Bugbyte's iPad Connected Car Install
I've documented some of this in the Connected Car demo thread, but thought I'd put it in the worklogs for posterity.
After at least 3 different installs in my car, the thing started looking like a mad scientist's laboratory. Nothing worked and everything was perpetually in flux. My experiment with the iPhone as a car PC replacement was encouraging but incomplete - particularly in the screen size and control area.
When Apple released the iPad, I saw an opportunity to accomplish several goals that had been eluding me:
- Large, bright display
- Responsive capacitive touchscreen
- Instant on
- Simple to configure and operate
It wasn't so much that the iPhone didn't function as a reasonable car pc replacement. It's just that it was downright dangerous to try and operate it in the car and the mounting system was so kludged it looked truly awful.
I began with the goal of ensuring that the iPad could be easily removed from the dash so that it wouldn't be a theft magnet.
The iPad is much bigger than it appears, but the New Beetle has a cavernous dash - especially after I'd hacked it to bits with previous installs. Here's the what a Bug dash looks like before hacking:
Here's what the iBug looked like just a few short weeks ago:
A test fit for size proved that while landscape mode would be preferable, it just wasn't going to happen. Portrait mode, on the other hand, works well. This limits the iPad to apps that run vertically, but I haven't found any car apps that have been problematic with this orientation yet.
I gave a lot of thought initially to having a tilt out cradle for the iPad. I'd seen similar styles on the web recently, and I liked the idea of an automated mechanism that would tilt it out and then back, but I've also dealt with the original folding screen on the iBug for several years and while it is a nice Wow factor, it has eventually chewed through two of the heaviest duty servos you can buy.
I decided to keep things very simple and figure out a way to slot load the iPad from the top using a fixed rail system.
Here, I've cut a template to the dimensions of the iPad for figuring the build.
Nestling it in the dash, I reasoned, would keep the glare off of the incredibly reflective screen. This has turned out not to be a problem, but I'm sure positioning it more naturally helped, anyhow.
Now, it was down to figuring out how to fabricate something to fit. If you look at the pristine picture at the top of this thread, you'll see that the heater controls and hazard switches are in the way. They would have to be moved.
Next, it was on to the work of figuring out how to cut the existing bezel to get the beast to fit.