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Tonghai Create AN-21 U

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Tonghai Create AN-21 U
AN-21
Tonghai Create AN-21 U.jpg
Model Number: See Page
Specification
Device Type: Phone
Manufacturer: Tonghai Create Electronics Co.,LTD 32px
Release Date:
Operating System: Android Android-icon.jpg
Dimensions: Double DIN (Slightly oversized face)
Weight: 3Kg (shipping)
Chipset: ARM Cortex A9 MST786 Dual Core 1GHz
Display: 6.2" WVGA 480x800 LCD (And up depending on car model variants)
Networks: N/A (via usb-host)
Wifi: N/A (via usb-host)
Bluetooth: Phone/headphone from phone built in. See details below
NFC: No
GPS: Yes
Video out: 2 rear out
Camera: Rearview Cam in (not visible by android)
Secondary Camera: Audio/Video In (not visible by android)
Internal Memory: 1 GB DDR3 RAM, 8GB NAND
Memory Card: microSD/HC up to 32GB
Battery: N/A (powered by vehicle)
Additional Features: DVD, TV (depending on model), Radio, Ipod connection, Steering wheel controls, remote control, USB Host


Introduction

The Tonghai Create AN-21U is characterized as a head unit with an Mstar MST786 ARM processor with Android 4.1.x (Jellybean - API 16). The processor is designed by Mstar Semiconductor and is a Dual Core Cortex-A9 processor running at 1.0 Ghz (sometimes advertised as 1.2 GHz). You cannot identify this unit by its faceplate because they are interchanged between the many other unbranded head units with different processors.

It is discussed at great lengths in the "AN-21 U" - Unbranded 6.2" 2 DIN Pure Android 4.1 Car Stereo Radio Head Unit thread.

Tonghai Create AN-21 U.jpg
Warning: there is an android 2.3 model that looks exactly the same.

All these units, whether "pure android" or WinCE based ones, or even those with neither, are built with a couple of layers of hardware working together to allow integration of all components involved into a seemingly singular interface. It is important to know the basics of how these units are assembled and how they operate because it will allow us to understand reasons for certain limitations and problems as well as the benefits. Please read the MCU Explained Wiki page to better understand how these units differ from typical android devices and the role of MCU and 'native apps'.

History

This unit appeared on the original OUKU thread with the first significant review at post #1852 and has forked into its own thread. While these units have higher specs in terms of hardware, they seem to be in some way limited in functionality since the firmware seems to be locked and somewhat crippled. This is changing rapidly as we now have a method to gain root access. Since System updates are in some way encrypted, there are no custom ROMs available as of yet.


Full Specifications

  • Hardware
    • CPU: ARM Cortex A9 MST786 Dual Core 1GHz
    • GPU: Mali-400 MP
    • RAM: SKHYNIX 1G DDR3 RAM H5TQ4G83AFR
    • iNAND: SanDisk 8GB SD1N5C2-8G (1GB system storage, 6GB internal USB storage)
    • MCU: STM8AH ST
    • Bluetooth: BlueCore5 C3SR or BlueCore6 (OBD capable)
    • Screen: Capacitive 800*480
    • GPS: SiRF Atlas V GPS Processor
    • Radio: Philips TEF6624
    • Sound Effect Processor: BD37534 ROHM
    • Outputs: 4x 45w outputs, Toshiba TB2929
    • Additional Outputs: 1x Subwoofer, 4x pre-outs
    • Microphone: Built in microphone
  • Supported Features
    • Bluetooth connection to phone for calls and audio streaming only. (OBD functions only with BC6 module)
    • WiFi and 3G dongles. These must be plugged in before turning the device on, and are not hot-swappable.
    • Connection of multiple USB devices through a USB hub, including wireless keyboards, USB memory sticks, and wireless dongles. These types of devices are hot-swappable.
    • Multiple USB memory sticks can be plugged in. They mount at "mnt/usb/sda1", "mnt/usb/sdb1", and so on. The limit is not known, three have been tested at once.



