Review by Lutz Bendlin
We are reviewing a lot of different gear, and each of them comes with their own mounting solution (or sometimes with nothing, requiring a solution). Give the increased theft rates related to windscreen mounts (and also legislation in some US states that forbids windscreen mounts) you have to decide in each case if you want to take the risk or rather invest in a dashboard mount.
The problem is that there are too many, seemingly incompatible solutions on the market. I have found myself tinkering with a few custom adapters lately and wanted to share my learnings.
While Brodit is the undisputed leader in providing car specific adapters for the dashboard (and those adapters are really, really nice - they do not damage existing hardware, and blend in with the car interior) they do not always have the best solution for the device holder part.
Herbert Richter makes the best passive device holders, but Arkon and Brodit also have some good solutions to offer. Even Seidio from time to time come up with some solid solutions, both active and passive.
So the easiest solution to this problem would be to create some adapters that would couple these mounts in a useful way. For windscreen mounts (rental cars, short term solutions) we need an adapter "to HR" and for the dashboard mounts (your own car, permanent solution) we need something "to Brodit".
The HR mount has the well known four ratchets plate. Thankfully they also offer the receptacle for this with an adhesive at the back. All you need to do is glue the Brodit base plate onto the HR adapter.
Brodit base plate
To the left: HR adapter side (you can see the gooey stuff through the holes). To the right : Brodit base plate side (again, the gooey stuff is visible through the holes). The glue is hardening when exposed to air, and is holding very, very tight. There is absolutely no chance that this comes loose.
Result: You can connect any Brodit device holder to any HR windscreen mount.
If you want to connect HR (or other) device holders to your Brodit dashboard mount you will obviously need a different adapter.
The Brodit solutions always come with the oval shaped item that holds the screw, and slides into the receiving ring of the Brodit base plate. This oval needs to be fastened to a HR four-ratchets plate.
This requires a little bit more work, but is still manageable inside half an hour (unless you have to do everything with one hand because the other hand is holding an overly curious infant)
You need to drill two sinkholes for the brodit screws (note that I had to file down the screw heads to make them level with the plate) and a "technical opening" hole in the middle to be able to get to the fastening screw.
If you don't trust the Brodit screws you could also add some superglue but I don't think that is necessary. All I did was to file down the extruding parts of the Brodit screws to avoid scratches and bleeding during installation.
Result: You can connect any HR mount to your Brodit dashboard holder.
Next up: Connecting an Arkon device holder to Brodit.
Conveniently, the Arkon device holder also has the bowl shape form that we need to connect to the Brodit base plate, and to allow for some turning and swiveling. The only problem is that the inner part of the Arkon holder is too small for the Brodit screw.
So what I did was to create a contraption out of three different washers to a) prevent the screw from falling through the hole and b) allow the same swiveling as with the bowl shaped insert.
Here I have used superglue to glue the washers together. I'll report how long this holds. My finger skin is slowly healing back.
The result: You can now connect any Arkon holder to your Brodit dashboard mount.
For example this one (the HP iPAQ 310 holder). Again, note the "technical opening" hole to gain access to the fastening screw for the Brodit base plate.
Custom custom adapters
Sometimes you have a weird device specific holder that you need to connect. I had that with my TomTom One XL holder. The windscreen suction mount was doing anything but, and I wanted to put the XL onto the dashboard anyhow.
Rummaging through my garbage bags I noticed that the Seidio bowl adapter does actually fit onto the Brodit base plate.
Seidio base plate and bowl adapter
Seidio and Brodit base plates side by side
I didn't have any suitable Brodit bowl adapters left, but plenty of Seidio adapters. So I took to my fine saw and started trimming the Seidio bowl adapter. One of the design goals was not to destroy the original One XL holder, so I also had to drill a large hole into the Seidio adapter to accommodate the ball-gripping piece (you see it between the two screws).
I did have to drill a hole into the XL holder to get access to the Brodit screw for fastening.
As a nice value add I stabilized the Seidio adapter against the XL holder with a piece of leftover plastic. This reduces vibrations in the mount, and also holds the XL more snugly (rattling noise was one of many complaints about the XL holder)
Given enough time, motivation, and leftover materials you can create universal mounting solutions that can accommodate any combination of mounts and holders from different manufacturers in a safe and secure way.
Un(sur)mountable? We Think Not.