CarPlay (Wireless) Carplay - aftermarket head unit

Discussion in 'HomeKit, HomePod, CarPlay, Home & Auto Technology' started by Ankaa, Jan 10, 2018.

  1. Ankaa macrumors 6502a

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    #1
    Hi,

    I recently started pondering the idea of upgrading my old car's stereo (which still has a CD slot I never use and only way to play music from my phone is trough Aux). So I started doing some research and soon noticed I'm somewhat overwhelmed and my expectations might be too high. For a starter, I haven't really been paying too much attention to carplay in the past (I basically only knew it exists).

    I soon ran into a wall and noticed that, to my knowledge, only one stereo actually wirelessly pairs the phone to use carplay (Alpine iLX-107) while all the other units, while providing bluetooth for music, require a cable connection for carplay - this seems counterintuitive. It was my understanding that you may still play music from your phone while using carplay (eg. for navigation). so what would be the advantage of BT if it only plays music, but provides no other benefit? I was especially looking at the Sony XAV-AX100

    I feel like - if I upgrade, I want the best of both worlds, wireless carplay (and wireless charging, no more need to plug anything in - the dream). But the above mentioned Alpine stereo doesn't actually use BT, but some wifi hotspot connection, is that correct? (and I've read health concerns in that regard)

    Am I missing something? Are there, by now, more units out there that allow wireless carplay connections? Does any of you have experience with aftermarket stereo upgrades using carplay, wired or wireless?
     
  2. ColoArtist macrumors regular

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    Denver, CO
    #2
    I was looking at the very same units. The Sony looked like a great way to go for adding CarPlay to my Honda. Then I noticed the wireless Alpine. It seemed worthwhile to spend the extra bucks to be able to get CarPlay while going cordless.

    I wondered who else might make a similar unit. Turned out one either has to go with the Alpine or buy a BMW...the only current auto maker to offer a stock unit with wireless CarPlay.

    However, it sounds like 2018 see more choices. At CES Pioneer and JVC Kenwood both announced new units for a wireless connection, specifically for Android, but with CarPlay implied. Sounds like other auto manufacturers will also be getting on board with wireless.

    http://www.carplaylife.com/news/pioneer-prototypes-give-hope-for-wireless-carplay-receivers-in-2018/

    http://www.carplaylife.com/news/wir...-carplay-receivers-will-showcase-at-ces-2018/
     
  3. Ankaa thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    Glad I'm not the only one facing this problem :)

    I'm wondering about the timeline. I don't want to wait another year or two. Also wondering about price. When the Alpine was first introduced, it sold for $1k. I'd always prefer Keenwood and Pioneer over Alpine, but I'd also expect a steep price increase... While the Alpine has been reduced in price, it's still a lot of money. While I think it would probably perfectly do what I want, I did read about limitations. Ahh, decisions, decisions...
     
  4. ColoArtist macrumors regular

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    #4
    Yeah, the Alpine uses a WiFi connection which it creates. Not a hotspot though. Yes, one can listen to music, even the AM/FM radio while using Apple Maps navigation.

    Logically I should go for the Sony XAV-AX100. Good unit, good reviews, less money, maybe better for car's resale in that a potential buyer might not be an Apple fan.

    But I'm tired of plugging and unplugging in my phone to use it in the car...current radio is old, no bluetooth. The capacitive screen is a plus too. So today I place my order with Crutchfield for the Alpine iLX-107. Even splurged and ordered a rear camera too.
     
  5. Ankaa thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    I know what you mean. It costs so much less and probably has better re-sale value as it also supports AndroidAuto. But:

    I so agree (I see, we understand each other - makes me feel better, really :) ). I feel like if I invest some money, now, for buying a new head unit, I may as well go the full length and go all wireless. I too don't have Bluetooth and since I got an iPhone X, recently, have no way at all to actually play my own music (and one gets tired of the radio stations pretty fast). Of course there are very cheap Aux-BT-converters, but they get mixed review (and are an eyesore, really). I mean, I guess I'd totally be fine with "just" some touch unit with BT (as the Sony one), but as I said...way not go the whole way if I upgrade to begin with.

