Electronic add-ons that will amaze and amuse your friends (and potentially save your butt)
Here's where things get really interesting. There are a couple of electronic modifications that can be done for relatively low cost considering the return on investment that you will get. The two mods are installing an Android tablet and installing a dash cam. The tablet modification can be done on any trim level 2010-12 Genesis Coupe. There is currently no plug and play ready mounting option for the new model Genesis Coupes; however, the modification can be adapted to Android-based smart phones. The dashcam mod can be done on any car.
Why install a tablet in my car?
Serious? If you have to ask, there is no reason to install a tablet in your car! A tablet can act as a total information system for your car. You can connect the tablet to your on-board diagnostic system (OBDII) to display and log everything the car's electronic control unit reports in near real time or review and clear check engine codes/lights. Your tablet can be a real time GPS. Your tablet can provide traffic information. Your tablet can provide localized weather reports. Your tablet can keep you connected to the world. Your tablet can be an entertainment system. Your tablet can control GoPro cameras that are attached to your car. Your tablet can connect you to your internet enabled home security system. You can connect a first person view (FPV) camera attached to a quadcopter controlled by your passenger who is flying the quadcopter chase on your car going down the road capturing video. (You did notice the word Geek in my screen name, right?) In other words, what you can do with a tablet in your car is limited only to your imagination. If you have no imagination, then.... yah... you don't need a tablet.
What do I need to install a tablet in my car?
There are two types of kits available for the 2010-12 Genesis Coupe. The Type A bezel kit and the sleeker Type B bezel kit. The Type B kit is generally more expensive than the Type A and some members have reported an issue with the GPS signal being blocked by the metal retention strap on the Type B. You will need to make sure that you get the kit with a relocator kit if you want to keep your blue screen. (If you have an aftermarket radio and you are not using the blue screen, you can just remove it). You will need a 12V power supply for the tablet. Additionally, if you intend to connect the tablet to the auxiliary in port of your radio, you will need a double ended mini stereo connection wire long enough to reach the jack from your tablet. If you are using the Type B bezel, the metal retaining strap may block the GPS signal to the tablet. A member on the forum sells plexiglass mounts or you can make your own (just don't make it out of metal). Lastly, you will need double-stick tape if you are installing a Type A bezel. The Type A bezel has a surround that sticks to the face of your tablet to keep it in place.
What kind of tablet should I get?
Any 7" Android tablet will work. You can also use an iPad mini or the Microsoft Surface; however, you may find that all of the applications discussed on this forum is only available on the Android. That is not to say that there are not iPad/Microsoft equivalents, just that the Android has been around for a lot longer in a 7" or 8" format and is generally much less expensive than the iPad or Surface. This thread will focus on the Android because that is the tablet of choice by most members.
With all that said, don't go too cheap on your tablet purchase. As with everything else, you often get what you pay for. The ideal tablet has on board GPS, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, a long battery life, and is either loaded with or can be updated to a version of Android that is compatible with all of the applications you intend to use. The two most popular tablets installed are the Acer A100 and Google's Nexus 7, both of which meet or exceed the performance and equipment requirements for any application you wish to run. Samsung's Galaxy Tab is also a popular choice.
Acer 100 installed in a Type A Bezel
How do I connect my tablet to my car's on board diagnostic system?
In order to connect your tablet to your OBDII port, you will need an OBDII module. They come in two flavors, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi... either will work as well as the other. If you also use your tablet to play music and you connect your tablet to the car's stereo system via Bluetooth, you may want to get a Wi-Fi module. If you use a Wi-Fi hotspot to connect your car to the internet, you may want to choose the Bluetooth module and if you still want to play music from the tablet use a hard wire from the tablet to the auxiliary in connector for the stereo. There are several OBDII modules made ranging in price from $15.00 for an ELM 327 module to more advance modules that will run upwards to $150.00. The biggest difference between the low end and high end modules is data throughput. The higher and faster the throughput the less latency your tablet will display. Look at the different models and make a determination as to which one best suits your needs.
One recommendation that I would make is that if you intend to connect an OBDII module to your car that you also purchase an OBDII extension cable that has a 90 degree connector on the end that connects to the OBDII plug on your car. The reason for this is simple: you don't want a big black module with flashing lights hanging down underneath your dash. Not only will it get in the way, the flashing lights at night will be a huge distraction. Using the extension cable will enable you to place the module anywhere under the dash where it will not be in the way.
