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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi guys,

I've had my S60R since 2008 & while the car has served me well over the years, the lack of a native bluetooth option became unbearable. I had been using a GROM unit since around 2014, but there were just too many problems with it, such as a persistent echo heard by callers when making calls, random "CD-Error" messages, my iPhone not reliably connecting to it because the unit would shut off while cranking the engine, causing the connection to drop. Finally, even when the GROM works, it's inherently flawed by the fact that the HU-850 is unaware of it. If you're listening to an audio-book via Bluetooth, then toggle over to radio, the audio-book will continue to play & you'll lose your place. Not to mention, I found myself fumbling with my phone way too much, to do simple tasks like navigate to a new destination. Not good.

Ultimately, I got so fed up with the GROM unit that I made an ultimatum to myself: either I would get a new unit that didn't suck, or I would just sell the S60R and buy a new car with a radio that doesn't suck. I figured that if a top-of-the-line unit prevented me from buying a new car anytime soon, it would be worth the money, so ultimately I settled on the Alpine Halo9 with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Here's a photo of my Halo9 installed, which I thought was nice because it "floats" like a lot of the newer OEM units, and looks a lot less bootleg than your typical double-DIN head unit:



I also liked that due to being oversized, it would cover up the cubby/cup-holder, which I'd be losing by going to an aftermarket radio, since no one makes a DIN adapter that supports the cubby. I figure that makes the radio look slightly less bootleg. Ultimately my goal here was to satisfy my inner desire for an OEM-looking option that has modern features, without having to buy a new car.

The installation was a bit involved. Ultimately it took me three evenings to complete. The first two, I spent in my living room just hooking up wiring harnesses, etc. On the third night, I plugged everything into my car, and barring one issue with a DIN connector, everything went flawlessly. I'd guess that my total install time was around 6 hours.

Parts needed:

Alpine Halo9 iLX-F309 - $775.00 from Morris 4x4 (retail $899.99)
Alpine HCE-C1100 Backup Camera - $139.95 on eBay (you can get a cheaper one, I wanted a good one)

Crux SWRVL54 Steering Wheel Control Interface- $75.99 from Sonic Electronix
Metra 70-9223 Power Amp Wiring Harness - $19.99 on eBay
Scosche Voab Volvo Antenna Adapter - $6.51 on Amazon
Scosche VO4152B DIN Dash kit - $27.00 on eBay
7/16'' O.D., 3/16 I.D. '', 5/16'' Groove Diameter, 3/32'' Groove Width Grommet (part 405933-C) - $0.85 at Ace Hardware

General installation steps:

1) Hook up your wiring harnesses (power amp, SWC interface, backup camera), get the radio into the double DIN adapter indoors-- no reason to be uncomfortable while doing this. There's a lot of wires here! The radio technically only occupies one DIN, I have it in the upper DIN, with the pocket below it. Adjust the radio to the desired angle / profile. I have it at 90 degrees, and all the way in.

WARNING: The Alpine Halo9 will NOT function until you install the included "power plate". Do this BEFORE you put the unit into your DIN adapter, it's a pain to do once everything is mounted up.



2) Once you think you're ready to go, take everything outside, remove the old radio & start hooking up your new radio. There are two things to keep in mind here:

a) You may run into a grounding issue with the Metra 70-9223 power amp adapter depending on which OEM amp you have. You'll get a horrible alternator whine noise through your speakers, like the radio isn't properly grounded. If that's the case, simply follow my post in the thread 04VR has alternator whine in factory amp audio to modify the power amp DIN connector.

b) Very few if any aftermarket radios have center channel support. I got around this by "phantom" wiring the center channel. This head unit, like many, has a small built-in amp that can power speakers, but I'm using the RCA output to connect to the factory amp via the Metra power amp harness. I was therefore able to take the "+" wire from my front left "amplified" output (white), the "-" from the front right "amplified" output (gray/black), and splice these into the center channel input, which are the red/white & white wires in the green OEM harness, pictured below:



3) Backup camera will likely require some drilling.

