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Life changing magic of tidying up - or, "I hate my stereo"

August 7, 2016.

I've suffered enough.

That Panasonic stereo I installed back in 2013 was great for the Bluetooth, and it was nice for playing videos, but the UI was just horrendous. I mean, why can't there be an option to just make the background black, and not some pulsating craziness that belongs in "The Fast-er-est and Furious-er-est," not a Toyota Tacoma?

Plus, I'm getting to that point where I should just buy what I want - I mean, I've learned from Pops that I'm just spending Clara's inheritance at this point, even if she did love the old stereo for watching videos.

So, I did the same thing I did last time. Let me refresh your memory:

So, it was time to get Bluetooth a new stereo in the truck. As always, I went about it in the most difficult way possible. First, I researched. I wanted a Bluetooth stack that worked with Windows Phone, something that had an external microphone, and I wanted it in a stereo package that would last me another 10 years - which meant that it needed to be a touch screen, and it needed to play movies. Because who doesn't want to watch movies while they are driving? No one. But, I'm getting off topic.

I want a black background.

I researched for way too long and decided that the Panasonic AVH-3500BHS Joying JY-UL135N2 was the perfect thing for me.

This stereo is Android (5.1 Lollipop) based, and is oh-so-much better. It's got the black background. And yeah, I had to sand down the double-DIN opening a bit to get it to fit around the stereo bezel, but c'mon, the background is black.

I'm sure this stereo will last me 10 years.

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Here are detailed install notes from this thread that I started about the stereo.

So, I just got a new head unit that got a bit of discussion in a thread a few days ago - an Android (v5.1.1) based unit by JOYING (JOYING JY-UL135N2). I got it to replace an already after-market Pioneer that I wasn't a huge fan of due to the obnoxious background graphics that I couldn't get rid of.

Stock pics of the head unit and harness from amazon:

Install notes (on a 1st gen - 2000 XtraCab SR5 V6 4WD TRD):

  • The harness available from JOYING makes the head unit plug and play electrically
  • While the head unit body fits just fine, the bezel is about 2mm too wide and 2mm too tall for the opening in the dash; had to carefully enlarge the opening with sandpaper
  • The GPS unit is magnetic; I placed it on the round bar between the firewall and passenger air bag, which seemed like a place that would get relatively good reception
  • It supports two cameras, but I didn't install any
  • The password for the "Settings > Factory Settings" (where a lot of the useful settings are) is "126"

Overall, I definitely like this unit better than my pioneer, and of course better than the OE CD/Tape player. If you don't mind the minor mod (above), I totally recommend this for a great experience in a 1st gen.

Things I like:

  • Boot screen is configurable. And it comes with a Toyota logo, which makes it look OEM
  • Easy to configure the wallpaper. I'm basically using "black" and it's nice to have it be so clean looking
  • The built-in apps seem to work relatively well for basics (radio, pairing with phone for podcasts and phone calls)
  • The microphone on the head unit works well (there's an external mic too, which I tested, but ultimately didn't install after testing sound quality of both)
  • It's Android, and so it's configurable (including the hard buttons on the device)
  • I can install apps from the Play Store. Waze, etc.

Things I don't like:

  • The built-in app names are lame. The app used to make calls is "Bluetooth" (should be "Phone) and the app used to stream audio from my phone is "A2DP" (should be "Bluetooth")
  • The bezel is a bit deep for my tastes - nearly a half inch. That makes seeing the top of the screen tough, because of the bezel overhang
  • The "hard" buttons work fine, but they feel cheap
  • The Bluetooth stack is pretty lame. It's probably fine for most things, but it won't connect to my Kiwi3 OBDII device; thus, no DashCommand (EDIT May 2017: With the newer JY-UL135N2 Intel Sofia based version of this head unit, the Kiwi and DashCommand now work!)

Ask away if you have questions.

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