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How to: Modify the Galaxy Nexus 3-Pin Car Dock to Work With the LTE Version

galaxy nexus lte car dock

On Friday, we told you that the Galaxy Nexus car dock that is now available through the Google Play store, actually does work with the LTE version of the phone after you make a slight modification to it. The volume rocker on the LTE variant is slightly bigger than that of the GSM version, so upon initial insertion, it freaks out a bit. However, after a simple scraping of the volume rocker area on the dock to lengthen the volume rocker hole, this thing works perfectly.

Below, I have two videos for you to see. The first is a simple overview of the car dock and why it is so much better than the cheap plastic thing that Verizon was selling at launch. The second video is all about the modification and how you can scrape away plastic to make magic happen. And yes, this is as simple as it gets. Oh, and the dock works great with the extended battery.

Car Dock Overview:

YouTube Preview Image

How to:

YouTube Preview Image

Downloads:  Carhome | Cardock

Install both of these apps in order to get the car experience with the LTE Nexus.

  • Steve

    I got the volume rocker to fit in there, but when I put the phone in, it doesnt charge, and no apps launch, I installed the apk’s, not really sure what I’m doing wrong

  • https://plus.google.com/117125023630262605212 Kelly

    anyone else having pin alignment issues? Got the volume rocker working great with the instructions, but in order for it to charge or use the audio out, I have to push it out of the case near the volume rocker to make it align. I think I will try some dremeling on the bottom, but just was curious if anyone else had the same issue.

  • zach

    My lte nexus is not charger is there somthing i am missing thanks

  • http://profiles.google.com/jmkentington John Kent

    The dock does not charge my phone. The charging icon comes on, but my phone does not actually charge, even when it’s idle and the screen is off. The pins don’t appear to line up properly.

    Can anyone verify that this dock is ACTUALLY charging their LTE GN?

    • rlorenz

      I’m just going out on a limb here, but do the pogo pins charge like a USB charger? If that’s the case, then you might actually be using more power than the USB can supply. I’ve tested this before–I’ve run nav, music, and a few other things and I’ve actually used more battery than I was charging it with (theoretically). If that’s the case, maybe that’s the problem.

      Perhaps the tweak in Franco’s app to charge at full speed thru USB would work in this instance? Again, just spitballing–I don’t have the dock yet but will purchase it shortly.

      • http://profiles.google.com/jmkentington John Kent

        When I go into the battery settings, it says “not charging”. If the phone is only part way inserted (with the pin side in all the way and the volume side sticking out) the settings says “charging USB.”

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1236115571 Jeff Thurston

          Mine does this too :(

          • http://profiles.google.com/jmkentington John Kent

            The phone is clearly not going into the dock deep enough. A bit of sanding should do the trick, I’ll give that a try as soon as I can scrounge up some sandpaper.

            I’m a bit annoyed at Kellex here, he passed this off as a slight modification. One that would get the dock to work “perfectly”. But clearly it only looks that way and, in fact, requires a bit more involvement. He’s said that he doesn’t even use his Nexus anymore and is giving away his modified car dock, so that makes me wonder how much actual evaluation he did. You’d think that his position as a trusted journalist would necessitate a bit more attention and investigation than just a cursory glance.

  • http://twitter.com/FR3SHJIV3 Jordan

    It worked! I ordered the dock from the Google Play store on Wednesday, when this was posted, and after some carving away some plastic I had it in no time. First time I’ve opened a $60 product and went at it with a knife like that but no big deal. Installed in the car easily and I actually can’t wait to go drive in the usual morning traffic tomorrow.

    Thanks Droid Life!

    Note to readers: this dock comes with a cigarette lighter/12V adapter to connect the dock. I didn’t see it listed in the Google Play store for items included.

  • http://www.twitter.com/nblufire12 Nathan Patel

    Can anyone help? I cut out the volume button and it works well.
    But when I tested it in the car, I couldn’t use my old charger and had to use the samsung one included. When I plugged it in, it had the charging animation on the battery but in battery settings all it said was “Not charging” instead of discharging.

