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Discussion Starter #1
TLDR; look at the pic (videos linked below), fully working factory Nissan Android Auto / Apple CarPlay radio. Yes, steering wheel controls, amp, fm, SXM, and backup camera working.



Up until now, I had not been satisfied with the tiny screen stock radio in my 2016 Frontier. The sound was decent but the screen was too small and lacked modern features. Old unit for sale...



In 2019 I noticed they started offering the larger screen Panasonic units in the frontiers, but they still lacked Android Auto and Apple CarPlay features.

However, last year only Nissan offered an optional Android Auto and Apple CarPlay units in some non-frontier upgraded trim models.

I purchased several and began getting it wired with full functionality in my Frontier. If I can have a fully working VK56 in my 2016 truck, how hard could it be to get a radio fully working? Well… hard. This project took over 9 months. Partially because I was without the truck for Vk56 upgrade but also COVID delays and research time.

There were some obstacles to overcome, but it has been working great. My truck has more features than my wife's Lexus now :)

Video of the radio and various features in action:
https://vimeo.com/user120311845/review/441881198/455faab14b
https://vimeo.com/user120311845/review/441881153/a2f37fd2ae
https://vimeo.com/user120311845/review/441880882/d81bea916d

Some features with this unit:
  • Dual USB (one in center console, and now one on right where 12v outlets are, pic at bottom of post)
  • Android Auto / Apple CarPlay (this is a huge upgrade for me as a Spotify listener and a Waze user)
  • Cop / speed trap alerting!!! (using Waze, pic at bottom of post)
  • Larger screen (for backup and general navigation)
  • Wifi (the unit will update itself over wifi so it doesn’t become outdated)
  • Excellent voice command navigation (I didn’t use this much before, but it works great for changing audio and phone calling)
  • Backup assist (when configured with vehicle dimensions, shows you where on road you will backup to with Anticipatory line and distance to obstacles)
  • Customizable touch home screen (rearrange icons and layout)
  • Similar amber LED glow colors that come on with the lights and screen dims the same as before
Things to overcome to get this unit working:
  • Need to convert amplified to low-level to work with rockford amp. This means the unit will work in non-rockford systems though as well without adding an amp.
  • Complex wiring harness needs created. Not a plug and play with any connector except the USB one. The 20 pin harness needs re-mapped along with the 40-pin harness. Having a 2019 Panasonic unit may not help much either.
  • Antenna connector is different from normal Nissan/Infiniti for some special reason and needs modified or replaced.
  • The camera, dunno why but Nissan made this difficult on the frontier.
  • Steering wheel controls - This by far was the most difficult to overcome, I purchased some 2019 combination meters / gauges to try and debug but eventually ended up creating my own media-can bus (M-CAN which uses Nissan proprietary commands) and converting analog control input to digital.
Happy to discuss what the unit offers, but I feel this is the ultimate factory radio upgrade. I’ve got 4 units to sell in a kit-like fashion which I'll post up in a few days / a week. Those buyers will be the first to get the secrets of the analog->digital conversion and support to get this fully up and running so I can cover the costs of the research of the project.

This can also be used for the NV200/NV2500 and Sentra / Versa as they use the similar sized radio.

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Its cool you got it working, but at that point why not go the aftermarket route and have better sound quality too?
 
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Discussion Starter #3
Its cool you got it working, but at that point why not go the aftermarket route and have better sound quality too?
Good question. Same reason I have a VK56 and not a LS, try and stick close to factory.

Aftermarket would have been a ton easier, but I like the aesthetic of a factory unit.
 

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Interesting... must have been a pain to get the wiring sorted out.
Since you said "Happy to discuss what the unit offers", I have questions out of curiosity:

1. How much did you spend for all of the parts required to do this (including how much you paid for the head unit?)
2. What specific Nissan year/model/trim was this head unit pulled from?
3. What's the diagonal screen size, and is it capacitive?
4. Is that visible gap between the top of the head unit and the dash trim just bad alignment, or is there really a gap?
5. Are you using the native OEM microphone in the ceiling console for voice commands?
6. You did not mention anything about native navigation (not Android Auto/Carplay based). I know it would be redundant, but did the head unit you installed not have built-in nav?
7. Regarding this little tidbit:

I’ve got 4 units to sell in a kit-like fashion which I'll post up in a few days / a week.
So upfront what's the price tag for these "kits" you plan on selling?
 
