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Old 27th November 2020, 15:24   #1
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Having driven around for errands in the town, one thing evident was - android systems are dangerous if your car doesn't have steering mounted controls. In fact I have advised so earlier on other threads also.
  1. These systems (that all have the same front fascia and layout) - have no physical buttons.
  2. While the capacitive screens are enough to put premium car head units to shame - they have all only capacitive touch point "buttons".
  3. For simple things like volume +/-, track seek, answering phone etc - you have to touch the small area that has the input point in the code.
  4. In a moving car - our left hand shakes, the dashboard also moves in a different frame of reference. It is pretty much impossible to rely on "muscle memory" in case of touch screens. (Which is easy with physical buttons!)
  5. So one has to take eyes off the road for more than 2 seconds to achieve the desired action. This is outright dangerous and a big no!

So within weeks from installation - I had already started looking for a good solution to add steering mounted tactile button kit.

And again - it was www.MotorBasket.com to the rescue. The same team from whom I had sourced the head unit, came up with a Bluetooth based universal remote control kit that can be installed on most regularly shaped steering wheels. Ordered it as soon as I saw it with them. For ~2500 INR. Was delivered in less than 3 days.
  1. Kit is simple. It has a BT module that hooks up to the back of the head unit & a steering mounting button kit with an internal replaceable battery in it. The two are paired with each other.

    DIY: After-market steering mounted audio controls for my Alto-kitcontents.jpeg

  2. The BT module has just 4 wires -
    • RED - Connect to +12V anywhere available. I connected it to the Amplifier signal wire. So the BT module works only when the car is in ACC mode & head unit is ON. Used a T-Tap connector for it.
    • BLACK - for Ground. Connect it anywhere you find suitable for grounding. I grounded it together with the ground pin of the head unit.
    • Orange - "Key 1". This to be connected / patched with the "Key 1" wire in the head unit's harness. In my case it was the "Orange-White" wire. 4th wire in top row from the 12V power pin.
    • Grey - "Key 2". This to be connected / patched with the "Key 2" wire in the head unit's harness. In my case it was the "Brown-Black" wire. 3rd wire in the lower row from the GND pin in the head unit's harness.
  3. Except for the red wire - I simply piggy backed the rest of the 3 wires into the head unit's harness' pins. No splicing or anything at all.
  4. The button kit has no wiring at all. Just snap it over the steering wheel & secure it with provided screws OR good zip ties for extra steady fit.


End result after installation -

DIY: After-market steering mounted audio controls for my Alto-steeringbuttons.jpeg


Summary -
  • Installation takes about 30 minutes tops - DIY.
  • Pairing with the head unit is also very easy. The head unit has "SWC Settings" menu (Steering Mounted Controls Settings) in the car settings section. You can select individual actions & then short / long press the button on the kit to pair it. Simple as it gets!
  • Effectively same button can have 2 functions associated. One with a short press, other with a long press. Very good.
  • Works fine even for BT stream music player for seek function also.
  • The most required functions are covered. Vol+, Vol-, Seek>|, Seek|<, MUTE, Phone.
  • Tactile feedback is good - and also makes a tiny "tack" sound on press. Not very premium - but nobody will notice it. Ergonomics are also simple. My muscle memory was trained in 5 minutes for positions. No need to look at the buttons to use.
  • There is no illumination etc on the bottons, so in the dark - its purely on muscle memory. No issue really - like I said - the buttons are easy to operate without looking.
  • At INR 2500 - the kit is a bit costly considering I procured the head unit itself at less than 8000. However, the moment I feel something is a safety concern, I remove cost as a factor. Have to pay what it takes for adding some safety. (You can use this moment for a laugh since I'm talking about an Alto and safety in the same post! ) There are other items to negotiate about.

P.S. - See that brown paper on the floor in the passenger footwell with MSIL branding? Maruti charges INR 5 per sheet as part of your service bill for it in Pune. Thankfully with warranty over - the Alto had its last routine annual service visit to MASS. Henceforth it will be FNG that I already know.

Wiring Connection Detail -

And courtesy of MotorBasket - here is a video of how the wiring is to be paired. Sharing as received from them with credit to them. (The wire colours of the head unit harness are different in my car - but pin positions are the same. This is from some other car of course. I don't do this taped-wire-splicing. Ever.)


