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theksmith

Android Tablet as a Head Unit & GPS - New Install

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a couple weeks ago, Aimee went ahead got me my Christmas present early - a new Sony Z2 Tablet (4G Verizon edition)!

 

 

out with the old...

 

IMG_5013.JPG

 

the new Z2 will replace my current docking XOOM tablet in the Jeep. the current setup performs many duties including GPS, offroad mapping, on-road navigation, stereo head unit, movie player for the projector system, OBDII engine interface, digital factory service manual, and gives me internet access anywhere there is 3G/4G service or free WiFi.

 

the XOOM is easily removable so that trail planning, checking email, and general web surfing can be done from inside the house, at starbucks or a in a hotel room.

 

the plan for the new tablet is to do all of this and some more (thanks to it being a faster and more capable machine). it's a similar size and still runs the Android OS, so much the transition will be seamless.

 

IMG_5015.JPG

 

the Z2 is much thinner/lighter than the XOOM and only a little wider (in landscape).

 

IMG_5016.JPG

 

here's a reference shot of how the XOOM currently looks in the Jeep:

 

IMG_4960.JPG

 

 

...in with the new

 

of course the custom mount and dock for the XOOM will have to be changed out for something that fits the Z2. i also recently ditched all of the complex electronics behind the XOOM installation and will have a much simpler infrastructure to support this tablet.

 

i'm still waiting on a couple items, but here's what i have so far for the new install:

 

IMG_5082.JPG

 

i also recently re-did all of the audio components (new amps, speakers, EQ and BT receiver). i still need to build an enclosure for the new sub in order to complete that part of the project.

 

IMG_4939.JPG

 

IMG_4971.JPG

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I like that one. Looks much better than my Parrot Android unit.

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Nice work!

 

i didn't do anything new yet!

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i didn't do anything new yet!

 

You did a great job!

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i didn't do anything new yet!

 

Some people are easily impressed. :D

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protection - back

 

because of the way i'll be mounting the tablet, a case won't work. i did however still want to avoid scratching it up with daily use, so i ordered a decal type skin for the back: http://amzn.to/13fscVp

 

it's a "black brushed aluminum" skin, fairly thick and with a lot of physical texture. i was worried if it might not stick well to the "soft feel" back of the Z2, but it seems to be staying in place. the cut/size was perfect, including the cutout for the camera. it also doesn't show every little touch (with oily smudges) like the factory coating did.

 

IMG_5021.JPG

 

 

protection - screen

 

of course i needed a screen protector as well. i ordered a SOJITEK brand through Amazon: http://amzn.to/1r2lpsQ

 

i'm not impressed with the SOJITEK though as it was cut/sized poorly. it is literally the exact width/height of the tablet's glass, with not even a hair of forgiveness. this makes installing it a complete PITA, which i could accept if the rest of the fit was perfect. however the corner radius is sized wrong causing it to overhang on all 4 corners and the camera cutout is not perfectly centered.

 

IMG_5030.JPG

 

IMG_5036.JPG

 

i went with the anti-glare finish for the first time, and i'm still not sure if i like that or not. i'm waiting to try out this matte finish in the Jeep before i order a different brand that hopefully fits better.

 

 

protection - security

 

my requirement of easy docking has the negative side effect of making it an easy theft so i purchased accidental damage and theft insurance. see this thread for more info on that topic: http://offroadpassport.com/forum/showthread.php?t=4006

 

i have my Tasker (automation app) scripts so the tablet stays locked most of time. i have the Android Device Manager enabled which helps you track down a stolen/lost device and remotely erase it if needed. my Tasker scripts are also set so that if the device is rebooted it will start up locked, with 4G/WiFi/GPS enabled - that way Device Manager can actually remotely contact the tablet to help locate it. the script also starts it up at full volume as you can remotely ring it with Device Manager too.

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physical mount & power

 

the Z2 has a magnetic power port on the bottom. i thought this would make creating a dock for it easier and that was a concern when picking which new tablet to get.

 

IMG_5052.JPG

 

later i ran across a cradle with power adapter made by ProClip: http://www.proclipusa.com/tablet-holders/device/sony/xperia-z2-tablet/charging-holder-with-tilt-swivel-and-cigarette-lighter-adapter-512655-19740.cmsv?p_leftorright=0

 

512655-b.jpg-350x350

 

it's expensive for what it is IMO, but i guess there's low demand. i went ahead and ordered it despite the cost as i think it will save me a bunch of time/aggravation versus creating a custom solution. i may still need to fabricate a way to lock it into the cradle at the top depending on how well it stays in while offroading.

 

it's been backordered, so that's the main thing holding up the install right now.

 

 

other connections

 

besides power, i need to get to the Micro USB port in order to attach an MHL (HDMI) adapter for the projector. unfortunately this port is on the top of the tablet, behind a little cover (to keep the waterproof rating).

 

IMG_5081.JPG

 

since it's on the top, and after having experience always fiddling with getting the XOOM to line up with a Micro USB when docking, i won't be trying to incorporate this port into the dock. instead i'll just have a cable behind the tablet that i can plug in whenever i want to use the projector.

 

eventually i plan to experiment with a Miracast dongle to see if that would work well and negate the need for the extra connection (Mircast is similar to the Chromecast wireless TV stick, but supposedly doesn't require an internet connection to work).

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That Aimee is a real keeper.

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That Aimee is a real keeper.

 

i tend to agree ;)

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