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How to: in dash tablet install e46

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Hi all, had some interest in my tablet install so I thought it good to share my experience on how I did it.

Before you do anything, spend any money or cut your car up I strongly advise you get your tablet functioning how you want it to work, i.e wake on charge, sleep off charge, some people root their tablet, I used a free app called auto sleep. I also use an app called automate which basically turns the tablet into android auto with more functions!

To give you an idea I have spent about 3 months testing the tablet, and looking into different ways of doing it, the actual install took about 6 hours start to finish at a leisurely pace in the dark, would have been quicker if I could see half of what I was doing!

Also do some research above what I have outlined in this how to, I'm not a techno wiz nor am I an auto electrician, anything you do is at your own risk and I won't be responsible.

So hardware you will need:

7 inch tablet, whatever you prefer using, I used 2012 nexus 7.

Double din fascia or mybimmer.net do tablet fascias but they aren't cheap!

Some form of amp, standard headunit will work with grom audio, you could use a 4 channel amp with a auxiliary lead to rca converter for signal.

I used an after market head unit with auxiliary in, I already had it and it allows me to set up the sound how i like, allows me to still use Bluetooth calling and I can add to the system using the headunit as a base.

Usb charger, whatever amp rating your tablet requires, mine was 2.1 amp.

Fuse holder with fuse, I used 10a though I may swap to a 5a as my tablet should only draw 2.1.

Speaker wire, 4 speakers wires positive and negative so 8 wires in total, length dependant on where your I so connector is and where you plan on mounting the head unit or amp. (If using aftermarket head unit)

Power and earth wire, preferably red yellow and black, I didn't have any yellow so used red twice. Again this is just how I wired my head unit, I don't need radio etc just power to the headunit so permanent live, ignition live and Earth. (If using aftermarket head unit)

Usb to micro usb lead, angled micro usb end is essential due to lack of space in the bezel, i used a 2m long one, simply because I can remove it from the charger, and plug into laptop if I need to without need to remove tablet.

Auxiliary lead with 3.5mm jack both ends need to be angled, again you need this due to limited space in the tablet bezel

Some way to fix the tablet into the the bezel, I know this sounds bad but I used gorilla tape, it's solid and isn't going anywhere.

I have quite an early e46 touring, the equipment inside was a bit odd, it has no steering controls, business navigation with the small screen and a cd changer in the boot, none of it worked properly so an upgrade was due.

So my install was done fairly cheaply, using mostly bits I had around, there are many ways you can do it, some people use the standard head unit with the grom audio interface for sound from the tablet, like you would an iPod etc, remove the face of the head unit and push it in the dash behind the tablet, utilising steering controls for volume control, however I don't have these so I needed another way.

I was lucky that my iso connector was actually in the boot, so I decided to use an old head unit I had, and make an extended Iso wiring loom and mount it in the boot in place of the nav unit and simply run an auxiliary cable to the tablet from the boot, and I'm happy to report it works very well, sound quality it's miles ahead of the standard unit too!

So how the tablet fits, remove head unit and climate control, this needs relocating to the ash tray.

Remove the heater cents above the head unit and then remove the cage inside the dash that holds your head unit and climate control.

Attach your tablet to your bezel/fascia and offer it up to the cage, simply cut away whatever stops the tablet and bezel sitting flush, cut a bit and keep offering up to the car, I took too much off to be honest and had to pack it out a little when fitting.

You should have something like this now c26c352eb1ab58fcb0624a51bcb7d06a.jpg

So with that sorted you need to charge the tablet, I didn't get any pictures of this so shout up if you need to see what I did however I will explain the best I can, it's quite simple, use a generic cigarette lighter.

Some will have three pins on, one is for illumination so ignore that, the one in the centre is power and one on the outside body is earth, find an ignition live in your fuse box and tap into that with your power wire, then find an earth, I earthed to the torch charger.

Use a fuse holder in line on the power wire, once connected up plug your charger into the cig lighter and test if it charges the tablet before going any further. Presuming all is good secure your cigarette lighter somewhere safe and accessible behind the dash, I put mine in front of the fuse box above the glove box and I can get to it by dropping the fuse box no problem.

Run your auxiliary wire to the location of your head unit or amp and connect the tablet up, now stick it all in our dash as test fitted.

If your using aftermarket like i did you will need to make your loom, get an Iso adapter to make the headunit work like normal, and cut it in half like so..8431bf0c97b04da78dd5f830c6c81fc3.jpg

I had already soldered the speaker wires in this pic, now it is a case of finding how long you need it, and extending, simply colour matching wires, you can do them all or just the ones I did for basic power that's upto you and how you want your install to work. You should end up with something like this...3985c65cd29f931f1257a9a209d63a71.jpg

Before you go any further test it out, it's a right pain taping the whole loom up to find you have a speaker not working, ask me how I know.. [emoji34]

Tape it up and make it tidy, 61963547b6b4e22318dff4a13c050490.jpg

Mount your headunit or amp and connect up neatly, ensuring no wires are trapped or chafing on anything sharp 4bb4c3a85b29a07ab6f9b0409dcf63e0.jpg

And admire your handy work! d23ea7d683248756bb62695fedd5d08d.jpg

Excuse the mess the car is filthy at the moment we live on a new estate.

I'm happy to answer any questions and will upload more photos this week when I have some daylight, I can do a video of it working if that's of any interest to anyone too and upload to YouTube.

Hope this benefits anyone who has been considering it!

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