Control ProPresenter 7 Video Playback from Ross Dashboard- Cue/Load, Play and Stop Video

What you need:

A Ross Switcher with the Pro7 machine as an added “server” device.

-Dashboard computer should be on the same network as the switcher and Pro7 machine

-A MEDIA playlist on Pro7 with less than 20 videos in it. (Not a regular playlist)

-This uses the AMP protocol, and the Ross devices consider Pro7 to be a Server.

-This is for playing back video, not controlling lyrics or other presentations. ( I suggest a separate lyric machine)

Media Playlist

Renewed Vision has added Rosstalk to ProPresenter 7 (Pro7). That’s great. But Pro7’s Rosstalk feature only talks to Ross devices, it does not listen. You can control certain functions on a Ross switcher. There are many ways that can be helpful. But you can’t control Pro7 from the switcher.

But what if you specifically wanted to use Dashboard to fire videos from a Pro7 machine? 

It is possible, if you have a Ross Switcher that allows you to add devices like Media Servers, We have a Ross Carbonite (The older one, not the Black series.). 

Add Pro7 to The Ross Switcher

To add the Pro7 machine you need to add the device on the switcher panel, not Dashboard. Go into the menu and add a device, choose a server and put in the Pro7 IP address when prompted. Remember what slot you used, that will show up in Dashboard. Make sure to set the device up to “roll clip” when you switch to it.

Configure Pro7 to talk to Dashboard-

On the Pro7 machine, configure the preferences to communicate using the AMP protocol. This article will help: If your switcher is set up, when you hit Connect it will change to green. Right click the media playlist and “select for communication.”

Now your Dashboard can talk to your Pro7 machine. The Dashboard software can send a few commands, like cue, play and stop. Here’s how to set up a macro to load a play a particular clip.

In Dashboard, Custom Controls, pick the control button you want to use.  Go into the shot editor, find the bank and button. 

Load the clip-

Modify Event list, select devices, server. Then select Cue. The settings should default to your server and slot for the Pro 7 machine. If not, select those. Channel 1. Then type the exact file name of the video clip you want to load. Insert command.

Play the clip-

Modify event list, device, server and select play, server and channel 1. Insert command.

Now, hit record in the custom control editor, put your Pro7 machine in preview and hit auto trans. Stop recording. Name the command and hit done. Switch back to the shot box and test the macro.

When you need to change videos, just edit the custom control and change the name in the Cue and hit Replace Item, Done.

You can also set commands to stop and play the Pro7 machine. It will only play a clip that is already loaded.


You can only fire videos from this machine on this one media playlist. You could set up another Pro7 machine the same way and load it into another slot on the switcher, but you would need an entire extra Pro7 machine.


ProPresenter is presentation software, not a professional video playback solution. It plays video fine. but it can glitch, and need to be restarted. Contrast that with the Grass Valley K2 device we had been using. For all its quirks, it played video every time. The 2nd week we were using the Pro7 set up the audio on our service intro video was just a square wave. I thought we had gone back to dial up internet. Restart Pro7 and the problem was fixed. So, restart each week. Listen to the playback (don’t just watch meters) and don’t think you have to keep updating a solid machine. Only update the video playback machine when you need it. Run lyrics and other presentations off another device.


Don’t spread gossip online. That’s it, that’s the post.

Proverbs 18:8 “A gossip’s words are like choice food that goes down to one’s innermost being.”

This is an admonition to fellow Christians to be mindful of what they believe and spread online. Maybe we think that because we don’t actually know the people, it’s not gossip?  It is gossip. It’s wrong. 

I get that it scores points on “Christian Twitter” to dunk on the Moderates/Libs. It’s always the mega church pastors that get hit, right? Mega churches put out sermons on video. So everyone can see what they teach. 