    Please let me know how it goes! Are you installing it yourself? May I ask which rear camera you ordered (because I'm pondering that very idea, too ;) ) I'd appreciate your updates/thoughts. Will you have it installed or do it yourself?

    I recently bought a Qi-charger/magnet-mount and it's sooooo awesome. Just "plop" the phone onto it and go. No more plugging in anything. It would feel totally redundant if I got the Alpine iLX-107 because I could get a charging pad and put it somewhere out of sight. The mount was intended to have the phone in sight, which becomes unnecessary with carplay.
     
  6. ColoArtist macrumors regular

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    #6
    Gonna go for it myself. The equipment won't arrive until the end of the week. Then I'll be hoping for a couple days of warm weather. Could be a while, but I'll let you know how it goes.

    Went with Alpine for a camera. I figured if there's a problem an Alpine to Alpine should be the simplest to sort out. Picked the HCE-C1100 because it looks to be the newest of their models. To hopefully ease mounting I also ordered the Alpine KTX-C10LP license plate frame. Oh, and added Crutchfield's recommended kit for connecting the steering wheel controls.

    I was trying to figure out where I wanted to put a mount for my iPhone X in case I needed to give it a charge. Once I realized I didn't need to really see the phone, or even run a cable to it, I looked on Amazon to see what kind of Qi charger might be available for a car. I found a couple that are magnetic mounts which plug directly into a power outlet. Something like that should work well in my car.

    While I was on Amazon I ordered a parking brake override which works for the Alpine. It negates the need for tracking down and connecting to the parking brake sensor wiring. Look for MicroBypass for Alpine.
     
  7. Ankaa thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    Awesome, thanks!!! It really sounds like we're doing the same updates and have the same "needs".

    This is the mount I ordered and use and I LOVE it. I ordered it right with the phone, before I even stumbled across the Alpine iLX-107. At that time I wasn't even considering upgrading...an article on CES product presentations for another carplay stereo got me started reading up on the whole thing (this + plus the fact that the hubby recently got a "new" used car which has a touch head unit and BT). Before I was seriously thinking of using my old iPhone 5S as an always-plugged-in "iPod" for music, haha.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B075TWMXZB/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    Unfortunately I can't use a license plate frame for the rear camera as my license plate isn't centered (external extra tire). Did you get a wireless transponder for the camera or are you going to put wires through?

    Will looking into the parking brake override especially since I've read one comment that mentioned that just grounding the parking brake wire didn't help.
     
  8. ColoArtist, Feb 4, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2018

    ColoArtist macrumors regular

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    #8
    Thanks for the link.

    Ha! Sounds like we have a similar car too. Mine's a 2005 CRV, so it's also got the offset license because of the rear mounted spare tire.

    About the only way I saw to center the camera would be to get a "bullet" style and put it low and in the bumper. Looking carefully at the way things lined up it appeared the tire would indeed create a large blindspot in a rather important area with a license mount. I was also concerned that things wouldn't line up properly for backing up into a parking space. However when I checked the manual for the iLX-107 I noticed the parking lines and cones in the camera display can be edited, not only up and down but also side to side. I'm thinking I'll be able to shift the lines over to help compensate at least a bit for the offset. Even if the tire blocks part of the view at least I'll be able to see what's directly behind.

    I looked at some of the remote connect cameras. As tempting as it is to not have to run a wire, I'd still have to take the rear door trim and tail lights apart. Taking those off looks like the hardest part for the camera, so just to keep it simple I opted for a wired connection.

    One thing I haven't quite figured out is where to mount the microphone. It's kinda big. Alpine recommends clipping it to a sun visor, and so it comes with a huge clip attached. I'm thinking at the top or bottom of the A pillar would be better. But, again for the sake of simplicity, I'm considering trying to put it somewhere high on the side of the center console.

