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New head unit with wifi reception?

Discussion in 'Technical Chat' started by hazard2600, Jul 6, 2016.

  1. Jul 6, 2016 at 10:06 AM
    #1
    hazard2600

    hazard2600 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Hey All,
    I'm looking to upgrade my in dash radio with a 2din LCD unit. I recently bought a wifi DBii to connect to my phone for diagnostic data. Does anyone know of a head unit that can accept that signal? So I can see all my diagnostics on my head unit?

    A guy can dream! ;)
     
  2. Jul 11, 2016 at 9:50 AM
    #2
    tgear.shead

    tgear.shead Well-Known Member

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    Your issue isn't going to so much be whether or not it has wifi or bluetooth capable of "technically" connecting with the odb dongle (bluetooth is a better option than wifi, FWIW... uses far less power), but rather whether the device can run the SOFTWARE that you need to make use of it.

    So there are really a couple of options you have;
    1) Get a head unit that runs ANDROID AUTO, that way you can forward the display from the phone to the head unit. In other words, you don't NEED to either install special software on the head unit, or worry about whether it can talk to the odb device.
    2) Get a head unit that runs ANDROID (i.e., full blown Android, not just a program that can interface with an Android phone), of which they ALL can deal with wifi/bt and run all the software you need.

    Option 2 is best in theory, but the problem there is that all of the mainstream big name head unit manufacturers are more interested in peddling their crapware than making something that is decent for the consumer, which leaves you with cheapo chinese hardware, like this; https://www.carjoying.com/android-5-1-car-stereo/android-5-1-car-stereo-2din.html

    Option 1 can be done with mainstream head units, like pioneer, etc., but this means that the device itself is relatively crippled.


    Edit: This thread reminded me that my kenwood is a piece of garbage that I really really really HATE. So I placed an order for one of these;
    https://www.amazon.com/Lollipop-Receiver-Navigation-Bluetooth-subwoofer/dp/B01EG4S20K

    It has a crappy CPU (but still tons better than any of the "big name" units, which won't even admit that they are running 15 year old tech still) and only 1GB of RAM, but its Android 5.1, which isn't TOO dated, does hands free calling, etc. Guess I will see how that works out. If its terrible, I'll return it. Oh right... one thing it has that MOST chinese head units don't: AM radio! Most have FM, since it is provided by a lot of wifi/bt chips for cellphones, but a genuine AMFM radio receiver IC with RDS is a special thing.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2016
  3. Jul 11, 2016 at 1:17 PM
    #3
    hazard2600

    hazard2600 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all the details! I cam to the same conclusion about all the crapware on good brand decks. I was considering making a bold move to something like this that has dual video inputs for two cameras too...
    I'm an android novice and have only had jailbroken i devices all my life.

    Would this qualify?
    https://www.amazon.com/Pumpkin-Andr...25&keywords=Pumpkin+Quad+Core+Android+4.4#Ask

    I care less about droppin da beat. And more about actual functionality. ;)
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2016
  4. Jul 12, 2016 at 7:54 AM
    #4
    tgear.shead

    tgear.shead Well-Known Member

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    Most of the Android devices should be able to handle 2 (or more) cameras. They typically have an RCA NTSC/PAL input, as well as USB. That means that you could hook up one or more cheap USB cameras, possibly via a USB hub.

    One thing to note about the chinese head units... they are notorious about NOT upgrading android versions, which means that you can pretty much expect that whatever version it ships with, it will ultimately die with (and I'm not suggesting that it will die soon or anything). The one you linked to is showing Android 4.4, which is pretty old already. Android 5.1 is 2015, and frankly, the changes from that to 6.0 are fairly minimal, so it would be good for a longer time. FWIW: Android 7.0 is scheduled for release in 3rd quarter this year.

    One of the things about the RCA inputs is that it may or may not be possible to record from them! On the joying units, the RCA input IS exposed to Android, there is also (apparently?) a reverse switch that is able to route the video straight out to the LCD if the OS isn't fully booted up yet, and while nobody bouncing around on the joying or xda forums have managed to successfully record from the RCA inputs, I happen to know a bit more than they do about V4L2, which means that I know how to capture the video directly rather than routing it through the Android camera API. I anticipate that capturing video from RCA will require root.

