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Old 11-05-2013, 06:54 PM   #1
tstaroveski
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Zagreb
Posts: 46
My Ride: 2002 BMW 318D E46
Review: Navall E46-RN502 - New Android Head Unit with MirrorLink Support

Dear E46fanatics members,

In this thread I will describe my experience with the Navall E46-RN502 head unit I just bought from www.bmwradios.com. The review will be divided into several sections in which I will try to do my best to cover the installation procedure as well as the head unit functionalities. The review will be divided in several sections as follows:
  • Part 1 – Introduction
  • Part 2 – Unboxing and first impressions
  • Part 3 – Installation of the head unit
  • Part 4 – Installation of accessories (front/reverse camera, etc.)
  • Part 5 – Review of usage
  • Part 6 – Conclusions

In Part 1 I will start with the attempt to present a brief and objective review of the competing head units as I have spent quite a lot of time researching the reviews and technical data on which to base my choice. Parts 2-4 will deal with the Navall E46-RN502 installation. Finally, parts 5-6 will describe my usage experience and overall impression.
Some of the posts might be relatively long for which I would also like to apologize in advance. If you are not interested in some of the sections, please scroll to the next one. However, you might find this information rather useful to make the choice of your own, depending on your budget and key features of interest to you.

Last edited by tstaroveski; 11-05-2013 at 08:18 PM.
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Old 11-05-2013, 08:17 PM   #2
tstaroveski
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Zagreb
Posts: 46
My Ride: 2002 BMW 318D E46
Part 1: Introduction

Before I start the review, I would like to describe the main reasons for which I decided to buy this particular head unit. In that regard, I will start with the basic price / hardware / software comparison with the other head units.

Currently there are many aftermarket head units available and it was fairly difficult (at least for myself) to select the one which would be best suited. Most of these head units are unbranded, making it very difficult to find decent reviews. Amongst the branded ones, most popular and therefore frequently discussed are the head units available from the Dynavin, Eonon and Enco. In my opinion the most important factors to consider (sorted by the order of relevance) are the unit price which is dictated by the audio quality, technical support, number of supported features, OS type and hardware characteristics.

I will not comment much on the audio quality of the competing aftermarket head units except for the fact that in many available reviews the audio quality was reported to be the same or somewhat better than the E46 factory OEM audio systems. However, I must also note that in some cases problems with different loudness levels for different inputs (e.g. FM vs MP3) and also rather poor radio receptions were reported (which was in most cases fixed in one way or another).

Technical support might be of great importance and many reviews report very poor technical support. On a number of forums it is reported that customers either received faulty units, or the unit came with wrong connectors, in which case the customers had to cover the shipping expenses and such. Delays in responding and quality of the seller replies to e-mail inquiries are perhaps the good indicators of what you might expect, especially when dealing with sellers from China.

Hardware characteristics are mainly governed by the number of supported features and operating system (OS) type. Thus, the head units can be classified either as WinCE based, Android based or in some cases a combination of the two. In most cases the OS part of the head units is mainly used for the navigation software (and possibly other applications) and runs on different hardware then the hardware used for FM/audio/video playback. As such, the hardware characteristics (CPU, RAM and OS version) might not be the deal breakers. Basically, Windows compared to Android based head units generally require less RAM and less CPU power. Hence, they are less expensive and might be a good choice for lower budgets, if you are only interested in basic features such as the navigation. On the other hand, Android based head units provide much better internet connectivity, more possibilities for software customization (e.g. OBD2 diagnostic software installation such as Torque) and can generally be considered to be more advanced.

I have made a unit comparison table summarizing the features and technical characteristics I considered interesting. On the basis of the available reviews perhaps it is fair to say that there is no “perfect” unit available on the market. Each and every unit I came across had some minor or major issues. Therefore, I would strongly advise contacting seller and thorough reading of available reviews of any unit that might caught your eye.



My choice was primarily based on the Android head units as it is open OS featuring more useful apps than Windows based head units. Features I considered to be most interesting are the PDC, OBC and/or OBD2 support (Torque app), reverse camera, front camera with recording (DVR) function as well as the MirrorLink. Android based units that have some of these features are the Dynavin D99+ Android, Enco B046, Andrive AN46 and Navall E46-RN502.

Even though the Dynavin has very good technical support and also some unique features such as OBC and PDC support, hardware characteristics of even the latest D99+ platform are very low (weakest among competing units) in terms of CPU power and RAM. This information left me in doubt that any software updates will be possible without major hardware revisions. Enco B046 did not receive very positive reviews and the technical support was reported to be bad (as discussed in [32] and [33]). It would seem that the Andrive is almost identical to the Enco B046 (even the GUIs are very similar except the Android side which seems to have the customized ROM). Both Dynavin and Andrive are more expensive than Navall E46-RN502, while the Enco and Andrive had the least of the features I considered to be the most interesting. Hence, I decided that the best choice of the head unit would be the Navall E46-RN502.

