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Discussion Starter #1
I will be attempting what many have attempted before: integrating an aftermarket head unit (namely the commander switch). Over the next few months I will be chronicling my efforts here.
Because I favor the original 2014/15 style radio, I went with the "KLYDE High Quality 1024x600 Octa Core Oreo 4g Ram/32g Rom 7005 CX-5 2012-2013 Android Car Dvd Player+canbus" from Alibaba

Despite them telling me the radio had a heat sink, it actually does not. So the first thing I'll be doing is putting in a heat sink and a fan to help with heat management.

After that, I'll be working on turning the commander switch into a USB to interface with the radio. The radio comes with two USB2.0 ports, so I will connect one with the current car USB in the center console and the other will be dedicated to the commander switch. I'm going to try to make a small adapter for the USB rather than cutting any original wires. That way should it shouldn't be too difficult if I want to reverse the process. After making the connection, I will attempt to make drivers for the Android 8 system and begin the task of assigning meaning to each of the controller's functions (turning and clicking the knob). The main buttons like audio, nav, back should be pretty easy and straight forward.

I welcome any advice and tips.
 

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Hi DFaris,

I missed your post before writing my own. Any updates on your project? I'm looking for an aftermarket upgrade that allows me to get CarPlay in my 2014, while retaining factory steering wheel controls, backup camera, and commander knob. How is your solution working out so far?
 

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I've bene wanting to do this for the longest time as well, but have been reluctant due to some of the underwhelming feedback about the performance of various units especially the ones with the Smart Rover brand (and similar.

Would love to see how you've been getting on with your efforts!

I own a 2014 Mazda 6 and my entire household uses iPhones, so I don't mind a carplay capable unit or an Android based unit with Google Assistant built in. That commander know though has been a good reason for not having done this as well!
 

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It has been far too long since I set out to start this project, but I have finally acquired the materials to start on this. I've made a heat synch from some aluminum (we'll see how it performs. I may change it out to a premade/purchased one) and have fit it over the main chip. I've also installed small fan. I had to do some dremel work after getting it all cut and mounted because it interfered with the dvd tray mount.
So far everything I've done has followed these two videos in case anyone wants to see more information

The next part will be the difficult part: integrating the joystick. This radio has two USB plugs. My first thought is to try to turn the stock commander knob into a USB and write drivers for the android unit. This may be fruitless, but we'll see.

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