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Old 07-17-2019, 05:07 PM   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2015
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Replacing the Magnadyne M4LCD radio on my 2015 Berk with an Sony XAV1000 & Connection

The Magnadyne M4LCD GPS radio started to behave erratically and often not at all. Instead of trying to debug the problem, I took this as an excuse to get rid of this low-quality unit and get something better. Here are the features that are important to me. I wanted to get Apple CarPlay.
• Access to Apple Maps, Waze Maps and Google Maps. I already have a Garmin 770RV GPS, but I often find myself in need of a second opinion, because it has a distressingly high error rate about the location of my campground, which has forced me to disconnect the car to execute a U-turn in too many cases.
⁃ The Active Lane Guidance feature of the Garmin is only set up for simple on- and off-ramps for major 4-lane freeways, such as Interstate highways. However, when the directions are complex, such as an off-ramp followed by a quick decision of which ramp to take after that, the Garmin simply doesn’t bother to give Guidance.
⁃ Moreover, the Garmin often gives verbal guidance too late to change a lane and take a ramp. I’m hoping that a second opinion from Apple maps will solve most of these problems.
⁃ The Garmin is rather klutzy about communicating with my iPhone. I had it working once, but I think that feature needed to be reset after I updated the Garmin software, which I do a couple of times per year.
⁃ The Garmin maps are useful about keeping me off roads with low bridges, but it often fails to find the optimal route. For example, until I updated the maps, it kept wanting to send me through downtown Montreal to get to Longueuil on the south shore. Quebec built a nice freeway that bypasses this and Garmin ignored it for some time. Even though it found the good route to Longueuil this year for me, it didn’t offer to reverse the route to get the optimal return trip!
⁃ The Garmin doesn’t require an Internet connection, which is handy in the mountains and in rural areas.
⁃ Apple Maps connects seamlessly with other RV apps that we use: Gas Buddy, Allstays and website locations provided by campground operators. I can also use the Satellite view to look at my destination, making sure that it really looks like a campground. That is a real comfort when I need to provide degrees of Latitude and Longitude for the location.
⁃ Apple Maps also connects seamlessly to my iPhone Calendar, where I store campsite locations, as well as my contact list.
⁃ I’ve seen many campgrounds that warned of bad location information from GPS units, recommending a smart phone instead. I assume they are talking about Garmins, but there are other units out there, too.
⁃ The Garmin is based on Nokia’s Navteq mapping system. Apple Maps are based on TomTom data. Waze uses Google maps. All of them are augmented with information from social media sources. But, getting Apple CarPlay gives me two more mapping systems to augment the Garmin Navteq maps.
• Access to music play lists on my or my navigator’s iPhone.
• The ability to hand off navigation and music responsibilities to my navigator, while still allowing for Siri to handle voice activation.

So, Apple Car Play is a must for me.

But, I wanted a couple of other important features:
• Tactile operation of important controls, rather than touch screen control.
• Tactile switch access to the 3 cameras that came with my Berk.

The first of these features comes with a radio that has a separate volume control. The Sony XAV1000 does and some other models don’t.

The second of these features is a lot trickier. Most of the aftermarket car radios only support one camera, and the cameras usually operate on a Composite Video connection using a simple RCA plug, rather than the complex 4- and 5-pin connectors used by the Magnadyne M4LCD. I suspect that most video stores that install radios and cameras would try to get you to switch to their cameras, probably over an unreliable wireless connection. Most of them wouldn’t bother to figure out the connectors in our Berks. If you do hire someone, I’ve got information in a post below that may help them find a better adaptor than I used.

So, that left me to find and install a suitable setup myself. In the next few posts, I’ll explain how I did the installation, hoping to save you some time if you decide to do this yourself. Of course, you might not want to do the whole installation that I did, but there are ideas here on what you can do if you don’t to do such a complex installation.

I had a huge time over-run in this project, and it is fortunate that I’m retired and can regard this project as entertaining. I find that I’m an Apprentice in most of the projects that I undertake these days. It keeps my brain active, but I only learn the proper procedure when I’ve finished the job!

Attached is a photo of the complete installation.
• On top, you can see the Garmin 770RV, which I hold from sliding forward with some wires that go back from the top hex screws holding the dash trim in place.
• Below that is the Sony unit, set for Apple CarPlay. Note the slot above, which holds my USB to Lightning cable (long enough to get to the Navigator seat). It also holds an iPhone, which I used to take the picture, so you can’t see it.
• To the left are three switches that let me select from my 3 cameras.

My next posts will go into the details.

