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Old 10-29-2012, 10:09 AM   #1
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Default Talk me out of using a Nexus 7 as a digital dash

Im having really bad thoughts about attempting this.

Inspired by this thread:
https://www.miataturbo.net/megasquir...android-68849/

Im thinking about buying a 8GB Nexus 7, pulling my stock instrument cluster (which has issues) and replacing it with a Nexus 7. I had planned on running RaceChrono on an old smartphone next year, but the Nexus 7 has the horsepower to do both, so it would be a one stop solution to data logging and on-track data.

The downfalls I can see so far are:
1. Potential glare from the screen. Solution: Matte screen protector?
2. Using stock sensors. Solution?
3. Lack of fuel gauge. Solution: Find a 5-110ohm fuel gauge and/or convert it to 5v and use an analog in/out on the DIYPNP
4. Others I havent thought of yet.

This seems like a great idea on paper, so what am I missing?
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Old 10-29-2012, 10:16 AM   #2
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How do you plan to power it?

Also you will need access to the power button to turn the screen on and off.
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Old 10-29-2012, 10:19 AM   #3
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I've been wrestling over this intensely for a while.
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Old 10-29-2012, 10:23 AM   #4
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I think this would work well actually. I thought about doing this and removing my double din radio. Powering it would be easy.
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Old 10-29-2012, 10:35 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by hustler View Post
I've been wrestling over this intensely for a while.
It does seem like an easy button, no?

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Originally Posted by Ryan_G View Post
I think this would work well actually. I thought about doing this and removing my double din radio. Powering it would be easy.
Can you elaborate on how to power it? I had a few ideas, but nothing solid.
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Old 10-29-2012, 10:46 AM   #6
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If you have an Android phone turn it off. Then turn it back on and time how long it takes to boot. Now then expect to add that the startup time of every time you start the car unless you plan on leaving the tablet on 24/7. I think having a tablet to display everything can/will be very useful, but I am not sure if they are ready to be used full time as gauge clusters.
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Old 10-29-2012, 10:46 AM   #7
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I would think you would be able to take a power cord for one and splice it to a power source just like you would a wideband or any other accessory. The way I was going to place it I could always just use the lighter and an adaptor if splicing it would not work.
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Old 10-29-2012, 10:52 AM   #8
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Hows the visibility in direct sunlight?

I wouldn't want one as a full time dashboard for this reason alone, in natural light they're an absolute bugger to read, and in direct sunlight virtually impossible. My SGS2 is utterly useless even on a cloudy day when outside.
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Old 10-29-2012, 11:04 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by shuiend View Post
If you have an Android phone turn it off. Then turn it back on and time how long it takes to boot. Now then expect to add that the startup time of every time you start the car unless you plan on leaving the tablet on 24/7. I think having a tablet to display everything can/will be very useful, but I am not sure if they are ready to be used full time as gauge clusters.
Men, just leave it screen off when not in use.

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I would think you would be able to take a power cord for one and splice it to a power source just like you would a wideband or any other accessory. The way I was going to place it I could always just use the lighter and an adaptor if splicing it would not work.
My Galaxy Nexus charger is 5V, there needs to be some sort of transformer to step it down to 5V. That's an unknown at this point though.

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Hows the visibility in direct sunlight?

I wouldn't want one as a full time dashboard for this reason alone, in natural light they're an absolute bugger to read, and in direct sunlight virtually impossible. My SGS2 is utterly useless even on a cloudy day when outside.
Probably wouldn't be in direct sunlight much, if at all, especially if mounted into the stock cluster location in some form.
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Old 10-29-2012, 11:38 AM   #10
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Why would I want to talk you out of this? It's a brilliant, epic idea.

For power, just wire in another car charger thing under the dash. Feed it power on when ignition on.

In response to the guy talking about startup times...

The Nexus 7, because it runs stock Android on a quad-core processor, starts up VERY quickly. Plus, you don't technically have to have it fully booted to drive the car... just to see your instrumentation

Finally, in terms of sunlight, isn't that why there is an instrument binnacle? I don't think you'd have too big of a problem with this. It's also not a fair comparison with the GS2 because the GS2 uses a Super AMOLED screen which is known to be rubbish in sunlight, unlike the Nexus 7's IPS display.