To summarize, these are the key features of the Navall E46-RN502:
  • To my knowledge, this is the only unit featuring:
    • “pure Android” system
      This means that it is not devised from separate boards (one for media playback and the other for OS) as previously discussed. This makes the unit easier to customize in terms of user interface and it is also easier to maintain via software updates.
    • MirrorLink support
      “This is interoperability standard that offers integration between a smartphone and a car's infotainment system. MirrorLink transforms smartphones into automotive application platforms where apps are hosted and run on the smartphone while drivers and passengers interact with them through the steering wheel controls, dashboard buttons and touch screens of their car's In-Vehicle Infotainment system” [34]. This is in my opinion very useful feature, especially when the unit eventually becomes obsolete.
    • Front facing camera support with recording function
      This is also very convenient feature (especially if it can be used in conjunction with the Torque Track Recorder app) as the recorded video of driving might be used as proof in accidents.
  • The unit already received positive reviews on the Rover 75/MG ZT Club.
    This unit is also compatible with the Rover 75. I think the only differences between the Rover 75 and the BMW E46 unit versions are in the cabling and software customization. In [35] Sean stated: “We have already installed about 30 Units for the MG Rover members since July of this year and they are thrilled! If anyone cares to reference the forum is www.the75andztclub.com I am a paid trader there as well and we dominate the ICE Section there.”
  • I am confident that the decent technical support will be provided for this head unit.
    Before I decided to purchase this unit Sean and I had exchanged over 100 e-mails in which we discussed every possible aspect of this head unit. On most of my inquiries he responded in less than a few hours and never once did he respond in more than 24 hours. Sean promised to provide installation assistance, software updates and also to provide trade up possibility in case the newer version of the unit becomes available.
    In addition, podge3 also stated: “The Seller is a premium trader/supplier on our Club www.the75andztclub.com for over 4 years and has a great reputation for after sales support. He has a repair depot in the UK to service Europe, so no sending back to China. The supplier is Canadian based but also has stock in the UK (no customs charges), Hong Kong and Canada.” [35].

However, here are also some things that should be emphasized:
  • 512MB of RAM is OK, but 1GB of RAM would be much better.
    512MB of RAM is quite sufficient for Android 2.3.5 and might be just enough for the future software update that will probably be based on the Android 4.0.4 [17]. However, I would be much more comfortable with 1GB of RAM as it would ensure future software updates for longer period of time.
  • Torque app compatibility is still being worked on.
    Attempts have been made to establish both wireless (Bluetooth) wired (USB) connection to the OBD2 port for use with the Torque app [17]. There are still some issues with the Bluetooth connection, which in my opinion might not be related to the unit itself, but rather to the OBD2 dongle used - as stated in [36]. Torque Wiki [37] states that wired connection requires at least Android 3.1 or newer which is why I think Bluetooth approach presently has better chance of success. Nevertheless, for now it is still possible to run Torque on the cell phone and display it on the unit via the MirrorLink.
  • There is no PDC support (yet).
    Sean had informed me that the development team is working on this and that we might expect this feature in the near future [17].
  • No rooting attempts have been documented.
    To be honest, as long as the unit is functioning properly and doing all what it’s supposed to do, I do not feel the necessity for the rooted unit. However, it would be nice to have this feature. It would also allow community software updates when the unit become obsolete or should Sean decide to retire (which I doubt will happen any time soon).