Using a 5/16'' drill bit, I drilled a hole for the backup camera wire like such:



Then, use a grommet to ensure that water doesn't get inside your trunk lid over time. I cut mine to get it wrapped around the wire:



You'll need to do some more drilling on the other side of the trunk to get the wire through:

First, you'll take off the trunk cardboard off like so:



Then, try to meet the location of your first hole from the inside with another hole. This can look ugly, I had to make it bigger than 5/16th to get the wire to pass through easily. There's actually two layers of sheet metal you'll need to go through:



Finally, you should have a camera mounted like this:



4) Now, after finishing all your wiring up, you should have a nice pretty radio which doesn't look too bootleg, and will finally be living in the year 2018!!


Review:


Overall, I'm extremely impressed with this radio. You can imagine that it took some real effort to pull the trigger on spending $1000 on a radio for a car that *might* be worth $6000, but I'm definitely happy with the purchase so far. My end goal was to extend the life of my S60R by modernizing it a bit, making me less inclined to buy a new car for a lot more money, and it's definitely served that purpose.

Apple CarPlay is awesome, the touch screen is very accurate & extremely responsive. The radio is packed with tons of features that I didn't know existed, since I've been living in 2005 for the past 13 years. Navigating is now as simple as saying "Hey Siri, give me directions to ____". Changing between audio books & the radio no longer causes me to lose my place in the book. I can finally make calls without my caller getting pissed off about an echo. Radio data service support means that in addition to getting the name of the song being played on the radio, I see a picture of the album. PTY search allows me to find radio stations by genre. The list goes on..

What works:
  • Steering wheel controls
  • Backup camera automatically activated when the car is put in reverse
  • Stock power amplifier
  • Center channel (via "phantom wiring")

What doesn't work:
  • OEM parking sensor -- No big deal, as JaredR points out, an IIHS study shows that backup camera alone is safer than parking sensors + backup camera. If you desire this, try the InCarTec 25-514-VOLVO, which is a stand-alone unit, compatible with our existing parking sensors.
  • No CD player -- this is a "mechless" unit. There is an Alpine option to fill the second DIN with a CD/DVD player, but you'd have to reposition the radio to make it work.
  • No volume control knob -- This was a plus for me, since it helps the radio look more stock (don't have a mismatching knob) & there is a mute button which is always available. You get good at hitting mute quickly when you need to turn down the volume.
  • No speed compensated volume -- I don't quite understand why, but no aftermarket radios have this. This is the only thing that annoys me with the new unit.
  • LCD dim controlled by instrument dimmer -- This specific unit does have an "auto-dimmer" built in though
  • OEM in-dash navigation -- I noticed this a few weeks after install, it appears that I can't get the OEM in-dash navigation to respond either via steering wheel controls or the remote. Kind of a bummer, since it doesn't require cell service to operate. It has saved me in the backcountry before.

What's new:
  • Living in the year 2018 with: Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, LCD touch screen, radio data system, easy to use touch-screen/voice controlled navigation... being able to interrupt an audio book with "Hey Siri, what does 'discursive' mean?".
  • The unit stays on while the engine is cranking-- so you don't lose your Bluetooth/CarPlay connection
  • Backup/Trailer camera!! I tow a lot, so the ability to toggle my backup camera while driving forward is a big +.
 

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That's a great looking head unit! Now I really want to swap the Kenwood in the XC90 for this. lol
 

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Very nice review, ultimately cost is the biggest choice when deciding to modernize.

Simply run the numbers for a comparable car in power, safety and luxury with modern tech.

New car payment (Will say 400) + insurance (150) + down payment (2500/36 = 70) + Gap Ins (500/36 = 14) at a Duration of 36 month lease.

Monthly is 635, two months and you're already past breaking even.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Very nice review, ultimately cost is the biggest choice when deciding to modernize.

Simply run the numbers for a comparable car in power, safety and luxury with modern tech.

New car payment (Will say 400) + insurance (150) + down payment (2500/36 = 70) + Gap Ins (500/36 = 14) at a Duration of 36 month lease.

Monthly is 635, two months and you're already past breaking even.
Agreed. And seriously, if you can't afford to crash it, and have to insure it (I'm talking about collision/comprehensive insurance, not liability), then you shouldn't have bought it in the first place. I have insurance on my S60R, but just a $500,000 liability policy in case I cause an injury accident.

I'm not quite at the point where I can buy a new car & feel comfortable without collision/comprehensive insurance. I will be in a few years though, so I'm holding onto the S60R until then

Buy what you can afford to crash, not what you can afford to own.
 

