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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
leonar40's Chinese radio replacement w/ backup camera and OBD II link

Hello all. I have a 2011 CT with the non-nav base stereo. Several years ago I posted write-ups on replacing the stock speakers, installing a powered subwoofer, as well as installing the LED door sills. However at the time there were no good options to replace the radio due to the non-standard size so I stuck with it. I still have the car and noticed that a couple companies finally came out with custom replacement radios for the CT. These are not well known radio companies, but Chinese companies only available on AliExpress.com. That gives me a little pause, but for the low price I figured what the heck, I'll give it a try. I have ordered the following items:

1. Roadivox Android 8.0 RAM 2G Car dvd for LEXUS CT200 2011 2017 car radio multimedia player gps navigation system head unit stereo

This is the replacement radio. It claims to keep all the stock functions including USB support and steering wheel controls and adds GPS, backup camera support, ODB II diagnostic support, among other things. It is interesting to note that there is another replacement radio that is similar but a little different made by "Bway". After looking at both, I decided to go with the "Roadivox" model because it includes a CD/DVD drive, ODB II support, and the plastic looks like it matches the matte plastic of the car exactly, whereas the "Bway" model did not have those features.

2. Roadivox V1.5 Version Super Mini ELM327 ODB II Bluetooth Car Auto Diagnostic Scanner Tool On/Off Switch Fit To Our Android Car Video Play

This is a OBD II scanner that plugs into your OBD II port and communicates with the radio via bluetooth. Then it claims to show all kinds of vehicle diagnostics information as well as any vehicle codes you may have. Funny how they misspelled "OBD" as "ODB" in the item title. Hopefully it still works as intended.

3. Podofo Wireless Universal Car Rear View Camera with 4 LED Back Reverse Camera RCA Night Vision Parking Assistance Cameras

This is a wired backup camera that also includes a wireless transmitter / receiver. That is, you can install it either way. I plan on running the video cable to the radio as that would give the most solid interference-free connection. However, I liked the idea of having the wireless transmitters included just in case I get stuck running the cable from the rear hatch all the way to the front and then could go that route as a plan B.

All three of those items totaled just $290 with free shipping! Should be here in 2-3 weeks. I plan on doing the install late Jan or Feb, but it depends on when everything gets here. I will certainly keep everyone updated on how it goes and if this is finally a viable option for replacing that ridiculously outdated OEM radio.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
The radio and the OBD II adapter arrived today! Holy cow I can't believe it was that fast coming from China! As far as I can tell everything arrived correctly and in good shape. There are a lot of cables for audio and video input that I probably won't use since this can be setup as a video monitor, but the Lexus connectors do look to be plug-and play. No instructions what-so-ever, but all the cables are labeled. Hopefully the Android interface will be self-explanatory. Still waiting for the backup camera so I can install it all at once and then I'll do the install.

BTW, I'd love to upload lots of pictures and document my install, but the site says I am at my quota due to the pictures I uploaded from previous installations. Would rather not delete those in case people want to use them in the future...
 

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I’m very interested in seeing how your installation goes! I have a 2015 without nav, but has the backup camera in the rear view mirror. Would be interested to see how it would integrate with the existing camera as well as steering wheel controls.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I'll definitely post the results. Currently planning to do the install on Jan 19 when I have the day off for MLK. BTW, I'm not sure what cable the OEM backup camera has, but this unit uses a standard RCA input for video, which is what basically any aftermarket backup camera uses. If the OEM camera doesn't have a standard RCA video cable then it won't work directly. But there is no reason you couldn't just keep your camera and screen in the mirror and still install the replacement radio. It does have the cables for the steering wheel controls built into the radio's harness, so that should work properly.
 

