9inch laminated QLED display with custom VW Touareg buttons.
On Aliexpress I found the Mekede M6Pro, must be fairly new, had never seen it before.
What an impressive screen size to start with and then there is the button replacement that looks the part. Reading as much as I can I found a few video’s on the M6Pro on Youtube.
The video showed it was a good unit, what about the Touareg integration? This was a bit of a worry, many question we’re going off in my head. How are the function of the dash replaced. The OEM heated seats controls are rotary knobs with 5 settings. The volume switches are not as good as dials but better than none. I really dislike touch screen volume controls while driving. The other switches like parking sensors and caution lights as well. so nothing is lost. I just didn’t know how they managed it to work.
With little information and vague pictures I pondered for weeks. I assumed that looking at the pictures. There seemed to be a placed for status lights next to the heater switches. I assume to to indicate what level the seats are running at. I asked the seller about the CANBOX, that said that comes with the unit.
Oh well ill change it and buy one, this is either going to be a bad experience or a joy. its not cheap.
It took 3 weeks to receiver the head unit, well packed with no damage.
When I received the unit I saw there were no instruction at all, box was full of wiring I had no idea what to do with. So I watched Youtube video’s and looking at the advertising photos, I started to work out what stuff does with the wiring. I also asked for some instructions to be emailed.
First thing was to get the head unit going on my test bench, get a feel for it. Every thing week well, this head unit was crisp and quick. Being in the on state full brightness and radio going it draws around 450mA . In standby mode its drawing around 5mill Amps, in 2 days it totally switched off drawing down to the uAmps range. So it unit going to kill my battery. The AM FM receiver are very sensitive with no apparent over loading. I could listed in Adelaide each night 3MP 1377Khz in Melbourne and the local stations 765kHz 5CC Pt Lincoln. On Fm no issue receiving 5MU on 93.4MHz.
Now for the fitting in the car, this is the bit I always get a bit worried about. Every time I play around with a new head unit I seem to have trouble. Your friend VCDS to reset error codes is a must here.
I removed the old unit and loosely plugged in the new unit, put the key in and nothing happened. Oh boy thats not good. Using a multimeter I measured the Red acc wire from the CANBus module. 0 volts , just for the hell of it I started the engine, still 0 Volts. Yep we already have an issue. I hot wired the red wire to the yellow to force the head unit to come on. The M6Pro boots up and away we go. I go into the CAN bus setting menu and try most settings and managed to get the volume buttons to work.
So now I start the back and forward conversation for the Alliexpress seller for help.
I used the Head units CAN BUS monitor, so every press of a button, even the key going is showed the unique CAN BUS strings being send. So I know the buttons and car key work.
Alliexpress seller started off asking for photos, says I probably have something not connected right? Fair enough. I have check and check all my connections and it seems fine. It just not working, no power ON/OFF function or heated seats functions. When the seats buttons are pressed I could see the codes changing. Has to be software? The hazard, volume and disarm parking sensors are working fine. So my wiring must be good, I did suggest a few times is the Can Bus interface or software ok. After quite a few days of this, me going a bit mad. One magic photo I sent showed the CAN BUS software version. This alerted the seller that I need an update, this they emailed me. Like magic I did the update and Every thing started to work. B1-D-VW-RZ-01-0002.01-B1.upg firmware
It occurred now to me that the CAN Bus interface box was being controlled by the the HEAD unit. The CAN bus software was doing all the tricky stuff. The interface simulated the heater switch in 5 steps, 1 to 5 heat settings. these setting are remembered even the next day of start up.
Once the basics were going I installed a dual USB socket in the dash top console The GPS and DAB+ antenna under the centre speaker grill section. I have some refining to do here.
Funny story. (I dropped the GPS antenna and it broke a semiconductor. I took it apart and swapped out the cable to another good GPS I had)
I found the head unit and DAB+ receiver radiate a bit of Electro Magnetic Interference. It make’s noising on my ham radio gear on the upper HF and VHF bands. So some shielding and ground of the M6Pro will be necessary. Im a bit disappointed with the AM weak signal performance at this stage. I know the receiver is great with my bench testing. Im sure I will get this under controller with some RF shielding. I will be grounding the M6Pro chassis to the big centre metal structure behind the dash board when the time comes.
Below is what the results look like. From cold boot the head unit takes about 15sec to start up after its been sitting around for a few days. More like 3sec if it’s just asleep.
I found the best CAN BUS settings are for a CAN Box type of RZC, Car brand Volkswagen, Car Model Touareg and CAN Box 2011-2017.
The reason I choose these settings, when reversing the guide lines change with the steering wheel position to show where your will end up. Also when you press the heater buttons the heater status flashes up on the screen.
Was it worth it, Yeah I reckon but I like challenges and its so transforms the dash board. I have reliable wireless Apple Car play at last. Its an older car so im not to fussed anymore to keep it stock.
Whats my thoughts
This head unit is built solid and well made, all cast alloy. The display is fully laminated, bright sharp picture and nice colours. Viewing angle is not bad, may be a bit bright at night time. This is fixed by installing an app like night owl to reduce the brightness.
The electronics section is incased in the back portion in another alloy section. A cooling fan keeps every thing cool with plenty of air vents. This fan is software controlled.
The Sound is amazing, you get a built in DSP that you can custom the sound to suit your speaker system. The best feature is the DTS 4.1, this makes the sound so crisp, music and movies are amazing. In the Touareg the stock speakers offer lost of bass, so the loud feature is not needed.
The AM/FM tuner is great, it uses the TDA7708 DSP tuner, so this radio is basically software defined. Being a Ham radio and short wave buff I would love the extra features of this receiver. It can do Shortwave and Longwave if programmed too. I did contact the tuner app developer to ask for other features. They said its all controlled by the main MCU firmware that Mekede do. They don’t pass on the other features, so the apps cant use any extra features. The MCU is the middle man, the apps cant talk directly to the tuner.
The test I did with the tuner showed the receiver has excellent selectivity and sensitivity.
On AM broadcast mode when the signal is weak , DSP narrows the receiver bandwidth , in turn reducing the noise and introduces some signal noise reduction.
When the signal gets to weak the signal starting to sound like its under water, better than ear breaking static.
As the signal gets stronger the bandwidth of the receiver increases to bring back fidelity. Unfortunately the width doesn’t seem to go much past 6kHz. The TDA8807 can go to 8kHz, this extra little bit would make a strong station sound more amazing. AM is always let down by limiting the receiver bandwidth.
Say that I was able to receive distance stations at ease from my location in Adelaide. Example 765kHz in Pt Lincoln, 594kHz in Horsham Victoria, this is during the day time too.
Why even bother with AM, well in Australia we have long distances of no FM coverage. Phone coverage has many no go zones.
On FM mode, the receiver is excellent, The DSP does a great job stopping the FM hiss when no signal is present. Weak station that can be received were 5MU 93.4MHz and Power FM 100.3MHz. There appeared to be no over loading and FM break through.
Thats it for now
Thanks for reading