Nexus 7 Custom Dash Mount

I love the Nexus 7. I use it for so many functions in my daily life. I listen to audio books, podcasts, and music from it, among other uses.

My Nexus 7 already travels with me and has great battery life. The nice high resolution screen coupled with the ton of customization and apps made it a no brainer to integrate into my car.

I ran into a problem immediately. Unless I wanted to be a tool and mount a 7 inch tablet to my windshield, I was going to have to custom make this solution.

I wanted to be able to keep the factory audio system and be able to use that system even if the Nexus 7 wasn’t with me. Additionally, I didn’t want to alter the dash in a way that I would need to replace parts in order to sell the car later.

I toyed with InstaMorph, which in its own right is an awesome product. I settled on painted lumber connecting straps from the local hardware store. They ran ~$1 each and I only needed to buy two as I could get 2 supports from each.

I cut the straps to size, bent them using a hammer and vice, then painted them with PlastiDip. Using strong Velcro, I attached them to the top and bottom of the factory head unit, then put the center dash piece back in place. I wish I would have taken more pictures during this process, but at the time I was thinking it would be merely a prototype. I may redo the straps in the future so that have a little cleaner look as it isn’t as polished as I would like, but time will dictate that.

The tension level was just right and the screen of the Nexus 7 remained unobstructed. With the battery life and a Bluetooth link to the Belkin Bluetooth Hands Free Car Kit (Alternate: Kinivo), I am able to keep a clean look and not have to attach data and power cables every time I get in the car. I have a Verizon MiFi (Alternate: TMobile Hotspot) at the moment providing a data connection. The navigation app you see in the pictures is Waze.

Standing off the head unit prevent heat buildup

Room allowed for the volume knob
Looks good even at night

All in all it solved the immediate need and I haven’t had to revisit the project at this time. If you have questions, please let me know.

16 Comments

    • Adam Barciszewski December 12, 2012 1:59 pm 

      Mounts like your link always ended up getting in the way for me and as you mentioned, didn’t look clean enough.

  1. Karl Pablo December 12, 2012 1:03 am 

    Oh sorry, it was a Belkin receiver!

  2. Jeff Sebestyen December 28, 2012 8:09 pm 

    How did you use the instamorph? To paint the metal?
    I have a tC2 also.

    • Adam Barciszewski December 28, 2012 9:05 pm 

      I coated the metal in PlastiDip. I tried to form what I wanted from InstaMorph but couldn’t get the shape I wanted. Considering that InstaMorph becomes form-able around 150 degrees Fahrenheit, it wouldn’t have worked well in the tC in the end. Midwest Summers see temperatures inside the car higher than than. InstaMorph didn’t get used in the final product you see in the pictures.

  3. Dan December 28, 2012 9:27 pm 

    How hard is it to mount/unmount your N7 when you get in/out of the car?

    And what is keeping your N7 from sliding to and fro within those brackets?

    • Adam Barciszewski December 28, 2012 9:34 pm 

      I apply upward pressure to the top mount and it comes right out. Not too difficult at all. I might install a small “nub” to make grasping that upper mount easier.

      Light tension and the rubber-like surface of PlastiDip keep the N7 from sliding.

  4. Brandon Brown December 28, 2012 9:32 pm 

    I’ve been wanting to do this in my Golf, but have never been crafty enough to do it. I might try this weekend now :P

    • Adam Barciszewski December 28, 2012 9:35 pm 

      Aside from the PlastiDip drying, it took about 90 minutes of labor if you include fitting and testing.

    • Justin December 29, 2012 4:59 am 

      That is a facebook picture, not spam.

    • Adam Barciszewski December 29, 2012 6:35 pm 

      That looks good man. What did you use? It appears the beard is strong with you as well :D

  5. Garry Short December 30, 2012 1:29 pm 

    Are their any good apps that make it easy to use everything while driving? or a need to make one? :)

    • Adam Barciszewski December 30, 2012 10:38 pm 

      Utilizing Force Rotate, widgets(some re-sized with Nova Prime, and the quick app switcher, 90% of my needs are met. I may look into “car mode” apps in the future, but for now,I don’t need one.

      If I’m playing an audio book, I don’t need to skip ahead, and Waze stays up on the display. If I am listening to Spotify, it is usually a playlist specifically for driving and this no need to skip ahead either. If the need does arise, the widgets make it easy on the home screen.

  6. Digital Circus January 3, 2013 12:52 pm 

    I like and great pictures (the other guys as well) and thanks for the suggestions.

    BTW, how often do you need access to the controls behind the unit or does your Bluetooth Belkin interface handle that? Thanks, Sorli….

    • Adam Barciszewski January 3, 2013 2:28 pm 

      The only controls I need are volume and mode(input), they are on my steering wheel. Adjusting volume, changing to the radio and flipping through stations is easy with the steering wheel controls. Be sure to share a few pics if you go forward with a set up of your own.

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