Rooting

For Software Versions before 2.7.38

Credits to forum users WonderEkin for the Root My AN-21 U app and bmj67 for supplying SettingsProvider.apk

Files required:

Root My AN-21 U - [ Mirror1 | Mirror2 | Mirror3 ]
md5 sum: d49e9269c53aacc847e9abb9670bba52

Instructions:

  1. Download the required files above.
  2. Install Android Terminal Emulator on your unit.
  3. Open the AUX application and close it.
  4. Install Root My AN-21 U and create a link on the homescreen.
  5. Run Root My AN-21 U and press the "Step 1" button.
  6. Reboot the unit.
  7. Once the unit has rebooted the screen will likely be black, press the Home button to display the homescreen.
    The unit will be very slow responding, this is normal and will be rectified by later step.
  8. Run Root My AN-21 U and press the "Step 2" button.
  9. Reboot the unit.
  10. Open Android Terminal Emulator and run the following commands:
    su
    rm /data/local.prop
  11. Reboot the unit.

For Software Versions 2.7.38 and up

Files Required

Baidu Root v2.4.6 - [ Mirror1 | Mirror2 ]

Instructions

  1. Download the Baidu Root v2.4.6 APK from the links above (alternate sources may not work) and the superuser app of your choice (SuperSU from the Play Store is proven to work).
  2. Install the Baidu Root v2.4.6 APK and open.
  3. The program is in Russian. When Baidu Root opens, there will be an agreement that you have to accept. Select the option on the Right to accept and continue. The Left option is Disagree.
  4. There are a lot of options in this program, but only one actually roots the AN-21 U. Do not select any other option as these download and install unnecessary Chinese apps on to your unit. The root function can be activated by pressing the blue button with Russian text in the top 1/3 section of the window. The "Root" button on the bottom doesn't do anything.
  5. The program will run some processes and may take a few moments to complete. The progress circle will disappear and the window will cease shimmering when complete.
  6. Install the superuser app of your choice and run it. When it is gaining superuser access, Baidu Root's superuser controls will ask you for superuser permission in Russian. The option to the Right is the option that grants superuser access. The option to the Left denies it.
  7. Once your superuser app has access to the root and is running properly, uninstall Baidu Root.
    Caution: Keeping this app installed may lead to it downloading and installing unnecessary Chinese apps on to your unit.
  8. Reboot the unit.



Firmware

At the moment of this writing no custom ROMs exist for this unit. The firmware updates seem to be encrypted and no other method of flashing has been determined. A few different versions of the stock firmware have been released by the manufacturer and suppliers. The update has been confirmed working on different units with different faces, screen sizes and regardless of type of touchscreen (Capacitive or Resistive).

Updating

To update the unit, extract the update files from the downloaded file and copy them to a MicroSD Card, insert the card, go to Settings -> General Settings -> System Update

or

turn the unit on while holding down the 'Menu' and 'Power' (on most unit 'push of volume knob') buttons until the update starts.


Versions

Links to other versions of system does exists in post "AN-21 U" - Unbranded 6.2" 2 DIN Pure Android 4.1 Car Stereo Radio Head Unit

System Version 2.8.6

  • Downloads:
    • Full firmware update, plus root tools and instructions included. Should not remove data from your system.
  • Files:
    • 8ce18b2e-ea4a-11e2-b8f8-000c29ba27c0 1,536kb
    • 8d8d1b1a-ea4a-11e2-a661-000c29ba27c0 8,057kb
    • 8ffd2eb4-ea4d-11e2-b23a-000c29ba27c0 1,746kb
    • fa6e4352-ec9e-11e2-9ffd-000c29ba27c0 .5kb
  • Changelog (Unofficial)
    • Updated GUI
      An21u fw 2 8 6.png
    • Changed Radio app interface

