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      02-19-2013, 11:45 PM   #1
Native Texan

Drives: when at all possible
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Tx

iTrader: (16)

Finally got Android in the car

I put together a Windows-based CarPC for my old Acura Legend a few years ago, and the infotainment center of the M3 left me desiring more to say the least. But I wanted something Android-based this time around, and something light (i.e., low power consumption and not so large).

Everything Android works, including the Microsoft webcam as well as Google maps and Google voice. There are a few other things I'm working on (such as rooting it, settling on a launcher and increasing the font size), so I'll post up more as the week progresses. Everything is powered through cigarette adapter USB ports for now, which is pretty awesome, and everything functions well, but I think I'm going to get a small inverter as I want everything to continue running when the car is off.

A little I mentioned earlier, I put together a Windows-based carPC in my Acura Legend, complete with a 7" HD touch screen and navigation. Later I used a Samsung Galaxy Tab in the same fashion for my VehiCROSS. At some point and time I knew I was going to do the same for the M3, it was just a matter of finding what I wanted. One of the key criteria to my mods, as always, is to keep the interior looking as stock as possible, with the exception of the P3 vent gauge I installed a few weeks ago. I also wanted to integrate a multi-camera DVR setup some how. And everyone knows that the best navigation is Google navigation, so I wanted that, too. The thought of having to pay for a DVD to upgrade navi is ludicrous, and with a once yearly update, you run a chance of getting incorrect directions.

Even though it is the low point of the system, I had to use the OEM screen. After I took apart the dash a bit ago, I determined that the best way to pass a signal was the modmynav box, so I picked up a used one. With Kris' help and patience (that dude is AWESOME, thanks for all the help, my man!), it was determined the harness was damaged, and subsequently it was replaced. Part 1 was complete.

Next came identifying a source. I pretty quickly eliminated having another traditional CarPC as I couldn't really find any place to hide it, and I knew I wanted something Android-based. I contemplated using a Samsung Yelp, or a decommissioned Android phone, but passed on those as they both had a screen, and I'd have to come up with a mount for them. A bit of searching around and a little passage of time, and AndroidTVs, aka MiniPCs, were introducted. Basically, the Android OS is loaded on a memory stick w/an HDMI output, so you can plug it straight into the TV, log into your Android/Google account, and go. There are dual cores and quad cores available, play @ 30FPS, have bluetooth, b/g/n wireless, and offer U2G, or USB to go. I was unsure about getting a USB video camera to work through it, so I did a little research and found out that through the U2G functionality of the main unit, there were people that were running webcams. SCHWEET! My setup is comprised of the following:

a) After comparing a few of the units, I settled on this one You can read the specs from the page, no sense in regurgitating it to y'all.

b) Since the car doesn't have a touchscreen, an input method was needed, and conveniently, they also offer this which is pretty spiffy.

c) I purchased this USB hub from them

d) I had this Microsoft HD webcam lying around, and eBayed this Logitech unit so I can play around with both of them. Key thing about both units is that they have built in mics, critical for using Google voice.

e) HDMI to Composite conversion is handled by These units are sold on Amazon, and the feedback is glowing.

f) The hard part was GPS. I have a USB GPS receiver from my previous carPC setup, but I was hesitant about using it in as no one has tried it. A few days of research and I came across a BT GPS receiver I found a used one on eBay for $80 and picked it up.

g) Audio is passed via BT using the Samsung HS3000 headset I mentioned in this thread.

At this point, not including the modmynav, I have invested $260 for everything. All the components, minus cables:

More later.....

Last edited by whats77inaname; 03-27-2013 at 01:27 AM.