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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I decided to bite the bullet and ordered this Android head unit from Aliexpress. I chose the CS1-4-64-WIFI-4G - an 8-core model with 4GB of RAM, 4G, upgraded display, and wireless CarPlay. It set me back $299.35 USD shipped to Canada.

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Mounting
As I'd read others say about these, the mounts are not great for the airbag and hazard switch modules. It's actually awful. I had to trim a lot of material from the airbag display housing to get it to fit, and it ended up being secured by only one screw and friction. The hazard switch didn't require trimming, but did only get a screw on one side. It's as if the mount points for the switch are reversed. The switch sits too far back in the dash, and extensive modification to the supplied radio trim piece would be required to get the hazard switch to sit correctly. I've left it as-is for now. It is functional, it just flexes a little when pressed, and sits a little too deep in the dash.

Wiring
The wiring is where the real fun was had. The unit came with a CAN bus module that listed compatibility with an assortment of Hondas, but not the CR-Z. I plugged the module in anyway, along with all the other connectors. The head unit started up, had no sound, no button illumination, and no steering wheel controls.

The problem with the sound is that the EX has an amplifier, and the wiring that comes with the head unit is for the non-amplified system. So I went to the local electronics store and I bought the wiring kit for my amplified system. They had it in stock, it's a kit that says 2008-up Honda. The Metra brand part number is 70-1730. This harness contains RCA line-level inputs to connect to the pre-outs of the head unit. Which led to another problem - the head unit only has 2 pre-outs. So I went out again and bought 2 RCA splitter cables, and I've accepted the limitation of not being able to fade front-to-rear.
The good news is that the factory subwoofer works. I've always suspected that the subwoofer got its input from the rear channels, and now I've verified that.

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Wiring the aftermarket harness is fairly simple. You need only connect BAT+, IGN+, Ground, Illumination, and Amp remote. The amp remote wiring had to be spliced off the antenna adapter that came with the head unit. This is because the Honda antenna is amplified using 12v, and the amp remote line can share that circuit. The amp remote wire turns on the amp. The colours on the Metra harness did match the colours on the head unit harness.

The steering wheel controls complicated this wiring job greatly. The head unit has two wires on its harness labeled KEY1 and KEY2. I learned that the Honda's steering wheel controls should have one wire connect to KEY1, and the other wire to ground. To make the handsfree buttons work with the head unit, you could also connect them to KEY2. The handsfree unit no longer works anyway since the OEM radio was doing the switching for its audio. Though you'd have to grab the steering wheel control wire from the handsfree module harness, as it doesn't go to the radio connector.

One of my rules on this project was not to damage the factory wiring. I want to have the option to plug my original radio back in. That means no damaging the factory wires.
For the steering wheel controls, I removed 2 pins from the vehicle-side connector that came with the head unit, and inserted them into the correct bays of my new wiring harness. I didn't have a pin removal tool handy so I melted the pins out using the soldering iron, which worked much better than expected. Finally the steering wheel controls worked, with the odd exception of the mode button. It might be just out of range of the resistance levels the head unit detects. It's possible that adding an inline resistor, maybe 100 ohms, could get that mode button working. But for now I'm not going to find out.

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Operation
I've been on only about 5 drives with this unit now, but I'm very happy with it. Wireless CarPlay works, and it's amazing. It does however use the unit's wifi so Android loses wifi connection when using wireless CarPlay. Outside of CarPlay, the unit is very responsive, has a good amount of customization, and does everything I could ask. I got ePSXe installed and Gran Turismo 2 runs just fine with my Xbox controller over Bluetooth. Angry Birds 2 performs flawlessly but it's tiring holding your arms up to the dash for more than a game or two.

Audio quality is at least as good as the original unit, with one exception - electrical noise. When nothing is playing there is a faint but noticeable noise with the headlights are on or the engine running. With the fan on medium speed I cannot hear it anymore, but if it's totally silent in the car, this noise is there, and it's very frustrating. My best idea to resolve it would be to get a line-out converter unit and wire it to the head unit's amplified outputs instead of using the pre-outs. But for now I'm living with this issue.

More on CarPlay -- I downloaded some YouTube videos to play on the go, and I was surprised to find that if I had navigation running through CarPlay, the unit would turn down the volume on YouTube to put through the navigation directions. I suspect it'll do this for any app.