    EDIT: Nearly forgot...the unit also comes with a GPS antenna. Looks like it normally gets mounted somewhere on the dash along the windshield. Newer CRVs with nav systems have their GPS antenna mounted in a similar place but under the dash panel. At one time I did some testing with a Sirius radio antenna and found it worked just as well under the dash as on top, so I think that's where the GPS is going to go.
     
  9. Ankaa thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    Thanks for the info re the camera. I'll look into it. I may decide it's too complicated - and I do have backup beeping, which already helps, so it would just be a nice extra, anyway.

    2008 Toyota Rav4 here. Unfortunately with not steering wheel controls, which is about the very few things that have me worried (I like a knob or tactile buttons for volume) and probably THE main reason (besides price) for the Sony.

    Regarding the mic, check out this link http://appleinsider.com/articles/17...nd-best-aftermarket-wireless-carplay-receiver

    This also has me slightly worried, as it seems to be HUGE. It wouldn't be going on the sun visor in my car as I'm using it. So, would still need to figure this out, too. I'm wondering if one could exchange it for a slightly smaller one...

    Cool to hear about the GPS antenna possibly working under the dash. I don't have sirius and wasn't sure yet whether or not I like another "thing" sticking somewhere, haha.
     
  10. sam2428 macrumors 6502

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    Houston, TX
    #10
    I just bought a new car the last week of December....and this was my dream as well. BMW 5 Series (which was over my budget) seems to be the only car the offers this straight from the manufacturer...sigh.

    Ended up with a car with carplay but I still have plug it in. I am happy with it as this is my first car with CarPlay. It's definitely a game changer in my opinion and beats any built in navigation system for ease of use any day. Recently started using the Siri integration as well more to pull up directions to places and it actually works pretty well. I.e. plugging in my phone really isn't as bad as I was originally thinking.

    Wireless Carplay with a wireless charging mat would still be the ultimate setup.
     
  11. Ankaa thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    I've been using my phone for navigation for the last couple of years since I don't have a built-in navi and recently, with a dash mount, that's been increasingly awesome. I just recently started voice control for navigation and short basic texts (such as "I'm on my way") and really getting into it. I always thought voice control is weird (I hardly ever used Siri before), but got an Echo Spot for control of my Hue lights last month and I'm more and more getting used to it. So, I can really see myself enjoying the heck out of Carplay with a larger display for navigation and better music integration (man, I'm sooo tired of the three radio stations one can stand listening to over here and they still play about the same 5-10 songs over and over).

    This girl's never ever getting a BWM (out of principle, mostly, but also way beyond budget). I love my car, just looking to add a few upgrades, really :)
     
  12. ColoArtist macrumors regular

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    #12
    I have a BMW too. It's of the 2-wheeled variety though. ;^)

    I too am looking forward to being able to explore what CarPlay is like and what can be done by using Siri.

    Currently I have an Apple music subscription, but mostly what I listen to in the car is audiobooks. I'm amazed how much the technology has changed for doing that. Originally the books were on cassettes, then CDs, and now they are on my phone. At first for the car I needed a radio which handled the tapes, and lots of storage room for the huge boxes. Less storage needed for the CDs. And now I just need to have my phone with me. Not only that, but the phone also means I can also have a navigation system. And make phone calls BTW. Crazy. And my 2005 CRV will have gone through all those tech changes. Oh, and I also had a Sirius radio in it.

    Anyway, about the camera, I was going to skip it, but then thought, if all goes well, and since I have things apart, I might as well go for it all. However, I strongly suspect the install will have its problems so I'm thinking I can at least test the camera to see if it'll connect okay and determine if the offset and partially blocked view will still make it worthwhile to actually install the thing.

