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Discussion Starter #1
Hey Folks, thanks to everyone who has contributed on clubtouareg. I have gained a lot from this site and this is my way of well….. as kanye said…. “imma give it back”.

The one thing I couldn’t find on the site was a good highly detailed review of replacing a RCD550 w/ an Android stereo. If there are some that I missed, please comment them on this thread.

The unit I bought was a Joying model JY-VO133N4GS, I can't seem to post outbound links here on clubtouareg but I bought it on Ali Express from the seller "Joying official store"

I had some experience w/ the Joying before and I have a gut feeling they are a higher quality than most Chinese stereo companies so I took a risk (limited reviews and mostly in Russian) and bought this for ~$350: It is going in a 2012 TDI Sport. Required: I bought an ($8) "Car Panel Radio Removal Tool Auto Car Door Clip Trim Dash Audio Removal Installer Pry Tool" on Amazon (again - sorry, site is not letting me post links), you need the little hook thingys from this to get the RCD550 out (pic below).

And let’s give Chinese stereo companies credit for building amazing niche products like this. “Mainstream” car stereo options are basically nil and spoiler alert, it’s a very high quality product at a very low price.

Pro’s
  • Big jump in sound quality
  • Beautiful screen and elegant hardware generally – perfect fit/match for the t-reg
  • GPS nav w/ offline maps (I installed maps.me and downloaded all the maps)
  • Carplay (Wired or Wireless) & Android Auto (I didn’t’ test the latter) built in (no extra hardware needed except of course your phone). Carplay apps like Pandora work great.
  • Tons of apps from Google Play if you don’t want to use Carplay or Android Auto
  • Backup camera, with that little guide indicator that changes angle when you move the steering wheel. You know what I am talking about. Probably has a name.
  • Very affordable at around $350 as of Apr 2020
  • Responds via voice: ‘Hey Siri’ while in Carplay mode, ‘Ok Google’ otherwise. Siri is a slow, but she works
  • Auto screen off, or using the right button. The RCD 550 would never go off!!
  • You can properly hook this up to an AMP for even better sound (I did not)
  • Support from the seller on Ali has been great. Has a 2 year warranty.
Bonus features I didn’t expect:
  • Whenever the car adjusts the climate controls on its own when in “auto mode” the screen shows the climate settings which is a nice touch – like it is telling you something changed
  • When you start the car if a door is open – it will show on the screen.
Con’s
  • You lose the ability to re-program Homelink for your garage door. You don’t lose any existing settings, but you lose the ability to change it. So instead of tying the old RCD 550 to the end of a rope to keep your boat from drifting, you need to keep the old unit for the rare occasion you need to re-program Homelink. If you move regularly, this may not be the stereo for you – or you might just have to use old fashioned garage door openers. Install/removal is quite easy, so it isn’t that much of a burden to me to install the old unit for a few mins should I ever move. (Probably 20 mins time)
  • It can’t use the factory microphone and must install the one provided
Some Nitpicks:
  • The OS is a bit buggy, just some random things happen causing you to have to restart carplay on occasion or random (rare) reboots. (The RCD also had bugs)
  • It uses .01amps when vehicle is off to support fast boot, this is tiny, but zero would be even better (or the ability to choose to ‘lose’ fast boot in favor of no battery draw)
  • You lose speed sensitive steering, but the touareg is so quiet I don’t even notice or don’t find myself adjusting the volume at all
  • It runs Android 8.1 which is a bit old. Doesn’t’ really impact day to day use, but would be more future proof if it was newer. Joying doesn’t seem to upgrade old deck’s software.
  • Doesn’t seem to support high res mp3s (aka M4Vs) on usb drives
FYI - You don’t loose TPMS. You don’t need to buy the Android stereo TPMS module.

Buying it
In case the link goes stale, this is what I bought:
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They have 125 more of these in stock as of 3/20/2020.

