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Diesel Dash Dilemma

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Old 01-01-2014, 12:09 AM
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Diesel Dash Dilemma

Oh man... did I ever open a can of worms.

Head units: They are a hot topic right now, because those cassette players in our dashes are... well... museum pieces. Who's up for Jurassic rock? Who has cassettes? Who has floppies for their computer? Even CDs are outdated... are we still listening to 45 minutes of music, then eject, stop, or replay are the only options? My previous truck could play MP3s on a disc, that gave me a lot music on a spinning wheel... but disks are decidedly dead, dudes.

I replaced my head unit a couple of years ago... but I bought the cheapest touchscreen I could get. Was it a waste of money? Not really. I truly enjoyed the capabilities of the unit for the last two years (or was it three?), and I learned a lot about what works and what doesn't. Now... I'm shopping again - as well as a few other members. This is a good time to bring your questions and your suggestions.

#1 - with stank on it: SD CARD! I can't stress this one enough. I have a CD/DVD player that will never see a disk. A DVD has 5G of storage... that's a lot more than a CD... and a CD can hold a lot of MP3s. My small SD card holds 8 gigs of storage, my camera has a 32G SD card, and they are now selling 64G cards. 8G works out to about 1200 MP3s. Can you muster up 1200 songs to put in your library... that you want to listen to in the vehicle? 1200 songs of mixed long-play and conventional-length songs is about 4 days of non-stop music with no repeats. You can keep the 6-disk changer, I have my SD... and no skipping on the railroad tracks.

#2 - Backup Camera: Guys, seriously... this feature is the real deal on our trucks. Hooking up to a trailer is too easy to goof up, and spotting the occupied Big Wheel behind you in the driveway makes it priceless. This one pays for itself... think of it as free.

#3 - that's up to you: HD radio is standard fare... and it does sound nice (if your market has this). Hands-free is more like hands-up. They haven't worked yet, and it's not for lack of trying different products. There's something about the harmonics or electronics in our rigs that kills an open microphone. GPS? Phone interface (almost useless without the hands-free mic)? Apps? OBDII gauges? Satellite radio (are you Sirius)?

I said it - Apps. While the market has been busy with head units with more and more capabilities, here come the computer folk that have always had portable capability, just no audio amplifier attached - until now. Two Android head units are hitting the market. Not Sony. Not Pioneer. Not Alpine. Android... and one unit has Windows CE. Babe Ruth paid his respects to the snow globe of electronics... right after pointing to the outfield.

Many of us grew up with A&T phones, younger folk had Motorolas and Nokias, now we have Apples, Galaxies, and Androids. Our dashes are the battleground for the next phase of the war to dominate the world (market).

Finding the ideal unit for your dash is a daunting task. Tim Hodgson found a couple of nice units I hope he shares here. I know of a couple of units that have nice features. I'm sure several of you out there have experienced the "glass dash" and have something to share... including caveats and oversights.


 
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Old 01-01-2014, 12:34 AM
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Old 01-01-2014, 08:01 AM
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I would like to see the DP F6 or the Hydra interfaced to a touch screen head unit.

I'm following where this thread leads to.
 
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Old 01-01-2014, 08:05 AM
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Old 01-01-2014, 08:21 AM
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Android driven units have been out for several years. They still need some "tweaking" to make them reliable, but they're getting there. A friend went through a couple different Android units in his truck over the summer, but got so frustrated with the crashes/uncommanded reboots/buggy features, he went back to a premium OEM unit.

As far as WinD'ohs goes, well I don't know anyone who has had a unit with it, or would would want one for that matter. I personally despise M$ products.
 
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Old 01-01-2014, 08:29 AM
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Old 01-01-2014, 09:06 AM
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if they come out with something similar to XM radio but using internet connection to the unit, i'd go this route...

In Dash Android Nexus 7 Install - Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum
 
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Old 01-01-2014, 09:07 AM
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I'm interested in this one as well. I posted in the thread, Buck$zooka Blasts for Baby, (in the new year) that I would be looking for a new touch screen. Honestly I'm lost, and won't spend money until I know what to get. Can gps from your phone be displayed on the screen? I want to be able to let my wife watch a movie while I drive, either on the units screen or a remote screen. My hearing isn't good after a life time of loud noise. I want some type of head phone or ear buds that allow only me to hear the radio while she sleeps in the bunk behind the captains chairs. We travel all night to the cabin and I usually drive 6-7 hrs listening only to the hum of the old 7.3. I've had Sirius for well over 10yrs and would like to keep it. So thats some of my specs. Not buying anything till I'm informed. HELP!
 
