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Hi everyone,  after some recommendations. 
I have searched the previous posts but don't seem able to find a definitive answer. I have an 06 alph with theatre sound and front / rear cameras, I'm looking for a good stereo upgrade that keeps all of the above. It had ben hau carplay overlay kit fitted when I purchased it but to be honest I don't get on with it. 
Thanks in advance for any help.

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I fitted a 'Ben Hau' type system a couple of days ago, ordered it from aliexpress and fitted myself,

Not sure if Identical, has the same little 'button' to switch the touchscreen input from original headunit functions to the addon box.

 

would be nice to actually see the box that is fitted in Ben Hau's installation, and how he routed the flexi wire to the screen, I figured a way to do it, but still interested.

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On 6/21/2022 at 6:02 PM, Chris.ac said:

I fitted a 'Ben Hau' type system a couple of days ago, ordered it from aliexpress and fitted myself,

Not sure if Identical, has the same little 'button' to switch the touchscreen input from original headunit functions to the addon box.

 

would be nice to actually see the box that is fitted in Ben Hau's installation, and how he routed the flexi wire to the screen, I figured a way to do it, but still interested.

@Jason coxif you had any more pics to share? That ben hau car airplay kit, how good is it? Is it worth it? Does touch screen work? Does surround sound and camera work ok? Wish there was a YouTube video on this by cutothechase!

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The kit I bought was about £160 from AliExpress.

 

I took illumination power from the spare plug that is attached to the gear shift illumination.

I took main power from the cigarette socket.

 

I cut the handbrake signal and the speed signal feeds in to the head unit, and grounded the head unit wires, this allows the aux video input to remain live while car is in motion (it also unlocks other functions on head unit, like changing BT source, which I had to pull over and handbrake before, in order for wife to use connection for music)

 

on the 20 series (my only real world reference) you can remove the screen quite easily, to fit the Flexi cable to the touchscreen, i routed this next to the existing Flexi, and out of the bottom of the unit to the switching PBA.

 

In use, you select aux, and can use the provided button to switch your touchscreen to either the standard operation, or the new unit.

Once you have carplay or android auto setup, it seems ok, I used Waze, sygic and google maps without issue.

 

I used TuneIn radio too, no problem.

 

Reverse cameras, and front side work as normal, at under 5mph, they cut in automatically as before, unless you turn off the auto mode.

 

I will upload pics when I get chance.

 

I would say that this unit is cheap, and I think Ben's units may be basically identical, although his appear to have a newer firmware.

 

the resolution is low, probably 800x480 like on old satnavs, but usable.

 

Calibration was a bit of a nightmare, but it is because the universal 4 pin wiring requires 2 of the wires to be swapped over, which I sorted with support from the seller.

 

For me, I plan to use an older low power phone I have laying around to permanently connect and hide in the console so I can keep my regular phone in pocket.

 

I tested the mirror function, this works fine, you can then play Netflix or YouTube etc through the screen(including rear), but because it's mirroring, you need to use the phones touchscreen of course.

 

 

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If anyone can provide an image of the Ben version firmware screen, or an image of the actual box that is fitted, I could probably pin down the exact model, I do not think the price he charges is unreasonable, given the time to install, and the risk of damage if you are not competent of your abilities, but also, this is not outside the realm of a user install, of you have some good dexterity, and a willingness to cut a few wires on the loom.

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Japancarimport sell an interface that enables retaining the theatre system (not tried yet) on eBay £250.

Else other brand interface is cogoo from Malaysia retailing from Lazada for about £190 not sure on postage though.

 

Has anyone got a how to to remove fascia as I will be looking to go down Android route myself soon.

Also pictures of OEM connectors as would like to retain rear and front cameras.

 

Thanks

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On 6/20/2022 at 3:39 PM, Jason cox said:

Hi everyone,  after some recommendations. 
I have searched the previous posts but don't seem able to find a definitive answer. I have an 06 alph with theatre sound and front / rear cameras, I'm looking for a good stereo upgrade that keeps all of the above. It had ben hau carplay overlay kit fitted when I purchased it but to be honest I don't get on with it. 
Thanks in advance for any help.

 

If you are not planning to fit it yourself, I respectfully suggest you locate a competent fitter first.

As others have said, keeping the surround sound and cameras can be tricky.

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On 6/30/2022 at 12:30 PM, Chris.ac said:

If anyone can provide an image of the Ben version firmware screen, or an image of the actual box that is fitted, I could probably pin down the exact model, I do not think the price he charges is unreasonable, given the time to install, and the risk of damage if you are not competent of your abilities, but also, this is not outside the realm of a user install, of you have some good dexterity, and a willingness to cut a few wires on the loom.

