Aftermarket Visor-mounted GPS Better Than OEM


When [Roberto] bought his Mini Cooper, he opted to forgo the factory GPS system as it was over priced and didn’t have the best of reputations. He decided that he still needed GPS in his car, so he committed himself to install a TomTom unit in a way that would not detract from the car’s interior.

He dismantled the driver’s side sun visor, taking measurements of the original plastic housing that contained the mirror and lighting. He then drew up a 3D model of a replacement housing that would allow him to fit both the GPS unit and the speaker in the same amount of space formerly occupied by the mirror.

He gutted his TomTom unit, removing any extraneous parts he could find. A smaller speaker was sourced due to size constraints, then everything was mounted in his new housing once it arrived.

The end result is amazing. The GPS unit looks like it was installed at the factory – there is no sign that this was any sort of aftermarket modification. We are sure people will be quick to say that would be difficult to keep your eyes on the road while looking at the navigation screen, but as [Roberto] points out, you should be following the spoken directions once the car is in motion anyhow.

40 thoughts on “Aftermarket Visor-mounted GPS Better Than OEM

  1. I think the passenger visor would have been a better location. You can follow the voice once your moving if alone, or the passenger can assist as needed when you’re not.

  2. I have an OEM GPS from another manufacturer. It’s OK, and as far as fitting into the car it great (of course). As far as actual navigation, I think my Garmin in the other car works a bit better.

    Also, the upgrades are pretty expensive for the OEM… And the Garmin for that matter. Would be good to make those like $10.

  3. Very nice and clean, regardless of what some might say this is great and smaller then some of the other in-visor gps units i have seen. A step forward would be to put it in the mirror like a police car video recording system is.

  4. That mounting location doesn’t seem like a very good idea. Sun visors obstruct too much forward visibility and at least with a windshield mounted GPS unit you are never really looking away from the road.

  5. I drive a Mini, and the stock visor is nearly unusable because it obstructs such a large part of the driver’s view. This guy didn’t make the visor any larger than stock, he just made it slightly less useless in my opinion.

  6. @MrX Actually the article on his website specifically mentions that he designed the unit to turn off when the visor is returned, so the gps does have to be pulled down to hear voice instructions.

  7. You’d also struggle to get any satellite lock with the visor in the up position as it’s sat right under the roof. Unless he built in an external antenna I couldn’t see.

  8. @Daniel Now that is a dumb thing to do. Driving with visor down does indeed affect visibility, at least when I drive my car. My apology to Varg which was right from the beginning.

  9. People are claiming that the visor reduces visibility but it as at the top of windshield. Cars as a rule are on the ground. Yes if you are are approaching a ramp or a hill it then could be an issue. Other than than that I do not think it is an issue for most drivers. I mean cars already have them and people do use them. What I really want is for cars to use my phones nav software. My phone has HDMI out and USB. Why not provide an interface that allows them to be the entertainment and nav system for your car?

  10. Visor mount… Why do people keep doing this useless crap?

    I wonder where we are, flip, oh there… SMASH…

    If you have to block your vision to see the GPS, your design is an EPIC FAIL.

  11. Oh for the love Hackaday. Have you all gone soft?

    “I wonder where we are, flip, oh there… SMASH…”

    Christ almight fartface – have you never driven with your visor down? I mean, they must be unsafe since they have been used in cars for oh I don’t know, the last 50+ years. Since when are these considered unsafe? Someone should let the NTSB know about these rogue “sun visors”, they will be the death of us all!!!

    You run the same risk screwing with your dash-mounted GPS, your stereo, your cell phone, your coffee, or in your case, your makeup kit, as you do with this GPS. Pay attention while driving and there is no issue – distractions are only distractions if you allow them to be.

    Go pull your panties out of your crack and get back to not doing hacks.

  12. I really don’t understand the GPS obsession. For typical drivers, the majority of driving is done on familiar routes(work, home, school, stores, etc). You shouldn’t need to have a GPS running on your dash (or visor) every time you get in your car. Your subcompact is not a commercial airplane.

  13. Ah I totally forgot that people check their reading comprehension skills at the door when logging on to hackaday.

    It says above, “…but as [Roberto] points out, you should be following the spoken directions once the car is in motion anyhow”.

    If you bothered to read the guy’s site it says, “Once set up, you should follow the spoken instructions anyway, so the sunvisor can be moved forward, out of sight.”

    So unless you are a bit thick, you are not reading things off your sunvisor, you are listening to the GPS.

    If you were so distracted by the sunvisor-mounted GPS you would likely be just as distracted by your in-dash or dash-mounted unit that you would be taking your eyes off the road anyways. Then again if you are so distracted by shiny objects, perhaps you should not be behind the wheel of a car at all.

    It’s all about self control folks – don’t drive like a moron and something like this is not an issue. I see plenty of people reading the paper, applying makeup, etc while driving – all of which are far more egregious than having a visor-mounted GPS system and all under your control. You make the choice to drive while distracted.

  14. Is this HaDs first repo? I always asked myself when it would happen. When you’ve got multiple bloggers having 5 or more articles per day it’s impossible to check all posts before you post anything.
    About the hack: great hack indeed. Both my parents had an seperate GPS but in their new cars it’s OEM. While it’s handy for them that the maps get updated in the garage it aren’t the best UI’s on the market. But I love the idea and I think I might do the same one day..

  15. first time writer. Its interesting that the negative people fall to realize what this site is all about. Hacks, this person, showed that something can be done to a GPS, regardless of where he placed it, he showed that it can be done, period!
    you may not like where he placed it, but he placed it where he wanted it, and where it works for him and showed that it can be done. I would like more information on the parts and other items please contact me

  16. I considered this for my Crown Vic. The 1490t screen exactly fits the opening for the vanity mirror. Reception is adequate at the location without an external antenna and 12 Volts power is already at the mirror. The trouble is the screen isn’t viewable with the visor against the windshield and driver view is obstructed with the visor flipped down for viewing. It would still be useful in this location for voice prompts and proximity alerts for POI. It is theoretically illegal in California where permitted GPS locations are prescribed by law. I haven’t looked into other state laws.

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