Android Car Radio Update Precedure

Lese­dau­er 11 Minu­ten

You want to install an update for Android car radio? No idea how to do that? Here I help you to under­stand the back­ground! MTCB, MCU, Hui­Fei, Image and Pure Android are bohemi­an vil­la­ges for you? But you still want to update your car radio? Gre­at! Then you’­ve come to the right place!

CAUTION

This gui­de is not inten­ded to replace any brain func­tions of tho­se fol­lowing it. This gui­de does not claim to be com­ple­te or even cor­rect! In case you brik your radio, you suf­fer a data loss, you hurt yourself or break anything or anyo­ne: I am not to bla­me for it! Ever­yo­ne should know for hims­elf what he can do and what he should bet­ter lea­ve alone.

AND VERY IMPORTANT:

I have writ­ten this gui­de so that you Help yourself can. From inqui­ries like „I have the radio XYZ and do not know which firm­ware I should flash”, I ask to refrain. Nobo­dy can ans­wer this ques­ti­on any­way, espe­cial­ly not with the type desi­gna­ti­on or even a link to a store. Why this is so, is here in the article.

android splash screen
(Android 4.4.4)

Intro­duc­tion

You have an Android car ste­reo and want to update it?
Fine!
Good decision!

For examp­le, we have a Pump­kin C0234-DE1‑B. Gre­at, we have the exact type there!
Yes, gre­at, right?

But we can for­get about it right away, becau­se the type desi­gna­ti­on does­n’t help us one bit. Take it. 🙂

But that’s only stu­pid at first glance. A clo­ser look at the non-name Android car radi­os, on the other hand, reve­als many more pos­si­bi­li­ties than with the mass of „brand devices”.

One of the big­gest advan­ta­ges of the more or less stan­dar­di­zed Android radi­os from Chi­na is – bes­i­des the pri­ce – that they are upgrade­ab­le. Updates for bran­ded devices are still released in the first few mon­ths with a lot of luck, but the­se are usual­ly only small bug fixes and not upgrades to the next Android version.

We are not even tal­king about fle­xi­bi­li­ty without the manufacturer’s cons­traints. Nor are we tal­king about the expan­da­bi­li­ty and diver­se inputs and out­puts that the­se devices offer. Not a word about the fact that the­se sup­po­sed­ly cheap devices also get along with every fac­to­ry stee­ring wheel remo­te con­trol without expen­si­ve adapters.

The Car Play and Android Auto sto­ries are get­ting qui­te ridi­cu­lous. The manu­fac­tu­rers build short-lived IT hard­ware into long-lived pro­ducts (cars). One IT year equals one dog year. After a few years, this is as „modern” as if you had instal­led a cas­set­te radio with manu­al sta­ti­on but­tons in your car, to draw a comparison.

But what am I tal­king about? You know exact­ly why you bought a Chi­ne­se radio and not a bran­ded product.Let’s brief­ly go into the ter­mi­no­lo­gy. I recom­mend to read them, becau­se they are the basics, which you need to under­stand the update pro­ce­du­re and the func­tio­n­a­li­ty of the radio at all. Fur­ther infor­ma­ti­on can be found at the XDA-Deve­lo­pers.

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Terms

Plea­se read and understand!

Hui­Fei /​ Pure Android /​MTCB This is like the gra­phics cards for the PC: here, the deve­lo­per (in our case MTC) spe­ci­fies a refe­rence design, which most manu­fac­tu­rers adopt and only make adjus­t­ments to the MCU, or inclu­de a few exten­si­ons. Hui­Fei aka Pure Android, or MTCB is the­re­fo­re a stan­dar­di­zed plat­form, in princip­le only the main­board of the radio. The­se main­boards are built by dif­fe­rent manu­fac­tu­rers. Howe­ver, the­se manu­fac­tu­rers do not usual­ly build car radi­os. The car radio manu­fac­tu­rers, in turn, buy the­se main­boards to match the radi­os they offer. The front panels, dis­plays and fea­tures differ.

MCU The MCU is the micro­con­trol­ler unit. This is the actu­al heart of the radio. Simi­lar to the BIOS and the chip­set on a com­pu­ter main­board. It cor­rect­ly inte­gra­tes the hard­ware. That’s why it’s extre­me­ly important to find the right firm­ware for it. If you down­load and install the wrong FW, in the worst case the radio can be bri­cked – it beco­mes as use­ful as a brick.

Reco­very Simi­lar to the BIOS update tool of a PC. You can get to this area by pres­sing a spe­cial key com­bi­na­ti­on when star­ting the radio. This envi­ron­ment is the most basic and recom­men­ded way to update the MCU and the sys­tem of the device. It starts even befo­re the ope­ra­ting sys­tem. Unli­ke the BIOS, not­hing can be set here. You can only reflash the OS and/​or the MCU and/​or dele­te the cache and/​or the data.