From time to time you see 1-2 minute clips from megachurch sermons pulled out to prove they have gone soft on sin. At no time is any benefit of the doubt given. The pastor can’t have misspoken, can’t have been taken out of context. The sermon may be 35 minutes of multiple points and sub points, but this 60 second clip is all that matters.

The clips are never plain. It’s never one of these guys saying, “I believe homosexual behavior is not a sin.” It’s never that clear.  The new clip is often tied back to another clip previously used for the same purposes.

The supposed heresy often contradicts what the church has previously, publicly said. Their belief statement on the web likely doesn’t reflect this new theological view.

The position is, the bad church/pastor publicly publishes their teachings where anyone can see them, but are, at the same time, secretly teaching heresy/bad theology. They have secretly decided to call sin holy and good. Not only are they wrong about their belief, but they are nefarious liars, saying the “right” thing in some places, but secretly leading the sheep astray.

This is the claim of some. These people take to social media and trumpet their discovery of false teaching. By all means, let’s get the mob back together. Who’s got the pitchforks and who has the torches?

You know what you don’t see? “I heard this and it disturbed me, so I called the pastor in question…. I reached out to the church highlighted in this clip…” Nope. Why would you ask a liar, right? They might be able to explain away your major issue. You might find out the clip doesn’t reveal the full theology of the speaker.

And then there are the guys who make a living out of doing this. They post hours of video proving some ministries have it all wrong.  You know what you never see? A video where they investigate and find out the critics were wrong. You will never see a headline that read, “We heard there was heresy, but we only found truth!”

Why is that? 

Why do regular Christian people retweet/repost/repeat unproven gossip? Why do people watch these expose’ videos? Proverbs 18:8 has it right. Gossip is so tasty.

Controversy breeds interest. If you feel you are right, or at least “righter” than them, you feel superior.  There’s a bit of allure to this “secret knowledge” that these posts and videos give out. You can be in the know. You can be someone who was not fooled. 

It’s “I may not be perfect, but I’m not that bad,”  combined with “I know things others don’t.”  Delicious, yet rotten to its core.

Here’s 3 problems with sharing these things:

  1. You don’t know anything. You just don’t. Unless the person you’re criticizing said clearly, ‘This is my belief” you cannot know their theology from a few minutes of one sermon. You have to jump to too many conclusions. You don’t have enough information to use inductive logic properly. 
  2. The experts you are listening to don’t know anything either. Every time I watch one of these long videos that “proves” something, it’s filled with conjecture. They have a list of things that, if you tilt your head and squint just right,  will prove what they are saying. But if anything is not exactly what they suggest, the house of cards tumbles down. I get it. They dug up some dirt, they got an insider feeding them info. They connected the dots, they put the jigsaw puzzle together. Those who subscribe to these theories refuse to entertain other possibilities. Because if they think for one second one piece of evidence might not be correctly interpreted, then their entire theory crashes down. 
  3. It’s not biblical. This isn’t how you deal with false teachers. Before the internet you would never jump to public condemnation before you took several more steps. Matthew 18 lays out a pretty good path to conflict resolution. There are 4 steps. Even if you claim that public posts online counts as taking something to the Church, there are 2 steps before that point.  If you are really concerned about this brother, this congregation, then you will go to them and confront them in love. You will get the truth. But, if you are honest, you care more about feeling better about yourself than correcting a brother. 

That’s hard to hear. The tendency to believe the worst about fellow Christians is a cancer in the Church. The habit of attacking people who are wrong (or we think are wrong) rather than lovingly, biblically correcting them is a terrible thing in the Church. Spreading online gossip is spreading lies. Reposting these hit pieces doesn’t do one thing to grow the kingdom of God. 

When I see a post, I’m tempted to reply with “Wow, what did the church say when you reached out to them about this?”

Brother and sister, I implore you. Don’t share these posts, don’t spread gossip. I know it’s “choice food” and it feels so good. Resist. If you are truly concerned, reach out to the pastor, leader, congregation in question. I know that takes more time than hitting retweet, but it’s the right thing to do. 

