SRQ Custom Autosound is Florida’s expert in integrating iPad’s into vehicles of all kinds. This time we have taken on a Lexus ES300 and placed the new iPad Mini in the dash. We can’t give you all our secrets, but we can show you how our process happens.
Then the vehicle first came to us, it had a new Pioneer AVH-P1500DVD as the source unit. This unit is not ideal for iPad integration, but we were able to add Bluetooth functionality to it so our client would not have to purchase a new unit. Here is how the car looked when we got started:
The first steps were adding the Bluetooth, in this case an iSimple interface that translates Bluetooth audio into the AUX input on the back of the radio. Also, we needed to create the depth needed for the iPad Mini, while retaining the radio. Luckily we were able to remount the radio 1.5″ further into the dash using the factory Lexus brackets and not have to modify the A/C box behind it. Once everything was secured in place, it is time for us to fabricate the trim around the radio and what will cradle the iPad Mini.
Using MDF, we started with this base plate that frames out the radio and relocated hazard switch. The client said we could lose the hazard switch if we wanted, but at SRQ Custom Autosound it is important to us not to lose any functionality of the car whenever possible. This trim is slowly built up with precision cut layers until we have a single piece that frames the radio and cradles the iPad. The iPad Mini is held into this cradle using a dozen magnets concealed in the top of the frame. The iPad Mini can be easily removed using the finger groove on the right side. You can faintly see the circles where three more magnets are embedded that will secure the trim around the iPad Mini.
Now all that is left is the trim that will frame out the iPad Mini and help keep in locked in place. This trim is machined from a piece of 1/4″ PVC. PVC is an excellent choice for this application. It is more durable than wood, less surface imperfections than ABS plastic, and bonds easily with the glue that locks the magnets into the back side. PVC does create a very sharp edge when machined, so we use a 1/16″ radius router bit to make all the edges safe to handle. The trim is secured in place with three magnets matching the three in the trim around the radio. Grabbing this plastic frame in the corner without a magnet allows it to come out easily.