I'm something of an Android geek... PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE if you do this, make a sweet write-up with lots of pics...
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Old 10-29-2012, 11:42 AM   #11
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It's not that hard to "force stop" from the app menu. Mine shows-up in the tray.
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Old 10-29-2012, 11:58 AM   #12
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Looks like I will be making some dash measurements tonight.
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Old 10-29-2012, 12:01 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turbofan View Post
Why would I want to talk you out of this? It's a brilliant, epic idea.

For power, just wire in another car charger thing under the dash. Feed it power on when ignition on.

In response to the guy talking about startup times...

The Nexus 7, because it runs stock Android on a quad-core processor, starts up VERY quickly. Plus, you don't technically have to have it fully booted to drive the car... just to see your instrumentation

Finally, in terms of sunlight, isn't that why there is an instrument binnacle? I don't think you'd have too big of a problem with this. It's also not a fair comparison with the GS2 because the GS2 uses a Super AMOLED screen which is known to be rubbish in sunlight, unlike the Nexus 7's IPS display.

I'm something of an Android geek... PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE if you do this, make a sweet write-up with lots of pics...
I do not want to talk people out of it, I personally think it is a great idea. I just do not think it is completely ready to remove the stock gauge cluster. I think setting it up in the spot the radio goes for now while retaining the stock cluster is the way to go. Once we have figured out an easy way to show gas, and oil pressure, odometer and shadow tuner is a bit more stable switch to tablet only.
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Old 10-29-2012, 12:01 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by cucamelsmd15 View Post
Probably wouldn't be in direct sunlight much, if at all, especially if mounted into the stock cluster location in some form.
Guessing much?

You'd be surprised I think. Try resting your phone in that location during a commute and see how you get on.
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Old 10-29-2012, 12:21 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by richyvrlimited View Post
Guessing much?

You'd be surprised I think. Try resting your phone in that location during a commute and see how you get on.
First, the tablet has an IPS display, which is far less affected by sunlight in my experience as previously mentioned. I have an ASUS Transformer with the same technology, and sunlight isn't an issue.

Second, the only "commute" the car sees is on and off the trailer. The only things I really need to see in the dash are pressures, temperatures and RPM. Everything else is a bonus.
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Old 10-29-2012, 12:47 PM   #16
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If that's the case... a track car? Then why not? Not like you're hopping in to get groceries in the thing. Sounds like fun!
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Old 10-29-2012, 01:05 PM   #17
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I might consider it if I was using an MS3, but with a DIYPNP you're running short on analog inputs. You're going to have a hard time getting enough aux signals into the box to make a usable dash.
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Old 10-29-2012, 01:29 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turbofan View Post
If that's the case... a track car? Then why not? Not like you're hopping in to get groceries in the thing. Sounds like fun!
Correct, track only.
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I might consider it if I was using an MS3, but with a DIYPNP you're running short on analog inputs. You're going to have a hard time getting enough aux signals into the box to make a usable dash.
Yes, this issue is in the back of my mind as well.
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Old 10-29-2012, 09:13 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turbofan View Post
For power, just wire in another car charger thing under the dash. Feed it power on when ignition on.
Elaborate please.


Wife has the 7. Similar to an iPhone or iPad, screen shuts off when you tap the power button on the side of the unit. Also have to touch the button to turn the screen back on. You at least need to be able to reach it.

Not sure why you would power down completely.
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Old 10-29-2012, 10:02 PM   #20
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-Motorola Atrix running cm7
-Ebay BT Adapter
-5hz BT gps receiver
-attached with a modified gopro tripod mount and silicone to the back of the phone
-Hardwired to car under the dash and hooked up to a small 1/2 DIN car speaker for audible alarms and music to the track

Currently setup to take OBD2 data and display it using torque and do poor mans gps lap timing using trackmaster. I find that a 5hz BT gps adapter is far more accurate than the built in. Power UP/Down is painless, as the phone will carry stand by battery for days. Glare isn't all that bad but you have to have brightness cranked up on max during the day. I'm probably going to get an anti glare screen protector to try that out. If that fails I could see making a little shrowd for it but that will cut down on fat finger access.

I'm currently working on turning this into a poor mans data collection setup. Just working on an easy way to sync up the laptime gps data with trackmaster. Data from the obd2 port is obviously collected at a lower frequency and with a slight delay. I've done a few test video's overlaying the data on a gopro vid already and it worked like a champ. Once i do a little more work I'll have a pretty decent setup considering what i spent.







speaker setup
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