How To: Upgrade Head Unit (Kenwood eXcelon DNX6960)

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Audio and Electronics' started by usbseawolf2000, Feb 22, 2010.

  1. usbseawolf2000

    usbseawolf2000 HSD PhD

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    I just finished my first draft of the guide. I will be updating it so please ask questions or add suggestion.

    I hope this will help those looking to upgrade the head unit of 2006 to 2009 model non-JBL without factory Navigation.

    Navigation

    The built-in Garmin navigation is awesome in this unit. The screen refresh is silky smooth, unlike the Nuvi 250W portable unit (3 years old) I also have. I think it has compass also because if I go in reverse, the screen rotates 180 deg. The cursor always point to the right direction. GPS is VERY accurate. It can tell me exact position when I am in parking lots. This allows the navigation to tell if I am in the service road or the interstate highway. It is a fine automotive grade navigation.

    Route calculation speed is about the same as the Nuvi 250W. I have not time it yet. However, finding point of interest is much faster, probably due to less POIs (6 millions). I rather have most updated 6 millions than the 12 millions containing old junk out of date POIs.

    The navigation shows speed limit and if I go over the limit, the current MPH turns red. It also has the EcoRoute feature as the Garmin software version is 4.2 (their latest?). DNX6140 had 2.6 (I believe) which was older than my Nuvi 250W.

    I get the GPS Satellite position as soon as it is booted and I press the "I agree" button. The unit boot up in 23 seconds regardless of defaulting into main menu or Garmin (need to confirm). It is slower than DNX6140 which took 10 secs if you boot into the main menu and 15 secs directly into Garmin.

    Head Unit

    The sound of the eXcelon stereo unit brought my Infinity speakers ALIVE! Wow, stock head unit is crap. The screen is awesome with 800x480 resolution, the same as MFD. It has 6.1" LCD screen, slightly smaller than MFD, to make space for DVD slot, volume control and real buttons. I like how I can just insert the disc without waiting for the screen to slide down. I also like the volume knot that I can touch. I can also press/push it in to tone it down as a background sound (very low volume). This comes handy when you want to make conversation with the passenger. If you press it again, the volume gradually return back to previous setting. I love that touch!

    I want to point out that DNX6960 comes with 3 different skins. In the screenshots below you'll see with different skins. The unit looks totally different. I like the fire one as it warms up my wood trim. There is also metal skin that will match well with the stock silver trim interior. The third skin is the same as last year's flagship model (DNX9140), black and blue.

    The optical drive is also fast as well. I insert the CD with mp3s on it. The song starts to play very quickly and the ID tags shows up right away. The screen to display a list of songs browse instantly. The stock unit takes forever to read each song name; I hated that.

    The bluetooth works with my BlackBerry Bold 9000. I have yet to connect with my wife's iPhone 3G. The compatibility list confirm it.

    This unit comes with a remote control. I put it in the storage area beneath the head unit. I plan to make a video showing all the stuffs, when I have time.

    The picture below shows the OEM head unit removed from the stock bracket and put next to Kenwood unit. Stock headunit is double DIN but the face plate is wider.
    [​IMG]

    Kenwood unit screwed in the stock bracket with the OEM head unit next to it.
    [​IMG]

    This picture shows the rear of the OEM head unit face plate. The fill-in piece from Scosche TA2103B kit is next to it.
    [​IMG]

    View from passenger seat:
    [​IMG]

    View from cargo area:
    [​IMG]

    OEM backup camera and DNX6960 under bright sunlight.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Overview of the unit:
    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1AcfT-c0gM"]YouTube - Kenwood DNX6960 Overview[/ame]
     

    Attached Files:

  2. putty

    putty Member

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    just what I'm looking for, thanks
     
  3. pzer0

    pzer0 Junior Member

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    Do the steering wheel controls work for the radio? If so, do they control an iPod when connected to the head unit?
     
  4. pzer0

    pzer0 Junior Member

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    Nevermind... I see in the PDF that you're using an add-on steering wheel mounted controller. Should have actually read it before posting :-P
     
  5. usbseawolf2000

    usbseawolf2000 HSD PhD

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    I still have not program the steering buttons yet because I bought the controls with bluetooth button. I have yet to install it and then program all the buttons together.
     
