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Ultimate MCU Mods - Combining HDMI Input + Front Camera Kit

Discussion in 'Model S' started by kdday, Dec 2, 2018.

  1. kdday

    kdday Member

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    Hello TMC Friends-

    Like many of you, I have been following two independent projects that allow the use of the MCU's "Rear Camera" function to show alternate video streams.

    The first is @artsci's "Front Camera Switcher Kit" (found here). This is a custom kit that he recently put together that allows you to add a front-facing camera to your Tesla and swap between rear/front camera displays either by pairing it with HomeLink or using the included wireless fob. It's great and allows me to see the full width of my bumper when parking forward and avoiding hitting curbs, etc. This kit cost me about $300 between his kit, buying the second Tesla camera and cables, and maybe an hour to install. As of today, @artsci has a few extra kits, so PM him if you want one. The image below shows the kit (sorry this is an old image, I failed to take a pic of my actual kit before I installed it, but it's the same idea):

    [​IMG]


    The second is @BearBu's "HDMI Input Box" (found here). This custom kit was designed by him and allows you to add an HDMI source video device to your car. This will allow you to stream videos on your MCU!!! I ordered one directly from him. He's based in Hong Kong, but shipping was unbelievably fast via FedEx and I've developed a real friendship with him as I went through testing with him. He's very responsive and helpful. If you're interested, I recommend you contact him and place an order as he's about to put together a second manufacturing run.


    HDMI Kit.jpg

    @BearBu's HDMI kit is top notch. Mine was a pre-production test unit. It comes with all needed cables, including the OBD cable to provide power (which also will work to power the front camera switcher kit!). This HDMI kit also comes with a blue canbus decoder box which watches CAN signals in the car. This allows you to hold the steering wheel's "Menu" button for 2 seconds and it will tell the HDMI box to switch from Rear Camera to the HDMI input source. It's really sleek. Everything is plug-n-play.

    Each of these two projects are independent, but I chained them together
    .

    Here's how I did it:

    Both kits are designed to work with AP0/1/2/2.5 cars and basically connect to the rear camera's LVDS HSD cable before it reaches the MCU. In essence, the MCU thinks it's always showing the "Rear Camera" even when the kit(s) switch to Front Camera or HDMI source. The MCU doesn't know any better and just displays the signal it's receiving. Furthermore, these kits do not affect Autopilot functionality in any respect because in all cases the autopilot ECU gets the rear camera feed first, then sends it to the MCU (where these kits are then inserted).

    Neither kit requires any cutting/splicing of wires. Simply plug and play. Power for the kits is achieved via an OBD connector that plugs in and can power the kits/cameras, etc. No software modifications are required. Additionally, these kits are switched off when the car is off, so no power drain on the 12v battery.

    First - @artsci (and others, thank you all!) custom designed the Front Camera Switcher Kit. It basically has a "Rear Camera", "Front Camera" and "MCU" connection point. I purchased a spare Tesla rear camera part and installed it on the front of my car. It's very hard to even see, but it works great. See if you can spot it. (I have two extra cameras for sale if anyone needs one, PM me).

    Front Camera.jpg
    Routing the new Front Camera's cabling was relatively easy. I just ran it along the side of the frunk towards the front passenger door. I was able to sneak the cable underneath the front passenger door's weatherstripping right where the glovebox meets the door and it's perfect.

    The next thing you need to do is disconnect the Rear Camera OUT from the Autopilot ECU before it goes to the MCU. This is accessible right behind the glovebox and is very easy to access.

    APE Cable.jpg
    You will need to remove the BLACK cable from the Autopilot ECU (it's the third from the back on the left hand side). This is the cable that connects to MCU. You will need to plug it into either kit's "OUT" port.

    What I did to chain together both kits was:

    APE OUT > FRONT CAMERA KIT REAR PORT
    FRONT CAMERA > FRONT CAMERA KIT FRONT PORT

    FRONT CAMERA KIT DISPLAY PORT > HDMI KIT VIDEO IN PORT
    HDMI KIT VIDEO OUT PORT > MCU


    That way I can switch between Front Camera, Rear Camera, and HDMI Video on demand. Here's a short video showing you how it works:



    Both kits fit snugly behind the glove box (to the left of the Autopilot ECU). I have also connected my iPhone to the HDMI box via a Lightning to HDMI cable, so I can stream any video source directly to MCU (Youtube, Netflix, Prime Video, Websites, etc.). The audio is sent from the phone to the MCU over bluetooth and not HDMI. Some people have worried about the audio delay introduced because the video is being sent over HDMI, and audio over Bluetooth. Yes, there is a very minor perceivable audio delay, but, honestly it's perfectly acceptable. Also, as I state in the above video, I LOVE that the audio is sent over bluetooth because I can switch the MCU's video inputs from Rear Camera/Front Camera/HDMI video at will, while still playing the audio over the speakers without interrupting what is playing.

    Frankly, I LOVE them both. If anyone needs help with either project, reach out. I'm happy to help.
     
    • Informative x 7
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  2. Chancellor32

    Chancellor32 Member

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    Wow! That’s an impressive set up!!
     