    Also the Aux in does not work. It keeps playing the audio from the phone speaker.

    Do I need a special app to play music through the Aux In…? It’s just not recognizing it.

    • http://profiles.google.com/jmkentington John Kent

      I have the same problem. And I suspect everyone is too, but doesn’t realize it. Examine closely when you put the phone in the dock. Do the pins line up with the holes exactly, or are they slightly off? I also urge everyone who says they’ve gotten this to work to do the same.

      • eturk001

        Duttybungle, in post right under this, says his audio worked. Is it only working for some people?

        • http://profiles.google.com/jmkentington John Kent

          I also got audio to work. But it’s intermittent and I often have to press on the dock to keep it active. It still does not charge properly.

  • DUTTYBUNGLE

    The dock works great for me after the mod. The only problem I am having is when I get a phone call it switches to speakerphone instead of outputting the sound through my speakers. Is anyone else having this problem? Is there a fix?

  • Jeff Clark

    In the video you put the GSM phone into the dock and the stock car app launched but after the mod you inserted the LTE phone and the stock car app did not launch. Can the dock launch the stock car app for the LTE? i would like to try that instead of the Cardock and Carhome app which i use now especially if it would automatically launch when dock is detected.

  • kselby

    May I introduce all of you to the Limb.al: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1782458858/the-limbal#

    I thought that I would need a car dock until I found this. May not do as much as a car dock, but it is one helluva lot cheaper.

  • Will

    Worked for me. Thanks for the video, it was VERY easy.

  • djjsin

    Got.mine today, did the mod and its working great! I found it easiest to take the volume rocker out of the unit and attack it from the outside. Plus when the volume rocker is removed you can see exactly.how big it needs to be since you can see the button

  • bheids

    Is the charging rate USB or AC with the dock? Can it keep up if you are using 4g and navigation?

    • Jeff Clark

      I would like to know this also. Can someone do some real world test and let us know? i modded a Droid X dock with pins from digi-key 4 months ago and my real world tests show the charger will not keep up with 4G on and navigation where the screen is on all the time. Add streaming pandora or something and forget about it. It is charging at USB rate so maybe if this dock charged at AC rate it could keep up.

    • TSY87

      I have the dock, it is AC… and yes, with 4g LTE, nav, screen on, music, you still gain charge.

  • ChrisTraeger1

    The only thing I’m concerned about is finding a good placement for this in my car. I don’t want it on the dash because that is too far a reach for me. Ideally I’d like it around the center console. I just don’t want to end up wasting $60 because of it.

  • panicswhenubered

    Kellen, you scrapped and scratched the s**t out of that thing. I just did mine yesterday with a actual utility knife razor (super sharp). You can’t even tell it was modified. Works perfectly now.

    • panicswhenubered

      Also, something that really bothers me about this dock (other then the price) the way the phone fits into the soft plastic part is really really poorly designed. I always feel like I am going to rip my volume and screen lock buttons off. Imagine putting on and taking off a hard plastic or hard neoprene case every time you insert or remove your phone. This car dock is somewhat of a fail, my old Motorola car dock for my droid was much nicer and cheaper.

  • http://twitter.com/KMBojo Kevin B

    Does this mean there is will not be a VZW 3-pin car dock released?

    • 4n1m4L

      I wouldn’t hold my breath

  • InyRules

    Why aren’t any third party manufacturers making docks that make use of the POGO pins?

    • 4n1m4L

      These are actually more complicated than you’d think. The width of initial pulses is what the dock uses tell the phone what kind of dock its in. Then the phone starts streaming spdif to the dock through the same pin.

      • sonicyoof

        XDA figured it out in a few days…

      • http://profiles.google.com/rpruden07 Ryan Pruden

        the guy just used a steak knife…

  • Hohlraum

    Am I crazy or does that thing actually SNAP passed the volume rocker? Maybe that is why Verizon doesn’t want to use the mount? It seems like it would eventually damage the rocker.

    • ChrisTraeger1

      It’s hard for me to believe Verizon would actually care about the quality of their accessories judging alone by what we’ve seen in the past and present.

