21 Dec 2017

Tamper Resistant Wheel Locking Nuts

Many of the mods that I have done has been purely want instead of need, but this one is a neccessity because of the times we live in! I do not wish for my vehicle to end up like the one below belonging to some unfortunate soul in Bangalore and these OE wheels are quite expensive to replace.

What a sad sight!

The brake pads too!


Given enough time a determined thief will get what he came came for, so what we can do is make it harder for the thief by robbing him off the time and he will be persuaded to go after easier targets. To do this tamper resistant wheel lug nuts should help. Note that the key word here is "tamper resistant" and not tamper proof and it works as a deterrent. Nothing is tamper proof given there is enough time.

These come as a set to suit 4 lug wheels, 5 lug wheels or 6 lug wheels. My suggestion is if your vehicle has 4 lug wheels go for 5 lug set and if your vehicle has a 5 lug wheel set go for 6 lug set, this will let you keep 4 spare lug nuts if required in future. The key that comes with the lug nut set is unique and it makes sense to order and keep a spare key with you. You will need the number on the sticker to get a spare key made.

Have to change the rest of them nuts now. This is a test fit and its perfect. Sits inside the wheel lug nut holes and does not protrude out like stock lug nuts.

I can park with peace of mind even on the road when I travel out of the city. With the wheels upgraded to 17 inchers wrapped with Michelin Primacy 3ST in 225/55/17 the loss I would suffer would be too huge if some low life decides to take off with my wheels. Not to mention that I will be stranded!

Amazon Fire TV In Car Entertainment

The Streaming Device & Why

This was not difficult for me, I chose Amazon Fire TV stick among the three devices I considered initially; 1) Chromecast, 2) Fire TV stick and 3) Roku Express.

Chromecast was not really in contention actually because as an entertainment device it falls short when compared to Fire TV or Roku. The choice had to be made between Roku and Fire TV, and I chose Fire TV as it was available in India officially.

I could have done a car PC or a Raspberry Pi based in car device using headunit as the display screen, but all I need is better in car entertainment and for that I choose the most simplest of the setup which will get it done. Local FM radio stations are crap with more talks and advertisement than good music and the music collection I have is quite old, so with Fire TV I can tune into some Internet radio stations while on the move and catch up on some programs when parked and sitting in the car. If I install a rear roof mounted video screen then it will keep the backseat drivers entertained :-)

The AV Receiver Headunit

To be honest you don't need a stereo even all you need is a tab to enjoy streaming content, but here the topic is Fire TV stick through car stereo/headunit so tabs or other handhelds are not even in my options list.

To get Fire TV play through car headunit you need 1) An AV receiver headunit with atleast WVGA resolution, 2) AV input and 3) two USB power source for Fire TV stick and 4G wireless router dongle or the "wingle". No.3 is good to have if a simple and dicreet install is preferred, a regular USB car charger plugged in a cigarette lighter socket works just as well.

I had this part really really easy because my Pioneer 8890BT already had a HDMI input port and two USB ports supplying 1.6 amps each more than enough to power the devices! God bless Pioneer! Yaay!

So all I had to do was hook it up. So easy! Because I want this is to be a hidden installation with no wires or devices visible outside I chose to use both the two USB ports to power up the Fire TV stick and the wingle. This means leaves me with no USB port for my phone to connect to the stereo for Android auto. But this is not such a big problem and its easily solved because the only thing that I really use Android auto is to display google maps on the larger screen of the stereo when travelling somewhere new and the map displayed on the screen is a major advantage, but problem is solved using Miracast supported by my phone and the Fire TV stick, its easy, I tried it and it works.

Installation is really really easy, all you have to do is replicate what you do to install the Fire TV to your home television, connect the HDMI cable then power it using the USB port and find a suitable place to stck the stick using 3M double sided tape. Wingle installation is the same except you need only USB connection for the power. I placed themboth next to each other and bot are hidden from the view. A proper hidden installation.  I decided to hide the devices is because I plan to leave this in the car indefinitely and when I give the vehicle to the workshop or some other place I can't trust myself to take it out without forget. If I leave it in there in plain sight I do not want to end up losing the devices.

In the photo below you can see 4G wingle and Fire TV stick both stuck close to each other and out of sight of any prying eyes and the cables neatly tied to the crossbeam behind the dashboard.

Things get a bit complicated if the stereo does not have a HDMI port but its not a dead end as long as the headunit has audio and video input ports. All you need is a HDMI to RCA converter and the respective cables to connect to RCA input to your car stereo. And for the power supply to Fire TV and wingle use a 2 port cigarette lighter socket USB charger to power it up.

The Internet

For an enjoyable without breaks and buffering interruption mobile content streaming experience you need a reliable and fast broadband Internet connection, if there is none then no reason to proceed, it won't work. A 4G connection is recommended to stream high quality audio & video but a 3G connection might work for lower content quality settings. Fire TV stick has three options to choose from - Good, Better and Best, based on your broadband connection speeds and usage limits you may choose one manually. If you let Fire TV decide the quality settings over a reliable and strong 4G connection it will choose the highest quality settings and will eat through your usage limits in no time. Be warned!

Without getting into the corporate or political side of things I wholly welcome the move by the Ambanis and it has definitely made life better for the average Indian including me when it comes to the connected world. Before Jio there was no nationwide, reliable and roaming charge free mobile broadband service with decent connection speeds wherever they are present with their cell towers. Jio was a revolution, and thanks to Jio now competitors have come up with better schemes and faster speeds to serve the Indian market. And obviously as you may have guessed by now my choice of 4G connection provider for my Fire TV stick is Jio.

I am doing a permanent 4G WiFi hotspot installation in my car instead of using my phone as a WiFi hotspot. For this I need a 4G LTE WiFi dongle without battery so that it turns on and shuts down with the car headunit whenever its powered up and powered off. Another reason of not choosing a battery powered wingle is to prevent any battery related issues when the device is subjected to high in car temperature when its parked in the sun.

All that tape you see wrapped around the wingle and the Fire TV stick is to help keep the wires connected to the device securely as the installation is not a typical home environment and I do not want the cables to loosen up and come out over time due to engine vibrations and road undulations. Strong fibreglass tape under the insulation does the actual securing, and the black insulation tape just holds it tight together.

Amazon Fire TV on Pioneer AVHX8890BT

And here is the final result. The pics are of some random programs and an Internet radio station. With the option to install a lot of apps the whole deal looks good.

And oh I almost forgot, there is Alexa in the bundled voice remote. All I have to do is to tell Alexa through the voice remote and she will respond with a list of options and if I am being more clear the first time she will follow the instruction readily.