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Samsung Galaxy Tab in a 2010 VW Golf (with big pictures!)

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  • Samsung Galaxy Tab in a 2010 VW Golf (with big pictures!)

    Hi Everybody at mp3car!

    This is my first post here, but I've been lurking around for a bit, reading all the good bits everyone else has posted. And it all finally came together. Initially I had posted this over at the GolfMKVI forums (a forum for the new model of the VW Golfs), but I wanted to post here as well and get some opinions on how I can improve. So first is the run through of what all I did, then at the end I have some improvements I would love feedback on! So here we go!

    First off, let me say that I don't have a background in electronics or car audio. Actually I'm a nurse, so if you need a catheter, we're golden. If what I'm doing breaks my car or you try what I did and something goes wrong, my bad.

    The route I finally ended up taking was to install an aftermarket head unit using a harness with built in steering wheel controls. This runs the speakers, allows bluetooth handsfree use, and allows me to control the volume with the steering wheel controls.

    The Parts:

    Sony MEXBT3900U Head Unit - Mid range quality head unit which can do A2DP bluetooth audio and handsfree at the same time, external microphone, and steering wheel controls

    Samsung Galaxy Tab - This is the original Galaxy tab, they have another two seven inch ones out now. No real need for the upgraded model, as a head unit the original has plenty of power. The only nice thing about the upgraded ones would be that they might support usbhost, allowing for external storage. This has been updated to CW9 using the Humeros ROM, enabling ICS. Also, adding on the Voodoo Plus app really cleans up the audio.

    PAC Audio RP4-VW11 - This is basically the same as the C2R-VW2, except for two things. First it has a steering wheel adapter built in, solid. Second, there's no disclaimer about it not retaining the digital amplifier for dynaudio systems. No idea if this matters because I never actually tried the previous one, but it makes me feel better, and that's what matters.

    Metra DDIN Kit - This provides the fascia for the unit, which has been cut to pieces to fit what I need. The two front plates were epoxied together. Good stuff.

    Galaxy Tab Car Dock - This does a couple of things. The suction cup mounty thing is gone, the rest of it is used to secure the tablet to the fascia. Nice thing about this is it powers the tablet like a champ, as opposed to the regular USB cable that sometimes doesn't keep it topped off.

    USB Extension Cable - This is a ten food extension cable to run the power from the dash to the 12v in the trunk. Just a temporary fix, more on this later.

    External Mic for the Sony head unit - Because there's one built into the faceplate of the head unit, but we're about the cover that up with the tablet. Easy fix.

    32gb SD card, from wherever. Cheaper the better.

    Now that we have all the parts and pieces, we start putting it together. I used 16/18 crimped butts to connect the harness to the wiring for the head unit. The hookups related to the nav stuff was simply taped off. Done.

    Next up I ran the power cable to the extension cable down the passenger side, underneath the paneling, then all the way to the back where it plugs into the 12v.

    Last bit of prep is the microphone. The cable runs down the driver side paneling up to the steering column where it's mounted.

    Head unit gets plugged into the harness, external mic, and the steering wheel control thing. But wait, GASP! There's no real easy way to mount this inside of the cavity where the RNS-510 was. However, if you shove it the hell in there with all the cabling on top of it, it doesn't really move. I told you this was a quality install. Aesthetics of this don't really matter as it will be hidden by the tablet, plus there's enough space behind it for exhaust and cooling. Shove everything on in and it looks like this:

    Ok next up is the fascia. The thin front piece was expoxied to the large one, easy enough. Next up, some dremelling. I took the tablet, placed it in the mounting case, held it up against the back of the fascia so everything lined up and started chopping. Eventually I was able to place the tablet against the back of the fascia so it remained flush. Done.

    Initially I left the sliding power connected in, but after trying to mount it, this got in the way. With a flat head screwdriver, this part can be pried off and opened up. The actual power board is super small. Pulled that out, wrapped it in electric tape and it was good to go.

    Finally, the mount had to be attached to the fascia in some way. This in turn would mount the tablet to the cavity in the dashboard. Otherwise every time you tried to use it, the tablet would fall back into the hole. Being that I'm fancy and refined, I used zip ties. Yup, zip ties, they're friggin amazing. This is the main reason for needing the auto mount, as it gives you something to attach to the fascia. Check out my handiwork:

    The lower left mounting hole was removed in order to make room for the 3.5mm out jack in case I needed it. Didn't make a difference in the stability of the mount after being screwed in.

    Ok, so the power cable that's hooked to the extension cord is plugged into the makeshift adapter. This provides ACC power when the car is on, check.

    With the car on, the bluetooth A2DP is linked to the head unit and the steering wheel controls are set up. Also, my iphone is linked to the head unit at this time. The equalizer settings were taken care of and all the other settings on the head unit, etc etc etc. Main point is: everything is adjusted so I never need to mess with the head unit. Now it's time to shove everything in and mount up the tablet. As such:

    Lovely. Finally we put the stock fascia on around the metra fascia:

    Maybe a little music?