References:
[1] Official Dynavin Store. (2013, Nov.) Dynavin DVN-E46 Windows CE with the latest D99+ Platform. http://www.dynavinstore.com/shop/bmw...n-e46-d99.html
[2] Official Dynavin Store. (2013, Nov.) Dynavin DVN-E46 Android with the latest D99+ Platform. http://www.dynavinstore.com/dynavin-...9-android.html
[3] SZenco Car electronics. (2013, Nov.) Car Android pc system for BMW E46 (Enco-B046). http://www.szenco.com/page-8-87.html
[4] SZenco Car electronics. (2013, Nov.) BMW E46 car dvd player with gps (Enco-B146). http://www.szenco.com/page-8-85.html
[5] Eonon. (2013, Nov.) D5150 7 Inch Digital Touch Screen Car DVD Player With Built-in GPS For BMW E46. http://www.eonon.com/Car-GPS/Specifi...BMW/D5150.html
[6] Andrive. (2013, Nov.) AN46 For BMW 3 Series E46 (1998-2006). http://www.andrive.co.uk/android_bmw_e46.php
[7] Erisin online store. (2013, Nov.) Erisin ES1146B 7" HD Autoradio Car Stereo BMW 3 E46 M3. http://www.erisin.com/erisin-es1146b...6-m3_p429.html
[8] bmwradios.com. (2013, Nov.) Android XMAS Special BMW E46 Head Unit With ANDROID Operating System (Internet). http://bmwradios.com/index.php?route...&product_id=82
[9] E46Fanatics. (2013, Nov.) Enco B046 - Dynavin Clone. http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=896677
[10] Official Dynavin Store. (2013, Nov.) Windows vs. Android - Which system should I choose? http://www.dynavinstore.com/windows-..._store=default
[11] E46Fanatics. (2013, Nov.) Just ordered a Eonon D5150! (New version of Eonon D5113/Enco B146). http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=990340
[12] E46Fanatics. (2013, Nov.) Dynavin D99+ 3G modem. http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...ghlight=d99+3g
[13] E46Fanatics. (2013, Nov.) Enco B046 - Android 4.04 Version. http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=967737
[14] E46Fanatics. (2013, Nov.) WinCE Desktop patch for Dynavin units + WiFi patch. http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...794137&page=39
[15] Andrive. (2013, Nov.) Technical specifications. http://www.andrive.co.uk/andrive_tec...cification.php
[16] E46Fanatics. (2013, Nov.) Dynavin info: D99 PLUS (D99+).Fall 2012. http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=946958
[17] bmwradios.com. (2013, Nov.) e-mail correspondence with Sean (radioguy).
[18] Andrive Store. (2013, Nov.) All Products. http://www.andrive.co.uk/store/index...e=products_all
[19] bimmerforums.com. (2013, Nov.) Dynavin D99 PLUS Windows CE and Android In Stock. http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...droid-In-Stock
[20] E46Fanatics. (2013, Nov.) ENCO B146 (WinCe) Support/Mods/Hacks INFO! http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=914299
[21] E46Fanatics. (2013, Nov.) Help with some audio wiring. http://www.e46fanatics.com/forum/sho...d.php?t=920126
[22] bimmerforums.co.uk. (2013, Nov.) My Enco B146 installation thread E46 2002 compact (pic heavy). http://www.bimmerforums.co.uk/forum/...79/index2.html
[23] bimmerforums.com. (2013, Nov.) Dynavin D99+, Info and Q&A. http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...-Q-amp-A/page3
[24] Ottonavi. (2013, Nov.) BMW 3 Series E46 1998-2006 Dynavin D99+ Multimedia Navigation System. http://www.ottonavi.com/BMW-3-Series...6-dybmnaxx.htm
[25] e46zone.com. (2013, Nov.) Dynavin Clone Group Buy (Enco B046 / B146). http://www.e46zone.com/forum/topic/3...nco-b046-b146/
[26] m3forum.net. (2013, Nov.) Digital Gauges in Nav/Dynavin Unit? http://www.m3forum.net/m3forum/showthread.php?t=406763
[27] E46Fanatics. (2012, Nov.) Dynavin ANDROID - Hacking & Development. http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=892583
[28] (2013, Nov.) TCC8925. http://rhombus-tech.net/telechips/tcc8925/
[29] dynavinsolutions.com. (2013, Nov.) Dynavin DVN-E46 D99+ BMW 3-Series E46 WinCE Navigation Unit 1998-2006. http://www.dynavinsolutions.com/Dyna...CE-D99-DYNAVIN
[30] dynavinsolutions.com. (2013, Nov.) Dynavin DVN-E46 D99+ BMW 3-Series E46 Android Navigation Unit 1998-2006. http://www.dynavinsolutions.com/Dyna...?product_id=52
[31] J&T Distributing Store. (2013, Nov.) BMW Stereo Navigation Units and Accessories » BMW E46 3 series. http://jandtdistributing.com/dynavin...-e46-3-series/
[32] (2013, Nov.) ENCO B046 unit for BMW E46 series (Android version). https://sites.google.com/site/encob046/
[33] m3forum.net. (2013, Nov.) New OEM Double Din ? http://www.m3forum.net/m3forum/archi.../t-446103.html
[34] From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (2013, Nov.) MirrorLink. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MirrorLink
[35] E46Fanatics. (2013, Nov.) New Android unit available for E46 with Mirror link. http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=1007003
[36] Torque Wiki. (2013, Nov.) Bluetooth Adapters. http://torque-bhp.com/wiki/Bluetooth_Adapters
[37] Torque Wiki. (2013, Nov.) Torque pro now supports USB connections. http://torque-bhp.com/wiki/USB
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Old 11-06-2013, 10:02 AM   #3
tstaroveski
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Zagreb
Posts: 46
My Ride: 2002 BMW 318D E46
Part 2 – Unboxing and first impressions

The unit was shipped via TNT from the UK on October 29th 2013 and arrived to my address on November 6th. The tracking number was provided with the parcel and was frequently updated. The parcel had mass of 5,3 kg.

1. Unboxing videos
Here are some unboxing videos I managed to take (I am not a native English speaker - sorry for the accent):
Part 1 (Unpacking of the parcel):


Part 2 (Unboxing of the Navall E46-RN502 head unit):


Part 3 (Unboxing of the accesories):


2. The parcel content
I ordered the unit with all available options. This picture shows the whole parcel unboxed.
Base package items are on the left side, while the accessories are on the right one.



The parcel contained the following boxes:
  • Base package (contains the Navall E46-RN502 head with all necessary cabling for base install) - not including the front/rear camera and DVB-T tuner
  • Front DVR camera with harness
  • Rear camera with dual harness (one for the wired other for the wireless installation)
  • DVB-T tuner with left and right areal antennas and harness
  • Trim removal tool set (I have been told that this item will be shipped with every sold unit)
  • 19mm Tesa fleece wire harness tape (This item was send on my request - and it was free of charge!)

3. Base package content
Here is the picture of the base package fully unboxed:

The base package contained the following items:
  1. Navall E46-RN502 head unit
  2. Control cable (for BMW 17 pin round head unit power lead)
  3. Control cable (for Iso Rover 75/ZT power lead)
  4. Control cable (alternative BMW power lead, fakra connection)
  5. CAN converter interface (can be attached to any of the provided control cables 2-4)
  6. Reverse camera cable (RCA connector + power supply)
  7. RCA cables containing:
    • Subwoofer out
    • Front left out
    • Front right out
    • Rear left out
    • Rear right out
    • AUX in left
    • AUX in right
    • AUX in (video)
  8. Back zone RCA cables containing:
    • Mid speaker out
    • Rear right channel out
    • Rear left channel out
    • Video out 1
    • Video out 2
  9. GPS antenna with 5 m extension cable
  10. FM/AM antenna interface
  11. Antenna connector converter
  12. Remote control
  13. External microphone with extension cable
  14. iPod / iPhone interface cable
  15. USB cable (general purpose)
  16. USB cable for WiFi / 3G dongle
  17. WiFi dongle
  18. Mounting brackets
  19. Quick start guide
  20. Manual

The CAN interface box (5) came prewired to the control cable (2) as requested for my car (I have 17-pin connector). However, the base package also contained two other control cable variants and the CAN box be easily detached and connected to the other control cables (3/4) as well.

