After almost a year of thinking about how best to do this, I’ve finally implemented my plan. The ideal requirements were:
- Allow charging of handset while driving without wires everywhere
- Mount phone in a visible position to allow it to be used as Sat Nav, ideally avoiding a windscreen suction mount
- Provide means of listening to phone (whether Sat Nav audio or music/audio books etc) using headphones, in a safe manner – i.e. without too many trailing wires
In the Seven, I managed this by affixing a magnetic phone mount onto the dash, and running a power cable from the knee panel mounted 12v socket (cable tied underneath), plus a headphone wire extension which ran underneath the edge of the transmission tunnel cover to a socket in between the seats.
After much fiddling and deliberation, and trying of various phone positions, I eventually settled on using another magnetic mount, affixed to the flat front of the glove box. This allowed me to wire in a switchable hardwired charger mounted in the glovebox, with a little channel in the door to accept the wire.
This is wired with an inline fuse taking the power feed from the (now pretty much redundant) 12v socket which is mounted above the instrument pod, in front of the windscreen. Looks nice and neat from the front too, and with the additional magnet inside the phone case, holds things very securely.
With the automatic brightness adjustment on the phone turned off, visibility is pretty decent too except in very bright sunshine.
Now for the clever bit. In order to avoid unsightly/unsafe wires going all around the cabin, I’ve gone down the bluetooth route, with a clever little headphone amplifier from Creative – the Sound Blaster E3. This clips onto the little storage pouch on my Soft Bits wind deflector, and pairs to the phone via bluetooth, streaming any audio across to the headphones wirelessly. And (as long as the E3 has battery!) it works really well. It gets over the fact that some audio books in particular are recorded a little quiet for the rather noisier environment of the car, and as a bonus actually has two headphone jacks, do both driver and passenger can listen at the same time. The E3 will charge from the 12v socket (there is one just underneath the pouch, mounted on the bulkhead between the seats).
As non-invasive and working solutions go, I’m pretty pleased with it, and it will still work as and when the phone gets upgraded. A lot easier than trying to look at where hardwired speakers might be installed, and what sort of head unit would work.