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Thread: OEM quality 7" tablet with steering wheel controls and backup camera

  1. #1
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    OEM quality 7" tablet with steering wheel controls and backup camera

    I've lurked the forum for years and have recently been experimenting with installing my tablet into the dash of my car. I decided it was time to post what I have learned along the way and things I learn in the future along the way.

    The tablet that I have decided to use on this build is a Dell Streak 7". I like things to look and function like OEM and I have run into several hurdles along the way, so I'll list what I have planned and what I learn on my build below here.

    Front End - I will be using Android 4.0 with Cornerstone on this install. There is already a working beta for this device over on XDA forums, once the bugs are worked out I will upgrade my tablet. The final build of 4.0 for the DS7 is said to support Cornerstone which will be perfect for switching between media/nav/OBD in an incar installation. More info on Cornerstone can be found here: http://www.onskreen.com/cornerstone/

    Internet Connectivity - OEM functionality means that the device should be connected to the internet without the use of my cell phone. My solution for this is to use a Cradlepoint MBR1000 (http://www.cradlepoint.com/products/mbr1000) router with a Verizon USB hotspot. This router will handle any authentication needed so it's a simple power on, power off, and can be hidden away in the car. As a bonus it gives me the opportunity to attach other devices to the local network in this project.

    Steering Wheel Controls - This one was a must for me and the solution is very basic. I will be using an Arduino Dueliminove with ethernet shield to handle inputs from the steering wheel controls and will transmit that information to the tablet through something I call DQVE (Dock, HTTP Query, Set Variable, Execute Command). The concept here is very basic. The Arduino gets a command from the steering wheel controls and sets a variable, then it calls the DQVE process.

    • The DQVE process trips a USB pin so that the tablet thinks it has been docked
    • Tasker intercepts the dock and performs an HTTP query to the IP address of the Arduino
    • The HTTP query returns an XML file that is parsed and the variable is set
    • Tasker performs the associated command


    I will map mute, vol+/vol-, and track+/ track- to the specified commands and mode will launch Vlingo for voice command.

    Backup Camera - Having a router in the car will allow me to install IP cameras and I can use the DQVE process to trigger tasker to launch an IPCam viewer application when the reverse lights are on.

    Power Management - The plan is for the tablet to always be powered on. It's default resting state will have all connections and display off. The DQVE process will tell the tablet to wake up once the Arduino boots with key on. Loss of WiFi signal from the router for more than 30 seconds will cause the tablet to go back into hibernation, also triggered by Tasker. 12v power will be pulled from the BCM of my vehicle which stays on after the vehicle has been shut off for X amount of time, so that the tablet can recharge if needed.

    Dimmer - This will function the same as the backup camera. When the Arduino sees that the dash lights are on or off it will set the variable and trigger the DQVE process so that tasker can update the screen brightness.

    Amplification - Because the headphone out only supports two channels (left/right) I will end up mirroring the front and rear channels. I'm not overly concerned about this because I don't watch movies or listen to many things with surround sound. The tablet does not have enough juice to drive the factory speakers so a 4x50 RMS amp will be installed behind the tablet where the factory headunit used to sit.



    I think those are all the key points I can think of right now, everything else is basically what app to use for what. Once the stable build of Android 4.0 is released on XDA this project can officially take flight. I'll update this with my thoughts and ramblings as they develop.
    Last edited by ArthurJGuy; 03-06-2012 at 01:02 PM.

  2. #2
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    Well thought out plan, I have subscribed and will be keeping a close watch on your build. I agree that if you are going to install something like this then full integration is the only way to go. I am currently in planning stage and your DQVE process sounds really easy when it is broken down as such.BTW have you thought about the lack of FM tuner and DVD/ Cd drive? I'm not sure if this is a deal breaker for me. As far as the back up camera, you may now have an alternative to an IP cam with the release of 4.0 ICS. I posted on a different thread here and also at XDA a really interesting site I found today. A guy in HK has been able to integrate a usb cam w/ 4.0 This would still give you camera access without needing an internet signal. http://brain.cc.kogakuin.ac.jp/research/usb-e.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott183 View Post
    Well thought out plan, I have subscribed and will be keeping a close watch on your build. I agree that if you are going to install something like this then full integration is the only way to go. I am currently in planning stage and your DQVE process sounds really easy when it is broken down as such.BTW have you thought about the lack of FM tuner and DVD/ Cd drive? I'm not sure if this is a deal breaker for me. As far as the back up camera, you may now have an alternative to an IP cam with the release of 4.0 ICS. I posted on a different thread here and also at XDA a really interesting site I found today. A guy in HK has been able to integrate a usb cam w/ 4.0 This would still give you camera access without needing an internet signal. http://brain.cc.kogakuin.ac.jp/research/usb-e.html
    Thanks.