    The mic has a standard 3.5mm jack. The pics show the jack with three connections, tip, ring, and the sleeve. So maybe one could find a replacement. I think my concern is that the base is a big clip. I noticed the iLX-007 came with different bases which could be swapped out on the mic. I thought about buying a mic from an iXL-007 off of Ebay, but noticed it just has two connections on the jack so I question its compatibility. Maybe I'll just trim down the clip and make it into a small base, or remove it entirely.

    Here's a great review on the iLX-107. About 1/2 way down the page are some pics which gives an idea of the size of the mic.

    http://appleinsider.com/articles/17...nd-best-aftermarket-wireless-carplay-receiver

    Here's another review which I thought was very helpful. It's on CarPlayLife and shows the install on a Prius. Lots of interesting videos.

    http://www.carplaylife.com/how-to/how-to-install-wireless-apple-carplay-in-a-2014-toyota-prius-v/
     
  13. Ankaa thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    Thank you for the link. I'd already seen the appleinsider one (and actually postesd above ;) ).

    The carplaylife one has me a little worried. It sounds like installation isn't as straightforward as I had hoped. I'd seen an install video for exactly. my car for the Sony XAV-AX100 and it looked pretty straightforward.

    The mic...yes, that has me scratching my head. I'll probably trim down the clip, too, but I'm not yet sure where to put it without it being an eyesore.

    BTW, there was a offer for the Alpine in a local FB group which I just couldn't ignore. So, now I too am the proud owner of the Alpine iLX-107. Still waiting for a few parts from crutchfield and than will have to decide on whether to try it myself or have it installed, somewhere. I'm not completely tech-blind, but again, that carplaylife link has me worried...
     
  14. ColoArtist macrumors regular

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    #14
    Ooopsie...missed your link.

    Congrats. Looks like the race is on. ;^)

    The weather is nice here today, so if I had the unit I'd be working on the install. But delivery is Friday and it looks like the weekend will be cold and snowy so you could be off to an early lead. Planning on doing some testing with the camera and mic before installing everything. If I get some pics from the camera I'll post 'em. Might have some really nice macro shots of the tread on my spare time.

    Will you be soldering the harness plugs together? I got lazy and had Crutchfield do mine.

    Currently I'm working on tracking down exactly where I can tap into the backup lights' wiring. Fuse is under the hood, big bundle coming through the firewall, big bundle heading to the back. Got a wiring diagram so I at least know the wire color.
     
  15. Ankaa thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    I was gonna be lazy and have Crutchfield do it, too. I felt like that would have been 20 bucks well spent. But since I ended up buying privately, I guess I'll have to do it myself... still hoping it won't turn out to be as complicated as the carplaylife link suggests. But maybe it was just their fancy Prius...who knows. In theory(!) it shouldn't be too difficult, since I don't have steering wheel controls or anything else that's super fancy. Well. In theory.

    I've been super busy and continue to do so, so no idea when I'll actually have some time to deal with that. At least the necessary parts from Crutchfield arrived today. To be honest, I'm still pondering on whether I should spend the money I saved and have it installed, somewhere...

    That's why I'm reluctant to go for a backup camera. While it certainly is nice to have, I do have backup beeping and I think that's sufficient for me at least for now.
     
  16. ColoArtist macrumors regular

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    Denver, CO
    #16
    My iLX-107 and other Crutchfield goodies arrived today. Weather forecast for tomorrow is cold and snowy. Rats. ;^)

    I was curious about your plans for connecting the harness wondering what method you'll use. I was all geared up for solder and shrink-wrap but opted for Crutchfield's "ReadyHarness". They crimp the connections with a machine...
    https://www.crutchfield.com/p_264PASCON/Crutchfield-ReadyHarness-Service.html

    To connect the steering wheel controls I ordered a little unit, an Axxess ASWC-1. Although it has a bunch of wires, it looks like only 3 will be used for my CRV. Crutchfield already hooked up 2 of them into the harness they made so I just have one to connect to the car side of the radio's harness. They even included some nifty Posi-tap connectors. I'll use the second one to tap into the car's reverse lights wire...which I still have to locate.