    • eturk001

      Verizon already has their own mount which is identical and $49 with NO power or audio. It’s a piece of plastic for close to the same price. They just don’t want competition from another doc. They’re all about Wall Street profits, nothing more.

  • br_hermon

    Ok, i feel kinda dumb asking but… of the downloads in the post, What’s the difference between Carhome and Cardock??? Don’t we only need Carhome?

    • ChuckDz3

      Carhome is the app that launches when you dock your phone. You can use any car app to make this work (Car Home Ultra, iOnRoad) will work just fine. The Cardock app lets your phone know that the phone has been docked.

      • br_hermon

        Ahhh… got ya. Thanks :)

  • ChuckDz3

    Wondering if anyone is having the problem I am having. I purchased one and the mod that Kellex has shown probably won’t work for mine. I have the LTE Nexus and my problem is when I put my phone fully inserted it looses its 3 pin connection. The volume rocker is not my issue, when the phone is docked I can use both the up and down features of the volume just fine. The only way I am able to get connection through the pins (charging and audio) when docked is to have the bottom end where the pins are located inserted into the dock and the top, where the volume rocker is, sticking out. I tried with both OEM stock battery and extended. Anyone else having this problem?

    • RWW

      Another guy on XDM (linked in the Friday Droid-Life story) made a video of his dock in his car. He said he had the same problem as you and fixed it by sanding away some of the flat surface of the dock behind the phone (allowing the phone to sit deeper in the dock). He mentioned it, but didn’t actually show the sanding. He implied it was not difficult though.

    • Ricky Spears

      The first few times I put the phone in, I didn’t get a good enough connection for the audio to work or for it to switch to landscape mode (which was a totally unexpected delight when I saw it). It appears that I have to insert the top of the phone first and make sure everything is seated well up there before I push in the bottom of the phone (I have it positioned so the pins are at the top).

  • Detonation

    Is the audio quality just as good as if you were plugged straight into the phone’s 3.5mm jack?

    • ChuckDz3

      Yea the audio is great. But its just audio out, meaning you can not adjust your media volume through your phone when it is docked, only through your car. When you just have it plugged in through the 3.5mm jack you could adjust it through your phone and your car to get the perfect volume but now it automatically puts your phones volume to the max and you can only adjust through the car’s volume.

      • Detonation

        That’s perfect actually…I currently have an app (Hearing Saver) that automatically turns media volume to max when I plug something in. But it sounds like the 3 pin uses true Line Out audio instead of being amplified through the headphone jack first, meaning its even better than from the 3.5mm.

  • joe

    is it a pain to get it out of the dock? i remember the first car dock i got from verizon that was made “for the nexus” without the pin buttons it would be a pain to pull out of the dock.

  • http://www.youtube.com/kimirPORTALS kimir

    Do the other accessories work with the LTE version? Such as the landscape dock? I would assume no, but you never know.

  • http://www.youtube.com/kimirPORTALS kimir

    Does the AUX port still work properly via the 3 pin? I just want to make sure before I purchase it.

    • http://www.gizmoninja.com/ Tabe

      Yes

      • http://www.youtube.com/kimirPORTALS kimir

        Great. Thanks.

  • http://www.twitter.com/nblufire12 Nathan Patel

    how does this work in my car audio wise?

    i usually use Aux In to my stereo. what changes with the 3 pin dock?

    • http://www.youtube.com/kimirPORTALS kimir

      The three pin is actually your aux port on crack. You just plug the cable into the base of the car dock now, so you don’t have to plug it into your phone every time you want to use it. Just put it in the dock and you’re all set.

      • http://www.twitter.com/nblufire12 Nathan Patel

        beautiful. just ordered

      • jdubski

        Perhaps an uninformed question, but does this mean the audio out is stereo?

        • http://www.youtube.com/kimirPORTALS kimir

          It is the exact same as plugging directly into the phone.

          • jdubski

            Great. Thanks kimir.

          • http://www.youtube.com/kimirPORTALS kimir

            No problem!

