It was a busy busy weekend but we installed the GPS system, some more smart accessories and a couple other items but here I’ll introduce you to the GPS system that I built into the 451 smart.
So while adding in a double din navigation unit that plays DVDs was my first idea once I released they still haven’t made a multi-disc double din nav unit and the pricing was still around $1,500 for a good unit I looked for other options. The first thing was to just use a windshield mounted GPS unit and while that was easy it didn’t look good in the car and made a great big break my window and steal me sign.
I looked and looked and found what I was looking for, which was a windshield mounted GPS unit that had a nice desktop cradle. This only is available in 3 GPS units, TOMTOM 720, TOMTOM 900 and TOMTOM 920 they are all about the same but the 900’s having voice recognition software, a remote and a case. So now that I had a GPS unit with a dash mount I started to look at the software on the TOMTOM and I have to say I got lucky again. The TOMTOM 720+ series has full iPod support, built in MP3 player that plays while navigating and thanks to some fancy software it plays movies/videos via SD cards.
So it might have been hard to find the right unit the hard part was to come in trying to get it all installed nicely. It took about 4 hours of work and figuring things out, we spent about 30 minutes trying to find center on the dash to drill all the holes and the rest of the time was spent drilling holes, removing dash pieces, running wires and then putting things all back together.
What needs to be done to get this to work in the smart is the following:
1) TOMTOM 720, 900, 920
2) Use of a drill, screwdrivers, sandpaper and 2 screws & nuts.
3) Take apart the desktop cradle, remove the rubber base to expose 4 screws, take them off and then remove the metal plate. Remove the mini-usb cable from the cradle.
4) Drill 2 holes into the metal plate near the front so that the bolt heads have clearance.
5) Remove the dash, first remove the button console by simply pulling up on the sides, it pops off. Then there is a screw in the middle that you need to remove in order to remove the dash top. Once the screw is off simply put your hand on either side of the top of the dash and pull, it will pop off.
6) Remove 4 screws from the factory CD player and remove the CD player and unplug the wiring at the back of the cd player.
7) Drill 2 holes into the remove top dash to secure the cradle to the dash.
8) Drill 2 more holes, one larger hole to run the usb-mini cable up through the dash and one smaller hole to run the power cable back down through the dash.
9) On the usb-mini end of cigarette lighter version sand down the back top and back bottom of the usb-mini end. On the back top sand down till almost level with the cable and on the back bottom sand down slightly. This allows it to sit properly in coming step.
10) Remove the bendy protective part of the wire housing that is at the usb-mini end.
11) run the usb-mini end up through the dash, starting at the OBD plug point and then going up behind the stereo and out the side of the vents, you can use the middle of the vent area to keep the excess cable length.
12) Run the usb-mini end of cigarette lighter version of the TOMTOM cable through the bigger hole you made in the dash.
13) Put the usb-mini end into the top part of the cradle. You will need to push/use a hammer/screw driver to get it to fit securely.
14) Put the 2 bolts into the holes you made on the metal bottom of the cradle and then screw the metal bottom to the top part of the cradle using the 4 small screws.
15) Double check to make sure that the usb-mini plug is level with the metal plate, it not further sand down the usb-mini plug, but be careful not to sand any of the edges of the cradle.
16) Secure the 2 bolts onto the dash with the nuts. If you used long bolts you like us might have to grind off the ends of the bolts to ensure clearance.
17) Almost done, now reverse steps #5 and #6 and your OEM GPS system is almost ready, just a couple setting changes on the GPS unit and your done.
18) On the GPS unit, if you want to play either the navigation part of what I opted for just the music/movies part via your smart stereo select on the TOMTOM the broadcast via FM radio option. You can do another step in adding a hard wire from the cradle to the AUX in jack, we where going to do that at first, still might, but the super clean look of leaving the cradle factory was going to be hard to reproduce with a 3.5 plug sticking up.
19) To get movies/videos on your TOMTOM 720, 900 or 920 you will need an aftermarket software program. There is only one that works, I’ve tested, bought and love it. Its available from Mobilnova and even if you don’t do the above install you should get that software as its really nice to be able to watch movies and in my case music videos in your car.
20) Last thing that I was on my TOMTOM 720 I selected turn off if loss of external power. This is great option as when the TOMTOM is on and I park to go get something and don’t want to take out/turn off the TOMTOM it will turn off for me. This keeps the big steal me sign to a minimum and to eliminate it simply put the TOMTOM in the glove box.
Here are some more things that I liked about this setup:
Keeps the factory CD changer, mp3 player and smart logo when I start the car.
Keeps factory styling within the cars interior as with the TOMTOM the cradle or off the cradle colors and styling matches perfectly.
GPS unit sits a little higher and in better viewing point while driving as looking down at the cd player area would cause loss of view of the road and possible problems.
Virtually* eliminates the big steal me sign you get from using a windshield mounted GPS unit or in dash nav unit. (*say virtually as if you leave the TOMTOM on the cradle its still a steal me sign, you need to tuck it away to remove the sign)
Never falls down or gets in the way like a windshield mounted version. Cold/hot weather plays games on those suction cups and that damn cable is always in the way.
Cost was $396.75 (tax in from Best Buy) for the GPS unit, 20 Euro for the Mobilnova software and the nuts and bots where leftovers from pervious projects but let’s say $2 for them, so for $427.65 Canadian ($434.83 US) you can have a really nice GPS unit that looks factory, plays movies and you can even use the windshield mount and use this GPS unit in 2 cars, so it’s a 2 for 1 special.
I’ll do some video of video from the unit and post that soon. Its really amazing as watching Fast and the Furious is amazing while driving the smart and its going to make the car so much more fun at the car shows and on those long long trips from here to Vancouver which is 12,294 km (7,639 miles) round trip.
If you have any questions do ask and I’ll be posting more about all the other little goodies I’ve added to forfiveone shortly.