If you can’t reach out, then pray. Everyone can do that. 

Upgrading the Audio in a 2010 Fit: Subwoofer and a Stock Radio

I decided not to change out the stock radio in my 2010 Honda Fit Sport. So, I’ve been doing upgrades here and there to the audio system. I had previously decided to not add a subwoofer to this car.

But, I had an old 10″ Infinity Subwoofer in a sealed enclosure and an old Phoenix Gold amp with a built in crossover. It’s rated at 300 Watts when bridged to mono. Someone had ordered this one painted white instead of the normal black. It’s pretty old (and dirty), but works well.

Since I was not swapping out the stock radio, I did not have easy access to RCA outputs for a subwoofer. Once in a wile I would miss the low end a subwoofer can bring, but not enough ti change out the radio. Then I basically ended up with a Line Out Converter for free.

A Line Out Converter (LOC) takes high output signals, like from the speaker lines of a stock radio, and converts them to RCA outputs. I had never used them before. The plan was to siphon off the audio from the rear speaker channels. The LOC gives me a remote turn on for the amplifier as well as two RCA outputs. To install the amp I needed a power cable from the battery and a ground.

This was easier said than done. The Fit has a small engine bay, and it seemed to be impossible to find a grommet to pass the wires through the firewall. I ended up, after some Googling, running the power cable through a hole in the fender, and then through a grommet near the door. The cable is covered by the inner fender lining, so you cannot see it, and it should be protected. I wrapped some electrical tape around the cable as well, for an added layer of protection.

I was able to get the power ran around to the battery, through the carpet and under the seat.

The amp fits right up under the seat. I used velcro to secure the amp, so I can remove it if needed. The LOC is supposed to take audio from the left and right speakers. But, I didn’t want to run the audio from two locations. I was curious if this would work. So, I hooked both left and right positive and left and right negative into the LOC inputs. Then I attached the remote turn on, and ground to the remote and ground of the amp. And I ran the RCA cables. And tied into the left rear speaker.

At this point, it should be done. When I turn on the stereo, the signal on the speaker wire should trigger the remote turn on and the amp should fire up. I had no idea if pulling the signal from just one side would give enough power. I know, if the low end is stereo I will miss it on the subwoofer. But I’m willing to try it.

Just a quick test, and I can already see the signal level is plenty high. I had to significantly reduce the sensitivity (Turn down the knob) on the amp. It was way too loud.

So, I still have some tweaking to do, and time will tell if I need to run wires to the right rear speaker or not. But I have enhanced low end in the Fit now. The LOC was very easy to use.

How to Take all Your Vacation While Working in Church Media (How to balance life and work in media ministry)

Inevitably, when I hang around a group of church media techs we end up talking about workload. After we share the crazy stories and the cool stuff we got to do, we wind up talking about hours and events Too many times I hear about people who routinely do not take all of their vacation days. And it’s not just vacation, it’s going home for dinner, or having days off.

There is an overworking epidemic infecting church media technicians.

To understand this, and ultimately fix it, we need to acknowledge some realities.

Reality 1: Non church media people will never understand what you do. 

They are busy with their own lives. When you get excited about a new piece of gear and start rattling off specs, their eyes glaze over. They don’t know, and don’t want to know. Mostly people respect us. They understand that our jobs are specific. But they didn’t choose to go into our line of work. While they may appreciate it, they will never know what goes into doing our jobs. 

Reality 2: For the most part, we don’t control our assignments at work.

In fact, most of the people who give us work to do are the same ones who don’t understand what we do. Generally, we don’t schedule events, dream up projects or initiatives. We don’t tell ministries what to do, we come alongside ministries to leverage technology to accomplish their ministry goals. 

That is a recipe for more work than you can get done in 40 hours. People who don’t know what you do, or how you do it, can unintentionally pile too much on you. I’ve heard more than one church media professional describe the hours they have to put in to get the job done right. Many times, after putting in hours and hours of overtime, they are not thanked or rewarded. 