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Same here, I'm holding off for either used Raptor or a Macan GTS. Once I'm a bit more stable I'll pull the trigger (Of course my R will still be the daily).
 

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Nice job! Really like the Alpine there..way too pricey for me and a radio even though I'm an audiophile. I bought the Atoto a6 andrior unit, loving it so far. Only thing left is the center speaker input and the rear camera..already routed the cam through the back just need to route from the trunk...thanks for your input!

Sent from my ZTE A2017U using Tapatalk
 

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Nice job! I wish I had some of the features of your Alpine.

I installed an audiophile Pioneer P99RS headunit in my '06 S60 with active Pioneer 5.5" stage 4 midrange and tweeters powered by a trunk-mounted 5 channel Audison amp. I ran wires from the amp to the tweeter on the dash, and separate midrange wires to the connector for the front door midrange (behind the head unit). I disconnected the front door tweeters, and did not connect the read door or rear deck speakers, but I am happy with the front presentation. I have a cheap sub box with a 12" sub in the trunk. At the moment I am using the amps active crossover to drive the tweeters and midrange separately, but plan to run additional 2 pairs of RCA from the HU to the amp, so I can control the crossover at the head, rather than the amp. I still have quite a bit of work to do to finish up the install, but I am enjoying the music.

The Pioneer Bluetooth adapter is no longer available, and was unreliable, so I cant hook up my phone. The P99RS has a small display, and no navigation, so I just use Waze on my phone on a dash mounted stand.


I just wanted to check and see if you had used a grommet for your backup camera wiring. There was no sign of one in the pictures above. Those sharp edges and car movement could easily cut the wire and cause a short, otherwise. If you use, or cut a split grommet, you can place it around the new wire trunk hole without needed to thread it along the wire.

And on my 06, I had poor AM reception after the install. This turned out to be a Ford thing, where the antenna Amp needs 10v and does not work well at all when given the regular 12v. I followed someones suggestion and put a 50 ohm 10 watt resister in line with antenna amp wire behind the head, and this works for me and I have AM back, although I seldom listen to it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
I just wanted to check and see if you had used a grommet for your backup camera wiring. There was no sign of one in the pictures above. Those sharp edges and car movement could easily cut the wire and cause a short, otherwise. If you use, or cut a split grommet, you can place it around the new wire trunk hole without needed to thread it along the wire.
Thanks for the reminder... The insulation on that wire is very very tough, and the hole isn't sharp at all (it feels like I drilled through fiberglass), but I'll pick up a 5/16'' grommet when I'm at the hardware store in a few minutes. My bigger concern is letting condensation to the inside of the trunk lid in the winter time. Winter is coming.

Edit: Updated post with grommet info/pictures

And on my 06, I had poor AM reception after the install. This turned out to be a Ford thing, where the antenna Amp needs 10v and does not work well at all when given the regular 12v. I followed someones suggestion and put a 50 ohm 10 watt resister in line with antenna amp wire behind the head, and this works for me and I have AM back, although I seldom listen to it.
Oh yes, AM reception. Has been pretty spotty, but I don't typically listen to AM radio so it hasn't been an issue. Which radio adapter did you use? I noticed in the reviews for the Scosche Voab Volvo Antenna Adapter that I bought, a lot of people were mentioning that it doesn't have any power connection. If you post the model number, I'd love to switch to the one you're using and use the resister trick.
 

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Last Sunday, I added 2 additional sets of RCA cables from the HU to the amp, so the HU is used to separate the highs, mids and sub channels instead of using the Audison 5 channel amp filters to do it. Marked improvement in the sound. I did take a couple of pictures of the back of the HU but they are not great.

I think I used the Scosche Voab adapter for the antenna signal, as you did.

From my pictures, I can see I connected the 12v aftermarket HU antenna power cable to the 10 watt 50 ohm resister and that to the blue wire in a corner of the green aftermarket HU inline socket that the green Volvo HU plug fits. I used crimped connectors on each side of the resister. That wire worked for me, and was marked as the antenna power on the diagram from Crutchfield. I expect that your '05 is the same, although you have an 'R'. I am sure you have a similar diagram. As you see, you don't use the Scosche adapter for the power, just for the radio signal.

