Tablet As GPS




After using up 3 GPS systems from very known brands ( using up = suction cap came of, drop on floor, GPS antenna no longer locking, hang ups,you name it) i decided my next one would be a tablet.

My car unfortunatly, is not really build to hold a tablet with a suction cap or the likes, the dash slopes downwards to fast.

Reading a DIY project where magnets where used, i assumed i had to go for a similar solution.

Step 1: Where to Place the Magnets

So i had to find an area , rectangular , to place some magnets or a metal strip if magnets could not fit.

After some genius research, i found such an area in the middle of my radio/CD unit.

Luckaly this plastic front came off with the gentliest of pulls, and to my surprise, the backside seemed to be made for the magnets i had in mind.

So i ordered 5 Neobdymium magnets with an extremely high holding force (13 kg per magent, i used 5 of them).

Simply glued them with a cyano acrylate glue on it, during that action i managed to brake a few of those magnets; the holding force is so strong that they almost flew-thru-air to a metal plate nearby, cracking them on landing on the plate.

So after some good swearing, i puzzled the magnets and bits in place, glued them up, done.

In theory the magnets should hold 5*13kg = 65 kg.

Step 2: Metal Plate on My New Bought Tablet? I Think Not.

So i found this great excuse to finally buy me a tablet, and the first thing i need to do is glue a metal plate on the back to stick to the magnets.

I think not.

After again some genius searching on the web, came across something called a hard shell, clamshell, hard case. its a thin plastic shape that fits around your device to protect it a bit, should it fall, from scratches.

This little 5 dollar thing might be just perfect, and , since it costs only 5 usd, i don't mind taping a metal plate on it.

Estimated roughly what the size of such a metal plate should be, cut it and used double sided tape to stick it on the hard case.

The foam tape version i used was 1 mm thick, its a 3M VHB type, found the 1 mm thickness was better than very thin, as it had to fill up a small cavity in the plastic front.

I also taped thinner strips of a foam tape i had on the other side of the metal plate, the 2 lines visible on the first pic, those touch the plastic front, as a buffer to solve minor resonance of the tablet on the front, plus the strips touch the CD opening and hold the tablet horizontal.

Step 3: Done, Damn This Look Good

Yes yes, i have to say so myself, the tablet fits perfectly over my radio, oops, where is my radio display?

i have ordered a new USB charger cable with a 90 degree bended plug, so the cable goes directly downwards, on these pics it still uses the original cable going to the right.

So i used;

Nexus 7

hard case, found it on

3M VHB foamtape, doublesided

5 neobdymium magnets on ebay, the strenght of such magnets you can find on each add, but the types i have have the nr 52 as reference, means strong holding force. size 20 * 9mm, 2 mm thick, holding force each 13 kg

Metal strips i found in the shop, 1 mm thick,

Loctite 401

Volvo V50, any color will do

Step 4: Safety

Seems in several countries, having object in the car on the dash not fixed by screws or whatever, could cause a problem for insurance.

I cannot believe it, but if you crash into something, those objects might come of the dash (really??) and enter the human body on a non wanted spot.

So, cannot take any credits nor any liability if you have a tendensy to crashing cars every week into hard objects for flying objects.

So i studied a bit , yes genius research, magnets. Seems the holding force reduces by 50 % for each 1 mm you move it further away from the metal palte.

In my case, the distance is indeed 1mm, the thickness of the plastic front.

So the holding force lowered from 65 to 33 kg, roughly, i'm not that a genius that ic an just simply devide such an akward nr 65 into 2 even bits.

Ok, reading again, seems holding force doubles if you stick the magnet in between 2 plates of metal, or even tripples. So, i simply did cut another strip of metal, size 9 mm * 100 mm, covering the 5 magnets perfectly on the back of the plastic front, and yes indeed, the holding force is really much higher.

Hope someone can use some of the ideas used here, i no longer have an ugly suction cap in my car.

Total costs; 18 usd, 8 for the magnets, 5 for the clammshell, 5 for the tapes.



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    6 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Great job

    Just to understand completely your latest discovery : you install the magnet in that order: (magnet / metal plate / plastic cover) to increase the magnetic force field ?

    I've ordered the magnet and tablet cover. I cannot wait to try this out !!

    I recommend you this app to fake an android auto setup, it's called "AutoMate" :

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago


    set up is;

    plastic front, magnets, metal strip.

    Thanks for the app.
    My set up still works perfect in my car, think i now have it for a year or so.


    4 years ago

    I was wondering if the magnets wouldn't influence the electronics? Thank you

    2 replies

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Hi Akrims,

    until today i have seen no strange behaviour in both my radio/CD as in the tablet.

    In theory it should not affect electroncis. Although the components contain magnetic metals, the hodling force of the solder joint sis much larger than a magnet can pull.

    And, i have about 4 mm between the magnets and the electronics. So the pull force of 65 kg on the electronics is about 3 kg, spread over a lenght of 10 cm, per cm that is 300 grams.

    So, no , i cannot imagine the electronics will ever suffer from this.

    Garmin by the way, is doing the same with their premium range 2014, their new car holder are magnetic to.