Vanagon – iPad mount – MkII

At the end of my last post, the beginnings of a trailer hitch, I showed 2 pics of my iPad Mini mounted on the dash. It was a start, a Mk I if you like, to see if I liked the position. I used some found coaxial wire, about 0.6″ diameter, aluminum wire core, polyethylene, aluminum sheath then vinyl cover. Or something like that, the point is the stuff bends and holds. It doesn’t bend back and forth forever though. Anyhoo, that and a swivel mount I made (aluminum and teflon on the moving parts), some plumbing fittings, and a pretty crudely made plate on the ashtray hole.

I did try mounting to the inside of the ashtray, and I managed to do it. But the ashtray wouldn’t stay in place with all the weight and I broke the damn thing trying to solve that problem.

I didn’t like the high position of this mount so back to the bench. More bits of scrap aluminum, some 0.5″ stainless tubing, and further dicking around ended up with something that looks more surgical than automotive. Man, I need some sense.


The swivel mount has some Velcro on it. I’m using that to connect to the Otterbox Defender case (the cover part that doubles as a back and a stand). Velcro is not great for this, but was all I could come up with for now.


Crude tabs to hook into dash. USB extension cable for connection to stereo head unit.


I made the arm a bit too long, I’ll trim it back. I like this position better and yes, you can still shift gears.


Swivels to landscape.


I agree, it is a bit clunky. And what to do with the cable? I don’t want to run it inside the tubing. Maybe I can figure something out to make it less untidy looking.

  1. #1 by famillysyncro on August 30, 2013 - 4:41 am

    Love it, looks really nice. I don’t think it looks clunky but it definitely looks serious!
    For this cable, may be magnet and white heat shrink on the cable but only to get to the dash as everything else is aluminum.


    • #2 by albell on August 30, 2013 - 7:31 am

      HI Jerome,

      yes it is better mounted down lower, away from direct line of sight and heat from the sun. I might buy another cable and try routing it through the tubing (arm).

      This weekend I’ll find out how it stands up to logging road travel.



  2. #3 by Peter Richardson on August 30, 2013 - 1:24 pm

    Nice! I have been running an ipad 2 in my Van but I hold it up with a Ram mount. Always admire your McGyver spirit. I interface the ipad with the stereo and run an app called BonGiovi for the music because it is swipable and has large controls that can be used while driving. (I find it easier to use than the controls on the head unit)
    For Mapping I rely on Navigon(expensive but good for main roads) try Fugawi imap for topographic maps. (Free, but not great….)

    One tip I got somewhere about managing the cable was close to the heat shrink/magnet idea above, just use electrical tape…. It comes in white. Also check out princess auto for a Velcro cable management tape that they sell. Works well.

    Have a great long weekend.


    • #4 by albell on August 30, 2013 - 1:47 pm

      quick reply ..

      thanks for the app tips. I have a couple I will be trying out this weekend (leaving in 1 hr) on logging roads. I’ll report back on results.

      Yeah RAM mount seems to be a good unit. But is it the one mounting to window? I kinda wanted my pad lower.

      more later,


  3. #5 by Julianna Thoennes on August 30, 2013 - 7:43 pm

    As usual, you have the most awesome additions! I love your innovation Alistair! Great Job!

    • #6 by albell on September 3, 2013 - 6:16 pm

      Hi Julianna,
      thanks for the kind words. The mount worked pretty well on this last weekend’s 4 day/3 night “expedition”. But as you might have guessed, the velcro finally gave up it’s grip after day 3 of logging road driving.

      blog post of trip coming up.



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