System Version 2.6.70

  • Downloads:
  • Files:
    • 8baf147e-ea4a-11e2-b181-000c29ba27c0 md5: 26d80a969c6a884f657529ab5a3b9896 Size (KB): 515
    • 8d8d1b1a-ea4a-11e2-a661-000c29ba27c0 md5: 78218b3cafde177bfe89784f8cf866ac Size (KB): 8,146
    • 8e3513e2-ea4a-11e2-8a0f-000c29ba27c0 md5: a5101f3b7cc29e39f925b56062d66341 Size (KB): 134,246
    • 8ffd2eb4-ea4d-11e2-b23a-000c29ba27c0 md5: 680b822e807932f9ec84cc1646beacc0 Size (KB): 1,706
  • Changelog (Unofficial):
    • When changing panel keys or steering wheel controls, the notification bar is still displayed
    • New menu option for backing up and restoring both panel key and steering wheel control mappings

System Version 2.6.68

*WARNING* This update appears to cause issues with GPS
The previous 12 file version of this update has been known to cause GPS problems. Make sure that you have the four file version of the file before applying it. Since this version seems to cause issues, the rar file has been password protected. By using this password to uncompress it you are obviously acknowledging the danger and are flashing at your own risk.

Password: InstallingThisUpdateMayBreakMyGPS
  • Downloads:
  • Files:
    • 8baf147e-ea4a-11e2-b181-000c29ba27c0 md5: d0a87e9e21298bcfaa8eb68d0d6b0147 Size (KB): 513
    • 8d8d1b1a-ea4a-11e2-a661-000c29ba27c0 md5: 78218b3cafde177bfe89784f8cf866ac Size (KB): 8,146
    • 8e3513e2-ea4a-11e2-8a0f-000c29ba27c0 md5: 35f35598cabbd2cac167a5600578356b Size (KB): 133,955
    • 8ffd2eb4-ea4d-11e2-b23a-000c29ba27c0 md5: 680b822e807932f9ec84cc1646beacc0 Size (KB): 1,706
  • Changelog (Unofficial)
    • Homescreen design reverted back to four large widgets per page
    • App icon for SWC settings
    • Setting in "Extra Settings" to force USB1.1
    • Factory reset is password protected (Password: '7890')
    • Developer options are password protected (Password: '7890')

System Version 2.6.62

  • Files:
    • 8d8d1b1a-ea4a-11e2-a661-000c29ba27c0 md5: 7065f377ba34cac7bcaf8d9d345781cf Size (KB): 8,153
    • 8e3513e2-ea4a-11e2-8a0f-000c29ba27c0 md5: 0e3e314d75e3c3566aa7e91bd0f23552 Size (KB): 132,162
  • Changelog (Unofficial):
    • Bluetooth icon in notification bar (appears Bluetooth is turned on by default now, cannot turn it off)
    • Bluetooth menu, accessed via an app, has "SEARCH FOR DEVICES" and visibility option, however nothing functions when pressed
    • All extra applications removed (ES File Explorer, GPS Test Plus, QuickPic)
    • WiFi Hotspot can be activated without re-plugging the 3G dongle in
    • Background is winter-themed

System Version 2.6.60-2

  • Downloads:
  • Files:
    • 8a36a6ca-ea4a-11e2-9fda-000c29ba27c0 md5: 3a27681f74b0644c0e0deaabda832421 Size (KB): 65
    • 8b1b92f8-ea4a-11e2-8ad4-000c29ba27c0 md5: 17858b135c7c2a9a95c685c2c61cd61f Size (KB): 3
    • 8c46e290-ea4a-11e2-859a-000c29ba27c0 md5: 0230ac74f2edd4b7035904d4deb35798 Size (KB): 700
    • 8d8d1b1a-ea4a-11e2-a661-000c29ba27c0 md5: 168a098eb4676549a48cdd82ab6356ed Size (KB): 8,153
    • 8e3513e2-ea4a-11e2-8a0f-000c29ba27c0 md5: 9f8cb1defe8c4cf52d78903a51a6d555 Size (KB): 132,347
    • 8f1149c0-ea4a-11e2-9029-000c29ba27c0 md5: 78043e92839ed04002d5c2fe15ce0522 Size (KB): 6,798
    • fa6e4352-ec9e-11e2-9ffd-000c29ba27c0 md5: 7f5b2e256bf10df06a9f9751e43582af Size (KB): 1
  • Changelog (Unofficial):
    • New home screen design
Tonghai Create AN21U-60-2.jpg

