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Aftermarket 9.33" Android Screen Install Guide + Photos

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Aftermarket 9.33" Android Screen Install Guide + Photos

 
Old 02-08-2019, 08:30 PM
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Aftermarket 9.33" Android Screen Install Guide + Photos

My coupe didn't have COMAND and only came with the basic 7" screen. I eventually got sick of it and decided it was time to pull the trigger on one of the many aftermarket screens available for our cars. I saw the 10.25" screens on this forum but they just looked too wide and obnoxious for me. Eventually I settled on this:

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/9-33...923580730.html

If you already have the 8.4" COMAND system, you might not feel that the screen is much of an upgrade from stock. However, if you get this screen, it should be for the extended functionality and the seamlessness of its integration with the stock system as well. That being said, here are some pictures and my thoughts after using it for about a day:






THE GOOD:
  • Installation is not too hard (just has a couple of nerve-wracking moments and quirks).
  • Very minimal tools needed for installation (T20 torx screwdriver and a flathead screwdriver).
  • Screen looks and feels well built.
  • Screen looks like it actually belongs in the cabin, mainly because it looks like the stock system screen.
  • All necessary cables/accessories come in the package.
  • Everything works out of the box with minimal configuration required.
THE BAD:
  • Installation instructions are absolute garbage. Literally a piece of paper with 2"x2" pictures with a bunch of red circles on them.
  • Based on other users' reports, it looks like some people are getting different USB audio boxes. Not a dealbreaker, but makes you question the consistency of the product.
  • Screen can lag sometimes while zooming/navigating via Google Maps. I'm gonna speculate that it's the slow processor's fault for this one.
  • Audio quality is garbage out of the box. The fix is to go to Settings > System > Factory Pattern > Password is '666666' > Android Settings > Search for "Sound Enhancement" > Disable all toggles in the list. Once you do this, audio quality is just as good as stock, if not a tad bit better.
  • 4G/LTE doesn't work in the USA. Makes sense since the product is from China and they probably can't/don't want to support all the various network bands around the world.
  • Support can be minimal from the seller. What you get is what you're stuck with for the most part.
  • Some wiring is a VERY tight fit. Almost to the point where you worry that you might break something.
THE INSTALLATION:

Step 1: Remove the center console. I won't describe it in details here since there's so many guides out there already:

https://mbworld.org/forums/c-class-w...m-console.html




Step 2: Remove the center speaker plastic grille. This is the piece of meshed plastic that sits directly behind your current screen. Use a flathead screwdriver with a lens cloth wrapped over the edge to gently pry it open. The grille is snapped in with a series of plastic/metal clips.

Step 3: Grab your T20 Torx screwdriver. There are 2 T20 Torx screws you need to undo in order to release the current screen. You won't be able to see the screws unfortunately since the windshield's rake angle gets in the way. However, you can have a buddy help you out by holding a mirror or a phone camera at an angle that allows you to see where you're navigating your screwdriver. The screws will be accessible through these mushroom shaped holes on either end of the cavity:





Step 4: Gently pull the screen out towards you once the screws have been released. Note that the torx screws will NOT come out all the way. They are place inside retainers in the base of the original screen and so they can only be loosened fully but not taken all the way out. When you pull the screen out, you will see there are two connectors that are attached to it. Unclip the connectors and let them hang loose. Then put the old screen somewhere safe.




Step 5: Time to release the gray head unit box (see picture from Step 1). There are two torx T20 screws holding the box in on either side. Unscrew them, place them somewhere safe and then gently pull the box out. You may need to wiggle/lift it up a bit before it comes loose from it's retaining mechanism.

Step 6: Now begins the hardest part of the install. You'll see that the rear of the box has a bunch of wires plugged in. The only wire you care about is the large, black colored, block connector to the left. Release it by pinching up on the bottom part of the top clasp (see red arrow below). While pinching up, you'll want want to swing the part downward. This should release the connector from the gray box.



Step 7: There are two thick orange cables in the block connector you just disconnected. There are the Optical Audio cables which you need to swap over to the block connector that came with the new screen. Make sure you place them into the correct slot in the new connector, as the old connector you just took them out of. Wish I'd taken pics of this step, but I forgot to do that.