    The lack of FM tuner I have considered and I will be using an app called TuneIn radio, it streams all the local stations that I listen to over the air.

    The lack of CD/DVD drive bothered me at first, but I realized that I don't have many CDs anymore, everything is digital and I have no interest in DVD's while driving so this wont bother me to much.

    I saw that post but I'm not sure that the tablet I am using has the required hardware since it is not a native 4.0 ICS tablet. The IP camera will work anytime the router is on (even without internet access) so no reason to worry there. If I can do everything I want without cracking the tablet open that is even better.

  4. #4
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    Everything sounds great except the actual software. That thing looks like it would be hell in a car environment. Too bad there isn't a really good front end app

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan711 View Post
    Everything sounds great except the actual software. That thing looks like it would be hell in a car environment. Too bad there isn't a really good front end app
    What specifically makes you think it is "hell" in a car enviroment?

    I've been using it in my other car via bluetooth and haven't had any issues yet. I personally am not interested in being jailed to a "front end" app.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArthurJGuy View Post
    What specifically makes you think it is "hell" in a car enviroment?
    I would assume he just meant the size of icons and such. I'm currently using a 7" Acer Iconia A100 in my civic's dash and it's not bad, but bigger icons would be more convenient. There are a few "car home" apps, but I've never been happy with the aesthetics AND functionality combined. However, I don't use that many different apps so it's not too big a deal so far.

    For power you can also just use Tasker to trigger all your screen and wireless settings. Mine is spliced into the cig lighter so when the ignition is on/off Tasker turns specific settings on/off. I've found that the tablet will last almost a week without charging.

    Here's my install if you're curious.

    You've got some great ideas. I'm curious to see the steering wheel controls in action. Good luck with the install!

  7. #7
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    Awesome plan! Was hoping to see more and more tablet type development! Saving up for a tablet install myself (galaxy tab 7.7").

    Was particularly interested in how you are doing the steering wheel controls.... definitely going to keep an eye on this thread.

    I was thinking of using a programmable usb keyboard controller (like an I-PAC, used for MAME arcade controls) for my steering buttons interfacing to android in usb host mode with a usb-to-go cable...

    I came upon this page http://norvangorgi.blogspot.com/2011...mote-with.html that describes how to re-map bluetooth hid profiles, should work with usb hid devices as well...waiting for my usb host mode cable to come in before I start testing on my Galaxy Note....might be an other simpler option?

    Best of luck and regards,

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by pcpete View Post
    Awesome plan! Was hoping to see more and more tablet type development! Saving up for a tablet install myself (galaxy tab 7.7").

    Was particularly interested in how you are doing the steering wheel controls.... definitely going to keep an eye on this thread.

    I was thinking of using a programmable usb keyboard controller (like an I-PAC, used for MAME arcade controls) for my steering buttons interfacing to android in usb host mode with a usb-to-go cable...

    I came upon this page http://norvangorgi.blogspot.com/2011...mote-with.html that describes how to re-map bluetooth hid profiles, should work with usb hid devices as well...waiting for my usb host mode cable to come in before I start testing on my Galaxy Note....might be an other simpler option?

    Best of luck and regards,

    That's a cool idea however I am using bluetooth for an OBDII scanner.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by btbond View Post
    I would assume he just meant the size of icons and such. I'm currently using a 7" Acer Iconia A100 in my civic's dash and it's not bad, but bigger icons would be more convenient. There are a few "car home" apps, but I've never been happy with the aesthetics AND functionality combined. However, I don't use that many different apps so it's not too big a deal so far.

