AA Double Din Linux Boxes

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James C

Member
Nov 16, 2019
31
5
Hey guys,

I've never had a touchscreen in a vehicle, other than a phone in a mount.

Researching options, and making a list of what I've found so far. Some ideas on how I could use custom systems, and hopefully some guidance from those who've been there, or know of options I've missed in my search engine hunt.

Think I might start with a Raspberry Pi and/or RockPi x86 board in a retail RPi touch enclosure, mounted in a car tablet mount. Going to test OpenDash, OpenAuto, i-Carus, Crankshaft board images.


I currently have no 3D printer for creating to spec board and LCD mount plates.

i-Carus offers a retail double din mounting solution for RPi type boards.


They also have a search tool for 7 inch touchscreen fascia plates and wiring harness adapters for various vehicles.


Another provider for car wiring interface is CarPiHat, but doesn't offer any type of housing.



Definitely a project to undertake, and want to use harness adapters and fascia plates so that when I change vehicles, I can just unplug, put factory system back, take my Linux box with me, put old harness & plate on ebay, and get new ones for a different vehicle.

The alternative to a Linux box will be to get a Head Unit from Atoto, Dasaita, Joying, Xtrons, Eonon, or some outfit like Phoenix Automotive. Then put a Hal9K or Malaysk ROM on it if I what longer term updates, and tweaks.
Going that route, probably Android 12 4gb/64gb, minimum. 7-13 inch screens. Some options there that are likely vehicle and ergonomic dependent.

Anyway, going to start with a phone mount for a stylus phone, a figure something out from there.

No purchase decisions made yet on double din mount unit, and open to options or advice.
 

marchnz

Senior Member
Nov 26, 2012
5,131
1,092
NZ
Hey guys,

I've never had a touchscreen in a vehicle, other than a phone in a mount.

Researching options, and making a list of what I've found so far. Some ideas on how I could use custom systems, and hopefully some guidance from those who've been there, or know of options I've missed in my search engine hunt.

Think I might start with a Raspberry Pi and/or RockPi x86 board in a retail RPi touch enclosure, mounted in a car tablet mount. Going to test OpenDash, OpenAuto, i-Carus, Crankshaft board images.


I currently have no 3D printer for creating to spec board and LCD mount plates.

i-Carus offers a retail double din mounting solution for RPi type boards.


They also have a search tool for 7 inch touchscreen fascia plates and wiring harness adapters for various vehicles.


Another provider for car wiring interface is CarPiHat, but doesn't offer any type of housing.



Definitely a project to undertake, and want to use harness adapters and fascia plates so that when I change vehicles, I can just unplug, put factory system back, take my Linux box with me, put old harness & plate on ebay, and get new ones for a different vehicle.

The alternative to a Linux box will be to get a Head Unit from Atoto, Dasaita, Joying, Xtrons, Eonon, or some outfit like Phoenix Automotive. Then put a Hal9K or Malaysk ROM on it if I what longer term updates, and tweaks.
Going that route, probably Android 12 4gb/64gb, minimum. 7-13 inch screens. Some options there that are likely vehicle and ergonomic dependent.

Anyway, going to start with a phone mount for a stylus phone, a figure something out from there.

No purchase decisions made yet on double din mount unit, and open to options or advice.
None of these are Android Auto. The horrible hacks from hal and Mal are modded roms but not Android auto either.
 

James C

Member
Nov 16, 2019
31
5
From my understanding, Android Auto syncs and mirrors information to and from a paired Android phone.

Haven't tested anything yet, and the software links I posted are mostly what I assume to be Raspbian/Debian that boot into a version of those features.

Really not that interested in tinkering stereos, and just want a dedicated and versatile touchscreen device in vehicle.

Was just looking at swing out dash monitor mounts for vehicles. Could use anything with Vesa mount. Probably Fedora/Red Hat with Android X86 rpm install for qemu and dual boot option.


Will have two modes basically, driving and parked mobile office.
 

James C

Member
Nov 16, 2019
31
5
My Linux Touchscreen for vehicles can basically be implemented as an addition to any existing console infotainment system, via a dash swing mount, a floor mount, or seat desk for laptops, tablets, etc.

Question is what Android Auto option is the bottom line for cost, performance, and stability. Also, what AA options are worth spending extra for?

I've seen factory upgrade kits to add Android Auto to older in dash Navigation systems without that feature, starting around $700. Worth it, or better spent on other options?
 

James C

Member
Nov 16, 2019
31
5
Just began looking at options from Alpine, JVC, etc. I guess the lowest cost, stable performance option would be a Bluetooth connection to a simple audio receiver offered by real Trademarked Brands in the market place, $100.

Some Android Auto options from the name brands, ranging in cost from $250-$1000+.