The AM/FM adapter (10) that was shipped has two inputs marked AM and FM, a single blue wire for power supply and the single output which connects to the head unit. This was a bit confusing at first as my (still installed) Business CD radio uses a single FM/AM cable without power supply. I also had some concerns that if this adapter is put in operation, double amplification might occur and cause poor radio reception (as reported in some competing head unit reviews). This is how Sean (bmwradios.com) responded to my inquiry double inputs and power supply: "As I said earlier on the Antennas, and according to my tech, You do not connect both, just one or the other. It feeds the dual antennas (AM and FM) of your car to the Yellow then Outputs the AM/FM to the head Unit. Some cars would use the BLUE Connector. It is a diplexer to join AM/FM into one feed IF NECESSARY"
There is also another, much smaller antenna connector adapter (11) which I was unaware of. I think either first (10) or the second (11) can be used.

It seems that the unit is very well built. Here are several pictures of the head unit showing the font, rear, top, bottom and side views.
Front view 1:

Front view 2:

Top view:

Bottom view:

Right view:

Left view:


4. Reverse camera package content
Here is the image showing the reverse camera with harnesses:

The reverse camera package contained the following items:
  1. Reverse camera
  2. Harness for wired installation
  3. Harness for wireless installation
  4. Installation manual
The camera is obviously intended for installation in one of the license plate lighting slots. Two different harnesses were provided: one for wired and the other for wireless installation. View angle can be adjusted in several degree angle range with two screws in the back.

5. Front camera package content
Here is the image showing the front camera with the harness:

The front camera package contained the following items:
  1. Front camers
  2. Harness for head unit installation
  3. Installation manual
On the bottom of the camera main body there is a microSD slot used for recording of driving videos. 32GB SDcard capacities have been documented to work. Based on the information I have been able to obtain, it can operate autonomously from the head unit and is also touch screen controllable.

6. DVB-T tuner package content
Here is the image showing the DVB-T module with the antenna and harness:

The DVB-T module contained the following items:
  1. DVB-T module
  2. Left side antenna harness
  3. Right side antenna harness
  4. Left antenna
  5. Right antenna
  6. Head unit connection cable
  7. User manual
The antenna harnesses seem to be long enough to install them somewhere in the back. DVB-T module is controllable by the touch screen.

7. All items put together
Here is the picture of all accessories wired on the table:

And a close up of the head unit connections:
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Last edited by tstaroveski; 11-08-2013 at 12:42 PM.
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Old 11-06-2013, 01:03 PM   #4
tstaroveski
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Zagreb
Posts: 46
My Ride: 2002 BMW 318D E46
Thumbs Up Part 3 – Installation of the head unit

This part describes the "base" installation procedure. The procedure is divided in several steps and covers almost the whole installation, excluding the reverse camera and the DVB-T tuner mounting. I believe much of these steps can be used for the installation of other head units as well.

The following resources were used in order to do my own installation:
  1. http://www.mybimmer.net/howtos.htm (Info on the right HVAC relocation panel to choose)
  2. http://www.bimmerforums.co.uk/forum/...fitted-t13389/ (DIY on the HVAC relocation panel installation)
  3. https://www.youtube.com/user/bavsound (Installation videos on "Bavsound - Dynavin - BMW E46 3 Series Installation", Parts 1 and 2 published by www.bavsound.com)

If you decide to do the installation yourself, I would recommend the following actions:
  1. The installation procedure is fairly simple, but make sure you have a day off to do it without the rush. It took me around 12 hours to do the base install, but that was because I was documenting the whole procedure and also because it was my first head unit installation ever.
  2. Buy your wife/girlfriend something nice and wait a few days to make sure she is in a very good mood. When you are completely sure she is in a good mood, buy her something nice again. That will be the good moment to tell her that you will be away for a whole day doing the installation.
  3. Ask someone (preferably with some experience) to assist you and tell him to buy his wife / girlfriend something nice as well. You can definitely do it yourself, but it will be much easier if you have some assistance.
  4. Make sure that you do the installation in a warm place and leave the car in it for a few hours to warm up before you begin. The plastic will be much easier to work if the car is on the room temperature.

