7" doubledin car stereo turned infotainment system

On a dark and stormy night…

No wait! While bored and cruising Ebay one night, I impulse bought a 7" doubledin car stereo for $10.00. Not really knowing what I wanted to do with it, I had an epiphany to make it into an internet streaming infotainment device.

I have a few RPI’s lying around so I thought that the PI zero W should fit the bill nicely. Since the stereo is coming from China, I thought I would start putting the zero through it paces and see what it can do and what software/hardware combination I should use.

After installing a full PI install on the zero, I knew it would not do. It was sluggish with all the over head of the OS. I went through a lot of OS distributions trying to find a stripped down music/video OS for the zero that I liked. Most were meant for headless streaming and I wanted one with an interactive interface. I settled for LibreELEC. https://libreelec.tv/

With the OS settled, I now need to decide on the audio hardware to use with zero. I purchased a few audio DACs and have a few USB audio adapters that are RPI compliant.

The video input for the car stereo is a composite input. The zero actually has the ability to output composite video but has to be software enabled. I need to see if it will be usable or try an HDMI to composite adapter instead. All yet to be seen.(Oh! A pun!)

A quick test and it does what it is suppose to do. I might try it with a full blown RPI and see if it is more responsive or just live with the slower cheaper option.

I will update this thread as I continue to play with the combination of hardware and software.


Definitely expect full-size RPi to be faster.

Be aware of the failure on the RPi 4 regarding how to read the specification for wiring up a USB-C connector though!

You could also consider PocketBeagle (not a RPi) which is dual-core Cortex A8:

I use Beagles for a variety of tasks.


No doubt it will be.

I have been following the issues that have arisen from the RPI4 USB-C fiasco which has opened my eyes on USB-C implementation on other electronic devices.

I will have to look into that!

via hackaday:

Used yocto for the custom build. You wouldn’t get the same 5-second boot though, since you wouldn’t be able to disable as much.

1 Like

Wow! I have never heard of yocto but it looks like a great tool to build custom distributions. Thanks as always for the heads up!

1 Like


Too good to be true department. Checking on where is Waldo er my car stereo, I asked Ebay to look into the situation. Well in less than a half hour, Ebay replied with a full refund! The seller is no longer registered with Ebay! Well, back to the drawing board looking for a cheap stereo to hack.

RIP an interesting idea.

I purchased another cheap car stereo with video input for $30.00 off Ebay. It actually came in 3 days!
After playing with it, I realized that my idea was not meant to be. Yes there is composite video in the unit for a backup camera and an aux video input. There is not a way to have the aux input and audio at the same time. If you enable the backup camera, it will disable audio!
So I am back to using an Android tablet with my cheap car stereo. The combination is cheaper than using the RPI and actually more flexible.
Well it was a fun project while it lasted!