Step 8: Connect the new block connector into the gray box. Then connect the old block connector into the other end of the new cable. This should be a bit self explanatory after you take a moment to see which cables are compatible with what other cables are available.

Step 9: Look for the 2-pin white connector that is hanging off the myriad of other cables that came with the block cable with the new screen. Connect the other end of the 3.5mm wire to that cable.

Step 10: Dislodge the center HVAC vents by sticking your fingers into the left and right vents respectively and pushing down until the unit comes down from the side holding mechanisms:



Step 11: Take the white cable that stems from the block connector and route it behind the HVAC vents and up into the cavity where the screen will slot into. This part is tricky and took me a while to do. You can follow the existing screen cables (the ones with the blue connectors from Step 4 for reference). Just make sure not to break anything or accidentally rip any wires.

Step 12: Once the white cable is also hanging out from the screen cavity, along with the other two wires, pop the HVAC vents unit back into their holding mechanisms. You should just be able to push them up into place again. Now neatly organize all your extra cables in the block connector bundle using cable ties. Then re-secure the gray headunit and screw it back in.



Step 13: Hook up the cables to the new screen as shown in the picture below. Don't forget to also add the GPS antenna cable. I forgot to do that the first time around and had to take the screen back out and rewire it again.



Step 14: Firmly push the screen into the cavity. Make sure you swapped the screws from your old screen into the new screen. Tighten them into the screw holes just enough to make them stay there as you put the screen into the slot. The white connect will need to have it's cables bent a bit in order to make this work. Use firm pressure but don't go overboard or you might end up breaking something.

Step 15: Connect the USB audio box into USB slot 1 in your center armrest. Then you'll need to punch a hole in the plastic between the armrest and the center console area. This is to provide a passthrough for the 3.5mm wire from earlier to go into the armrest and connect to the USB audio box.



Step 16: All connections are now complete. Before you put everything back together (center console), clean up and fire up your car by pressing the Start/Stop button once (Accessory mode). Make sure that everything works (screen, audio, GPS). If everything checks out, go ahead and button everything back up.

POST INSTALLATION:

1. Set your media output device to USB Audio 1 from COMAND.
2. Configure your settings by following this YouTube guide:
3. If you want to access the main Android settings, go to Settings > Factory Code (or something like that). The password is '666666' (the number 6, six times). This will give you access to a bunch of diagnostic and hidden menu options.
4. Update all apps as they were severely outdated when I first started the system.

Happy to answer any questions here. I believe the install process for the other aftermarket screens should also be the same/similar.

Last edited by RUNSGR8; 02-13-2019 at 03:30 PM.
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Old 02-09-2019, 02:18 AM
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Night pics:


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Old 02-09-2019, 10:35 PM
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Originally Posted by RUNSGR8 View Post
Night pics:


Can you watch youtube videos or any video file with that scrren? Can the screen shows up like original screen like climate control, orginal navigation, vehicles settings?
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Old 02-09-2019, 10:49 PM
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Yes, you can access the stock screen by pressing the FM/Radio button on the touchscreen. When you put the car in reverse, the stock backup camera automatically starts as well.

And yes you can watch YouTube or any other files you want by downloading VLC from the Play Store.
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Old 02-10-2019, 06:39 PM
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Does Bluetooth audio work the same as before? Also, do you still have two usable USB ports? I am confused if USB and Bluetooth functions now handled by the new screen or do you get two Bluetooth connection options (old command and new screen)? Do you have Burmester option? Does the screen handle .flac files? Is there an EQ?

Edit: found some answers on Aliexpress.

6. Built-in Bluetooth and Support Original Bluetooth.
8. Play lossless audio.
Video format: Support H264、MP4、AVI、RMVB、FLV、MKV, etc
Audio format: Support MP3、WMA、FLAC、APE、AAC, etc.

Last edited by benzdude; 02-10-2019 at 06:43 PM.
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Old 02-10-2019, 07:14 PM
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My car originally came with the Audio 20 7" screen and Burmester. I can still access the default Mercedes interface by pressing the RADIO button on my center console. If I want to go back to the Android interface, I just press NAVI. Burmester still works, as does the default AM/FM radio, MB Bluetooth functionality and all other media sources. The tablet gives you an extra bluetooth function, but I recommend not using that since the audio quality seems to be crap. Just use the included AUX-USB adapter, set your stock Media output to USB and you're good to go. You literally lose zero stock functionality from installing this system.

