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Old 19th June 2012, 19:29   #16
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Default Re: Suggestions for 2-DIN audio/GPS device

A month of vigorous searching and the quest for A Suitable ICE finally ends.

The saga started on 16th November 2009 with a post where I had argued quite inconclusively with DerAlte about the reasons why replacement of an expensive OEM head unit by an after market one, may not be economical choice.

I had a temporary solution to my problem a Soundfly unit (and still do for emergencies). But it was hardly a permanent solution. The main reason for that was, that it's interface to ipod was through Aux... hence if you forgot to pause ipod when a phone call came in.... you would have to grin and listen to the next number when the call finished. I did not like that.... things needed to be neater and more automated. I could not be bothered to pause ipod when taking a call - I was driving - wasn't I?

And that's when one of DerAlte's points in this post caught my eye - the famed XCarLink. Despite it's Chinese origins (ouch!!) I contacted the dealer: Haneet Anand.
He kindly explained the integration of the device and on February 26th, 2010 for the sum of Rs 4300/- it was finally installed.

The XCarlink is essentially a solid state device that outputs to the back of the CD changer port of OEM units. It has an input port for a Bluetooth radio device - which in turn pairs to a BT enabled phone. It also has two other I/O ports - one of which is a standard 3.5mm Aux-In, and the other a standard ipod interface. The BT unit, XCarlink and OEM HU are daisy chained together. And when a call comes in, the XCarlink is notified by the BT unit, which decides to send a message to ipod to pause. When the call finishes, the reverse happens, and the ipod picks up from where it left off. One needed to switch over to the CD Changer port by selecting the Disc button on the front panel of the OEM HU of the Innova. (see picture).




Despite my reservations about most things Chinese (except food), it worked out of the box... and I was happy.

Fast forward to August 26, 2011, the Innova OEM HU would only intermittently play ipod.
Given that XCarLink is a solid state device, I figured, that it would likely not be intermittently active, therefore the problem lay in the HU. On my next service date, I showed the problem to Galaxy Toyota. At first, they would not listen - as the HU was playing CDs and Radio just fine. However, when I insisted, they relented, and snapped photos and a video of the setup, and then extracting the HU from the vehicle - sent it off to Bangalore for Warranty repair. It came back a week later


Fast forward to 18th May, 2012, the Innova OEM HU had the same issue.
I got it repaired the exact same way, except now, it would not play ipod at all. I told the Warranty guy... he said the CD Changer port is not described in the Toyota Manual. It is not a supported feature. And that's it.

Economics or not... I decided to replace the OEM HU....

(To be continued)
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Old 19th June 2012, 20:47   #17
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Default Re: Suggestions for 2-DIN audio/GPS device

Don't get me wrong!

I had coaxed the dealer's mechanic to install some one else's OEM HU in my car and interface that to the XCarlink. That would not work either - leading me to believe the following possibilities:
a) Either my HU was "faulty" and the other person's HU was also "faulty"
b) Both HUs were fine and dandy - it was the XCarlink which had an issue... well this was not too hard to believe because a week before , it was playing ipod albeit intermittently. It could be a crimped wire...

I told the Warranty guy - he listened to all of my story and then the single line - "you see boss, the CD Changer port is not mentioned in the manual, therefore even if it is faulty - we dont think we can support it- so if the Radio and CDs play - we don't think it is a problem with our unit!" Wierd but quite final in its tone.

Hell, he wasn't even listening - I needed a "solution". I did not really care a fly's backside about the CD Changer port. I needed for the ipod to play through my speakers, and be interrupted automatically when a call came through.

Wearily I listened, and then spoke to the spare parts guy... how much would one of the new OEM units for the Innova cost (apparently these came with iPOD integration) - the quote 75k.....

I also spoke with Haneet - who sold me the XCarlink. He gave me a patient listen... then he told me that XCarlink has stopped manufacturing units that are ipod compatible. And he could not offer any suggestions for repair of my unit either.

The Innova itself is a 2009 model, its manufacturer warranty expires in Nov' 12. I wanted to change out the HU, but I was not sure, if the aftermarket installation would void the warranty.

I was stuck. But I still had the Soundfly. So the temporary solution, saved the daily commutes from sinking into absolute despair!
Being a temporary solution, the wires from the unit hung all over the place, sticking to the interior with bits of sticky tape... ugh!!
Then my three year old daughter's inquisitiveness to trace each exposed wire to its source ... broke my resolve to stick with the temporary solution until Nov' 12.