System Version 2.6.60

  • Files:
    • 8a36a6ca-ea4a-11e2-9fda-000c29ba27c0 md5: 3a27681f74b0644c0e0deaabda832421 Size (KB): 65
    • 8b1b92f8-ea4a-11e2-8ad4-000c29ba27c0 md5: 17858b135c7c2a9a95c685c2c61cd61f Size (KB): 3
    • 8c46e290-ea4a-11e2-859a-000c29ba27c0 md5: 0230ac74f2edd4b7035904d4deb35798 Size (KB): 700
    • 8d8d1b1a-ea4a-11e2-a661-000c29ba27c0 md5: 168a098eb4676549a48cdd82ab6356ed Size (KB): 8,153
    • 8e3513e2-ea4a-11e2-8a0f-000c29ba27c0 md5: e069f9b55dad5b677d8d6c7d04f29c28 Size (KB): 134,434
    • 8f1149c0-ea4a-11e2-9029-000c29ba27c0 md5: 78043e92839ed04002d5c2fe15ce0522 Size (KB): 6,798
    • fa6e4352-ec9e-11e2-9ffd-000c29ba27c0 md5: 7f5b2e256bf10df06a9f9751e43582af Size (KB): 1
  • Changelog (Unofficial):
    • Default applications changed back to original theme
    • APK Installer application installed by default
    • Bluetooth renamed back to Phone
    • Screenshot feature now fixed and works correctly

System Version 2.6.40

  • Downloads:
  • Files:
    • 8a36a6ca-ea4a-11e2-9fda-000c29ba27c0 md5: 3a27681f74b0644c0e0deaabda832421 Size (KB): 65
    • 8b1b92f8-ea4a-11e2-8ad4-000c29ba27c0 md5: 17858b135c7c2a9a95c685c2c61cd61f Size (KB): 3
    • 8c46e290-ea4a-11e2-859a-000c29ba27c0 md5: 0230ac74f2edd4b7035904d4deb35798 Size (KB): 700
    • 8d8d1b1a-ea4a-11e2-a661-000c29ba27c0 md5: 168a098eb4676549a48cdd82ab6356ed Size (KB): 8,153
    • 8e3513e2-ea4a-11e2-8a0f-000c29ba27c0 md5: 63bda6e2d9cd75548e2a79b864f13ad5 Size (KB): 135,619
    • 8f1149c0-ea4a-11e2-9029-000c29ba27c0 md5: 78043e92839ed04002d5c2fe15ce0522 Size (KB): 6,798
    • fa6e4352-ec9e-11e2-9ffd-000c29ba27c0 md5: 7f5b2e256bf10df06a9f9751e43582af Size (KB): 1
  • Changelog (Unofficial):
    • Larger notification bar
    • GPS icon removed from notification bar
    • Home, back, menu, and screen off buttons added to notification bar
    • Default applications changed to red theme (music player, radio, video player, phone)
    • Phone application renamed to Bluetooth
    • ES File Explorer installed by default
    • GPS Test Plus installed by default
    • QuickPic installed by default
    • Non-functioning screenshot feature added in settings menu

System Version 2.6.23

*WARNING* This update has been known to hard-brick the MCU.
Model changes or MCU update in this version will irreparably turn your unit into an expensive door-stop! Since this update has the potential to destroy your unit, the rar file has been password protected. By using this password to uncompress it you are obviously acknowledging the danger and are flashing at your own risk.

