Upcycle Crappy GPS/Phone Mount 2015-09-05
For a while I had a jPhone, which is a knock off of an iPhone that runs Java and is generally pretty crappy. But it works, and it was cheap, and it worked with 7-Eleven's cell service (which is really Rogers service). I didn't mind the lack of an app store and I couldn't be bothered with MMS messaging, but I kind of wanted email for alerts. The jPhone had the ability to check email, but not the ability to connect to encrypted mail servers. I lived with my basic phone for years and got by just fine… until 911 dialing started to become a problem. Twice my ass was able to call 911 while the phone was in my pocket, and that is when I decided to buy a new cell phone.
The MPie was gonna be the device to bring me in to the 2000's… but the dream was short lived. The apps available at Google's crappy "Play Store" are riddled with tons of ads and very little opportunity to try any apps until after you have paid for them. The screen locker is a total joke, and the startup/shutdown "video" was REALLY LOUD. Now it is possible to root the phone and fix some of this stuff, but it is a nightmare considering keymaps and lockscreen settings should be available without that. Then it happened… the 911 call. You have got to be shitting me. Really? So now I am considering another phone (and it is killing me).
So, what does all this have to do with a GPS/phone mount? Well, I couldn't just toss the phone. I decided I would have to try to find some kind of a decent use for the thing. Turns out there is a GPS app called OsmAnd that runs on Android and has the ability to work offline. You can download some maps for free, but if you need a lot of maps you gotta buy the app. All I needed was Ontario and Quebec so I was able to use the free version. I'll likely find a few more uses for the phone, but for now a $70 GPS will do.
I had an old "suction cup" mount lying around the house, I think it was from an old discarded device that I picked up for free somewhere. Anyways, as you can see in this photo, it was pretty cheap and the "wings" that are intended to hold the device in place are really feeble. That's okay though, I had a better idea…
The first step was to break off the crappy old wings. They were seriously not going to be able to hold anything in place. The suction cup however was actually pretty good (as far as suction cups go) so I wanted to keep it. Once I had the wings off I just cracked open the body of it which held the gears to expand and contract the wings.
After pulling out the springs and gears I got out a few rare earth magnets that I had left over from some previous project. If you don't have any of these handy, you can probably find some in an old broken hard drive. I grabbed my Gorilla Glue (corporate plug not intended) and glued the magnets to the inside of the casing like this:
Once I had the casing put back together I needed to find a way to make my phone stick to it. I grabbed a broken DVD drive from an old computer and cut a piece of the case from it. I probably could have done a much cleaner job but I was still in hate with this phone at the time so it looks like crap. At least I ran it over the grinder a few times to take off the jagged edges. Then I just had to slip the piece of metal under the cheap rubber case that came with the phone.
Now the metal backing holds it neatly on my suction cup stand. It is actually much easier to mount and remove the phone because I don't have to deal with any stupid little clips and springs. Maybe tomorrow I will take it out for a spin and see how it functions in practice. Hopefully it won't flop around when I try to push buttons or swipe on the screen (which I obviously would never do while driving). Anybody got any suggestions to make it better?