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Old 03-29-2014, 05:04 PM   #1
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DIY: Full Nexus 7 In-dash Setup

Nexus 7 In-Dash Setup

Many people have asked me about the specifics of how I put my Nexus 7 in my RSX, so I figured it was worthwhile for me to make a DIY since this is a relatively involved task. Keep in mind that most likely, no two installs will be identical since this is almost a pure custom setup. With that being said, I'll go through what I have in my car currently, and cover other common routes. This is how my final project looked, included the custom faceplate that I made my own extension for so it could be mounted on the cigarette outlet panel:



Parts needed:

-Nexus 7 (2012 model only, new model has not had a custom ROM released yet)
-Metra 95-7867 Double DIN Kit
-MicroUSB OTG Cable with power (others may work, but I used this one)
-PowerGen USB Car Charger (again, others may work, but not all charge the nexus as fast as it drains)
-Right angle 3.5mm audio cable
-The appropriate stereo harness for your car (in my case the Metra 70-1725 Bose Integration Harness which is for Type-S who want to keep the Bose System)


Tools needed:

-Hot glue gun
-Soldering iron
-Solder,
-Electrical tape
-Hacksaw/utility knife
-Patience


You will also need to download Timur's ROM from here for your device


I'm going to skip installing the ROM on the Nexus simply because that's not the main focus of this guide. Nexus devices are easy to unlock and root, simply google for a guide on installing a custom ROM on a Nexus 7, and also consult the directions on Timur's site.


Since I should say this before I begin, you have multiple options in choosing what Nexus 7 you want. If you only want to play music stored on the device, just get a wifi only model. GPS, as well as other services like Pandora, Spotify, etc. all require internet and so you have 2 options. Either buy a wifi model and tether your smartphone, or buy a 3G/4G model and pay for another data plan. Just FYI Tmobile offers free 200mb data plans which is enough to use GPS freely.


This DIY will start from the Nexus with Timur's ROM freshly installed, and any initial music you want already copied to the device. The four sections I have set up are:

Setting up the Nexus 7
Basic hardware installation
Pairing your Nexus with a head unit
Using a USB DAC with your Nexus instead of a head unit

NOTE: I will delete PM's asking for help. This is a complicated task with many variables. I can't replicate your exact situation. You can try to ask for help in this thread, or Timur has a thread here for issues directly related to his ROM. Also, don't blame me if you screw up installation and short something out. Again, this is a difficult task.

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Old 03-29-2014, 05:05 PM   #2
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Setting up the Nexus 7:

Out of the box, there are a couple options that need to be set. Go to Settings -> USB Host and turn on Fixed installation mode, Fast charging USB host, Firm Sleep (option but helps keep battery charged up in some cases), and Landscape UI. Reboot the tablet when asked, or manually.
I also went into Settings -> Launcher and changed Homescreens to 1, disabled search bar, and enabled Hide icon labels. To make the wallpaper static I used Simple Image Wallpaper, available in the Play Store.
No pics for these steps as they are just toggles in settings, sorry.

As far as copying new music to the Nexus while it’s in the car, you have a couple options. Both require ES File Explorer, available in the Play Store. The easiest one is to run a USB extension cable from the nexus to the glove box, so that you can plug a flash drive and use ES File Explorer to copy to files to your device.
The other method is to use ES File Explorer as an FTP server. This requires your nexus to be connect to the same wifi network as your computer with the music you want to copy. Open the app, go to Tools -> Remote Manager and click Turn on.


Now you can go to your computer, open an explorer window and type in the address shown in ES File Explorer, and have wireless read/write access to your Nexus. Note that with method, your car must be on accessory (once everything is installed) while you are in the house so the nexus is turned on.


Now, if you want to use the buttons on the bottom bar for home, back, volume etc you can stop here and your screen will look something like this:


But if you want to use expanded desktop, which I highly recommend as it looks a lot cleaner, and you have an alternate method of volume control, do this:
Go to the Play Store and download All in one Gestures, open it and set your settings like this, or however you prefer:


This allows you to swipe in from the sides to replace the home and back button.
Next, hold down the power button to get to the power menu then choose Expanded Desktop, if its not present go to Settings -> System and enable Expanded Desktop. Your screen should now look something like this:


Remember that you need an alternate method of volume control, whether that is a widget or a physical device.

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Old 03-29-2014, 05:05 PM   #3
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Basic hardware installation:

First, you need to hot glue the Nexus into the front half of the dash kit. People have raised concerns over hot glue melting in the sun, but I have not run into that issue. I chose hot glue because I want to be able to remove the tablet completely without damaging it, but you can use what you want. Push it all the way to the top and as far right as it will go, with the ports towards the hazard button.



