Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Android WebTop - CarPc Setup

For a while I have been working on integrating my phone into the car.  I thought about doing a full CarPC project like the ones in, but the reality is that I am cheap plus I want something "maintenance" free.  Well really.. what project is maintenance free?....  :)

The easy route to accomplish my goal was to use my aftermarket head unit display (Avic Z110BT) mixed with Motorola Atrix Webtop.  When I connect my "rooted phone" to the HDMI, the Webtop application takes over and I can see the Android screen in the head unit and the phone becomes a mouse and keyboard.  This allows me to take advantage of the Android applications like:  Google Maps, Pandora, Trapster, etc..  For aid, I use Vilingo to read text messages and voice commands.  Another future I like a lot is remote desktop to my in car notebook for running car diagnostics.

Too much talk...  Let me just show it and ask.  :)


In this clip I show how the connection occurs between the Android WebTop and the the car's console.  For this project you need a head unit with video / audio input, hdmi to rca converter, power supply for phone and converter, phone mount.


In this clip I show a basic idea of the apps. Something I missed recording is the usage of Vilingo for aiding in the hands free solution.  Also Vilingo developers.. please make the activation voice command to be always listening for "Hey! Vilingo" instead of only when app is open....

Car Monitoring:

In this clip I show how I monitor my car from within my phone.  I have a separate notebook computer which boots when car is on and hibernates when car shuts down.  From the phone I use WiFi AdHoc tethering so the PC and the phone can communicate wireless and I can remote desktop in.  The program shown is RossTech Vag-Com which is an OBDII monitoring tool for Audi.

My Car:  (Love Audi!)

Major progress:
  • Fix resolution of the rendered screen by updating Webtop X11 config
  • Hardwire the notebook computer used for monitoring the car
  • Setup tethering between notebook and phone (automatic)
  • Setup remote desktop and aspect ratio to be manageable from phone
  • Configure the remote Windows machine to have bigger icons, fonts, etc...

  • Automatize the expansion of Android screen in head unit upon Webtop connection
  • Use something like Tasker which starts / stops Android apps upon detecting head unit bluetooth (just for knowing I am in car and is ON)
  • Better hands-free automation


  1. so vagcom runs over pc not over android...or?

  2. From android I remote to a 2nd PC in the car that uses VagCom. Ross Tech started an Android project long ago, but I don't know if it ever hit the market. The other option will be to get WINE running successfully in Android to load VagCom. Probably have been some advancements there...

  3. nice idea, and i love to try it
    but where u can find micro HDMI to RCA cable??

  4. For HDMI to RCA you need a converter box (~$50). HDMI is digital and RCA is analog signal.

    Something I found is that Motorola is the only carrier who implemented a "dual-screen" API so you can have "two apps" running in dock-mode. Not sure if after the whole Ice-Cream Sandwich Android update anyone have done anything similar.

    My current setup is different and simpler now.

    Just RCA the video of the notebook to the screen and adjust Windows with bigger icons and fonts to make things readable. Then my audio goes through a bluetooth adapter connected to the audio of the RCA. (using HTC Stereo Clip with Aptx) Pretty good device for the $$$. To control the PC I just put a mouse server and have a mouse app in the phone.

    This way I can monitor the car and use the phone independently. So I can have Pandora, Trapster, etc.. from the phone while my Windows machine connected to the car and displaying in the headunit.

    1. WoooW that's allot of work u did..

      see what i found in AUS:

      but the shipping to Dubai (where i live) is more expinecive than the wire it self :-p

      so i think ur way is better

    2. I had seen mix reviews with "passive" converters. So is try and error. :)