Android ver­si­on We don’t have to pay much atten­ti­on to the sys­tem update. The only important thing here is that we pay atten­ti­on to the appro­pria­te CPU and the cor­rect reso­lu­ti­on of the device. In case of an error, we can sim­ply install a new sys­tem update via the reco­very – assuming a func­tio­n­ing MCU. Cur­r­ent­ly, the Andorid fla­vors 4.4.4 (Kit­Kat) and 5.1.1 (Lol­li­pop) are avail­ab­le for the MTCB devices.

Main­board The radio’s main­board is loca­ted at the bot­tom of the device. All the exten­si­ons that nor­mal Android devices do not have (DVD dri­ve, video inputs and out­puts, etc.) are con­nec­ted to it. The MCU is also loca­ted on the motherboard.

ARM Acorn RISC Machi­ne. This is an archi­tec­tu­re (and the cur­rent name of the com­pa­ny) deve­lo­ped by the for­mer home com­pu­ter manu­fac­tu­rer Acorn. It is the most wide­ly used archi­tec­tu­re in the world, ahead of the x86s. First intro­duc­tion was in 1985 in the BBC Mas­ter, a home com­pu­ter. ARM does not manu­fac­tu­re CPUs its­elf, it deve­lo­ps them and sells the licen­ses. The manu­fac­tu­rers (Apple, Media­tek (MTK), Rock­chip, All­win­ner, Qual­comm, Amlo­gics, etc.) basi­cal­ly click tog­e­ther the desi­red func­tio­n­a­li­ties of their desi­red SoC, pay the fees for it and ide­al­ly (like Qual­comm) also opti­mi­ze the design a bit. Most manu­fac­tu­rers do not main­tain their own pro­duc­tion faci­li­ties, but have them pro­du­ced. SoC The SoC (Sys­tem on Chip) is what we sim­ply call the pro­ces­sor. Howe­ver, the SoC also inclu­des the chip­set, the con­trol­lers and some sen­sors bes­i­des the processor.

SoM Sys­tem on Modu­le. The SoC with the RAM and the flash memo­ry (on which the Android sys­tem is loca­ted) is on this board. The dri­ver modu­le for the audio out­put is often also inte­gra­ted here. The SoM is usual­ly found behind the display.

MTCD Ano­t­her refe­rence design of the manu­fac­tu­rer MTC, which is incom­pa­ti­ble to the MTCB devices. More infor­ma­ti­on can be found here.

Android Based on Linux. Pro­bab­ly the most widespread ope­ra­ting sys­tem for mobi­le devices. It is full of secu­ri­ty holes and should the­re­fo­re never be used for important tasks (like ban­king or pay­ment sys­tems). Every manu­fac­tu­rer makes his own Android, so you only get updates from the manu­fac­tu­rer. Excep­ti­ons are devices with refe­rence designs or very widespread ones for which the­re are cus­tom ROMs. The MTCB devices only run Android.

Root /​ roo­ted /​ prer­oo­ted Root is the „Hel­ge Han­sen, boss of it all” among Linux sys­tems. Root is allo­wed to do pret­ty much ever­ything. So apps with root pri­vi­le­ges can access all your data and all the devices’ func­tions. Need­less to say, an app with dubio­us inten­ti­ons can play nas­ty tricks with it?

Xpo­sed This is a frame­work (pro­gramming frame­work) that enab­les an extre­me­ly lar­ge num­ber of modu­les to run on roo­ted devices that vast­ly expand the func­tions (and set­tings). Some cus­tom ROMs have this app pre-instal­led. The­se ROMs are then also always roo­ted. For examp­le, we need the Expo­sedMTC modu­le to con­nect the radio with a Blue­tooth OBD II adap­ter, if it does not report with „OBD” only out of the box. Our adap­ter reports with „OBDII” as device name. Howe­ver, this only affects the Android sys­tem its­elf and not apps like Tor­que or Fun2Drive, which inde­pendent­ly search for BT adapters.

Win­CE Out­da­ted and infle­xi­ble ope­ra­ting sys­tem of car radi­os. Devices with this OS should be avoided as much as possible.

Main­board manu­fac­tu­rers Joy­ous (JY), HuiFei/​Kai Ge Le (KGL), Kly­de (KLD), Kaiy­ide (KYD), Hot Audio (HA) and Road­Mas­ter (RM & YZ) are well-known mother­board manufacturers.

