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3-Time Accord Owner
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Now that I've completed the whole project on my 2015 Sport, I decided it would be best to capture everything in a new thread. This is dedicated to my late friend on this forum TMVB (Terry Mosher) who in 2015-2016 pioneered CarPlay + moving the factory head unit to the trunk, but having visited him in person less than a year before his sudden passing, I believe this was his ultimate dream - to be able to change factory HU settings from one's lap while sitting in the car, which I can now do!

So back on Dec. 31 - Jan 2 timeframe I installed the outstanding 2-1/2" thick Alpine iLX-W650 (with no-frills Schosche kit), which allowed burying the factory head unit (HU) in the dash behind it. I left the factory HU hooked up to all of its harness plugs, and spliced the PAC-SWI into the appropriate wires (thanks to TMVB's excellent diagrams elsewhere on this site). I only cut the factory HU's speaker wires; the speaker side of the wires I connected to the Alpine KTP-445U brick amplifier's output (the W650's preamp outputs went to the KTP-445U and the Kicker HS8 Hideaway sub which I had been using with the factory head unit for the past 3+ years). The -445U is also buried in the dash, underneath the radio support piece, basically where the stock ANC module used to be.

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(Early in the install, nowhere near finished)

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(Kicker hideaway sub under passenger seat)

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The ground-breaking part is the hidden umbilical! So I bought a donor head unit on eBay and harvested the faceplate printed circuit board (PCB). Originally my plan was to use both male and female plug halves but after a well-meaning co-worker ruined the male side trying to de-solder it, I went to Plan B: soldering ribbon cable directly to the female surface-mount component's lugs on the PCB, then dremeling out that part of the PCB, then encapsulating the whole thing in clear epoxy to stabilize it (see pics). With the male donor connector half fried, I did the same direct solder to the original radio's faceplate's PCB. I mounted that in the donor radio's faceplate fascia, and dremeled away the vent openings, to make a nice iPad-sized adjustment interface.

The dremeled donor connector plugged into the buried factory HU's male plug; I pre-routed the ribbon cable to go the right direction before epoxying the donor plug. It's not going anywhere, being on top of the upward facing HU, but I fastened it to the chassis with gaffer tape to make sure it wouldn't work its way out. I then spliced each side of the umbilical to an intermediate 24-pin plug I found on Amazon for $7. The buried HU end folds up neatly above the radios, accessible through the panel lid on the top of the dash. If I had all of this worked out from the get-go, a better way would have been to route the umbilical down into the storage bin, so I could just open the bin to plug in. This isn't a big deal since it's not often (time changes mostly) that I will need to make any adjustments anyway.

The raw solder joints. SO tedious - that's 18 conductors total for each plug.
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A 24-pin pigtailed plug on Amazon made a great little $7 intermediate plug:
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^^ After dremeling out the donor radio's female plug and PCB, and encasing in epoxy (JB Kwik clear, which took a couple DAYS to fully cure)

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The finished rig, awaiting testing. Obviously I didn't use all of the 24-pin's conductors. The ribbon cable made it easier to keep all of the connections straight. ^^^

Here is the donor plug gloriously plugged into the buried HU's male connector, ready for its first test! A general cleaning up of wire routing, plus gaff tape followed, plus a few strategically-placed zip ties to hold the buried HU in place.

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This is the first test and I was thrilled it all worked; I could now adjust my clock and colors, etc:

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This is how it looks tucked up under the dash top panel, ready to deploy:

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A soft lunchbox repurposed perfectly into a protective carry case for the adjustment faceplate (facedown in the photo). Installed and tested the new umbilical today and I am giddy! THIS is what Terry was shooting for I believe. And this retains all Trip A history and mpg calculator functions. It isn't perfect, and I would do some things differently if I had it to do again (like not expect the epoxy to cure within 5 minutes like the package said it would).

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^^^ As you can see, I had to run a couple of zip ties across the back to give me something to anchor the ribbon cable to. I was very concerned about protecting those delicate solder joints. There is no doubt a more graceful way to accomplish this, but this got it done.
 

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3-Time Accord Owner
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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Forgot to mention in the above: Hat tip to user Cepega, who offered up the idea of soldering directly to the lugs of the SMC and then dremeling it free of the rest of the PCB and encasing it in epoxy. This was all necessary because these SMC connectors could not easily be de-soldered from the PCB without specialized equipment and skills. I could not find the factory's 18-pin connectors ANYWHERE (to purchase over the counter as raw parts), hence the donor radio purchase to harvest them.
 

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I also did this project back in 2016 to my 2016 Sport because I wanted ACP (RIP TVMB) after 4 years, still working like its supposed to. But sometimes, my wife would complain because of the factory head unit would rattle behind the dash which is really annoying sometimes. I’m just waiting for the Pioneer 4200 to take a sh** on me and upgrade it to a wireless ACP. I really like the wireless ACP, I have the Kenwood DDX9906XR on my Subaru and I really like it.


