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      06-01-2018, 02:55 AM   #1
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Xtrons headunit - rubbish DAB! What to do?

Hi guys,

A few months ago, I installed a BMW specific Xtrons Android headunit and everything works really well except for the DAB+ radio signal. It is crap!! It came with an internal glass mounted aerial which I know aren't the best.

Ideally, one would simply install a much better aerial on the roof but I don't want an extra aerial. Currently, there is an OEM sharks fin aerial already up there. I purchased a convertor (Fakra to SMB) to try and connect the OEM aerial cable to the headunit but this only picked up a small number of DAB stations.

Can the current OEM aerial be adapted somehow to connect to the aftermarket headunit to give a good DAB signal? Or what are my other options as opposed to putting another aerial up?

EDIT: Just remembered, when I had a look, the current shark fin aerial has a pink fakra connector which indicates this is only for telephone signal...so is the actual radio aerial the diversity module?

Last edited by blueh88; 06-01-2018 at 03:23 AM.
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      06-01-2018, 08:41 AM   #2
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yes, III-band antenna provide via diversity module
shark fin antenna may contain L-band antenna but there is no broadcast on that band in DAB now
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      06-01-2018, 11:05 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by ptpending View Post
yes, III-band antenna provide via diversity module
shark fin antenna may contain L-band antenna but there is no broadcast on that band in DAB now
Okay so if I update the sharkfin to one with dab capability, that should work right?
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      06-02-2018, 12:59 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by blueh88 View Post
Okay so if I update the sharkfin to one with dab capability, that should work right?
you need III-band antenna, not L-band antenna if you really want to listen dab
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      06-02-2018, 05:34 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by ptpending View Post
you need III-band antenna, not L-band antenna if you really want to listen dab
Thank you. So it is a case of simply swapping out my current antenna for the III band one that's it?? Nothing else?
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      06-03-2018, 02:16 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by blueh88 View Post
Thank you. So it is a case of simply swapping out my current antenna for the III band one that's it?? Nothing else?
yes
but you'll be surprised by price of the new diversity module
many people instead buy aftermarket antenna which is glued inside to rear or side window

that's why all used diversity modules are sold quickly on that forum
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      06-03-2018, 05:29 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ptpending View Post
yes
but you'll be surprised by price of the new diversity module
many people instead buy aftermarket antenna which is glued inside to rear or side window

that's why all used diversity modules are sold quickly on that forum
Just had a look and blimey. Could only find one but the price is astronomical compared to a standard! Forget that...think I'll do an aftermarket antenna then...

Appreciate you're help pal.
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      06-06-2018, 05:36 AM   #8
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I'm also going about this task. So in my previous ratty Mazda, I installed a special converter for the aerial. The DAB reception was perfect and it was completely invisible. The problem is, that converter was designed for non-amplified aerials. So useless for this car.

I've ordered a part from Germany that claims to work with an amplified antenna. 26 delivered. I will let you know how I get on with it. The problem is, my FM and AM signals are currently a bit ropey on the OEM radio, so there could be an actual problem with the wiring or diversity antenna themselves which aren't going to lend a hand to the performance.

Forget about those stick on antennas. They're junk. blueh, I'm quite local to you, so if I find something that works in my 318i, I'll happily pop over and demo it.
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      06-06-2018, 07:21 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeamerNub View Post
I'm also going about this task. So in my previous ratty Mazda, I installed a special converter for the aerial. The DAB reception was perfect and it was completely invisible. The problem is, that converter was designed for non-amplified aerials. So useless for this car.

I've ordered a part from Germany that claims to work with an amplified antenna. 26 delivered. I will let you know how I get on with it. The problem is, my FM and AM signals are currently a bit ropey on the OEM radio, so there could be an actual problem with the wiring or diversity antenna themselves which aren't going to lend a hand to the performance.

Forget about those stick on antennas. They're junk. blueh, I'm quite local to you, so if I find something that works in my 318i, I'll happily pop over and demo it.
Ah okay nice one. Yeah same; my FM/AM signals aren't the best either. Read it is a bit of a common problem tbh...

Well currently I am contemplating this:
http://www.dabonwheels.co.uk/Kinetic...ar_aerial.html

It has a 5 star rating and can mount it on the passenger side of the windscreen half way up so it doesn't foul the wipers. With it raked back it won't look to obvious...
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      06-06-2018, 08:43 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blueh88 View Post
Ah okay nice one. Yeah same; my FM/AM signals aren't the best either. Read it is a bit of a common problem tbh...