Startup time is very quick. After turning on the ignition, the unit comes on in less than 5 seconds.

My typical use for driving around the city is to just use CarPlay, and even for just that it's worth it.

Other points of interest
The unit came with a back-up camera but I'll probably wait until summer to install it. It has the option to turn down the volume when you're in reverse which would be nice.
It has a button to turn off the display.
It comes with the Google Play Store and Chrome pre-installed.
Both the LCD brightness and the capacitive buttons on the side respond to the car's light switch. The buttons can be set to any colour and are only illuminated when the car's lights are on.
It came with both a GPS antenna and a 4G antenna but I haven't installed either. My phone plan doesn't have much data so I don't intend to use 4G, and I only use GPS through CarPlay so the unit itself doesn't need it.
It also came with two USB extension cables that can be run into the glove box or wherever you like.
It deleted all my Google contacts when I added my Google account. Fortunately I was able to recover them from the trash, but apparently this is a known issue that's been going on for years.

I've attached wiring diagrams in case somebody needs them. They were essential in the wiring of the steering wheel controls.

I'm sorry I don't have more pictures, but the whole installation process was very frustrating to me and taking pictures wasn't really my focus.

If there's interest, I could make a video of the operation and user interface of the unit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Awesome thread, you may have convinced me to get this unit for my fiance's CR-Z!
Thanks! Overall I do recommend it but I cannot speak for the cheaper, lower performance units. I have been playing PS1 games on this - Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2, Need for Speed Hot Persuit, and Gran Turismo 2.

Another thing I notice is there’s a ton more bass, both in frequency range and maximum volume. I think the factory unit likely had some filtering on the front door speakers and the subwoofer because there’s a night and day difference in bass response. Unexpected surprise.

I find that I mostly just use wireless CarPlay around town but even for that feature alone this unit is worth every penny.

I still haven’t sorted out the electrical noise, but it’s not noticeable if music is playing or the fan is on so I’m probably going to live with it.
 

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These units are amazing and bring the car right up to 2022 and beyond. Looks OEM with the trim piece they supply - far better than the crappy double DIN units. I just wish Pioneer or someone with a reputation would build something nearly as good.
 

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Hi. From the photos, I am convinced that I bought an exact unit as yours from Aliexpress.(top of the line in terms of speed)

I have no sound issue and I figured that the factory pin 21 was coming from a canbus accessory unit which our CRZ doesn't have hence the amp wasn't getting the power.

Like you mentioned, the unit has only 1 RCA per channel (Audio L) and (Audio R), and a subwoofer channel.

Since i'm adding an amplifier (already finished installing an 8awg amp kit yesterday) and a subwoofer, I was thinking of
just using 1 RCA only for the subwoofer.

Do you think it's necessary for me to buy a RCA splitter for the subwoofer channel as most of the aftermarket amps always have 2 RCA inputs for a sub channel or whatever the channel is?

Also do you think it's necessary for me to buy the METRA 70-1730 like you mentioned?
If so, I assume that I will need 3 RCA splitters (Left channel, Right Channel, and Subwoofer) of Male to 2 Females?

For me, I noticed that the steering wheel control works (volume is working) but mode did not seem to work. Channel seem to be working and not working.

Also the illumination is not working like you mentioned. I was thinking of manually cutting the wires and using crimping tools to connect the wires with connectors.

Please let me know.

Thank you
 

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Update.

You said you think the Metra HOnda wire harness 1730 with RCA jacks is perhaps causing the white grey noise.
Mine has the Honda wire harness without the RCA jacks but just regular thin 18awg wires(the traditional one).

The white grey noise is still there and it's very loud like you said which shows that both RCA and regular harness are causing the noise...

any solution? will look into this matter on google.
 

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Update.

You said you think the Metra HOnda wire harness 1730 with RCA jacks is perhaps causing the white grey noise.
Mine has the Honda wire harness without the RCA jacks but just regular thin 18awg wires(the traditional one).

The white grey noise is still there and it's very loud like you said which shows that both RCA and regular harness are causing the noise...

any solution? will look into this matter on google.

Update.
I have the same unit as yours. There apparently seems no solution to fix the grey noise issue. I have a different harness than yours without RCAs and it still creates serious grey noise.
I tried every method that random forums suggested like unplugging the radio antenna, changing the grounding cable, etc, but still nope.
 
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