Now, here’s where you expect me to start talking about educating people, and developing an understanding with your supervisors about proper work/life balance. I’m not saying these things aren’t worth the effort. But they require someone else to do something. They require others to learn and change their behavior.

I want to give you some things you can do, within your own department and ministry area, to reduce workload, get home more and take your vacation days.

Deal with your pride.

Just wanted to lay that out there. It doesn’t do any good for me to list the other things if you won’t actually do them. Too many of us labor under the prideful assumption that no one else can do it, or no one will be able to do it right. If you miss a Sunday, things will go wrong. Even if they don’t go terribly, they won’t be as good as when you are there. 

Get over yourself.

I mean that in Christian love.  Stop it. If you quit your job right now, church would still happen on Sunday. God would be worshipped. We like to say that we facilitate worship, but in reality we facilitate a certain style of worship. I’m not saying that isn’t important, but keep perspective here. If you can learn to do your job, someone else can learn to do it. But you have to be willing to let them do it.

Cross Train

Cross train other people to do multiple media positions.  My friend, Dr. Wes Hartley, has a lecture he gives on systems. He talks about creating repeatable and transferable processes designed to reduce cognitive load.  Make checklists, write down important information, then show others how to do your job. If you don’t, you can never be gone.

The key to cross training is not just showing someone how to do a job, it’s letting them do it before you are gone. You can’t just throw a checklist at someone and expect to miss a Sunday with no issues. I used to dread Sundays morning text messages when I was out. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Compare these two conversations… “Hey, boss, I’m taking Sunday off but don’t worry, I showed Billy how to do my job and made some notes for him. He has my phone number if you need me.” Vs “Hey, boss, Billy has been running this media position for several weeks. He has it down and has been doing a great job. He is going to fill in while I’m out next Sunday.”

Which makes the boss more comfortable? The latter, of course.  Cross training requires practice with a safety net. Over time, you can build a team of staff and volunteers who can fill into multiple positions. This team can fill needed positions for weekends and events, so your staff can be gone.


Technology is awesome. You can automate lyrics. You can tie PTZ camera moves to stream decks or other custom control computers. You can extend monitors and use wireless mice and keyboards to duplicate positions. You can automate lights. There are so many tools you can use to reduce the amount of people needed to cover simple events. 

A fully staffed crew in our Worship Center requires 7 people (staff and volunteers). But we have things set up so that 2 people can cover simple events.  On extremely simple events, we can even remote in with a computer and run the entire room with one person.  1 vs. 7.  That means less time away from family for our staff. 


This is similar to automate. In some instances, technology can simplify an event. Other times we can manage expectations and what we provide.

Look at every event with an eye toward what you actually need to cover it.  Depending on how your tech requests may be set up, people might say that they need a technician, or multiple technicians, when they really don’t. Our education spaces are designed so that teachers can run their own presentations without technical help. 

How many people are expected? I recently failed at simplifying an event. The special night was scheduled for the Worship Center, which seats a lot. The past two times this event had been held, not a lot of people attended. It could fit into one of our smaller and simpler spaces. I should have gone to the ministry leader and persuaded them to move venues. Not only to save the effort and time of my team, but to help the event. 50 people in a room that seats 1000 feels like no one came. 50 people in a room that seats 250 feels better. Smaller spaces mean less techs to cover.

What have they asked for? Do they really need 7 wireless handhelds, or could most speak at a podium with a microphone? Are they comfortable running their own presentation from a laptop? Do you need multiple laptops and computers, or can you load everything onto one? 

We have a venue that could use 3 techs to operate audio, lights and CG. Because of cross training and simplicity of events, we normally staff it with one person. That doesn’t mean we won’t use a full crew when necessary, but our goal is to accomplish the tech needs with excellence, using as few people as possible.