Things you will need:
  • Trim removal tools. (I have used the tools provided with the head unit and they proved to be very handy)
  • Phillips set screw drivers
  • HVAC relocation panel. (please see the info below)
  • 19mm Tesa fleece wire harness tape (optional but recommended)
  • Spare dash trim clips (optional, you might need spare ones if you break them. BMW P/N is 51458266814. I have been able to obtain them eBay: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...m=271309267425 )

Important info regarding the HVAC relocation panel:
There are actually 8 different types of relocation panels. The choice of the right one for your E46 depends on the following:
  • Whether your E46 is left-hand (LHD) or right-hand (RHD) drive (relocation panels are slightly asymmetric)
  • Whether you have or do not have the smoker package (I think there is only a minor difference between the smoker and the non-smoker versions)
  • Whether you have the split or the single cutout version of the centre console. The split cutout versions are for individual buttons and have 18mm gap height measure, while the single cutout versions have one single row of buttons and have 16 mm gap height measure. The difference between those two is obvious if you take a closer look. However, if you are unsure which one you have, the best thing to do is simply to measure the gap height in your centre console (see pic below):
Here are the BMW part numbers for all available relocation panels:
  • Individual buttons (split cutout - you need one of those if you measured 18mm gap height):
    • LHD:
      • With smoker package: P/N 51168230902 <- This one was for my BMW
      • Without smoker package: P/N 51168202186
    • RHD:
      • With smoker package: P/N 51168230903
      • Without smoker package: P/N 51168202187
  • Single button row (single cutout, - you need one of those if you measured 16mm gap height):
    • LHD:
      • With smoker package: P/N 51167001410
      • Without smoker package: P/N 51167001408
    • RHD:
      • With smoker package: P/N 51167001411
      • Without smoker package: P/N 51167001409

Installation procedure:
I have made the installation videos (divided in three parts) describing the procedure. Again, please accept my apologies as I am not a native English speaker and might have mispronounced a couple of words.
The first part (steps 1-7):
  • Step 1: Removal of the Dash Trims (00:00-03.18)
  • Step 2: Removal of the Old BMW Audio Aystem - Business CD radio (03:18-04:39)
  • Step 3: Removal of the HVAC Control Panel (04:39-06:10)
  • Step 4: Removal of the Sub-dash (06:10-07:37)
  • Step 5: Removal of the Sunglasses Holder (07:37-08:05)
  • Step 6: Removal of the Shifter Boot and the Shifter Trim (08:05-10:28)
  • Step 7: Removal of the Centre Console (10:28-12:02)


The second part (steps 8-11):
  • Step 8: Relocation of the Centre Console Switches, Switch Covers and the Cigarette Lighter Holder to the HVAC Relocation Panel (00:00-04:57)
  • Step 9: Installation of the HVAC relocation panel (04:57-07:04
  • Step 10: Installation of the Shifter Boot, the Shifter Trim and the HVAC Control Panel (07:04-10:16)
  • Step 11: Removal of the Glove Box (10:16-12:05)


The third part (steps 12-18):
  • Step 12: Installation of the Head Unit (00:00-05:40)
  • Step 13: Inital test boot of the Head Unit (05:40-08:22)
  • Step 14: Re-installation of the Dash Trims (08:22-08:47)
  • Step 15: Installation of the Front Facing DVR Camera (optional) (08:47-10:11)
  • Step 16: Installation of the GPS Antenna (10:11-12:17)
  • Step 17: Finalizing the Work on the Glove Box Harnesses (12:17-14:15)
  • Step 18: Re-installation of the Glove Box (14:15-14:54)


Modifications and some details not documented in the installation videos
Some modifications had to be made to the main control cable and also to the antenna adapter in order to get the better radio reception and the reverse gear signal for the rear camera. Those modifications are not documented in the installation videos as they have been made in the middle or after the installation recordings.

Correct wiring of the antenna adapter:
The first modification deals with the power supply for the antenna adapter. Originally I thought that the power supply for the antenna adapter would not be needed. However, after trying the radio reception, power supply turned out to be required after all (at least in my case). This picture shows the adapter connection used in the installation videos:


In order to get the radio reception working it was necessary to wire the free isolated AMP-C wire from the main control cable to the power supply wire of the antenna adapter, as shown on this picture:


Wiring of the reverse camera:
Judging from the main cable harness, I seemed that the CAN bus decoder would somehow be capable of detecting the reverse gear and send it to the head unit automatically. I made this assumption as the reverse gear input of the head unit (pin 12) was wired to the CAN bus decoder instead of being left free. However, it turned out that the unit did not detect the reverse gear automatically (even though I was able to receive and even record the reverse camera signal). After contacting Sean, I was instructed to break this wire and connect it to the reverse light from the trunk using the provided reverse camera cables. I presumed this was a software related issue that will or might be eventually fixed, so I finally decided to make this connection using the male and female disconnects. This way it would be easier to change the connections back to default. Here is the picture showing this modification:


Finally, all modifications to the harness can be seen on this picture:
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Last edited by tstaroveski; 11-12-2013 at 04:09 PM.
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Old 11-06-2013, 01:04 PM   #5
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Part 4 – Installation of accessories

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Old 11-06-2013, 01:05 PM   #6
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Part 5 – Review of usage 1/2

This part of review covers my findings in the head unit usage. I have used the unit for several weeks before starting this part. All observations are based solely on my experience with usage of this specific unit. In general, so far I can say I am pleased with the unit and did not regret buying it.

It would seem that the unit's responsiveness is rather good. I have tried to run multiple apps at the same time and have had no problems with the unit slowing down in such cases. Boot time is also very fast (about 15 seconds) and seems to be constant.