    If you are going to be capturing video from multiple USB cameras, the limitation you will have to be careful about is the peak bandwidth available on USB 2.0. While some of these units have 2 or more USB sockets exposed, what is not clear, is if the SoC itself has more than ONE USB interface. These units may already have a hub chip in them. If you start running into USB bandwidth limitations, then you'll need to deal with it using tricks like reducing video resolution, increasing video compression settings (compression is typically performed at the camera itself), or reducing framerate. This "problem" will be mitigated a lot as USB 3.0 starts to become more standard. Unfortunately, the SoC's on these chinese head units currently DO NOT support USB 3.0.
     
  5. Jul 12, 2016 at 3:23 PM
    #5
    hazard2600

    hazard2600 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Dude, thank you for all the time you put in for your responses. I appreciate your input! It seems difficult to get any educated responses from anyone. I'm definitely jazzed about the android based head units. One question is can the units OS be upgraded to the latest OS? From your talk, it doesn't sound like it can be. In which case, I should look more towards a 5.1+ OS device.

    I did a bunch or research and was going to go with a Pioneer head unit and all the items needed to integrate it (steering wheel controls, JBL Amplifier interface, etc.). I'm assuming these would all still function properly when used with a Pumpkin or Joying (android) head unit with the same functionality. I was also going to integrate a built in rear view camera as well by moving the output display from the rear view mirror to the head unit.

    Cheers! and thanks again for your help!
     
  6. Jul 13, 2016 at 9:20 AM
    #6
    tgear.shead

    tgear.shead Well-Known Member

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    I'm actually learning about these myself as I go along. But what I gather, is that there are two "reference" designs out there, in use by MULTIPLE manufacturers.
    MTCB (older, apparently CANNOT be updated to 5.1)
    MTCD (newer, ships with nothing OLDER than 5.1).

    There are several components in the head unit itself, but the primary TWO components, are the MCU board, and the CPU board. The MCU board has an 8051 processor that manipulates all of the accessories, such as AMFM radio, audio output amplifiers, etc. The CPU board is essentially a snap in board with the CPU, RAM, and Flash memory on it. The neat thing about this is that the CPU board can be replaced or upgraded.

    The older MTCB designs were initially shipping with rockchip 3066, which was a dual core CPU. These could be upgraded to the rockchip 3188 (4 core) just by swapping the CPU board.

    The MTCD units are a completely new MCU board with upgrades throughout, the CPU board also has a different pin configuration, which means that an MTCD MCU board requires an MTCD CPU board.

    Some manufacturers are offering 5.1 upgrades for their MTCB units, which basically involves replacing the MCU and CPU boards with MTCD. So that tells you a bit about the future of MTCB!

    Steering wheel controls are actually a heck of a lot EASIER on the chinese head units. UNLIKE the big name head units, they DO NOT require a converter box!!! You just wire the three SWI controls (swi1, swi2, gnd) straight into the head unit, and run the button mapping program. The chinese head units read the resistance values from the steering wheel resistor network directly.

    Regarding the jbl interface, after briefly looking into that, it seems that it should be just fine. Looks like it is basically a power control for the amplifier?
     
  7. Jul 13, 2016 at 10:16 AM
    #7
    hazard2600

    hazard2600 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    That's cool to know! It sounds like there is becoming a standard out there for head units much like computer parts like CPU/ram pin formats, etc. Which tells me that even thought these are Chinese, it'll probably become a universal standard
    eventually. Especially, since they allow you to upgrade the actual hardware. That's sweet!

    I think so. I've been out of the car audio game for about 20 years. Back when I had to wire up my own crossovers and equalizers. lol From what I have done to a friends car, his needed a power cable from the battery and a remote switch cable going from the HU to the amp in order to turn it on. I'm not sure how it all works specifically. But I guess I can always get it later if the sub doesn't work. Not that I care that much about bass anyways anymore. ;)

    I just sent a question over to pumpkin yesterday and already got a good answer back. When I deal with a new (especially overseas) company...I like to test out their customer service before I actually buy to see how well they can answer. ;)
     
  8. Jul 14, 2016 at 11:53 AM
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    hazard2600

    hazard2600 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Just curious, which head unit are you looking at getting from Joying?
     