Next, connect the audio cable and USB OTG cable. I found that I had to shave a bit of the plug off with a razor blade so the hazard button can sit flush when installed. Route the USB cable like so:



You will need to cut the back portion of the dash kit so that it clear the nexus. I lost this whole piece so I have some hacked up pieces of plastic holding my hazard button, but as a reference it still works. The USB cable should come out near the bottom, and the right angle audio cable should clear the plastic. Screw it down, then screw in your hazard button.



Your finished Nexus should look something like this:


Next, the charger. Unfortunately I only have the final pic for this, but you need to pry open the charger, get the + and - wires from the 12v plug side and solder on longer wires. Then, I spliced into the + and - of the 12v outlet harness, soldered the wires together and taped it all up. I plugged in a microUSB cable to run to the Nexus and routed it up to the radio. One thing I did notice with this method is slight alternator whine coming through the speakers. I believe that using a relay on the switched 12v from the radio harness connected between the constant 12v supply and the + wire of the charger would eliminate the noise but I haven't gotten around to trying it.



From here you need to skip to the relevant section if you want to run a head unit or not. Personally, I feel that a cheap head unit is the easiest option. Keep in mind that base model owners will either need to use a head unit or an external amp, because the nexus alone, even with a USB DAC does not have the power to drive the speakers by itself.

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Old 03-29-2014, 05:06 PM   #4
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Pairing your Nexus with a head unit:

I set a microfiber towel down so my head unit would not get scratched and would not slide around. Probably a huge fire hazard but I keep an eye on it. I connected the harnesses for the stereo, plugged the audio cable from the nexus into the aux in on the stereo, plugged the charger into the nexus, configured my head unit, packed it all up and then its finished. The Nexus has volume controls and technically a DSP manager for mild tuning (which I think is junk but it could be useful). It comes on and goes off with the ignition automatically thanks to Timur's ROM.

This is just a reference pic of my head unit wired up, the nexus is not connected to it.



You can see the thick blue wires running to the cigarette lighter panel, which are extensions I soldered on so could custom mount my faceplate down there. That took me way too long to solder, but it was worth it. I bought a spare panel, used a dremel, some bondo, sanded and painted it so I could hot glue the faceplate to it. Looks clean and almost like it was meant to be there. Compliments the nexus nicely but it definitely not for the faint of heart.

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Old 03-29-2014, 05:06 PM   #5
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Using a USB DAC with your Nexus instead of a head unit:

I have no experience with using a DAC since I run a custom-mounted head unit. However, you do not need a head unit. If you pair something like the FiiO E7 DAC with an appropriate 3.5mm to RCA adapter cable you can use it to output high quality audio to your stock bose amp with the integration harness or any other amp that uses standard RCA inputs.

Unfortunately I don't have much more info on this section since I went a different route. However, google is your friend.

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Old 03-29-2014, 06:00 PM   #6
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cooil, very nice i will do it.
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Old 03-29-2014, 06:03 PM   #7
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Pretty cool stuff. Been looking at doing this since an ipad mini is 1/4 to big. Quick question if you dont mind. Is paring the nexus to a phone easy? Can it be paired to apple products?
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Old 03-29-2014, 06:13 PM   #8
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Pretty cool stuff. Been looking at doing this since an ipad mini is 1/4 to big. Quick question if you dont mind. Is paring the nexus to a phone easy? Can it be paired to apple products?
If you mean pairing a phone over bluetooth to stream audio to the nexus, afaik that is currently not possible. That's why I have the head unit still, so I have bluetooth, usb, the nexus, and radio.
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Old 03-29-2014, 06:16 PM   #9
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If you mean pairing a phone over bluetooth to stream audio to the nexus, afaik that is currently not possible. That's why I have the head unit still, so I have bluetooth, usb, the nexus, and radio.
Oh my bad for not being clear. I mean using the internet from the phone to use the nexus 7 for pandora, google maps, youtube ect... I for one am broke and dont drive my car enough to want to have data plan on it.
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Old 03-29-2014, 06:21 PM   #10
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Oh my bad for not being clear. I mean using the internet from the phone to use the nexus 7 for pandora, google maps, youtube ect... I for one am broke and dont drive my car enough to want to have data plan on it.
Oh yeah no problem. All you have to do is create a wifi hotspot on your phone and then the nexus 7 connects to it like a normal wifi connection. Here is a link for apple devices, and on android devices there is a similar setting to create a hotspot.
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Old 03-29-2014, 06:24 PM   #11
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Oh yeah no problem. All you have to do is create a wifi hotspot on your phone and then the nexus 7 connects to it like a normal wifi connection. Here is a link for apple devices, and on android devices there is a similar setting to create a hotspot.
Perfect! Just the info I needed. Thanks.
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Old 03-30-2014, 02:31 AM   #12
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This is sick! I'm so doing this when I get the money to buy a Nexus 7
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Old 03-30-2014, 03:39 AM   #13
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I just wouldnt do this especially under this miami sun. Summers get brutal I dont know if that tablet can take it and function normally. Great idea though

