The Android tablet has proven to be impractical. While great in theory, the battery overheats and the OS prevents charging. Since it is ignition switched, and doesn’t charge half the time I’m in transit (until the AC cools down the truck quite a bit) it’s dead most of the time I need it. Additionally, the alerts Android produces are really invasive and make the tablet almost unusable when hot, even with a charge. If it is acting this way in October, it won’t survive a summer, and the cold of the winter will probably yield similar results.
I decided to abandon the tablet and go to a full fledged CarPC. It’ll have several benefits and be a lot more tightly integrated into the truck. I built my own CarPCs – a few of them – several years ago using 7″ Lilliput touchscreens and PCs located in the trunks of the vehicles with pretty good results. This time around I wanted something that would both look and integrate better with the vehicle, so I shopped around.
A company called E3IO produces a 2DIN CarPC SE Pro, which is roughly the standard 2DIN size at 4″ x 7″ x 6-3/4″. It has several options, but I outfitted it with a 7″ 1080p 10-point capacitive touchscreen, Intel i5-2410M, 8GB RAM, 240GB SSD, 4x50w amp, FM module, bluetooth and wireless, GPS, steering wheel control module, OBDII scan tool, and Windows 10. The PC is wired in such a way that it integrates with a Metra wiring harness (which I ordered for my specific truck, as well as the other integration components including bezel, etc) so it will install like a standard aftermarket head unit.
I will be using it with CentraFuse software, and convert the CoPilot Truck for Android I purchased to the PC version. Having the PC will have several other benefits including the ability to use software to program the radios on the fly (TM-D710G repeaters using CHIRP), and more software options. I’ll be trading out the tablet for a USB 4G/LTE modem with Verizon, and it’ll reduce the footprint of devices on my dash to just the two radios. I’ll also be using USB sound adapters for each of the four radios to play their output over the vehicle speakers, getting rid of the external ones mounted throughout the vehicle. Steering wheel controls and bluetooth phone functionality will be kept as well.