Android Auto Portable Dev-Box (DIY)




Introduction: Android Auto Portable Dev-Box (DIY)


The Android Auto portable head unit (HU) is a do-it-yourself project for developers wanting to test and demonstrate their Android Auto application outside of an in-vehicle implementation. Assembling the portable HU involves modifying a standard toolbox to house an Android Auto-capable head unit:


  • 26” Toolbox
  • Box Divider - 2 layer acrylic plexiglass (refer to divider specs)
  • Android Auto Unit - Includes Mic, USB extender and wiring adapter
  • AC/DC Converter - US only 110v to 12VDC @ 5.8 Amp
  • Speakers - (2 speakers, 1 pair) 5.25” or 4" depending on preference
  • Screws + Nuts - (30 needed) 10-32 x 0.5"
  • L-Brackets - (4 needed) 2.5” x ⅝”, for mounting head unit to box divider
  • Hinges - (2 needed) 1.5” hinges
  • Switches - (2 needed)


  • Double sided velcro tape (to secure AC/DC to toolbox)
  • Wire stripper
  • Drill with the following bits:
    • 3/16 bit for Screw ports
    • 11.5mm for Mic port
    • 11mm for Switch ports
  • Phillips #2 (star) screwdriver
  • Electrical tape and/or wire crimpers

Step 1: Box Divider Layout

Step 2: Wiring

Step 3: Assembly Tips

  • L-Brackets - screw brackets to closest opening holes to front display on headunit
  • AC/DC Converter - after cutting cig lighter adapter, wire with white text print is usually positive charge
    • please use region specific converter for countries outside US
    • another alternative would be to add a universal voltage adapter
  • Hinges - Align and install hinges with pivot divider midpoint to edge of toolbox opening

Step 4: Wrap-Up

  • given all hardware and tools are set to go, assembly and wiring should take around 2-3hrs

Be the First to Share


    • Science Fair Challenge

      Science Fair Challenge
    • Home and Garden Contest

      Home and Garden Contest
    • Woodworking Contest

      Woodworking Contest



    Question 1 year ago

    I plan on building one of these for my back yard entertainment system, but I can see no way of maintaining the unit memory when it's unplugged for relocation. Any suggestions for some kind of battery backup? I just want it to maintain settings from the time I put it away till I use it again.

    Joel Mosquera
    Joel Mosquera

    Reply 1 year ago

    The only way I can think of, its to buy a portable batteries and splice the in/out cable and connect them between the unit and the converter. This will give you a temporary source for storing setting while also. Running the unit for maybe a couple of hours until you plug it back in


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Looks nice ! :) I was looking to make one out of wood for my development/testing Pioneer 4100NEX, currently just sitting on a stand and it's shipping box.

    I guess we'd need an iDatalink or similar to create steering wheel controls ?

    If you can't afford a hardware headunit, or want more without spending too much, see my Headunit app for Android Auto which runs nicely on tablets: