still sell them.

    Still though, who the hell is going to put down more than 430 for a nexus 7? Insanity.

  4. Shameless plug (http://hackaday.io/EquinnoxX) I’ve been involved in this for awhile. Same tablet, different Subaru. I used the old 2012 N7 and now am starting a new one with the 2013 N7. The Nexus 7’s have kept their value but you can usually find good sales on groupon, ebay/etc every once in awhile.

    This is a nice install and def some good finishing work but I do worry about the mount for the tablet over rough roads. Seems like it may not be stable enough or maybe they actually fill the potholes where he lives!

    As far as the audio quality, a lot of people (myself included) just use a USB DAC. So tablet -> USB OTG Y-cable cable w/power -> USB Hub -> USB DAC -> Aux In. Sound quality is excellent from the USB DAC.

    1. Have to any compatibility issues with various USB DACS? Are they all treated the same? I’ve been considering using one in that fashion, but I’m hesitant to buy untiI I can make an informed choice… any input would be welcome (pun only partially intended).

      1. I have a FiiO E10 DAC and it works great. I have seen a few others running different models of FiiO and no one seems to have any issues. I can’t speak for others as I haven’t tried them. A custom android kernel may be necessary for others/features.

  5. Im looking at a similar mod, but living in Southern California means that summer time temperatures in my car will no doubt cause the battery to bubble and after that, well, I like my car…… Lots of people have done this mod with the Nexus 7, but very few remove the battery. Its a bit of a worry.

    1. I looked into removing the battery and it’s possible but more complex in the setup if you want to have it power on/off with the car. Also you’d have to wait for boot up if it’s off. This is problematic if you have something like a rear view camera — you’d have to wait a minute or three for the tab to boot and then switch into rear camera view/app.

      I’ve seen a few others in warmer climates mount 80/120mm fans behind the dash with the tablet to keep it cool. Seems like it would work if you have the space.

  6. My problem with these installs is that you do not get the auto on/off with the car ignition like you get with a proper car stereo. If there was a way to get android to respond to a switched power line from the car, this would be the best solution out there.

    1. My dash-mounted Nexus 7 will turn on and off with the ignition, shown in the video below @ 12:15. It even pauses and plays music. Timur’s custom ROM is a popular way to do it, but I’ve just opted for setting up a couple Tasker items. It works flawlessly.

  7. I’ve spent a lot of time working on the software side of my Subaru Impreza Sport Nexus 7. A good UI is really important to keep this safe and distraction free. Take a look at my setup here.

    I really like the dash dock he’s built and am curious how the tablet stays in place and how he keeps the tablet charged. My commute is so short the battery drains faster than it charges. I can’t seem to get it to fast charge with more than 1A.

  8. I’ve spent a lot of time working on the software side of my Subaru Impreza Sport Nexus 7. A good UI is really important to keep this safe and distraction free. Take a look at my setup here.

    I really like the dash dock he’s built and am curious how the tablet stays in place and how he keeps the tablet charged. My commute is so short the battery drains faster than it charges. I can’t seem to get it to fast charge with more than 1A.

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