  9. Jul 14, 2016 at 12:32 PM
    #9
    tgear.shead

    tgear.shead Well-Known Member

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    Like this;
    https://www.amazon.com/Lollipop-Rec...fer/dp/B01EG4S20K/175-4961892-4182316?ie=UTF8

    They basically have three "standard" versions. 7" with volume knob at top, 7" with volume knob in middle, and 10". The difference between the two 7" is quite literally just in the position of the volume knob. Weird that they'd bother.
     
  10. Jul 14, 2016 at 9:30 PM
    #10
    hazard2600

    hazard2600 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I think I'm going to go with this one too. I emailed pumpkin and never got a decent response.
    My responses from Joying have been much clearer and precise.
    I'm going to need the Bluetooth obdii unit, jbl amp harness, a frame kit I just bought off Amazon, second (front) camera and the radio.
    By the by, do you know if these have hd radio? I've heard nothing but good about it...but never tried it myself.
     
  11. Jul 15, 2016 at 7:47 AM
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    JohnnyBgood

    JohnnyBgood New Member

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    My '09 TRD OEM stereo caught the ghost too. I'm looking hard at this unit to replace the one on the fritz. If someone installs the Joying 7 (5.1 Lollipop) please let us know how it goes start to finish? Much obliged. jbg
     
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  12. Jul 15, 2016 at 7:48 AM
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    hazard2600

    hazard2600 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Well, just ordered my setup off the CarJoying site. Found a 5% coupon ("carjoying") too. So I almost got a free bluetooth obdii device out of it. lol
    I ordered a faceplate off Amazon 'cause I didn't like the flat black one they recommended.

    upload_2016-7-15_8-46-28.jpg
     
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  13. Jul 15, 2016 at 9:13 AM
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    JohnnyBgood

    JohnnyBgood New Member

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    Right on! I just sent a few questions, most importantly does the device have HD Radio capability? Did yours require the amp kit in you're order? I have the standard OEM 6 disk I'm replacing and want sure if I need it. Thanks!
     
  14. Jul 15, 2016 at 10:05 AM
    #14
    hazard2600

    hazard2600 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    My understanding is that the JBL harness I bought is primarily for the AMP & subwoofer. The 6 disk player is just a head unit and shouldn't require anything special. As far as I can tell, this unit does not have HD radio. which is it's only downfall. But it is android based, so you can get apps for music I imagine.
     
  15. Jul 15, 2016 at 10:32 AM
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    tgear.shead

    tgear.shead Well-Known Member

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    They do NOT have an integrated HD radio, but frankly, is there anywhere in north america where there are hd radio broadcasts? I think they have dab[/+] addons, or you could get something like a DMHD-1000 and hook it to the aux-in ports.
     
  16. Jul 15, 2016 at 10:43 AM
    #16
    hazard2600

    hazard2600 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I just learned from wikipedia, As of May 2009, there were more stations in the world on the air with HD Radio technology than any other digital radio technology. More than 1,700 stations covering approximately 84% of the United States are broadcasting with this technology. Whereas DAB is more of a European/asia thing. I'm not uber excited about this feature as much as the OBDii interface, dual cams and air play for my iphone. After all, I still have analog radio, which works fine up here in Denver.
     
  17. Jul 15, 2016 at 10:45 AM
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    tgear.shead

    tgear.shead Well-Known Member

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    eyephone? You should consider upgrading. Those haven't been "cool" since 2007. Should be a new round of Nexus shortly with Snapdragon 821....
     
  18. Jul 19, 2016 at 8:13 AM
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    tgear.shead

    tgear.shead Well-Known Member

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    Ok, so mine has arrived. Haven't had the chance to install it yet, but that is coming soon.

    First impressions;
    1) The digitizer (touch screen sensor) is made of PLASTIC, not glass.
    2) Its pretty light, which is understandable, since it is basically just a big empty box. Unlike the old days, there is no big mechanism in there for feeding CDs, nor need for 17 different circuit boards for all the separate functions.
    3) I'm not sure how much you can expect out of the integrated 45x4 amplifier, probably not much. The unit has NO active cooling, and the amplifier's heat sink is not very substantial.
    4) It comes with TWO wiring harnesses, one is an "ISO", which is apparently some attempt at standardization of car audio plugs, yet no car uses it, so if you want to use it, you need to buy an "ISO-to-YOURCAR" harness and end up with two plugs in the line instead of just one. It also comes with a conventional harness with a bunch of wires sticking out of a plug to wire up to a regular wire.
     
