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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Well I finally was able to get my in car android device up and running. The purpose of this was to have a dedicated device that can provide GPS, provide mpg calculations and monitoring, vehicle data monitoring and serve as backup in case I forget my phone somewhere and need to contact someone. Also a poor mans lo-jack in case he vehicle goes missing. Though any competent thief knows how to get around that.

Current Hardware:
Moto G 3rd Generation 16gb
Project Fi Data only sim
scantool obd lx with power save

Coming Hardware:
Custom Dash Mount
Car adapter (usb-C, usb dual port)

Software:
Torque Pro
Nissan add on for torque pro
Google maps
Hangouts with dialer
Google voice
Fuelly fuel up (temporarily)
wall paper changer
Nova Launcher
Xfinity wifi
second google email address

Long Version (short version below):
I chose the expensive scantool obd reader because it has auto shutoff and won't drain my battery when I don't run the truck for a few days. Plus the $9 ebay ones kind of scare me. This think is directly communicating with my trucks computer.

I chose the moto G because it has decent screen size and a newer processor with 2gb of ram. Also the main reason was it was free. My kid just got a new phone and this was her old one. Free is good. Which brings me to the next point, Project Fi service.

Project Fi gives free data-only sims if you are a Fi user, which I am. This sim is linked to my account and shares data with my regular cell phone. I have 1gb of data that is now shared between my primary cell and this in car device which we will call my secondary phone. I was at first worried about blowing through data but quickly realized I am not using any more data by having another device. When I would have used my primary phone for gps and using data I now use the secondary and the primary stays in my pocket. The sim card is FREE from project fi. They will actually give you up to 9 of them for a single account. I am good with just this extra one.

Since this is data only I am not able to make call or send texts via the cell service. This is where google voice, second gmail account, hangouts, and hangouts dialer come into play. I setup up a second gmail account. Logged into google voice to get a second number, linked GV to hangouts and installed the dialer. Reason for the second gmail account is since I am on fi I was not able to get a new GV number with my original email. End result is I have a number just for the secondary phone that I can send and receive texts, make and take calls, and has visual voicemail all inside the hangouts app. This took some configuring but was all pretty simple. I will not be using these features too much except text which I will explain later. This all uses data unlike a regular cell phone.

Now Fi keeps data usage low on it's own by connecting to open wifi automatically. But I am also an xfinity customer. Which means I have access to all the xfinity wifi hotspots. Which there is a million because xfinity makes everyone who has the service a hotspot. So I installed the xfinity wifi app and logged in and I am on wifi probably about 60%+ of the time when stationary. Maps will be the biggest data hog.

To help with maps hogging data I will be downloading the map of the area I mostly drive around so I am not using the data. This takes a ton of memory on the phone but I have a 16gb device with hardly nothing on it and the best part is the moto g has an sd card slot in case I happen to need more or want to download an area for any upcoming trips.

I use fuelly to log mpgs. I got fuelly fuel up app which really just sends a text to fuelly to upload your info. This didn't work for me because my data only sim can not send a text via cell service. The app knows your phone number by the SIM information. I had to use my Google voice number which is different than the number on the sim that has texts blocked. The way around this is I found the phone number and values I need to send a text myself without the app. Basically you send a text saying miles drive, gas price, and then gallons to refill. The text would look like this "305 2.399 18.5". You instantly get a text back with the mpg calculated and it uploads to the fuelly website. Fuelly has it's own app but it sucks and will not do landscape mode which is a must. So I downloaded the fuel up app for a second. Opened hangouts message to the fuelly number and pinned this to my desktop. This made a hangouts icon. I edited the icon with Nova launcher using the Fuelly fuel up icon. After I deleted the fuelly fuel up app. I also added the Fuelly phone number with the formula so I can never forget how to input the info.

The last few apps I have are torque pro with nissan add on, wall paper changer and Nova launcher Torque needs no explanation as I am sure everyone knows what that does. The other two are for aesthetics and ease of use. The wall paper changer app I loaded with high resolution Frontier or Nissan related images. Every time the phone wakes up or 5 minutes pass the background changes to a different image. Similar to ads on the amazon tablets. Just much nicer than having the same background all the time and better than amazon because I choose the images and nobody is selling me anything. Images were found using a simple google search. Nova launcher was used for fine tuning. Added the ability to have landscape mode all the time, making icons and text much larger so easier to see in the truck and ads a day/night mode. The background in settings and other screens is white during the day and automatically turns to a dark gray at night. This is very useful because nothing is more blinding than a pure white cell screen in your face when driving at night.

Short Version:
Second cell phone for in truck use only. It monitors the vehicle, has gps and logs mpg's. Can also make calls and send text via data connection.

Some screen shots for now but vehicles installed pics to come when I figure out exactly how I am mounting it. Also want to mention I have smartlock on for the device. It is unlocked while in the vehicle but when removed from the vehicle it locks.
 