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Old 03-30-2014, 11:59 AM   #14
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I just wouldnt do this especially under this miami sun. Summers get brutal I dont know if that tablet can take it and function normally. Great idea though
I know of others who wired up a cooling fan in the dead space behind the nexus, and you could possibly make a cover for it to keep the sun off of it when you're parked outside. Otherwise yeah, you would probably run into over heating issues.
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Old 03-30-2014, 01:29 PM   #15
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Looks great, man. Thanks for the write up. The only thing that's stopping me from doing this is the bezel on the left and right, it'd drive me nuts.
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Old 04-01-2014, 03:32 PM   #16
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Looks great, man. Thanks for the write up. The only thing that's stopping me from doing this is the bezel on the left and right, it'd drive me nuts.
I guess the bezel can be a bit ugly but I hardly ever notice it and it gives me room to swipe in from the left and right
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Old 04-12-2014, 10:40 PM   #17
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this one very nice... next upgrade ipad air.. lol.
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Old 04-12-2014, 11:54 PM   #18
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i would worry about the lithium ion or lithium polymer battery getting too hot, expanding and then exploding in your car.

Lithium batteries can be a fire hazard in hot environments.

look up lithium battery fire videos

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Old 04-13-2014, 01:43 AM   #19
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Old 04-13-2014, 09:55 AM   #20
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This is so cool man

I probably would try this but I already have a double din
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Old 04-15-2014, 09:40 AM   #21
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I am considering doing this for my RSX, but am stuck between using a raspberry pi or a nexus 7. Both builds will cost roughly the same.

How accurate is the GPS on the nexus 7? I've found some pretty accurate USB dongles for the pi, but if the built-in GPS is substantial, I can save some cash.

Also, do you have any pictures of your custom head unit on the cigarette lighter? I'm curious on how you did that...

Thanks!
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Old 04-16-2014, 01:50 AM   #22
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I'm sorry, I am very new to this. Can some one post a video on how to install it?
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Old 04-17-2014, 05:55 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by andypandy View Post
i would worry about the lithium ion or lithium polymer battery getting too hot, expanding and then exploding in your car.

Lithium batteries can be a fire hazard in hot environments.

look up lithium battery fire videos
You make a good point, but the car is garage kept and its no different than leaving it in your car normally while you're in the store or something. It's also removable if you were going to leave your car outside for a long period of time. I'll look into a solution since I might have to park in an outdoor lot this summer.
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Old 04-17-2014, 05:57 PM   #24
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ryanRSX15 is a jewel in the rough of c-rsx ryanRSX15 is a jewel in the rough of c-rsx ryanRSX15 is a jewel in the rough of c-rsx ryanRSX15 is a jewel in the rough of c-rsx ryanRSX15 is a jewel in the rough of c-rsx ryanRSX15 is a jewel in the rough of c-rsx ryanRSX15 is a jewel in the rough of c-rsx ryanRSX15 is a jewel in the rough of c-rsx ryanRSX15 is a jewel in the rough of c-rsx
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Originally Posted by VTEC™ View Post
I am considering doing this for my RSX, but am stuck between using a raspberry pi or a nexus 7. Both builds will cost roughly the same.

How accurate is the GPS on the nexus 7? I've found some pretty accurate USB dongles for the pi, but if the built-in GPS is substantial, I can save some cash.

Also, do you have any pictures of your custom head unit on the cigarette lighter? I'm curious on how you did that...

Thanks!
Raspberry pi will be much less convenient. Finding a good lcd screen to mate it to is next to impossible too. Tablet screens are much better engineered than nearly all of the 7" touchscreen lcds you'll find online for car PC's. Not to mention the nexus 7 already has touch friendly apps installed. GPS on the nexus 7 is as accurate as any phone. If you've ever used your phone for GPS its basically the same. I'm at college now, but ill be home this weekend so ill snap some shots of my faceplate setup.
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Old 09-26-2014, 11:27 PM   #25
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Does anyone have Timur's Rom / usb rom downloaded ? Can't seem to find it anywhere.
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