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Discussion Starter #1
Xtrons PB7639BP Android Head Unit Installation



So, it’s 2018 and it’s time for an audio/tech upgrade in your E39 M5? Let’s look at our options:

- Bluetooth add-on device (Mediabridge, Grom Audio, etc): These are a great way to add Bluetooth streaming (A2DP) and handsfree calling to your E39. They are relatively cheap & easy to install, do a decent job at providing the basics, and allow you to retain your stock OBC functionality. However, they do require deletion of your CD changer (do people still use CDs?) and typically have some iffy functionality constraints due to the way they connect to the car. This also requires that all of your stock audio hardware is functional

- Intravee II + Alpine iPod module: This device was way ahead of its time and was at one point the gold standard for adding functionality to the BMW audio & iBus systems. Unfortunately, lack of updates have made this option somewhat obsolete and relatively expensive for what little functionality it provides.

- Dynavin N6/N7: Dynavin led the way with plug-and-play DSP integration in 2014. Unfortunately, they’ve done very little innovation since. I could go on and on, but I’ll leave it at this – I owned a N6 for a long time and I’m not a fan, given the price point – particularly considering the $300 Apple Carplay add-on module, which makes the Dynavin a $1000+ investment

- BMW NBT Retrofit: This is as good as it gets. It’s quite literally installing the entire audio/tech package from a new BMW into your E39. As you’d expect, it’s luxury-car nice and very refined. Unfortunately, it’ll run you $2000-$2500, requires some custom parts be fabricated for install, and is not something you can expect your local audio shop to install for you.


None of these seem right for you? What if you could retain the OBC, retain your DSP, and add features to your car via the iBus – with one device?

That leaves us one more choice: Generically-speaking, the “Chinese-built Android Head Unit”

Yeah, yeah, I know how that sounds. I know what you’re thinking, because I thought the same thing. Then I did a little research.

It turns out that the majority of these Android head units use the same hardware behind the fascia. Whether you have a BMW or a VW, it’s most likely a MTCD-manufactured board under the skin and that means they have made LOTS of these for the global market. The E39 is just a small sliver of the overall market for these parts and quality control appears to be relatively good. It also means there’s tons of support out there, even if it’s not necessarily BMW-specific (see xda-develeopers).

There’s also no shortage of brands out there to choose from, and chances are you won’t recognize a single one of the names in this market. Take a look on aliexpress and search for “E39 Android” and prepare to be overwhelmed. But, if they’re all essentially manufactured from the same base parts, does it matter which brand you buy? I believe it boils down to the support from the manufacturer and moreso the enthusiast community.

In my research, one brand kept floating to the top – Xtrons. I had seen a couple positive threads about Xtrons on M3forum, but aside from that I had never heard of them. It turns out they are very successful with the European BMW community due to the quality of the product, their support, and the fact that they have a UK-based warehouse (which I believe avoids customs fees when importing to the EU).

I decided to take the plunge and order a Xtrons PB7639BP head unit, running Android 6.0. At $289 shipped direct from Xtrons (via Amazon), it seemed like a manageable gamble. With some required and optional add-ons, I’m sitting around $485 total investment

https://www.amazon.com/XTRONS-Octa-Core-Capacitive-Mirroring-Monitoring/dp/B01N7UW51Q

*note – Xtrons has very recently replaced the model above with the PB7839BP, which has more RAM and runs Android 8.0. I haven't used on myself (yet), but they should be very similar and the majority of this information should still apply

https://www.amazon.com/XTRONS-Android-Multi-touch-Pressure-Monitoring/dp/B0793R31VC/ref=sr_1_1?s=wireless&ie=UTF8&qid=1517971849&sr=8-1&keywords=PB7839BP

Xtrons also does manufacture a 9” screen model (with no physical buttons) which is essentially the same internally as the model above. Be aware that the 9" is currently only produced as E53 fitment, so the curve of the unit does not match the E39 dash very well.



















 

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Discussion Starter #2
iBus Interface:



The iBus is the BMW-proprietary communication network used for the majority of systems within your car. Things like the cluster, Light Check Module, Radio, DSP Amp, and several others are all interconnected via the iBus.