Well currently I am contemplating this:
http://www.dabonwheels.co.uk/Kinetic...ar_aerial.html

It has a 5 star rating and can mount it on the passenger side of the windscreen half way up so it doesn't foul the wipers. With it raked back it won't look to obvious...
Wouldn't look too bad. I'll let you know how I get on with the one I've ordered from Germany. The one I had in the Mazda was the Kinetic splitter job and it worked a treat, but it says in big letters not to be used with amplified aerials. Wonder if wiring it in will fix my crap signal Maybe it's the FM amplifier that is broken
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      06-06-2018, 09:28 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeamerNub View Post
Wouldn't look too bad. I'll let you know how I get on with the one I've ordered from Germany. The one I had in the Mazda was the Kinetic splitter job and it worked a treat, but it says in big letters not to be used with amplified aerials. Wonder if wiring it in will fix my crap signal Maybe it's the FM amplifier that is broken
Great look forward to it. Yeah seen loads of splitters etc. that say not to use with amplified aerials..lol only one way to find out!
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      06-06-2018, 09:57 AM   #12
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Absolutely. I'll experiment with both. What part of Manchester are you from or are you from Cite Central? I work in Wilmslow and live in Cheshire, so like I said fairly local. Which Xtrons unit have you installed, mine is the PB7890BP.... which is working fine except the FM signal is dross (as it was on the OEM radio) and Canbus integration seems a bit hit and miss at the moment. If I stop the car and leave it for 5 minutes, I come back and the Canbus integration is dead (so no SWC, temperature, or PDC radar) until I return for an hour. Apparently it's BM's fault or something because the CANBus won't reactivate, but it sounds more like Xtrons fault to me, so I'm trying get an answer out of them!!!

Did you connect up the yellow wire to the battery/fuse? I'm not entirely sure whether that wire is necessary. I very much doubt it's causing my issues with CANBus having it disconnected (although maybe???), but so far, all I've been able to find is that wire is for the Radio presets. However, you can set them to write to NAND after every power down, then that wire simply powers the clock...... which is updated from your GPS antenna anyway??? So romeo pointless. Getting an answer out of Xtrons though lol...... It's been fun so far
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      06-06-2018, 03:16 PM   #13
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Let me know if you've got issues with canbus, think I've just found a fix
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      06-07-2018, 03:55 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeamerNub View Post
Absolutely. I'll experiment with both. What part of Manchester are you from or are you from Cite Central? I work in Wilmslow and live in Cheshire, so like I said fairly local. Which Xtrons unit have you installed, mine is the PB7890BP.... which is working fine except the FM signal is dross (as it was on the OEM radio) and Canbus integration seems a bit hit and miss at the moment. If I stop the car and leave it for 5 minutes, I come back and the Canbus integration is dead (so no SWC, temperature, or PDC radar) until I return for an hour. Apparently it's BM's fault or something because the CANBus won't reactivate, but it sounds more like Xtrons fault to me, so I'm trying get an answer out of them!!!

Did you connect up the yellow wire to the battery/fuse? I'm not entirely sure whether that wire is necessary. I very much doubt it's causing my issues with CANBus having it disconnected (although maybe???), but so far, all I've been able to find is that wire is for the Radio presets. However, you can set them to write to NAND after every power down, then that wire simply powers the clock...... which is updated from your GPS antenna anyway??? So romeo pointless. Getting an answer out of Xtrons though lol...... It's been fun so far
Yeah fairly close to city centre.
I have the PE9890bpl system. Think it's their latest one. No issues with canbus for me, everything has been working perfect. Just the radio! Make sure your canbus connection is nice and tight, as mine wasn't when I first installed and it crashed. Checked the connection and never had an issue since. Yes, I connected yellow wire to the battery with an inline fuse. Yeah mine is set so that on each boot, the time updates with GPS but think you still need this wire for the radio presets and stuff.

Oh yeah I know how you feel about Xtrons communication..it is terrible!!
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      06-07-2018, 07:15 AM   #15
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Ahh, you've got the same unit as mine except mine has the DVD drive and yours has the bigger screen but I think they're running the exact same MCU and Software tbh, just the panel that's different and that's handled by the MCU anyway. I updated mine last night as per instructions from Xtrons. I've not observed any difference though.