Simplifying isn’t just about reducing staff at live events. Sometimes it’s about reducing your internal weekly workload. Are there times when a project comes up and you see that something can be improved? Sure. Is there time this week to do that improvement? Sometimes the answer is no. I know people who take every chance to make thing better, overall, even if no one else will notice the improvement. That’s a good thing. But doing it when it means you will have to work an extra 10 hours this week isn’t.

Sometimes, the time consuming complications we put up with are actually caused by us. I get the arguments. To do it “right” you need to swap out that gear or rewire that rack. And you do need to do that. But maybe not this time. How about you do that upgrade when you are not already filling your hours with other duties.

As with most things, balance is the key. We all want to improve. There will always be something left to do. You have to get OK with going home while you know work is left to be done. You have to realize that sometimes, the work that is left will not be missed by others. You can put it off.  And for the sake of your health and your family, you need to put it off.

When ministry leaders/ pastors/ bosses place work on your plate, they don’t know (or really care) how it gets done. It’s not because they don’t care about you, it’s because of reality #1. (How many graphic designers have been asked to “throw something together real quick”? ) They don’t know or care if you rewired the entire system or just made it work like last time. They don’t know if you went and shot your own B Roll or used a stock footage library. They only know you delivered with excellence.  

Stop piling on extra work. Get OK with going home. Be efficient and get things done. Find ways to use technology to automate and simplify your work. Identify staff and volunteers who can be trained to do your work. Train them, let them learn how to do it well. Set your vacation days. And take them.

That’s how you can take all your vacation, and see your family more even though you work in church media.

What Have I Been Doing?

Aside from the post the other day, it’s been more than 6 months since I posted anything here. What have I been doing?

Family– Family is good. I now have two kids who have graduated from High School, one more to go. House is generally good, but we still need to finish up the mess left from the rotten balcony. We are still heavily involved in homeschool speech & debate.

Work– Work has been crazy busy. At church, we lost a video staff person and the last remaining Communications person. For 6 months, I was doing 2.5 jobs as I covered for my team’s loss and helped out with some Communication tasks. They hired a new Communications Director, so that workload was lifted.

It is really hard to hire people since the Pandemic. Very few applications, and the ones we have moved on have not worked out. Character, chemistry and competence are what we are looking for.

Freelance– I’ve been doing a few projects for Church Media Squad. Just when they need help over holidays. I have done a few other small jobs.

The biggest project is the ballet documentary. I say documentary, it’s more of a documentary-style keepsake video. So that changes things. After more than 2.5 years of shooting generally, 1.5 years of focused work, I have a 50-minute piece that covers the last 50 years of the Longview Ballet Theater in East Texas. I was hired to shoot and edit this project. I’m not a huge ballet fan, but the story is compelling. Because this a keepsake, there are parts of the video that I would likely cut if it were up to me, but the clients will like them. I am close to wrapping this project. It’s been a long time working on it.

What’s next? I’m not sure. I have some creative ideas. I’m ready to hire the open position on my team. I’m ready to finish up the house, as soon as prices come down (ha!). I am thinking about a short doc project.

So, that’s it. Hopefully it won’t be another 6 months before you hear from me again.

Being Creative is Risky

Today, I accidentally stumbled onto a review of my old comedy series. 

It’s not kind. Written in 2018, for a series that first came out in 2012, the anonymous reviewer proceeds to list many of the things I knew were deficient in the series. He (She? The whole review site is anonymous, so just guessing here) said one positive thing: “Video and audio quality, for the most part, are fine.” Oddly, I disagree with this. 

Everything else is sarcastic, critical, and somewhat deserved. My disappointment with this review is not that he didn’t like the things I don’t like, but that he missed the entire point of the show. He seemed confused that we would make fun of Christians and Christianity. He seemed to think we were being completely serious. So, he didn’t get any of the jokes. 