–Gordon
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Gordon Sick, Calgary
2015 Berkshire 34QS
The Manual I wrote for our 34QS:
https://www.forestriverforums.com/fo...qs-191578.html
2005 Acura EL (aka Honda Civic)
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Old 07-17-2019, 05:08 PM   #2
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Finding a Suitable Radio and Why I Chose the Sony

When you are looking for an aftermarket radio for your vehicle, you want to search for “Double DIN” units. That is a unit that is twice as high as the old car radios, which you need for the LCD screen. At first, you might be relieved to see the DIN name, since it is a German standards institute, and you might think your life will be simplified by a standard size and electrical connections. In fact, the standards of Double DIN are only approximate. The Magnadyne M4 LCD unit is smaller than the nominal Double DIN size, but fortunately, the Sony is even smaller. I had to download the Sony manual to find the size and check this. It is at Crutchfield’s website: https://pdf.crutchfieldonline.com/Im...158XAV1000.PDF If Crutchfield doesn’t have it, you can find it on Sony’s website as well.

Since the Sony is smaller than the hole in our Berks, you need to find something to space it out to the hole size and to hold it in place. I’ll explain the details in a later post, but the most important part of my solution is that I wound up with a slot above the Sony unit that I lined with leather and use to hold my iPhone as well as the USB connection cables. That way, my iPhone is out of the way, but easy to access, and its GPS antenna is more or less open to the sky above.

The Sony is a low-priced unit in the Double DIN class, which is a surprise for the Sony brand name. Sony was able to keep the price down by dropping two features that I didn’t need: Android Auto support, and CD/DVD access.

The Sony only allows for one RCA connector for the camera input, but it does allow you to trigger the camera by applying 12 volts to a line that normally comes from the reverse lights in a vehicle. This allowed me to set up the Sony to operate with tactile switches. The Sony also allows you to use the touch screen to turn on the camera, but I found that this froze the Sony, given my setup, and I had to disconnect the power to the Sony to reset it.

Parasitic Power Draw
I had hoped that the Sony would have a lower parasitic power draw than the old Magnadyne. This is the power draw to keep the radio settings, even while the radio is turned off. Sadly, both of them draw about 0.15 amps when turned off. Given that a 30-day month has 720 hours, this is a draw of 108 Amp-hours per month, which is half the useable 220 Amp-hour capacity of our Berk Golf-cart batteries. That means you need to turn off the big switch in the battery bay, if you plan to store for more than a couple of weeks, unless you also have a solar charge or a connection to household power. There are other parasitic power draws in our rigs: I notice that the control valve on my propane tank is surprisingly warm.
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Gordon Sick, Calgary
2015 Berkshire 34QS
The Manual I wrote for our 34QS:
https://www.forestriverforums.com/fo...qs-191578.html
2005 Acura EL (aka Honda Civic)
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Old 07-17-2019, 05:10 PM   #3
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Physical Installation of Sony XAV1000

The Sony unit is smaller than the opening in the Berk for the Magnadyne, so I had to fill out the extra space with a filler trim plate. The first photo shows the trim plate that I made. Note the large part of the plate at the bottom. I glued it to a corresponding face on the Berk dashboard. There are two rivet holes that pulled the plate into place while I glued it.

The second photo shows the Sony unit with leather on top and an upper plate that I attached to the top. They combined to leave a box on top with the slot for the iPhone and cables, which are shown in the third photo.

There are two features to observe in the second photo. The first is that Sony didn’t install ventilation holes at the front of the top. They only start at the back, behind the leather. So, I didn’t block any ventilation. The second feature is common to the Double DIN units: the LCD screen extends below the chassis. It has a metal backing plate, which I attached to my trim plate with Velcro.

The fourth photo shows the back of the radio unit installation. The red and black wires are for other things. The gold connector is the video input and the radio antenna from the Magnadyne is plugged in below the video input. There is a plug with multicoloured wires on the other side. These colour coded wires are used to make the connections to power, ground, camera triggers, etc. The plug can be removed so that you can work more easily with the connections.

The third and fourth photos show that I used a metal cover to hold the leather on the top of my phone slot. This has the potential of shielding radio signals, which would hamper the Internet and GPS performance of my iPhone. I’ve tested the Internet Cell signal from the phone, and it seems to work well – the unit connects to Siri and quickly downloads map data. But, I haven’t tested whether it hurts the GPS signal, because I haven’t yet taken the unit for a drive. I use Apple CarPlay in our Honda CRV and the metal body of the car doesn’t hamper the GPS signal to give problems with maps, so this might not be a problem. If it is, I could fashion a fibreglass replacement, or I could just pull the iPhone out periodically to refresh the maps.

In the fourth photo you will also note the metal band that I fashioned to support the rear of the unit. It is supported by a screw that goes through the white velcro tab that holds the Berk dash cover in place.