  3. madtorque

    madtorque Member

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    Lol, this is gonna confuse the hell out of autopilot...
     
    • Disagree x 1
  4. MP3Mike

    MP3Mike Well-Known Member

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    Nope the camera switcher is hooked up after the AP computer, so it doesn't see any of these shenanigans.
     
  5. android04

    android04 Member

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    I've been wanting something like artcii's kit so I can see front bumper. Anybody know if his kit will work on a Model 3?
     
  6. MP3Mike

    MP3Mike Well-Known Member

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    I haven't seen anyone show it work, and I would think it would be much more difficult since the AP computer and MCU computer are in the same box. (So there probably isn't an easy cable to insert the switch into between them.)

    I hope I'm wrong and that someone will prove my thought wrong...
     
  7. Nhtran328

    Nhtran328 Member

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    it works... there's another member here AlexVo that has the front camera working using Artsci's kit.
     
  8. MP3Mike

    MP3Mike Well-Known Member

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    In a Model 3?
     
  9. appleguru

    appleguru Member

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    No luck yet on the model 3. Camera feed appears to be different. @TORQU3 and I are working with @BearBu on this currently.
     
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  10. Evoforce

    Evoforce Member

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    OK, I am about to start baking this together...
     
  11. emmz0r

    emmz0r Member

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    Why use the OBD II port when you can use the "service" port under the MCU?
     
  12. BearBu

    BearBu Member

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    OBDII is more accessible, and it provides power to the modules
     
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  13. kdday

    kdday Member

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    So as an update -

    I went hog wild in trying to find the best solution for wired vs wireless video transmission and I bought several options to test. This is all for iOS, as Android will have different capabilities. Here are my results:

    WINNER: Apple OEM Lightning to Hdmi + Power dongle. This dongle allows for HDCP content (Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, etc.) to be shown on the MCU. Colors look great of course. For audio, I prefer to use the Bluetooth audio from my phone. Yes, there is slight audio lag, but it's not a bother and I like that the MCU will show the title of the video/episode being played over bluetooth. This is a wired connection, but I routed it through my center console so it's mostly hidden.

    Second Place: Apple TV Airplay wireless video and audio. You must use a 4th generation or later Apple TV in order to stream video without an active wifi network. The wireless video works great, but you have to reconfigure the power supply on the apple tv to feed off of 12v DC instead of 110v AC. Also, you can't do bluetooth audio from the phone AND Airplay video to the appletv. The appletv also won't pair to the car over bluetooth, so the only way to get audio out of the apple tv is to use an fm transmitter and have the car tune to its broadcast frequency. The fm transmitter worked well, and had NO audio lag, but I didn't like the flakiness of fm channels in different parts of my geography. I decided having a truly wireless solution (Airplay video to appletv + fm transmitter for audio) sounded like a better idea than it really was. So I went with the wired solution above.

    Third Place: 3rd Patrty lightning to hdmi USB cable. This unit is a 6 foot cable that has a lightning end to plug into my phone, and a mini-pc in a stick on the other end with an hdmi port. This worked fantastic and was more clean than having Apple's 6inch dongle hanging from the phone, but it doesn't support HDCP video, so you can watch youtube and other free videos, but not Netflix,Amazon Prime, etc. For this reason, I went back to the apple hdmi dongle.
     
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  14. NGO FEAR

    NGO FEAR Member

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    how did you get the reverse signal to artcsi's front camera switcher, is that the "trigger signal" cable on bearbu's kit?
     
  15. Nhtran328

    Nhtran328 Member

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    you only have 2 options either find the trigger signal from the trunk and run a wire from the back all the way to the front or purchase appleguru's kit which makes the installation way easier by not having to run that line and splicing into the original harness.
     
  16. NGO FEAR

    NGO FEAR Member

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    I tried the Hagibis connector and unfortunately it is not HDCP compliant.

    I also tried the wireless route via mirascreen but the lag was unbearable.

    any android users have any luck with any connectors with HDCP Content?

    @BearBu , any thoughts?

    @kdday , any chance you can get your hands on a android phone and test out the HDCP video via the APPLE dongle with a micro usb/usb-c adapter?
     
  17. BearBu

    BearBu Member

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    The lag from Mirascreen wiresless is ok to me, I think it is less than 0.2s?

    let me find some smartphone adaptor that works with HDCP from Taobao.com and let you know

    Best Regards
    Tommy


     
  18. NGO FEAR

    NGO FEAR Member

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    maybe it was just my mirascreen unit, but i was experiencing spotty connection to my phone, one minute it works ok, the next it'll have like a 10 second lag, then work fine again, etc. so for me that was unbearable, and unreliable. i'd be ok with the 0.2s lag, if it was consistent.

    imo, a wired solution is best way to go to get a reliable connection, just need to find that right connector.
     
  19. 1BadAdventure

    1BadAdventure New Member

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    I was on a path like you and fully committed to Apple TV with in car wireless provided by my ATT Mobley (Unlimited LTE)... it turned out very well!!
    See here>> [Reservation] HDMI Interface Box for Model S / X - 30 Dec/18 shipment
     
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