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-   -   My experience Eonon GA5166 Android Head Unit install (https://xoutpost.com/bmw-sav-forums/x5-e53-forum/100865-my-experience-eonon-ga5166-android-head-unit-install.html)

fxslin 06-05-2015 06:35 PM

My experience Eonon GA5166 Android Head Unit install
Hi all

New member here. I've been lurking around in E53 forum the last 5-6 weeks. Which is the same time I bought my 2002 3.0I BMW X5 (E53 - Black) here in Norway. My car is an US imported car (arrived here in 2006). More about this car and mods I've done/will might come in a future introduction post from me:-)

Disclaimer: I not native english, so please forgive my writing.

In my car there was a stock Business CD + standard MID (radio + BC and no working pixels in the MID) installed with no DSP amp , no navigation unit and CD changer in the rear boot. The only thing located in the rear is the standard BMW / Alpine AMP, which works fine for me. (I did undertake on the pixel repair fix with ribbon on the MID and got the display back in mint condition).

However beeing a geek and software developer by trade, I wanted something more modern and useful in my dash. After quite some extensive research the last month, I decided that my needs minimum requirement would be something like this:

- A head unit with large touch screen
- support for reverse (backup) camera
- bluetooth support ( music, phone etc )
- navigation
- Not to expensive (as I'm on tight budget with this car)

After some research and learning all about head units possibilties and the fuzz with having DSP amp's and navigation unit's in back (and considered my self lucky for only having the Alpine amp).

My list extended to these requirmenets as well:
- canbus support (ie. support for the steering wheel buttons)
- OEM likness and fit nicely in the E53 interior/dash.
- And finally: support to add more software later as I wish.

The last requirement narrowed it down a system with Android, which in turn is a platform I know well. As I've developed software for phones the last 5-6 years (both Apple and Android).

There is quite a few choices of Head Unit available for the BMW E53, however I decided to avoid all the "no name" units, where I could not find anything about unit or the producer of the unit. In the end I was looking at these units:

- Avin Avant-2
- Dynavin E39 D99 Android unit
- Eonon GA5166

As I'm was (is) on tight budget and is not "afraid" of taking a chance, I went ahead and ordered the cheaper Eonon GA5166 unit with required harness and license plate reverse cam directly from Eonon. Despite the bad reputation the Eonon company have and all the complaints I found about their head units and their support on differents online forums.
However my experience with communication with Eonon before I ordered my unit, was flawless. Eonon always answered my e-mails fast and relevant to my questions. So my personal experience with Eonon is good, the unit however will need to be tested over time before I conclude anything.

So couple days ago the my unit arrived with Fedex from Hong Kong (shipment took 5 days from HK to Norway).


The unit was well wrapped with a waterproof seal and bubble plastic. Everything was supplied as described on the Eonon site, except for one important thing NO INSTALLATION GUIDE at all. Not a single piece of paper in the box, what a bummer I tought "there goes my Plug and Play install". However as I'm a geek and like to fiddle with things, I decided to give it a try. I looked into my bookmarks about installing a head unit in E53 ( a lot of info found here on xoutpost ). And I made my self a "installation guide" of installing the unit.
Its a lot of info about installing head units to BMW online, however it does take time gather all the bits and pieces. Then to test out and validate the info.

The lack of installation guide in the box, is the reason why I post this post. With this, I would have done the entire installation in 3-5 hours ( including playing :-) ) and not 3-4 days.
However I have admit that this is the first time I've done something like this on a car, but I have been building computers, messing with electronics in my boat and home. So I have some very basic understanding of eletronics and signal wires.

So this is what I did:

Note 1: These steps worked for me, they might not work for you, I did a lot of fiddling/research/testing/learning to get to these steps.

Note 2: I was told by Eonon that I needed a extension cable from rear to dash to use this unit. This is wrong I could use the short default harness supplied with unit, since I have nothing in my rear trunk except from the Alpine amp. (Eonon is reimbursing the extension harness for me, good service there).