The unit also seems to be pretty stable under "normal" operating conditions (radio / music playback), in which I had no random reboots and no freezes so far (with the exception of the front DVR camera app which seems to reboot the unit after few minutes of usage). However, during longer drive times (2 hours or more) with the navigation software and radio/music playback constantly running the unit might become unstable and reboot (I have experienced this effect only on two occasions, both of which occurred during a long trip; conditions further described later). After that point I have observed periodic reboots if the navigation software is executed immediately after the first reboot. On the other hand, if the navigation software is executed a few minutes after the reboot, the unit will continue to operate normally without further reboots. Based on this behavior it would seem that the unit is gradually overheating if the navigation software is constantly running. There is a strong possibility the CPU power/thermal management driver might need an update. Assuming the CPU temperature can be monitored, I believe this issue might be fixed by reducing the CPU frequency in case of overheating.

The review of usage is also divided in two sections :
  1. User interface and configuration options.
  2. Usage of applications and accessories.

The first section covers the user interface and the configuration options, while the second (and probably most important) part covers the usage of the unit's applications and accessories. Due to the length of the review, I will try to focus on the most important features, emphasizing the things I like as well as the things that might need improvement.

1. User interface and configuration options

This part is rather long, so if you don't feel like reading my remarks, I have made a short video showing the user interface and the configuration options:



The home screen becomes visible as soon as the unit has completed the boot process. The unit remembers if the radio or some other media app was running on the last shutdown, and automatically starts it on the next boot (in which case that app will be shown on instead of the home screen).

This is the picture of the home screen: http://forum.e46fanatics.com/attachm...1&d=1386581362

All installed apps are accessible by scrolling the screen to the right. Application icons are rather large making it easy to select them even in driving. The launcher is visible while scrolling through application lists and provides shortcuts for phonebook/phone dialing, radio, audio player, Google navigation, video player as well as the access to the unit's configuration settings. So far I haven't found any way to change the launcher app shortcuts and it would be convenient to provide this option in the future updates.
Here are some pictures showing the list of pre-installed applications:
Main configuration settings are accessed by pressing the sixth shortcut on the launcher menu. User is allowed to change the settings for the sound, display, rear zone, Bluetooth, device settings (boot logo, LED colors etc.), wireless & networks, personalized settings (wallpapers, language, etc.), navigation settings (which app to use), date & time, steering wheel settings, touchscreen calibration and finally to perform the system updates. Factory reset and some device information is accessible in the bottom of the menu.
Following pictures show the main configuration options:
Besides the main configuration menu, device settings, sound settings and the Task manager app are also accessible by holding and pulling down the top bar on the touchscreen. Task manager can be used to kill or switch to the specific app.
Here are some pictures showing the top bar and the task manager:
1.1 Volume controls and sound quality
There are several different options to adjust the volume such as the volume balance, volume equalizer, DSP settings and the applications volume. In the applications volume submenu, separate volume ratios can be adjusted for the radio, Bluetooth, navigation and many other apps/inputs. I found this feature to be the very convenient as it is possible to adjust volume ratios for each and every input. There are also DSP settings that allow different sound effects to be adjusted, as well as the equalizer option that allows several presets and also the custom settings.

In the beginning when I got the unit there was a mild background noise that was present at all times regardless of the specific app being used (FM radio, media player, etc.). I had reported this problem to Sean and after three days I received software update that fixed this issue. The problem was in the unit's software and seemed to be related the DSP parameters for subwoofer and also to the speaker impedance mismatch. Even though the unit was tested on prior to shipping, the testbed speakers apparently had different impedance which is why this problem wasn't noticed. After applying the update I have no problems with the background noise, except for a very mild noise that lasts for a short time during the unit booting, but that is not bothering me.
Following pictures show the sound setting submenu as well as the available settings:
1.2 The touchscreen and the display settings
The touchscreen seems to be based on the resistive technology. As such it takes some time getting used to, especially if you have been using capacitive screen smartphone for some time. In the beginning I often accidentally ended up pressing some unwanted options/buttons instead of screen scrolling which I originally intended to do. Once I got used to it, the screen was easy to operate. If needed, the touch screen can also be calibrated in separate submenu by repeated 5 point finger touching of designated screen areas.

The screen visibility is good on a bright day light (especially if the brightness setting is set to max. level). There is also an option to adjust different screen brightness for both day as well as night driving. However, the time setting to switch between day/night screen brightness seems to be fixed and I have found no options to adjust it. Depending on the user location and the time of year, this is causing the screen to use daylight brightness setting when it is already night outside and vice versa (for example in this time of year here is night already at 5pm and it seems the screen won't switch to night brightness until much later [if at all?]). Consequently, in winter the driver might find himself exposed to too bright screen (daylight setting) during night driving and also in summer the screen can be too dimmed (night setting) during the day driving.

Following video is showing the described effect:


It would be very nice if the software update was provided by which the time of the day/night brightness settings switching could be adjusted - either manually or preferably by using GPS location. By using the GPS location, latitude information in conjunction with exact time could be used to establish the sunrise/sunset times and therefore also the right time to switch between day/night screen brightness.

Following picture shows the display configuration submenu: http://forum.e46fanatics.com/attachm...1&d=1386583853

1.3 Bluetooth settings
Presently, the unit is paired as the Bluetooth slave device only. The Bluetooth pairing key and the head unit's name can be set in the options menus. The unit has been tested with the HTC Sensation z710e and the HTC EVO 3D. In both cases I had no problems in pairing the unit. After the initial pairing process has been completed, the unit will automatically pair when the cell phone is in range.
Here are some features I found lacking:
  • As a slave device, the unit cannot presently pair with the OBD dongles, making it impossible to use the Torque app via the Bluetooth.
  • There is no possibility to pair more than one master device (such as two smartphones) at the same time. Even though nowadays many of Bluetooth headsets support this feature (dual cellphone pairing), the unit lacks this feature, limiting the pairing to single cellphone only. In addition, the first cell phone must be unpaired manually in order to pair the second one.

