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Old 11-24-2012, 06:55 PM
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Replacing REC Head Unit with an Android Tablet

I am looking into replacing my REC head unit with an Android tablet and I'm not familiar with car audio at all so I have a few questions.

1. The set of wires that plug into the REC system. They're called a CAN BUS?

2. I believe I have the upgraded sound system but I am not sure, how do I tell?

3. Assuming I do have the upgraded sound system, I believe that means I have an amp as well?

4. What is the correct method I'm looking at hooking things up in? CAN BUS > AMP > L/R Audio to 30pin Samsung adapter?

5. How do I go about providing power to the tablet via the 30pin adapter only while the engine is running?

6. Would it be more beneficial to just have Future Shop (Canadian version of Best Buy) charge me $99/hr for a custom install without them doing the mounting of the tablet?

7. How much of a hassle is it to mess with the steering wheel controls? Do I have to disconnect anything related to the airbag? I would like to mount the micro-controller for a bluetooth keyboard behind the dash, and run the wiring to the current steering wheel controls instead.
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Old 11-24-2012, 08:02 PM
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Re: Replacing REC Head Unit with an Android Tablet

the first question i have is why are you wanting to use the tablet?
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Old 11-26-2012, 10:05 AM
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Re: Replacing REC Head Unit with an Android Tablet

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Originally Posted by kyle.jg View Post
I am looking into replacing my REC head unit with an Android tablet and I'm not familiar with car audio at all so I have a few questions.

1. The set of wires that plug into the REC system. They're called a CAN BUS?

2. I believe I have the upgraded sound system but I am not sure, how do I tell?

3. Assuming I do have the upgraded sound system, I believe that means I have an amp as well?

4. What is the correct method I'm looking at hooking things up in? CAN BUS > AMP > L/R Audio to 30pin Samsung adapter?

5. How do I go about providing power to the tablet via the 30pin adapter only while the engine is running?

6. Would it be more beneficial to just have Future Shop (Canadian version of Best Buy) charge me $99/hr for a custom install without them doing the mounting of the tablet?

7. How much of a hassle is it to mess with the steering wheel controls? Do I have to disconnect anything related to the airbag? I would like to mount the micro-controller for a bluetooth keyboard behind the dash, and run the wiring to the current steering wheel controls instead.

In one sentence, I think this is a bad idea...it would be very cool, but I think it would be pretty tough to actually accomplish!

In answer to your questions:

1. The CAN Bus is a serial communications system that is used to share data between multiple systems on the Jeep. Basically, it means you don't need a whole bunch of wiring to connect the various systems since they all communicate on the same network. What this means for the stereo system is that you require some way to integrate the aftermarket head unit into the vehicle.

2. If you open the back of the Jeep and look on the left hand side, you should see some slots in the plastic trim. If you look in those slots with a flashlight, if you have the premium audio you will see the amp in there.

3. See point 2.

4. You will need a way to turn on the amp with the stereo, or bypass it completely. There are wiring harnesses that you can buy that can accomplish this, and make the install easier...but I doubt you'll find anything for an Android tablet.

5. This will also usually be accomplished by using the adaptor required to power the amp. Although it is possible to tap into another power source that is linked to the ignition, I would be hesitant to do this since it sounds like you do not have a lot of experience with automative electronics.

6. I would be surprised if they would be able to perform such an install...and if they did, I would be worried about how they do it! You don't want your vehicle to be their test machine.

7. Usually, you would simply use an adapter to interface with the communication system and grab the steering wheel controls that way. I really wouldn't recommend going into the steering wheel itself to tap into the buttons. Unfortunately, these vehicles are not like the old days of simple wiring where you could just tap into a voltage/button/system. EVERYTHING is controlled via the CANBUS system. Also, transitioning from the steering wheel buttons to the column, you'll have to deal with the clockspring (this is what allows something that turns to electrically connect to something that is stationary). The clockspring carries the signals for all of the buttons on the steering wheel and the airbag...not something you want to mess with and start applying random voltages to. IF you do want to go the bluetooth route, you would need the BT transmitter actually in the wheel before the signals are passed through the clockspring or a way to grab them out of the data stream on the other side...also not an easy thing to do.

Another thing to consider is what your climate is like. An android tablet is not designed to be outside in the elements like a stereo head unit is.

Most good aftermarket head units will have many of the same features as a tablet, but are designed to work in a car and will have wiring adapters that will be able to interface with your vehicle.

I think any potential benefit you would have by putting in a tablet is completely overshadowed by the nightmare of an install it would be.

If you are really dead-set on the idea, I would have the audio out from the tablet just plug into your stereo use a mount for the tablet and take it in and out of the vehicle with you. You can provide power via the 12-volt auxillary power outlets. It won't look like a factory install, but it will also not cost thousands of dollars or ruin your electrical system
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Old 11-27-2012, 03:28 AM
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Re: Replacing REC Head Unit with an Android Tablet

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Originally Posted by meistro View Post
the first question i have is why are you wanting to use the tablet?
Because Android tablets are amazing.
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Old 11-27-2012, 03:33 AM
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Re: Replacing REC Head Unit with an Android Tablet

dr.lee.baugh

You're making me realize how much of a hassle it would be. But unfortunately my stubbornness makes me still want to do it, without the mount and plugging into the DVD system for the Aux hookup. I think I'll try and see if I can find a local shop that has done a tablet install before and see what they can do.
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Old 11-27-2012, 01:28 PM
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Re: Replacing REC Head Unit with an Android Tablet

I fully recommend a Nexus 7. Reports of a 3G version incoming. Even a tethered wifi 16GB model with google maps cached to the device would be pretty slick.

It's obvious that automobile electronics companies refuse to lower their margins and integrate android tech. My $200 tablet can do 100x more than my $800 pioneer head unit.

PS- There's some good youtube videos of people who put in tablets in the dash, with removebility in mind.
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Old 11-27-2012, 01:55 PM
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Re: Replacing REC Head Unit with an Android Tablet

It certainly sounds like an interesting project - keep us updated.
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Old 11-30-2012, 04:32 PM
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Re: Replacing REC Head Unit with an Android Tablet

This guy did it in his Dodge Ram. Lots of custom work here.



Complete Google Nexus 7 System Installed in Dodge Ram | Part 2 of 2 - YouTube
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