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Old 04-22-2019, 09:45 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Tablet as radio?

Hello everyone,

I am wondering of an Android tablet or a Kindle could be used as the music source in a car. I know there are digital radios out there that you can Bluetooth your phone to, but that's not what I really want. If I need directions when I am driving I use my phone, so having "on-board" navigation in the dash is redundant. If I want music, I don't want commercials. I don't need to know what the local schools are doing or who the local police picked up or any more depressing political news. Having a service like XM or Sirius is fine but I don't need to have 100+ channels available and only listen to less than 10% of them.

With a tablet set up run through some form of amplification to drive my standard speakers, I can load and unload any music I want at any time and for free. The installation wouldn't be "free" with the time involved and materials, but basically free if it's DIY. Even outdated tablets should have enough memory to load hundreds of songs.

Has anyone done this?

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Old 04-22-2019, 12:24 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hat_man View Post
Hello everyone,

I am wondering of an Android tablet or a Kindle could be used as the music source in a car. I know there are digital radios out there that you can Bluetooth your phone to, but that's not what I really want. If I need directions when I am driving I use my phone, so having "on-board" navigation in the dash is redundant. If I want music, I don't want commercials. I don't need to know what the local schools are doing or who the local police picked up or any more depressing political news. Having a service like XM or Sirius is fine but I don't need to have 100+ channels available and only listen to less than 10% of them.

With a tablet set up run through some form of amplification to drive my standard speakers, I can load and unload any music I want at any time and for free. The installation wouldn't be "free" with the time involved and materials, but basically free if it's DIY. Even outdated tablets should have enough memory to load hundreds of songs.

Has anyone done this?
You could consider getting a LTE tablet and hooking up by bluetooth, then you get the added benefit of having internet access on a tablet anywhere you want to go (assuming cell service is good, which these days means pretty much anywhere other than the depths of the rockies.)
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Old 04-22-2019, 01:30 PM   #3 (permalink)
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You should be running music from your phone too. You want music to pause whenever the navigation is speaking directions, and also anytime you're on a phone call. If you have separate devices, they will try to talk over each other.

Most stock automotive head units have stereo inputs, so there shouldn't be a need to amplify a signal and send directly to the speakers. Furthermore, if the head unit has a tape deck, you can get an analog cassette adapter. Finally, there are cheap FM tuners that accept a variety of input sources and output to an FM channel that you choose.

https://www.amazon.com/Nulaxy-Wirele...-1-spons&psc=1
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Old 04-22-2019, 05:39 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I was hoping to not have to do the Bluetooth thing. My truck is old and the head unit is an AM/FM. That's it. No cassette, no CD, no aux input. No way to pair the phone to it, no steering wheel controls. Phone is mounted in a holder that puts it in front of the temperature control. Easily reachable and solid enough to work the touch screen. Talk to text and one swipe to answer calls. And before anyone gets mad because poking at the phone takes my eyes from the road, it's no different than adjusting the radio or temperature controls or blower speed or messing around with the navigation system. No worse than looking at the scenery or street signs or the rear view mirror. How many people turn to their passenger when they talk to them? I defy anyone to tell me they keep an eye on the road absolutely 100% of the time and never look anywhere other than the lane in front of them. I've been driving a stick shift for nearly 20 years so driving one handed is kind of the norm. OK......rant over.

I figured with a tablet I could change music when I wanted and not have to pay for a service like Sirius. Using mobile internet runs into a larger service plan. Over the course of a year it could run an extra $300. And that's every year. A tablet and some miscellaneous electronics is probably much cheaper. The devices won't be talking over each other if I turn off or pause the music when I need navigation or the phone.
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Old 04-22-2019, 05:51 PM   #5 (permalink)
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What I'm saying is that a tablet has no advantage to storing and playing music over your smartphone.

The FM transmitter I linked has a stereo input, so you can use the 2.5mm "headphone" jack on your phone to connect a standard stereo cable to it. Then just tune it to an unused FM station. It costs $16. Don't know why you'd not use bluetooth though.

A new head unit with HD radio and bluetooth functions as well as stereo inputs might run as little as $50. The cheapest tablet I've seen was the LG G-pad for about $60.