Following picture shows the Bluetooth configuration options: http://forum.e46fanatics.com/attachm...&d=1386584372"

1.4 Device settings submenu
In the device settings is possible to adjust change the boot logo, the orange tone of the side buttons LEDs, as well as some other options which I have not been using as I did not understand their exact functions / roles. The android logo visible during the boot time and cannot be changed by the boot logo option. Button LEDs can be adjusted to three orange tones and I was able to match button LED colors with the rest of my instrument cluster and dash LEDs. The SRC button LED is always red, while the phone buttons always light in red and green and cannot be changed. Button LEDs are lighted only if the car lights are turned on, with the exception of SRC LED which is lighted as soon as the unit is turned on.

Here is the picture showing button LEDs adjusted to match instrument cluster: http://forum.e46fanatics.com/attachm...1&d=1386584655

Following pictures show the available device settings:
1.5 Internet / Wi-Fi connectivity
The WiFi has been tested on several access points with different security settings and I had absolutely no problems using the Wi-Fi option.
TO DO:
  • I still need to check if the WiFi dongle must be inserted in the white USB cable to work properly.
  • I still need to try the third party 3G dongle to see how it will behave.


1.6 Personalized and language settings
In these menus the user can change the language and wallpapers. Wallpapers can also be reset to default. The unit supports the number of different languages as any android unit.

1.7 Navigation settings
The default navigation software is iGO Primo. Primo is installed on the unit's internal flash memory (referred as the "hard disk") and does not require navigation micro SD card to be inserted (default installation directory is /Android/iGO). I received the Primo app with 2011 maps for EU. If needed the Primo app can be uninstalled and/or moved to external micro SD in order to save the 4GB "hard disk" space.

Besides the Primo app, it is also possible to use other navigation software if it is installed on the unit's hard disk. If the micro SD card containing the iGO directory is inserted in the navigation SD slot, the option is provided to switch between "hard disk" and the external location of the navigation content. This feature works in a way that the pre-selected iGO folder from the micro SD card is symlinked to the root of the hard disk. The primo app needs to be reinstalled in this case.

Details describing my experience with the Primo navigation app and the GPS reception in general are further described in the second section (Primo navigation app and GPS antenna).

Following picture shows the navigation settings: http://forum.e46fanatics.com/attachm...1&d=1386585256

1.8 Date & Time
The clock is visible on the front screen as well as on the top bar of the unit. As such it is clearly visible at all times (regardless of the specific app being run). Even though it may seem to be amongst the least important features, I often found myself relying on the unit's clock rather than the instrument cluster's one. The clock can be adjusted either manually or automatically if there is internet connection available. Once adjusted it seems to run accurately (this claim is based on my experience in three-week usage time).

It would be nice to provide the options in the future software update that would allow automatic clock adjustment from the GPS data and also to correct the time according to the DST policy for specific country/location. That way the user would always have the accurate time - even if he is travelling through different time zones and countries with different DST policies.

1.9 Steering wheel controls
The default steering wheel options provide the possibility to increase/decrease master volume (volume up/down buttons), switch between files or radio stations being played (up/down arrow buttons), switch to the home screen (R/T button) and switch to the phone dialing app (voice button). I found the default settings to be just fine and did not need to change them. If needed, the steering wheel buttons can be configured for different settings in the options menu.

In future update it would be nice to introduce the possibility of pressing the button combinations in order to get some additional functions. For example, I find it difficult to switch between applications while driving. In some cases it might also be convenient to dynamically change the steering wheel button functions with respect to the specific app being run.

Here is the picture showing the options for the steering wheel button customization: http://forum.e46fanatics.com/attachm...1&d=1386585636

1.10 Other options
Other options allow the system upgrade and factory data reset. System upgrade option works similar to other android based devices. So far I had upgraded the unit's software once without any problems.

Following pictures show the device information for the reference:
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Last edited by tstaroveski; 12-09-2013 at 08:56 AM.
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Old 11-06-2013, 01:06 PM   #7
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Part 5 – Review of usage 2/2

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Old 11-06-2013, 01:07 PM   #8
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Part 6 – Conclusions

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Old 11-06-2013, 02:50 PM   #9
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Nice write-up so far. Looking forward to the rest of your review!
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Old 11-06-2013, 03:06 PM   #10
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Very nice review with comparisons and source citations! Not to be a pain, but there's one more good looking unit out that's new. I was wondering if you could add it to your comparison table? It's the ///Avin from avinusa.com
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Old 11-06-2013, 05:03 PM   #11
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Hello neighbour, great review so far...

I've spent a lot of time researching Eonon unit, so I just want to point out some data from your chart that is not completely correct:
-CPU is actually ARM11, and Sirf atlas V is only GPS CPU
-CPU speed of 500 mhz is actually GPS CPU speed
-rear USB doesn't exist anymore on the latest batch of Eonon 5150 units

And just a suggestion: you could have included options like NFC, changable wallpapers in your comparison chart.

