Lame, Protip

Add Android Charging to a 2017 BMW 5 Series

10/10/2020

One Thing Missing

My BMW is Missing Android Auto!

Recently I treated myself, I went out and I bought a new car. Even though I had purchased a car a year prior, I decided that during the times of COVID-19, I needed an upgrade. I initially tried to get a new BMW on a lease due to a Labor Day sale, but I couldn’t get in the store in time to secure the deal. This, it turns out was a blessing. While they stores were closed for the holiday I shopped all of the local BMW dealer websites.

It turns out there was really no new BMW dealer inventory around me that was desirable. They were offering a deal on the 2020 stock, but there wasn’t really any car that would make your jaw drop. I was interested in nothing less than a five series BMW, and the best you could do was a standard black on black ride. I didn’t want a black car, I wanted a blue car, because it’s my favorite color and BMW makes the best blue color.

I found my ride!

2017 BMW 530i xDrive

Eventually, after searching everywhere – including the online retailers like Carvana – I found the car I wanted to buy. I fell in love with it when I saw it. I decided to buy it when I drove it, no matter the offer the dealer would settle on. I had to have this car, it was time to trade in my Buick. The Buick I decided on after searching high and low for a car that had Android Auto and all the options I needed to feel like I was getting a good deal.

BMW Connect is Amazing

Once I got the car home, I even discovered I could tie it into my Home Automation system. It wasn’t too long before I had it sending out toots on Mastodon.

The only problem I have is that BMW doesn’t support Android Auto! And honestly, I don’t miss it that much. BMW has a much more sleek interface and it ties much better with the dial controls than Android Auto’s touch interface. As a backup I do carry an iPhone 8+, and it does fit snugly into the wireless charging tray and it does perform well with Apple CarPlay in a pinch.

Now, only to charge my personal Android phone.

The Pixel 4XL Doesn’t Fit The 2017 BMW 5 Series Wireless Charging Tray!

I think it fits, but without a case. And a modern phone with it’s glass back for wireless charging is no good without a case to protect it. Hence a catch-22, because there is no way you’ll remove the case each time you want to drive somewhere, and replace it when you get to your destination. No one is going to take the case off and put it back on that much.

So how do we charge it? We could buy a 10 foot cable and let it drape all over our modern auto-machine. Or we could devise a master plan and buy just the right cable.

Mounting the Pixel 4 XL

Phone Mount for BMW Cup Holder
Cup Holder Mount Fits 2017 BMW 5 Series

Since the Pixel doesn’t fit into the wireless charging tray we had to get a mount. There is no chance I’m trusting my phone with a magnetic mount, and no chance I’m hanging it on my vents. I had to find something else. Enter the Topgo Cup Holder Phone Mount (for just less than $20). In the passenger seat, it’s a perfect fit without doing any damage to my new BMW.

But you’ll need a USB Cable!

This solves just one of our problems – we still need a way to charge the Pixel 4 XL, which doesn’t fit in the wireless charging tray of our 2017 BMW. I have, sadly, a 10 foot Micro-USB charging cable. I’m not making that mistake again, it’s a nuisance. I needed to find something smaller.

Short USB-C Cables from AUKEY, the ANKER rip off!

Easy enough, it will only take about 20 minutes of searching Amazon to find the right length. If I was lucky it took only about thirty minutes in reality because everyone seems to measure size differently. Eventually I found the perfectly sized USB-A-to-USB-C cable – the .7ft (8.4in) cable from AUKEY.

Combined these two make a great combo.

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