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aftermarket radio bad idea?

Discussion in 'Electrics, Vacuum, Ignition and ECU' started by ian-g, Sep 15, 2018.

  1. ian-g

    ian-g New Member

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    Your Mercedes:
    2009 cls 350 cdi
    Cls 2009 w219 I love the car but would like to update the media system I've seen on line aftermarket systems that have radio, satnav, rear camera, Bluetooth etc all in a unit that looks like it will slot straight in.. trouble is they are all from unheard of Chinese no brand are they as bad as I suspect they may be.. Anybody fitted one? Advice on upgrading the system gratefully received?
     
  2. flowrider99

    flowrider99 Senior Member

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    SL500 (R230) / Audi S5
    Plenty of people have done this, GLK will be along soon to advise.
     
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  3. LostKiwi

    LostKiwi Senior Member

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    Midlands / Charente-Maritime
    Your Mercedes:
    '93 500SL-32, '01 W210 Estate E240, 02 R230 SL500 (Malcolm Spec), 04 Smart Roadster Coupe
    A few on here have fitted Chinese units and been happy with them. Martin (M80 on here) has had a few issues (just to balance the viewpoint).
    If you have Bose or Harmon Larson amplifiers it complicates things as the amplifier is fibre optic connected via MOST.
     
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  4. GLK

    GLK Senior Member

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    Your Mercedes:
    A200 Avantgarde Special Edition Sports Coupé • C169
    The important thing is to have no illusions, as to these units reliability - it is hit and miss, without a doubt.

    For me it was the budget, and its appearance, that were the decisive factors. I knew it was a gamble of sorts, but was willing to give it a go. I'm glad I did - fitted mine just over a year ago, and it's been perfect, so far.

    Martin indeed had issues with his unit, and Chinese tech support, though very keen to begin with (factory reset codes, etc, readily supplied), soon became elusive and basically didn't want to know, after a while. Still, if you buy from a UK-registered company, then warranty and returns are handled under UK consumer law at least.

    There are two main "brands" - Xtrons and Erisin - both have their UK-based outlets, and both use the same ODM (so the hardware is exactly the same), but they customise the interface differently.

    Here's my Erisin unit:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    If you decide to go that route, buy a model-specific unit, so it fits exactly, with no silly frames and adapter fascias (it also means the connectors will be plug-and-play), make sure it is octa-core CPU; 4GB of RAM; at least 32GB of storage (which Chinese insist on calling ROM, despite it having nothing to do with Read-Only Memory); hi-res screen, and latest Android OS.

    My preference is a large screen unit, with no DVD drive - hence no moving parts, it runs cooler, and has a lot less potential for failing. It does not, however mimic the COMAND look, as you can see in above pics. I actually like this aspect too, but many people prefer to stay closer to OEM looks.

    As LK said above, providing there's no fibre optic network connected amplifier, the install is very simple. If there's one, then you'd have an option to fit a converter (expensive), or by-pass it altogether and run wires to the speakers. Either way, it's a bit more involved. In my car, even though I have a Power Sound option, with extra speakers and a subwoofer, there was no separate amp, so all I had to do, is plug the new unit into the quadlock connector. :)
     
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  5. OP
    ian-g

    ian-g New Member

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    2009 cls 350 cdi
    Thank you for taking the time to explain.. I think I will take the plunge.. My cls has no amp, satnav, or parking sensors so is no more than a radio and hands free and it's the base command not even with sd slot.. Any recommended UK dealers?
     
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  6. Martyn Cannon

    Martyn Cannon Active Member

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    Location:
    London NW7
    Your Mercedes:
    CLK 320 Sport Auto 1998
    I have had an Xtrons in my Saab last two years with no issues
    Now removed and placed into my Mercedes

    From this
    [​IMG]

    To this

    [​IMG]

    Features on mine

    Standard DVD CD Radio etc
    Sat Nav with WiFi
    Digital TV tuner
    Rear & Front Cameras
    3 external USB ports 1 internal SD port for off line maps
    USB connected to 64gb flash drive
    USB to WiFi dongle
    USB to DAB radio

    About to attached If possible an OBD 2 with an adapter for Bluetooth engine management