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I actually installed this unit about 2 weeks ago in my 2012 CT200h. If you have any questions about installing it or functionality I'm happy to help. I have a backup camera waiting to be installed but I don't have it in the car yet. :)
 

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Very cool! I'm excited to see how your install goes. I have a new-to-me 2015 without NAV & I have had multiple issues with the radio regarding BT connection to my phone. This will be the third time in 3 months that the dealer is putting a new radio in it for me. I bought the car Lexus certified so I still have 2 years of warranty on it, but I would rather have something that just works. I may pull the trigger on this radio too. Thx for the post!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Would love a general high level review. How is the user interface, sound quality, etc? Any gotchas to watch out during the install or is it really all plug and play?
 

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@nick82oc: I'll try to shoot some photo's later today and upload them.

Installing the unit is plug and play with the provided wiring harnass. Taking the dash apart takes some trial and error but any beginner who isn't afraid to get his hands dirty can do it. The dash is stronger than you would expect and can flex a little, just be careful not to scratch it with metal tools. Taking it apart is fairly easy and only requires a 10mm socket to remove the old Head Unit. Having plastic pry tools to remove the plastic bits around the steering wheel/left side of the dash helps a lot.

I installed only the base unit together with a DAB+ radio stick (also ordered from their store). The installation took me about an hour and a half, the majority of that went to figuring out how to take the dash apart. I personally used this video as a guide:

What I like about the unit:
- It looks great in the dash, looks OEM and it gives the car a premium feel.
- Steering wheel controls work (mostly, there's times the next/previous track buttons are unresponsive for no reason)
- Sound quality is definitely better than the stock unit, it gives a deeper sound without just boosting bass (I have the 6 speaker system, not ML)

What I don't like about the unit:
- It is painstakingly slow. I ordered the 2G unit to give it the best stats I could find, but getting apps to load takes what feels like forever.
- Apps frequently crash for no apparent reason and don't reopen. This is annoying with navigation as you have to reset your destination when it happens. I have yet to reach my destination using Waze without it crashing on the way there and have since moved to Here maps which seems more stable.
- Radio can't display channel names, only frequency. The hardware to do this is physically absent so no software patch can solve this. To my knowledge all chinese HUs for the CT200h have this problem, probably a cost saving measure.
- Having Spotify and Navigation open often causes music to stop playing.

Because of the spotify/nav issue I just connect my phone with bluetooth and play audio over that. Which works together with Nav, but kinda defeats the point of having this head unit. I am still doubting if I want to keep the unit or just revert back. The features are nice and the sound is better, but having to deal with the software issues gets frustrating quickly.
 

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Any photos? Would love to see!











Let me know if there's any specific info you want to see or need. To confirm; The built in USB ports work as well as the steering wheel controls. Phone calls work but without number recognition.
It looks great! My only concern would be the issues that you laid out with apps crashing, slow response, etc. I assume no satellite radio support as well?

If that thing had CarPlay, I’d be ordering it in a second. Would love to find something with the exact same form factor with CarPlay, because it looks great in place of the standard radio. Appreciate the pics and details, still on the fence but tempting!
 

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Thanks thetrueman2! That's very helpful! A couple of questions based on what you posted:

1. You mentioned that certain Nav apps like Waze cause crashing, did you try using the built-in Sygic software? Seems like that's what this system is designed to use based on what the AliExpress website had. Any advice on where to place the GPS antenna so that you get good coverage?

2. You mentioned some issues with crashing during music playback, was that just when you were doing the BT streaming or did that happen with the USB drive as well? I use my USB drive exclusively for music, I generally just let it run on random for the 1000+ songs that I have.

3. Do you have a subwoofer in your car? I noticed this system has a dedicated sub out. Of course the stock radio does not, so right now I have the rear speakers tapped to get the signal to the subwoofer. Trying to decide whether to continue using that or disconnect that to use the sub out. Probably just keep the wiring setup the way it is to start so that I can go back if I want, but it would be nice to have separate control of the subwoofer rather than it being tied in with the audio settings of the rear speakers.