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3-Time Accord Owner
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Discussion Starter #4
I also did this project back in 2016 to my 2016 Sport because I wanted ACP (RIP TVMB) after 4 years, still working like its supposed to. But sometimes, my wife would complain because of the factory head unit would rattle behind the dash which is really annoying sometimes. I’m just waiting for the Pioneer 4200 to take a sh** on me and upgrade it to a wireless ACP. I really like the wireless ACP, I have the Kenwood DDX9906XR on my Subaru and I really like it.
Go to CarPlay2air.com, they sell a wireless adapter for $150 that supposedly works well. But I don't have any first-hand experience with them. My logic was that the W650 was so affordable at $300, no other radio was going to offer everything the W650 did plus wireless ACP for anywhere near $450. So far I haven't felt the need for wireless ACP. But I have a long (53-miles each way) commute. If I was in my car for multiple short trips per day I might feel differently. I think if the W650 had been around when Terry was alive he would have gone for it. With all of the space it left open behind it thanks to the short chassis, there was no problem isolating the buried HU. Knock on wood so far no rattles.
 

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Hey @Succinct you've inspired me. I just ordered that Alpine radio.

I have a working install with a Kenwood with wireless CarPlay. But the install was not complete. The head unit is hanging in the base of the dash, and I can't put the lower cubby and console pieces back. Was moving toward relocating it to the trunk, but it's a really daunting project, and I've fooled around with this way way too long. Although I might give up wireless CarPlay, having a clean finished install may make it worthwhile.

My car has the touchscreen radio. To make it fit in the dash I disassembled the unit and cut it down and made it smaller. Don't know if I'll be able to make the cool connector kit like you did, but hoping I may be able to make it face up so I can attach my touchscreen from the top by removing that top panel.

Here's what it looks like for daily driving:


Better view of how the head unit is hanging:


Making adjustments with the touchscreen and controls connected:


Pics don't seem to be loaded above, here's plain links

Here's what it looks like for daily driving:

Better view of how the head unit is hanging:

Making adjustments with the touchscreen and controls connected:
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Glad I could inspire you! I really like having my factory cubby hole down low so I didn't want to eat into that space, tho I must say it makes attaching the factory HU faceplate and making adjustments feasible. However, Terry (VBTM) noted that after a few cycles of pulling the head unit in and out for adjustments he started having wiring short circuit issues, which is what spurred him into creating the extension harnesses and mounting the factory HU in the trunk.

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Quoting your response from another thread to discuss here...
Succinct said:
Mine was the Sport, but I would think the solution would also work with the touchscreen units. Only complication would be driving the subwoofer, but in my experience (a test drive), hardly any bass came out of that thing anyway, so there's nothing lost either way.

Someone with a Hybrid educated me on the ridiculous AM/FM antenna of that unit so this won't apply to Hybrid owners unfortunately.

I found that once I set things where I wanted (green "eco" ring turned off, clock turned off, background color what I wanted), I could do everything else I needed to do via the steering wheel buttons and odometer "reset" stalk/button (oil life reset, etc). Mistake I made was leaving my clock display on, and created an issue with Daylight Savings Time adjustment, so then I bought the donor radio and created the whole umbilical solution discussed in my thread linked above, but honestly that's overkill. The Alpine HU has plenty of clock display, so keeping that on the iMID wasn't necessary, and I really don't need to adjust colors or the other stuff. My factory radio quit recognizing jpgs on USB years ago so I couldn't load any new background photo anyway. The steering wheel toggle through the 4 iMid screens (2 mpg, one clock/photo, one radio) still works fine, but obviously only the two mpg screens show anything useful. The HVAC will cut in with an update on the iMid whenever I adjust anything, and then it reverts to blank, as before.

If I had it to do over I would just turn off the clock display from the factory HU altogether (before burying it) and I'd be happy.

NOTE: By "Burying" the factory HU I mean affixing it in place vertically with multiple heavy-duty zip ties. You don't want it just resting on wires because eventually the wires will wear thru and you'll have a mess of problems. Wire management and wrapping are very important to a long-lasting smug smirk of satisfaction.
My car is a Hybrid. I think this will work, I just need to run a wire / adapter from the trunk where the external tuner and antenna lead reside. I can survive without as I've been using iHeart radio for my AM needs since November because I didn't get that part done yet.

Tire pressure monitoring must have another way to reset too. I had a couple of new tires installed a while back, had indicators about problems. When I got the vehicle back the warnings were gone. I didn't show anyone how to get the touchscreen and knob out of my glovebox and hook them up to my head unit hanging down.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
to reset too. I had a couple of new tires installed a while back, had indicators about problems. When I got the vehicle back the warnings were gone. I didn't show anyone how to get the touchscreen and knob out of my glovebox and hook them up to my head unit hanging down.
There is a reset button on the far left of my dash, located low, beneath the HVAC outlet but above the hood release. The owners manual gives directions on how long to hold that button down. But yes, even the TPMS reset can be carried out without the factory HU buttons/touchscreen.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
You are probably the person who patiently explained to me the issues with the AM/FM antenna on the hybrid. Still, even tho I am not a big hybrid fan, I believe Honda did it right on the 9th-gen in that they did away with the transmission entirely. That is so cool (because I think transmissions are one of the few Honda Achilles heels).
 
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