Galaxy Tab 2 in 2010 Ford Falcon XR6 (Australia)
Hello everyone, this is my first thread for an install I have done with a 7" Galaxy Tab 2 in my 2010 Ford Falcon XR6.
This car has a 5" monochrome (basic stereo) or 7" colour (premium sound package) LCD mounted high in the dash for radio, HVAC and navigation functions. The position of the screen is great because you don't have to move your eyes very far from the road to look at it. Mine is fitted with the 7" LCD. If you are familiar with these cars, you will know that you need the factory screen and it cannot be easily replaced because the CAN bus that the car runs on connects to it and all the HVAC and radio buttons communicate with the CAN bus through the screen. Not to mention that you need it to see what you have your climate control, radio, etc set to.
This is what the interior looks like stock:
I originally wanted to run my phone with a MHL connection through a number of converters via the screen's navigation input and use a MimicsX2 module to contol it. I had that solution working well on the video side of things, but the Mimics module has been on pre-order since it was available to do so and now CustomGadz is not answering enquiries. A few weeks ago, I decided to take them up on their offer for a refund and install a tablet in my car instead. I have, to date, not received a refund or the module.
This has several differences (mainly advantages) over using my phone - the LCD in the tablet is much higher resolution than the factory LCD. It is not as bright and has a reflective coating, but I have not had any trouble using it day to day. The GPS reception is much better. I believe this is perhaps due to the tablet having a larger GPS antenna than most phones. I can use a micro SD card with the Galaxy Tab. I can not do that with my Galaxy Nexus. Aside from that, the Android experience is the same. Phone calls are handled through the stock head unit's bluetooth connection.
Onto the install... The first thing that comes to mind is that I need to relocate the factory screen to the space for the tissue box holder. I have heard of people doing this with B series Falcons (2002-2007) but AFAIK I am the first person to do it with an FG Falcon. IIRC according to some forum posts I read at some point, the B series required you to extend maybe 40 wires to get it to work. It is also a much smaller screen. The FG turned out to be much easier on the wiring, but the screen only just fits. All the wiring looms were long enough to pull down to the bottom of the dash save for small one that connects the screen with the six buttons in its original location, requiring me to extend only 7 wires. I was pretty annoyed about the MimicsX2 thing and I just wanted to get it done, so I didn't take that many photos of my progress. With some trial and error over a couple of days, I got it done.
Here's one with the screen functioning outside the dash:
The hole that it used to sit in:
Here you can see that it's a tight fit in the lower space even without the rear cover. The 5" monochrome would be more convenient. You can see the bluetooth module dangling down in the driver side footwell:
I made up some brackets for the screen from Carinya make-a-brackets (generic galvanised steel brackets you can make different shapes out of) and put the radio mounting bolts through them. The bluetooth module is hot melt glued in the back of the lower space. Then I attached the screen with 1/4" round head bolts. I cut the lower mounting brackets on the screen with my dremel. I also cut the insert for the centre console so the screen could fit better:
I lost the original cigarette lighter in the process, but it had become inaccessible anyway. I used the same brackets on original mounting holes, this time with 3/16" bolts to hold a piece of 6mm MDF behind the opening for the tablet. Moroday Econoseal 6 x 9mm (foam tape used for door seals) was used as a gap filler:
The tablet rests on the top of the vents and another bit of MDF got stuck there with double sided tape to boost the tablet up the right height. The last thing I had to do was grind a little off the top of the opening for the tablet, as the tablet screen was a little taller than the stock one. Here it is with the lid installed:
Fast forward a couple of weeks and I got around to doing a photo shoot with my car. Here it is cleaned up a bit:
You all know how an Android tablet works, so I won't go into that too much. The model I used is the gt-p3110 - 8GB flash and wifi only. It's running CM10.1 nightlies and I've changed the LCD density to suit it better (I like the phone layout in Android better than the tablet one). I've got a 32GB micro SD card for good measure. It connects to the stock head unit via the 3.5mm jack and is powered off a cig lighter adapter wired into the circuit for the bluetooth module. I have my phone turn on wifi tethering with Tasker as soon as soon as it connects to the built in bluetooth. I'm very happy with how it turned out, but it has taken a bit of getting used to having two screens in my car. It has been running like this for a few weeks with no problems. The only thing that remains is to fabricate a panel for the lower part of the dash when I get motivated. As always, questions welcome.