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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Any recommendation to change the radio for an Android model? I would like to have 4G (internet and calls) but many times I only see the option of data over the internet, although they do not say so in the ad, I think they can support calls, I also consider a minimum of 4GB of ram and 64 of storage necessary. 1280x720 screen too.

I have seen mascaras like XTRONS that may be one of the favorites.

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I bought a pro version (3Gb+32Gb) of one of these. AFIK it's the only one I could find and on Ali with the latest chipsets for the CPU, graphics, audio, Qled screen (Samsung I think?), genuine Android 10 multi screen and so many features I'm still working through. It has 4G both as an internal SIM which they extended to a wired SIM slot you can put in the glovebox. Voice over their 4G? Not sure I think it's data only but it has the same IMEI code registered for the rear and external SIM card slots.? There's a front facing mic and Google Apps is loaded. I haven't tried to install a phone app.apk but their API is written for a car HU with large on screen buttons and other integration into a custom API. I'd like to install TWRP backup to grab their image and experiment, but it could be a one way trip with risk of bricking and little chance of getting a replacement image. I've experimented with 3rd party launcher apps but they use the stock Android thumbnails which aren't sharp on this screen when rescaled. They must have re-designed hi-res on screen buttons in the API?

Check the hardware chipset list carefully because many are fitting older chips from 2012!. I've verified the hardware and software in mine with Android Apps and it's as per their spec. It's got BT, wifi and a wifi hotspot. You can't trust Chinese specs! They wouldn't qualify it for the EOS. The screen bezel is the correct size to fit and it has a large 9 inch screen, because there are no side buttons taking up space. The CANbus decoder has options for Golfs V6 onwards. I can't try it on a MF steering wheel, but most local CANbus seems to work. After a diagnostics scan I'm getting a Gateway, Radio and a (non existent) NAV module error. Although annoying, I'm hoping an updated CANbus Gateway will fix it and could be why they wouldn't qualify the radio for the EOS because it's not in the V.W vehicle list for the CANbus decoder. They price match according to internal memories. >3gb is essential. Their Google apps and an internal satnav will gobble up 16Gb of a 32Gb memory. But even with 32Gb like mine, you can move NAV,Music and DVB video to external USB where they should be anyway.

Mine is now very heavily modified for improved cooling and I've removed some of the analogue connector leads & pins because there's too much spaghetti wiring and I'm not using an analogue video dvd player. They attached a fan not wired and without instructions, but it's very small so I made a box for two decent fans. Their slimline unit with a puny heatsink now looks more like my original 2DIN radio box it replaced! I checked CPU core temps with CPU-Z on a Summer day when the black dash was red hot - the Octa core CPU temps were over 65C and not levelling off, now they are below 35C for an ambient of 25C.This was the only radio I could find which offered 3 USB ports. On Android you can't add a PC type USB hub and I wanted 3 USB ports: 1 for DAB+, 1 for a flash memory stick and 1 for a TV tuner.

I'm still doing work with it and re-engineering the EOS antennae system, but it's (slowly) coming good. If there was an XTRON with the same spec. without loads of branding I might have considered it because it would have the UK warranty. However, this was much cheaper from Ali and worth taking a risk. But you have to take chances and accept risks! I've blown the OS once with a bad APK, but their reset to factory defaults put everything back, left the satnav on internal MMC partition alone and so far their tech. support from China has been excellent. It's a monster to install if you want all the features, including the all round HD cameras!

...

Circuit component Electrical wiring Hardware programmer Electronic engineering Electronic component
 
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Looks similar to mine with the higher memory spec. But then I did pay half the AU price! They turned the board around mounting it horizontally at the top, whereas mine is vertical on the back of the display. I like their layout of connectors on a back panel, but can't see much evidence of cooling in their photos - ideally a really large heatsink without fans.

Check the antenna external connectors for the radio modules. My wifi and BT are short internal stub wires and wifi sensitivity mounted inside the car isn't great, the wifi connector should have been to an external antenna SMA. BT isn't a problem because paired BT devices are generally very close inside the cabin. From the photos it looks like only 2 USB ports? Mine has 3. The second MMC internal memory spec. differentiating the price points becomes less important when you can use a large USB memory stick.

It's not got the brighter Qled screen and their 4K claim is the usual trick they downsample a 4K input to 1024x600 and the result will depend on how fast their frame rate is. Note on EOS compatibility: They say EOS year 2013. That ties up with my thinking that only EOS's with the later CAN gateway module are fully compatible. But I'll find out when I have another go at swapping it in MY07. I can't see an external CAN converter module in their photo. The advantage of an external module is you get the option on mine to disable it and turn the radio into a dumb unit activated by ignition on (Not from the V.W quadlock connector though). In this simple basic mode you have no radio module 56 installed for CAN errors or battery drain problems. All the Android shutdown timers and screen to black functions work well, but you lose steering controls or pretty on screen graphics when you open doors or reverse.

There's absolutely no comparision between the tonne of features in these advanced head units and the OE's. Even if you just wanted satnav and radio, you get more connectivity (and radio) options. My main concern is the lack of a large effective heatsink to cool chips without fans. If somebody buys one, post up the CPU-Z thermal temperatures on a hot day?

