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Car dock with integrated power cord

Discussion in 'Android Accessories' started by spikejnz, Nov 24, 2009.

  1. spikejnz
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    spikejnz New Member

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    I'm annoyed by the poorly designed and overpriced car dock for the Droid. I'm toying with the idea of designing and building (or rather, having a local company mass produce) a dock for the Droid. I'm working on getting a mockup of the Droid in SolidWorks, then I'll begin designing the dock itself.

    The way I envision it is to have the Droid slide in to the mount from the top. It would have the molded-in microUSB plug on the bottom and would have at least a 4' cable. Another thing I'd like to add is a cutout in the dock for the camera. Want to throw the Droid up in the window and record yourself hitting every apex perfectly as you hastily drive to work? Why not!

    ...The hardest part of this would be convincing the wife to let me dig into the savings to front the cash for an initial batch run. So I guess my point is: does this interest any of you?

    :motdroidvert: = :heart:
  2. Backnblack
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    Backnblack Premium Member Premium Member

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    I'm in.....better than leaving it in the cup holder.....
  3. n0cturne74
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    n0cturne74 New Member

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    As long as it has the magnet that auto launches landscape car mode I'd buy one. Hopefully that's not a patented design...
  4. godanigo
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    godanigo New Member

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    Yes, please.
  5. xmnj
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    xmnj New Member

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    You can count me in, I have been waiting for something like this.
  6. Shel
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    Shel New Member

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    Not sure if this will help you, but thought I'd pass it along.

    I just purchased the dock shown below, except that the one I purchased comes with double sided tape, a vent mount, and screws to attach to a separately sold mount from the same company.

    I'm using the vent mount, which is easy to put on and take off. But...

    my point is, this is a very elegantly designed dock! You simply put the Droid (or gps or whatever) against the back of the dock (which is nicely padded), then squeeze the two side arms together, and they hold the Droid in place.

    The two side arms are composed of two pieces, which can be squeezed together, or moved apart to give a wider area holding the device when installed. They can also be raised or lowered independently of each other. The two side arms are also nicely padded.

    The bottom legs pivot.

    What's great about this design is, 1st, you can install the Droid with or without a form fitting case! Once I purchase my seidio inno case, which will add slightly to the overall size of the Droid, this dock will still work perfectly!

    Also, being the side arms move up and down, you can move each side out of the way of plugs and/or switches... I can lower the left side to expose the usb port when I want to charge the Droid in the dock, while raising the right side, so that it doesn't accidently hit the camera button!

    Not sure if you can contact the company that makes these, and perhaps purchase only the dock, not any of the mounts (cup holder, vent, cig lighter) and customize those with a plug?

    There are a LOT of things that you need to consider when designing a dock, esp. if you want it to work universally, for different items ( I realize you only need it to work for the Droid, just saying....)

    This company has done an excellent job!

    (The Droid is securely held, even though there's nothing holding it in place in front of, or overlaying the droid. It's only held in place by being squeezed by the two side arms, but it is very secure!)

    Hope this might help you!

    Good luck!
    [​IMG]
  7. broosewee
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    broosewee New Member

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    I guess it all depends on cost, but the idea is very cool.
  8. NeoLogic
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    NeoLogic New Member

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    Shel-

    I have that mount. I purchased it for my Blackberry Tour. It works well for that, but not so good for the Droid. It's also cheap feeling, and worst of all, when installed, no access to the volume buttons, and when you squeeze it closed, it presses the volume to the off position.

    I want something designed for the Droid in mind, not some half baked mount that "Fits All", so I'm behind Spike.
  9. Rikpa
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    Rikpa New Member

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    When you design/find a good dock...let me know...i need/want one particularly to have on the dash for navigation.
  10. spikejnz
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    spikejnz New Member

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    I've found a local company that will do production of units after I come up with a design that works. A friend said i can spec his Droid doc for measurements. I just need to find my digital calipers. I'll also need to spec my Droid and draw something up. Like I said, the hardest part about this will be convincing my wife to let me do it.
  11. Shel
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    Shel New Member

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    Hey, I'm sure it isn't for everyone, but people are obviously complaining even about the one designed specifically for the Droid (can't be used with a form fitting case, for example). That was really my point, that there are a lot of things that you need to consider.

    This mount has worked fine, for ME. It did press the camera button, but by sliding the right side up, it no longer does that, and I guess I don't really need access to volume buttons, I turn it all the way up before installing it into the mount. That's NOT to say YOU may want to be able to adjust the volume while it's in the mount, everyone is different. If everyone was the same, we'd all be using iPhones.... oh, wait...... (never mind)

    I had purchased, and immediately returned another mount. That one plugged in to the cig lighter, and provided another outlet to plug your charger into. Why they didn't simply provide a usb cable that goes directly into the Droid is beyond me. However, that one, just getting the Droid held to the mount was rediculous... I gave up. I wasn't going to risk damaging my device for a $30 mount!

    This mount, that I posted, was all of $20 from Target, and I have 90 days to return it! If the OP comes out with a cusomized mount that looks good, count me in!
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2009
  12. skidemn
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    skidemn New Member

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    Neologic,

    I have this mount on my desk right now for testing purposes as my company sells this holder and many others. You can move the jaws up/down and separate them to avoid buttons. I added a magnet inside to put the Droid into car mode automatically. My opinion is that it works but I prefer the one below as it is less bulky (just look at the holder, not the vehicle mount). The one and only advantage to the Bracketron unit is that it comes with a cupholder mount but this company also makes a cupholder adapter for window mounts too so there are more options.
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2009
  13. skidemn
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    skidemn New Member

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    A word of caution..

