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Xtrons PB7890BP - BMW E90

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By skezza, Senior Member on 5th June 2018, 02:59 PM
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Hello,

Not sure how common this unit is, but I'm just trying to gain some details about it. I bought it at the weekend, it arrived yesterday and I am keen to work out what is going on. Hopefully some of you experts can help.

1. The instruction manual states that I must connect the long yellow wire to the battery, which will preserve the memory for the clock and radio settings. However, I've seen this on XDA for a similar Eonon:
Quote:

Settings
scroll down to factory settings
password:126
default power status; memory of last status
apply
exit
yes to reboot

Which essentially means all radio settings are written directly to the NAND. Why wouldn't this be enabled by default as surely it would remove all requirement for that power cable from the battery, unless that power cable is simply powering the clock? I'm wondering if using GPS time might be better for me, rather than spending an age finding a place for this cable to go. Thoughts? I will continue experimenting tonight.

2. So far, the unit has absolutely no problem connecting to my home Wi-Fi but simply won't connect to my S7 Edge Wi-Fi hotspot. Are there any tips to make this work? Perhaps it's something to do with 5GHz or something? I just need it to work with my phone otherwise it's kinda useless

3. This is probably specific to BMW E90 owners, where are you guys hiding your GPS antenna? Nobody really wants it on the dash do they as it looks nasty. I've been reading about places to hide it but some are ridiculous, like running new lines via the roof lining. Surely there's somewhere within the dash that has limited visibility of the sky, but just enough?

4. Steering controls work out of the box, but I am unable to actually set manual ones? Is there any trick to this?

Thanks in advance.
 
 
5th June 2018, 09:57 PM |#2  
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Looks like I'm going to be the crash test dummy for this unit then. So I'll give my thoughts so far:

Audio Quality - Good. Very good actually considering it's a cheap aftermarket jobby. I've not had one that wasn't a Kenwood or Pioneer sound this good. My Erisin was okay, but nothing on this. The Amplifier app (which is a really a glorified Equalizer) allows a fair amount of twiddling, and I used the optimum settings that I was given by a BMW expert and my word, it blows the OEM radio out the water. Great start.

Screen Quality - It is what it is. Its clearly not high def but then they don't claim to be. It's clear enough though and when navigating earlier I had no problem.

Touch Screen - Jury is still out. I've had a few occasions where taps wouldn't register, but you can never tell if its the CPU lagging or not. Other than that, it seems fine.

Wi-Fi - I was sceptical of how this would perform, as it's one of the biggest complaints on these forums. No problems so far though. Connected perfectly to my phone hotspot and I listened with pleasure to Spotify for a good half an hour.

Installation - Easy enough. There is a surprising amount of wiring though so you need to get a bit inventive to get it fully recessed into the dash.

Does it need the yellow wire to the battery or fuse box? Well, I'm not sure. I found the setting I spoke about above, and so far it does appear to be preserving settings correctly. The only thing that is lost is the clock so far, but the clock is automatically picked up from GPS, so it's possibly a none issue.

Bluetooth A2DP - Jury's out. I tried it with YouTube on my phone and felt it sounded a bit thin, but then music on YouTube always sounds a bit dull and lifeless I find. I really need to use Spotify, but then Spotify works well on the unit, so there's no point.............

Bluetooth Calls - Only made one. Positive feedback though. The person on the other end said it was clear and that's always good. My end, well it wasn't as good as my previous Kenwood, but it was clear enough.

Reversing Sensor Integration - Game changer. It's brilliant. I don't have the camera, and I really can't be arsed to fit one. It's a shame I can't disable the stupid triangle that appears informing you that no camera is present, because the unit displays a car with coloured sensors on the back and that's top draw. Very impressed.

I skipped out on the tyre pressure monitoring, but I've got the DAB antenna and hopefully a piece of kit that will make DAB work with my OEM aerial, coming all the way from Germany.

I now need to resolve a few issues with installation. I wanted to route the USB cables and what not to the glovebox, but how the hell I'm supposed to do that I am not sure. I will get onto a BM forum and find out. I will post some photos up when I'm finished. Also, you do have to file a bit of the climate control part, so it fits smooth. Currently, I've wedged it in without the surround but it looks a bit cruddy, so I will do that probably at the weekend.