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pics don't work.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Strange they are not working. I assume you mean the second post that I linked images and not the first one where I uploaded as attachments.

I can see the pics and tried on someone else's device and was able to see them. I will change them to attachments like the first post if I can.

Edit: should be fixed now. Now I need to figure out why only one image shows up with a thumbnail. I will look into it more.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Just letting people know this setup is working superbly. I need to figure out how I am mounting this thing still as my original idea didn't work. I have calibrated my torque app and it seems I am very very close to actual readings with the MPG. The app doesn't read the fuel tank right because when I fill to full it reads 85%. But after the actual fuel level drops below 85% it does read correctly.

I am going to do a hidden magnetic mount under the dash tray I think. So if anyone has a spare 2013+ dash tray let me know. Part number is 682529BF0A.

If anyone has any in car apps they think are must have's please let me know what they are.
 

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Just being honest here - I think the amount of cool points you get for this mod depends entirely on how integrated the mounting is to the interior... Otherwise it's just a phone with a bluetooth OBD link.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Just being honest here - I think the amount of cool points you get for this mod depends entirely on how integrated the mounting is to the interior... Otherwise it's just a phone with a bluetooth OBD link.
Actually the coolness comes from what was done to the phone. The setup is what makes it more usable for in a vehicle as opposed to just slapping a phone on the dash. The icons are huge, everything is in landscape mode, it automatically unlocks when in the vehicle and truck on and locks when outside of the vehicle, and the ever changing Frontier/Nissan related backgrounds is refreshing as opposed to a standard background. There was quite a bit that went into setting it up for vehicle use in as least a distracting way to the driver. There was also configuring needed to be able to add a data sim to the device so that it could be used as a phone if needed. This could prove very useful for someone who doesn't want to pay a monthly fee for "just a phone with a bluetooth OBD link" in their truck.

I was hoping to add it to the inside of a garmin dash piece but it seems that doesn't fit my year vehicle. If I find one for a good price I may still mod it to fit my dash but they seem very hard to come by. I am still working on mounting but it may just be hidden magetic mount. Whatever I come up with it needs to be able to be removed from the vehicle easily for upgrading, swapping out to a different device, or whatever.

I appreciate your honesty BTW. ::grin::
 

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Actually the coolness comes from what was done to the phone. The setup is what makes it more usable for in a vehicle as opposed to just slapping a phone on the dash. The icons are huge, everything is in landscape mode, it automatically unlocks when in the vehicle and truck on and locks when outside of the vehicle, and the ever changing Frontier/Nissan related backgrounds is refreshing as opposed to a standard background. There was quite a bit that went into setting it up for vehicle use in as least a distracting way to the driver. There was also configuring needed to be able to add a data sim to the device so that it could be used as a phone if needed. This could prove very useful for someone who doesn't want to pay a monthly fee for "just a phone with a bluetooth OBD link" in their truck.

I was hoping to add it to the inside of a garmin dash piece but it seems that doesn't fit my year vehicle. If I find one for a good price I may still mod it to fit my dash but they seem very hard to come by. I am still working on mounting but it may just be hidden magetic mount. Whatever I come up with it needs to be able to be removed from the vehicle easily for upgrading, swapping out to a different device, or whatever.

I appreciate your honesty BTW. ::grin::
I keep it honest. It's certain other people that can't take criticism or opinions if it doesn't match theirs LOL

Don't get me wrong - I understand completely the amount it takes to do what you did, program-wise. It takes a lot of tinkering to get something setup like that, so + points for you for trying it. But the only reason why you're not paying a monthly fee is because of your pre-existing mobile device service. If someone were to try to duplicate what you did, unless they're on the same service you're on they would have to pay a monthly for a data sim, make a second Gmail account, setup hangouts, etc. etc. etc.

On the other hand, when I said the physical install would be the dealbreaker, it's because I also have a device that also has huge icons in landscape mode, that automatically goes off and on with my truck, can be used as a phone, does gps, accurate mileage/fuel calculations, can have different wallpaper - not to mention play DVDs and USB and/or SD Card media, has an HDMI input, dual cameras, and a larger 7" screen that is permanently mounted and integrated into the dash... it's called a head unit.
::wink::

I've never used Torque or those other apps, I am curious though why it's doing the 85% thing. And I'm sticking around to see how you decide to mount it up.

EDIT: Removed incorrect part#.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I keep it honest. It's certain other people that can't take criticism or opinions if it doesn't match theirs LOL

Don't get me wrong - I understand completely the amount it takes to do what you did, program-wise. It takes a lot of tinkering to get something setup like that, so + points for you for trying it. But the only reason why you're not paying a monthly fee is because of your pre-existing mobile device service. If someone were to try to duplicate what you did, unless they're on the same service you're on they would have to pay a monthly for a data sim, make a second Gmail account, setup hangouts, etc. etc. etc.