Of course, this review site isn’t something you would ever know. If I were reviewing the site itself, I might say…

“Leaving aside the horrible, outdated WordPress build, it’s difficult to find anything on the page. Publishing under an anonymous name does nothing to establish the author as any authority on Christian content. When it comes to series reviews, the author has only two categories- The Chosen and bad Christian series. If he is reviewing something Dallas Jenkins isn’t involved in, expect a low score.”

[OK, that was a bit cathartic. I’m aware my blog is also on WordPress, but it’s a blog… not a full-on website with multiple pages and sections.]

You see, even though I am aware of the flaws in that series, it hurts when some anonymous guy on the internet points them out AND doesn’t get the good parts at the same time. I suspect that the reviewer has never put out anything creative is his life. He has no idea what it’s like to spend hours trying to make something and send it out into the world. 

Being creative is risky. 

In a humorous twist, I also found out that both the series and short ebook about how we made the series were cited in a textbook. The book is strangely about humor in Evangelical and Mormon contexts. I would have bought a copy, but like all textbooks, it’s too expensive. I have no idea what they said about the series, except the author did reference my comments about the Christian TV market and changing the model to allow for more non-traditional content production. I could see that from an excerpt.

If you had asked me in 2012 if I thought that creative work would be cited (for good or ill) in a textbook, I would have laughed. If you had asked me if it would still be on the air or streaming a decade later, I would have said no way. It’s not on many places, but it is on. 

Being creative is risky. 

One of episodes singled out as terrible by the anonymous reviewer was the same one that NRB reviewed and awarded 2014’s Best Creative TV Programming. Now, I know there were not a lot of entries that year, so that doesn’t mean it was amazing. But the National Religious Broadcasters didn’t think it was as bad as the anonymous reviewer. Not everyone gets everything. Especially in a comedy.

Nothing you do creatively is going to appeal to everyone. [Insert one of the many, many stories of super successful people not being appreciated, getting turned down, etc…]

I’m not gonna’ lie, it sucks hard when you read that negative review. When some random person says something (that literally happened to you before) is a “trope” or isn’t believable. When he just doesn’t get what you spent so much time working on. Yes, the internet allows anonymous people to “platform” their opinions alongside more qualified reviewers. But it is inevitable that you will get a bad review, especially if your work is flawed. (And this series is seriously flawed. I am amazed at what we were able to accomplish, but it’s not amazing, itself.)

But it is very cool when you get positive feedback. Whether it’s an award, or that email from a fan saying it’s her family’s favorite Christian TV series, positive feedback feels great. My feature length documentary came out in 2019, and I still have speech & debate kids and parents tell me how much it means to them. That is a very cool, thing.

But be aware, there is no guarantee that anything you do creatively will ever get any positive feedback. You must decide what is worth the risk? Is your passion for your project enough to carry you? Your early work will be flawed. Know that. Part of growing and learning is doing. And your initial “doing” can be pretty bad. But you need that bad to get to better.

So, take the risk. Not because your current project is awesome (though it could be) but because your next project will be better.

Upgrading Audio in a 2010 Fit: Sound Deadening Project

I’ve been writing about upgrading the audio in my 2010 Honda Fit Sport. I did not want to rip out the dash, so I have been working on some alternative upgrades. But, one upgrade that could have huge benefit is to reduce the noise coming into the cabin.

One of the first things I noticed when I got the car was that the road noise was terrible. Most small cars are loud, but this one was especially loud, harsh. Add to that, some of the roads in ETX have this weird surface that is even louder.

But, I did not want to tear the entire interior out of the car, and deaden everything. I wanted to try to deaden what I can without too much tear out or expense. So I got 18 square feet of 80 mil Kilmat, a butyl and foil sound deadener. It is self adhesive.

After some research, I chose to apply it in the front floor, hatch and around the rear axle.