For years, anyone could install an Android head unit in their E39. The trouble was that you had to sacrifice your car’s OBC data and your DSP amp, which made the head unit much less appealing. Now things have changed thanks to the Resler interface and the iBus Android app.

Resler Interface: IBUS Interface for BMW cars

iBus App: BMW IBUS App

The Resler interface is a piece of hardware that allows your Android head unit to communicate on the iBus network. The app gives you the ability to monitor/reset your OBC data, add functionality to the car, and control the DSP amplifier. The iBus app website does a far better job listing the functionality than I can here, so please read it for the current feature list. The app is updated frequently and the app developer is a German E39 enthusiast, so most of these features have been tested on our platform prior to release.



Wiring:
Connecting the Resler interface to your car is fairly easy as it’s just 3 wires: 12V power, Ground, & iBus data line. You can connect anywhere on the bus, but for us the easiest place is using the 16:9 OBM connections in the dash. Most install guides have you cut wires -or- splice into the car’s existing wiring. I personally hated both of those approaches and figured there has to be a better way.

Luckily there is an easy way to accomplish this. The OBM connections use the same pins as the standard BMW 3-pin connector, so with about $6 in parts from BMW, you can add a connector to your existing harness. This is completely reversible, requires no cutting or soldering of your factory wiring, and is easy to do.

Parts List:
1 x BMW 61138377072 - 3 pin connector for chassis side
1 x BMW 61136931929 - 3 pin connector for interface side
3 x BMW 61130005198 - 3 pins with wire for interface side

Steps:

- Disconnect your battery.
- Disassemble the blue connector from the OBM harness with a small screwdriver. The blue hood will slide off and allow access to the pins.
- Using a very small screwdriver, depress the pin’s retaining clip and pull the following pins:
2 – brown - ground
6 – red/green – 12V
7 – white/grey/yellow – iBus Data
- Slide these pins into the BMW connector and snap the locking clip down to secure it.

Now you have a factory-quality connector to interface to your iBus network. Assemble the other side by soldering the 3 black wires to the Resler interface, following the instructions on the Resler website. Don’t screw up the wiring color code!







 

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Discussion Starter #3
Parts List:

XTRONS PB7639BP - $289.99
XTRONS EXL005 - 6m Extension Cable - $49.99 – Required if you have factory Navigation
XTRONS OBD02 - Bluetooth OBD2 adapter - $12.99
XTRONS DVR015 - DVR Camera - $29.99
6m FAKRA Radio Antenna Extension - $20.35 shipped from Germany LINK: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Antennen-Verlangerung-FAKRA-Winkelbuchse-Stecker-6m-TYP-Z-Antennenkabel-Kabel/110917707372?hash=item19d335e66c:m:mLZqV8dJ1L10DTnhjisdZRg
6m FAKRA GPS Antenna Extension - $12 shipped from China LINK: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Fakra-SMB-C-5005-jack-plug-right-angle-RG174-cable-GPS-Telematics-Navigation-6/362003156856?ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT&_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649 Send this guy a message and tell him you need a 6 meter cable and he’ll custom make one for you.
Resler Interface - $38 shipped from Germany LINK: IBUS Interface for BMW cars
iBus application license - $31 online LINK: BMW IBUS App
BMW iBus connector parts - $6

DISCLAIMER This is a relatively complex installation, so be sure you have researched appropriately before you start and be realistic about your own DIY capabilities. If the idea of taking your car’s interior apart scares you, this entire project isn’t for you. If you blow your car up and/or burn down your house, it’s not my fault. Should anything else bad happen – also not my fault.
If the idea of planning every detail, ordering parts from all over the world, and putting it all together doesn’t sound like a fun challenge – this is probably not a project for you. I’ll admit that it takes a special kind of moron to find this appealing. 

INSTALLATION:

I’m going to cover the high points of the installation only, this is not meant to be a step-by-step how-to, but should hopefully give you some pointers and help you avoid any major pitfalls. You should plan on a long day to get this done, maybe even a weekend if you’re planning a big install.