    Crutchfield has a page detailing three methods for building the harness. Solder, crimping and using Posi Products.
    https://www.crutchfield.com/S-5sYtW...to-connect-your-receivers-wiring-harness.html

    Posi connectors are great, but expensive. Crutchfield sells an inexpensive Posi Products harness kit. I didn't find it on Amazon, but Posi Products sells it online...
    http://www.posi-products.com/shoponline.cfm

    Here's a pic of the Crutchfield ReadyHarness. They even included a nifty wired in fuse. The black box on the left is the Axxess steering wheel adapter. The orange wire is to be connected to the reverse lights wire.

    IMG_1215=03.jpg
    --- Post Merged, Feb 9, 2018 ---
    I'd say the Crutchfield Metra receiver harness plug is the big deal. I don't know what one would do without it. I guess one would have to cut off the end of the old radios harness plug and sort out the wiring.

    Looking closely at the Metro plug, the wire colors match the iLX-107's harness wires. The fuse I thought Crutchfield put in is actually part of the Alpine's harness. As long as you have a chart for matching colors it should just be a matter of connecting them up.

    Did you get an brake override? In older HUs one could simply ground the parking brake sensor wire, but newer units are expecting a pattern of signals. Rather than tracking down the correct wire you can install an override gadget.

    How about a Crutchfield trim and mounting kit? For mine it looks like the only part of that I'll need is a plastic rectangle that goes around the front of the radio.

    One thing about the camera. It looks like it's powered by the HU, so I shouldn't need to find a power connection. Plus when a camera is connected, an icon on the Alpine shows up. With it you can turn the camera on and off regardless if the car is in reverse. Worse case I can use that and track down that pesky wire later.
     
  17. Ankaa, Feb 10, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2018

    Ankaa thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    Wow, thanks for all the details.

    Here's what I got from Crutchfield (+ the trim panel tools and the specific installation kit for my car). The ReadyHarness would have been neat (surprised yours is blue), but again, without ordering the unit from them, that wasn't an option. Still undecided on whether I'm going to use the Posi connectors (they were super inexpensive, so I'd just thrown them into the cart during checkout) or if I actually wanna sit down and solder (I'm lazy, but it is the better way). Do you know if the Posi connectors can be re-used?

    I love that the colors from the Metra harness and the Alpine unit seem to match. Makes life much easier.

    I'd totally forgotten about the brake override. Do you know how I can check if just grounding will be enough for my car or whether I should still get it? Which one did you get? How do you install it?
    I pretty much went with what Crutchfield recommended to get for parts for that particular unit and they didn't say anything about the brake override... but now that I think about it, I maybe should've gone with the other harness in case I want to install steering wheel controls at some point in the future... (I think that's why your harness is blue and mine is white :oops: )

    Yeah, I read that you can turn the camera on and off just from the HU, which is pretty cool.

    Have you already decided what to do with the microphone?
     

    Attached Files:

  18. ColoArtist macrumors regular

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    #18
    I was thinking soldering mine until I opted for the ReadyHarness. If I hadn't gone that route I think I'd go with the Posi connectors. They get great reviews and one wouldn't have to fiddle with the solder and shrink wrap. They are reusable. Much easier for making corrections.

    Somewhere I read that just grounding the parking brake wire won't work with the iLX-107...it's expecting something like a series of signals. What I bought is a MicroBypass made specifically for Alpine radios. There's lots of info on Amazon from people who installed it on an iLX-107...
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006FKAHFM

    Its wires are also color coded to match the Alpine harness wires. There are 4 wires. Black to black...the ground wire. Blue/white to blue/white (which turned to solid blue on the Metra connector side), yellow/blue to yellow/blue...it's one of the two really long wires on the Alpine harness. It's the one which would have gone to the vehicle's parking brake wire. The last wire, yellow/black, isn't used on the 107.