I’ve never bought on AliExpress. I’ve heard rumors that your CC number may never be the same. I don’t know if that is true at all, but they accept paypal so no worries there. Joying isn’t selling them directly which raised a yellow flag but you’ll see from this review I am happy. Shipping was reasonable – it came when they said.

Like other reviews I did see, install is easy once you know a couple tricks (more on that below)

A note about screen dimming
Instead of auto screen dimming, what they have is two separate brightness settings: one for day and one for night and you can set the brightness level manually on both settings for a lot of customizability. I max mine out at 100% for day, and set mine to the lowest setting for night. I suppose some might ask for it to be a bit brighter overall, but I like it the way it is. Also – you can press/hold the right dial for 2-3s and the screen turns off which I really like. It also has a customizable screen-turn-off setting at 2,3, or 5 mins (if I remember correctly). Map apps can not override this; meaning if you are using maps for directions and the timer kicks in, maps go off.


The three OS’s: Android OS, Android Auto and Apple Carplay
Its important to understand a few concepts:
Android OS – this is the core Operating System of the stereo
Android Auto – this is kind of like an App that runs on the OS, but it actually is more like an OS on top of the OS
Apple Carplay – same as Android Auto – it is kind of like an OS that runs on top of Android OS.

This car stereo is more like a Android Tablet that runs Android OS than a typical car stereo.

I mainly use the stereo for Carplay. On the off chance I am w/o signal and need directions, I have installed maps.me and downloaded all the maps for ‘merica and canadia.

I use Carplay wired because my phone always needs juice and wireless carplay seems to use both Bluetooth and wifi and there is also my house wifi involved w/ the android deck itself (although I could turn that off I guess). It just seems like too many radios going at once and I seemed to have some issues but also I did not spend the time to address them – I just prefer wired. Its cool it supports wireless should apple ever really support wireless charging and I get a new phone. In the case of wired, when you plug your phone in, it kicks in the “Z-link” app which gives the stereo carplay capability. In the case of wireless, if Z-link was the last app you used, it will start automatically next time you turn the car on – so getting in/out of Carplay is pretty automated which is nice.

I connected the Android OS to my home wifi which is only useful in the garage. The only thing I really wanted to do was download maps.me in the off chance I lost my phone or I don’t have connectivity – I wanted a backup map solution. Otherwise the fact that the Android OS is connected to the internet (again, only in my garage) is irrelevant.

When the phone is connected via CarPlay, the Carplay app/OS automatically gets internet access via the phone.

Siri

She works great in carplay mode. At any time you can talk to her, she’s a bit slow as compared to the phone directly but totally fine.

‘Ok Google’ also works, but since I don’t have my phone connected to the deck as a hotspot via Bluetooth/wifi and I also don’t have a sim card for the deck itself (it supports that) the deck core OS is pretty much offline all the time. I would imagine for you Android Auto users that once A.A. is launched you also get internet via your phone.

Again and in other words, my deck gets internet via my phone via a wired connection and I prefer it that way.

Connecting the stereo to the Car’s brain

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Oil/service info exactly the same as stock. I could never really get the stock oil gauge to work, it was always telling me to wait for the vehicle to warm up so I cant really say if the oil level info is right, but I can say I have about 3k miles driven since the last oil change and this is what it is showing.

Some grammar issues on this screen, my corrections are in red.

As mentioned, aside from the ability to program homelink, as far as I can tell the Android stereo replicates all the features of the RCD550’s ability to interface with the car.


RCD550 Removal & Install

It is critical that whenever you insert your key into the car, the airbag switch is installed. Even though I knew this 100% I still f’d it up. Luckily you can rent Ross Tech Vag-Com cables from ebay to resolve for about $35 for a week. You can make some VCDS mods at this time, I liked the gear indicator on the dash for example.