Basic Steps:

- You must Recode your DSP amp using NCS Expert. Change the BEDIENELEMENTE parameter from “bordmonitor” to “mid_basis”
- Run 6m radio extension harness, radio antenna extension, & GPS antenna extension from the trunk to the dash area
- Keep in mind that the 90-degree ends of the antenna extensions plug into the head unit
- Remove the 16:9 OBM. The CD changer, Radio, & Nav unit can optionally be removed (or at the very least least unplugged)
- Remove the factory 16:9 navigation bracket, which requires dropping the lower dash & glovebox down several inches.
- Run the extension cables while you have the dash lowered
- Run any optional cables (DVR, Microphone, Backup Camera, USB cables, etc) to their correct locations
- Tap into the iBus network and attach the Resler USB interface to one of the USB inputs on the Xtrons
- Install the Xtrons mounting brackets (see below)



 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
MOUNTING

The Mounting solution for this unit is terrible. Really, really terrible. In fact, it's the only real complaint I have with this system and i guess given the price, I should probably just shut up and deal with it. But as a warning - the brackets that are included with teh Xtrons are awful. They are flimsy and the holes are nowhere close to where they belong for an E39.

Thanks to the German-language Xtrons wiki and Facebook group, there is something that resembles a solution. With these modifications performed, it fits better, but I wouldn't call it great by any stretch of the imagination. It's not going to fall out, but be forewarned that this is a part of the "finished" product that I'm not real happy with. Friends of mine think I'm kind of crazy for obsessing over it, but what can I say? Might be a touch of OCD, as I'm sure a lot of us can relate to lol

Xtrons wiki (use Google Chrome and it will translate for you): BMW Xtrons Wiki

Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1954844871468973/

 

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Discussion Starter #6
So far I like it a lot! Much, much more than the Dynavin N6 it replaced. With that said, I'll admit I'm still in the honeymoon phase and I try to be as honest and transparent about that when recommending other people spend their hard-earned $ on things. At the moment, I have a couple "issues" I need to work through

- The Xtrons bluetooth microphone was waaaay too short, so I'm using the internal mic at the moment. Eventually I want to get a OE BMW mic and wire it in
- Not really an Xtrons issue, but I have a wifi hotspot in the car, connected to switched 12V. The Xtrons boots almost instantly, yet the hotspot takes forever to boot & connect to 4G/Wifi, so I need to come up with a better solution. Tethering to my iPhone may end up being that solution, actually.
- The iBus app will occasionally need to be restarted after starting the car. It's quick and easy to do, and I know the app developer is working on it, so for now not a major issue
- For some reason Spotify will occasionally stutter and skip as I'm driving. I tend to think it's a data connection issue with AT&T, but I need to troubleshoot a little more. Also, with 32GB of onboard storage + SD Card, there's no reason I couldn't just download several Spotify playlists onto the unit, which would probably resolve this for good
- Like a moron, I mounted the front-facing DVR camera without ensuring it's straight, so now it's crooked. lol
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Good writeup..

What if you dont have factory navi but the business radio? Will i still gain obc functions installing the xtron unit?


I believe what you’ll see depends if you have the “low” or “high” OBC? Aside from some

And actually the business radio makes the install a little bit easier since you don’t have to run the extension harness
 

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Quick question, why do you need 6m FAKRA GPS Antenna Extension? I thought that these Nav units come with their own GPS antennas that you just mount under the dash somewhere.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
They do, but I found with my Dynavin that the reception with the included antenna was poor until I added the extension to use the factory GPS antenna instead. Maybe it was just an issue with the Dynavin and it's not a concern with the Xtrons, but I didn't want to chance dealing with it again. Also, it's one fewer item to try and stuff into the dash...
 

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Thanks for the thread! Starting to accumulate parts. Looks like the Android 6.0 is out of stock on Amazon and xtrons.

Looks like Amazon is the place to get the head unit, and xtrons is the place to get the cable. The cable, on amazon, is $79. (EXL005)

Anyone have a DIY / step guide on how to get a new set of speaker wires into the door? Is the rubber "snorkel" wire flex tube. This forum is great for lots of stuff - but a bit weaker as compared to stereo related stuff (IMHO).
 

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I'm thinking of going for a 7839.
A few initial questions:
There's no mention of ipod control. I have a rather old 'classic' which has the old, large connector. Could this be connected to one of the usb ports and be controlled from the headunit?