AM/FM and DAB+ performance depends on the EOS antenna system which won't be great in weak signal areas.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Latest Xtrons unit out...Android 12 with built in wireless Apple Carplay / Android Auto, 4G (just add sim), Dual Channel CANbus, Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 Octa Core Processor (2.0GHZ / 64 Bit), 128GB SSD ROM, 6GB DDR4 RAM, and built in USB & SD Slot. EOS is on the compatibile list.

Link: 9" Android 12 8-Core 6+128GB Car GPS Radio Stereo Navi WIFI Car Auto Play For VW | eBay

It's the unit I'll be going for when funds allow.

Oz
Hi! that new Xtrons radio looks good, but don't you think that 1024x600 is still very little resolution?
 

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but don't you think that 1024x600 is still very little resolution?
Resolution in pixels should be compared screen to screen as pixels per inch. You can do the sum for a 9 inch diagonal screen. Higher resolution means nothing if you can't see it. On a 9 inch diagonal screen when you are sat in the driver seat 1024 x 600 (or 720/768) is plenty. What's more important is the angle the display can cope with when you look off axis and screen glare - compare O and Qled with lcd. Why is streaming subscription video to phones and portable devices so popular with sellers? Because they don't need much bandwidth to put movies on small screens. When you get up to 50 inch flat screens you really do notice the difference between HD and 4K because you could be sat 4 -5 times the diagonal distance away from it. Using the pixels per inch measurement 100 pix/inch on a small screeen will look similar to 100pix per inch on a bigger screen if you sit 4-5 times the diagonal distance away from each screen. The more pixels, the more processing power required, particularly for high frame rate video. I bet any claims for 4K video playback will be at the low frame rate of 25 fps which is no good for games or fast action T.V. Watch out for higher res larger screens. Android apps like satnavs may show smaller touch screen buttons and be hard to operate (on the move?) if they are at the edges of the screen!

Car radios beginning with the early analogue designs had discrete tuners built in bigger boxes and their processors just needed to knit together module interfaces and run a touch screen with low res. graphics for satnav. A 500Mhz processor was adequate running Windows CE or Linux. Now we have Android radios, most of these modular functions in hardware and many more features involving screen graphics and sound have been replaced by software. Now you should be looking at 1.5-2Ghz multi core processors with more memory and advanced graphics capable of multi tasking functions. This increased processing demand will generate heat, the more 'quality' media you stream, the faster the processing and more heat. But Android designers have a trick to throttle back processor speed when you ask for too much - and hope you won't notice! Research Octacore now becoming the buzz word because it doesn't weight all cores the same for sharing the load. A decent Quad core can still do as well, but with lower efficiency.

My gripe with Android for in-car radios is the memory overhead required to install Google Apps and the tendency to push towards using their apps requiring internet connectivity. That's the reason d'etre behind adding 4G phone data sim. Most of my phones already have custom roms without the Google junk, but tinkering with a car unit to slim it down when it has a custom API could be risky. If you like Google maps, their Apps and Chinese apps tracking you that's fine, otherwise stay offline, use a resident 'In the box' satnav and side load apps you trust downloaded to a USB stick from a PC.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Resolution in pixels should be compared screen to screen as pixels per inch. You can do the sum for a 9 inch diagonal screen. Higher resolution means nothing if you can't see it. On a 9 inch diagonal screen when you are sat in the driver seat 1024 x 600 (or 720/768) is plenty. What's more important is the angle the display can cope with when you look off axis and screen glare - compare O and Qled with lcd. Why is streaming subscription video to phones and portable devices so popular with sellers? Because they don't need much bandwidth to put movies on small screens. When you get up to 50 inch flat screens you really do notice the difference between HD and 4K because you could be sat 4 -5 times the diagonal distance away from it. Using the pixels per inch measurement 100 pix/inch on a small screeen will look similar to 100pix per inch on a bigger screen if you sit 4-5 times the diagonal distance away from each screen. The more pixels, the more processing power required, particularly for high frame rate video. I bet any claims for 4K video playback will be at the low frame rate of 25 fps which is no good for games or fast action T.V. Watch out for higher res larger screens. Android apps like satnavs may show smaller touch screen buttons and be hard to operate (on the move?) if they are at the edges of the screen!

Car radios beginning with the early analogue designs had discrete tuners built in bigger boxes and their processors just needed to knit together module interfaces and run a touch screen with low res. graphics for satnav. A 500Mhz processor was adequate running Windows CE or Linux. Now we have Android radios, most of these modular functions in hardware and many more features involving screen graphics and sound have been replaced by software. Now you should be looking at 1.5-2Ghz multi core processors with more memory and advanced graphics capable of multi tasking functions. This increased processing demand will generate heat, the more 'quality' media you stream, the faster the processing and more heat. But Android designers have a trick to throttle back processor speed when you ask for too much - and hope you won't notice! Research Octacore now becoming the buzz word because it doesn't weight all cores the same for sharing the load. A decent Quad core can still do as well, but with lower efficiency.

