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Old 03-03-2015, 08:04 PM   #1
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Nexus 7 install in E350

Hi everyone,

I recently purchased a 2003 E350 Cargo Van with a 7.3L Powerstroke, and have been embarking on a homemade build. The number of amazing vans on this forum is mind blowing, and has been a great inspiration for getting numerous projects off the ground.

One of my first projects on the van has been replacing the stock Ford stereo with a Nexus 7 tablet. Due to the relatively low price, and the numerous add-ons available with USB and Bluetooth products, the Nexus is proving to be a great alternative to the standard aftermarket head units.

Most of items in the build are available through Amazon prime, and after a few iterations on the mount, it took me about one day to assemble everything and install.






Still working out a small number of kinks, but the feature set for a sub $300 install has been very enjoyable so far.

* Navigation - Google Maps, Waze, a number of offline maps
* Bluetooth OBD with diesel specific gauges on Torque Pro
* Audio via SD Card, Pandora, Spotify
* Backup camera (still waiting on one more item)
* Good phone integration
* Expansion of other features via USB - FM tuner, TV tuner

The tablets are around $100, and the the components on Amazon were in the neighborhood of $120, depending on options. I worked with a friend of mine to design the double-din mount in SolidWorks, and we laser cut it using MDF and acrylic. Now that we have a few weeks experience with the install, we're hoping to iterate a bit further on the mount.

I'm still working on assembling a more complete write-up for the whole process for those that are interested. The standard software doesn't enable the use of a USB hub and multiple devices, and that has traditionally scared off people from tackling these installs. It's not too hard if you're willing to try installing custom software.

My favorite feature so far has been the gauge pack - gained a tach, boost gauge, HPOP pressure, and Injector Duty cycle.



Let me know what you think!

-Dmitry
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Old 03-03-2015, 09:19 PM   #2
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Re: Nexus 7 install in E350

Nice idea. I bought a Nexus 7 when it first came out, and when the second gen came out, I bought that one too, and handed the first down to my son.

Do you have any concerns over some sleazeball eyeing the tablet sitting right there on your dash when parked, or are you planning on removing/hiding it when you park?


Herb
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Old 03-03-2015, 09:43 PM   #3
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Re: Nexus 7 install in E350

Dimitry: Great Concept! Great Execution! Great Pictures! Add 4 WD and only giants will be able to see it and then only while standing on their tippie toes!

Looking forward to the full write up!
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Old 03-04-2015, 02:58 AM   #4
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Re: Nexus 7 install in E350

Looks great ! I use a 10.1" Motorola Xoom2 with 3G connection in my van, but only have a Brodit mount. I wanted to keep the double DIN radio I have.




What kind of back up camera do you use ? I tried an IP camera, but the delay is about 1-2 seconds which makes it unusable for a moving vehicle.
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Old 03-04-2015, 06:04 AM   #5
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Re: Nexus 7 install in E350

Very nice work.

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Old 03-04-2015, 07:23 AM   #6
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Re: Nexus 7 install in E350

Nice execution!
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Old 03-04-2015, 03:11 PM   #7
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Re: Nexus 7 install in E350

Thought that I would do a quick update and post up my parts list - which is almost entirely available on Amazon Prime. Definitely some trial and error in finding the right components and making it work. Below are the items that I used in my build.

I'm hoping to to finish up the next iteration on the mount in a week or two. Will post another update when I have info.

Thanks for all the great feedback - would love to hear more!

Quote:
Originally Posted by BroncoHauler
Do you have any concerns over some sleazeball eyeing the tablet sitting right there on your dash when parked, or are you planning on removing/hiding it when you park?
Herb
Yup, I'm currently in San Francisco and have constant fears of people breaking into my van. The tablet is removable via a friction fit using some felt pads. The last picture in my post shows what it looks like removed (so you can also access the SD card). I plan to add another panel that hides the top section.

Quote:
Originally Posted by E350
Dimitri: Great Concept! Great Execution! Great Pictures! Add 4 WD and only giants will be able to see it and then only while standing on their tippie toes!

Looking forward to the full write up!
Thanks so much! Definitely hope to do a 4WD conversion in the future. May have to settle with Bilstein HDs and some stiffer front springs in the meantime.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Karsten
Looks great ! I use a 10.1" Motorola Xoom2 with 3G connection in my van, but only have a Brodit mount. I wanted to keep the double DIN radio I have.

