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Install Android Screen in Mercedes CLS C218

Original Screen on the CLS 2011-2014
Original Screen on the 2014 CLS

So there's been things I've needed to do, and I haven't done for too long.  There is a specific category that is at or near the bottom of the list on my life to do, but  high in terms of what I should post or write about.  I think perhaps every car guy knows what I am talking about, that point where the house could be on fire and you wonder if you should change something on the car.

I know I need to do a video about USB Sound

This aftermarket android screen install is just one of videos I needed to do.  Prior to upgrading the android screen I mulled the decision for a while. The three phases of my decision was awareness but uncertainty in terms of keeping a stock look, research into previous experiences on forums and FB, and finally the install.

IWC Clock Upgrade for Mercedes-Benz to AMG
Aftermarket Android Screen in CLS

The first year I ran my new to me with less than 5k miles on the odo 2014 MB CLS 550 completely stock.  And loved it. Coming from a Range Rover it was nice to have the leather (or MBUX?) on the dash and most surfaces, like an Autobiography.  There were terrible rattles over rough road or with music loud.  I felt the power delivery could be weird.

EuroMotorcars Bethesda did hook up a map update which was really useful in terms of actually finding things.  I love Aki and the used manager over there.

But... I did miss CarPlay. There was a way to hook in car play into the factory screen, but that screen wasn't really worth writing about too much.  Although the way it was integrated means the aftermarket screen could be install salubriously.  Talking to Aki about the mods on my car thinking about stepping up to a 2018 CLS 63s, he didn't even catch it wasn't OEM.

Android 10 Split Screen Capability Waze and Youtube

Actually installing the screen

Ok so on the Facebook group there were some great informational write-ups about installing the units.  I'll see if it is ok to post some of the downloaded ones I have here.

In summary though the screen works by piggybacking the existing unit and interfacing with it by capturing the video, and outputting audio to the Aux in port on the COMMAND unit.

Step by Step

  • Remove dash*
  • Remove OEM brackets
  • Remove OEM screen
  • Loosen lower COMMAND unit
  • Unplug some wires
    • Carefully unhook the fiberoptic in/out connector and plug it into the screen provided connector
    • Plug the existing unit plug into the female end of the screen provided connector
  • Route Aux and USB Wires Down
    • USBs toward footwell or mid section
    • AUX toward mid section in CLS but some models have the AUX in near the glovebox
  • GPS and Cell antenna toward a pillar wings adjacent to glove box
  • Run aftermarket (not included) 3.5mm mic to screen exit (can mount on back of screen or steering wheel for optimal pickup to USB area
  • Test function with audio set to aux if it works proceed
  • Remount COMMAND unit
  • Mount aftermarket bracket
  • Remount dashboard piece
  • Remount side piece
  • Hook in USB Carlinkit adapter
    • Take note of linked page to find the app to download for the Screen
  • Hook in USB Soundcard
  • Hook 3.5MM mic into the mic input and hook a male to male (or as needed) 6-10 foot 3.5mm cord from USB sound card aux out to the AUX in of the MB (remove the screen's provided 3.5mm)
  • Test the sound.
  • Begin to remove center mid console pieces
  • Loosen cup holder
  • Remove the console opener
  • Remove console lock trim piece
  • Unscrew several torx screws
  • Pry up surround near center console buttons unhook electronic connectors
  • Remove ~ 4 torx lift up the center COMMAND wheel but do not remove or put much stress on it
  • remove trim by lifting upward from forward trim two tabs left and right then pull up and forward on rear
  • Route the 3.5mm to the AUX port (from MMI connector)
  • Join facebook and discord group
  • Remove volume limiter (android will pick up the usb card but resets it each time)
    • With some code from github (sections of the below code are copied or edited from the previous link)
    • More to come
      • In general set up ADB
        • Some info here
        • and more from google here
      • Connect the device with ADB to the same WIFI as the powered on android screen
      • pull the build.prop
        • adb connect SCREEN_IP_ADDRESS:5555 
          adb root
          adb disable-verity
          adb reboot
          adb connect SCREEN_IP_ADDRESS:5555
          adb root
          adb remount
          adb pull /system/build.prop
      • edit the build prop by inserting  the  following  code
        • # Safe Media Bypass for External USB Sound Cards
      • push the build.prop back
        • adb push build.prop /storage/emulated/0/
          adb shell
          mv /storage/emulated/0/build.prop /system/build.prop
          chmod 644 /system/build.prop
  • Note the position for the AUX in on the COMMAND screen and configure that into the AUX position

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