    MicorBypass doesn't recommend using a tap or connector for their wires. They say to use solder. I think it's because the wires are a smaller gauge then the harness wires, so the fit wouldn't be very good. The wires are kinda small. I wonder if they'd fit into the Posi connector or a crimp connector.

    Woulda been a nice addition in the ReadyHarness, but I don't think Crutchfield can legally sell the MicroBypass or anything like it. There's a warning on the MB which says it is illegal to use on a unit where the driver can see the monitor when driving.

    The Axxess steering wheel adapter has a bunch of wires, but for my car only 3 need to be connected. My CRV just has volume up/down and Channel and Mode buttons. Red and black wires connect to the harness for power and ground. I have a gray one to hook up. It just goes to the car's radio's connector...in a slot which doesn't have a corresponding wire in the Metra. The instructions say it will auto config. It can be programmed to change the button functions.

    I was curious so I did a bit of searching. Maybe this is the video you mentioned about the Sony being installed in a Rav4...


    If your 2008 is like that 2007 it looks like it'd be fairly easy to get to the unit. He never identified where to connect a brake wire. And even though he mentions he'll add a camera later and do a video, I couldn't find the clip.

    The Alpine a GPS antenna to install, but I'm thinking if it's hard to put on top of the dash, it should work under the dash close to the windshield.

    He never actually shows where he puts the mic, but in the 3 month review, he shows it being mounted in the roof's console. Looks kinda weird there, but mostly because he found out it shouldn't be mounted flush.


    To put in the radio looks straightforward. Adding a camera would make it lots more complex. I found a lengthy thread on an Rav4 forum...
    http://www.rav4world.com/forums/98-...-camera-license-plate-bulb-holder-review.html

    One more thing. Here's a clip showing a camera mounted in a 2010 Rav4's bumper. The comparison of views from the stock camera, mounted by the license, and the wider angle camera mounted in the bumper.


    Whew!

    Watching it snow. Might get warm enough for an install late next week.

    Edit: Here's a pic of the MicroBypass.

    IMG_1228_02.jpg
     
  19. Ankaa, Feb 10, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2018

    Ankaa thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    Ok, I'll look into the bypass. Maybe I'll still get it.

    Yep, that's exactly the installation video I mentioned. I'd also watched his other videos and was hoping for the camera installation video, which unfortunately never followed. I even asked him in the comments, but he never replied. Yeah, his mic installation looks pretty yucky. Maybe I'll just trim down the part that connects to the clop and mount it on the dash, somewhere... still thinking.

    As for the GPS antenna, I think I'll just put it on the dash. It's really small, tbh. I don't want to bother with trying to fit it somewhere, as it's supposed to be as far away from the HU as possible (according to the instructions)

    Edit:

    Maybe I'm just incredibly ignorant, but do I need the parking brake bypass for anything else than playing videos and changing settings while driving for this particular HU? Wondering if my usage is worth the effort...
     
  20. ColoArtist macrumors regular

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    #20
    Yeah, the unit either needs the bypass or to have the brake wire connected in order to access the settings. Without the settings you can't even pair your phone to the unit.

    Apparently in the CRV the reverse light wire and the parking brake wire are in the same area. If I find the correct wire for the parking brake I might just go ahead and connect it up and bypass the bypass.
     
  21. ColoArtist macrumors regular

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    #21
    It's alive!
    IMG_1329.jpg

    Weather warmed up so I worked on installing the Alpine iLX-107 in my 2005 CRV. First I installed the MicoBypass. Since the harness was already built I tapped into the harness wiring. If I were building the harness I would have simply connected the unit's wires in the connectors.

    Here's the method I used. I striped a bit of insulation from the main wire, wrapped the end of the tap wire around it, soldered and taped the junction, finally securing the connection with a zip tie.


    IMG_1269.jpg

    Wrapped it up with some Tesa tape. The black box is the Axxess adapter for the steering wheel controls. For my car, the Axxess on only needed a three wire and an audio jack connection. Worked great BTW.