  19. Jul 19, 2016 at 9:47 AM
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    hazard2600

    hazard2600 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Let us know how the wire-up goes. They told me that the steering controls are built into the ootb harness. Unless they meant the JBL harness I ordered. I should be getting my delivery tomorrow. That's crazy fast coming from china.
     
  20. Jul 20, 2016 at 7:27 AM
    #20
    tgear.shead

    tgear.shead Well-Known Member

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    I just noticed your order list, and you paid more than three times too much for the elm327. They're worth about $6.00.
    https://www.amazon.com/Version-Bluetooth-Multi-Language-12Kinds-Android/dp/B00N2K6M2A

    Yeah, that is crazy fast from china. They obviously ship them by air.
    Similar to mine, Amazon was saying it would be mid-end of August, but it was something like 2 business days (and a weekend on a truck or train).
    The steering wheel controls are pretty easy to hook up.

    My hookup... now note that mine is NON-jbl, so this is not going to carry straight through to you, but some of it might be useful reference for you or others.

    Note: ALL wires connected using solder and double-layered heat shrink tubing (the kind with the glue that oozes out). The finished harness was wrapped in electrical tape.

    Near to the bottom of the first post in this TUNDRA thread ( ), there is an image indicating SWG, SW1, SW2 on it. While it is referencing a Tundra, the wire on Tacoma is identical. This image is a view of the plug on the wiring harness, looking into the plug itself (wires facing away). When you hook up the NEGATIVE wire from your Tacoma wiring harness to the Joying wiring harness, splice in a third wire to run to the SWG. The Joying wiring harness has two other wires indicated for the steering wheel controls, hook one of them to SW1 and the other to SW2. Nothing else is required! I didn't have any socket to fit this plug, so I soldered the wires onto a 2.54mm 3-pin SIP header that I happened to have, and forced that into the plug. The spacing isn't the same, but the SIP header was flexible enough to jam it together like that. Then electrical taped the hell out of it.
    *** Now my suspicion is that what you refer to as the ootb harness connects up to this plug, exposing these three wires or just dealing with it altogether for you.

    Most of the wiring is very straight forward. Just hook up like colors straight together. The only two that are a little bit "iffy" are the ORANGE and BLUE wires on the Tacoma harness. The one I was working with is like this one; https://www.amazon.com/Stereo-Harness-Toyota-Tacoma-installation/dp/B00683W092
    If you look at it carefully, there is one orange wire -- this should correspond to the ILLUMINATION wire on the Joying harness (which has two orange wires). Two of the wires on the joying harness have inline fuses on them, the "power antenna" and the "amplifier on/off". The issue is that on the Tacoma harness, the BLUE wire is looped to TWO pins in the socket. The reason for this is that most aftermarket head units only have ONE wire for controlling an amplifier and power antenna, not two, so they just loop them together to control both. Since the joying has two wires for this, you can cut that loop and hook into them separately! On the Tacoma harness, the pin immediately beside the ORANGE wire is the AMPLIFIER wire, the next one is the ANTENNA wire.

    Now onto the actual unit's functionality!!!
    I went into this purchase with EXTREMELY LOW expectations. I've seen and tried out several chinese android tablets, played around with rockchip hardware, etc., and I have always been extremely disappointed in how they work, especially when you compare it to the most premium Android devices -- the Google Nexus line. BUT, the kenwood I had in my dash was such a piece of garbage, that I figured that ANYTHING would be an improvement.

    I will say right now that this thing surprised me, in a very good way! First off, it LOOKS a lot nicer than the kenwood piece of trash (which appears to be aesthetically designed by and for teenagers). It is fairly minimalistic, has one label at the bottom that says "Joying" (I very strongly suspect that this made up word is a mistranslation of what their name is in Chinese, that should have been something more like "pleasing"). Left side rail has a volume knob at the top, which is also a power button when you push it in, and there are some android control buttons and shortcut buttons, which are nice for dealing with fullscreen applications like torque that obscure the very custom navigation bar. Also DUAL sdcard slots under a panel that is matched to the buttons.

