I have been getting more and more fed up with my Parrot Asteroid Classic not delivering the potential it could have had. I have noticed more and more ‘generic’ Android head units appearing from China and having followed a few threads on XDA Developers I have bitten the bullet and purchased one designed for my car (BMW E46) – the Erisin ES9746A . I like the fact it retains the OEM look and fits right into the centre console perfectly. It did mean I had to relocate my air conditioning controls down and loose the sunglasses cubby holder, but I never used that anyway.  This is a double din Android head unit with a capacitive touch screen and dual core CPU.

Fitting

To move the controls I purchased the air con relocation mount for sat nav models, part number 51167001411 for right hand drive with smokers pack. I purchased from BMW Cotswold in Hereford and I can totally recommend John and Ed in the parts department for being very helpful.

Fitting the unit is very easy for RHD – I believe the LHD cars suffer as the HVAC box fouls with the connections for the USB and GPS on the back of the unit.  I have seen some threads where people have cut and re-sealed the airbox, and others (my preferred approach) where they have opened the radio and moved the sockets up/in to give clearance.  Luckily for RHD it *just* fits – some right angled USB cables would really help remove any strain as the straight plugs are tight.

I left the GPS receiver on the plastic shelf near the steering column and it gets good signal.  If signal appears too weak I might move it up to behind the instrument cluster.

Moving the controls is fairly easy and only takes a few minutes – there is a good series of guides here.

You need a converter for the aerial – the unit accepts the larger type of aerial connector and the original head unit uses a very small connector.

 

First Thoughts

The unit has a dual CPU@1.6GHz, so it flies.  The capacitive touch screen works very well.  The default launcher is basic and fast – other launchers are available of course, and this is the beauty of Android – the level of customisation available.  The default MP3 player is *ok*, but not amazing.  It can’t browse at file/folder level, only library level.

I am using PowerAmp as my MP3 player and the folder view to browse – I have some 800 folders on a 500GB USB HDD which works perfectly (it required both USB to spin up properly as one socket can’t deliver enough power), but compared to the Parrot this is a godsend.  For comparison if I added just a single new MP3 file on the Parrot Asteroid it would take ~30 minutes for it to show after a rescan of the folders.  This was bad design, but with this unit – it is there in seconds.

Boot time – it takes ~20-30 seconds from cold boot to music playing.  There is a warm boot feature where music is available immediately, but I can’t find how long the unit stays in warm boot mode.

Sound quality – the sound is pretty decent, but the amplifier only has a 3 band equaliser and loudness control.  This can be overcome by using the equaliser settings in PowerAmp.

Glare – I haven’t found the screen too bad for glare, though if the sun was low and behind it might be worse.

Sat Nav – the unit came loaded with iGo which works really well.  I have also tried Google Maps by tethering from my mobile and it works really well.

The steering wheel controls work!  It comes with a wiring harness for the BMW connector so you don’t need an ISO converter (it ships with an ISO connector as well), but the volume buttons work!  Up and down don’t do anything and you can’t initiate a voice call (I don’t think there is any communication between the BMW bluetooth and the new head unit).

Bluetooth phone calls – dialling can be initiated or answered from the headunit, with it reading my mobile address book with no issues.  However the built in mic isn’t too clear on the other end, so I might investigate getting a small cabled mic and locating it near the top of the A pillar.

 

Improvements / Customisations

I changed the default music player to PowerAMP.

I am using a custom radio skin which displays the station name, written by pakidermo5000 from XDA.

I am using CamSam Plus with the widget to display visual and provide audio alerts for speed cameras.

Auto Start to auto start CamSam so that there is no dependency on me remembering to launch it every time.

Tune in Radio for internet radio tethered from phone.

I also recommend installing the Xposed framework and App Settings module to set DPI for specific apps

XposedMTC by agentdr8 at XDA is also a good Xposed module:
http://forum.xda-developers.com/showpost.php?p=54334741&postcount=1921

  • Change default music app from MTCMusic to PowerAmp
  • Override default mode switch behaviour to include only the sources you want
  • Set the navigation app
  • This module requires that you first install the Xposed Framework and enable the app_process.

CarAudioService by KeiserSozeyFr at XDA is also a good utility:
http://forum.xda-developers.com/showpost.php?p=53678587&postcount=1179

  • Map the hardware button codes
  • Start playing music automatically

Latest Google Maps (v8) available from Androidpolice.com

Latest Google Apps 4.2.2 available from XDA Developers

 

Further Information

Root: is available – follow the first post on XDA

Factory Default menu code is: 126

 

Links

Link to buy (This is where I purchased from – shipping took about 3-4 days):

http://www.erisin.com/es9746a-7-android-422-car-dvd-player-gps-obd-bmw-3-e46-m3-rover-75-mg-zt_p494.html

 

Link to main XDA thread:

http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2660662

 

4 Comments

  1. […] have been getting more and more fed up with my Parrot Asteroid Classic not delivering the potential it could have had. I have noticed more and more ‘generic’ […]

  2. vinylsearcher says:

    interested in your changes to your head unit comments about changing the default music player, i have a android navall head unit, and would like to do the same thing, will it work?

  3. adamc says:

    I just installed PowerAmp from the Google Play Store and left the default player on their (it was really basic), and using the Xposed module you can select the default MP3 player. I’m not too familiar with the Navall unit – you could try posting on the XDA Developers thread linked above

  4. […] **Update 08/07/15 (Long Overdue) – I am now using an Android KGL double din touch screen head unit […]

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