1. Remove the old head unit + cd player (lots of good info here on xoutpost about this task).


2. Installation of the Eonon unit:
- wire up the GPS box. I pulled my from drivers side window in between the dash and the door. In the room underneath the steering wheel Up in the dash into head unit.
- connect the large harness to the bmw harness (the white plug from the mid is not used at all, some have reallocated the MID to glove deparment. I skipped this.)
- connect blue AMP-CON to BLUE AMP-CON otherwise you will not get sound in the speakers.
- connect orange REVERSE to orange REVERSE to activate support for reverse cam.
- connect the radio antenna
Here I assume one should connect blue ANT to blue ANT as well to feed a "turn on" and power to antenna. However this doesn't work for me and
I still have poor radio reception. Its working ok, but not perfect. I'm still researching this issue.
- connect the USB cabel (it also have the mic in plug, for a better microphone. I havn't ordered this yet).
I pulled this cable down to astray (I'm not using them yet).
- connect the CAM in for backup cam ( its two cables labeled with this, the backup cam is the one with 1 RCA plug)
(- connect the CAM IN, AUD L + AUD R if you plan to have a dash cam as well)
(- connect the ipod cable if you plan to use ipod)

Tested the unit

Here I figured out the "turn on" part of the amp, I used the ANT power here. The blue AMP CON is the one actually to be used.

how I routed the usb cables

the GPS reciever, has a magnet so it stuck well there. I've aligned it correclty after the picture.

- Cut the cage to fit the head unit, most people cuts out the whole cage. I measured and cutted out only the part I need to, as I want to be able
to reinstall the standard head unit. However I plan to cut out the rest of the cage to get a better and permanent fitment with dash after a couple weeks of testing this unit.

NOTE: this step would have taken me a one hour, if I had known why and howto connect the harness loose wires. Instead I spent quite some time with researching and communicating with Eonon. Which turn always answered my, but since we are in different time zones it took 1 day before I got my answers.

3. Installation of the backup camera

I ordered the license plate with built cam on top (european size).

First I tested the cam by connecting it to TV and powered it up with a 12V battery, just in case.

Wiring from dash to trunk, I choosed this wiring path:
* down from dash to drivers side
* along the center console
* underneath the drivers seat (where the front carpet and backseat carpet meets), towards the door
* underneath the door list (under carpet)
* behind the C-pillar cover (correct name?)
* underneath backseath door list (under carpet)
* up from doorlist to backseat
* trough the cabel gate/opening between backseat and trunk
* into the trunk on left side
* into the cabel gate from trunk to rear latch

To be able to do this wiring I needed to pull out:
* drivers side panel under the steering wheel ( important, otherwise its impossible to get the wire trough. I tried :-) )
* door list (front and back)
* pull out the C-pillar cover (only need 1 cm)
* lift out backseat ( have a vacum cleaner ready:-) )
* take out spare wheel from trunk
* take out the plastic cover from the rear latch, so you can access power cables and drag the wire there.

To connect the power for the backup camera, you need to tap into +/- of the reverse light. I was ready todo this by cutting, however I found that the plug on my rear ligths (i used the right one) has a small lever to clip on/off of the existing +-/ wire to the light bulb frame. So I attached the thin wires from the camera to the existing "plug" (not sure about the name). I going to consult a friend which is a car mechanic about this method, just in case.

Test connect everything and try out the cam with engine on, before you start to tuck the wire and reassemble tge car. I tested it often as I adjusted the wire placement during the reassembly, just to make sure.

Some pictures from this task, I should have taken more of the tucking part of the wire:
Me and my daughter, she loved to see herself on TV :-)



Yes, I got a backup cam.
This how the license plate look like now, I'm still undecided if I like it or not. Yes, I need to wash the car :-)

I spent about 3-4 hours in total on the backup camera installation, however I never taken a car "apart" before, so I learned as I went with this.

