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Replacing an old car radio with an Android radio

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#1 Brito


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Posted 03 January 2020 - 10:45 AM

During the last year I've been driving each weekend some 250 km just to reach home (working on a different city) and then driving back after the weekend (2000 km per month). This means a lot of time inside the car, which I don't complain so much but the car is old (2006) and lacks the basics from the modern world such as bluetooth. This makes quite a difference on phone calls and overall comfort.
So this Xmas decided to upgrade the radio into something newer. Looking around the market I've found radio replacements that went from 50 euros up to 500 euros. After a few weeks, decided to go with an Android model since it would give the most upgrade features in upcoming years (I'm not buying a new car anywhere soon).
When you choose a radio, would suggest finding one that reports your car explicitly as compatible because the connections on the back will change even for the same model, depending on the year they were produced. Even then, the price will vary mostly depending on the quality to expect, which in turns means more or less headaches to you..  :lol:
Step 1: Getting the new radio
Amazon is your friend here. They will all be arriving from China, it helps to order from a place where you are guaranteed to return them if needed. Also, it avoids the worry about customs taxes as it happens so often when ordered from chinese sites. Amazon also has a function to ask questions to the seller, so this helps to make things clear. My advice here is to get a well-known brand as Pumpkin or similar, simply because they worry enough to make the install as simple as possible (not forgetting their forum support if something goes wrong)
Step 2: Disassembling the old radio
You can ask a mechanic of your trust. But this is very unusual and you are a reboot reader, so you can likely do this quite OK as well. Also, look around Youtube for videos. Here is an example: https://www.youtube....FigRFkM&t=1260s Not all of them are in English, but at least should help to understand how to open the panels.
Step 3: Getting the right tools
You will need plastic tools, because the metal ones will cause damage to the panels.
Something like this will work:
Attached File  51-CnB3cqqL._SL1000_.jpg   40.79KB   1 downloads
You also find this on Amazon or similar using the tag names: "Plastic Car Radio Tool"
Step 4: Careful with the radio antenna
A big surprise was that Android worked perfect right on the first run, but now FM radio did not worked any longer. This happened because the radio antenna had a built-in amplifier and these ones did not. So it was necessary to get an external accessory (9 euros) to get back FM reception. Check online for anyone else running into similar issues with radio for your car model.
Step 5: Extensions and beyond
I'm very happy with the change. Can now listen to radio again, can connect the phone, can hear music directly from spotify, VLC or anywhere else. What I have added was an app to log the expenses related to the car (fuel, maintenance) and this should help to track better the yearly costs and mileage.
One interesting extension is being able to listen DAB+ (digital radio) and even DVB (digital TV) directly on the car. There is a new technology called RTL-SDR, which is just a radio receiver for multiple frequencies. With that kind of thing you can have some fun listening to all kind of transmissions. My advice would be to start with the "RTL-SDR Blog V3 RTL2832U". It costs between 20 to 50 euros depending on the extras. There is plenty of info on their site at https://www.rtl-sdr....tag/dab/page/2/
That's. Things work. If you are looking into trying it, would say is worth the effort.


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