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Discussion Starter #5
Interesting... must have been a pain to get the wiring sorted out.
Since you said "Happy to discuss what the unit offers", I have questions out of curiosity:

1. How much did you spend for all of the parts required to do this (including how much you paid for the head unit?)
2. What specific Nissan year/model/trim was this head unit pulled from?
3. What's the diagonal screen size, and is it capacitive?
4. Is that visible gap between the top of the head unit and the dash trim just bad alignment, or is there really a gap?
5. Are you using the native OEM microphone in the ceiling console for voice commands?
6. You did not mention anything about native navigation (not Android Auto/Carplay based). I know it would be redundant, but did the head unit you installed not have built-in nav?
7. Regarding this little tidbit:
So upfront what's the price tag for these "kits" you plan on selling?
1,2,7 I'll answer in the thread I start when I list them, there is a lot to it so I need to do my own math.

3, unsure if it is capacitive, ill have to put on a glove and test it
4, just needed re-seated since I pulled it out so many times, the bracket needed adjusted. Having the top cover off also allows light in, you wont see the gap in the videos.
5, yes
6, there is no native nav. it would be redundant once you get these new features. Once Google Maps and Waze took over, nav in screens with paid nav updates from dealers just seems silly.
 

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Thanks for the replies (y)

6, there is no native nav. it would be redundant once you get these new features. Once Google Maps and Waze took over, nav in screens with paid nav updates from dealers just seems silly.
...only if you stay in cities.

Often when you go into the far woods or up in the mountains where there's no cellular signal, satt-based nav is all that works :)
 
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Raine funny you brought up the going into the woods ...... Was about to order a Kenwood multi media without the navigation. (Had an Excelon w/nav in my 2010) Went for a ride yesterday in the western hills in MA and lost both google and apple maps. Not a huge deal but a pia because dirt roads and small back roads aren't really marked well. Making me rethink whether I want to spend the extra $150 on the gps based system.
 

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Raine funny you brought up the going into the woods ...... Was about to order a Kenwood multi media without the navigation. (Had an Excelon w/nav in my 2010) Went for a ride yesterday in the western hills in MA and lost both google and apple maps. Not a huge deal but a pia because dirt roads and small back roads aren't really marked well. Making me rethink whether I want to spend the extra $150 on the gps based system.
Honestly it's based on where you are. The conditions really dictate the need.

Lots of people these days over-rely on their smartphone for everything because it can do so many things all in one unit (phone, Internet, GPS, calculator, stopwatch, streaming music and video, etc.) but many don't realize that the moment you remove cellular data reception from the equation, so much of that smartphone becomes useless. Granted, most of these people I don't blame them - they probably spend 99% of their time in big cities or sprawling urban areas where cellular towers are widespread so they've rarely if ever experienced not having cellular reception.

But I've been in the woods a lot. I've been in the middle of desert areas a lot. I like driving with the GPS map on even when just driving around daily... so when I had to replace my old nav head unit last summer I went with a new unit that still had built-in Garmin sat-nav. I won't lie - I use Waze and Apple Maps probably 95% of the time I'm in the truck, but if I"m headed to the mountains or the desert I know that the built-in Garmin sat-nav will always work when my phone reception drops in and out. (y)
 
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This doesn't really go with the OP's original post, but more to Raine's inquiry as to GPS. If you need off grid maps on an iphone(unsure about android availability or hardware) you can use the app called Sygic. It allows you to download the maps for the entire US onto your phone so that it will still function much like a standalone GPS unit even without cell reception.
 

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This doesn't really go with the OP's original post, but more to Raine's inquiry as to GPS. If you need off grid maps on an iphone(unsure about android availability or hardware) you can use the app called Sygic. It allows you to download the maps for the entire US onto your phone so that it will still function much like a standalone GPS unit even without cell reception.
I only asked OP if the new HU had sat-nav because of all the trouble (and from the "not telling you yet" response, seems like a high $$$ too) that they seemed to have gone through just to get an OEM Nissan HU meant for other vehicle models to work in a Frontier... just to get AA/CarPlay.

