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Thread: RNSE Alternative

  1. #1
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    RNSE Alternative

    Has anyone tried out the RNS-E alternative Chinese Android radios? I am tempted to add something like this (there are a ton of sellers of these out there). It has OEM look except for the color (which I am not sure I am ok with). After some reading it seems like the BOSE system is a bit proprietary so I will need some converters. The goal is to get carplay in the RS6.

    https://www.seicane.com/android-1997...d2-dab-s32577g or something like it.


    2003 Daytona/Silver RS6

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    I installed a Chinese unit a couple of weeks ago when my RNS-E quit in several different ways. It's ok for what it cost, although as with anything Android there's a fair amount of tinkering and no third-party app ever seems to work perfectly. I got mine fromTop Navi on e-bay. They're great at getting you the correct unit (in my case, with Bose and the required antenna amplifier to support the sharkfin), the language barrier gets in the way of sorting installation and usage questions. I ended up reasoning things out without their help. There is a Setting option for Carplay, although I haven't tried it. I fully intend to go back to a Gen 2 or 3 RNS-E at some point.

    The text of a review I wrote for XDA-Developers.com at https://forum.xda-developers.com/and...rief-t3897268: "Quick review of the subject unit, which is an Android 8.0 Octa Core Car DVD GPS Player For Audi A6 1997–2004 Radio Navigation
    unit. It is the one found on dvdplayer.c0m.cn although updated.

    Not too many choices for the C5 Audi A6 (1998 -- 2004 in the US), so went with this one since it looks fairly like the RNS-E I had in there previously. It's a bit too deep black, not too noticeable except when directly lit by sunlight. I bought mine through Top Navi off of eBay, quick shipping and good communication. They asked for confirmation photo of dashboard and a description of installed equipment (existing navigation, with or without Bose). Unit came set up with Bose-level outputs (between line-out and fully amplified, from what I understand) and signal to power on the amp. Also came with an antenna amplifier, which is apparently required if the vehicle has a shark-fin antenna (Maybe all VWs? Don't know for sure.)

    Initially my car battery was being drained overnight, which was just a bit annoying. On the Pumpkin forum, Pumpkin recommended cutting the yellow wire (always hot) to the CAN gateway, which worked. Apparently some interaction between the gateway and the vehicle CAN system prevents the car's CAN system from shutting down.

    I wanted the head unit to operate as much like the stock unit as possible, such as shutting down only when opening the door (key off). I found the wires running from the car's Comfort and Convenience unit to the driver's side window control panel and spliced the head unit's Aux power feed to that, rather than key-on Aux power. Radio shuts down now (soft shutdown) when the door is opened, rather then when turning off the key. (The wires are red w/ gray stripe, red connector under the footwell side cover.) I have no steering wheel buttons (It's an RS6, so no buttons), so haven't done anything else with CAN or KEY wires so far, but intend to add hard buttons for radio station change at some point -- can't stand touch screen for that type of thing.

    The launcher is pretty ugly, and there doesn't seem to be a way to change the Music button to launch A2DP, which I would much prefer. The unit uses an ST 7851 amplifier, and sounds every bit as good as the RNS-E (well, it's feeding the Bose amp, so no reason why it wouldn't.) Radio reception is good, no worse than the RNS-E. The screen is most often bright enough in daylight, but is low-contrast and can get washed out. the buttons feel solid. The IGO nav kept looking to the SD to finish installing, although the seller swears that it should be looking at internal storage. I deleted IGO for now, will re-download and start from scratch at some point. The internal mic works well enough, as in I'm intelligible, although apparently I sound like I'm in a small, echoe-y room. I'll hard-wire an external mic at some point.

    Overall, it's a pretty good unit for the money, if a bit unpolished."
    RS6 - Mugello Blue/Silver, still on DRC and hope to keep it that way... Added RNS-E
    '73 Jensen Healey, Lotus 907-Powered

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    Wow, that is a great write up. Thanks for taking the time to respond and being detailed. I don't know why I didn't think to check XDA-Developers. I wonder if these can be rooted and modified. It seems like polishing up the unit would make for a great update to some of the older cars that don't have modern features but still are awesome under the hood.
    2003 Daytona/Silver RS6