What applications should I have on my tablet?
This is a loaded question because it would depend on what you intend to use the tablet for. Typical installations will include the following applications:
- Torque or Dash Command - Display your ECU data and view/clear check engine light (CEL) codes. (Requires an OBDII Bluetooth or Wi-Fi module)
- Automateit or Tasker - A macro task manager. Allows automatic initiation of macros that do everything from putting your tablet to sleep to opening and closing applications. Note: Some functions are only available on a rooted tablet (more on rooting later).
- A weather application - Realtime weather updates while on the road (internet connection required)
- Waze or Inrix - A social media mapping application with member generated traffic and hazard updates. (internet connection required)
- Sygic - An offline 3D navigation application. Works just like your dedicated GPS system (no internet connection required for use) Uses the same maps as TomTom.
- WiFi File Transfer - Allows remote Wi-Fi connection of your tablet to a PC on the same Wi-Fi network for file transfer and backup.
Most tablets will have media players pre-installed. If you have a favorite media player, then go ahead and install that as well. In fact, install anything you want on your tablet... it's yours.
How do I connect my tablet to the internet?
Option A: You can get 7" tablets from any of the major cellular network providers that will provide you with 24/7 internet access wherever there is data service (there is less coverage for data services than voice services). This is the most convenient option, but also tends to be the most expensive. Additionally, you may get yourself tied into a contract that you can't get out of.
Option B: Purchase a pay as you go cellular Wi-Fi hotspot. The advantage of this approach is multifold. First, you only pay for what you use; albeit most cellular data programs are more expensive per GB than their contract counterparts. This is only an issue if you are streaming big data such as video or music. In most applications (even if you occasionally stream video) you will use less than 1 GB of data in a month. Most Wi-Fi hotspots will allow up to 5 devices to connect simultaneously, which means that your passengers that have tablets or laptops can also use the hotspot to stay connected or entertained.
Option C: If your internet provider allows you to do this, use your smart phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot through tethering. Not all cellular providers allow tethering and most charge extra for this service (some do not). Check with your cellular provider to see if tethering is an option for your plan. You may find that you can get more bandwidth for less money and not be obligated to a signing contract.
Option D: Look for free internet hotspots. This one is a little more sketchy; however, there are more and more free Wi-Fi hotspots than you may think. The disadvantage is that you will only be able to use the hotspot when you are near one. There are applications available that will allow our tablet to automatically connect to any open Wi-Fi hotspot that is in range... so even if you didn't know it was there, your tablet will find it and use it. The advantage to this approach is that your tablet will automatically update whenever it is in range of an internet hotspot and the best part... it's FREE.
If you are choosing a cellular provider - Be sure to look at the data coverage areas. A cheap plan won't help you if you cannot connect to the internet where you need to. Also, pay attention to whether the data provider is on a 3G or a 4G network. Although most of what you may use a data connection for does not necessarily require a fast connection, some do. Faster is always better. If you are using Google Maps as your navigation application, you don't want to be staring at a blank screen when you don't really know where you are going because your map cannot update fast enough.
- Why do you need one? Because stuff happens.
- Are dashcam videos admissible in court as evidence? Yes as long as it is time and date stamped.
- What kind of resolution do I need? At least 720P but more is better.
- What features should I be looking for in a dashcam? High resolution, battery backup, record on key on, auto looping, large SD Card capacity, parking mode, shock detection and auto record, night vision down to at least 1 lux (moonlight), smooth video (look for samples on YouTube), and finally low grain.
- How hard is it to install a dashcam? In most cases you won't need much more than a pair of needle nose pliers to install one. (You may want to buy an "add a fuse" kit to tap into your fusebox for power)
- Can I use my GoPro as a dashcam instead of going out and buying a dedicated dashcam? Yes, but the video will not have a date/time stamp and the veracity of the video can be questioned as it can be edited without obvious indicators that the video has been altered. Additionally, the GoPro needs to be powered on manually. The reason why dashcams work is because they come on automatically everytime the car is turned on. Use your GoPro for what it was intended for (as an action cam) and get a dedicated dashcam.
When it's your word against the other driver's, a dashcam can be the difference between being blamed for an accident you didn't cause and collecting big bucks from someone else's insurance to get your car fixed. Your insurance company may limit how much you can get from a claim; however, the other guy's liability insurance will always pay more.
"I'm pretty tired... I think I'll go home now."