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Symphony II » RNS-E sat nav Retrofit

Discussion in 'A3/S3/Sportback (8P Chassis)' started by benw123, Nov 26, 2006.

  1. benw123
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    benw123 Moderator

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    [Nov 26, 2006]
    Well, after months of research and trawling through eBay, I purchased an RNS-E unit last week and fitted it today. Have to say it was amazingly easy as the experts said it would be for Symphony II owners; the vendor sold me the connectors as well as the unit itself, and I bought some removal keys also from eBay which arrived this week.

    Below are some brief notes from the install (there are more detailed guides around the web, including some from the excellent http://www.navplus.us website).

    First of all, the Symphony II has to come out. After putting masking tape around the stereo to prevent scratching, insert the removal keys (with the longer edge pointing to the outside of the stereo until they click. Have read that some people have had problems with the Symphony being stuck, but with the lightest tug mine came out easily. Be warned though - once those removal keys click in place, you cannot remove them until the whole stereo is removed:

    [​IMG]

    Before disconnecting the Symphony II, I checked that the security code supplied with the manual actually worked - this will help the next owner when I come to sell it. Just unplug the loom and plug it back in again, and the word "SAFE" comes up. Then press and hold down the "RDS" and "SCAN" buttons so you can enter the code:

    [​IMG]

    You can use the four left-most buttons to enter the code. Obviously, in the picture above, I've not yet entered it ...

    Anyway, once that was done, I lifted the whole unit out and unplugged all the connectors. Place a towel over the gearlever and centre console before doing this; again, it prevents scratches.

    Then, start plugging everything in. The main block is easy; the three different connectors will only hook up to their matching blocks and nothing else:

    [​IMG]

    Next is the diversity and radio attennas. In the Symphony II, these two plug into separate connectors, but the RNS-E receives them both into a two-port connector (forgive me, I can't recall the exact terminology - perhaps CraigyB can help out and I'll edit it!). If you've got the right kufatec.de harness, you have this special adapter to connect them. Mine already had two wires inside it; one had to come out and the Symphony diversity antenna go in, as shown below:

    [​IMG]

    The connector on the left is the Symphony diversity antenna, and the two on the right I'm holding are part of the RNS-E adapter. I removed one from the adapter, and this picture shows the Symphony diversity ready to go in:

    [​IMG]

    The purple piece of plastic is used to secure it - this is it ready to be slotted in to finish:

    [​IMG]

    Once this is done, the radio antenna plugs into the other end of this adapter, so the whole lot looks like this:

    [​IMG]

    Sorry to go on about this step, but it did confuse me for a while and so I thought it was worth mentioning! Anyway, you're nearly there - add the GPS antenna, and then the main block which has a swinging bar to lock in place:

    [​IMG]

    In the background you can see the diversity and radio antenna connected.

    You should be able to power up the RNS-E now to test it. Enter the security code and put the DVD in. Right now, my GPS antenna is just above the RNS-E in an alcove above the double-DIN cage; I got 3-4 satellites viewable when the unit was first switched on, but I was between my house and two large trees so it might be okay. Check all this first before pushing the RNS-E into the dashboard as it will save you having to remove it again!

    [​IMG]

    Time to tidy up the wiring and push it back into the dashboard - there's less space now because of the adapters, so be careful. Push the RNS-E home (put gentle pressure around the edge of the faceplate, NOT the screen or buttons) and it should click home.

    This thread is a little bit of work in progress, as I will be testing and checking the RNS-E more over the coming week, including whether the GPS antenna is receiving enough satellites, and I'll take some more pictures too. Also got to dig out an SD card and fill it with some MP3s!

    Any comments or feedback welcomed!
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 16, 2009
    #1
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  3. steve1975l
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    steve1975l Member

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    [Nov 26, 2006]
    Good write up. Well done.