With regards to your reply... that fact that you recommended a third-party paid app to be part of a mix of other components to "function much like" native GPS just goes against the whole advantages of having native GPS to begin with 😀
 

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With regards to your reply... that fact that you recommended a third-party paid app to be part of a mix of other components to "function much like" native GPS just goes against the whole advantages of having native GPS to begin with 😀
I don't disagree with you at all. Just throwing it out there for anyone that feels the need to keep an OEM unit that has ACP/AA. I myself(as I just did) would just go the route of an aftermarket unit. It will likely be cheaper, and will have much better quality audio as well. I didn't personally get one with built in nav though because it is very rare to hit an area without cell service anywhere near me.
 

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I don't disagree with you at all. Just throwing it out there for anyone that feels the need to keep an OEM unit that has ACP/AA. I myself(as I just did) would just go the route of an aftermarket unit. It will likely be cheaper, and will have much better quality audio as well.
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@dwtalk

I'm kind of interested in the kit you mentioned offering, I already have a bunch of BS going on and sort of the last thing I want to deal /w right now is figuring out all of the wiring for this stuff. I am curious though, is there anyway you can guarantee harness or wiring compatibility with the 2019 models? Because after doing some reading it seems like they made a few arbitrary harness and wiring changes that don't seem to match up with older models.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
@dwtalk

I'm kind of interested in the kit you mentioned offering, I already have a bunch of BS going on and sort of the last thing I want to deal /w right now is figuring out all of the wiring for this stuff. I am curious though, is there anyway you can guarantee harness or wiring compatibility with the 2019 models? Because after doing some reading it seems like they made a few arbitrary harness and wiring changes that don't seem to match up with older models.
I posted up the kit information here: FS: Nissan Apple CarPlay & Android Auto Receiver Radio

I totally get that for most, aftermarket would be better for them in terms of dollar / audio quality ratio.

Wiring knowledge would def be needed. You are absolutely right, there are a ton of different Frontier harnesses going on so there needs to be a conversion to the new 40 and 20 pin. I have a male 20-pin included which should take care of 1 of the 2 harnesses easily. The other one will likely be a 24/30/40 pin harness that your radio uses that will need mapped using the wiring diagram. My 2016 had a 24pin.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
This doesn't really go with the OP's original post, but more to Raine's inquiry as to GPS. If you need off grid maps on an iphone(unsure about android availability or hardware) you can use the app called Sygic. It allows you to download the maps for the entire US onto your phone so that it will still function much like a standalone GPS unit even without cell reception.
I also use Google Maps offline feature. Downloads a region and then you don't have to worry about signal loss.

Paying for map updates is a rip off.
 

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@dwtalk

I'm kind of interested in the kit you mentioned offering, I already have a bunch of BS going on and sort of the last thing I want to deal /w right now is figuring out all of the wiring for this stuff. I am curious though, is there anyway you can guarantee harness or wiring compatibility with the 2019 models? Because after doing some reading it seems like they made a few arbitrary harness and wiring changes that don't seem to match up with older models.
The best guarantee is '19 Sentra/Versa factory service manual, it includes the plug harness diagram for various radio options on different trims.
 

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Reading this I’m wondering if you can work out a new type of tire for me too since all this work is kinda pointless when there’s great aftermarket products likely at a fraction of the cost. I’m on my third head until with CarPlay in my truck and just last week put one in my wife’s Prius. (Toyota’s are notoriously PITA for adapting aftermarket head units but there’s kits aplenty.) I’d never go to Nissan for something like this.

But I guess that’s why there’s chocolate, vanilla, and raw cream to make your own flavor.
 

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Reading this I’m wondering if you can work out a new type of tire for me too since all this work is kinda pointless when there’s great aftermarket products likely at a fraction of the cost. I’m on my third head until with CarPlay in my truck and just last week put one in my wife’s Prius. (Toyota’s are notoriously PITA for adapting aftermarket head units but there’s kits aplenty.) I’d never go to Nissan for something like this.

But I guess that’s why there’s chocolate, vanilla, and raw cream to make your own flavor.
Wut
 
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