You can basically do everything on this device, that would be possible on a regular Android phone/tablet. This is how I have mine set up (keep in mind that I own an Android phone as well):

1. I installed "Simple Control" from the Play Store. This gives me the usual Android onscreen navigation buttons (Back, Home, Recents) with a simple swipe from the left edge.

2. I installed Nova Launcher and made it my default home screen launcher (after installing Nova and Simple Control, swipe from the left edge, tap the circle home button, then when you're prompted to select which launcher you want to use, select Nova and set it to "Always Use".

This was the original Chinese interface with terrible English:



​​​​​​
And this is how it looks with Nova:




If you ever need to go back to the original Chinese interface, you just need to tap on BCLauncher (top right app) and you'll regain access to the original settings and everything that came with the device.

3. I installed the Android Auto app on my device. Which basically gives me everything I need in the car with a clean, fluid, Google interface (Maps, Spotify and my personal Google Assistant feed). This is basically how I use the tablet everyday now:





4. I installed Tasker on my phone and set it to automatically turn on hotspot whenever my phone connects to the original MB Bluetooth (COMAND or Audio 20). So yes, you need to leave your current Bluetooth phone pairing with your original Mercedes system. Any phone calls will go thru the COMAND/Audio 20 system which is perfect since you can use the phone buttons on your steering wheel.

5. I connected my tablet to my phone's hotspot and set it up to autoconnect. Seamless data connection the instant I get into my car every time.

6. I installed Tasker on my tablet and configured it to automatically launch the Android Auto app whenever it connects to my phone's hotspot.

With all these settings and configs in place, I now have a seamless system installed that requires absolutely no input from my end. I get in the car and start the engine. My phone connects to the original Mercedes Bluetooth and turns on hotspot. My tablet immediately connects to the hotspot which triggers the Android Auto app to load and give me options for navigation and music. Couldn't be happier with this setup at this time.

Last edited by RUNSGR8; 02-10-2019 at 07:21 PM.
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Old 02-11-2019, 06:54 PM
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Ooh you went for a different launcher... I was always worried about how the screen would cope doing that given how tightly their own launcher is integrated into everything.

This opens up some new options

Edit: You an swipe across the screen (edge to edge) to return back to the android interface if you are in the stock system. I wish this gesture was supported for going to the stock system as well, but alas
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Old 02-11-2019, 07:42 PM
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Originally Posted by ShakyTom View Post
Ooh you went for a different launcher... I was always worried about how the screen would cope doing that given how tightly their own launcher is integrated into everything.

This opens up some new options

Edit: You an swipe across the screen (edge to edge) to return back to the android interface if you are in the stock system. I wish this gesture was supported for going to the stock system as well, but alas
I just use the hard buttons on our center console. If you're on the stock system, press NAVI to go back to the Android system. If you're in Android, press the Vehicle (car icon) button to go back to stock. Quick and easy.

I actually switched to using an app called "Auto Mate". I used to have it on my Nexus 7 that I installed in my old Honda Accord and it works even better on this tablet: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.bitspice.automate&hl=en_US



The beauty of this app is that it can also function as a home screen launcher. So from the moment I get into my car to the moment I shut it off, the tablet is 100% natively optimized for the driving experience. Also comes with a bunch of cool features like OBD II diagnostics, Torque readings, etc.
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Old 02-11-2019, 07:59 PM
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Just been playing with Auto Mate on my phone, the integration with google maps and spotify doesn't seem nearly as clean as Android Auto; it just seems to open the app rather than control it externally.
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Old 02-12-2019, 01:55 AM
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Originally Posted by ShakyTom View Post
Just been playing with Auto Mate on my phone, the integration with google maps and spotify doesn't seem nearly as clean as Android Auto; it just seems to open the app rather than control it externally.
Yeah I see what you mean. The navigation is definitely lacking in Auto Mate since there's no way for 3rd party devs to natively integrate Maps into their apps. I just added the Driving Mode shortcut to the Shortcuts section of Auto Mate to get quicker access to passive Google Maps while driving.

