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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 @mini.turbodb'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.


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.

Update June 2021:

The more I used the Joying stereo, the less I liked it. Really, I realized that the "things I don't like" are just as important as some of the reasons I put the stereo in to begin with. For example, I originally installed the Pioneer because I wanted great Bluetooth. The fact that Bluetooth is sort of a stinking pile on the Joying means that a lot of things don't "just work."

So anyway, I've changed it up again. I probably waited about 4 years too long, but better late than never. Read all about it in A Stereo that Just Works - Kenwood DMX906S.

The Whole Story

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