Dash-mounting your mobile devices

9

I like to use my phone and/or my iPad for navigating. We’ve used many different methods over the years for mounting our devices on our dash. In the past, we’ve used vertical surface area to attach Velcro, stick a bit of the other side of the Velcro to the back of your device and you have an easy dashboard mount, but the Velcro on the back of the device gets messy after a while. When we had a Rand McNally dashboard GPS, we used a beanbag type of mount up on top of the dash.

Currently we are quite happy with these magnetic mounts by Wizgear. The mount is a magnet on a swivel base with adhesive so you can just stick it to a flat part of your dash. Your phone or tablet must have a metal plate so it can connect to the magnet. Several stick-on metal plates come with the magnetic mount. These are so convenient! Just touch your device to the magnet and it’s mounted. Want to hold your device? Just grab it and pull it loose.

In addition to the mounts that stick to the dash with adhesives, you can also get ones that clip onto the the air conditioning vents. We find these to be a bit more problematic, but we love to position our devices in front of the cold air to keep them from overheating when they’re navigating.

You might notice that the iPad mounted to the dash is in a case. We just stuck the metal plate to the back of the case. The mounts are inexpensive enough ($2-10) that you can keep a few extra around just to use as a hand-holder for the iPad as well.

Don’t magnets damage electronic devices like phones? Back in the day of computers and magnetic disks, this was a real problem, but not now. The data storage technology in phones is not magnetic and is not affected by magnets. A powerful magnet may possibly affect the compass in your device, but the small magnets used in these mounts, or other cases, are nothing to worry about.

Chris Guld is President and Teacher-in-Chief at GeeksOnTour.com. She and her husband, Jim, produce a free weekly online show called What Does This Button Do?  They have been Fulltime RVers, popular seminar presenters at RV Rallies, and regular contributors to RVTravel.com, for many years. Chris is also the author of Mrs. Geek’s Guide to Google Photos, 2nd edition just released, available on Amazon.com.

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Dave
1 year ago

I use the updated RV Co Pilot GPS Navigation App. IMHO the very best dash mount to hold an ipad (nice big screen when your sitting 4 feet away) is this mount. It does not move or bounce around on the dash. I have bolted the plastic base plate to the dash. The sticky stuff loosens due to the heat. I ordered this from Amazon.

* Premium Car Mount Dash Holder Swivel Cradle Dashboard Dock Stand for iPad, iPad Air, Mini, Pro 9.7 10.5 – LG G Pad F F2 X X2 – Verizon Ellipsis – Samsung Galaxy Tab – All Tablets from 7 to 11 inch https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072NGSZB9/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_8sAmCbHH694NJ

Kenneth D Pike
2 years ago

I use a mount that fixes two problem. It’s a mount that puts the phone vertically on the A/C vent. Adjusting the vent fine tunes the way the phone is pointing. The second benefit is it keeps the phone cool. Mine would sometimes overheat especially when it’s exposed to the sun, and running intensive software, like GPS.
I don’t know the brand, it was a gift.

Dave Powell
2 years ago

I have had good results with a company called ROKFORM. I have used their magnetic mounting system in all my vehicles, from my pickup to my wife’s Suburu and recently our Coachman class c. Widely available on Amazon, I give them four stars! Not affiliated with the company but I use their products everyday

bjensen6
2 years ago

I just got a new phone and was looking for a dash mount for it. The one I bought was magnetic and came with a metal plate. I installed the plate to the inside of the back of my phone and it works great.

Gregory Illes
2 years ago

Chris, maybe you can help me with an annoying issue….

We have a 10-year-old Volvo with a plastic (vinyl?) dash top. Semi-pliable, pebble-grained surface. No matter what I’ve tried (cleaning with detergent, alcohol, etc.), I have not been able to get a GPS mount base to stick to that dash.

It’s sloped, so beanbags don’t stay in place. Suction cups are useless. After a decade, I still have no solution.

Wolfe Rose
2 years ago
Reply to  Gregory Illes

I’ve had acceptable luck with industrial velcro and 3M adhesives, but they still cook off in serious heat, so I just replace the dash side every few years.

Have you tried Command Strips? They stick to more things than I’d have expected, and still removable.

If you abandon needing to remove it eventually, polyurethane glues like Gorilla should work, or even go with 5min epoxy…

Ron
2 years ago
Reply to  Gregory Illes

I have used double sided tape to stick something smooth to the dash and then use the suction mount that came with the device to stick to that, so it is easy to remove.

Jim Guld
2 years ago

I hear you.
Our experience is not the same. Real world.
This is our realm.
We have used multiple different devices using our magnetic mounts. 2 different iPads. 2 Different Android tablets. Several smartphone devices.
I always have a Samsung Note 3 running as our rig hotspot and Alfred security camera. My Pixel XL is usually running Waze when traveling. Chris usually has her iPhone running Google Maps.
No issues with compass or navigation as far as we can tell.

Wolfe Rose
2 years ago

I hate to refute experts, but..yeah… while sticking magnets to classmates’ hard drives may be a fading prank, magnets DO still harm electronics. Most mag-mounts mess up the phone compass, but that’s not critical since GPS still sees movement. You just spin at stops. But most mag mounts are very weak for their bulk.

“Better” ones use neodymium and hold better – but may make your phone slowly lose its mind. I have one meant for a tablet that holds great – except the tablet INSTANTLY crashes when placed near it. I’d assume the gauss strength is high enough that it is acting like a little EMP as you approach (magnet + traces = stray induced voltages). Bad news, and I would worry what the long term effect of even sitting in the static field would be.

My favorite mount right now is a cam-activated grabber… nothing on the device, it’s own weight makes the sides of the mount hold on. Lift upward, and it’s free as ever. With very limited unused dash space, I wired the mount in place over some trim so it can’t fall off the dash, making it a rock solid solution.