    Never had any problems yet hence moved from one car to this instal £150


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  7. OP
    ian-g

    ian-g New Member

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    Thank you... Are the dongles at the rear.. Do you need external antennas
     
  8. Martyn Cannon

    Martyn Cannon Active Member

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    Your Mercedes:
    CLK 320 Sport Auto 1998
    The USB ports poke out under my glove compartment and sit in the little netting on the side of the consol the dab is usb and digital tv is direct into back of stereo have antennas but are internal antenna
    I will take a picture later
    So the DAB is mounted on front windscreen the Digital TV is mounted on back windscreen and the GPS received is mounted on front dash all discreetly again front camera is mounted on front windscreen behind the internal mirror
    And reversing camera mounted on boot lid above number plate again all wired through the trim


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  9. GLK

    GLK Senior Member

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    Your Mercedes:
    A200 Avantgarde Special Edition Sports Coupé • C169
    Cool :) Well, parking sensors won't affect the HU, aftermarket or OEM, and if there's no SD slot, it's probably Audio 20 NTG2.5, but anyway - I bought mine from eBay user carparts-mall - as I said, it's Erisin's own UK-registered outlet. Just search for your car model and android in the same sentence - e.g. "W219 Android" - the trick is to get a model-specific unit, not a generic double-DIN.
     
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  10. OP
    ian-g

    ian-g New Member

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    Is there a way to tell if I have an optical amp fitted without disassembly... Was it an option or just some models have it?
     
  11. GLK

    GLK Senior Member

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    Your Mercedes:
    A200 Avantgarde Special Edition Sports Coupé • C169
    I'll PM you, and you can reply with your VIN - I can then check on EPC (Mercedes Electronic Parts Catalogue), what sound system you have and whether there's a MOST (fibre optic network) components in it.
     
  12. M80

    M80 Senior Member

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    Your Mercedes:
    Viano 3.0 ExLWB (09)
    Some of this info might change from model to model.
    Wifi should be a dedicated antenna, no dongle. I've found them to be a bit hit and miss regarding signal strength at the unit when trying to connect to the house wifi. Mine is very iffy, Larisa's is much stronger.

    I tether both cars to the mobile phones, the units pick this up easily and serve purpose well.

    BT on mine is more reliable than Larisa's.

    If the unit comes with IGO sat nav you're fortunate. It's the best sat nav programme I've found yet when learnt and understood. The functions are intuative and very useful when on the hoof. 'I' haven't managed to get live traffic on that app though so have paid and downloaded Tom Tom GO, and Tom Tom Drive as live traffic can be a real time saver.

    For the live traffic tethering serves its purpose.
    I've tried voice commands to the HU and it fails as comms to the mobile for "call Larisa" and "text Larisa" while on the hoof don't happen. So voice comands to the mobile are the way just as you would if sat on the sofa, the mobile makes the call and connects through BT so all good. As the mobile is answering, and not through BT, you might have trouble hearing "do you want to call Larisa mobile?" or any other phone responses.
    While tethering voice commands to 'find' will work on the HU but won't pass on to sat nav for directing or to the phone for calling, to book a restaurant that you've searched for example. Using the smaller phone screen will work of course but is less convenient. The truth is all of that is the co drivers job for us so no real problem.

    Larisa's, not MB but Jeep, although still Chinese is developing some issues. I think the CPU or at least the RAM is hanging up requiring a hard reset on occasion. Now it's beyond the 45 day eBay protection period I have doubts the supplier will be overly helpful.
    On saying that down to London via Birmingham Thursday, it hung up once and no issues returning Saturday. Tom Tom saved me lots of time redirecting me around the M1 road works near Luton, so overall very happy.

    I have concluded that there is one issue that can't be remedied. The screens are dim. I have suffered reflections that cause the screen to be unreadable at times. Anti glare screen protections don't make the difference. The Chinese will, I'm sure, further develop these units and over come this to meet demand, but as they aren't bright, as yet, it can be a real pita.
    The cause of this issue I hadn't realised until I bought a Chinese tablet for coastal marine navigation, in sunlight it was useless. My, then, Chinese phone was the same. Recently I replaced with another Chinese phone and whey hey I can read it on the boat, it's as bright as Larisa's Samsung (She's not as tight as I, just more skint).
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2018 at 2:20 PM
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