Last edited by Aditya : 28th November 2020 at 18:12. Reason: Posts merged as requested
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Old 28th November 2020, 06:52   #2
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Default Re: DIY: After-market steering mounted audio controls for my Alto

Thanks for sharing! Going to our homepage today

Here's the main ICE thread of your car (DIY - ICE ICE Baby! Audio System Revamp in my Alto K10)
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Old 28th November 2020, 15:56   #3
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Default Re: DIY: After-market steering mounted audio controls for my Alto

Congratulations on your SMC Reinhard! How was your experience with the website? I'm looking for an Android system for my 2013 i10 and they seem to have one for 11k, albeit a 1GB RAM variant
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Old 28th November 2020, 19:40   #4
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Default Re: DIY: After-market steering mounted audio controls for my Alto

This is such a neat, clean install. And thanks for introducing me to a new accessories website. My credit card is gonna hate you.
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Old 31st December 2020, 12:21   #5
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Default Re: DIY: After-market steering mounted audio controls for my Alto

Quote:
Originally Posted by jasjotbains View Post
Congratulations on your SMC Reinhard! How was your experience with the website? I'm looking for an Android system for my 2013 i10 and they seem to have one for 11k, albeit a 1GB RAM variant
Thanks! The SMC is working flawlessly till now. Fingers crossed. Very happy that I opted for it. Takes the android head unit experience where it belongs - along with much better safety.

I have been procuring stuff from MotorBasket since way before their website came up. Experience has been very good personally (and for friends) so far. I use a 1 GB RAM variant myself. Haven't felt any lag on it at all. Nor have I seen any better speed in those with claimed 2 GB RAM that some other acquaintances have installed in their cars. Did you go for it? Or still to make a decision?
Quote:
Originally Posted by batladanny View Post
This is such a neat, clean install. And thanks for introducing me to a new accessories website. My credit card is gonna hate you.
Well, do connect with them on Whatsapp also. Many other non-fast-moving items are not on the web-site but in their stock. The gentleman Utkarsh/Rishi are very professional + quite polished in communication also.
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Old 3rd January 2021, 23:07   #6
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Default Re: DIY: After-market steering mounted audio controls for my Alto

So Chinese build quality struck. It was expected anyway since the arms to secure the control unit were flimsy from outset. They cracked and broke.

DIY: After-market steering mounted audio controls for my Alto-img_20210103_225445.jpg

DIY: After-market steering mounted audio controls for my Alto-img_20210103_225401.jpg


Nevertheless, Indian made zip ties to the rescue and this will hold just fine. No lasting damage as such. Nor any surprise / disappointment.


DIY: After-market steering mounted audio controls for my Alto-img_20210103_225514.jpg
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Old 19th January 2021, 22:14   #7
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Default Re: DIY: After-market steering mounted audio controls for my Alto

Oh no!
Please move the heads of the zip ties to behind the steering wheel unless it's uncomfortable that way!

They definitely are an eyesore.

Will this remote work with any other head unit? The non android kind.

I use an AVH X7850BT from pioneer
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Old 19th January 2021, 23:55   #8
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Default Re: DIY: After-market steering mounted audio controls for my Alto

Quote:
Originally Posted by viXit View Post
Oh no!
Please move the heads of the zip ties to behind the steering wheel unless it's uncomfortable that way! They definitely are an eyesore.
Already in the TO DO list. Current setup is stop gap - using 2 zip tags interlinked at each mounting point to get the required length. So there is a link at the back also. Waiting for longer zip ties. Then there will be only 1 link, at the back.
Quote:
Originally Posted by viXit View Post
Will this remote work with any other head unit? The non android kind.
I use an AVH X7850BT from pioneer
That will have to be tried. This module emulates a few different signal standards for 2 wire mounted controls. On an android unit its easy since the interface on the unit has 2-3 different options - one of which matches with this kit's signals for pairing. I don't know what interface you have for the AVH or whether it supports OEM steering mounted control integration. Check if its interface has "SMC Config" or similar menu in settings. If it does - then probably it will be able to integrate with this kit. Although some more research before making the buy would be wise.

Last edited by Reinhard : 19th January 2021 at 23:56.
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Old 20th January 2021, 13:23   #9
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Default Re: DIY: After-market steering mounted audio controls for my Alto

Hi,

Is this position ok in terms of ease of gripping the steering? or does it hinder the free movement of the wheel - especially while allowing the steering to freely recenter itself after a turn.

Ashwin
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