iPad Install

March 28th, 2011

Text and Photos by Jason Mulligan

Bringing all of the amenities of the home and office into your truck has been the goal of mobile audio innovators for decades. Modern head units are great for music and movies and navigating around town. For those looking for all of the options of a home computer as well as the entertainment of a home theater system, in-car computers were the next step. Unfortunately, they can be costly, complicated to set up and are still functionally limited. The solution of an all-in-one unit with audio, video, Internet access and more was needed.

Once the Apple iPad came out, everyone knew that the perfect in-car gadget had arrived. One could not only play music and videos with the iPad, but thanks to the live 3G connection, you get instant Internet, email and streaming content via the single removable unit. Google Maps contains worldwide maps, live traffic and visual references of the street and buildings around you, making it a great search and navigation tool. “Jail breaking” the iPad increases your control over its functions and offers more tweaks and apps to install.

This will be the mounting location for the Apple iPad. The center console pocket is the perfect size and location to fit the iPad.

The mounting procedure is fairly standard, including cut masonite and plenty of fiberglass. This can vary from truck to truck and depends on your desired mounting position. We opted to mount our iPad into the pocket panel from our center console. Connecting the iPad to the Pioneer AVH-P4200DVD head unit is where things were tricky initially. Unlike iPods or iPhones that can simply plug into a USB port and run and charge off of the head unit, the software and charging needs of the iPad are different. A lot of research and trial and error went into selecting the right cables and components to get the iPad to play audio and charge at the same time.

Of course, technology is always changing, and just after our install was finished, we discovered that the new iOS 4.2 software update allows the iPad to function like an iPod in relation to car stereos. Direct control from the head unit and/or steering wheel controls becomes a cinch. The only drawback is that because the iPad requires more amps to charge, it will only trickle charge via the head unit. The iPad, however, has an extremely long battery life, so this method will be the best for many. If you so choose, you can set it up using a hidden cigarette lighter charger with the iPad cable going into the Apple iPad dock and an AUX cable to the head unit for full charging and audio. But the optimum way, thanks to the update, is to use the Apple iPad dock so that the iPad can easily slide in and connect with the cable going to the USB port on the head unit. You can set up the iPad via a digital processor and run no head unit at all, but the sound quality may not be as good and control over the sound is lessened. With the price of head units today, you might as well run the iPad through the head unit and have the best of both worlds.

The panel is removed from the console so that the iPad mount can be molded into it.

One of the great features of the Pioneer AVH-P4200DVD is its iPod control capabilities that include album artwork, full scrolling of the library and easy searching features. You can also link to other songs from the artist or album you are listening to. The head unit also has what Pioneer calls Sound Retrieval that can help to recover the highs and lows cut from a song when compressed, which is perfect for those who use their iPad or iPod as their primary music source.

Sources

Extreme Audio & Kustoms

Dept. STTR

6236 River Crest Dr. Unit G
Riverside, CA 92507

951.656.9700

www.extremeaudioandkustoms.com (http://www NULL.extremeaudioandkustoms NULL.com)

L&G Enterprises

Dept. STTR

882 W Cienega Ave.

San Dimas, CA 91773

909.599.2203

www.landgenterprises.com (http://www NULL.landgenterprises NULL.com)

Pioneer Electronics USA

www.pioneerelectronics.com

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