Have you looked into a USB Android Auto dongle to add to our screens? I saw posts on the 10.25" thread that people were doing that. Not sure if it would help with the graphical lag with Google Maps, but if so, I would definitely be looking to grab that dongle.
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Old 02-13-2019, 07:00 AM
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Have looked into it, but nothing purchased yet. I assume it would run more smoothly as the processing is handled by the phone.

I have been in contact with the manufacturer of this screen and have obtained the latest software version (dated late jan 2019). Brave enough to flash it?
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Old 02-13-2019, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by ShakyTom View Post
Have looked into it, but nothing purchased yet. I assume it would run more smoothly as the processing is handled by the phone.

I have been in contact with the manufacturer of this screen and have obtained the latest software version (dated late jan 2019). Brave enough to flash it?
Have they provided a changelist or said anything about what's new in the software? If it's just UI charges, then it's probably not worth flashing since I don't use their UI anyways. Performance increases would be welcome and I'd be willing to try flashing it.
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Old 02-13-2019, 09:50 AM
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They said bug fixes, performance and stability, so might be worth doing?
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Old 02-13-2019, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by ShakyTom View Post
They said bug fixes, performance and stability, so might be worth doing?
Hmmm. Can you upload the update package to Google Drive or Dropbox? I'll give it a shot this weekend. What are the steps to update the tablet?

I hope they don't take away the ability to have a custom launcher. I would be very upset if I lost that. 😂
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Old 02-13-2019, 03:28 PM
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any fix for audio quality?
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Old 02-13-2019, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by motomd View Post
any fix for audio quality?
I updated the original post. This fix is applicable to the tablet out of the box (no need for any updates):

Audio quality is garbage out of the box. The fix is to go to Settings > System > Factory Pattern > Password is '666666' > Android Settings > Search for "Sound Enhancement" > Disable all toggles in the list. Once you do this, audio quality is just as good as stock, if not a tad bit better.
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Old 02-13-2019, 03:46 PM
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Originally Posted by RUNSGR8 View Post
I updated the original post. This fix is applicable to the tablet out of the box (no need for any updates):
I see thank you. I wanted to mainly use this for carplay. Carlifemall put on their site they are only using the bluetooth adapter for now which is garbage in my opinion. I really want this to work but I'm also worried about long term reliability since it's going in my wife's car.
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Old 02-13-2019, 04:51 PM
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Have pm'd you the software RUNSGR8. Let us know how you get on.
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Old 02-13-2019, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by ShakyTom View Post
Have pm'd you the software RUNSGR8. Let us know how you get on.
Thanks haha. Let's hope this doesn't brick my tablet. I'll report back over the weekend when I have time to do this.
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Old 02-16-2019, 09:19 AM
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I installed mine yesterday and just saw this post today , I wished I saw it earlier

it took me forever to find the screen screws and undo them , and again was really struggling with the audio cause my screen didn't come with any manuals but luckily got it working this morning but the sound is garbage yes , I thought it's the adapter quality but I'll try your audio fix and report back .

I didn't punch any holes , found an opening in the far sides of the console , cable went through smoothly thank god

I also wanted another launcher but was afraid to lose this one forever , will give it a try now , Try Macrodroid , I find it better than Tasker .

Can you send me the latest firmware and how to flash it on the screen ? and did you or @ShakyTom flashed your screens ? all went smooth ?


attached some of my pictures , didn't take any for the installation but yours are perfect for people to use .






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Old 02-16-2019, 09:44 AM
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Trying to disable the sound enhancement but I couldnít find it in the android settings
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Old 02-16-2019, 09:50 AM
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Use the search bar to find it
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Old 02-16-2019, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by ShakyTom View Post
Use the search bar to find it
i did. Still nothing. I made a reply with my installation photos and experience but waiting for moderator approval. All my issue was the sound and I thought itís fixed. Now itís weird that I canít find the settings even when I search for it

Last edited by Rami Mohsen; 02-16-2019 at 10:11 AM.
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Old 02-16-2019, 10:45 AM
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RUNSGR8, I've installed Simple Control but still have the stock buttons available in the bottom-left corner which often get in the way when using some apps; have you found a way to completely stop them from appearing?
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Old 02-16-2019, 11:09 AM
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Started on a much cleaner homescreen for myself

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