      • http://www.twitter.com/nblufire12 Nathan Patel

        Aux in is not working… charging is working but audio keeps playing through speaker…

        • http://www.youtube.com/kimirPORTALS kimir

          I just got mine. It works if you plug in the USB and the AUX at the same time. Not without the usb though.

          • http://www.twitter.com/nblufire12 Nathan Patel

            Nexus was charging and playing music through phone speakers

            Just gave up hope. I’ll just get a plastic dock and stick my chords in my nexus.

          • http://www.youtube.com/kimirPORTALS kimir

            Did you plug in the AUX into a speaker or headphones?

          • http://www.twitter.com/nblufire12 Nathan Patel

            I plug the AUX into the dock and the other end into my car radio aux in port..

          • http://www.youtube.com/kimirPORTALS kimir

            And you have a usb going to it? Weird. Maybe you should download the car dock from the post if you haven’t. Not sure if that would do anything.

          • http://www.twitter.com/nblufire12 Nathan Patel

            yup it shows charging animation too. i downloaded car dock and car home. no luck :(

          • http://www.youtube.com/kimirPORTALS kimir

            Try a wall outlet. See if it needs more power. :/

  • MUTINOUS

    How does that audio work? Does anyone have a video of that?

    • http://www.youtube.com/kimirPORTALS kimir

      I really want to make sure the 3 pin still works properly and well before I purchase this. Please, someone follow up on this.

    • ChuckDz3

      One thing to point out as of right now this is only an Audio Out. Which means it just transfers the volume of your phone either Max Volume or Mute, no in between You can not adjust the media volume from your phone when it is docked. You can only adjust the volume from your car. For example the volume is always outputted at its max therefor you have to have your car audio pretty low since the phone’s volume is being outputted so high.

  • p_droid

    I want to make my LTE Nexus white so badly!

    • al sharpton

      racist

  • NemaCystX

    The volume button modification is optional in my opinion (only if you want to use your volume down key while using the dock) For me it fit perfectly without any modfication and I am using the Extended OEM battery on my VZW Galaxy Nexus, contact pins connect and charge too. I am wondering how to setup an NFC tag though so i can auto launch my music app when its in the dock. I’m not sure how to do it but I have seen others doing it on YouTube (without explanation mind you)

  • http://www.haiensheng.com/#cid-discus Eric Hansen

    Since I haven’t heard much about it, I assume Google Play’s POGO Desktop dock works with the Verizon LTE Nexus without modification?

    • rlorenz

      That’s a big fat NO, from what I can find. I’m researching this myself, and apparently the Verizon Nexus is too fat to contact the pogo pins.

      • GNEX(MOTOX)

        yup…though if ur willing to spill 90 bucks its available on sammy’s site for 90.. price is the only problem..

        • ChuckDz3

          It’s back ordered… AGAIN. Hopefully they are reconsidering the price :)

      • CheeseMcGee

        Actually, I was able to charge mine all last night with the extended battery, and the audio cable worked perfectly! I have the battery door off and it was a tight fit, but it worked. It looks like with a little sandpaper and patience, it will work just fine.

    • Detonation
      • http://www.haiensheng.com/#cid-discus Eric Hansen

        Thanks for the tip!

  • MikeCiggy

    Thanks for the how-to Kellex. Now I can justify the purchase!

  • Kaizen_2012

    Here is a crazy thought, sell one that is specifically made for the Verizon GNEX? There has to be some Chinese engineers out there that can use a ruler and make the modifications.
    Incredible

  • http://www.ashevilletechnologyservices.com Dan Brown

    I bought what I thought was this dock from Fommy.com ($44) a few months back… turned out it was a Samsung dock for the Verizon GNex but without the 3pins. It’s exactly like this dock, and works really well… just doesn’t have the 3pins. It did come with charger, you just have to plug it in the standard jack.
    http://www.fommy.com/view-full-page.php?skuno=93056

  • moozicmon

    Question: Is the dock using NFC in any way? I’m planning on using one of my NFC tags to automate the process and don’t want any potential interference…

    • http://twitter.com/thehammerofthor Jeff Helget

      The dock doesn’t use NFC at all. The audio out is through the middle pogo pin. Should be no issues using an NFC tag. Check out Tasker, too, that’s what I’m using to turn on Bluetooth when the phone is put in the dock and goes into Car Mode.

