GTiPad Mini Project a Success! Step 1: Making Room

It's done!! But...since we've been mentally planing on installing an iPad Mini in our 2011 GTi since the device was first announced, we thought it best to not just post up a finished photo of the project, but instead that we should actually go through the process step by step to illustrate the amount of effort that can go into such a small piece, and also to hopefully offer some inspiration and insight to others out there planning on or executing similar projects. At 2point5, we've found that by thinking through these ideas thoroughly and by having a plan in place before beginning, the whole process goes much more smoothly, and the surprises are kept to a minimum. So without further ado, let's start making room for the iPad Mini... IMG_9599

After simply snapping off the factory radio trim, we can get a good look at the factory radio. The concept for this project from the beginning was to integrate the iPad Mini in such a way that it looked as much like a factory-installed piece as possible to deter from prying eyes, but also to tie into the style and design of the car's interior. It would have been much easier to make a simple panel with a hole in the middle of it to fit into the dash as has been done before, but we really wanted to take this a little further. It was very important that we retained the original control knobs, illumination and functionality - all of which will be detailed fully in later posts.


After removing the OEM radio, we see that there's a pretty substantial opening in the dash. Perfect! The idea was to sink the factory radio back further into the dash opening to make room for the iPad Mini, so we were looking good so far. This car has steering wheel controls and an MFI display in the middle of the cluster that we wanted to retain, so leaving the original equipment radio installed and functional is really the ideal way to accomplish this. The only trouble right off the bat is that the radio is wider than the dash opening, so we had to do something about that.


A few specific tools and a little while later, we had gotten a pretty good way into taking apart the factory radio to remove some bulk. It was becoming pretty clear how the radio was going to be reassembled to make it still fully functional, but less wide so that it could slide back further into the dash opening.


While we were working on slimming the radio down, we were also looking at how likely it was going to be to use the original control knobs and buttons from the OEM radio in the new trim panel for the iPad Mini. Since the radio was staying installed and intact, it was going to be necessary to be able to switch between FM, AM and Media (where the audio output for the iPad Mini was going to connect), so buttons of some sort were definitely going to be needed. Since the original buttons look so perfect in the dash, why not use them? Unfortunately, the control buttons turned out to be a bit too big to work in the new panel once we did a little measuring, but we were pleased to find that we would be good to go on the control knobs - more to come on this.


So here we are - the factory Volkswagen RCD-510 radio pared down to its essential components. The CD changer, media card reader, touchscreen, and all controls are still fully functional in this form, as are all the internal workings such as the amplifier, tuner, illumination, and data communication. Basically we just removed all the trim that made the radio too wide to fit further back into the dash and kept all the good parts! This was all done in such a way that the OEM radio can be reassembled completely back to its original form with no trouble. We put all the "extras" into a box and moved on to mounting the radio in its new location.


What would be typical in an installation such as this would be to remove any necessary parts of the structure inside the radio opening to make this all work, and that was something we really weren't looking forward to. Once you go into the actual dash sub-structure and start cutting and grinding, the material you remove can never be replaced. Since we wanted to make sure that the car could go back to its original form if needed, we looked a little deeper into the actual mounting structure for the climate controls, vents and radio. Thankfully, Volkswagen saw fit to make this portion of the vehicle removable as well (it takes a bit of disassembly to get it out), which was really great news. The radio could then be mounted to the dash sub-structure outside of the car, and could be reinstalled so that no permanent modification to the car itself was necessary. Bonus!


It's so uncommon for everything to go according to plan when trying to accomplish all the goals we were working towards with this project, but so far, so good! The factory radio was securely re-mounted in the dash opening about two inches deeper than before, the control boards for the buttons and knobs worked perfectly, as did the rest of the audio system. After two evenings of work, this was a really great point to reach. Eventually, the control boards would end up mounted to the new dash trim, but it was very satisfying to see a really solid foundation for what was planned next!

As mentioned above, the GTIPad Mini project is completely done, so look out for the next few posts in pretty quick succession. We can't wait to show you the finished product! And as always, thanks so much for checking us out...

2point5 Blog Lives!

Whew! It took a couple of days to rescue all of the archived content from the old blog that truly provided the momentum to get 2point5 off the ground and provided a place for our followers and customers to see what we were working on, but I really think it was worth it...Below this post, you'll find a number of articles and photos that really tell our history and the story of how we transitioned from being car audio installers to product designers and company owners. Please feel free to click through some of the older posts to see who we are, where we came from, how the product came to be and some other generally fun stuff along the way. From here on out, this will be the place where I continue what I started way back in 2004 (the 3rd gen iPod was the hottest thing going and the iPhone hadn't been dreamed by anyone but those inside Apple yet). Randy and I will use this space to tell the continuing story of 2point5, spec.dock and Material6, as well as to update our customers on the finer details of our products and updates that happen along the way.

I hope you enjoy going through all the old posts, and certainly hope you check in frequently for new content. We've been at this particular endeavor for seven years now, and we're just getting started! Thanks as always for all of your support, and please feel free to let us know what we can do for you!

Matt Turner, Co-Founder/CMO

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M5 Project

From February 19, 2008. We got the opportunity to do a little upgrade to one of our long-time customer’s cars last week and are definitely pleased with the results! The customer wanted to change up the system he previously had installed in his E39 M5, which consisted of two AudioBahn 10″ woofers in a sealed enclosure and an Elemental Designs monoblock for power. The main goal was to dress up the trunk and to greatly increase the emphasis and definition of the bass response while eliminating the rattles the previous setup was creating.

To accomplish this, we began by removing the old enclosure and trim panel and designed a bandpass enclosure to replace the existing setup that houses one AlumaPro 12″ woofer and ports through the OEM armrest location. The advantage of a bandpass enclosure in this particular application is that all the energy output from the enclosure is directed through the port and into the cabin of the vehicle, virtually eliminating any possibility of rattles in the trunk or rear deck area, while providing dramatic sub-bass output.

Once completed, this enclosure was firmly mounted to the rear firewall of the M5 and the process of trimming it out began. The amplifier was sanded down, primed and painted silver (it was originally black) to match the theme of the installation, while the manufacturer’s badge was ground, sanded, primed and painted a metallic grey to allow an OEM “M” badge to be mounted in place of the manufacturer’s name and to match the accent paint color found on the outside of the vehicle. A simple trim panel was created to blend the enclosure into the rear wall of the trunk with brushed aluminum and painted acrylic inserts to accent the amplifier.

The OEM carpeted floor panel was completely recreated from scratch using MDF, brushed aluminum, painted aluminum and stainless steel hardware of the customer’s own design to tie into the interior and exterior modifications already in place. The rear portion of the floor still hinges upward to allow access to the M5’s battery, which is located in the trunk floor.

Next, the OEM rear seat armrest was replaced with a one-off port grille constructed from MDF, Rage Gold body filler, black Ultrasuede, painted acrylic and heavy-gauge metal mesh. This allows all the bass energy to enter the car while protecting the enclosure and port from debris, and adds a nice custom touch to the rear seat area without being overwhelming.

As a final touch, the OEM ashtray was replaced with a spec.dock to allow the owner access to all the music on his iPod Nano in the most integrated manner possible. All in all, the job took about a week to complete, and the customer is getting a lot of praise, while really enjoying the new enclosure - which is able to completely eclipse the sub-bass response (using one 12″ woofer) that the customer was getting before from two 10″ woofers. Thanks for checking it out, and please come back for more, as always…

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