For my 7P Touareg TDI, I had searched for an up to date wireless CarPlay retrofit solutions, but was put off by the overly complicated need to tap into CAN bus lines and even installing a new microphone. Prices were also all over the place.
So when I found the Kremer Sino 5G Box
(a little Linux computer) on YT
, it caught my eye, since this system claims to use the OEM microphone and taps the CAN bus behind the climate controller with a plug-in harness. The price was also quite good, $220 with shipping. I have't found reports specifically for the Touareg and the Kremer Sino Box, hence this writeup.
After ordering, the seller communicated well to make sure that they knew the exact model of head unit, in this case the RSN850-B (black volume knob). The package took less than a week to arrive from China to CA.
I also got a trim removal kit from Amazon
, since I expected having to deal with that. Didn't really use much of it, but it's an amazing value for the money, and really sturdy stuff.
The Kremer Sino 5G Box arrived well packaged. The product is also professionally made, with the little Linux computer box and a couple of harnesses in the package. I leaflet explains the harness connections, and the YT video are also helpful here. A small manual goes into the functionality of the box, which is more then just CarPlay (camera stuff and Android Auto), but not that relevant to me.
Before installation, I made sure to follow the instructions that read: "TURN OFF engine, close and open driver door ONCE, wait for screen turn black
". Not sure why, maybe some CAN bus magic...
For the installation, the biggest item is removing the glove box. I studied the VW manuals for that, and one mainly has to make sure to remove and unplug both the foot well light and glove compartment lamp prior to the glove compartment removal. Also, putting support (like a cardboard box) tightly under the glove compartment is important, so that it does not break off while held by a single screw. Some elevating support also makes sure that the cables are not stretched.
The climate controller popped out easily with the spatula from the trim kit.
Connecting the harness cables was fairly easy, I took my time to ensure everything is connected as indicated. The included USB cable was run into the glove compartment (there was an unused break out), but haven't used it yet, since CarPlay is wireless.
Basically, the Linux box eavesdrops on the CAN bus and media signals, and then switches the video output to CarPlay when desired.
Before I put the glove compartment back, I tested the system out, and it worked right away. After that I put the Linux box into the space behind the climate controller (plenty) and reinstalled the glove compartment. I forgot to put the AC hose back on, so had to redo. Then I realized that I hadn't pulled the lamp cable through, so will have to redo for that once more... should be quick now.
As for the system, it works a treat! Connection discovery is via BT initially and then switches to Wifi. Once set up the iPhone automatically connects when the ignition is on and CarPlay appears on screen!
The steering wheel left buttons for volume and next/back work too, the middle button fires up Siri. There is no stop/start.
I also tested the microphone, and it works fine. Have yet to find any real problem, the integration is really well done. Even the Google maps display changes from day to night when the auto headlights signal 'it's dark out', e.g when driving through a tunnel.
One snafu was that I didn't have sound for Spotify, but it turned out that my phone was connecting to the Touareg via BT separately for sound. Also, CarPlay sound is run via auxiliary input, so the Touareg media input has to be set to AUX.
Overall, I can very much recommend this product, both for ease of installation and functionality, and great value.
: Installation video
newer installation video posted by @jimi1508
: USB port
- Running the USB port into the center console seems the better option. A cheap cable provides a real USB socket in an unused cutout there (at least in some trim levels). Link to cable in post #106.
: Android Auto
feedback on Android usage and installation pictures from @blacksheep196
. The manufacturer recommends using Android Auto via cable for maximum stability.
: CarPlay & Installation pictures