On the other hand, when I said the physical install would be the dealbreaker, it's because I also have a device that also has huge icons in landscape mode, that automatically goes off and on with my truck, can be used as a phone, does gps, accurate mileage/fuel calculations, can have different wallpaper - not to mention play DVDs and USB and/or SD Card media, has an HDMI input, dual cameras, and a larger 7" screen that is permanently mounted and integrated into the dash... it's called a head unit.
::wink::

I've never used Torque or those other apps, I am curious though why it's doing the 85% thing. And I'm sticking around to see how you decide to mount it up.

BTW I have an extra dash bin that can be used for mock-up purposes (used it for an old phone mount project, so it has holes in it but it can be used for testing), but my part# is ​68252-ZS40D. Is your center upper console squared at the top edge, or rounded? if it's like the bin i have, you can have it - just cover shipping.
Hopefully my setup for avoiding the monthly fee will apply to anyone who has access to a data sim. There are other companies that utilize them. Some do charge a fee but it is usually less than a sim that gets assigned a phone number. All will still apply.

I have no desire to swap out the stock headunit. Kind of hard to swap between vehicles if you do that. Plus I like the look of the stock headunit. Sounds like you have a really nice one. Glad it works for your needs. I wanted something more portable, can be easily changed or upgraded, easy to install (use any phone mount), and was very cost friendly. I don't live in a high crime area but theft always comes to my mind as well when adding a nice fancy headunit.

I would love to snag your spare dash piece but it seems mine is part number 68252-9BF0A. It seems we have two different bins. If my design works on mine I will see if it can be made in a way to fit other bins in case anyone is interested. But have to make sure it works on mine first.
 

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I also have a device that also has huge icons in landscape mode, that automatically goes off and on with my truck, can be used as a phone, does gps, accurate mileage/fuel calculations, can have different wallpaper - not to mention play DVDs and USB and/or SD Card media, has an HDMI input, dual cameras, and a larger 7" screen that is permanently mounted and integrated into the dash... it's called a head unit.
::wink::
That sounds expensive.



To the OP, pretty cool setup. If I didn't already have the GPS built into my truck I'd been thinking of something similar but with a small tablet. Instead of project fi, I would use my own cell phone to be the portable WiFi hotspot for the tablet, with T-Mobile I have unlimited LTE data with 5gigs of LTE hotspot per month.

That way when I get in the truck my own cell phone number is connected to the Bluetooth in the truck for hands free calling, text, music etc.

Off topic, do you use project fi for your primary cell phone? If so how do you like it? I'm considering switching just because it's so cheap but T-Mobile has been good to me.

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I thought of using my cell has a hotspot. This works too but you have to have you phone with you. I am always forgetting my phone somewhere. That is why I went with the second sim and configured it to make calls.

Project Fi is pretty good. If TMobile works in your area than Fi will be just as good. Uses T-Mobile towers mostly it seems around me at least. Call quality on my end is great but some people say they have trouble hearing me. If you use less then 2gb a month it is very cheap.
 

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That sounds expensive.
Right, well it's not a free cell phone with apps and an OBD adaptor, either.
::smile::

...anyhoo - OP, take a look at my old phone mount mod. I can't think of any other location in the dash you can put it where it'll be accessible and visible to the driver other than right on the center bin itself, and have a clean install. When I had the phone mount up there, it was perfect for viewing while driving and it was like an extension of the OEM radio display, because it put my phone screen right on top of the OEM radio screen.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Right, well it's not a free cell phone with apps and an OBD adaptor, either.
::smile::

...anyhoo - OP, take a look at my old phone mount mod. I can't think of any other location in the dash you can put it where it'll be accessible and visible to the driver other than right on the center bin itself, and have a clean install. When I had the phone mount up there, it was perfect for viewing while driving and it was like an extension of the OEM radio display, because it put my phone screen right on top of the OEM radio screen.
I like to think of it as an upgradable, multifunctional, handheld computer with radio bands :).

Looked at your pic. Are you sure the part number you listed above for your tray is correct? Because your pic says it is the same part number as mine? I will be using this space for the mounting but I am trying to build a flip up unit. That way it is concealed when not in use. Similar to the GPS dash piece that doesn't fit my year. Just not so bulky.

Just want to note that my mpg readout is off by only 3% with torque pro. I can probably fine tune it even more but 3% is less than OEM mpg trackers I have seen so pretty happy with that. Best tank 18.4mpg. Which is great for winter in my area.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Very slow project. Basically this will be hinged in the cubby above the radio. It will be painted flat black to match the dash so I can flip it up when I want to use it and leave it down when I don't. Still toying with idea about mounting and how it functions. Thinking a push to pop open setup or just some sort of friction hinge or even just pins on the sides and a magnet to hold it open and or closed. Like I said it's a slow moving project and I'm still thinking. It's hard to get a picture of a frosted acrylic item. But this is what I got so far.



 
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