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post #1 of 60 (permalink) Old 04-18-2016, 06:22 PM Thread Starter
 
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My new stereo installation

Hi all-

I decided that I finally had all I could take of the factory radio. After coordinating with a local car stereo installation shop, I successfully installed a new Kenwood system. It sounds great and is far FAR * FAR * F A R better than the factory unit.

I apologize for the dark photos. That's what I get for buying a cheapo camera ;)

The XM radio 'puck' antenna is one that I bought off of ebay. It was originally intended to be used in a home installation, however, I found that it's reception performs considerably better than the small black patch antennas that come with the SVX300 receiver. Even with the nose cover put back on the car I have reception in the garage with no repeaters nearby. It was completely no-signal with the black patch antenna.

A brief comment about the factory radio. It's obviously a single-din unit based upon the pod that sticks out from the dash that its mounted in. It's a weird configuration in that both the top set of buttons and the radio at the bottom are both built together as one single unit. I decided that I would not use it again and in order to achieve my radio upgrade, it had to be cut in half. That's exactly what I did! It was an easy task, but it sure seemed creepy cutting the thing in half just to free up the bottom din hole. I left the buttons up top covered by the GPS receiver. I black-painted over them to mask them further against the pod. Unless you're looking, you can hardly notice them. It's as clean as I could make it under the circumstances. Hopefully at some point, Smart Madness or another 3rd party supplier will provide a replacement cover that will completely cover up the top half while freeing up the bottom din hole. For now, it's as good as I could make it with present resources at hand. The performance and quality is so worth killing off the factory junk. As cheap as the Kennwood head unit cost, I will leave it with the car when I trade down the road and buy new again when the time comes (which hopefully will be a good while!)..

I did not change speakers - the factory ones actually sound pretty good. I might elect to change out speakers at some point, but that's a project for another day LOL This was intense enough to last me a while.

Some pics to share if I can make the drag-n-drop work...

-Steve
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post #2 of 60 (permalink) Old 04-18-2016, 06:37 PM
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Looks good. I was wondering how something would ever be able to fit into that stereo pod. Hopefully the aftermarket makes the things that will be necessary to make the install invisible to the naked eye. Enjoy!
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post #3 of 60 (permalink) Old 04-18-2016, 07:47 PM
 
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Nice work skoone.

And tony, the aftermarket already exists.

Alpine - 7 Inch Installation Kits - KIT-W997SMTW
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post #4 of 60 (permalink) Old 04-18-2016, 08:14 PM Thread Starter
 
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Ahh, nice find Matt. Let's hope we see more of this going into the future. A shame Smart shafted us with a single din pod imitating a double din design. It places a severe limitation on how we can customize the car's A/V.

-Steve
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post #5 of 60 (permalink) Old 04-18-2016, 08:16 PM
 
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That Alpine deck says it won't work if you have the factory nav, or the jbl system.
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post #6 of 60 (permalink) Old 04-19-2016, 10:41 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skoone68 View Post
A shame Smart shafted us with a single din pod imitating a double din design
It might not be ideal for aftermarket upgrades, but it is such a strange design I can't help but smile at it Enjoy you upgraded stereo!
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post #7 of 60 (permalink) Old 04-19-2016, 02:04 PM Thread Starter
 
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I agree Matt. It is a strange design. I can't say I've ever come across an OEM radio quite like this. Let's hope it's a one-off deal just for the 2016 model and Smart will revert back to a normal design in future cars.

What I did in my case will certainly not win any awards for beauty or perfection, but it does work well without having to break the bank. I would have MUCH preferred to re-install my Kenwood 2-din Nav unit back in the car but that isn't gonna happen. So for now, this is it and I'll just have to learn to live with it!

BTW, the controls on the steering wheel do not work since the upgrade. An adapter is required, and I understand that one is available but I didn't pursue it past curiosity. I personally have no use for those controls. I like to turn knobs instead of punching buttons

-Steve
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post #8 of 60 (permalink) Old 04-19-2016, 03:04 PM
 
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A volume knob is a must for me in any car. It's one thing holding back a lot of the newer Honda's. They went to all touch screen, even for the volume... FAIL.
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post #9 of 60 (permalink) Old 04-25-2016, 11:43 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matt_453 View Post
That Alpine deck says it won't work if you have the factory nav, or the jbl system.
No... it actually says the KIT is not compatible if you have factory nav and/or JBL system. Which could just as easily mean that the wiring harness they provide does not have the proper connections for the Smart's harness.

That aside.... Have you seen prices on those head units alone? Roughly $1,200 seems to be the going rate for the head unit itself. I dunno about you, but...... that kinda hurts. lol

On another note.... how exactly does one go about taking the stock head unit and surround off? Does it just pull off, or does it have something to do with that hole at the bottom of the pod?
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post #10 of 60 (permalink) Old 04-26-2016, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by skoone68 View Post
I agree Matt. It is a strange design. I can't say I've ever come across an OEM radio quite like this. Let's hope it's a one-off deal just for the 2016 model and Smart will revert back to a normal design in future cars.
-Steve
Firstly, it looks amazing!!!! replace the bezel and you'd have something that looks convincingly OEM.

Second, sadly strange designs like that are becoming the norm. Even more so, more and more automakers are making tablet-like infotainment systems that poke out of the dash...The goal, of course, is to discourage going to the aftermarket, and instead to buy the more expensive OEM systems.
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