    The fit to the DDIN face plate is very tight. You kind of have to force it on, BUT, this is actually a very good thing. The kenwood had a fairly loose fit, so when lugging the engine or driving over bumpy surfaces, the thing would shake like a bit**. The Joying fits tight and holds steady when lugging or hitting bumps, so :) :) :)

    Powering it on, it boots up in a reasonable amount of time. It isn't instant, but it isn't frustrating. The kenwood was frustrating. I never bothered adding a backup camera before, despite the kenwood having an input for it, since the bootup time was so long that I'd be done backing up before it was ready. I think I'll add one now, mainly so that I can see the trailer ball to simplify hitching up.

    I don't yet have any USB camera installed for recording, but I do have a couple in my "box of neat stuff" that I'll be adding shortly to replace the POS dashcam I have on my windshield.

    The screen seems adequate. Brightness is NOT overwhelming, so I'll have to see how it works in extreme brightness later on. Probably the commute home this afternoon.

    UI seems sharp and snappy, while not a stock android experience, the adjustments, very unexpectedly for budget Chinese hardware, are quite suitable for automotive use. I really like how they merged the top and bottom bars together, and their launcher is pretty easy to use and even has an integrated radio panel on the home screen!

    Note: the unit comes with some pirated software installed; Google applications (play store, maps, gmail, etc.), and TORQUE PRO https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.prowl.torque&hl=en -- I figure that I own enough old android devices that came with legit google applications, that I can overlook that one. I may consider sending some money towards torque though, since it isn't that much money, and it really is a useful program that took a lot of work to build.

    I set up data access for the head unit via my home wifi (works while in my driveway), and a portable hotspot running on my phone (its built into Android, couldn't say about apple, but my guess is not). Google maps nav is EXCELLENT on the head unit. Plenty of horsepower to handle it too. I intend to get a license for Alk Copilot for those times I leave cell data coverage, but it does come also with iGo (pirated), which I've never been particularly impressed by.

    Phone calls... this is where I had trouble. But it was my fault because I tried to take a shortcut and plugged in the kenwood microphone to it. So I could hear my wife, but she couldn't hear me. The little microphone on the top/left of the head unit's face appears to either not be used at all for calls, or it may be switched off when the external microphone is plugged in.

    GPS... works well. I didn't do anything fancy with the magnetic gps antenna, just stuck it onto the top of the head unit, which is a steel box. It seems to pick up satellites just fine like that.

    AMFM radio... Reception seems very good. Now I gave it a particularly excruciating test, because my antenna is messed up pretty badly and I was losing reception dramatically with the kenwood. I have a new antenna on order, but it hasn't arrived yet. The AM radio station I perpetually keep it tuned to faded out in the same places as it did with the kenwood, but it seemed to hold onto the station a little longer. It should be just wonderful when I get the new antenna installed.

    Odd behaviors... nothing that I haven't already experienced. When you turn on the key to accessory position, it powers up the radio, then you start the engine, so it powers off the radio, then return it to run/accessory position and the radio powers back up. I may have to rig up a timer or a "poor man's timer" (diode+capacitor) to keep the accessory line held high during engine startup.

    The unit has a delayed power down mode, but it doesn't have an impact on this. Basically, the unit has THREE power states; ON, STANDBY, and OFF. The delayed power down mode controls when it switches from STANDBY to OFF. But it can still go from ON to STANDBY instantly when the key is turned off. It even notifies you on the screen that it is powering off. Well sortof powering off. So the use of this is if you want to keep the thing mostly on when you fill your gas. So pick something like 5-10 minutes delayed off, then when you get back in with a full tank, it starts back up instantly. But leave it overnight, and it does a full bootup.

    So, my first impressions:
    This is one of the most well thought out and well put together pieces of budget chinese electronic hardware that I've EVER had the PLEASURE of trying out. In fact, it is the ONLY budget chinese electronic hardware that I've tried out that has actually BEEN a pleasure. It is in a completely different and vastly superior league to the junk kenwood that it replaces. Installation was straightforward, and I am particularly happy with how the external steering wheel converter box is not required. I think I paid something like $50 for that thing, and it relayed the signal in a frustratingly slow way.
     
    hazard2600 [OP] likes this.
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