My gripe with Android for in-car radios is the memory overhead required to install Google Apps and the tendency to push towards using their apps requiring internet connectivity. That's the reason d'etre behind adding 4G phone data sim. Most of my phones already have custom roms without the Google junk, but tinkering with a car unit to slim it down when it has a custom API could be risky. If you like Google maps, their Apps and Chinese apps tracking you that's fine, otherwise stay offline, use a resident 'In the box' satnav and side load apps you trust downloaded to a USB stick from a PC.
Hi!! Could you explain the "canbus" issue? You say that your model is not fully compatible, could it be a common fault with all canbus adapters that are sold together with this type of android radio?
 

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This is how it works: V.W design their entertainment systems radios etc to integrate with the car Canbus. If you have steering wheel butons for controlling volume and station selection, these just send a CAN signal to the system and the radio or whatever is programmed to intercept the codes and makes things happen. There are additional CANbus commands to. When you select reverse, turn on ignition or open a door etc, signals are put on the CANbus. These signals each unique codes which the device e.g radio, listens for then responds. These codes aren't universal across different car brands and models but V.W proprietary (i.e 'secret'). Genuine V.W radios know these codes and what to do when a specific code like 'volume up/down' is received. It's this lack of standardisation that's the problem. Some codes are the same across several V.W car models but others are not and the EOS is an unusual beast.

The aftermarket Android sellers can deal with this in 2 ways. They can incorporate a CANbus decoder inside the radio and test it is fully compatible with specific car models, or they can make their radio design dumb to work with PERM+12v and IGN on and add on their own 'universal' protocol for these control functions. When they do this there has to be an addon box they call a CANbus decoder that intercepts the V.W control commands then converts them to their own more Chinese universal protocol. The addon CANbus converter module has to interpret the EOS CANbus codes correctly. A box like mine is controlled by an app in the radio. It's reads the V.W specific codes and the app translates them into the correct function for codes used by a specific vehicle. My box only has Golf 6 upwards and you can be pretty sure they work fine with Golfs because there are so many sold compared to EOS. Compatibility isn't guaranteed but if it's sold for an EOS then it should be. It's labelled with a firmware version and that's married to the range of vehicles - but no guarantees!

This is my limited experience of this so far: I connected a link plug to put it into dumb mode (no Canbus) and connected the radio to a bench supply PERM +12V and a second +12V IGN on. The radio came on with IGN on and went off with zero current draw some 3 minutes after IGN off. Simple happiness for anybody not wanting CANbus controls to work. I scanned the car with it working in dumb mode and as expected it errored on Radio 56 module not present, but I could remove that from the vehicle list if I wanted to.

Then I connected the CANbus decoder box and told the radio software to program it for a Golf6. I opened a door and a graphic appeared on the radio screen showing my door open. It was the wrong side but there's a software switch to change that. I don't have the MF steering wheel to try. Next thing was to reverse. I don't have a reversing cam fitted yet, but a fancy graphic appeared on the screen which would have the reversing cam image with colored lines estimating the rear sensor limits superimposed. The radio volume also dimmed - Nice. So some things CANbus seem to be working. Theres's a simple Torque like app in mine and when I hit that I see some live data like rpm and mph come up on the screen - so it's reading that from CANbus. If I plugged in my basic diagnostics bluetooth dongle, their pre-installed Torque app would link to it but I need to check if the dongle powers itself down with IGN off.

My conclusion is it's down to the aftermarket seller to test and qualify their product for a specific vehicle. I doubt you will ever find perfection in the Chinese marketplace which is why you pay a lot more and stick with V.W OE products. But some things you can live with (including Google bloatware) for the extra features Android gives you .

There's another issue that's not being properly addressed: Many of these sellers deliberately don't sell with a fully functioning satnav application. Or they will add a hacked version of your choice when you buy. The problem is the app needs to work with Android 10/11 multiple (larger) screens and they have increased screen resolution. This can make touch screen buttons small or difficult to operate near screen edges when these apps were designed for smaller displays. Another problem is the satnav voice sound which has to mix with an MP3 or radio, dim it and be at the correct controllable level. Until somebody takes ownership of these products and invests in further development to solve these problems you can end up with something that's not quite perfect. I've also got an issue with WiFi radio sensitivity. That's a biggy because apps may need to be downloaded online in your driveway and a 3Gb map download using mobile phone data could be slow and expensive.
 

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FWIW. The RCD330 canbus decoder will provide you with track select via the right side steering buttons but at the same time, those buttons still control the MFD option selection, so not quite a 100% integration. On the flip side, the Idatalink RR (the canbus decoder used for aftermarket radios) can be specifically programed for the vehicle your using it on and you can also reprogram buttons for other functions as well. It works great on the EOS but you don't get track select from the right side buttons at all, those buttons still control the MFD option selection. The Idatalink RR also has ODBII integration with a plug that goes into your ODBII port. On older EOS's though, you don't get TPMS monitoring, MFD audio or climatic control like you would get on a MK6

I detail these canbus decoder limitations in this video.

 
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