    IMG_1288.jpg

    My dash had a nice spot underneath the front center, so that's where I mounted it. Seems fine. I was thinking of putting it on the dash, but the connector is kinda big, so I had problems squeezing it though anywhere along the dash edges.

    I still need to figure out where to put the mic. I was going to put it on the side of the center console, but decided some nearby vents might be too noisy. Thinking either on top of the steering wheel column or route it way up by the rearview mirror. I don't know what Alpine was thinking but the visor mount is dopey. What happens when you use the visor? Weird.

    Plus I need to do the camera. That's looking harder and harder.

    Since you're skipping the steering wheel controls and a camera, I'd say once you do the harness, you're most of the way there. Nearly plug and play. ;^)

    I searched a bit where the e-brake wire would be in a 2008 RAV4, but didn't find anything definitive. An RAV4 owners forum should have some info since anyone installing a new HU would be looking for that wire. Unless they use a MicroBypass. ;^) I'd recommend going that route. It was easy to do and worked great. Plus, you can access the settings without putting the e-brake on.

    As for CarPlay. Fantastic! Hands free calls, messaging, Apple music and Navigation...what's not to like?

    I'm really glad I splurged for the wireless unit. I can hop in the car and have my audiobook pick up right where I left off automatically. I no longer need to plug and unplug my iPhone when I take a trip in the car. Oh...I really like that the iLX-107 doesn't have a nag screen every time it boots.

    IMG_1337.jpg
     
  22. Ankaa, Feb 14, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2018

    Ankaa thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    Wow, thank you for the update! (and also your effort to look up things for my RAV :) )

    I'm super busy currently and probably won't be able to actually sit down and deal with this until early March (working 7-day weeks atm). I've decided against having it installed because estimates ranged from $90 (though I suspect would be more) to $230. Since the only hard parts should be connecting the wires from the HU to the harness, connecting the parking break wire (I've decided against the bypass for mostly legal reasons) and feeding the microphone and GPS cables through the dash, I figured I'll probably be able to do it myself.

    I also think I'll attach the microphone somewhere by the rearview mirror. I think there actually is a cut out for a non-installed factory microphone. Just have to figure out how to feed the cable up there. Again, my mind is completely occupied at the moment, so didn't have a ton of time to research this, just yet.

    Have you tested call quality, yet?
     
  23. ColoArtist macrumors regular

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    Denver, CO
    #23
    Did some calls and people said the quality was great. They certainly sounded good on the car's speakers.

    Okay...no bypass. I took another run at finding where the e-brake sensor wire might be on your 2008. I found this...

    HAND BRAKE Black On 14-pin plug on top of fusebox -

    ...in a list of the wire colors and locations for a 2008 on a RAV4 owners forum...
    http://www.rav4world.com/forums/98-4-3-interior/88520-parking-brake-wire-location.html

    I used a couple Posi-Taps for adding a wire into another connected wire. Tidy and easy to use. Recommended if you can track down that wire. A red 18-24 GA would probably be the right size.

    Did some testing with the mic. On the center console was okay but on my car there are some vents right there. When I had the fan cranked up Siri didn't work very well. On top of the steering wheel column also worked well and wasn't affected by vent noise. I was liking the top of the A pillar but there might be some wind noise with the window down. So up by the mirror is looking tempting.

    To get the mic up there I'd run the wire under the dash and up through the A pillar, and tucked under the edge of the headliner. Going up the A pillar I might be able to tuck it under the edge by the door then over at the top. One thing to watch out for is if there's an airbag in the pillar, be sure to stay on one side or the other of the bag and not cross over in front of it.

    Likin' the unit.
     
  24. ColoArtist macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2012
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    #24
    Made a custom boot screen. ;^)

    IMG_1380.jpg

    Did some errands and a longer trip today so I had and opportunity to spend some time using the iLX-107.

    The unit...

