Car Dash Tablet




Introduction: Car Dash Tablet

Putting a tablet in car dash.This project was on my mind for a long time.Somehow I couldn’t find any free time to build this project. But now I have done it and I’ll tell you how.

My car is a VW Polo (2014 ) and don’t have any bluetooth connectivity with smartphones or so. And also it doesn’t have any GPS Navigation applications. So my purpose was to put a tablet instead of the useless car radio. With an Android tablet I was going to have Google Maps, Spotify ,Yandex , FM radio or lets say every android app you can imagine.This is the answer of “why should I put a tablet in my car.”

Lets begin.

Step 1: Parts That I Needed

An amplifier.Because my car’s radio includes an amp and when I took out stock car radio I also removed the amplifier in it.

A canbus shield.A canbus shield is necessary to be able to read can-bus commands from canbus line.Can bus line includes some of the car informations. I used this shield for detecting wheel button commands like Volume Up, Mute and Volume Down buttons. Behind the car radio there are two can bus cables. One of them is Canbus – HIGH and the other is Canbus-LOW. This cables must be connected to green sockets on SeeedStudio canbus shield.

An Arduino Mega

Arduino mega is responsible for parsing canbus data and send them to Android tablet. Sending data to Android tablet is some really complicated work because at first I decided to use an USB Host Shield and I have done all my work according to that.But it turns out USB Host shield and Canbus shield cannot work simultaneously because both of them using SPI to communicate with the Arduino over same pin.I tried to change the pin which is used by USB Host shield but it didn’t work.So I removed USB Host Shield and used a bluetooth module to communicate Android tablet.

And A panel Adapter

This is a panel adapter for my car and my car’s model.I put Android tablet in this adapter.It looks fine.I have bought it from ebay.

Step 2: Gathering the System

After gathering these items the final system is like picture above.

This system looks complicated but this is how my multimedia player works. A 12V to 5V dc converter is necessary to be able to charge the Android tablet. My car never cuts down power so the tablet is always %100 charged.It will never turn off. So I don't need to make changes to tablet like powering on when the charger connected.This is not necessary in my case.

Lets continue with the programming.My favorite part.

Step 3: Programming

Using Seeed canbus shield you can sniff you car’s canbus data. Can bus is a communication system which every packet has an id and its payload.

It can be difficult to find related id with the wheel button clicks. You might want to use a serial com analyzer. But I was lucky.After a couple of attempts I have found the necessary ids related with the wheel button was “0xbf”. Below there is a part of arduino code to identify button clicks.

switch (buf[0]) {
case 16: buttonState=VolUp; break; case 17: buttonState=VolDown; break; case 22: buttonState=Back; break; case 21: buttonState=Forward; break; case 32: buttonState=Mute; break; case 25: buttonState=Voice; break; case 28: buttonState=Phone; break; case 7: buttonState=OK; break; case 4: buttonState=Up; case 5: buttonState=Down; break; default: buttonState=Nothing; break;


The info which is gathered from canbus transferred to Android tablet via bluetooth. And on the Android tablet there is a little app which is responsible for example, reducing volume when the wheel vol- button is clicked.And a menu activity to open other apps.

Step 4: Sources and Final Look

From the youtube video, take a look at whole process and final results :)

You can find arduino project on github :

You can find Android project from here :

Also you can find more info at:



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    12 Discussions

    I have similiat project, simpler project and low cost. No need to modify the current stock dashboard.

    The next step of the project is to communicate with ODB Bluetooth to android to read the torque, RPM etc from the engine.

    Also read the tire pressure via bluetooth pin on the wheel.

    Tebrikler çok güzel uygulama olmuş. Tableti sim kartlı seçip araç alarmından gelen sensör verisini arduinoya ile tablete besleyerek cep telefonunuzdaki app e bildirim yapan pasif araç alarmı da eklenebilir. Tabletteki GPS alıcı ile araç takibi eklenebilir. Aynı şekilde araç ECU verisini de tablete basabilir, gelişmiş yol bilgisayarı ve araç eğlence sistemine çevirilebilir. Ucu her şekilde geliştirmeye çok açık..

    1 reply

    Teşekkürler. Kesinlikle. Bunun devamında can-bus üzerinden uzaktan kilit açma kapama vb. gibi konulara da değinmeyi düşünüyorum.Takipte kalın :)

    Very nice. I have been thinking about doing something similar, but simpler, in my car. There is an app called Auto-sleep that puts your tablet to sleep when you switch off your car, if you put the tablet on switched power. If your built in radio supports bluetooth you can keep that for the sound and just add tablet.

    1 reply

    My car does not support that kind of connection with the tablet so I communicated with the car through can bus. All of car info is available on can bus line. My tablet also sleeps when I turn ignition off.

    Tebrikler Aykut Bey, güzel modifiye olmuş. Elinize sağlık.

    1 reply

    car dash tablets it so nice.

    in my car when i travel to any were

    it taked me the

    and it so wonderful

    nice Job. i have been thinking about doing the same but have not found Time to do so... this instructable is a good start point if i find some time. thanks

    The main screen with the red buttons is my own app.Its main purpose is bluetooth connectivity with arduino and opening these apps :


    *Google Maps



    *Tunein FM Radio




    Nice. It can play your music, be your GPS and a lot of other things.