NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet Powered In-Car Infotainment System DIY Project Guide

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Easier Solutions And The Verdict

Was There An Easier Way?

There are easier ways to connect a tablet or smartphone to a car that don't require a completely new sound system, DAC, and EQ. Kenwood and JVC make head units with Android Open Accessory (AOA2) support that provide USB audio from tablets and smartphones. The downside is the USB ports can only supply 1.5-amps, which is barely enough to sustain a charge with modern high-end phones and tablets.

Jeep Project Power Amp

Aukey makes simple Bluetooth adapters that connect to a car's aux input, but require a car with an available input. There's also Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatible head units if your car has a double DIN radio opening, but those can cost around $500 for the head unit alone.

But for me, I wanted a factory-look that used what I had available and my custom installation achieved this. It looks factory-esque and doesn't take up too much space. Plus I had fun researching and installing everything.

Final Thoughts And Conclusion

You might be wondering why I installed equipment worth more than the car itself into a 20-year old Jeep. I can't say I have a logical reason, other than being a geek and enjoying the hobby. I've always loved Jeeps and the first-generation Grand Cherokee was always my favorite. It was my Dad's Jeep, and my late grandfather had a Willy's at one point as well, so perhaps there was a bit of nostalgia at play.

Jeep Project Putt Putt

This is the car I'm building out to take my wife and kids on road trips and adventures. I thought about selling it and getting something more fuel efficient and fast, but whatever replaces it will not have the same bond for me, let alone all of the family history. This Jeep has been in my family for over a decade; my sister learned to drive in it, I used it to move a handful of times, and had good times hanging out with friends driving it around in my younger days – you can't put a price on that.

My kids absolutely love the NVIDIA Shield K1’s for rear seat entertainment. They were content sitting in the car 8 hours during a road trip to Ione, WA last summer. Movies were watched via Kodi, network multiplayer Crossy Road was enjoyed, and there was plenty of Putt Putt Saves the Zoo being played.

Jeep Project Map

There is absolutely no reason to spring for the limited-use factory rear seat entertainment systems. The Shield Tablet K1’s are better, easily detach from the car and cost much less. The $200 price tag coupled with a $100 mount is significantly cheaper than the $1,600 Honda or other car makers charge for things like a flip-down display and Blu-ray player.

The stereo and infotainment upgrades are only the start of my trek down the rabbit hole with this Jeep. I also plan to refresh the suspension, rebuild the engine or swap to a larger 5.9-liter V8, rebuild the transmission, install Doug Thorley exhaust headers,a Kolak Performance exhaust, a winch, aftermarket bumpers, and rock sliders and skid plates – all to eventually attend the Easter Jeep Safari and overlanding events. Wish me luck!

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