I inserted the Sony unit in from the back at an angle. Then I rotated it down to engage the Velcro. After I engaged the Velcro, I connected the band. If I didn’t make the slot unit so tall, I could have installed the Sony from the front, as an alternative.

–Gordon
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Gordon Sick, Calgary
2015 Berkshire 34QS
The Manual I wrote for our 34QS:
https://www.forestriverforums.com/fo...qs-191578.html
2005 Acura EL (aka Honda Civic)
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Old 07-17-2019, 05:11 PM   #4
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Connecting 3 cameras to one input

I wanted tactile switches to turn the cameras on, and the Sony only has one camera input. If the cameras are all connected at the same time to the single input, there will be interference amongst the pictures. This may sound obvious, but the Magnadyne cameras are all powered, unlike most cameras, so I initially thought that I just had to switch the camera power off to prevent the video signal from interfering, but that didn’t work.

Also, I wanted to use the same 12 volt feed to power the cameras as I used for the trigger to turn the Sony unit to the video signal. So, I decided to isolate the power feeds with a diode for each camera. I did want to switch the power to the cameras, because I wanted to be able to switch the power off to avoid a parasitic power draw. (I could have connected the cameras to the switched power source of the Berk dash system, but I don’t know the current draw of the cameras, nor the fuse limit of the switched power source, so I took the safe route and used the constant 12 volt feed.) So I needed the diodes to prevent the power for one camera feeding back to the other cameras through the common trigger connection.

My solution used 3 DPST switches: Double Pole, Single Throw. A DPST switch turns two separate circuits on and off at the same time. One circuit is the video and the other circuit is the power.

Note that I only switched the centre pin of the RCA Composite video plugs. The other half of the video feed is chassis ground. The attached drawing shows my setup.

–Gordon
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Gordon Sick, Calgary
2015 Berkshire 34QS
The Manual I wrote for our 34QS:
https://www.forestriverforums.com/fo...qs-191578.html
2005 Acura EL (aka Honda Civic)
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Old 07-17-2019, 05:15 PM   #5
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Electrical wiring for the cameras

The final issue was to convert the wiring from the cameras to wiring for my installation. The Sony unit is set up for the common camera setup which is just one pair of wires for a camera that provides an NTSC Composite Video signal. This comes in the form of an RCA plug, where the centre pin is the signal and the outer ring is electrical ground.

But, that is not the way our Berkshire cameras are set up. They have either 4 or 5 pins, rather than 2. This left me with a choice:
• Scrap the Berkshire cameras and wire in some standard Composite video cameras. Rick Nola installed extra cameras in the arms that hold his mirrors in this way. But, he hooked them to some separate TV monitors above the windows. Something like this is feasible.
• Or, use the Berkshire cameras, but buy adapter cables to make them work.

The second solution seemed to be the cleanest to me, but it turned out to be far more complicated because there are no standards for how the 5-pin camera is to be hooked.

My Berk has 5-pin connectors (sometimes called aviation video connectors) under the dash for my cameras, so I got 5-pin adaptors from Rear View Safety https://www.rearviewsafety.com/safet...l-rca5-am.html That turned out to be a mistake because it didn’t have the same wiring setup as the Magnadyne cables. In retrospect, I probably would have been much better off with the Magnadyne harness Magnadyne HAR-RCA-C | RCA Cable Conversion Harness Adaptor or Magnadyne HAR-RCA-M | RCA Cable Conversion Harness Adaptor
The thing that pushed me to the Rear View Safety was their shipping to Canada, and I realize that that was a blunder.

Earlier, I had to replace the left-side mirrors in my Berk, so I salvaged the mirror camera and decided to use it. This camera has a 4-pin connector, so Berkshire is running a 4 to 5 pin adaptor somewhere before the wiring gets to the dashboard. I installed this camera above my left-rear tail light, since I could get inside the rear end cap to install it by removing the tail light. This camera gives me a long-distance view at the rear that complements the near distance view from the standard Berk camera. The standard camera only shows as far as the back of my Toad. The second camera shows a picture starting at the back of the Toad and will be ideal for helping me know when I have sufficient clearance to change lanes. I used an Ekylin 4 pin Male to RCA adaptor under the dash https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B0716CBJKL/...709270_TE_item I also used an Ekylin male to male connector to pull the power off the Ekylin cable https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07S1TQXL4/...709270_TE_item Finally I also ordered 15 meters of Aviation Video Extension cable from Ekylin. This is approximately 50 feet, but I only had 3 feet left over after installing it in my 34QS Berk. If you have a 38 foot or longer chassis, you’ll want the 65 foot cable. https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B072L3Y9TK/...709270_TE_item

These adaptors and cables worked fine for the 4-pin camera.