I am going to zip-tie the resister and crimps to a small short strip of metal so that the resister leads do not move and break. The resister is about an inch long and each of the crimps is about 1/2 inch. There are a lot of wires behind the HU and it can be hard to place the HU back in the console.

I am considering using a 7810 DC-DC converter instead. These take a 13+ volt input and provide 10 volts output. I think they may not provide output if the input fails below the 13v. This is ok from the alternator (I see 14.5v), but on battery, the antenna would not be powered. It is possible that the antenna amp works on 9 volts, so a 7809 would give 9 volts with an input of 12+ volts. I might get both types and try them out. Ebay has a bunch for about $10. This one can provide 1 amp, which is more than needed. HU antenna power to DC in and DC out to the blue wire. Provide grounds and ignore the AC connections.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/10V-DC-Vol...8693?_trksid=p2349526.m4383.l4275.c1#viTabs_0

It is 2" x 2" x 1.5" and would need to be protected from shorting to any grounded metal, so more work to install than the resister.
 

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b) Very few if any aftermarket radios have center channel support. I got around this by "phantom" wiring the center channel. This head unit, like many, has a small built-in amp that can power speakers, but I'm using the RCA output to connect to the factory amp via the Metra power amp harness. I was therefore able to take the "+" wire from my front left "amplified" output (white), the "-" from the front right "amplified" output (gray/black), and splice these into the center channel input, which are the red/white & white wires in the green OEM harness, pictured below:
Arch, I like what you did to bridge the Alpine for center speaker! Question: how is the output, as compared to L/R speakers? Does the center speaker stand out, volume wise, or provide more of a 'fill' to the front stage?

How is the Alpine radio handling the 2 ohm load...does it get real hot?
Might be worth swapping an 8 ohm driver in the center spot, to keep the radio pushin' 4 ohms when bridging front outputs. Or, does that summed mono pairing of Alpine front L/R outputs not affect impedance?

Also, did you ever tackle the powered antenna debacle? I ordered a METRA EU-56 powered adaptor, but it has a two pin (round) FAKRA plug. Figure if I could get the proper plug interface to the car itself, a crimp/splice might work???
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Arch, I like what you did to bridge the Alpine for center speaker! Question: how is the output, as compared to L/R speakers? Does the center speaker stand out, volume wise, or provide more of a 'fill' to the front stage?
No, the center channel does not "stand out", I specifically altered the fader within the Alpine software to give a slight rear bias, so that everything sounds even.
How is the Alpine radio handling the 2 ohm load...does it get real hot?

Might be worth swapping an 8 ohm driver in the center spot, to keep the radio pushin' 4 ohms when bridging front outputs. Or, does that summed mono pairing of Alpine front L/R outputs not affect impedance?
I have not noticed any heat issues and haven't thought about altering impedence.

Also, did you ever tackle the powered antenna debacle? I ordered a METRA EU-56 powered adaptor, but it has a two pin (round) FAKRA plug. Figure if I could get the proper plug interface to the car itself, a crimp/splice might work???
Ultimately, I wired in a 10W 50Ω (RadioShack part #271-0133) resister from the "power antenna" wire coming off the back of the radio directly to the relevant wire in the Volvo wiring harness and left my existing antenna adapter (Scosche Voab Volvo Antenna Adapter) in place. This gives the 10W necessary for powered AM reception.
 

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Anytime anyone says "my 850 died, what should I swap in?" I immediately think back to this thread. This is my favorite head unit install I've seen done.
 

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Hi....I came close to buying this a few months ago. It's awesome in person. My biggest hurdle, though, is the single USB input/lack of iPod classic support (at least as far as I can tell). I currently have a Pioneer which has two USB connections. With these I use one for my iPhone to take advantage of CarPlay and with the other I use my iPod classic which houses my entire music library.

pcb assembly
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hi....I came close to buying this a few months ago. It's awesome in person. My biggest hurdle, though, is the single USB input/lack of iPod classic support (at least as far as I can tell). I currently have a Pioneer which has two USB connections. With these I use one for my iPhone to take advantage of CarPlay and with the other I use my iPod classic which houses my entire music library.
Move to an iPod touch and connect it to the headunit via Bluetooth, perhaps?
 
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