Current unit issues I am trying to resolve:
- Cannot get the steering wheel app to work at all. The steering buttons work, perfectly fine, but the actual app itself does nothing, so I cannot configure the voice setting for example, to open OK Google.
- FM Radio is dreadful. It was never good to begin with, but it's horrific now.
- Making the previous audio source come back after a cold boot.
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6th June 2018, 12:02 AM |#3  
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ok, so almost had my first snafu tonight. CANBUS integration was 90% broken. no reversing sensor functionality, other than the original beeps, and steering controls not working. I was all but ready to send a snotty e-mail to Xtrons, when I tried booting up the hardware, turning on the ignition, disconnecting the CANBUS box, and then reconnecting it. I think perhaps the car has a fail safe if it thinks something is not right with the CANBUS and just disables it. Disconnecting the CANBUS caused the unit to switch off, I then reconnected it and the unit instantly returned and importantly the clocks sync'd up.

I've noticed if the CANBUS isn't working, temperature and clocks are lost. Hopefully this won't be a recurring theme. I was messing about in factory settings earlier, so I don't want to throw any blame at Xtrons just yet.
6th June 2018, 09:09 AM |#4  
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OK, so it seems CANBUS Integration is broken when you switch the car off and then return to it after a few seconds/minutes. I am guessing this is because the unit immediately goes into sleep mode when you shutdown the car and the car doesn't like this. I can't be sure until I return to the car in a few hours as not all the subsystems power down immediately. I am going to experiment with setting the unit to power down after 10 minutes. I suppose it's about finding a happy balance. You don't want to drain your battery excessively, but you need to be able to pop into the shops without losing almost 100% of the canbus functionality.

The games continue. I will do some more research.
6th June 2018, 10:37 AM |#5  
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Right, another update. Returned to the car after an hour. Canbus working fine. Switched it off and on repeatedly and for some reason I couldn't break it. Was solid as a rock. God knows why it failed this morning then. Perhaps it's the unit rather than the car then I will keep an eye and nagg Xtrons if it's problematic going forward.

I've set the ACC delay to 10 minutes but it doesn't seem to make a difference. It still powers off :| I don't think it does it any favours it powering off though.
6th June 2018, 02:41 PM |#6  
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Another update. So, if you leave your car for a few minutes, the canbus goes dead and is nonoperational until the next time you leave it for a while . I've not timed it specifically, but it's definitely happening. Wonder if it's the car or the radio causing these problems?
6th June 2018, 08:36 PM |#7  
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I will eventually merge this all into a single reply which can form the basis of the thread for this device. I'm guessing the price is somewhat blocking it's widespread popularity. I must admit, it's not easy throwing 300+ quid at a Chinese head unit.

Anyway, another update on this Canbus issue. I think the problem is both the car and the head unit. The head unit is 'half' going into Deep Sleep when I switch the car off. It's not fully entering deep sleep. Hence when I get back in the car within a few minutes, the device is still 'powering down'. It then immediately wakes up and usually, canbus functionality is lost. I wonder if there's a command that's not being sent or something and the canbus then falls into a bad state. Once in this state, it's nearly impossible to get out of it. You just have to wait until the car is fully powered down (about 30-60 mins).

The only thing this could be, other than a software bug, is because I've not wired that yellow wire in. Now the guys at Xtrons said it's just for the memory and clock, but I've proven that you don't need that wire to store the memory and the clock can be updated via GPS. So, could it be that the yellow wire also acts as a secondary 'accessory' line? God knows. Before I start tearing my car apart to run wires or trying to access the fuse box to tap them, I will run it through the cabin and to the battery which sits in the boot. Sounds lethal and very dirty, but this to me is the simplest way of finding out what the crack is.
6th June 2018, 09:27 PM |#8  
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Bingo. I've potentially found the fix/hack for CANBUS bugs and it might not require the yellow wire to be connected. I think the issues are probably caused by not connecting up that wire, but doing so is a bit of a pain. I'll need to route it to the fusebox or battery etc. blah blah. I'll maybe try for academic reasons at the weekend.

It definitely is the unit rather than the car I think. It appears to trigger some kind of 'bad state' when you switch off the ignition. What I have observed is that the unit never quite reaches deep sleep, you then enter the car a few minutes later and the unit is essentially half powered down, at which point it continues into deep sleep then immediately 'unsleeps'. At this point, all canbus integration has been lost, SWC, PDC, all dead. I think perhaps because it's continuing to enter deep sleep when you re-trigger the ignition, it is effectively powering down the canbus subsystem. This is then dead for the next hour unless the unit will power it back on, which is surprisingly awkward.

So...... the fix/hack, at least, so far, is to set Shutdown Delay when ACC OFF to 30 seconds, rather than Auto Sleep. The auto sleep mode never fully powers down the unit and that is the whole point I guess. If you set it to 30 seconds, the unit continues to power down after you've left the vehicle and perhaps it continues the correct shutdown of the canbus system. When you re-enter and trigger the ignition, it then powers it up again properly, or so it would seem anyway. One thing I will say, in auto sleep, if you don't fully engage the ignition, this also caused issues. With it powered down, I think the unit will not come back on until ignition is at least in accessory mode, so hopefully that problem is also gone.

