So... It's been ages since I've posted anything up on any RR forum. Mostly due to how busy I've been with work, but also due to not having actually gotten some of the projects that I've been trying to work on finished, so figured 'what's the point' in posting up about them.
Well, other than the fact I now have NO work (the tour I was on has officially been cancelled, so my calendar is completely empty for the rest of the year now!) and have been at home for probably longer than I ever have in one stretch - I also had all the required parts to finish off a project I started some time in August/September last year.
Some of you might remember the incident involving the self-destructive power steering pump, overheating, and heater core blowing out incident I had... yup, the one whilst in the middle of the night, doing 70mph, then "pop" hot coolant everywhere, burning my foot in 3 places, and a cloud of steam that I couldn't even see out the windscreen...
Somehow I got stupidly lucky (or I just did a REALLY good job building the engine) and other than replacing the heater core, and the offending PAS pump, cleaning up a lot of coolant from the footwell (thanks Sloth for helping out and also for attacking the carpet with his carpet cleaner!), and re-taping a lot of the wiring looms... the only other real casualty was my touch screen nav unit that took exception to being sprayed with hot coolant whilst it was on and running.
So whilst looking on eBay for possible replacements - 7" versions to swap out what was already there, my eye got caught by a bigger 8.8" widescreen version, which had a detachable screen, and a single DIN main unit. The advantage of this is not having to hack the case apart and cut it down to fit in the dash. But the disadvantage of it being pretty much full width of the fascia, and this would need a LOT more work to make it fit. Oh, I also upgraded to some fancy piano black Vogue SE trim awhile ago and didn't really want to cut through any of that wood finish, as there's no way I'd be able to make it look right.
So after much umming and ahhhing, and looking at the price of the 8.8" units (well over £300!!) I decided 'screw it' go big or go home'. Since I was already at home I figured I should go big, so ordered one. I also ordered their DVR camera to go with it, as the one I had was a bit crap. This one also appeared to take a memory card in it - so I was hoping that it meant it recorded it internally and used the USB for managing the camera, rather then the old unit which was just a USB camera, with all the recording done on the main nav unit. I am sure this added to some of the issues I had with it given it was constantly having to write to the memory and loads of USB traffic, which it never seemed to like.
So a little while later, a package from China turned up - this is what I was going to have to try and fit in a P38 dash:
So after setting it up on the desk, and playing around with it a bit, I was pretty happy with the unit as a whole. They managed to forget to send the DVR camera, so after a few emails back and forth they sent that out to me... cue another few weeks waiting...
But I decided I liked the look of it, though the stupid google boot animation had to go... I managed to find a whole host of information online about the Joying units - ROMs, how to change various things - including the boot animation etc. So to go with the 'factory fit' theme, I've made a Range Rover one...
It is actually animated, fades up and down and ends up on that image until the unit is booted.
So, now I have the unit... how the heck do I fit it in the dash? And what am I going to do, given the fact I don't want to chop up my nice black trim any more? I had the thought (before actually buying the unit!) that I could take one of the standard grey plastic fascias and cut that up... they're not quite dime a dozen, but certainly a lot easier to replace if I screw something up at any point along the way!... And as it happened, I had a spare one kicking about in the garage.
I sanded it back to try and get rid of the textured finish, then set about attacking it with a rotary tool and some saw blades. As it turns out, this screen size is pretty much a perfect fit and the same width as the factory radio bezel, so as far as visually lining up, was happy!
I used some extra ABS plastic that I'd cut off the cubby box that did live here before and used it to make some edges in around where the screen would go, to give it some rigidity and keep it in place. As you can see below, I plastic welded it in place with a soldering iron and added ribs either side (you can see some on the LHS below).
I then cut off some of the threaded screw stands from the back of an old window switchpack front trim and plastic welded them in place. The unit came with some mounting brackets that had plastic clips in them, which once removed and flattened out actually work pretty much perfectly for mounting the screen with very little modification, other than widening the holes so that some window switchpack screws would fit to secure it to the trim. The screen is a pretty tight 'friction fit' as it is, but wanted something to secure it from behind, so any harder presses on the screen didn't have it falling out.
The next step was to get some body filler and tidy up the edges where the cutouts were done for the screen. I melted a few bits of plastic in to fill some of the bigger areas, but some fine body filler would do the rest. I covered up the screen in cling film so it wouldn't get damaged and then mounted it. I wanted it in place, so I could fill up to the screen as much as possible to get as nice a fit as I could.
I left the filler to dry and then took the screen out. I was left with a few overhangs, but overall a good result I could sand back.
I was also having a look at other ROMs for the unit, as the 'new' UI that it came with had a clock on the RHS, which I kinda liked the look of, since I would be ditching the LR clock to fit this in. The down side to this is that a) it was ALWAYS there, so apps wouldn't go to the full widescreen (you would have the clock down the side and then apps would take up the rest of the screen - which was around the same size as the 7" screen I had previously... the whole point of this was to go widescreen and have a bit more real estate). Also b) you couldn't move where the clock was... If I could have had it on the LHS so it was opposite side to the driver, then I probably would have lived with it...
But in my research I had noticed on the EU 'version' it had a different UI... I managed to download and flash that ROM to the unit, which then gave me a full widescreen launcher and all the apps run widescreen now. I lose the clock completely, but overall I'm happy with this, as I get to have the map for example across the whole screen, which before wasn't possible.