  6. don_chuwish

    don_chuwish Well Seasoned Member

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    Looks great and thanks for the guide! If I ever decide to spend that much (and I really really want to!) the guide will be helpful. BTW, as a Word doc it's 1MB. Want it converted to PDF?

    - D
     
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  7. KCobby

    KCobby Member

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    Awesome install! Congrats! Looks like it "belongs" and it looks especially sharp with your wood trim! :thumb:

    I didn't look into double din models since I was worried about parking something like that on the streets here but I think having built in Nav is definitely the way to go. I hate still having a little box to pull out and mount somewhere. :mmph:

    Yes, this should be converted to pdf - and my only other comment is that it looks like you maybe just twisted the wires and taped them. Maybe that's just the way it looks in the pictures, but if so, I'd re-do that to make a more secure connection.

    But a great unit and great install - way to go! Oh and fwiw, I put a little bit of velcro on the back of my SWI-JACK and mounted it on the back of the HU. Keeps it secure and out of the way. Might want to think about it.
     
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  8. F8L

    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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    Thanks for taking the time to do the write up! In hindsight I should have done something similar for the stealth install but I never knew how many people would find it useful. Maybe this summer I'll take everything apart and document the whole process so it is in one file. Thanks for the motivation!
     
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  9. usbseawolf2000

    usbseawolf2000 HSD PhD

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    Thanks everyone for the comment, especially to F8L for the guidance.

    I converted the Doc to PDF. It came out 900 KB, saving 100 KB. :)

    I twisted the wires and soldered them. I then put an electric tape to shield it. I will better organize the cables and the SWI-JACK when I program it. I will have to take the dash apart again anyway.

    I still have to include another section for the mic install in the stock location (overhead sunglasses/vanity light box).
     
  10. don_chuwish

    don_chuwish Well Seasoned Member

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    Only went down to 900K eh? Oh well, sorry. Thought it would shrink to at least half.
     
  11. F8L

    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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    Did you right click each photo (while in Word), then "format picture" and click the "compress" button located in the PICTURE tab? This can really reduce a file size without significantly altering the quality of the photos. I do this all the time in my annual preserve monitoring reports.
     
  12. usbseawolf2000

    usbseawolf2000 HSD PhD

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    Thanks, cut down to 670KB.
     
  13. chase1982

    chase1982 New Member

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    First off, looks great, nice install. DISCLAIMER: Complete electronic novice.
    How are you planning on integrating an ipod? Also, I have the JBL package, would this prevent me from duplicating this install? Lastly, could I add the back up camera to this unit? thanks!!
     
  14. F8L

    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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    His stereo has iPod capability as well as a USB interface. :)
     
  15. usbseawolf2000

    usbseawolf2000 HSD PhD

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    You can get an iPhone cable for $30. It can then charge iPhone and play videos on the 6.1" dash screen. I guess that means Youtube videos in the car.

    You can also add a backup camera for $150 to $200. Check out Crutchfield for other available accessories: Recommended Accessories

    You should be able to do the same to your car with JBL. If you follow the guide, you will be powering your speakers with DNX6960's internal amp. If you want to use JBL amp, extra wiring will be required. I have never seen how JBL system is set up so.... maybe others can chip in.
     
  16. usbseawolf2000

    usbseawolf2000 HSD PhD

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    Right, I can plug in iPhone or iPod to the USB port. For video playback (and charging?), the iPhone cable is required.
     
  17. usbseawolf2000

    usbseawolf2000 HSD PhD

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    I added sort of mini review in my first post.
     
  18. don_chuwish

    don_chuwish Well Seasoned Member

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    Nice. I've always wondered how good the GPS reception was with those. But I see on the Crutchfield info for the unit that it comes with an antenna - where did you mount yours?

    - D
     
  19. usbseawolf2000

    usbseawolf2000 HSD PhD

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    I mounted the GPS antenna behind the MFD. This is the location of the stock JBL center speaker. Since my car is non-JBL, I used that space.
     
  20. don_chuwish

    don_chuwish Well Seasoned Member

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    Thanks! Good spot, nice and easy. My DICE lives there right now.

    - D
     
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