      • moozicmon

        Thanks! I wasn’t sure how exactly it was identifying Car Mode. I’m still learning how to get the most from Tasker, but so far VERY impressed with what it can do.

  • sru571

    Strange, why does the GSM fit flush but the LTE doesn’t? If it fits in with regular and extended battery, what did Samsung do differently to make this happen?

    • Mikesevenfold

      The GSM version of the phone is slightly thinner than the LTE version

    • http://twitter.com/mikedotdunham mike dunham

      If I recall correctly the LTE version is ever so slightly thicker

    • JohnPA2006

      The LTE with stock battery sat flush, the LTE with the 2100 mah extended battery only stuck out a teensy weensy bit but was still very secure in the mount.

  • Zach

    Wonder if this will still fit if you have a skin on your GNex?

    • http://twitter.com/thehammerofthor Jeff Helget

      It will not. The fit is already super tight with the phone naked.

      • Hawk

        He said skin, not case. Usually, they are very thin. It “should” be okay, but it will most likely damage the skin if it covers the side. If it is a rubberized thin, which is thicker, I would tend to agree, it most likely will not fit.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10602828 Mike Hilal

          It will not fit with a skin. I’ve tested this on mine. It is a super tight fit with just the phone

    • ChuckDz3

      Nope. I can confirm it won’t work. I had a ‘carbon fiber’ skin on the phone and it peeled it back on the first insertion.

      • JohnPA2006

        Huh huh, thats what she said…

  • ERIC REED

    If this is suppose to be the greatest phone ever , why does it seem nothing ever goes right for the d*mn thing?

    • http://twitter.com/SJFee Sean Fee

      Greatest phone ever for devs, modders, enthusiasts… who usually aren’t the target audience of money hungry producers like Samsung & VZ. They don’t want you to hang on to a phone for more than a year.

      • ERIC REED

        To me the OG Droid was the greatest Dev friendly phone of all time!!

  • Markuz

    What a piece of crap!!! you must cut plastic?!? it makes no sense!! Why do I have to pay money and cut plastic to make my phone works on a car-dock? why can these people make a perfect dock that does not require or need any cutting? make something right for/with the damn phone! First this BS with stupid Verizon about the 4.0.4 update and now these people can’t even build something right for the phone. So pay your money and cut plastic to make it fit!! BS!!!!

    • TheWenger

      It’s for the GSM Nexus.
      #takeachillpill

    • trbasil

      Well it’s probably because this isn’t for this phone, that would be my guess. I know I hate it when I try to use a product that was not intended for the purpose that I want to use it for and I have to modify it. Why can’t phone manufactures make a product work for any phone that I have and not just the one that it’s designed to be used with.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000002774924 Graham Green

        While I agree the OPs tone is off base, I find it dumbfounding that Samsung would only produce a non-pogo car mount for the LTE device. Why not make it a pogo mount, then people wouldn’t need to make hacks to GSM accessories.

        • trbasil

          I agree too, but it’s not the first accessory that is different for the two different models (extended batteries and back covers). The OP’s just showing his true mental level I believe.

        • sk3litor

          Cost. Verizon’s nexii make up only 1/4 of all nexii so after paying the manufacturers to make the docks for all other carriers it severely cuts into their profits to have to go back and remanufacture the docks just to fit the Verizon version.

    • Mikesevenfold

      Man, what an annoying little twat you are. No one is telling you to throw your money at this. Yes its aggravating to think that there isn’t an LTE version of this car dock but Droid-Life is trying to help us out by showing us we can buy the GSM version and after 30 seconds of quick tweaking it works perfectly. Breathe dude….

  • Gregory Pickering

    I am curious if there could be a long term issue with what appeared to be such a tight fit. Is damage to the rocker buttons possible? And of course am I going to have to re-attach this to my window every time I snap the phone in and out because of how much pressure is needed to do so.