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Old 01-01-2014, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Pikachu View Post
Android driven units have been out for several years. They still need some "tweaking" to make them reliable, but they're getting there. A friend went through a couple different Android units in his truck over the summer, but got so frustrated with the crashes/uncommanded reboots/buggy features, he went back to a premium OEM unit. As far as WinD'ohs goes, well I don't know anyone who has had a unit with it, or would would want one for that matter. I personally despise M$ products.
Tis why I switched from Android to iPhone. I'm an avid PC user and like Google. I don't own an Apple computer. I just think Android products are a cheap, glitchy, jerky products that feel inferior to Apple products.

http://www.soundmanca.com/ipad-mini-...cars-dashboard

That looks interesting.
 
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Old 01-01-2014, 09:17 AM
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I have the pioneer avh 3300 bt. It's older tech, but, it has b/u, usb, blue tooth and sd card front access I have all my cd's on 2 8gb usb sticks.
 
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Old 01-01-2014, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by mechelement View Post
Tis why I switched from Android to iPhone. I'm an avid PC user and like Google. I don't own an Apple computer. I just think Android products are a cheap, glitchy, jerky products that feel inferior to Apple products.

How to install an iPad in your car's dashboard

That looks interesting.
LOL, I'm just the opposite. I've been pretty happy with Android on my phones, but I use Apple computers and Linux servers.
 
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Old 01-01-2014, 09:48 AM
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I'm using pioneers avh-4300 DVD. It's expandable for Bluetooth, nav, back up camera, satellite and hd radio. It was pioneers first generation of app radio. Technology and integration has vastly improved to support iPhone apps and viewing nav on screen. The only caveat is that iPhone 5 does not support video output. Previous generation iPhones are much more capable when it comes to getting full functionality of the head unit. Also these units can be used separate from a rear seat screen. So your rear passengers can have their own video going on with their own headphones and the front passengers can enjoy their own media. I don't think I would ever go back from a touch screen DVD unit. They also support steering wheel controls for those who are fortunate to have them (not sure if 7.3 guys are that lucky)
 
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Old 01-01-2014, 09:53 AM
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I have the Pioneer 4500bt and have been using it about 9 months. A few of my observations.

I added the Pioneer steering wheel control unit and it works well for volume adjustment skipping songs. I use the touch screen for everything else.

Back up camera is really nice (Pioneer B6) but mine is mounted by the tailgate latch handle. It is such a wide angle that the distance scale is hard to get used to. On my hitch and receivers I added aluminum duct tape to add contrast to the black items. It makes hitching up easier. The new Ford trucks have a distance scale built into the display, my camera does not. The B6 is a good camera and displays well in all weather and lighting conditions.

If I had to do it over again I think I would have used a lower mounting point or a different camera configuration. My installer also added a quick disconnect plug at the tailgate so if I remove the tailgate the camera does not have to be unwired. If the camera was mounted lower, would not need the plug.

Blue tooth functionality. Much more then just hands free phone. Everyone talks Pandora but several other sites are out there also. I listen to IHeart radio, and Slacker radio. I recently jumped from older Android to Iphone 5c and cannot believe how well the stereo and phone work together. I used to use memory sticks or Ipod to hold all of my music but now use the Iphone and stream over Bluetooth.

I have not purchased the correct cable for the phone to get full use of the apps yet, but I am impressed with the bluetooth stuff. Some good Utube videos on how various head units work with phones, App radio etc.

As for the hands free phone, it works but sounds like I am talking out of a garbage can. Lots of background noise also. Useless at freeway speeds in my truck.

For folks that have older stereos that have Ipod connectors but do not have Bluetooth, I recently found a bluetooth device called Tune2Air (about $80 on Amazon) that will play any blue tooth device over your stereo. Just plug it into the Ipod plug and pair it with whatever device you want to play music from. On my 02 VW Golf and on my wife's 08 GL320 it works great and shows all of the album data etc. On Slacker radio artist name and song title is displayed.
 
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Old 01-01-2014, 10:27 AM
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On the 2002 van at least our radios are not double din. Rather they are about a din and 3/4's -- meaning that they are wide enough but not tall enough to be double din. But reportedly they can be expanded to fit a double din head unit. See:

https://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/1...ouble-din.html

I tried to read everything I could find about using torque, dashcommand or car gauge pro on Android headunits and this is my rudimentary understanding:

1. Blue Tooth (BT) is usually set up from the factory to pair only with phones.

2. The high-priced Ca-Fi (but still quality suspect) unit and other less expensive Chinese non-branded units get around this by using an OBDII connector to USB.