After doing this I now have a Eonon GA5166 in my car that:

Good things:

- Uses CoPilot as navigation, works great and is currently my fav nav app (google maps and other android navigation apps probably works good as well).
- Radio is OK, just bad reception.
- Internet works great tethering via my iphone.
- Bluetooth calling works great, including searching in adress book.
I just need to install a better microphone. The one on the unit, is not good enough.
- Playing music from phone to unit with bluetooth works great.
- The unit looks OEM and fits quite well in the design of the interior (ie. same black color as my airwents).
(still need to fit it permanent, by cutting more of the old head unit cage)
- I've tested a few apps from play market, they all works fine. The unit works good as an Android tablet as well.
I test "Ok google", that worked fine and is pretty nice while driving.
- CD/DVD plays fine, however I use the Spotify App for my music.
- Steering wheel buttons works good.

Not so good things:
- the usb connections provid to little power, so charging my iphone 6 take long time. I reverted my iphone cable back the 12v socket I had,
- screen is a bit weak in sharp sunlight. Might be because I haven't fitted the unit properly yet (the angle of the screen a bit wrong)
- slow boot (but cool BMW logo as default, so looks OEM)

Issues I still needs to resolve:

- poor radio reception
solutions to try:
- get power to the Antenna (blue wire with label ANT)
- replace the Eonon antenna adatper with a better one (Metra 40-EU10)
- replace the Antenna amplifier

- illumination of the head units buttons
solution: power the orange cable on the canbus, with by tapping into power from car
I need to research this a bit more, however I have it confirmed by Eonon and various forum post.

On my wanted list for unit:

- bluetooth ODB2 device, so I can use ie. Torque to check codes etc..
- A good microphone for the bluetooth calling.
- Get my self a 3G/4G modem, so I have permanent internett in the car.

If the Eonon had arrived with installation instructions, the installation part would have been a more fun task. The unit performs quite well and works as expected. I have not played to much yet with the software and the android apps on it. The backup cam works good, is not excatly HDTV picture but good enough. The GPS get a fix quite fast (almost instant), so GPS / Navigation works very good. Sound is clear and similar to the standard head unit.

I realize I should have taken more pictures. However I can take more pictures when I will do the final fitment and securing of the unit in dash, if requested.

Long first post from me!


Edit: Here is a good reference about installing a head unit that I found online:

white46 06-05-2015 07:01 PM

Dang... I always wanted one.. now want it even more..
Great review!!!

squidzilla 06-05-2015 07:24 PM

Thanks for sharing.

X5only 06-05-2015 08:06 PM

No pics are showing! Are others seeing any pics? You're right eonon gets a bad rap but my experience with them has been very positive too. I bought a head unit (D5124F) from them 2 years ago for my E39 and it's working great. I suspect the bad rap comes from experiences with the eonon resellers on ebay etc and not directly from the eonon website eonon.com. The resellers tend to provide lousy support and questionable products.

Fix the pics!:D

squidzilla 06-05-2015 09:10 PM

I see all of the pics.

fxslin 06-06-2015 04:48 AM


Originally Posted by X5only (Post 1040417)
No pics are showing! Are others seeing any pics? You're right eonon gets a bad rap but my experience with them has been very positive too. I bought a head unit (D5124F) from them 2 years ago for my E39 and it's working great. I suspect the bad rap comes from experiences with the eonon resellers on ebay etc and not directly from the eonon website eonon.com. The resellers tend to provide lousy support and questionable products.

Fix the pics!:D

I've moved the pictures from google to dropbox, should work better now. Please let me know otherwise.

Regarding the Eonon reputation, I think that you might be on to something there. Lets see how the unit perform over time. But first impression of the build quality seems good, buttons are solid, connectors in back are tight, buttons working and seems solid as well.

I can write a proper review of the units with pics and videos, when I have used it for some time.

Omerta 06-06-2015 09:40 AM

Pics are broken for me as well.

X5only 06-06-2015 04:36 PM


Originally Posted by Omerta (Post 1040478)
Pics are broken for me as well.

I got to see the pics by copying the url of one of the pics and opening it in a new browser window (the pic opened fine), closed it, reloaded his post and all the pic links resolved.

mam4.6 06-06-2015 09:47 PM

Pics are all working for me.

Welcome to the gang! :)

Looks like you're well on the way to modding your truck to your own taste! :thumbup: Good job...

puddinboo 06-06-2015 10:44 PM

nice write up looks great , and I`m going to book this page just incase I get one of these .:)

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