Password: InstallingThisUpdateMayBrickMyUnit
  • Downloads:
  • Files:
    • 8a36a6ca-ea4a-11e2-9fda-000c29ba27c0 md5: feaef263b455f91bbba45670634ca230 Size (KB): 65
    • 8b1b92f8-ea4a-11e2-8ad4-000c29ba27c0 md5: 17858b135c7c2a9a95c685c2c61cd61f Size (KB): 3
    • 8baf147e-ea4a-11e2-b181-000c29ba27c0 md5: 5404fb93a266c7d4efa4f933dc7ec106 Size (KB): 513
    • 8c46e290-ea4a-11e2-859a-000c29ba27c0 md5: d31d978fc41e6b1df58493125efa628c Size (KB): 680
    • 8ce18b2e-ea4a-11e2-b8f8-000c29ba27c0 md5: 129d5a5462e5b35da138c11ec9c7d8f1 Size (KB): 1,501
    • 8d8d1b1a-ea4a-11e2-a661-000c29ba27c0 md5: b4c36ab746206ae69f825cc92b7aef68 Size (KB): 7,184
    • 8e3513e2-ea4a-11e2-8a0f-000c29ba27c0 md5: ab5ca13b7de2ca6617485a5979056cb4 Size (KB): 140,860
    • 8f1149c0-ea4a-11e2-9029-000c29ba27c0 md5: a06fddcbaf8c4c4f288f6d7a3ce712f8 Size (KB): 6,486
  • Change Log:
    • Initial Release



Compatible USB devices

Bluetooth Dongles

None at the moment

3G Dongles

  • ZTE MF190 Clone (Qualcomm MSM6280 + RTR6280)
  • Huawei E171 (Qualcomm MSM6290)
  • Huawei E261
  • Huawei E353
  • Huawei E1550 With firmware 11.608.14.15.311.B418 Klick.

USB Hubs

So far it seems any USB hub will work with this unit. Attention needs to be paid to current draw of attached devices, A self powered HUB is recommended.

USB Storage Devices

About any Mass storage compliant device should work. Attention needs to be paid to the power consumption of the devices, external power supply or powered hub is strongly suggested for non solid state hard drives

USB WiFi Adapters

Unit comes with Realtek RTL8192CU/RTL8188CU drivers integrated in the system so adapters with those chipsets should work.
  • Generic adapter that comes included (RTL8188CUS?) - Some have reported connection dropouts. Runs a bit hot.
  • D-Link DWA-121 (RTL8188CUS chipset) - Works solid. Rated as 150N.
  • TP-LINK TL-WN823N (RTL8192CU chipset) - Noticeably faster and slightly better range. Rated as 300N.
  • Asus N13 (rev. B1)(RTL8192CU chipset) - Attempted, but could not get it recognized.
  • List of adapters that should be compatible: [1]