Backup camera and DVR for safety and insurance purposes is smart.

Are there any comparisons between the name brand AA options and the Chinese factory AA options?

So far, I've seen some Chinese AA HU brands ranging in price from $50-$550, not including units for specific vehicle trims to accommodate extra large screens. Haven't seen any name brand kit options for specific vehicle trims so far.
 

James C

Member
Nov 16, 2019
31
5
Actually want to revise earlier statement, that lowest cost, stable in car Android option is a $100 Name brand Bluetooth Dash unit.

Lowest cost, stable, performance, phone-only option, keeping factory equipment would be a Bluetooth Aux/Cassette/Radio adapter, a dash/vent clip magnetic qi charger, and a case/clamp/sticker with metal plate.

Qi adapter for phones without. That, and adding a Backup cam DVR Rearview mirror unit.

This for old models, and newer trims without navigation or backup camera.

While reviewing this I saw a 7" Binize w/AA for $52, and a dash kit for $12. Cost is about on par with phone only, no cables to plugin option. The Binize comes with a backup cam according to product picture. So, some savings there. Performance comparison is likely another story.
 
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James C

Member
Nov 16, 2019
31
5
Think I'm going with a Havis monitor mount for an older Ford with a standard double din radio without weird custom fascia plates I would either need to cut into, remake, or order kit for.

May replace factory radio with a 7 inch Chinese unit that has Android Auto features, and has a compatible Rockchip processor for running one of the roms available here.

The AA double din unit will be setting behind the Havis Vesa 75 swing monitor mount, which I'll attach a 13.3 inch Vesa mount Touchscreen monitor, connected to an old Lenovo ThinkCenter probably installed under a seat or somewhere similar. A Lenovo USFF with enough ram to run Windows subsystem for Android, and WSLinux for starters. Will run on rechargable battery bank, and will have to figure out USB gps, glonass antennas for PC. Will begin there, and move to Linux once I figure out hardware that works for everything I need. OpenDash for AA Linux/Windows purposes. Everything else I'm working on is basically a separate mobile office project.

Will either use Aux or Bluetooth to interface PC system into car audio system. Factory or Aftermarket stereo system will be used as needed as 13" touchscreen will need to be unlocked and "opened" to access manual or touch controls. Probably set it and forget it, mostly while tinkering with PC option.
 

James C

Member
Nov 16, 2019
31
5
Found this adapter for name brand aftermarket options, Maestro. https://www.idatalinkmaestro.com/en/compatible-products/all

Rather than go for a Chinese Android Head Unit, I'll just stick to factory or name brands supported by Maestro.

Will just mirror any apps I want to use from phone, if unsupported by Android Auto. Say a Lottery.apk for the state lotto. I find driving a good opportunity to sense lucky numbers and make picks, personally.

Will see how that works out before investigating further options. Namely, the expensive Chinese Android Head Units, and pole/dash mounts for tablet docks used in police vehicles.
 

James C

Member
Nov 16, 2019
31
5
For inexpensive head units, Atoto seems a good choice. F7 Linux based, S8 Android 10 based.

Lots of various configurations of each, from 7"-10" displays, single or double din enclosures.

Haven't decided on F7 or S8 yet, but I do know I want a single din with floating display that will work in a tractor or older vehicle without the built-in infotainment and navigation features newer vehicles offer.

Still going namebrand with maestro for newer vehicles.

Laptop and tablet dock mounts should work with either via Aux or Bluetooth.

Might do away with phone altogether, and try a watch phone instead, since I'll be packing along both a dash "tablet" and a 12" PC.

New models of watch phones are kind of on standby I hear, due to their chip supply chain drying up since COVID.

In any case, will try and Android 10+ watch phone with a head unit that supports wireless Android Auto.

Found this with watch phone firmware. https://fullandroidwatch.org/
 
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James C

Member
Nov 16, 2019
31
5
Think my final solution for a vehicle Linux box, will be a single din head unit with an HDMI input attached to a Raspberry Pi or similar SBC. Stowing the board into the empty slot on a Metra dash kit. Head unit also supports Android Auto and Screen Mirroring. Will likely use a wireless TV keyboard/gamepad to tinker with Linux SBC for certain use cases. Maybe just Velcro Linux SBC and accessories in Metra slot, for easy removal to take indoors as required.

Umm.. Will figure it out, and test the Pi images posted earlier.
 

James C

Member
Nov 16, 2019
31
5
American made vehicles are better supported by idatalink Maestro adapters.

The Chinese Factory brands better support Asian designs with their own wiring harness adapters to retain all vehicle sensor features.

There are exceptions, and Metra is a resource to investigate.

Going Ford, Lincoln, Mazda. Alpine, JVC or whichever Chinese factory brand offers a suitable dash kit and harness adapter.. Long story short.