    For the tablet, here's what I used:

    Bluetooth A2DP link to the headunit - Provides audio and allows steering wheel controls to change tracks.
    GPS Nav - Sygic, Navigon, and Copilot - All three of these have onboard maps, meaning I don't have to waste data from my 2GB AT&T when driving around. Still trying to decide which one I like best. Google navigation is great but the maps are downloaded over 3g as you drive around.
    Amazon MP3 - Has a pretty good interface and all my music is on the cloud drive, ready to be downloaded.
    Pandora - Cause it's nifty
    Spotify - Wouldn't it be great if Spotify displayed in landscape? Renders it useless, one day it'll be cool though.
    Google Listen - Pretty good podcast downloader, in order to get Wait Wait Don't Tell me and This American Life
    Sirius Radio - Haven't fiddled with it too much as I only used it for NPR and the new wave station anyways.

    And finally, the app that brings it all together...Tasker!
    Tasker is a great app that can create profiles based on certain events. For instance:
    When my tablet senses that it is charging: The screen will turn on, remain on with a timeout of 23 hours, go to max brightness (depending on the time of day), and turn off airplane mode
    When the power is disconnected it will: Set the screen timeout to 7 seconds (this is the minimum), turn off bluetooth (this forces the music to pause), turn on airplane mode (saves lots o power), and goes to the homescreen (don't know why, but bluetooth won't automatically connect if it's in an app.

    So, when the car turns on...the headunit turns on, my phone connects handsfree to the headunit which is hooked to the handy external mic, the tablet senses power and lights up (staying lit up), connects to the headunit for sound, steering wheel controls are routed to the head unit to control volume and change tracks, and this is all seamless.

    Sorry this was fairly long and wordy, but hopefully if anyone wants to do the same, it's shed some light.

    Things I'd like to do:
    Splice the power into the harness (I've seen this around but have never tried to do it before)
    Figure some way to make a backup camera work
    Get FM radio working on the tablet
    Clean up the fascia (I don't like the gap there is, would have to fill it in, sand it down and paint it. Not very good at that stuff but willing to try)
    Get spotify working in landscape mode
    Find a 3G hotspot or SIM card with unlimited data so I don't have to worry about going over
    Figure a way to make the tablet easily removable (been running this through in my head and have a few ideas, would clean the entire look up as well)
    Move the faceplate of the head unit to the glove box. I've seen this done before, looks like it requires a bit of soldering and some CAT5 cable, nothing too fancy. Then I could adjust head unit settings without removing the tablet.

    So that's it! Again, sorry if it's long and kind of a messy install, but I'd like any advice from the experts or questions from people who want to do the same. There's no need to settle for a subpar head unit when you can get really creative with something like this! Just think of all the options!

  • #2
    Originally posted by pswhite View Post
    Figure some way to make a backup camera work
    You should be able to install a wifi camera and then use the browser on your tablet to view the camera.
    Originally posted by pswhite View Post
    Clean up the fascia (I don't like the gap there is
    If the gaps not too big you could put some dim lights behind it, so theres a slight glow, like newer tvs

    Looks good, by putting a headunit in there it sounds like you solved a few of the issues I've been having, like steering wheel controls and bluetooth handsfree.
    So your steering wheel controls can control the music on the tablet? Is this because the tablet sends it's music via bluetooth? So the commands to control the song controls it on the tablet? I might just have to rethink my setup, nice work.
    Android Tablet In-Car Sliding Dock using hacked DVD drive


    • #3
      The only problem with using an IP camera is that most if not all need some form of activex addon or an actual app that is most likely windows based only. Just my 2 cents SNO


      • #4
        Web browser IE 6.0 or above version, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, Opera, Chrome ,etc
        Supported mobile Support Nokia, Android, Windows mobile phone, Iphone and other smart mobile phones

        Found plenty more like this
        Android Tablet In-Car Sliding Dock using hacked DVD drive


        • #5
          I had looked at using an IP cam (or even an old android phone which has an IP cam app loaded on it), however the issue with that is I dont think they'd do too wonderfully hanging out on my license plate and I'm not sure how to angle it from the inside in order to be able to see my bumper. Any thoughts? Has this been done by anyone in the past?


          • #6
            really good setup

            love the setup you have here, i see lots of similarities with what I want to do. You actually helped cover some of my issues here. I'm putting mine in a 2000 Camaro with steering wheel controls also, and I wanted an actual headunit stuffed behind the tablet. I'm hoping that this headunit will work fine for me too. one question, how do you switch back and forth between the radio and tablet? does unpairing them automatically put the radio back in, or do you have to take the tablet out and push a button on the headunit?