Does the headunit have wifi capabilities or would I need to get the 3g/4g(maybe wifi) dongle? I wouldn't often need internet acces, I was thinking of letting it connect to my phone and use it's 4g connection when needed (updates etc).

My car currently has the mfd and a cd drive(no nav), which means it has the single slot frame 'carrier'.
Will this need to be removed and a full nav unit carrier be installed or does it not use any of the original carriers?

Is it just a plug and play unit? I don't have the logic amp, but I do have an amp in the boot for subs, currently switched on by the diversity antenna 'live' (a white wire in the loom iirc, it works!). Would I need to re wire both of these or are they (ie diversity) fed through the 'big' radio connector (flat pin in my case), that's behind the dash in my case (ie not in the boot since I didn't have nav).

Thanks for any replies and help. I realise some of these should be aimed at the seller but it's nice to be fore-armed :)
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I'm thinking of going for a 7839.
A few initial questions:
There's no mention of ipod control. I have a rather old 'classic' which has the old, large connector. Could this be connected to one of the usb ports and be controlled from the headunit?

Does the headunit have wifi capabilities or would I need to get the 3g/4g(maybe wifi) dongle? I wouldn't often need internet acces, I was thinking of letting it connect to my phone and use it's 4g connection when needed (updates etc).

My car currently has the mfd and a cd drive(no nav), which means it has the single slot frame 'carrier'.
Will this need to be removed and a full nav unit carrier be installed or does it not use any of the original carriers?

Is it just a plug and play unit? I don't have the logic amp, but I do have an amp in the boot for subs, currently switched on by the diversity antenna 'live' (a white wire in the loom iirc, it works!). Would I need to re wire both of these or are they (ie diversity) fed through the 'big' radio connector (flat pin in my case), that's behind the dash in my case (ie not in the boot since I didn't have nav).

Thanks for any replies and help. I realise some of these should be aimed at the seller but it's nice to be fore-armed :)
I'm glad you brought the ipod control up as I forgot to mention it. At the moment, when I plug my iPhone in it does charge, but I don't have any way to control the phone's music from the head unit. With that said, I've literally spent about 2 minutes playing with that function, so I'm nowhere close to admitting defeat. :) I'll eventually do the CarPlay dongle, which will give all the functionality of Apple CarPlay on the Android unit, to include ipod/music/spotify control. I'm guessing there's an Android app available to interface to the older Ipod, but I don't have a specific recommendation

The head unit does Wifi (and does it well), and I believe that's the only way to connect. Even the 3g/4g dongle Xtrons sells simply broadcasts a wifi signal and uses USB for power only. I'm currently using an AT&T wifi hotspot in my glove box, but I would think you could do without cell connectivity fairly easy. Download an offline maps app (there are several available), download your music to the unit, and allow it to connect to your home wifi when it's parked at home.

The full carrier would need to be removed, regardless of which carrier you've started with (nav vs non-nav). The unit includes it's own brackets, which are terrible. I just saw a post this morning on the German FB group that someone is looking at creating 3D-printed brackets which supposedly fit better. We shall see...

For you, I believe it should be a fairly simply install. You won't need any of the extensions listed above, possibly an antenna adapter, and you will need to use the included GPS antenna. As far as the amp question, I'm honestly not sure.
 

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Great writeup as usual! Looks much better than the N6, especially the IBUS info. Yet another project to add the growing list.:eek7:
 

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Big thanks for the reply.

I wonder if ipod control is over one of the usb connectors only?

Re carrier, the lower dash would need to be 'moved', this isn't much of a job anyway.

How is the unit secured? Are the supplied mounting plates screwed to the side of the unit, like little ears and then these screwed onto the dash, behind the lower dash trim?

Also, I read somewhere that the newer android 8 units have a small usb issue, would this affect the 7839 you think?

Re Ibus app and intravee- the app seems very good. I currently have an intravee (iv) setup, from what I can see most of the 'iv's' functionality is duplicated in the app and some extra features built in. Could an iv remain attached or would it be more sensible to remove it?
Also, are there any features of the bc (or mfd) that the app does not support? I have not noticed the 'code' feature but I can't look properly at it, I do use code sometimes, gives a small degree of peace of mind!

Thanks
 
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