    I get 7-8 satellites with a shark fin antenna.
    #2
  4. s8craig
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    s8craig Active Member VCDS Map User

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    [Nov 26, 2006]
    Nice work, remember to get the can gateway (19) coded for Navigation or that will be throwing up a fault in diagnostics.
    #3
  5. benw123
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    benw123 Moderator

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    [Nov 26, 2006]
    Will do Craig. I have DIS so will get that coded too, although I did notice with the ignition on the radio station was displayed.

    Also, did you see my comments above about the terminology for the diversity antenna? Not sure I've got it right. What does it do exactly?
    #4
  6. d3fy
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    d3fy Active Member

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    [Nov 26, 2006]
    Nice work mate, god I wish mine was a straight swap out.....
    #5
  7. s8craig
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    s8craig Active Member VCDS Map User

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    [Nov 26, 2006]
    No DIS coding required on an A3 8P, just the can gateway.

    Diversity is correct, it's a 4 way antenna system in the rear window for better reception.

    #6
  8. benw123
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    benw123 Moderator

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    [Nov 26, 2006]
    Excellent, thanks again Craig. I've also been told on navplus.us that my software version (0100) isn't great at operating the SD cards. Do you know anything about this, and specifically what issues there are?
    #7
  9. s8craig
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    s8craig Active Member VCDS Map User

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    [Nov 26, 2006]
    nothing wrong with 0100, but the latest is 0460, infact 0500 sw only,but 0460 for the Nav DVD. PM me for disk details.
    #8
  10. benw123
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    benw123 Moderator

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    [Nov 28, 2006]
    Just to update my thread with some post-install notes and thoughts:

    1. The RNS-E is awesome! Miles better than Tom Tom or any other portable GPS devices I've used. I demonstrated it to a work colleague who uses Tom Tom daily and even he admitted he was "gutted" at how neat the RNS-E works, and obviously the fact it fits seamlessly into the car without any wires all over the dash.

    2. I need to resite the GPS antenna. Due to pressures of time during the install, I put it in an alcove above the double-DIN cage. On Sunday and yesterday I was receiving about 3-4 satellites which, surprisingly, was enough for navigation, but this morning in the rain and under heavy clouds, I got 1 or 2 - so ended up with the arrow moving all over the map.

    3. Noticed lots of really nice touches: like the way the map colours invert when the exterior lights are switched on so the screen isn't too bright in the cabin; the way the RNS-E automatically integrates with DIS to show nav instructions without coding; and the simple map overview when you're not navigating, so you can still see where you are. Neat.

    Have found some SD cards so will put some MP3s on them tonight and try it out tomorrow, and then organise some time to dismantle part of the dash to put the GPS antenna in a better location!
    #9
  11. steve1975l
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    steve1975l Member

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    [Nov 28, 2006]
    I drove around with my GPS behind the cluster for a couple of weeks and I got a couple of drop outs. After fitting a shark fin I haven't had a drop out + I am sure in updates quicker.

    It is easy to run a cable and fit a shrak fin as you have FM reception via the rear screen don't you?
    #10
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  12. benw123
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    benw123 Moderator

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    [Nov 28, 2006]
    The sharkfin would be ideal, but I don't want to run a cable all the way through the car and drill a hole to fit it - too much effort for me, as well as the fact the car is still under warranty!

    At one point today I was getting 6 satellites and on the way home from work I had 4, so I'm sure with a better location further inside and up into the dash I'd get the full 7 or 8.
    #11
  13. steve1975l
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    steve1975l Member

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    [Nov 28, 2006]
    I take your point about not wanting to drill a hole in the roof but under your rear light there should be a central mark. I forget the name of the tool needed but I think it's called a cone cutter.

    Try driving around with it on the roof as a temporary measure just to see how much better the reception is. Perhaps then you might consider an external antenna. I never got as many as 7 behind the instrument cluster.
    #12
  14. benw123
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    benw123 Moderator

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    [Nov 28, 2006]
    That's a good idea actually - at least I can be sure that the antenna is good and sees all the satellites it should. I've got to pull the RNS-E out again so will give it a try.
    #13
  15. Spook
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    Spook Member

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    [Nov 29, 2006]
    In cars with Symphony 2 as standard, is the sharkfin antenna capable of being used as the GPS antenna when retrofitting an RNS-E, or is additional wiring to it necessary?