I'm going to experiment with the yellow wire tonight. I will run it through the cabin to the battery as an experiment and stick an in-line fuse in there for good measure. My original plan was to run it to a fuse and tap one, but having Googled permanent live fuse E90, it's a minefield. If I can work out central locking I could use that I suppose?

The jury's out on the the yellow wire for me, because unless it has an impact on the way the unit plays with canbus, then it might be pretty much redundant other than for 'quick boot'. When shipped from the factory, the unit is setup to store the presets in the RAM memory, but in factory settings (126 to enter) you can actually set it to write all of your presets (and clock) to NAND. This means you lose absolutely nothing, except the clock which will read the previous time when you left the vehicle, but via GPS the clock updates within about 5-10 seconds of the unit booting and from cold it only takes about 20 seconds, so the impact is minimal.

I will experiment tonight, if the yellow wire fixes the canbus issues, then it needs to be wired in. I've found a hack to make the canbus stuff work, but it's just that.... a hack. Other than that, my initial impressions of the unit are very positive. The reversing sensors visualisation thing is awesome, although it sometimes doesn't clear until it detects a new obstacle which is annoying. I'm tempted now to fit a reversing camera in the boot handle Then it's the full package really.
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      06-07-2018, 09:00 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeamerNub View Post
Ahh, you've got the same unit as mine except mine has the DVD drive and yours has the bigger screen but I think they're running the exact same MCU and Software tbh, just the panel that's different and that's handled by the MCU anyway. I updated mine last night as per instructions from Xtrons. I've not observed any difference though.

I'm going to experiment with the yellow wire tonight. I will run it through the cabin to the battery as an experiment and stick an in-line fuse in there for good measure. My original plan was to run it to a fuse and tap one, but having Googled permanent live fuse E90, it's a minefield. If I can work out central locking I could use that I suppose?

The jury's out on the the yellow wire for me, because unless it has an impact on the way the unit plays with canbus, then it might be pretty much redundant other than for 'quick boot'. When shipped from the factory, the unit is setup to store the presets in the RAM memory, but in factory settings (126 to enter) you can actually set it to write all of your presets (and clock) to NAND. This means you lose absolutely nothing, except the clock which will read the previous time when you left the vehicle, but via GPS the clock updates within about 5-10 seconds of the unit booting and from cold it only takes about 20 seconds, so the impact is minimal.

I will experiment tonight, if the yellow wire fixes the canbus issues, then it needs to be wired in. I've found a hack to make the canbus stuff work, but it's just that.... a hack. Other than that, my initial impressions of the unit are very positive. The reversing sensors visualisation thing is awesome, although it sometimes doesn't clear until it detects a new obstacle which is annoying. I'm tempted now to fit a reversing camera in the boot handle Then it's the full package really.
I've updated it to the Malaysk ROM if you have heard of it. Someone has created a custom ROM and it is pretty decent actually. Some of the look isn't "professional" but the main thing for me was to get it rooted so I can customise it as much as I want.

Ahh I've never gone into factory settings. Need to have a snoop in there. That is really interesting.

I have a reversing camera and it is a huuuuge help. The only thing I don't like is the reversing beeps - they are too high pitched! And also the ringtone when the phone rings is abit abrupt. Do you know of any way to change these at all??
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      06-07-2018, 09:26 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blueh88 View Post
I've updated it to the Malaysk ROM if you have heard of it. Someone has created a custom ROM and it is pretty decent actually. Some of the look isn't "professional" but the main thing for me was to get it rooted so I can customise it as much as I want.

Ahh I've never gone into factory settings. Need to have a snoop in there. That is really interesting.

I have a reversing camera and it is a huuuuge help. The only thing I don't like is the reversing beeps - they are too high pitched! And also the ringtone when the phone rings is abit abrupt. Do you know of any way to change these at all??
I've heard of Malaysk. Is it significantly better than the Xtrons one? When I asked on the XDA thread, nobody seemed that convinced I'm mucking around with various dash launchers currently. One thing I do know, the sound quality IS better than the Professional head unit the car came with. So that myth is debunked right away.