The ONLY negative of this fix, is the fact that the unit boots from cold every time you start the car. Booting takes, I don't know 20-30 seconds ish? Not ideal, I'll admit, but it's definitely better than losing all CANBUS integration and not being able to operate steering controls and having your parking sensors work correctly. They're important after all.

I will test, as I say, for academic reasons at the weekend and if it does work, maybe the ends justify the means, but only if I can get the wire into the bloody fusebox
7th June 2018, 02:36 PM |#9  
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Skeeza,

Thanks for posting and tracking all of your work. I have the PE9890BPL (9in screen, no cd/dvd) and have been encountering some of the same issues as you. I do believe there are issues with the CANBUS integration as I have multiple issues associated with this harness. More than 75% (installed 2 days ago so 3/4 trips) of the time I have no steering wheel controls and the unit does not link (time and temp) to the center console. I do have the yellow wire connected in my fuse box but I just discovered that the fuse I tapped into may not be always on. I found a fuse that is reportedly always on listed on XDA so I swapped it and I will report if that does/does not correct my issue.

My time also does not display correctly. I do not have it connected to 4G/LTE and I would prefer not to if I do not have to, but I will. I manually set the time and it still loses it. The radio presets have also disappeared once. Perhaps swapping the yellow wire will correct this as well.

Finally I agree that music via bluetooth is "thin." Volume is very different than the FM radio and there is no base.
7th June 2018, 04:06 PM |#10  
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FYI I just received an email back from Xtrons about my intermittent CANBUS. They didn't ask any questions about installation or suggest any firmware changes, just said they would send me a new one.
7th June 2018, 04:27 PM |#11  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jerkeife

Skeeza,

Thanks for posting and tracking all of your work. I have the PE9890BPL (9in screen, no cd/dvd) and have been encountering some of the same issues as you. I do believe there are issues with the CANBUS integration as I have multiple issues associated with this harness. More than 75% (installed 2 days ago so 3/4 trips) of the time I have no steering wheel controls and the unit does not link (time and temp) to the center console. I do have the yellow wire connected in my fuse box but I just discovered that the fuse I tapped into may not be always on. I found a fuse that is reportedly always on listed on XDA so I swapped it and I will report if that does/does not correct my issue.

My time also does not display correctly. I do not have it connected to 4G/LTE and I would prefer not to if I do not have to, but I will. I manually set the time and it still loses it. The radio presets have also disappeared once. Perhaps swapping the yellow wire will correct this as well.

Finally I agree that music via bluetooth is "thin." Volume is very different than the FM radio and there is no base.

Finally, nice to have a friend on this forum with the same unit I was starting to think I was the only person who had ordered it. Essentially we have the same unit, mine has the smaller screen + drive, yours has the bigger screen and no drive, like you said. Internally, they're essentially identical. Interesting you mention about the yellow wire perhaps not being connected. I think this is what we both need to resolve, and how important it is.
Let me know how you get on. I plan on running it through the cabin direct to the battery today as an experiment, but this isn't anything long term, merely an experiment. Realistically, I'll need to do this properly or not at all. I notice all of the same problems as you though. Temperature invisible, clock wrong, steering wheel controls, broken park distance controls too (you've maybe not spotted that). I installed mine Monday, so I'm equally a novice. Which fuse are you planning on using? I've been on the BMW forum, and it seems that finding one that is constantly live is a bit of a minefield. I figured the most obvious one is central locking, or maybe ECU ? Central locking would be preferred. It's a non critical system after all.

http://fusesdiagram.com/bmw/fuse-box...bmw-3-e90.html
Potentially this shines some light on it. Is yours an E90? Mines an 2007 E90. Fuse 56 and 57 are central locking, 15amps. I will check if they correspond to that tonight and if so, they will be the ones I use for my tap.

Good to hear I'm not the only one with the CANBUS issue. I am hoping we both resolve it by connecting up that yellow wire. Like I said, only one way to find out I did have a micro fuse tap somewhere for my previous motor, but I can't find it now, so I'll order another.
The immediate hack/fix for CANBUS is to set Shutdown Delay when ACC OFF to 30 seconds, rather than Auto Sleep. Trust me, it'll work 100% of the time after, but it will also boot from cold after. I think that's the problem. It's not shutting down correctly, quite possibly because of that yellow wire.

What do you think so far? I'm pretty impressed with everything else. Did you have to file down the climate control to fit it in?
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