Your car is one of your biggest investments in life. Thus, there are times when you just want to make it cooler and at least keep up with the latest technological advancement. If you have an older model car, then chances are you have an analog head unit. With newer cars boasting a digital head unit that connects with Android Auto or Apple Carplay, you’re probably wondering if you can install and use your android tablet for car head unit.
Yes, you can! This article shares how you can use an android tablet as your car’s head unit.
- Things You’ll Need
- 6 Steps To Install Android Tablet For Car Head Unit
Things You’ll Need
Before you can install an Android tablet on your car, there are a few tools you need to prepare. These include:
- Epoxy putty
- Heat shrink tube
- Glue for silicone
- Multimeter or VOM
6 Steps To Install Android Tablet For Car Head Unit
1. Remove The Old Unit
Before you can install your Android tablet into your car’s dashboard, you need to get rid of the old one. Typically, this head unit comes with an instruction manual with detailed information on the proper installation and removal of the unit. Follow the instructions and don’t just pull it out or you risk damaging the wirings inside.
2. Plan The Mounting
While you can simply remove your car’s stereo, some people prefer to leave it there— whether it’s complicated to remove or just want to keep the system intact in case they decide to sell their car in the future.
So, if you decide to install the Android tablet without removing the old unit, it changes your mounting process significantly. There are various installation options you can consider. You can simply install the tablet on the dashboard or make use of a device holder that’s big enough to accommodate your Android tablet.
That said, whatever mounting approach you choose, make sure that it’s convenient and allows easy control and use. Avoid spots and positions that can cause limit your view or cause distraction when driving. Also, make sure that the tablet is well-positioned to allow unrestricted access to the USB charging cable.
3. Create A Charging System
All Android tablets will need a charge to run. Without power, you won’t be able to use the device. So, you need to create a charging system for your tablet.
You can do this in two ways:
First, you can get power from your car’s battery. You can do this by getting a direct line. Use wires to draw the power into the Android tablet. Make sure to use hardware for conversion, connecting the wire to the fuse box which is where your Android tablet draws power.
That said, using the car’s battery as your charging source means continuous power. If you want, you can add a switch to regulate the power supply.
If you want an easier solution, you can simply use a USB cable. You can hook that cable with the converter and it should do the job just fine.
4. Connect The Audio System
Your car’s head unit won’t be complete without the audio system. Even if your Android tablet has a music player to listen to your playlist, it’s useless if it’s not connected to your car’s sound system. You simply can’t rely on your tablet’s speaker system.
To ensure that your Android tablet can function similarly to stereo, you need to set up the sound system by doing a few connections.
For example, you’ll need an amplifier to fine-tune and process the audio before it’s transmitted to the speakers for better sound quality. Speakers and amplifiers can be connected using wires or cables. You can invest in a new set of speakers or go with the ones that came with your car.
5. Check If Everything is Running Properly
Once everything is set in place, you need to check if all of the components are running smoothly. Make sure to check all wirings and connections are working properly and intact. In general, a multimeter can help you with this.
Check if the current or voltage and the audio connections are working properly. Also, check for grounding to prevent unexpected limitations in performance.
6. Organize The Interface
This step is not that important and you can choose to forgo this. It’s basically choosing the interface on your Android tablet which should be your head unit now.
You should organize the apps on your Android tablet to make the whole thing more accessible and easier to use while you’re on the road. This way, you won’t have a hard time finding an app you need and take away your attention from the road.
Also, make sure to avoid themes with bright colors which can cause distractions while driving.
Can I use Android Auto on a tablet?
If you have an Android tablet, then it’s possible to use Android Auto. Take note, however, that some Android tablets don’t have cellular coverage, so you may not be able to receive calls when driving. Also, Android Auto may not support or be optimized for some Android tablets.
Should I permanently install an Android tablet for car or use a mounting device?
This will depend on your preference and the type of car you have.
If you have an older car and want to add technology, then permanent installation is a good option.
But, if you have a newer car model with a built-in head unit, then it makes no sense to replace it with your Android tablet. Alternatively, you can simply use a mounting device for your Android tablet for car and connect it to your main head unit via Android Auto if supported.
What are useful apps you need to install on an Android tablet for car head unit?
- Music player app
- Google Maps or other navigation apps
- Radio app
Installing an android tablet for car head unit can be a bit complicated and overwhelming, but it’s not impossible. Make sure to consult with an expert beforehand, especially if you don’t have any idea about the wirings on your car.