Here’s how it worked out:

18 Square feet doesn’t cover 100% of these spaces, but it covered a good bit of it.

The DB meter is a free app off the Apple Store. I doubt it is specifically accurate, but I hoped it was consistent from pre to post deadening.

As you watch, you will notice that the mount I was using for the pre- recording is different from the post- recording. The mount broke in between videos. An iPhone XR has mics on the front and bottom. The old mount had a hole in the bottom to let cables and audio through. So, the post- recording is still similar, though somewhat more open to the mics. If anything, this makes the DB meter more sensitive, and puts the post- deadened audio at a disadvantage. but I don’t think it had much impact, over all.

You can see the change wasn’t huge, but it was significant, in that the frequencies that were deadened were the higher ones. It makes the driving experience more pleasant by reducing the harsher noise.

The added benefit is that the frequencies reduced are also the one where music and melody play. While, low bass sounds won’t be helped, I’ve noticed that music sounds clearer at speed.

So, is it worth it? The deadener costs a little over $30 (at the time of writing). The install was done in a few hours. It did not require seat removal. The overall volume reduction was not huge, but what was reduced were the frequencies that interfere with music most and make the road noise harsh. Overall, not a bad investment.

Update: Android Tablet + CarPlay on a Long Trip.

I’ve been writing about this new car audio set up in my Honda Fit.

I took it on a longish trip, about 7 hours one-way, over Thanksgiving. Before I left I swapped the 5W Qi charger for a thinner 10W charger, and that worked great. I actually moved this set up to a different car for this trip, but the operation was the exact same.

The only issue I had was having to reboot a few times at the beginning of the trip back. I’ve had that a couple of times around town, as well. Normally when the temperature is cold. (Not sure that’s a cause, but seems to be a correlation, anyway) After a couple of reboots, it starts working.

Once it’s running, the CarPlay software didn’t miss a beat. The 10W charger kept the Kindle charged up, and my phone charged up.

UPDATE: Have now used the system on a longer trip, 15+ hours of driving one way. No issues. It worked great. Charged fine, no glitches. I have had a few times around town where the Waze app doesn’t follow correctly. And a couple of times when it rebooted several times before thing worked right. But on that trip is was stellar.

Even with the glitches, it works well enough to be useful.

Upgrading Audio in a 2010 Honda Fit – Part 3: Charging Android Tablet While Using CarPlay Adapter

In my last post I went through the steps to get CarPlay to work on an Android tablet. Today, I am happy to report that wireless charging seems to work well.

The key is using a tablet with wireless charging capability. The Kindle Fire HD 8 Plus can do this, and that’s what I’m using. I bought a cheap ($10) charging pad. It’s only 5W. I may upgrade later. If so, I want to get a thinner one. The mount, with the charger and the Kindle, is still holding solid, but a thinner charger may allow for a thin case.

Here are the pieces, minus the iPhone, mini audio cable and car USB charger.

Total cost was under $135. That’s way less than a CarPlay capable Head Unit with professional installation. And the dash of my Honda Fit didn’t have to be ripped out. I’m interested to see how it handles over time. I can see the mount needing adjustment at times. I need to manage the cables. But I like this set up quite a bit.

Upgrading Audio in a 2010 Honda Fit Without Replacing the Factory Radio – Part 2: Kindle Fire and CarPlay

2019 Kindle Fire HD 7 running CarPlay

In my last post I talked about trying to make my 11 year old car stereo a little more modern, without tearing out the center section of the dash. I used an Amazon Echo Auto for a while.

Then I fell into an interesting idea of using an Android tablet to run Apple CarPlay.

Companies make these little boxes. They allow you to hook up your iPhone (wired or wirelessly, depending on what you want to spend) and the box works with an app on the tablet, and shows the CarPlay content. Near as I can tell, it’s fully functional.

Obviously, there are some weird things. When I first loaded things up, the orientation of the table was portrait, so Car Play showed as portrait, even in landscape position. I had to power down the tablet completely to fix that. But it was fixed. Might be other stuff later.