Oh, and great unit, great package overall...seems like very high quality product.
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Old 11-06-2013, 09:31 PM   #12
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I think it also should have a home button...all these company's finally coming out of the clockwork....
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Old 11-07-2013, 12:39 AM   #13
tstaroveski
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daki_bmw View Post
Hello neighbour, great review so far...

I've spent a lot of time researching Eonon unit, so I just want to point out some data from your chart that is not completely correct:
-CPU is actually ARM11, and Sirf atlas V is only GPS CPU
-CPU speed of 500 mhz is actually GPS CPU speed
-rear USB doesn't exist anymore on the latest batch of Eonon 5150 units

And just a suggestion: you could have included options like NFC, changable wallpapers in your comparison chart.

Oh, and great unit, great package overall...seems like very high quality product.
Thank you for the CPU and the USB data. Its probably the same with the Erisin unit as well. I actually contacted Eonon on several occasions to get some info from them, but they were very slow in their replies and they didn't give me the info I was requesting. I will update the table. Can you please provide me with reference to the specs?

As for the wallpapers, Sean told me (by e-mail confirmation) that the Navall E46-RN502 can customized in such way. For that I am certain (the unit is "pure Android" so every screen is generated by the Android OS and not the separate FM/audio/video playback board), even tough I haven't managed to install the unit yet. In know that the Eonon wallpaper can be customized as well, but I am not sure that the Eonon logo and the clock can be removed from the front screen. For the other units I cannot tell, which is why this feature was not placed in the comparison table. If someone can confirm the wallpaper options (with reference) for the other competing units, it would be very appreciated.

Can you please clarify on the NFC? I am not familiar with this term.

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Old 11-07-2013, 12:50 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gojcaj View Post
Very nice review with comparisons and source citations! Not to be a pain, but there's one more good looking unit out that's new. I was wondering if you could add it to your comparison table? It's the ///Avin from avinusa.com
Thank you for the remarks and for the info on this head unit. I wasn't aware that it exists. I will update the table with the specs for this unit as soon as I get the time. Right now, I would first like to finish part 2 (and possibly part 3) of the review.

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Old 11-07-2013, 12:52 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gojcaj View Post
Very nice review with comparisons and source citations! Not to be a pain, but there's one more good looking unit out that's new. I was wondering if you could add it to your comparison table? It's the ///Avin from avinusa.com
I agree very nice review
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Old 11-07-2013, 01:38 AM   #16
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I wanna see this puppy in action! Would love to have an andriod based unit in my car.... I have had both the Eonon HU and liked them but I'd rather have an android HU if it's not a complete nightmare
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Old 11-07-2013, 07:22 PM   #17
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Sub'd. I've been following these newer units for a while now and never even heard of the Andrive before.

Yes I agree add the ///AVIN Unit

One thing If you could possibly note is the ability of the units to pull real time Data from the IBUS?

The dynavin has a menu where you can pull up the car's diagnostic information. Coolant temp, oil temp ect. Without the need for Bluetooth OBDII, my intravee also does this on my stock navi as well.
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Old 11-07-2013, 08:43 PM   #18
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Any info about the DAC's?

If this has a decent DAC consider one more order!

And in dream world some a pair of Burr Brown 24-bit DAC's
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Old 11-08-2013, 01:05 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigo1087 View Post
Sub'd. I've been following these newer units for a while now and never even heard of the Andrive before.

Yes I agree add the ///AVIN Unit

One thing If you could possibly note is the ability of the units to pull real time Data from the IBUS?

The dynavin has a menu where you can pull up the car's diagnostic information. Coolant temp, oil temp ect. Without the need for Bluetooth OBDII, my intravee also does this on my stock navi as well.
Bigo1087,
If you look at the comparison table a bit more closely, you will notice the row named "On board computer (OBC) display". This is the feature you are referring to regarding the reading of the I/K bus real time data. In fact, I have considered the OBC display to be very important in my review and have also mentioned in in the text beneath the table as well. For each and every feature I have also provided the reference so that readers could get more info on the specific feature if they wanted to. But surely you would agree that detailed acronym descriptions would be slightly out of scope for a single head unit review.

Regarding the AVIN Unit, just like you had never heard of the Andrive before, I had never heard of the AVIN before gojcaj mentioned it. I have already mentioned that I will put it in the comparison table as soon as I get some time. In that regard it would be nice if someone could send me PM with info on the features (and references) that are not specified in the official product site such as the Mirrorlink, documented rooting and customized ROMS, OBC, front facing camera support, etc. (I really wouldn't like to update the table too many times). However, finishing this review is the top priority right now and I will do my best to finish the installation first and post some results.

Part 2 (Unboxing and first impressions) will hopefully be completed today and tomorrow I will attempt to install the unit.

btw. There is some more info on the reviewed unit (Navall E46-RN502) which I had been able to obtain before I finally deiced to purchase it. The data is available on this post: http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showpos...2&postcount=20. I know for a fact that the unit had received the software update from the time these inquiries have been made. I cannot comment on what exactly has been changed since I got this info as I haven't even managed to install the unit yet, but I can promise you that every aspect of the unit software will be carefully examined once its installed.

Best regards

Last edited by tstaroveski; 11-08-2013 at 01:19 AM.
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Old 11-08-2013, 01:23 AM   #20
ePhan
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Join Date: Oct 2013
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Review: Navall E46-RN502 - New Android Head Unit with MirrorLink Support

Have you thought about using a google drive/docs for your comparison chart? That way all you have to do is update it?


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