I wanted a clean solution. No hanging wires. No icky tapes. No pausing ipod when a call came through. No permanent tuning into to FM Ch 1. I wanted things to be intelligently integrated. It was a high end car, it was time, it had a high end ICE!

(To be continued)
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Old 19th June 2012, 22:27   #18
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Default Re: Suggestions for 2-DIN audio/GPS device

Now since I was in the market for an aftermarket HU, like everyone was presented with a cornucopia of options. Kenwood, Blaupunkt, Pioneer, Sony... every major brand had a presence.

Furthermore, I had received a gift of a pair of headrest type Sony LCD screens (B62) and a Sony Receiver from my father-in-law a year ago. Since I had not mustered the courage to use these in the Innova due to the infamous sword of "warranty no longer valid on Toyota" hanging over any aftermarket installation, they were gathering dust in a corner -and looking pretty desolate.

I had an idea....well not an idea really , just a nice juxtaposition of two parallel ambitions.... how about a real nice HU with all the integration in the world I desire, a screen at the back of each headrest, a GPS ... and thus was born my requirement.

DerAlte suggested Kenwood. The top of the line, "intelligent" HU (DNX7380BT) was 75k , besides I would need 2 extra LCD screens - at least another 16k... way outside my budget.

But, I did not lose hope. There must be something out there which would be just what I need.

I checked the low end of the market, the fully integrated - made for Toyota model sold by Map My India. I spoke to their dealer in Gurgaon. The price was good - well within my budget. After the shock of Kenwood, I was almost tempted to go in for it.

But, I guess fate stayed my hand when it reached for the credit card. I stopped by a few reviews on Google, and what I saw - reinforced my core belief. It had to be a product of an iconic brand - No Compromise. Period.

Therefore, I had to define what was iconic...
for Receivers - Sony, Pioneer, Blaupunkt, Kenwood, JVC

For GPS I was inclined to go with MMI - considering
a) there was always an unknown factor of Integration in going for a GPS manufacturer and a Map Content provider.
b) I liked MMI maps since before Google came to the scene.

But I wanted a Receiver which would interface out-of-the-box with MMI GPS solution. I was pleasantly surprised to see that MMI's Navi-Box range does exactly that. Though pricey, it does away with the need to have a separate display for the map, and instead integrates with the display of HU from well known brands - Pioneer, Sony, Kenwood, JVC

Being extremely busy with work, I did not have much opportunity to actually see demos of specific units from these brands. So the next best option was actually pore through the product brochures on the web site, and view the demo videos on YouTube.

I paid special attention to the differentiators each brand had built into their units.
For instance, Sony, has this unique feature - the HU will classify music according to preset "moods". And then when you select a specific "mood", it will play tracks it has categorised. Now,although I am not a self-declared "audiophile", I could figure, this feature was more for western music than the Indian variety. Given to listening rabindra sangeet, or indian instrumental, the very idea -that it would classify my favourite rendition of "Aguner Poroshmoni" by Hemanta Da under "Rock and Roll" - was a tad jarring for my taste... therefore Sony fell by the way-side.

Kenwood, was also good but price remained an issue.

The contest was between JVC and Pioneer.

I contacted the distributor, and through them was introduced to Ankush Sahai a dealer at G-48, Palika Bhawan (opp. Hyatt, Delhi) "The Accessories Shoppe". He proffered to be authorised dealer of all these brands ( I validated that).

I asked him to quote the cost of Pioneer 8490 BT and the JVC KW-AVX846. They were almost similar. I quickly cross checked with my local neighbourhood Accessories shop. I still had not made up my mind... when my son remarked, it would be cool to have a jukebox like thing in the car.

The Pioneer had a track mixing feature, the JVC did not... so Pioneer it had to be.

Asked Ankush for the cost of the setup assuming a Pioneer 8490 BT + NaviBox (MMI) + 2 Sony screens (B62) + steering stalk control adapter + miscellaneous harnesses (no wire cutting) + ipod interface cable + miscellaneous video cables + reverse camera. He quoted 75k , but settled for 73k.

Before getting it installed, I checked with MMI , was Pioneer 8490 BT compatible with their Navi Box? The answer - No.

Back to Ankush - how come you selling me a setup that wont work???

Credit to him, he asked for some time, and actually tested the 8490 BT setup with the Navi Box 200, before calling me back with the news. I told him, please ask MMI to call me and confirm. Which MMI customer service did in a matter of 2 hours. (It seems MMI had not officially tested the Pioneer 8490 BT with the Navi Box yet).

