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      06-11-2019, 04:45 PM   #1
CH400EM
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Upon flashing a MHD tune and wanting to have gauges displayed and logging abilities sometimes I began looking into a good place to mount my spare Android phone.

The uncluttered, clean dash and console area was one of the attractions for me to look into the 1er. So I didn't want to add anything to the center or dash. This left the left-hand side of the steering wheel (LHD 135i) for a good place. However no space here was ideal and I wanted something discreet but sturdy. So I ended up modifying the far left vent so a simple mount can come through the vent slats. Also I didn't want visible cables running to the phone so I ran my string of OBD2-USB-USBC cables behind the dash panels and out through the vent assembly.

What I used: flat/slim plug OBDII extension cable, KDCAN coding cable, flat/slim USB extension cable, simple magnetic phone mount, stainless bolt and hardware, Dremel.
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      06-11-2019, 04:50 PM   #2
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First I removed the vent assembly to modify it separately. This included cutting the base of the magnetic phone mount to fully fit inside the assembly. Next I drilled a hole through the mount base and vent assembly bottom for the bolt (mounted with loctite). The vent slats were test fitted to see where I needed to Dremel away cut outs for the arm to extend out of the vent. Then I cut a hole for the USB cable to enter the vent assembly from behind the dash panels. Everything was reassembled to test fitment.
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      06-11-2019, 04:55 PM   #3
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Next was the cable routing. I used a slim plug OBDII cable to allow the access door to close. This cable was run up to the area under the vent assembly. The KDCAN cable was coiled up and placed in an opening under the instrument cluster. A slim USB extension cable was plugged into the KDCAN cable and run through the side of the vent assembly. Before reassembly of everything I checked all cables again to make sure they were working and compatible with coding. Then all the the panels were buttoned up, nicely hiding all of the cables.
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      06-11-2019, 04:58 PM   #4
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Finally all finishing panels and vent assembly pieces were put back together to provide a nice discreet mounting option and a cable available to plug into for coding/logging.

Very pleased with the outcome and viewing angle.

Hope this was interesting to someone!
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      06-11-2019, 05:35 PM   #5
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Looks nicely done!!

The hole in the vent for the actual mount, is that the large deep hole you see in your second post, third picture (the one where you can see the underside)? Or is that large area already there for the circular open/close vent dial?
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      06-12-2019, 01:34 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtla1 View Post
Looks nicely done!!

The hole in the vent for the actual mount, is that the large deep hole you see in your second post, third picture (the one where you can see the underside)? Or is that large area already there for the circular open/close vent dial?
Thank you! The recess is already present due to the circular vent closing switch. I was worried about clearance for the bolt on the underside but it worked out perfectly being able to place the bolt in there. The recess bottom (top?) is the same surface as the rest of the vent assembly. The circular switch is almost like a separate piece. So a small drilled hole there in the middle worked perfectly and was quite easy.
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      06-16-2019, 02:59 PM   #7
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Does this charge your phone through the OBD port? Or does the plug only access OBD? I'm thinking of doing something similar, but more permanent with an old phone I have laying around. I'd likely use a wireless OBD plug and charge the phone with a cable through the vent.

Is this the magnetic mount you used?
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      06-17-2019, 01:57 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rowsdower View Post
Does this charge your phone through the OBD port? Or does the plug only access OBD? I'm thinking of doing something similar, but more permanent with an old phone I have laying around. I'd likely use a wireless OBD plug and charge the phone with a cable through the vent.

Is this the magnetic mount you used?
Yes that is the mount I used.

And no the device does not charge. In fact most Android systems implemented in our phones/tablets do not support OTG data transfer and charging through the same port, so that's a limitation I came across. If your device has a USB port and charging port, that is one way to get around this. Otherwise you'll need to load a customized Android operating system on your device, but I wasn't too interested in doing this anymore as years ago I was much more active in the Android development and customization scene.

Another option for something more permanent than my solution is to run power from the fuse box through a converter to supply power to a switchable data box. Using a switch you could go back and forth between OBD2 signal and power signal. You could remote mount the switch on the dash somewhere. There are some difficulties in implementing this but it can be done.
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      06-17-2019, 02:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CH400EM View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by rowsdower View Post
Does this charge your phone through the OBD port? Or does the plug only access OBD? I'm thinking of doing something similar, but more permanent with an old phone I have laying around. I'd likely use a wireless OBD plug and charge the phone with a cable through the vent.

Is this the magnetic mount you used?
Yes that is the mount I used.

And no the device does not charge. In fact most Android systems implemented in our phones/tablets do not support OTG data transfer and charging through the same port, so that's a limitation I came across. If your device has a USB port and charging port, that is one way to get around this. Otherwise you'll need to load a customized Android operating system on your device, but I wasn't too interested in doing this anymore as years ago I was much more active in the Android development and customization scene.

Another option for something more permanent than my solution is to run power from the fuse box through a converter to supply power to a switchable data box. Using a switch you could go back and forth between OBD2 signal and power signal. You could remote mount the switch on the dash somewhere. There are some difficulties in implementing this but it can be done.
Missed the wireless part!

That will work

Power source would still need to go through a converter, likely sourced from an empty fuse location (or add a fuse). Here's the converter I used: "GEREE Waterproof DC Converter" https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OXZ06I4..._Yn-bDb6ETRKXW

The run the cable behind dash for a clean install! Good luck with the install, sounds neat!
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      06-17-2019, 03:55 PM   #10
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Wireless OBDII will probably work for general stuff, but I think MHD will need a K+DCAN compatible connection and I'm not sure if the wireless OBDII readers are there yet?

Wireless charging was the workaround I thought about at first, but that would require a more modern (read, more expensive) phone to be used.
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      06-17-2019, 05:49 PM   #11
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I would use an old iPhone 6S to display coolant temp using Torque or OBDFusion with a wireless OBD dongle. I tried it today using a non-permanent install and it worked pretty well but disconnected after about 20 minutes. The alternative is using my current phone and would be one less device to manage but would require me to remember to take my phone out whenever I drive, and I'll forget every time.

I'm mostly interested in a sturdy mount that can be used at the track without fear of getting hit in the face with a phone, or ruining the dash with a sticky mount.
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      06-19-2019, 04:36 PM   #12
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You're right, for flashing tunes etc. wireless OBDII isn't an option. For gauges, it would work fine. I needed something that allowed flashing and gauges, hence the cable option. Also, I just switched (again) to an iPhone, so I had the luxury of having a really nice Android (6 GB RAM) to use for this project.

As far as charging, the biggest power draw is going to be the display (if you keep the phone on airplane mode, which you should). On a 5+ hr drive this week I only used ~30% battery. So for my uses, charging separately works fine.

Also, I had some rather spirited drives through some back roads, some poorly maintained, on the trip and after hitting a dip/hole at speeds I shouldn't divulge I was pleasantly surprised that the phone didn't move. Since it is a secondary phone that doesn't support wireless charging, I was able to put 2 relatively thick steel plates on the back w/ 3M adhesive. These nearly cover the entire rear surface and definitely help the phone stay in place during spirited/track driving. Honestly my brakes were fading before the phone would ever move
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