If you're determined to own a tablet, go for it, but that isn't cheapest solution to the problem playing saved tracks on your old stereo.
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Old 04-22-2019, 08:37 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Unless you really want to invent your own wheel, go to Crutchfield and find a $30 POS that has AUX in. Then any cheap old mp3 player will do what you want- I got a used iPod 4 a few years ago. With my own mp3s and Amazon Music, who has to listen to commercials?
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Old 04-22-2019, 09:56 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hat_man View Post
I was hoping to not have to do the Bluetooth thing. My truck is old and the head unit is an AM/FM. That's it. No cassette, no CD, no aux input. No way to pair the phone to it, no steering wheel controls. Phone is mounted in a holder that puts it in front of the temperature control. Easily reachable and solid enough to work the touch screen. Talk to text and one swipe to answer calls. And before anyone gets mad because poking at the phone takes my eyes from the road, it's no different than adjusting the radio or temperature controls or blower speed or messing around with the navigation system. No worse than looking at the scenery or street signs or the rear view mirror. How many people turn to their passenger when they talk to them? I defy anyone to tell me they keep an eye on the road absolutely 100% of the time and never look anywhere other than the lane in front of them. I've been driving a stick shift for nearly 20 years so driving one handed is kind of the norm. OK......rant over.

I figured with a tablet I could change music when I wanted and not have to pay for a service like Sirius. Using mobile internet runs into a larger service plan. Over the course of a year it could run an extra $300. And that's every year. A tablet and some miscellaneous electronics is probably much cheaper. The devices won't be talking over each other if I turn off or pause the music when I need navigation or the phone.
I have cricket wireless, 3 lines unlimited data for $100, including taxes and insurance. I've never had any connection or speed issues, and even though they claim that they sometimes may throttle service when it's really busy, I've never noticed it, and I live in the boonies of North Dakota.
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Old 04-23-2019, 07:19 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sheepdog44 View Post
Transmission type Efficiency
Manual neutral engine off.100% @MPG <----- Fun Fact.
Manual 1:1 gear ratio .......98%
CVT belt ............................88%
Automatic .........................86%

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Old 04-24-2019, 09:24 AM   #9 (permalink)
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A year ago, I bought a Nexus 7 tablet, did the OTG charging setup with a USB hub, connecting a USB DAC, OBD2 adapter, USB storage, and camera input (for rear camera). In the double din cavity behind it, I squeezed a 50x4 amp and a 500x1 subwoofer amp. It was a SUPER tight fit, but it worked.

The biggest challenges I still have: the "Timur" kernel doesn't always put the tablet to sleep properly when off charging. Also, charging in general doesn't seem to keep up, as the battery will usually die (after 2 different chargers). Finally, each time the tablet reconnects, the USB storage sometimes takes several minutes and many attempts of connection before it would read and allow music to play.

Before this, I tried a cheap double-din Android touch screen head unit. I'm tempted to buy a newer, higher end version of one of these, but I still don't think it will be good enough. Maybe I'm too picky...

Many others with my same setup reports success, so I'm sure a little more work would get it going. When it works, it's really awesome. Otherwise, I'd say dig through some of the pre-builts, like Pumpkin or Joying. My prior one was Eonon and was just very slow and unresponsive. Also, don't bother with the "physical" volume knob on these... they are simply a digital controller in the android OS.

Here's what I would get if I were to buy one: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07MQD4BP2...v_ov_lig_dp_it (and I will probably replace my setup with this, removing my 50x4 amp and relocating the 500x1 amp)

Last edited by NoD~; 04-24-2019 at 10:10 AM..
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Old 04-24-2019, 11:03 AM   #10 (permalink)
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If you really want to get fancy, you can install a new head unit on your vehicle like this one:

https://www.amazon.com/Android-Doubl...-1-spons&psc=1

I'm planning on installing one of these in my vehicle actually. It is a nice modern addition you can install in your car. One of these is the best option if you want something nice looking with blue tooth, music, and GPS functions. In some older vehicles you will need to splice a different connector in place of the old connector in order for it to work.

Edit: Someone already beat me to talking about a similar thing, but that's because it is a good idea

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