First, The thing above the stereo in the dash, it has a name I guess, I call it the “sunglass holder”…..a couple things:

  1. On a 2012 at least, there is a screw/clip thingy – just above and inside about where the tip of the hazard button light is but inside the storage area. Feel around for it – you can’t really see it. You need a Torx bit (although some screw drivers might fit) to unscrew it and then grab it and pull it out.
  2. There is a bit of a trick to removing the sunglass holder body – you kind of pull it out towards you and up. There are 4 clips that hold it in and when I removed mine, I lost a couple. Not sure what the solution is there but after re-installing it seemed fine.
  3. There are a couple Torx screws that are exposed after removing above
  4. Next, insert the ‘keys’ from the aforementioned amazon kit as shown below, you are trying to hook the keys around something that catches. If you play around with it a bit you will get a feel for it – just keep in mind you are trying to catch something with those hooks – then put on some gloves (those things are sharp!) and pull
  5. 236388
  6. Disconnect all the wires: just remember to open up the connector pictured below all the way until the arm is basically stopped by the wires – then it should disconnect.
Arm must be opened as far as you can to disconnect reconnect this harness
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You don’t need/use the keys ever again, the new stereo doesn’t lock in like the old one and doesn’t need keys – just the two torx screws. I don’t have any concerns about this, it seems to be robust after screwed in.


Install
Pretty straightforward, you wont use the OEM GPS connection but otherwise everything pretty much plugs in as you expect.

The install manual misses a key point, you must connect the CAN IN connector to the CAN OUT connector. Not sure why it wasn’t connected from the factory, maybe an oversight:
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I did a DIY mic install using the blank on the button bar. I should have been more careful and could have done a better job. People say the sound quality is good though.
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It would have been even cooler if joying supplied a mic mount like this.



Tips & Tricks

  1. Go to your phone Bluetooth connection list and forget the Bluetooth connection “ VW phone” because, while the OEM deck is gone, the old Bluetooth module is still installed in the car somewhere and will cause your phone to to connect instead of your new stereo.
  2. Get rid of the “Snowflake” icon that shows on the screen all the time (you’ll know what this is if you buy the unit)
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  1. Reverse the steering wheel controls: On mine, the forward button would go to previous song and vise versa, here is the fix in the settings area:
  2. 236394
  1. I can’t seem to get the weather widget to work (it is always showing weather in china), I installed the weather app from weather.com which has a weather gadget.
  2. Connect the stereo to your home wifi and download maps.me and download all the maps you want for offline use – just in case you lose your phone or are traveling in remote areas
  3. Somewhere in the settings you can adjust volume knob sensitivity, I found it too sensitive/loud out of the factory and was able to adjust it
  4. I loaded all my music on a thumb drive and connected it to the USB. While I primarily listen via my phone, nice to have all my music on hand as well.



Next up for me is to install this backup camera:

I bought one on amazon called "CCD Waterproof Car Trunk Handle Camera Vehicle Reverse Rear View Backup Camera for Audi A4 A5 S7 A6L A4L VW Passat Tiguan Golf Skoda Touran Sharan Magotan Touareg Sagitar" (Did I mention the site wont let me post links?)

I haven't installed it yet, but apparently there are a couple tricks to this:
- You want a camera that does not have its own guidelines (or ability to turn them off) since the deck has them
- You want to run its power connector all the way to the deck – don’t tape your reverse light for power or your t-reg will get mad at you

Any questions?

Anyone know of a similar detailed writeup for push-to-start? Not kessy keyless entry, just the push-to-start button for a T3?


 

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When you removed the MMI from the glovebox, was it a straight swap in? Did you need to disassemble the whole dash?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
@SFtregTDI Check w/ the seller on AliExpress but I think Lux models have a different stereo than my Sport, I think yours has an amp and dsp and this unit may not be compatible (aka easy to swap in). I didn't understand your question about MMI, but the glovebox was not involved w/ this stereo swap.
 