3. You can "root" the Android device so that the BT will pair with other devices.

4. But OBD dongle to USB hardwire to the headunit avoids the signal delay which is inherent in BT.

5. The Ca-Fi unit uses Android 2.3 Gingerbread which came out in 2011. Most Android units are now using 4.1 Jelly Bean (Edit: or the even newer 4.3 KitKat.) And although dashcommand and torque will run on 2.3 Gingerbread most others require or will likely eventually require a more recent version of Android.

6. There are other non-branded Android 4.1 headunits which will run torque from an OBDII plug (dongle) to USB. They are of suspect build quality, but are relatively cheap. A few links and quotes (I am "E350").

7. A "resistive" screen is merely a touch screen. A "capacitive" screen supports touch and zoom.

E-257AGNR Android 4.1 Double DIN Head Unit - Page 2 - xda-developers

"Unit works with USB OBDII ELM357 Adapter

So I went ahead and tried the most obvious thing:

1. Installed Torque Pro from the Play store.
2. Plugged in my OBDII adapter to the back USB port on the unit.
3. Set the max baud rate in torque.
4. Voila, unit recognizes the adapter w/o any problems. Shows RMPs, boost, coolant temp, etc.

Attached are a few more pictures... I'll post a link the the OBDII adapter I used. I would highly recommend this method over using a Bluetooth OBDII adapter, much less hassle."

For Sale: Android Headunit Torque Pro Compatible - SaabCentral Forums

"For Sale: Android Headunit Torque Pro Compatible
Description: Selling my pure android head unit, like new with all original boxes, cables, remote, etc. Unit has been rooted and supports USB OBDII dongles (they don't come that way from the factory)."
(He is selling this unit to buy a different unit...)
"Exact same unit, just with a capacitive touchscreen.
It works fine, just the same way it would work on your phone.
Depends on the unit and the OBDII adapter you get.
Correct, everything runs entirely on the headunit."

A few other threads for the unintimidated:

Can I use Dash Command on a radio head unit without a phone?

"E350, newbie
Re: Can I use Dash Command on a radio head unit without a phone?

Ca-Fi 621000 runs on Android 2.3 Gingerbread and has OBD2 input:

Tech Specs | Ca-Fi Infotainment

So does that mean that it can run torque pro, car gauge pro, dashcommand and other Android apps off the OBD2 port without the use of a phone?

Seems so. Connects OBDII via USB not bluetooth. From:

Ca-Fi 621000 Capacitive Infotainment Radio!

See:


[email protected], Administrator, Hero Member
"Okay yeah. From what you posted there it looks like it would work. The Android system is an older version. Gingerbread came out in February 2011, so you might look for a similar model with a newer Android system.
DashCommand will run on Gingerbread, so this system might do it."

CONCLUSION: It is wild west in China at least for pure Android headunits. I would not buy the Ca-Fi unit. It is overpriced. However, with a little more research, I would consider buying a $300-$400 unit, a hardwire OBD dongle to the USB port on the headunit and then try torque pro, dashcommand and car gauge pro. I am trying to source those headunits now. BTW, I could find nothing siimilar for Pioneer, Alpine, Kenwood, etc. They all require that you put your phone in the middle of the OBD and the headunit, which I have no interest.
 
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Old 01-01-2014, 02:41 PM
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Backup cam and ipod hook up I what I want.

I have an iPod that never leaves the center console. I park close enough to my house for it to pick up the wifi. When I park at home the iPod stays on and logs into the wifi. It is set up to automatically sync with new music on my itunes via wifi and updates podcasts daily (again via wifi). The battery lasts several days so it has plenty of time to do this.

The result? A fully automated, updating playlist of music and podcasts for commuting and roadtrips as well as just around town. Pretty snazzy, and very simple.

Also, Tugly, they are selling SD cards much larger than 64GB now. Heck, you can get a 64GB MicroSD Class 10.

Amazon.com: Lexar Professional 600x 256GB SDXC UHS-I Flash Memory Card LSD256CTBNA600: Computers & Accessories Amazon.com: Lexar Professional 600x 256GB SDXC UHS-I Flash Memory Card LSD256CTBNA600: Computers & Accessories

Also, I dont see how this is 7.3L related... Familiarize yourself with the SuperDuty section lol
 
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