    Spikejnz-

    I was in the same boat as everyone else with being unhappy with the factory car dock so I started testing other mounts and adding magnets to see what worked best for me. I have much experience in product development as my company also does offshore manufacturing, so like you, I am also looking at building a special Droid dock. However, I did this before for iPods and we made an awesome kit that had a case with a detachable beltclip that then used the beltclip mount area to attach to the carholder so the iPod never needed removal from its case, but unfortunately it wasn't cheap. The Apple Store loved it, but we couldn't make it meet their profit margin at a reasonable price point so it ultimately died a long slow death. Actually it's still dying (and in inventory) so if anyone needs a cool case/car mount for a 4th or 5th Generation iPod let me know. Lol

    Although many of us "early adopters" love our Droids and might pay a few extra bucks for a very cool product, the mainstream people often go the cheapest route so undertakings like this seldom are rewarded. Hopefully the Droid will bring out a different class of user that might be more open to this kind of project. Until then, I'll be using a more cost effective solution based on a universal holder.

    No matter what you decide, I wish you the best of luck as it is tough being an entrepreneur.
  14. volando
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    volando New Member

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    this is a great idea and I will definitely buy it.

    two suggestions:

    1. can you right away leave a hole where the speaker is so I don't have to cut it out? it makes conversing in the car that much easier if you're not plugged into the audio system
    2. can you NOT attach a cable directly to the mount? This is very limiting as far as placing it in different spots. For example, I am routing my usb cable inside the dashboard and out of an air vent so it comes out right next to the mount and is practically invisible - it has to be long and is already inside the car. Just have your mount have a micro-usb cable port where we can plug in a cable of any length. This way you can save on the cost of the cable too :)

    Any way of adding something to help guide an audio cable into the headphone slot? Something like a plastic/metal strip that attaches to the back but positions the audio-cable it holds right next to the slot... so you would snap the droid in (bottom first), then just press on that strip on the left side and boom - both cables in. I know this is unlikely, but perhaps you have better ideas.
  15. roxito
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    roxito New Member

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    cool ! go for it! BTW how do you go about finding such a local company to manufacture the products for you ?
  16. magdream
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    magdream New Member

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    sounds like a great idea, especially the hardwired power cord. I have an idea that would make use of my existing Body Glove case. I like that it feels sturdy and has a rubbery/matte finish as well as openings for everything. Add in the fact that the belt clip is removable and you basically have a car mount w/o the the mount.

    I'd like to see an adapter that would fit the existing BG stud, this way I can easily go from belt to car mount. Of course you wouldn't have magnets to automatically go into car mode, but that's a non issue for me . I imagine that it could be designed/built to have a small ledge that would include a powered usb plug.

    any thoughts?
  17. spikejnz
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    spikejnz New Member

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    Well before I decide to move forward with this, I'm going to have to do considerable cost analysis. Obviously, the point of this project is to provide a better option at a reasonable price point while watching my margins closely. I spoke to the wife about it last night, and she told me this morning she wants to talk about it again. If this is going to be done right, it's not going to be done overnight! Unfortunately, that means I also risk having a company with more time/resources swooping in and stealing my thunder. However, that might just be a risk I'll have to take!


    Regarding your first point: absolutely! It would make no sense to not have that slot incorporated in the design.

    The first thing that came to mind with your second point is to leave a microUSB port on the mount itself. If you want to plug the device in, you can. If not, you don't have to, and you won't have a 4' cord flopping on your dash. I can look into providing the USB cord as an optional accessory or as a package deal.

    Another thing I was thinking about doing is having a 3.5mm jack on the back of the mount next to the microUSB port. This would allow you to connect the device to your stereo (assuming you have that capability) and listen to your music collection/pandora while on the road. There would simply be a small 90º 3.5mm jack that you would have to plug in to the side of the phone should you want to utilize this feature. Of course, this cable could be made removable for those that don't want to use it.

    To make this mount with reasonable cost, every mount would be made with the audio/usb port. I likely have enough to cover initial costs, but not for running two/three different products!

    Thanks for the input!

    Google is your friend. I also had to make some phone calls.

    Hmm...The only problem with designing a mount that allows use of the Body Glove case is that it wouldn't fit a non-cased Droid properly. This would force me to design at least two different mounts. It's something I can look into eventually, but I think for the moment I'm going to stick with the plain-jane Droid.

    The other thing I'll have to contend with here is that there'll likely be a Droid² coming out in the near future. Will it's dimensions be similar? Will the Droid² fit in the Droid mount? If Motorola does the same thing to the Droid that they did to the Q....the answer is 'no'.
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2009
  18. volando
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    volando New Member

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    Awesome thanks, let me know how the process goes, i have several friends who have recently switched to droids who are also not happy with the stock mounts and would love this!

    Another thing about the stock mount is that even though it's relatively tightly, the plastic is very tough - when the car shakes a lot you can really hear the phone rattling/vibrating a bit, especially if the sound is on from its speaker. I don't know if it's possible to make your mount more rubbery or just to have a strip or two of tennis-racket style tape on the back to give it more grip. That would be great. That's pretty much what I did to my stock mount...
  19. odoyle81
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    odoyle81 New Member

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    I'm in for one as well!
  20. badass3000
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    badass3000 New Member

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    Im in for one.
    Ive been looking for a way to hide the power cord in the car.
    The two things I have on my windshield (Garmin, Radar), are both hardwired up in the headliner, just b/c I hate wires, hate them.

    I bet its possible to get audio AND power thru the USB cable.
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