Resources

Links

FAQs

What is the USB Debugging password?
john@tw-desktop
What is the Factory Reset / Developer Options password?
123456
What is the Extra Settings password?
7890
How do I get rid of message "UI Unauthorized, please contact the supplier" after update to 2.7.x? 
Looks like system version 2.7.28 does not have this message. To solve it on other versions of 2.7.x that have it you must root the unit. The workaround is to copy com.tw.service_a5a4.apk from earlier system in to folder /system/app.
There is no audio when using 3rd-party apps / steering wheel buttons only work with the default apps
Open the default media player that comes with the unit and then long-press the back button on the bottom-right of the screen. The app will close and allow all normal functions. This action sets the MCU to this mode, so upon reboot, this state will be kept and should not require these steps again unless another factory-installed audio app is opened, the unit loses power completely, or the unit is reset using the reset button on the front of the unit.
I am looking to buy one of these units. Should I get the one that comes with custom mounting for my car?
Yes. Many instances of these units exist made for specific vehicle manufacturers/models that do not require dash trim kits and frequently come with larger screens and OEM-matched knobs/buttons. These units (as long as they have the same specs) are hardware and software identical to the generic 2-DIN units. The best advantage is that model-specific units usually come with wiring harnesses and CAN decoder boxes to retain functionality and make installation many times easier.
My favorite app is not supported by this unit!
The reason you cannot find certain apps in Google Play is because the device's fingerprint is not officially supported by Google. Google has a few methods to prevent certain apps from being installed or listed based on certain conditions, like Copy Protection, country, hardware availability, etc. In reality, 99% of apps should work on these units no problem. To fix this and allow "incompatible" apps to download from Google Play, you will have to have root access and then download/install Market Helper to spoof the Play Store in to thinking you have a different device.
Can I move/replace the dock icons?
Most (if not all) system versions do not support this yet. In order to change the dock in any way, you will have to use a different launcher such as Nova Launcher or ADW Laucher. These are very customizable and all can be downloaded from Google Play without root.
Can I use an OBD2 dongle with these units?
Yes and no. Most bluetooth OBD2 Dongles do not work with the AN-21 U as the bluetooth connection is handled by the MCU and NOT the Android system (This can be verified by trying to pair any device via the Settings menu; There is no option for bluetooth, and the only way to pair a device is through the Phone app). Some sellers are advertizing OBD2 support, but this just means that they are offering proprietary bluetooth OBD2 dongles (sold separately) that work with the MCU in a specific way and require a proprietary app in order to function. In contrast, corded USB OBDII dongles DO work with these units and are recognized by the more popular OBD2 apps (e.g. Torque Pro). USB corded dongles are far more secure and offer faster response time, however it will require one of your USB ports.
The built-in microphone doesn't work very well. Can I adjust the gain on it? Can I use an external one instead?
The harness where an external microphone would be connected
Gain cannot be adjusted on the microphones in these units. Adding an external microphone requires one of two instances:
  1. There is possibly an external mic input on the back of your unit. You can check by looking at the pin-out diagram on the top of the chassis; there should be a "EXT MIC (BLACK)" input on one of the white I/O harnesses. If so, connect an external microphone of your choice and it should improve fidelity significantly. If your harness did not come with this connector, you can try adding one to the left harness (+ to pin 6, - to pin 15, however it may or may not work.
  2. You can attempt to open your unit up and patch an external connector either to the wires that lead to the built-in microphone, or to the PCB terminals where these wires connect. This requires some wire splicing and soldering, however many users have reported success in bypassing the built-in microphone. Try to find a microphone that has a sensitivity of around -20dB+-2dB (0dB=1uPa) and a max impedance of around 2.2K OHM. You still will not be able to adjust the gain, but if the microphone is sensitive enough, it shouldn't matter.
My unit came with a CAN Bus decoder and I can't change what my steering wheel buttons do in the Settings.
According to the user manual, CAN functions are not changeable. Here are the functions that CAN vehicles do automatically and cannot be disabled or enabled except via the vehicle's computer:
  • Steering Wheel Controls (buttons are pre-programmed and cannot be re-assigned)
  • Door Open Indicator (Displays an image of the vehicle and which door(s) are open as well as the trunk/hatch)
  • Reverse Image (if no camera is detected, it displays parking sensor information. If neither is present, you get a blank screen when reverse mode is detected. To prohibit this, disconnect the reverse wire from your CAN decoder to the radio).
  • HVAC Changes (If you have computer controlled climate control, the display will show changes made to it)
  • Music Information Relay to Dash Computer (If you have an on-board computer in your instrument cluster, the unit will send current playing song information to it if you are using a factory default media app)
    These functions are dependent on the capabilities of your vehicle.
    It is only slightly tested, however the MODE steering wheel button has been hacked, but you have to change the com.tw.service_a5a4 APK to a version that has been altered. com.tw.service_a5a4 is the system app that bridges the MCU's decoding of CAN functions to the Android system and vice/versa. Details will be updated in this section when it is tested further.

Tutorials

Creating & Setting Custom Boot Animations
Adding a Custom Boot Logo
Skinning system applications
mount ext sd as as sdcard see this post

Pictures & Variations

The original generic unit with 6.2" screen

Tonghai front.JPG Tonghai size.jpg

Silver Variation

Tonghai silver.JPG

Variation without disc drive

Tonghai no disc version.jpg

Notable Vehicle Specific Variations

These units are unique in theat they are built for specific vehicles and often have elaborate or unusual faceplates and larger screens to fill up the form factor of the original stereo's mounting location.

Volkswagen unit with 8" Screen and no physical buttons/knobs
Tonghai vw 8inch nobuttons.jpg
Hyundai Elantra unit with 8" Screen showing how elaborate the dash faceplates can be
Tonghai vw 8inch hyundai.jpg