Car stereo pipe dream

Guys and gals,
I have a pipe dream here that I’m trying to fulfill, but I’m starting to lose hope that it’s possible and I need the experts to give me some advise.

I am trying to use OSMC on my Raspberry PI2, I love the layout, and I would like to implement this as my entire head unit replacement. Here’s what I want out of this:

  • I want it to be used with a touch screen for my car
    *I want it to be bluetooth enabled (I have a usb dongle for that and it will connect to my phone but doesn’t stream) and when my phone/audio device connect to OSMC, I want to be able to control my phones library (even if it’s Google Music) via OSMC
    *I want it to be fluid, it should turn on automatically when I turn the key and turn off safely when I turn the key
    *I want to be abel to switch to the radio, or other inputs, easily
    *Eventually, I’d like to add OBD2 support directly integrated into the OSMC os so that I can cleanly switch between my audio inputs and the OBD scan tool

There’s a couple of other minor things like making all of this very fluid and elegant, but I want to start with this. I am a complete noob, but I’m ambitious and thorough and can learn anything I try to learn. Is this even possible? Is this worth it? Will this be a project that will have an end or will I be constantly fixing and troubleshooting like a bad version of Windows?

Thanks you guys for the help and I really appreciate any and all feedback you can give me!

A Noob

I can’t answer your specific questions, but it seems you are in for a lot of research. One place you might start is here, if you haven’t already seen it.

Good luck with your project/adventure.

Hey thanks, I’ll check that out

Also there’s a lot of good info on with regards to integrating hardware in your car.

Cheers, Liam

I think I can help you in part at least. I’ve just completed an install in my van and have spent MANY hours researching. Most of what you want is possible, some isn’t just yet. Biggest problem you’ve got is the touchscreen idea, which is tricky and requires more programming skill than I possess. I’m using a hdmi screen and the official osmc remote which works well. Also the app running on an iPad mini mounted in the dash. Regarding startup, I have a switch from mausberry circuits in the US which is brilliant, and I’ve set the delay off in such a way that Rpi isn’t shutting down every time I stop the van. I use internet radio, tethering to my iPhone, which isn’t ideal but will work. I stream via an airport express.
You may have to compromise some of your wants but osmc does make a great incar option.


Hey Riccardo,

Thank you for the personal email. What exactly isn’t possible for me to achieve with the PI? Remember, I have zero programming experience, but when I put in the work, typically I pick things up quickly, I’m an engineer. I’ve seen the touchscreen implemented before with the PI, what about it would be difficult? How does the delay off work? Is it tied to constant DC from the car and when the ignition is killed, the mausberry switch activates proper shutdown? What about booting up? What’s the problem with the iPhone tethering exactly?
I’m sorry for the 20 questions, I hate compromising and I want to learn everything I can about this before I dive in and buy everything. I really do like the way OSMC can be customized with skins, but it’s starting to sound like I should just invest in a proper touchscreen head unit.
The main purpose of using the PI is for the customization and to also run engine diagnostics. And somewhere in the future, I’d like to create a custom built suspension control interface for my adjustable suspension, but it’s sounding like all of this is going to be incredibly difficult, if not impossible.

My other idea is to just buy an after market head unit and then use the PI to send diagnostics and maybe the suspension control to my head unit via HDMI or RCA. What do you think?


In my opinion, this is the go-to guy for all things mobile-raspi.

I doubt OSMC will be the distro that you will wish to use for such a use case.

Firstly i agree with ActionA, check out that guys stuff, looks good but i found OSMC did all i needed.
You’ll need a touchscreen working with OSMC if you choose to use it. I found that difficult to achieve as i also needed a reversing camera input and the touchscreen monitor i opted for (double din type) would not configure with OSMC without serious work programming which i didn’t get into.
Delay off.
Permanent 12v supply
Ignition 12v supply(switched)
Download the shutdown script(program) to the switch to enable the delay off(easy)
Set your desired delay, mine is set for 30 mins as I’m in and out of the van during the day so it only shuts down when i leave it longer than 30 mins
Turn on ignition, OSMC boots up, 20-30 approx.
Delay shutdown starts when ignition feed is removed.
So far i can only tether via iPhone hotspot, which is ok but is a faff sometimes. USB is possible i understand but again i couldn’t get it working. IOS 9 possible problem.
Depends what your needs are, i wanted all my music available (500GB+ WAV files) so i needed something to cope with a 1TB hard drive, other cool stuff like internet radio and looks good too. Everything is possible with some knowledge and time and its fun to build it up into something and over come the problems as they crop up.
Hope this helps.