Radio manu­fac­tu­rers Eri­sin, Pump­kin, Navll and Joy­ing should be the most well-known manu­fac­tu­rers of MTCB car radi­os. Head Unit „Head Unit” or „Car Head Unit” is not­hing else than what we sim­ply call „car radio” – but means just the modern and mul­ti­func­tio­n­al touch devices (Car-PC). Cus­tom ROM The­se are cus­to­mi­zed ROMs, i.e. sys­tem images of the Android sys­tem, in which the deve­lo­pers have added fur­ther func­tio­n­a­li­ties and pre-instal­led software.

Malaysk, DSA (dsa8310) and Boo­roon­dook Deve­lo­pers of the cus­tom ROMs for the MTCB devices

Dual and Quad Core Deno­tes how many pro­ces­sor cores the SoC has. RK3066 is the dual core, RK3188 is the quad core from Rock­chip. Reso­lu­ti­on The MTCB radi­os usual­ly have a reso­lu­ti­on of 800×480 or 1024×600.

Update pro­ce­du­re

How do I find out which main­board (MCU) is instal­led in my radio? We go to the set­tings of the radio and select the last item the­re: „About this tablet”:

MCU Version
(MCU version)

Our MTCB car radio from Pump­kin has a KLD2 MCU from the main­board manu­fac­tu­rer Kly­de. This MCU must not be con­fu­sed with the KLD ver­si­on! KLD2 is NOT KLD! If it says MTCD, or some­thing else, you are com­ple­te­ly wrong here and must not fol­low this manual!

How do I find out the CPU?

Also in „About this tablet”:

rockchip 8133 ARM V7
(CPU)

The „Build num­ber” reve­als the quad-core in our case: RK3188. This runs on an Android 4.4.4.

Under „Pro­ces­sor” we only find the ARM tech­no­lo­gy on which it is based. Rather unin­te­res­ting for the update. If you do not trust this infor­ma­ti­on, you can install and run the apps „Checkrk3188” or „CPU‑Z”, for example.

Whe­re can I find infor­ma­ti­on about the device’s reso­lu­ti­on? Eit­her you install the app „CPU‑Z” and have it dis­play­ed the­re, or you sim­ply have a look at the specs that were inclu­ded in the sale. Our Punpkin has a reso­lu­ti­on of 800×480 pixels accord­ing to the descrip­ti­on on the Pump­kin website.

What do I need to know in the end? The MCU ver­si­on, the pro­ces­sor, and the reso­lu­ti­on of the device. That loo­ks with us (pos­si­b­ly not with you!) as fol­lows: MCU: KLD2 Sys­tem ROM: RK3188 (Quad­core), 800×480

How and whe­re do we find the appro­pria­te MCU updates? So we found out that our device has a KLD2 MCU (important!). For the MCU we need the name KLD2 (or wha­te­ver MCU you have). With that, we look here for the appro­pria­te firm­ware. I down­loa­ded the newest one. This eli­mi­na­ted the slight jer­king in the video dis­play of the front and rear camera.

How and whe­re do we find the appro­pria­te sys­tem updates? An over­view of all firm­wares for the MTCB devices can be found here. But I’m espe­cial­ly inte­res­ted in the cus­tom firm­wares with Android 5.1.1, a Rock­chip Quad­Core 3188 and a reso­lu­ti­on of 800×480 After some tests, I ended up with the cus­tom ROM 5.1.1 with Xpo­sed from DSA. This runs by far the best for me. See con­clu­si­on

Crea­te update media We need a FAT(32) for­mat­ted USB stick or a micro SD card. On this we copy the files – mcu-img – update.img If we want to update only the sys­tem or only the MCU, we can also do without the other file.

Insert the update medi­um We insert the USB stick into a USB port on the radio. If we have a micro SD card, it is man­da­to­ry to insert it into the GPS SD slot of the radio.

Car­ry out the update We turn on the radio, release the power but­ton brief­ly and press it again for about 5 seconds. Other MTCB devices need a com­bi­na­ti­on of reset but­ton and power but­ton. The pro­of of the pud­ding is in the eating. Now we come to the Reco­very. The ope­ra­ti­on of the reco­very is usual­ly done with volu­me up/​down (rota­ry knob) for scrol­ling and the power but­ton (press rota­ry knob) for selec­tion. Pres­sing brief­ly jumps to the next menu item, pres­sing lon­ger selects. Here we select our disk, pre­fer­a­b­ly with the opti­on to wipe all. This cor­re­sponds to dele­ting the user set­tings as well as dele­ting the (Dal­vik) cache.

recovery android
(Revo­very menu)

After­wards the sys­tem loo­ks on the inser­ted data medi­um still the mcu.img and/​or the update.img and updates the found.

update recovery android
(Update running)

During the update we watch for error messages. If ever­ything runs clean­ly, the device swit­ches off at the end. Now we remo­ve the data medi­um and, if necessa­ry, insert the navi­ga­ti­on SD card into the GPS slot again. If we have not dele­ted the data and the cache, we have to go back to reco­very and do this, other­wi­se the sys­tem will not boot.