The stuff in factory settings is thing like boot logos, canbus adjustment (nothing actually useful though), volumes of various parts the MCU control etc, although if yours has a permanent live you probably never see the boot logo. Worth having a look around. Other than it's only the stuff I mentioned. Oh and you can tweak your panel keys, but not your steering wheel keys..... and the wheelkey app won't work with our cars according to Xtrons because the canbus adapter handles it all, something which i'll admit is frustrating.

How did you install your reversing camera or is it OEM? I'm looking at a boot handle one, they're only 12. I'll experiment to see whether you can have both the radar and the camera on screen at the same time. If so, I'll get it ordered and fitted sometime in the next week.

Totally feel you on the beeps. I remember the BMW OEM, they were quiet and got louder as you got closer. These are loud right from the start and are kind of nasal. Do they operate exactly the same as the original BMW ones though? Like do they react the same? It's one of those things that kind of 'needs' to work Can't be having any software glitches.

Not a clue on the ringtone, but I would suspect it's changeable. I've not tried though, truth be told. I will be experimenting though.
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      06-07-2018, 09:43 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeamerNub View Post
I've heard of Malaysk. Is it significantly better than the Xtrons one? When I asked on the XDA thread, nobody seemed that convinced I'm mucking around with various dash launchers currently. One thing I do know, the sound quality IS better than the Professional head unit the car came with. So that myth is debunked right away.

The stuff in factory settings is thing like boot logos, canbus adjustment (nothing actually useful though), volumes of various parts the MCU control etc, although if yours has a permanent live you probably never see the boot logo. Worth having a look around. Other than it's only the stuff I mentioned. Oh and you can tweak your panel keys, but not your steering wheel keys..... and the wheelkey app won't work with our cars according to Xtrons because the canbus adapter handles it all, something which i'll admit is frustrating.

How did you install your reversing camera or is it OEM? I'm looking at a boot handle one, they're only 12. I'll experiment to see whether you can have both the radar and the camera on screen at the same time. If so, I'll get it ordered and fitted sometime in the next week.

Totally feel you on the beeps. I remember the BMW OEM, they were quiet and got louder as you got closer. These are loud right from the start and are kind of nasal. Do they operate exactly the same as the original BMW ones though? Like do they react the same? It's one of those things that kind of 'needs' to work Can't be having any software glitches.

Not a clue on the ringtone, but I would suspect it's changeable. I've not tried though, truth be told. I will be experimenting though.
No, it isn't significantly better. Just a few more customisation mods really. Oh yeah sound quality is good.

It was already installed by previous owner but it looks fairly simple to do. It is the bootlid handle one you talk about and it simply runs from the boot to the headunit and plugs in with the AV cables. That's it.

The beeps do the job exactly the same but don't change in volume or anything.
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      06-07-2018, 10:42 AM   #19
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Interesting, so do you get the parking radar as well as the camera? I currently get the parking radar (so the little segments behind a vehicle) and a big exclamation because I have no camera.

If you have both, I'll go ahead and order a camera today, because I want both, not just one No point in compromising when both features should be available.
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      06-07-2018, 02:09 PM   #20
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OK, so i had a look at the diversity antenna about 15 minutes ago. Looks absolutely spotless, but then how would we know if it had failed? Anyway, I sprayed the connections on the power plug and fakra connector with contact cleaner. Has made no difference at all.

The part number stamped is 213675. eBay is full of second hand ones..... might just order one. If there's no difference, then I can rule that out. At which point though, we're down to damaged windscreen or a break in a connection somewhere else.

Do we know if there are any connectors say in the A pillar or C pillar or something that might have come loose?
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      06-09-2018, 12:10 PM   #21
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So the adapter from Germany came. Unfortunately, not only did it not improve AM/FM reception, it wouldn't work with the USB dongle. I think there's a short. Every time I plug the antenna cable into the dongle, it immediately dies. So that will need to go back.

I have my other splitter from the mazda and have ordered a couple of adapters. Let's see if we can make that work. If not, I'm giving up
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      06-11-2018, 03:25 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeamerNub View Post
Interesting, so do you get the parking radar as well as the camera? I currently get the parking radar (so the little segments behind a vehicle) and a big exclamation because I have no camera.

If you have both, I'll go ahead and order a camera today, because I want both, not just one No point in compromising when both features should be available.
Yep you get both camera and the radar.
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