    Anybody know?
    #14
  16. JohnS3
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    JohnS3 Active Member

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    [Nov 29, 2006]
    Good question. I was under the impression that the sharkfin is only for the phone prep. Kufatec sell the sharkfin with both phone and GPS antennas fitted. So if you have the phone prep, is the GPS antenna already fitted/wired? or do you have to buy a new one?

    Regards, John.
    #15
  17. steve1975l
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    steve1975l Member

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    [Nov 29, 2006]
    As I understand it if you have a shark fin but no RNS-E you won't have GPS antenna at the radio end. You need to have a look in the lighting dome for the GPS connector and run a extension cable.

    8P0 035 503K is the part no. for GPS and GSM.
    #16
  18. benw123
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    benw123 Moderator

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    [Nov 29, 2006]
    I'm sure Craigyb would know - hopefully he'll see this post. That would also help me too in case I wanted to add the Bluetooth module. Although I wasn't keen on fitting a sharkfin because of the work involved, if it does both phone and GPS it might be worthwhile.
    #17
  19. steve1975l
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    steve1975l Member

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    [Nov 29, 2006]
    #18
  20. JohnS3
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    JohnS3 Active Member

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    [Nov 29, 2006]
    What firmware revision do you need to run bluetooth on the RNS-e? Cheers! ;)
    #19
  21. steve1975l
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    steve1975l Member

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    [Nov 29, 2006]
    0110 or higher I thought.
    #20
  22. benw123
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    benw123 Moderator

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    [Nov 29, 2006]
    Nice one Steve! :) Will keep a look out for this kind of thing. Still not sure if I'll go the sharkfin route; it depends how well I get on when I reposition the current GPS antenna.

    I demo'd the RNS-E to of all people my wife today (!) and on the drive home from work under blue skies I was getting 6 satellites continually, so I'm sure a little further in the dash will do the trick.
    #21
  23. steve1975l
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    steve1975l Member

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    [Nov 30, 2006]
    Seems OK 6 sats. I bought my antenna to replace the horrible whip aerial I had and to improve GPS reception.

    My girlfriend said RNS-E was a waste of money, until she needed to go somewhere she didn't and took my car. She came back begging to borrow it again and admits it wasn't a waste of money. Only problem is she borrows it all the time now.
    #22
  24. benw123
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    benw123 Moderator

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    [Nov 30, 2006]
    Glad I'm not the only one who suffered as well! Took ages to convince the missus to do it, and I was quick to point out the smile on her face when she saw "the big TV" in the middle of the dash! :arco:
    #23
  25. s8craig
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    s8craig Active Member VCDS Map User

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    [Nov 30, 2006]
    In the UK/Europe it is 0330 or higher, so disk 2005_1 or higher
    #24
  26. Spacekid
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    Spacekid New Member

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    [Dec 8, 2006]
    Removed due to content being spam.
    #25
  27. Vertigo1
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    Vertigo1 Well-Known Member

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    [Dec 8, 2006]
    That's the same **** three times now. Give it a bloody rest with the spam Spacekid.
    #26
  28. curley
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    curley Member

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    [Dec 8, 2006]
    I was thinking the same..
    Does he work for them or what!!!!
    #27
  29. marriedblonde
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    marriedblonde Moderator

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    [Dec 8, 2006]
    Sorted.
    #28
  30. benw123
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    benw123 Moderator

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    [Dec 23, 2006]
    Grabbed an hour today to go outside and relocate the GPS antenna. Since the install, where the antenna was sat above the RNS-E in a small alcove, the reception has been patchy. I think now this was more because the antenna wasn't laying completely flat, but I've now moved it above the glovebox where already I'm seeing an extra three satellites.