Would you say that it is easier to install this CarPlay unit or to install a new head unit and reversing cam, Chris? Birmingham’s a long way away so am considering doing it myself.

 

From what I can gather, the android box just uses the regular video input (just as if I’d plugged it into the HDMI input in my centre console) except that you also add a bypass switch to the touchscreen, so you can choose whether the touchscreen is talking to the head unit or the android box. Does that sound right?

 

Do you know why the resolution seems low? Is it because of the resolution of the original head unit or the android box?

 

 Cheers.

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Arthur, I could guide through the install, it is a bit fiddly.

You need to open up the screen, and connect a flexi wire to the existing touchscreen connector, this gets routed out the case and connects to the android box and the select switch (you often see this on bens installs to the right of the headunit)

the box itself has a single plug into the back of the headunit (replacing the original AUX video and stereo inputs) _ this is the primary reason for the low resolution, because  you are  using a phono video input, higher end more expensive solutions would use the digital video input (GVIF) (used by the auto parking, 270degree cameras, satnav)

 

The resolution is useable, a bit like the older satnav systems, I would say its equivalent to something like 600x480.

 

On the wiring loom that provides lighting to the gear selector, I found an extra plug - i used this for the 'illumnination' signal.

I added a connection to the cigarette lighter, for switched power, I also connected the '+battery' to this, as i did not want the box draining current from the battery - it means it takes about 20 seconds to power on, but then so does the original headunit.

 

The next problem, was that the AUX input will 'bluescreen/blank', when you go over 5mph.

I got around this by cutting the Speed input and the Handbrake signal wires that are present at back of headunit and grounding them (Headunit side, not the loom side)

 

if the touchscrren does not seem to calibrate, I had to swap over 2 of the wires in the flexi switch pba, not too much of a problem.

 

I tried to find out Bens firmware, but as usual cagey, as if its some top level secret, he thinks my unit is a clone, but for £160 plus a couple hours of time, I have change to fill up the tank 2 times, lol. Everything works the same as the unit he sells.

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On 7/2/2022 at 10:24 PM, Teekay said:

Apple carplay can have mouse / tracker with it? Please see the picture below. Anyone got this? Knows what it is? Been hau might know 

04D2D281-9DF6-42A8-988A-AEEA1B0AF028.jpeg

That is the manual control, if you opt to not have touchscreen controls - the system ben sells on ebay for self install uses this, and the kit I bought from aliexpress can also be supplied with this jog wheel, if you wish to opt for manual control - will make the install alot less fiddly

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On 7/10/2022 at 12:46 PM, Chris.ac said:

Arthur, I could guide through the install, it is a bit fiddly.

You need to open up the screen, and connect a flexi wire to the existing touchscreen connector, this gets routed out the case and connects to the android box and the select switch (you often see this on bens installs to the right of the headunit)

the box itself has a single plug into the back of the headunit (replacing the original AUX video and stereo inputs) _ this is the primary reason for the low resolution, because  you are  using a phono video input, higher end more expensive solutions would use the digital video input (GVIF) (used by the auto parking, 270degree cameras, satnav)

 

The resolution is useable, a bit like the older satnav systems, I would say its equivalent to something like 600x480.

 

On the wiring loom that provides lighting to the gear selector, I found an extra plug - i used this for the 'illumnination' signal.

I added a connection to the cigarette lighter, for switched power, I also connected the '+battery' to this, as i did not want the box draining current from the battery - it means it takes about 20 seconds to power on, but then so does the original headunit.

 

The next problem, was that the AUX input will 'bluescreen/blank', when you go over 5mph.

I got around this by cutting the Speed input and the Handbrake signal wires that are present at back of headunit and grounding them (Headunit side, not the loom side)

 

if the touchscrren does not seem to calibrate, I had to swap over 2 of the wires in the flexi switch pba, not too much of a problem.

 

I tried to find out Bens firmware, but as usual cagey, as if its some top level secret, he thinks my unit is a clone, but for £160 plus a couple hours of time, I have change to fill up the tank 2 times, lol. Everything works the same as the unit he sells.

 

Could you send me a link to the box you used? £180 + some swearing sounds like a good deal. According to the manual, my current head unit's resolution is 800x480 so it's chunky, but OK.

 

I'm fairly savvy with electronics and wiring in general but not much experience with car electrics apart from wiring my dashcam to the fuse box. Interestingly, if I'm watching a video using the VTR function, my head unit doesn't automatically switch it off above 5mph, so maybe there isn't a handbrake wire to disable?