    Boots quickly, especially since it has no "nanny" warning screen. 10 seconds, splash screen done, 5 more seconds CarPlay starts up, 5 more and the Audiobook I've been listening to automatically starts up. Whatever you were doing last is where it'll start next time.

    No noticeable delay due to the wireless connection.

    The capacitive screen looks great and very responsive to touches. However there is some washout in bright sun. In my car the radio is mounted very high in the dash which makes it easy to see the screen but might make it more susceptible to glare.

    The Sony was very tempting because of the volume knob. The Alpine uses small touch activated arrows along the base. They're hard to hit without looking. Connecting up the steering wheel controls solves the problem and is probably much better than the Sony's knob.

    The mic...

    More testing. For a quickie mount, as you can see in the photo above, I clipped it to a vent right under the radio. I tested phone calls and Siri with the fan running full blast and my window down moving the mic from the vent, to the steering wheel column, the top of the A pillar, and also up by the mirror. Surprisingly there weren't any big differences. Might just go with the console.

    However, regardless of location, I found Siri to be very slow to initiate. Even with the mic close by getting Siri's attention was difficult. I don't know, maybe it's having trouble sorting out where Siri should respond when I say "hey Siri"...the radio? My iPhone? My Apple Watch? It was much simpler and quicker to hit the physical Siri button on the Alpine. Once Siri was running it seemed like my voice was picked up from all of my mic test locations.

    The iLX-107 is really focused on Carplay No Android allowed. Without an iPhone all the unit can do is play the AM/FM radio or something plugged into the AUX port. No XM radio, and the USB port doesn't support media devices.

    Weird thing...if I play the radio I can't find a simple way to turn it off. There's no off button for it. It keeps running if I go into CarPlay. The only way I've found is to start something playing in CarPlay or at the unit's home screen switch to AUX.

    And it's claim to fame...wireless. Super convenient and no big drain on the iPhone's battery. I really like that I can bop in and out of my car and not have to worry about connecting a cord. Simply fantastic.

    CarPlay...nice, nice, nice. Light years away from what I had in the car. About the only real problem I ran into happened when I was testing the mic and doing a bunch of Siri commands. CarPlay locked up and died. Turning the unit off and back on took care of things.

    On my longish trip I was taking my neighbors somewhere. When they hopped in, they immediately focused on the radio. "What's that?" We spent most of the trip talking about the Alpine and CarPlay. They wanted them in their cars. One has an Android. When I said it was iPhone only, he said, "no problem, I'll switch for that". Cool.
     
  25. ColoArtist macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2012
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    #25
    Well, my wife likes the new radio so much, she'd like one in the car she normally drives. That was the plan all along. ;^)

    It's a 2008 CRV. And if it's like your 2008 RAV4, the electronics are much more complex than what's in my 2005 CRV. I mention it because you might have made a good decision to skip connecting up the steering wheel controls.

    Here's how the harness turned out for my 2005. It's got an Axxess box for the steering wheel. It just needed 3 wires and an audio plug for it's connections and the unit auto configured just fine. There's even a couple power wires I added for the camera.

    2005CRV_Harness_01.jpg

    This is what I'm looking at for the 2008. That's even with Crutchfield's "easy harness" work done. The controller for the steering wheel, a Maestro Rr, has lots more wires to connect and doesn't auto configure, it has to be flashed from the manufacturer's site. In a very un-Mac-friendly way...no Mac support at all. Fortunately I figured out I can flash the unit running Windows 10 under Parallels, using IE (not Edge) and if I activate ActiveX, and install an add-on from the site. Gonna have to take a long hot shower after that one. ;^)

    Check this one out...

    2008CRV_Harness_01.jpg

    I've got the radio installed in the 2005, the reverse wire tapped into for the camera. I still need to mount the camera and run it's cable, but it's working enough I could do some testing. I was pleased to find if I mount the camera above the center of the license plate, the spare tire only blocks a little in the corner. I might move it over a couple more inches in order to get an unobstructed view.

    2005CRV_ReverseViewMidPlate.jpg
     

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