4. Did you connect a backup camera?

Your comments are definitely correct about how much trim you have to take apart to get to the radio, it's a lot, but it's not difficult, just time consuming. For anyone trying this I highly recommend following the directions in the Lexus CT200h Service Manual. It has step by step instructions that show exactly where the clips are to release. There is a link on this forum for where to download it. Also a nice set of plastic trim removal tools is a good investment, they have sets on Amazon for like $10.

One last answer to a previous question, no this unit does not have XM, since that is North America only. Personally my XM antenna broke several years ago so that doesn't affect me, but if you are a dedicated XM user then this radio becomes a lot less attractive. You could always add on a XM radio of course but that's not a very clean solution.

Overall this is looking promising! I fully expected the user interface to be junk given that this is a sub $300 Chinese radio. But as long as the main features work, it's gotta be better than that ridiculous single line green LED screen...
 

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1. I haven't used Sygic yet. I'll try it out. thanks!

2. The crashes haven't occured yet while playing BT music, only when spotify runs on the unit on its own. I haven't tried playing from a usb drive yet, but the built in music player seems fairly stable. I would imagine playing from usb works well. Personally I mounted the GPS antenna behind the airco control unit on a metal bar in the dash, reception so far has been excellent. I imagine any place that's not too far down the dash will work just fine.

3. No sub installed, just the stock speakers right now. I read up on your speaker swap build and will probably upgrade soon-ish (can't do it all at once or the missus will get cross lol)

4. I already have the camera but I haven't installed it yet. I haven't figured out yet how I should run the wiring to the front of the car. I'll probably retrofit a dimming mirror with a tft screen for the camera at a later date and run the wiring through the head lining. The HU does come with a labeled tulip plug for a camera tho, and I remember seeing an option for a reversing camera in the options.

Overall it's not a bad purchase, just make sure to match your expectations to the price point. I don't mind the junk UI but I am a bit disappointed in the overall stability of the system. Maybe I expected too much. Really curious what your experience will be like. :)
 

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I pulled the trigger and ordered this unit + the ODB device as well. It should arrive while I'm away on business, so I will be anxious to put this together once I get home. I'll keep an eye on the string and see how your install goes, leonar40. I'm just tired of my CT being at the dealership getting a new (refurbished, I'll bet) factory radio installed every couple of months.

Has anyone played BT audio through the unit? How about the screen mirroring from an Android - has anyone had success with that?

Thanks all!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
4. I already have the camera but I haven't installed it yet. I haven't figured out yet how I should run the wiring to the front of the car. I'll probably retrofit a dimming mirror with a tft screen for the camera at a later date and run the wiring through the head lining. The HU does come with a labeled tulip plug for a camera tho, and I remember seeing an option for a reversing camera in the options.
Do a search for backup camera installation, there is an excellent thread on this forum showing exactly how to run the cable to avoid the curtain airbags, with diagrams and everything. Personally I bought one that has wireless transmitters so I shouldn't have to worry about that, just how to tap power for the transmitters. I'm getting anxious for next weekend to get here so I can dive into this!
 

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4. I already have the camera but I haven't installed it yet. I haven't figured out yet how I should run the wiring to the front of the car. I'll probably retrofit a dimming mirror with a tft screen for the camera at a later date and run the wiring through the head lining. The HU does come with a labeled tulip plug for a camera tho, and I remember seeing an option for a reversing camera in the options.
Hey thetrueman2, I'm planning to do this install on Monday and I'm planning out my connections. The only question I have is about connecting the backup camera. Did you end up connecting yours to the radio? Main thing I want to know is if I need to do something with the brown wire coming out of the radio labeled "back". I assume this would connect to a reverse signal from somewhere and tell the radio when to turn the screen to the backup camera input. However, most mirrors that I've seen sense the signal and turn it on when the signal is present, you don't need to connect any separate signal. I'm wondering if the radio has the same thing, that is, it will switch to the backup camera input when it senses a signal. If not I need to figure out how to get a reverse signal to it.

I bought a wireless camera so I won't be running a RCA cable from the camera to the radio. I just install the wireless transmitter and receiver, hopefully that's a lot easier.