I won’t belabour the explanation of how I had to adapt the 5-pin Rear View Safety adaptor to my Berk cameras, because I now think that the best solution is probably to get the Magnadyne adaptor (and cross your fingers). But, what I found with the Rear View Safety is that they switched the power connectors with the video connectors, relative to the Magnadyne. The inner power pin is Ground for the video and the power. The outer power pin is the Video signal. The inner pin of the yellow RCA connector is for the +12v connection. It took me a while to figure this out, but a big help was the fact that I was able to look at the pinouts for the Berk rear-view camera, which is a MobileVision C120 from Magnadyne. The manual is at http://app.magnadyne.com/dashboard/a...ual_Manual.pdf

I’ve attached 4 photos below. The first shows the male 5-pin adaptor that I got from Rear View Safety, which caused me so much grief.

The second shows the camera that came out of the left side mirror, with its 4-pin female connector.

The third shows the same camera but which also shows the physical connection system. Two of the three rings are sloped, so that you can put one outside the body and other inside the body. By coordinating them, you have some control over where the camera is aimed. I used it to offset the curvature of the end cap above the tail light and to point the camera down.

The fourth picture is another view of the 4-pin camera and its sloped connectors. I have not been able to figure out who makes the camera, but it does show a 92° field of view.
–Gordon
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Gordon Sick, Calgary
2015 Berkshire 34QS
The Manual I wrote for our 34QS:
https://www.forestriverforums.com/fo...qs-191578.html
2005 Acura EL (aka Honda Civic)
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Old 07-17-2019, 05:16 PM   #6
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The view from the long-distance rear camera

Attached is a photo showing the view down my alley from the back of my Berk. You can see how this rear location of the camera gives a lot of information about the traffic directly behind as well as to the right and left. The nearest point of the view is the farthest point of the view from the backup camera that came with my Berk.

The second photo shows the camera installed just above my tail light.
–Gordon
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__________________
Gordon Sick, Calgary
2015 Berkshire 34QS
The Manual I wrote for our 34QS:
https://www.forestriverforums.com/fo...qs-191578.html
2005 Acura EL (aka Honda Civic)
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Old 08-07-2019, 05:02 PM   #7
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iPhone GPS works fine in my metal slot

I had a chance to test the iPhone CarPlay GPS of my Sony system on a recent trip, so here is an update. (Earlier in this thread, I had expressed some concern that I was putting my iPhone into a leather-lined slot above the Sony radio, and this slot was covered by metal, which could affect radio signals. I did note that it worked fine on cell signals, but I didn't have a chance to test the GPS signal.)

The bottom line is that the GPS works well, also.

I started my trip in cell phone range and selected a trip to the mountains where I knew I would lose cell phone coverage. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Siri continued to give verbal instructions even when I lost cell phone coverage. It seems likely that the iPhone caches the maps and verbal instructions in case it loses cell coverage. Kudos to Apple.

For my return trip, I started out of cell coverage with a different iPhone that didn't know about my trip out. It gave me a generic map of a route home that covered an area about 200 km wide. Once it got into cell coverage, it calculated trip time.

I was running the Apple Maps and the Garmin maps simultaneously. The Apple Maps seemed to give me directions slightly earlier than the Garmin. Perhaps the Apple Maps will avoid Garmin's tendency to give some directions too late to change lanes and turn.

–Gordon
__________________
Gordon Sick, Calgary
2015 Berkshire 34QS
The Manual I wrote for our 34QS:
https://www.forestriverforums.com/fo...qs-191578.html
2005 Acura EL (aka Honda Civic)
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Old 08-07-2019, 05:09 PM   #8
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Parasitic power update: My Constant +12V was on the Chassis Batteries

Earlier in this thread, I posted a note about the parasitic power draw of 150 mA from the "Constant +12V" input to the radio. This input keeps the clock and station selections alive. In my note, I suggested that this would use about half the useable power from the House Batteries in one month, which is a pretty heavy draw.

While testing things out more carefully on my trip, I learned that the constant +12V input under my dash, as wired by Berkshire, was power from my Chassis Batteries, not the House Batteries. This draw is enough to kill those batteries in 2 or 3 weeks. So, be careful to disconnect the big power knob on your House Battery Bay if you are going to leave your coach off of any charge system for more than a week.

Soon, I will re-wire this so that my constant +12V source is from the House Batteries.

–Gordon
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Gordon Sick, Calgary
2015 Berkshire 34QS
The Manual I wrote for our 34QS:
https://www.forestriverforums.com/fo...qs-191578.html
2005 Acura EL (aka Honda Civic)
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