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Wow - Very interested in doing this on my 2016 TDI Lux. Does wired carplay work with the steering wheel controls?
Unfortunately this will not work for RNS850 equipped models. 2 totally differently designed HU's. For Android capability you need something like this

 

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Discussion Starter #6
Being happy with the Android HU swap, I decided to take on a speaker upgrade only because there was such good info on this forum. This post is a riff on a couple posts about door speaker upgrades and adding a center channel “to improve imaging” as the poster said.

Parts
$120 JBL GTO608C 2-way door speakers w/ crossover
Amazon.com: JBL GTO608C 6-1/2" 2-Way Grand Touring Series Component Car Speakers System: Car Electronics
$12 Scosche SAVW651 Speaker adapter “gaskets” for door speakers
Amazon.com: SCOSCHE SAVW651 2003 to 2015 Select Volkswagen Golf, Eurovan, Jetta, and Tiguan 6.5” Front Door Speaker Adapter Pair: Car Electronics
$45 JBL GTO428 4” w-way center speaker:
Amazon.com: JBL GTO428 4-Inch 2-Way Loudspeaker: Car Electronics (Note: came with 2, but only used one – if anyone wants one for $20, PM me)
$12 L-pad
Amazon.com: Steren 820-400 L-Pad Mono 8-Ohms Adaptors: Home Audio & Theater

Including the above post android HU, total costs w/ wiring etc.. is about $550. Feels like a $1500+ upgrade. Took me about 12 hours total, guess I am worth $85/hr….

Tips:

  • Door speakers took a lot longer than I expected, the panels are hard to get off. This video makes it look easy, but it was just physically a lot harder than they make it look:
    But the clips that hold it in are robust and don’t break.
  • As another post on this forum, make sure to reset the clips by popping them back out. Sorry, I do not recall the post where I read that but it is important when putting the panels back in.
  • Door speakers: Crossovers fit underneath the armrests . I used 3m dual lock (Velcro) to basically tape the crossovers to the inside of the doors. Based on previous experience w/ dual lock, I think it will hold Amazon.com: 3M - 051111976364 Dual Lock Reclosable Fastener TB4575, Black, 1 in x 10 ft: Industrial & Scientific
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Not the best pic, but you can see there is enough room for them if you place them far back to give clearance for door/window control switches.

- Door Speakers: The OEM tweeters are glued in, I used a dremel to cut the glue off the tips of the OEM plastic mount. Sounds hard, but very simple, you could even use a cutter tool. Then the replacement tweeters came with a perfect plastic mount that I used JB weld to epoxy glue to the door frame:
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  • The center channel speaker grill pops out easily w/ a plastic trim removal tool
  • The center channel speaker can leverage two screws in the OEM mount, that’s all I used and it was very snug. I had to bend down one of the mount tabs for it to fit and I bent the upper right one up (not shown).
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- To control the volume of the center speaker I used an l-pad. This is kind of a cheap hack since the deck doesn’t have a center channel out and I didn’t want to invest in an amp (the deck seems to have plenty of power for my taste).
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  • I mounted the l-pad on the left side below where the deck unit rests. There are a bunch of holes in the OEM deck framing area and there was room to mount the l-pad behind that framing area so that the volume nob sticks out toward/underneath the deck. Sorry, forgot to take a pic.
  • The Joying stereo has a clear wiring diagram printed on it so its easy to find the wires. I believe the left front - was the grey/black wire and the front right + was the white wire, but check the diagram.
  • The L-pad is basically a volume control for the center speaker. The one I used was an 8 ohm l-pad. I searched and searched for a 4-ohm one but they don’t exist. A read on a few forums that an 8ohm l-pad should work just fine. I suppose it is true, but I had to turn it up to full volume for the center channel to sound right. I wished I could go further with the volume just to make sure I have it set optimally, but it actually might really be just right – it sounded good. If anyone reads this that understands lpads/ohms better than I do and has any suggested replacements for the 8ohm l-pad please jump in!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Oh and the way I mounted the l-pad I can only adjust it when I pull out the head unit, which is find by me. It is more for one-time tuning.
 
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