    For power you can also just use Tasker to trigger all your screen and wireless settings. Mine is spliced into the cig lighter so when the ignition is on/off Tasker turns specific settings on/off. I've found that the tablet will last almost a week without charging.
    http://www.mp3car.com/members/btbond.html
    Here's my install if you're curious.

    You've got some great ideas. I'm curious to see the steering wheel controls in action. Good luck with the install!
    The size of the icons and screen can be changed by changing the resolution, or screen density. Also there are a few launchers that allow you to resize the icons and choose how many rows/columns of icons there are.

    Tasker is handling my screen and wiring settings however the Tegra2 is a power hog and I can only get a day or two in standby, so I need to have the tablet charge after use to keep it above 90%.

  10. #10
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    Sound very good.

    Quote Originally Posted by ArthurJGuy View Post
    I've lurked the forum for years and have recently been experimenting with installing my tablet into the dash of my car. I decided it was time to post what I have learned along the way and things I learn in the future along the way.

    The tablet that I have decided to use on this build is a Dell Streak 7". I like things to look and function like OEM and I have run into several hurdles along the way, so I'll list what I have planned and what I learn on my build below here.

    Front End - I will be using Android 4.0 with Cornerstone on this install. There is already a working beta for this device over on XDA forums, once the bugs are worked out I will upgrade my tablet. The final build of 4.0 for the DS7 is said to support Cornerstone which will be perfect for switching between media/nav/OBD in an incar installation. More info on Cornerstone can be found here: http://www.onskreen.com/cornerstone/

    Internet Connectivity - OEM functionality means that the device should be connected to the internet without the use of my cell phone. My solution for this is to use a Cradlepoint MBR1000 (http://www.cradlepoint.com/products/mbr1000) router with a Verizon USB hotspot. This router will handle any authentication needed so it's a simple power on, power off, and can be hidden away in the car. As a bonus it gives me the opportunity to attach other devices to the local network in this project.

    Steering Wheel Controls - This one was a must for me and the solution is very basic. I will be using an Arduino Dueliminove with ethernet shield to handle inputs from the steering wheel controls and will transmit that information to the tablet through something I call DQVE (Dock, HTTP Query, Set Variable, Execute Command). The concept here is very basic. The Arduino gets a command from the steering wheel controls and sets a variable, then it calls the DQVE process.

    • The DQVE process trips a USB pin so that the tablet thinks it has been docked
    • Tasker intercepts the dock and performs an HTTP query to the IP address of the Arduino
    • The HTTP query returns an XML file that is parsed and the variable is set
    • Tasker performs the associated command


    I will map mute, vol+/vol-, and track+/ track- to the specified commands and mode will launch Vlingo for voice command.

    Backup Camera - Having a router in the car will allow me to install IP cameras and I can use the DQVE process to trigger tasker to launch an IPCam viewer application when the reverse lights are on.

    Power Management - The plan is for the tablet to always be powered on. It's default resting state will have all connections and display off. The DQVE process will tell the tablet to wake up once the Arduino boots with key on. Loss of WiFi signal from the router for more than 30 seconds will cause the tablet to go back into hibernation, also triggered by Tasker. 12v power will be pulled from the BCM of my vehicle which stays on after the vehicle has been shut off for X amount of time, so that the tablet can recharge if needed.

    Dimmer - This will function the same as the backup camera. When the Arduino sees that the dash lights are on or off it will set the variable and trigger the DQVE process so that tasker can update the screen brightness.

    Amplification - Because the headphone out only supports two channels (left/right) I will end up mirroring the front and rear channels. I'm not overly concerned about this because I don't watch movies or listen to many things with surround sound. The tablet does not have enough juice to drive the factory speakers so a 4x50 RMS amp will be installed behind the tablet where the factory headunit used to sit.



    I think those are all the key points I can think of right now, everything else is basically what app to use for what. Once the stable build of Android 4.0 is released on XDA this project can officially take flight. I'll update this with my thoughts and ramblings as they develop.
    I read you explication and I'm very interesting about this.
    Do you have any Cornerstone apk? I would like try in my Huawei Ideos S7
    Arduino Dueliminove how work for transmit the commands to the tablet?

    regards JSoriano

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