I visited his shop on the way back from work, just to hear how the HU sounds. While no audiophile (the difference between Kenwood, Pioneer, JVC escapes me), I do appreciate crystal clear sound.

I made one final request to him. Irrespective of how much time it takes, I want all wire joints to be soldered. He agreed. I immediately wired him the 73k and fixed up Sunday 10th June for the installation.

(To be continued)

Last edited by joybhowmik : 19th June 2012 at 22:33.
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Old 19th June 2012, 23:59   #19
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Default Re: Suggestions for 2-DIN audio/GPS device

The OEM HU starts coming off

Suggestions for 2-DIN audio/GPS device-dsc_0001.jpg

Suggestions for 2-DIN audio/GPS device-dsc_0002.jpg

The OEM is gone- leaving the original Toyota connectors in place. These would be joined to the Pioneer unit using a harness of Toyota male soldered to Pioneer male connectors.
Suggestions for 2-DIN audio/GPS device-dsc_0017.jpg

The destination for all the wiring! - the back of the Pioneer 8490BT
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Speaker wires from the Toyota-Male Connector and the Pioneer Male Connectors joined up and ready to be soldered.

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Toyota connector -> Pioneer Connector after soldering.
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Steering Stalk Controls adapter
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The Navi Box , its antenna, and speaker installation (in the footwell)
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Working a space for the LCD screen at the back of the headrest was the most timeconsuming. And one guy went at it patiently one after another.

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Finally fixing the reverse camera to the tailgate, was a fiddly job. Notice the red "scotch" connectors which provide power to the camera when reverse gear is engaged (these are the wires powering the reversing lights). The camera powers up by piggy backing on this.
Suggestions for 2-DIN audio/GPS device-dsc_0029.jpg

Not shown , the Video Y connectors connecting the Navi Box and the Sony LCDs to the HU.
Power to the LCD's was provided by inserting a heavy guage wire into the ignition barrel (no cutting/splicing involved) and earthing the negative to the chassis (underneath the gear shift).

(To be continued)

Last edited by GTO : 21st June 2012 at 15:49. Reason: Adding pictures properly. PM coming up
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Old 20th June 2012, 10:26   #20
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Default Re: Suggestions for 2-DIN audio/GPS device

Very nice - Joy is now full of joy!!! Congratulations.

One thing I didn't understand - how was the all-in-1 Kenwood DNX7380BT for 75K (actually <60K street) substantially costlier than the mix-n-match system for 75K?

Last edited by DerAlte : 20th June 2012 at 10:27.
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Old 20th June 2012, 11:57   #21
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Default Re: Suggestions for 2-DIN audio/GPS device

Quote:
Originally Posted by DerAlte View Post
Very nice - Joy is now full of joy!!! Congratulations.

One thing I didn't understand - how was the all-in-1 Kenwood DNX7380BT for 75K (actually <60K street) substantially costlier than the mix-n-match system for 75K?
Thanks Der Alte. The Kenwood system cost was for the HU only. This did not include the 2 additional LCD screens, steering stalk control adapter, toyota harness , reverse camera and other miscellaneous stuff. If one were to add up all that, it would come to about 75k + another 21-22k at least.

Best of all, I am really enjoying the crystal clear sound of the Pioneer with the same set of OEM speakers - what a difference a change in HU can make.

I will post pictures of the finished install. Have not had time to grab the camera and do this yet.
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Old 20th June 2012, 12:29   #22
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Default Re: Suggestions for 2-DIN audio/GPS device

Nice. How much did the Pioneer HU alone cost you?
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Old 20th June 2012, 12:52   #23
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Default Re: Suggestions for 2-DIN audio/GPS device

Quote:
Originally Posted by srishiva View Post
Nice. How much did the Pioneer HU alone cost you?
Hi Der Alte:
The cost breaks out as follows:


I am expecting a further invoice adjustment (downwards) , due to the fact that the dealer has inadvertently given me the wrong ipod cable (the S type cable). However, he has promised to source the right one and replace it.
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Old 22nd June 2012, 18:19   #24
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Happy to report that the Pioneer setup is a roaring success.
Family was suitably entertained on the way to Ramgarh, UA and had excellent directions on way due to the MMI box.
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Old 18th August 2014, 23:23   #25
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Default Re: Suggestions for 2-DIN audio/GPS device

Hi,

Stumbled upon this thread, and the details provided are supremely useful. Am considering going with a similar setup, but perhaps may skip the navigation device. Need to see if i can transmit my cellphone screen on to the HU screen.

Just wanted to check, how has the setup been performing. Any long-term feedback?
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