 

Otherwise I think I might prefer a whole new head unit, but picking one seems like a minefield. Mine's an 8" unit, so  7" seems like a downgrade and the 9" ones won't fit without a new bezel. Plus I have a HDMI-in located in the centre console that can send a signal to the front or back screens or both, and it's not clear if any 3rd party head units support that.

 

 

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On 7/10/2022 at 12:46 PM, Chris.ac said:

Arthur, I could guide through the install, it is a bit fiddly.

You need to open up the screen, and connect a flexi wire to the existing touchscreen connector, this gets routed out the case and connects to the android box and the select switch (you often see this on bens installs to the right of the headunit)

the box itself has a single plug into the back of the headunit (replacing the original AUX video and stereo inputs) _ this is the primary reason for the low resolution, because  you are  using a phono video input, higher end more expensive solutions would use the digital video input (GVIF) (used by the auto parking, 270degree cameras, satnav)

 

The resolution is useable, a bit like the older satnav systems, I would say its equivalent to something like 600x480.

 

On the wiring loom that provides lighting to the gear selector, I found an extra plug - i used this for the 'illumnination' signal.

I added a connection to the cigarette lighter, for switched power, I also connected the '+battery' to this, as i did not want the box draining current from the battery - it means it takes about 20 seconds to power on, but then so does the original headunit.

 

The next problem, was that the AUX input will 'bluescreen/blank', when you go over 5mph.

I got around this by cutting the Speed input and the Handbrake signal wires that are present at back of headunit and grounding them (Headunit side, not the loom side)

 

if the touchscrren does not seem to calibrate, I had to swap over 2 of the wires in the flexi switch pba, not too much of a problem.

 

I tried to find out Bens firmware, but as usual cagey, as if its some top level secret, he thinks my unit is a clone, but for £160 plus a couple hours of time, I have change to fill up the tank 2 times, lol. Everything works the same as the unit he sells.

For someone technical and having spare capacity this may seem trivial but most will not have the above or risk appetite to play with the car electronics. To be fair to benhau this is business and he is trying to keep all the IP close to his chest, how do ever trivial it may seem.

 

I am probably not going to try anything on car myself and will have to either keep it in original state if possible, or get it done professionally so they know 100 percent what was needed.

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On 7/10/2022 at 3:38 PM, MonsterS said:

I've asked if they do direct cable connection fro. The alphard instead of cutting wires.

They do! :) just plug and play with all devices working according to them. Will get a code and report back for bulk discount.

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On 7/11/2022 at 2:45 PM, arthurj said:

 

Could you send me a link to the box you used? £180 + some swearing sounds like a good deal. According to the manual, my current head unit's resolution is 800x480 so it's chunky, but OK.

 

I'm fairly savvy with electronics and wiring in general but not much experience with car electrics apart from wiring my dashcam to the fuse box. Interestingly, if I'm watching a video using the VTR function, my head unit doesn't automatically switch it off above 5mph, so maybe there isn't a handbrake wire to disable?

Otherwise I think I might prefer a whole new head unit, but picking one seems like a minefield. Mine's an 8" unit, so  7" seems like a downgrade and the 9" ones won't fit without a new bezel. Plus I have a HDMI-in located in the centre console that can send a signal to the front or back screens or both, and it's not clear if any 3rd party head units support that.

 

 

 

A whole new unit would give a cleaner system, with higher resolution, and better connectivity.

Just for info, the system I bought is linked below, it was a private purchase, and my motivation was wanting something like what Ben installs, but with the option of being able to install to my standard, and save cash:

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005004065427172.html

 

Who is to say if it is a cheaper clone version, and if it will break down in a couple of months, however, as someone from an electronics background, and understanding IPCC standards, I opened up this box, and the standard of soldering seems perfectly good - the board itself seems to be a generic input/output board with a mounted logic daughter board - I would guess the only difference between this and Bens version is firmware, as the icons, switchgear and connectivity instructions appear identical

Edited by Chris.ac
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This version: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005001505549002.html

Appears to have the same coloured icons as the ones ben installs, and uses the physical scroll knob/buttons, so you dont need to fiddle with the screen dismantling.

Same company, so I will ask their customer service team for a firmware update

 

With this version, you would only need to feed the box with power, as the video will connect straight to the phono connectors and you have a physical jog dial

Edited by Chris.ac
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Nice, thanks for the info. Really just trying to work out what that system does, but I think I might prefer a new head unit. If I lived closer to Birmingham I’d probably get Ben to fit that anyway, given his reputation!

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