Back on the fascia side, I got into the trimming and sanding of the body filler, and was pretty happy with the results:
I did do a second round of clingfilm screen, fill gaps - but after that it looked good enough for me... And it was onto paint! Grey Plastic primer first, but at least 6 or 7 coats probably to help build it up and get rid of any last texture in the plastic:
I then sourced and ordered some Jet Black paint, and 2K clear coat lacquer for the top coats. Whilst waiting for that to turn up, I played around with the unit some more. I fitted a fan in the top of the casing, as with all these android units, it gets pretty warm on the MCU board. I thermal epoxied an old graphics card heatsink on the MCU, and then put a 50mm silent cooling fan into the lid of the case to keep some air flow. CPU workload and heat on my previous unit were a couple of things that made it run stupidly slow at times - even with a fan, it would sometimes lock up, so I went a bit extra on this one!.
I also had a play around with different home screen launchers, and finally settles on this one - from memory it's called 'car web guru' or something like that. some of the features don't work with my unit, but you can customise the look of the home screen - and again, I wanted something that could look like it was factory, so after a LOT of tweaking, ended up with this:
The DVR camera also turned up, and I got that installed in the RR and tested it out:
This camera DOES have a TF card slot, and now has a 32GB card in it. It connects to the main unit with USB and you can view the camera feed in the DVR app, and set the camera recording settings up. But then after that, it records on it's own to the internal card. You can view (and I think copy) the recordings from the main head unit. Far better than my old one and from tests I did, I believe that now it's set up, any time it's plugged into USB to power it (even if it isn't the head unit) it will automatically start recording.
At this point, I then headed away for work a lot, shows in the UK and then off to Canada, and then the USA where I was on tour until this pandemic brought me home. So it was now time to pick up where I had left off nearly 4/5 months prior.
This was how I'd left it, primed and ready for colour:
I'd been priming it with spray can paint, but had bought a HVLP spray gun, air filter and all that good stuff to use with my compressor to spray the top colour coat and clear coat. So onto the colour:
After about 4 or 5 coats of colour, it was time for some lacquer:
I gave it probably 5 or 6 coats to start with:
I ended up with an 'orange peel' finish, which I didn't like - so I sanded it down to then be able to put some more clear coat on it. Unfortunately I managed to rub through to the primer on a couple of spots - right at the top where it curves slights to the edge of the trim. So after some swearing, I sanded the rest of it a bit more, and then sprayed another 4 or 5 coats of colour back on it to cover up the primer. Follow that by more clear coat - but this time thinned down a bit. I got a nicer finish, but a few dust marks which I attempted to sand/polish out with some high grit paper. All I ended up with was a flat looking finish, so after some more swearing, it got another few coats of lacquer, with me saying to myself that even if there were a few specks of dust, then it would do - as realistically not many people will notice, and I just wanted it finished!!
So the end result:
Then it was time to fit the screen:
And take the RR apart to get all the switches out, and the aspirator temp sensor:
At this point, I realised that the little white plastic 'button' I had removed from the top of the headlamp switch had been put in a REALLY safe place (I still haven't found it) and that my original black trim didn't have one, nor did any of my other wood trims. I'd kept this hole free to be able to put it back in again, but now I was facing having a sodding hole in the nice new trim, that I could have filled right back in the beginning...
Then I saw a thread on here about battery going flat by leaving the lights on... and I figured that whilst I haven't done it personally, is it was possible to have the lights on with the ignition off that I could utilise the hole that I now didn't have the button for to make as an indicator LED...
I drilled the hole to fit a 3mm LED and then sanded the end of one down a bit so it now has a frosted look. I went with blue, and it is wired in so it has a 12V positive feed spliced into the wire that would go to the clock. The LED is then grounded via the headlamp switch when it's turned all the way to dip beam.
So then it was onto the conundrum of what to do with the aspirator temp sensor... I could just leave it in the dash, but it would then read whatever warm temp was in there, and I didn't fancy leaving it unplugged and having a book symbol the whole time!
Since I've had the Android units that do radio aswell as nav and everything else, I've replaced the single DIN head unit space with a cubby tray to be able to put phone and all that in. So I figured if I drilled a hole in the top of this and made a mount for the aspirator sensor, it would then be able to suck air through the hole, and it would at least get SOME external air flow.. So a bit of alloy plate and some PCB standoffs later, this was made:
So now, all that was left was to take the trim out to the RR and get it all fitted... The final results are below: (the first pic is missing the headlamp switch as the locking tabs broke off as I was fitting it, so had to LED convert another one and refit... boring!
Done.... for the moment...
It works with the factory steering wheel controls, the DVR works nicely, the maps are pretty decent on the big screen. I think it looks as close to 'factory fit' as I could make it, given that it's totally aftermarket. It's also got 4G built in, so I have a cheap giff gaff data sim installed, which gives me online searching when I'm out and about, also live traffic, and ability to use google maps for anything that isn't in the iGo offline map (iGo also will get live traffic if there's an internet connection, which is handy).
Bluetooth audio is pretty good for calling, I can stream media audio from my phone aswell, and the quality of this is pretty decent - definitely better than the FM radio quality in these head units (or really any aftermarket head unit in the RR).
The ash tray and cigar lighter have been replaced with a dual USB charging socket, and a modified infotainment controller from an Audi - which gives me a few more manual input buttons. The LEDs are all controlled through an arduino and the buttons act as a resistive network to a USB HID device which you can map resistive button presses to keyboard commands. This unit then presents itself to Android as an external USB Keyboard. It's a bit complex, but if anyone is interested I'll do a follow up post in this thread on that bit itself.
Anyway... thanks for reading - I hope it was an interesting write up.