Yet another android tablet as a head unit


New member
Nov 29, 2016

I'd like to introduce my project...

I'm building a vintage kit car using the BMW Z3 (2000 model year) as the base car. I want the car to have access to tech but for the tech to be hidden in the centre console, actually on the underside of the top of the console. The concept is that when no tech is needed (for example at shows) the car will retain its vintage looks but when tech is required (i.e. when being driven) the tech becomes available. I'm imagining a top section of the console which will hinge up and reveal the tablet. There isn't going to be much space on the underside of the console which is why I'm going for a tablet rather than one of the many Chinese android units.

As an aside, I've just ordered an Icebox Octa core 64G Rom / 4G Ram unit (TTF1983 ) for my facelift (2015) Vauxhall Insignia which I expect to arrive in the next week or so.

I've already researched other people's projects which has helped me to get to where I currently am. Where I currently am is ordering many of the bits and pieces which I expect to need.

My tablet project is intended to be a much simpler affair than the Icebox unit:
  • DAB and FM radio
  • Rear and, hopefully, front camera
  • Sat nav
  • OBD II
  • Mirror my phone if needs be

What I won't need includes:
  • Steering wheel controls
  • Air con management
  • Electric roof control
  • Pretty much everything else that an android head unit offers

What I might need is:
  • BT Phone but in a convertible that's going to be a bit of an issue any way

Because the car will only be used sporadically I need an effective power management system, one which will kick in after perhaps a month's lack of use.

My tablet of choice is a Galaxy Tab S 10.5 (SM-T800) which I happen to have lying around, it's currently running stock Android 6.01 . The tablet is a wifi model so the plan is to hotspot it to my Galaxy S8 when I'm on the road

I've already ordered
  • a 12V to 5V 3A dc-dc converter
  • a 4 port USB2 hub
  • an OTG Y cable to take power from the dc-dc converter to feed the tablet and to move data between the devices
  • an easycap UTV007 video capture device (for the parking camera units)
  • a USB to USB relay to allow the easycap to feed the video through to the USB when reverse is connected
  • an 'intelligent' video selector which has two video inputs (front and rear cameras) and one video output (to the head unit via the USB relay). The unit keeps the relevant camera connected to the output. I need to take delivery of this and play with it to see what it can really do.
  • an ELM327 bluetooth OBD II device
  • a NooElec Smart DVB+ device
  • a Creative Soundblaster DAC

I know that I'm going to need a decent amplifier between the DAC and the speakers (suggestions and recommendations welcome). I might also want a manual volume control, possibly with a push button mute facility. I've probably missed a bunch of stuff...

I've rooted the tablet and tweaked it (overwritten lpm) so that when the ignition is switched on then the tablet will boot. I've used MacroDroid to tell the device to switch off 10 seconds after the ignition is switched off (unless the ignition gets switched on again within those 10 seconds)

I'm looking very closely at the Agama Car Launcher to pull much of it together. There are some aspects of this launcher that I'd like to see improved. For example I'd like to be able to get back to the home screen from the maps screen (or other screens) CarWebGuru places a button on the screen to allow this. It would be nice also to have a split screen so that I can have maps on one side and Audio / OBD / any other app on the other side. I'm aware that I might not get all that I wish for :)

One thing I'd REALLY like to see improved is the cold boot time which is currently 50 seconds. I might consider a custom ROM if anyone knows of a ROM that will fire up quickly, or any other tweak which will significantly shorten the cold boot time. 10 seconds or less would be nice. I've looked at Cyanogenmod 12.1 or 13 with the quick boot utility but I understand that the quick boot is basically hibernate and may not survive a month without the ignition being switched on.

Hopefully I've given a reasonable overview of what I'm looking to achieve and hopefully there will be people out there that can help tie everything together and troubleshoot when the time comes.



Senior Member
Jun 24, 2008
Wondering how this is coming along?

My question for you is, will the tablet charge and use data via the OTG cable simultaneously? Did you need to run a custom kernel to enable that?