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Thread: 2006 Range Rover Sport with Sony Xperia Ultra install

  1. #1
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    2006 Range Rover Sport with Sony Xperia Ultra install

    Ok so this is a mammoth post so please bear with me

    I was progressing well with the Samsung Tab 7.7 install until it all went Pete Tong when the Tab decided to stop working completely and I wasn't prepared to spend a lot of money getting it repaired, or buying a replacement. Here’s a picture of what it looked like before it gave up the ghost...
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    I did a search to try and find a tablet of similar specifications, however, could find nothing that met the requirements. I did consider a WiFi only model however on testing Tablet Talk to link my Xperia Ultra with a Note 8 I found it unreliable and therefore canned the install idea.

    However, as they say every cloud has a silver lining... :-), in this case is was the Xperia Ultra I have with its 6.4” screen, a step down from the OEM 7” screen but in its new location quite acceptable, and a fairly unique install to boot, at least in terms of location ;-)

    So basically, it'll look a little like the new Mercedes GLA touchscreen only smaller:
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    So what’s needed in the build, well here’s a list of the hardware, excluding cabling etc.:
    1. Sony Xperia Ultra phablet, with or without a case
    2. Sony Xperia Ultra charge dock
    3. 2x Unisonic BT A2DP receivers
    4. A DPDT switch to manage the audio input via the car’s AUX IN socket
    5. 12V DC amplifier to boost he AUX IN volume to a level similar to the OEM radio and CD player
    6. 2x 1A USB power connections for the Unisonic receivers
    7. 1x 2A USB power for the Xperia Ultra
    8. Dummy 3.5mm audio jack – required to get sound from the AUX IN line

    For the software/ apps I’ve used for the moment to make this work:
    1. Actions Lite /Pro – similar to tasker but easier to configure IMHO
    2. Desktop visualizer – to create the GUI
    3. Nova Launcher – allows more functionality required for this to work
    4. Multipicture Live Wallpaper – allows different wallpapers for each home screen
    5. Sygic Navigation
    6. Player Pro – Music play back
    7. TuneIn - Internet Radio
    8. BT auto connect – connects the Ultra to the OEM hands free and Unisonic receiver automatically
    9. Brightness Level Disc widget

    The advantages of this setup are:
    1. Only one device for sms, whatsapp etc.
    2. The location is within easy reach
    3. Increased security as the device can be removed
    4. Still looks OEM, check out the new Merc GLA touchscreen below
    5. Additional storage where the OEM SatNAv currently resides
    6. Xperia has BT v4.0 so compatible with the new IDD Tool and App

    For me, the only disadvantage is the smaller screen, and currently the inability to display the RRS’ 4x4 info screen, but this would be the case for all builds as the app isn’t available yet...

    So to the build, here’s a picture of a standard dash:
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    The picture below shows the charge dock installed, this was done simply by cutting out a section of the curved dash around the dock and using automotive mounting tape to mount the complete dock on the switch panel below. Power is currently routed to the cigar lighter but this will be hidden in the future.
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    The first Unisonic receiver is installed in the upper cubby box on the passenger side as can be seen below. The second one will also be mounted here and given its own name to avoid pairing/ connection issues. The DPDT switch controlling this will also be installed here as this will only really be operated by a passenger who wants to stream their own music. The CD rack will be removed.
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    This basically wraps up the physical install of the Ultra... As you can see by using the case you get a “blanking” effect on the OEM screen which is a nice extra. It also provides additional grip/ purchase to stop the Ultra moving under emergency braking etc. and gives the screen a slightly more vertical aspect; however this still needs to be improved on.
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    So there you have the major problem the screen is too laid back :-) , which means despite being more inboard than the OEM screen it still gets a lot of reflection from the sunlight. To resolve this I’m going to “pitch” the dock charger forward, but this will require a “wedge” to be placed underneath it and that the top is cut so as not to fowl with the curved dash panel above.
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    This will be done at a later date along with the removal of the OEM SatNav and installation of a custom storage bin with flip up lid in its location. I’ll report back on this part of the build later, even though it’s not strictly applicable to this site ;-) .

    So really the physical install is relatively simple and provides a nice finished article, or will do once the surround to the dock charger is tidied up and re-wrapped ;-)

    The actual major part of the build was developing the GUI you can see in the pictures. This was done using Desktop visualizer and MS Paint and PowerPoint. The later were used to create the wallpaper and the individual button graphics. The former to place widgets on the home screens for various actions with the corresponding button graphics. Lastly Nova launcher was used to add functionality like jumping to designated screens etc, through desktop visualizer.
    I've used Multi Picture Live Wallpaper to apply different wallpapers to different home-screens so that they reflect the phablets use. EG for the car screens it’s the RANGE ROVER wallpaper, for day to day phone use the wallpaper is of my newborn daughter :-)

    The current car mode wallpaper is now the orange and black wallpaper with the V8 Supercharged picture. the old one is the blue and black wallpaper with the blue RRS image.

    I’m generally quite happy with the GUI however; I need to improve on the use of the screen real estate as currently I have a border of unused screen in landscape mode due to the home-screen grid. I’m going to play around with various settings and see if I can “push” the buttons to the edge of the screen in landscape mode more providing more space for larger buttons.

    I can provide more info on the above if you guys are interested :-)

    Some things still to be sorted, but not directly related to this build are:
    1. The aforementioned storage box in lieu of the OEM SatNav screen, and general tidy up of this area.
    2. Changing the instrument binnacle from the stock green illumination to white (easily done with a bulb swap)
    3. The more challenging swap of the green SMD/T?? LEDs behind all the switches are to be white as well. Not sure how to do that yet, maybe with a RGB filter to give white light from the green LED???
    4. Retrim dash in piano black vinyl wrap and brushed aluminium wrap as well as painting parts of the door cards to match the exterior colour.
    5. LCD rear view mirror to hook up the already installed rear view camera.

    Finally, here are a few more photos of various screens.
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    Thanks for reading this novel and look forward to your comments :-)

    Cheers

    Guy

  2. #2
    FLAC SNOtwistR's Avatar
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    Nov 2009
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    Keswick,On Canada
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    Nice read and I like your solution to a problem. I had a problem with sunlight reflecting in as well but decided to box in my screen in. Good luck on the rest of your build and mods SNO

  3. #3
    Newbie
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    Sep 2012
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    Why didn't you integrate tablet over your factory stereo ?

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