    • http://twitter.com/MBDOWNS Beamish

      I have the regular VZW dock and the fit looks the same – I have not had to take it off the windshield and can remove it with one hand now after a bit of break in.

    • Gr8Ray

      Mine seems to be softening up nicely after a week of use. And the window suction mount is rock solid. I haven’t removed mine once since the initial install.

    • Ricky Spears

      After inserting and removing the phone a few times, I decided to also cut away a little of the rubber where the volume rocker is. This makes insertion and removal a little easier since I don’t have to push quite as hard to push the volume area in.

      Oh, and the original Verizon dock was really tight at first too and it loosened up some with use.

      • ChrisTraeger1

        That’s good to know then. I’m sure with that extended battery it’ll fatten up some over time

  • http://twitter.com/MBDOWNS Beamish

    Is the charger 1 AMP or 500mA?

    • http://twitter.com/thehammerofthor Jeff Helget

      1A

  • rajman1138

    I am curious how easy it is to get the phone in and out of the dock one handed when its mounted in your car…he seemed to have to wrestle with it a bit with two hands every time he removed it from the dock, could be a hassle when in a car.

    • http://twitter.com/thehammerofthor Jeff Helget

      Not easy, but reports say that the dock sort of “breaks in” and the process becomes easier and easier over time

    • JMac726

      Good question, wondering the same thing. Also, is that plastic or rubber on the edges? I didnt understand his comments about it being longer. Is it going to scratch my phone?

      • http://twitter.com/thehammerofthor Jeff Helget

        it’s a very hard rubber, which would lead me to believe it’ll soften over time, making loading the phone into the dock easier as time goes on

  • sc0rch3d

    i know this is off topic, but the site also has the landscape dock for the GSM Nexus only. are you guys going to try to test that?

  • Tuna

    How about working with the Siedio extended battery???

    • http://twitter.com/thehammerofthor Jeff Helget

      Not a chance

    • http://www.droid-life.com Kellex B

      Definitely not happening heh.

      • Bigsike

        I’ll bet with some significant scraping sanding and possibly cutting you could get it. You only have to make room to come out the back your not changing the overall dimensions of the phone. Just my two cents.

  • http://twitter.com/thehammerofthor Jeff Helget

    I got this dock, and as it says on XDA, your mileage may vary. I had to do the volume rocker scrape, and that fixed that problem, but I still wasn’t getting a connection with the POGO pins with either battery in. The problem comes at the topside of the phone where the camera is, as it sticks out too much to make contact in some cases. I had to take a dremel to the inside of the dock to ensure POGO pin contact, but now it seems to work perfectly, besides the volume rocker being a bit balky. I also suggest cutting grooves in the lip with a dremel or exacto knife where the power button and volume rocker pass. This allows them to slip in and out without being abused every time you load your phone into the dock.

  • sc4fpse

    Needs to be so much cheaper. Won’t even think about it until that price is halved. :(

    • http://twitter.com/WaltPartlo Walter Partlo

      It almost has been halved. Down to $54 from $90. The dock without the pogo pins is $40 at VZW.

      • http://www.droid-life.com Kellex B

        And not only that, but this isn’t just a cheap piece of plastic. This is probably the nicest car dock I have ever seen for a phone.

    • http://twitter.com/Defenestratus Defenestratus

      I think you’ll find that price competitive with docks for other phones with similar features.

      I know that I paid at least $50 for my DroidX car dock at launch.

  • http://twitter.com/Vosko33 Jon Vosko

    Wish i knew this before i bought the regular one from vzw…. oh well

  • TheWenger

    Fantastic. I’m getting wife approval to pull the trigger on this.

    • http://twitter.com/strifejester Justin Ellenbecker

      It is better to beg forgiveness then to ask permission

      • KreeTerry

        i dont think your married lol, my would go postal if i bought this and didnt at least tell her lol

        • John

          Guess we know who wears the pants in that relationship ;)

      • sk3litor

        Rule 19