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    Registered User hahnmgh63's Avatar
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    I have the newer version RNS-E and it isn't night and day better than the older unit but it is a little faster and you can use the larger SD cars plus traffic. With that I have the OEM Bluetooth wired in and people say the phone calls sound good. It is not the most modern, I haven't wired in streaming and you can't Bluetooth streaming with the factory Bluetooth. But it is an older car that I don't use as a daily drive but I do think the RNS-E is one of the best Nav units. I live where Cell reception is marginal so streaming Nav doesn't work for me most of the time so I will for the foreseeable future need a standalone Nav.
    With that said in my Cayenne I installed the latest Pioneer Avic and I do like it, especially Apple Carplay w/Siri (Sorry Rian I'm still on Apple ). I mostly stream from my Iphone music and never really use the HD radio, but voice command through Siri is a definite plus. I have used Waze and Google maps in the City but the unit has new maps w/live Traffic so their isn't much of a benefit to me.
    I'll keep the RS6 more old school, OEM leaning but still better than the old radio we got here in N. America.
    2003 White RS6 BBS RS-GT, RNS-E, KW V3's & Hotchkis
    2001 225bhp tt roadster 2x944 Turbo's 1974 911 w/'91 3.6ltr motor
    Roy, WA

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chung View Post
    Wow, that is a great write up. Thanks for taking the time to respond and being detailed. I don't know why I didn't think to check XDA-Developers. I wonder if these can be rooted and modified. It seems like polishing up the unit would make for a great update to some of the older cars that don't have modern features but still are awesome under the hood.
    You’re most welcome, glad to be of use for once

    The one I ave can indeed be rooted, as can some of the other architectures — they tend to be made my a few manufacturers and branded by many. There are alternative ROMs available. They’ve come a long way in the last year in terms of quality and responsiveness. You will lose the DIS, I should add.
    RS6 - Mugello Blue/Silver, still on DRC and hope to keep it that way... Added RNS-E
    '73 Jensen Healey, Lotus 907-Powered

  6. #6
    Registered User Blau_RS2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by B727 View Post
    You’re most welcome, glad to be of use for once

    The one I ave can indeed be rooted, as can some of the other architectures — they tend to be made my a few manufacturers and branded by many. There are alternative ROMs available. They’ve come a long way in the last year in terms of quality and responsiveness. You will lose the DIS, I should add.
    Do you have any plans for the old RNS-E? I picked up a RNS-E unit from a TT and obviously the face plate is different. I've been looking for an A6 style faceplate but I'm not having much luck. If your's is scrap now I'd be interested in the surround.
    2004 RS6 Avant
    1994 RS2 Avant
    2008 S4 Avant

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    I'm going to hang onto it for exactly that reason since they're so hard to find these days. Sorry!
    RS6 - Mugello Blue/Silver, still on DRC and hope to keep it that way... Added RNS-E
    '73 Jensen Healey, Lotus 907-Powered

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by hahnmgh63 View Post
    I have the newer version RNS-E and it isn't night and day better than the older unit but it is a little faster and you can use the larger SD cars plus traffic. With that I have the OEM Bluetooth wired in and people say the phone calls sound good. It is not the most modern, I haven't wired in streaming and you can't Bluetooth streaming with the factory Bluetooth. But it is an older car that I don't use as a daily drive but I do think the RNS-E is one of the best Nav units. I live where Cell reception is marginal so streaming Nav doesn't work for me most of the time so I will for the foreseeable future need a standalone Nav.
    With that said in my Cayenne I installed the latest Pioneer Avic and I do like it, especially Apple Carplay w/Siri (Sorry Rian I'm still on Apple ). I mostly stream from my Iphone music and never really use the HD radio, but voice command through Siri is a definite plus. I have used Waze and Google maps in the City but the unit has new maps w/live Traffic so their isn't much of a benefit to me.
    I'll keep the RS6 more old school, OEM leaning but still better than the old radio we got here in N. America.
    Don't worry I switched to the Apple dark side I am thinking car play would be nice. Do you use the Onstar Mic? I found that one left a little to be desired with the CoStar unit I have.
    2003 Daytona/Silver RS6

  9. #9
    Registered User hahnmgh63's Avatar
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    I'm using the OEM Onstar mike and it seems to work good. I did put a new OEM one in as I ordered one when I did the OEM Bluetooth kit not knowing that the car already had one. I just put the new one in thinking that the old one was already 9yrs old at the time.
    2003 White RS6 BBS RS-GT, RNS-E, KW V3's & Hotchkis
    2001 225bhp tt roadster 2x944 Turbo's 1974 911 w/'91 3.6ltr motor
    Roy, WA

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