What kind of back up camera do you use ? I tried an IP camera, but the delay is about 1-2 seconds which makes it unusable for a moving vehicle.
That looks great! I used a fairly cheap backup camera that has RCA output. Finding an Android compatible Analog -> Digital USB capture card is proving to be the challenge right now (most only work on Windows). I ordered one on Amazon 3 weeks ago, and it has yet to arrive. Will let you know when I get it all hooked up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 86Scotty
Very nice work.
Quote:
Originally Posted by boywonder
Nice execution!
Thanks!

Nexus 7

The Wi-Fi-only model has a GPS chip for navigation, which isn’t typical for tablets without cellular. Use an SD card reader for storage expansion and easy copying of files to your computer rather than paying more for the 32GB model. Most iPhone or Android phones are able to ‘Personal Hotspot’ and charge via the USB hub (depending on your plan). This shares the data connection with the Nexus 7 with the custom software. Basically, you should buy the cheapest model you can.

Prices as of 03/04/2015 on Amazon for Nexus 7
$175 - 2013, Wi-Fi 16GB (For the 2013 model, the custom software license is $30)
$110 - 2012, Wi-Fi 16GB, Refurbished (For 2012 - custom software is free - PM me and I can set you up with it)
Craigslist and you can find them under $100.

Let me know if you want help with the software installs - I'm creating another write-up for that.

USB Peripherals & Power

90 Degree USB Cable - Not all 90 degree USB cables are built the same. Cheaper cables will charge, but won't work with your USB hub.

USB OTG Charging Cable - Note that this is 2 cables - but the second one comes in handy when you take the tablet out.

Anker 24W 2-port USB car charger - Soldered 18 gauge wire directly to power supply. Then hooked up via molex connector to the radio wiring harness. My next version will ditch the relay and you only need 2 wires - ground and ignition ‘on’ power.

Anker 4-port USB hub - Purchased this Anker 4-port hub, but the cable quickly frayed, and I’m already out of USB ports.
* My next iteration will include this hub, which will require some additional wiring Anker 7-Port Powered USB Hub

Behringer USB Audio Interface - This unit had great reviews from the other Nexus 7 reviews we found. Uses RCA to output audio, so it will wire up easily to any equalizer / amplifier.

Vehicle Specific Parts

Ford Radio Wiring Harness

Ford Double DIN Install Brackets

Ford Radio Removal Kit


Fancy Options

BAFX OBD2 Bluetooth Scan Tool or ScanTool OBDLink LX - Once again, you have quite a few options here. The BAFX tool works OK, while the ScanTool is the best product in it's category (3x data transmission rate = smoother gauges. The data stream is also encrypted if you're worried about that type of stuff.)

Transcend USB SD Card Reader - Works great

16-64GB SD Card of your choice - If you want to transfer files from a PC - format as NTFS. If you want to transfer files from a mac - format as FAT32 (limitation is that you can’t have files over 4GB)

Esky Backup Camera - For $20.99, this had the added surprise of arriving with 2 cameras, which is cool. We used the ‘no guidelines’ version since it will be installed on the roof. This backup camera has an analog video out, you will need an analog to digital USB video capture (see below). Plan to wire this up the reverse lights, with a manual override on the dash. Also gives the advantage of being able to get some light up the area when its dark.

Android-compatible video capture card - I purchased a cheaper ‘EzCap’ style video capture device for $15 on Amazon, but it turned out to be not compatible. You may be able to find a cheaper USB capture device, but make sure it is ‘linux compatible’ and doesn’t need any drivers. The cheaper devices use a low cost controller over a USB keyboard interface with propriety drivers that doesn’t work on Android, which requires a 'UVC' or webcam style interface. Still waiting to receive this item.
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Old 03-04-2015, 04:38 PM   #8
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Re: Nexus 7 install in E350

My present backup camera, the 3rd of these I've tried, is an Esky. Super small and works great. Plenty clear and lights up at night with almost no light at all. You can tap your brakes and create enough light to see what's behind you.

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Old 06-09-2015, 11:37 AM   #9
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Re: Nexus 7 install in E350

Any update on this? I would love to do something similar. Makes more sense than spending the money on a touch screen stereo unit.
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Old 06-09-2015, 12:05 PM   #10
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Re: Nexus 7 install in E350

dstupakov: Dimitry, I hope you don't mind, I referenced your Nexus 7 install in E350 over at the Ford Truck Enthusiasts (ford-trucks.com) forum:

http://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/13829 ... st15420933
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