            For data, I happen to work for sprint and we get unlimited data on our hotspot devices, so i'll be doing that. While customers dont get that unlimited data perk on hotspots, phone do get unlimited data, that can be tethered for free after a root, so thats one option for you to get past that 2GB cap. A Nexus S is easy to root, is fairly cheap, and runs awesome on cyanogen mod 9.

            I also want a backup cam and saw an ip cam in action over wifi, will be trying it out and see how well it works with the hotspot device (waiting for the new 3G/4G WiMax/4G LTE device from Sierra Wireless) and how easily i can hide the camera. maybe in the keyhole area and then find a way to just pop the trunk without the key? or just get a rearview mirror that has it built in.

            As for the tablet, I was originally gonna go with the galaxy tab 7.7 and its super amoled screen, was all but sold until it only came out for $500 on a two year contract with verizon. luckily i heard about the new toshiba excite 7.7. it uses the same amoled panel as the samsung, has a quad core instead of a dual core, has vanilla ICS instead of honeycomb, and costs less than the samsung. also does usbhost, and the front bezel has no logos or branding. just a really good tablet that people should think about, comes out in about a month and the screen looks amazing and has great specs! anyway, love what you did here and will check back to see what else you've done, thanks for the great write up!!


            • #7
              I mapped the source selection button to a key on the steering wheel controls. So basically, if I want to change between radio and the tablet, I just press the button until I get to the radio. All in all pretty easy and doesn't require any change in the pairing.
              I had looked at maybe getting a real cheap cell phone and just using it as a hotspot, additionally, if I could mount it somewhere and use it to stream video I may be able to rig it as a back up camera. I looked at some IP cams, and they seem like they would work great, but I don't know how I could mount it. These are all made for stationary and relatively dry locations. If mounted above my license plate or around my bumper, I'm sure water would get in rather quickly.
              Either way, I've been using it for a few weeks now and am quite pleased. Getting a tablet that has stock ICS will help greatly - I'm dealing with an issue from the low quality bluetooth stack included in my build. Even better if you can find something that has usb host so you can just route a usb stick to the glove box.
              Best of luck and let us know how it goes!


              • #8
                Looks great! For the data connection, if T-Mobile service is good in your area, you could get the $30 prepaid plan that they have. 100 minutes, unlimited texts, and 5GB of data. Pop that into a cheap Android phone and you'll be good to go. I actually plan on finding a phone with a cracked screen or something so I can do the same thing.


                • #9
                  What type of samsung galaxy have u used more precisely ?
                  7` , 7.7` or 10` ?


                  • #10
                    Looks great. I want to do the same with tasker, any chance you could write a how to? I'm struggling with this app.. LOL
                    [ 2011 Nissan Altima 2.5 S | Dark Slate | CVT | HTC Evo View 4G In-Car Tablet | Interior LEDs | DDM 6000K ]
                    [ Massive VK6 Front Stage | 3xJL W610 | Zapco AG750 | Alpine MRPF240 | Clarion EQS746 ]


                    • #11
                      This is awesome! I am planning on doing the exact same thing to my 09 Jetta SE. The only thing that I would want to do differently is not have the head unit behind the tablet. I was thinking about buying a cheap 4 channel amp and putting that in the trunk. Any words of advice for someone doing it on the same model car as you?


                      • #12
                        This is brilliant, I remember the days of building small PCs/power supplies/bodging rubbish touchscreens/skinning Windows etc - this install has inspired me to emulate it!
                        How is the GPS performance of the tablet whilst tucked away in the dash? Does it get a decent fix..?
                        I've currently got a nice (but old) Sony CDX-NC9950 (with the NVX-HC1 navi addon) but I'm going to ditch this in favour of your setup (The MEXBT3900U - hopefully it's compatible with my Sony RM-X2S stalk controller - does your headunit it have a stalk controller input?) - I've just pre-ordered the Nexus 7 tablet (I was going to order one anyway - amazing value at 159 for 8gb or 199 for 16gb) so I'll basically have the same setup, but with the Nexus. Good work!
                        Speed camera detector for Windows, can work alongside any other GPS application(s);
                        EvetS page


                        • #13
                          for data if i wasn't going to tether to my phone i would probably go with a prepaid so i dont get slapped with fees and big bills. virgin mobile, boost have pretty decent deals.


                          • #14
                            Coolio. Yeah I took my fam on a road trip to San Diego and it was cool to have my hotspot on so my son can use his netbook plus we could stream Netflix. The google navugation is awesome. I'm driving around town like I know where I'm going.

                            I learned that I can have music playing and the nav will pause the music in between instructions. It's cool.

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                            • #15
                              What app are you using for your hot spot? I have this app called SVTP that I downloaded from Google Play, and it works well. Only think I'm dealing with is my phone gets a little warm when I have it on for too long. But I've had it on and my daughters have streamed netflix on their kindle fires, and I've played pandora all at the same time and it wasn't laggy or glitchy or anything.