Also, did your radio come with a manual? Mine didn't and I emailed and they said they don't have one. Can't believe there wouldn't be at least some minimal manual developed for this thing.

Thanks!
 

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I haven't connected my backup camera yet as of yet, as mentioned I'll probably connect it to the rear view mirror as my next project. My unit didn't include a manual either, probably a cost saving measure. For the price they should include one imo.

I believe the unit reacts to a signal that is active on the RCA connector unrelated to "Back" (not sure what this does), I guess it depends on what signal the wireless transmitter sends out if your setup will work. There is an option in the car settings to auto-detect a reverse camera. I suppose if you turn this off you can manually start a pre-installed app that will activate the camera. If the wireless receiver only transmits when the camera is on then it should work with the option turned on. Roadivox sells only wired backup cameras so the only way to find out is to try this out. I hope this will work out for you.

After about a month of use I'm close to giving up, even tho I'm rooting for this unit to work. Overall stability is so poor I need 3-4 minutes to set up the system every time I want to leave. If the audio quality wasn't better than stock I would have already reverted back.

Kinda holding out to see if your experience is any different. Please keep me/us posted!
 

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There is an option in the car settings to auto-detect a reverse camera.
Thank you, that is exactly what I needed to know! I think this will work then without worrying about a reverse signal, although I won't know for sure until I try it.

I'm really hoping my experience will be better overall given that my expectations are a lot less. Right now all i do with my stock radio is listen to USB stick on random and use the phone functions. My biggest desire is just to be able to see the artist and song I'm listening to in some kind of graphical way rather than that BS green LED strip. If this system can do that and then throw in the GPS and backup camera, I'll be more than happy. I appreciate your excellent information!
 

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Well after 5 hours working on the radio installation I'm going to call it quits for today. I have the unit installed and it powers up. So far I've tried the FM radio, USB music, GPS, and Bluetooth phone. They all work. However I have some issues:

1. First and foremost there are speaker issues. There is no sound coming from the right front speakers at all. The other 3 speakers work. I pulled the radio back out and ohm'd out the wiring harness and everything seems good there, so there must be an issue with the unit itself. A related but not as critical issue is that the rear speakers are swapped. That is, the input for the left rear speaker comes out of the right, and the right comes out of the left. Weird.

2. There is a minor fit issue where the radio makes the left stitched leather trim piece raised up slightly and that causes the trim piece above the radio (the one right below the AC controls) to not fully snap into place on the left side. I get all the clips locked in except the one on the left where the temperature vent is, so that one is now sticking out a bit. You can't really see it but I'll have to do something about that eventually.

Given the extra time that I spent trying to troubleshoot the speaker wiring issue I wasn't able to install the backup camera today, although I did tap and wire the receiver for it so when I'm ready all I have to do is the installation at the hatch.

All in all I would be extremely happy if I didn't have this quality issue. I've contacted the seller to see what he's willing to do. I'd like him to ship me another one, I swap them out, and then ship back the defective one if he's willing to do that. I learned a lesson today that Aliexpress only gives you 15 days after you receive the item to open a dispute, and I waited longer than that to do the install. So I might not be able to get any help from them. :-(

Of course I could always just put the OEM radio back in, but I tell you, the sound is so much better even with one speaker missing that I'm going to keep the new radio in the car for now. I had to completely re-tune my subwoofer because the signal is so much stronger and full sounding. With the OEM radio I had the sub gain on MAX, now I have it at only 25%!

I'll keep everyone up-to-date on how this ends up. Fingers crossed that the seller will do right and send out a replacement unit.
 

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@leonnar40: Any update regarding your unit? Is it covered under warranty? First impressions?

I noticed that my overall system stability increases by a lot if I have my hotspot on. A lot of input lag is introduced if the connection is dropped or when the car is (re)started. Not sure if this will be the case for everyone but I can recommend making this change.
 
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