So, here’ the list of what you need. I will link to a couple of things I bought, but similar ones may work as well. I’m not an Amazon affiliate, so these are not affiliate links. Just plain links.

CarPlay Adapter. I bought a wired version of the CarLinKit adapter. Be aware, there are clones of these, but the often brick when you update the firmware, or so the internet says. Download the free app onto your tablet. $40.

Android Tablet. They say any Android table running 4.4.2 will run the app. I suggest one that can charge wirelessly, for reasons I will explain later. I happen to be shopping during the 6th birthday for Alexa or something, so I got Kindle Fire HD 8 Plus for $55. They are normally $110. I thought $55 for a wireless charging, Android capable device was a steal. Unless you plan to go find a Chinese tablet on eBay or hope to catch a used one on FB Marketplace, you will probably be spending at least that.

OTG cable. I didn’t know what an OTG cable was. I still don’t know what the acronym is. But these are bales that let you use peripherals with devices like tablets, game systems, multimedia players, etc… In it’s most basic form, it converts a USB A plug from the CarPlay adapter into whatever you need to plug into your tablet. The Kindle Fire 7 is Micro USB, The Kindle Fire 8 is USB C. There are tons of these. Just search for a USB A to whatever-connection-you-need OTG cable. I got a 3 pack for about $9.

Tablet Car Mount. This is actually pretty important. Depending on the size of your tablet, you may need a pretty heft one. There are lots of $10-15 ones available, but the reviews are not great for real world use. I wanted amount that used my CD slot. Choose the one that will work the best for your car. I settled on this one, spent about $20. It seems to work OK for now, on regular streets.

AUX Input on the Radio. You need a way to get audio into the factory stereo system. The Fit has a mini plug. I imagine you could use bluetooth as well. You will be taking the audio from the valet into the stereo.

That’s technically all you need to make things work. $124. Not bad to get Apple CarPlay into your car without replacing the factory radio.

CarPlay Installed in the Honda Fit. Kindle Fire 7.

So here’s my experience. I started out using a 2019 Kindle Fire HD 7. Mainly because I had it available. The problem is that I don’t use the battery well on this device. It drains little, sits in standby and the gets thrown onto charge. These are cheap Amazon tablets. They work well, but my battery does not last long.

Here’s how the car mount works. There are these paddle things that slip into the CD slot a bit, then you tighten a bolt to make them spread apart and hold in place. It seems pretty tight. I am more worried about the swivel tablet mount moving that the CD slot part.

Once I have things completely finalized, I plan to manage the cables, and velcro the CarLinKit box to the mount.

I started out with the Fire 7. It is a good size. I actual bought a different case for it. My only complaint was battery life. My 7 inch Fire was 3 years old and I have not been “training” the battery to last a long time. I was unsure what to expect with the battery life and use the adapter.

I used the tablet in the morning for about an hour. Then again, briefly at lunch. I left the tablet on stand by in between. By 5 pm it has drained the battery entirely. Not great for a long trip.

So that took me down the rabbit hole of how to charge through the same micro USB port that you are sending data through. You can plug in the adapter, use it while you want. And then plug in a charger. That defeats the whole purpose of the box.

I spent a lot of time search and looking for information about this. I looked at a lot of OTG cables that claimed they could do both, or at least not drain the battery when in use. People were talking about soldering wires and stuff. After a couple of hours, I gave up. The Kindle Fire HD 7 does not seem to be able to charge and use the data functions at the same time- through the Micro USB port.

Now what?

Enter wireless charging. I used to have a couple of these laying around, the wireless charging pads seem to work even if the USB port is passing stats. The Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus allows for wireless charging. So, I snagged one, and am eager to test it out.

In the mean time, I have tested the general charging state of the new HD 8 Plus. So far it seems to have about twice as much battery life as my 7 inch version. Which means I can probably get a day and a quarter out of one charge.