First boot and basic con­fi­gu­ra­ti­on The first boot takes signi­fi­cant­ly lon­ger than the usu­al boot. It can take three or four minu­tes for the sys­tem to re-initialize.

Old basic set­tings like the key light color, the stee­ring wheel key assign­ment or the boot logo should not be lost. Howe­ver, you will have to set the lan­guage again. Some cus­tom ROM deve­lo­pers have pre­set their own lan­guage. Less fun­ny with Cyril­lic cha­rac­ters. The­re is an app for con­fi­gu­ring stee­ring wheel but­tons and the radio’s but­ton colors. To chan­ge the boot logo to that of your car brand, you have to go into the fac­to­ry set­tings (under „Set­tings”). The pass­word is usual­ly „126”.


(Fac­to­ry set­tings menu)

Tunermenue
(Tuner settings)

For Punpkin devices with pre­instal­led iGo you now have to open the Apk instal­ler or the file brow­ser, click to the iGo fol­der on the GPS card and install the iGo.apk. IGo has saved your old set­tings on the GPS card, so ever­ything is auto­ma­gi­cal­ly set back to how it was befo­re. It is also worth taking a look at the OEM or APK fol­ders on the device its­elf, becau­se the cus­tom ROM deve­lo­pers often have use­ful tools stored the­re that have not been pre­instal­led yet.

My con­clu­si­on

It is not easy. Every firm­ware has its charm at first. It offers a lot of new things to dis­co­ver. Sur­pri­ses with a new design or a com­ple­te sys­tem update. After a few attempts and many hours of tes­ting, I am back to 4.4.4, but with a cus­tom ROM from Malaysk (the latest FUSE, Xposed).

malaysk

Why not 5.1.1? It does­n’t run 100% clean and you don’t noti­ce any dif­fe­rence in speed or ope­ra­ti­on. On the other hand, I had stran­ge pro­blems with Blue­tooth, the but­ton lights and vehi­cle-spe­ci­fic logo with 5.1.1. Some ROMs just ran grot­ti­ly on my device, for examp­le the ROM from Boo­ron­dook (FUSE, Xpo­sed). That put in seconds of thought in the first 10 minu­tes after start­up. It hung for a few seconds every now and then, and every time you typed some­thing you could say „twen­ty-one” until some­thing hap­pen­ed. The media play­er kept cra­shing. But this does not have to be the case with every MTCB device, just give it a try.

The next pro­ject is a dash­cam that dou­bles as a came­ra for ionroad or acodri­ver, log­ging vide­os and data. After all, the radio does­n’t always have to be on.

What I’m also working on is eit­her hoo­king up a Gar­min HUD (cos­ts money) or get­ting a mir­ro­ring of the radio screen to the pho­ne screen. I can’t do anything with the iGo’s dri­vel (cus­to­mi­zed by Basar­soft), „Get in order at .… Meters.” My con­cen­tra­ti­on is just not enough for all the fil­ler words in stran­ge environments.

I pre­fer an unfriend­ly „Turn right in 200 meters”. Bes­i­des, even on high­ways, it often announ­ces the turn only 100 meters in advan­ce. That is way, way too short. I have exhaus­ted all GUI set­tings. It remains only edi­t­ing the con­fig files. Sin­ce I have but litt­le Bock on it. I just want to have a dis­play in front of my nose again and not on the cen­ter con­so­le. I can look bet­ter than I can lis­ten. I am just a man.

Yes, with Somehow-Cast it works, of cour­se. BUT: eit­her only up to 4.4 or 5.1 or only with 6.0. An app that runs on 4 and 6 I have not found – and if the­re is, then it needs an exis­ting WLAN. No, Android does not know ad hoc WLAN. If one of the devices sets up a hot­spot, that does­n’t work eit­her. This has cost me hours of my life and a lot of nerves.

Instal­la­ti­on of the radio

The instal­la­ti­on of such a car radio I have exp­lai­ned in a post using the Ssan­gYong Rext­on. But this is actual­ly the same for every car. Except for VAG vehi­cles, which still need gim­micks with an anten­na ampli­fier and then still have a rather medi­o­c­re reception.

Fur­ther links

You want to know more?
Loo­king for sui­ta­ble forums to help yourself?
Need fresh apps and firmawares?
Here you go:
Hui­Fei-XDA-Deve­lo­pers-Wiki
Hui­Fei apps and firmwares 
Chi­na RNS forum with DL section
Dis­cus­sion about such updates at Android-Help

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