    Here's some pictures of what I did to take out the glovebox and relocate the antenna. I apologise now for the picture quality; they were taken on my Nokia N70 and I was holding the phone at some odd angles to capture the images.

    First of all, switch the passenger airbag off using the ignition key. If you remove the glovebox and accidentally disconnect the switch to it, you'll get a diagnostic error apparently which will show up at an Audi dealer:

    [​IMG]

    There are a total of seven 8mm bolts which hold the A3 8P glovebox in place, and it's dead easy to remove them all. A 8mm spanner is no good - it has to be a socket, and I got one at Halfords plus an adapter socket to fit it to my 1/2" ratchet.

    Open the glovebox and the first three are across the top (picture shows the socket engaged):

    [​IMG]

    Then there's two on the bottom in the footwell:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    One right at the back of the glovebox, just below the light:

    [​IMG]

    Finally, there's one on the left hand side of the dash (for right-hand drive cars, obviously) behind the plastic panel. This can be popped out using a screwdriver, but if you've already removed the bolts above, it comes out really easily with no scratching:

    [​IMG]

    Revealing this final bolt (was tricky to remove because my socket didn't fit perfectly over it):

    [​IMG]

    Your glovebox will fall out quite easily; keep a hand free to catch it:

    [​IMG]

    With the RNS-E pulled out so I could free the GPS antenna (note the blue towel - this is prevent scratching any of the dashboard plastics) ...

    [​IMG]

    ... I fed it through the side of the double-DIN cage into the space where the glovebox was:

    [​IMG]

    After around 30 minutes of trying the antenna in different places, using the Nav-Info feature of the RNS-E to count the satellites it could see, I finally settled for the top of the glovebox. The main reasons for this is that the antenna will always be accessible, there's no metal immediately above it and it has the whole glass area of the windscreen to get a stronger satellite signal.

    I hadn't realised that the antenna supplied by my RNS-E vendor actually has a magnetic base, but to sit on top of the glovebox you'll need double-sided tape. Clean the plastic if needed, and then site the antenna facing upwards, like this:

    [​IMG]

    At this point, I pushed the RNS-E back into the dash and took the chance to free up some of the wiring that gets compressed behind the unit. There's some space next to the double-DIN cage to put the curled up GPS wire:

    [​IMG]

    And that's it. Immediately, I'm getting an extra three satellites just from sitting in my driveway right up against my house (4-5), so hopefully when we make some family trips over Xmas I'll see a few more.

    Longer term, I may look into a sharkfin but this should hopefully do it for now!
    #29
  31. a3guy
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    [Dec 23, 2006]
    i get 6-7 sometimes 8 sattelites with the gps antenna velcro`d to the shelf above where the rns-e sits.
    #30
  32. cjp2k
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    [Dec 23, 2006]
    Hi, does anyone know if this is the same for the newer A3s, with the new Bigger Concert CD/MP3 Player?

    Cheers

    Chris
    #31
  33. Beddie
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    Beddie Member

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    [Dec 23, 2006]
    Yeah Chris, same unit and fitting principles apply, it's just a lot easier for all A3 owners now that all the head units are double din as standard.. :icon_thumright:
    #32
  34. JohnS3
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    [Dec 24, 2006]
    The install should be very easy as all the car has the correct antenna plugs and the quadlock connector. You just have to move the Bose wire if you have one.
    #33
  35. dmaudi
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    dmaudi Member

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    [Dec 28, 2006]
    good write up, well done for taking the time to document the upgrade,

    have to admit I thought about doing something similar myself but it all went in so smooth and quickly I couldn't wait to try it out,

    was a TT fan and had most models, modded, updated etc, etc,

    but now totally in love with the RNS-E, the mapping, the ease of use, the looks, the integrated phone, and all for about £500, totally recommend this mod to all 8P drivers

    only thing is when we all have one, some scumbag will stop breaking into all those fools' cars who leave their portable units on display and take a closer look at ours. :sadlike:
    #34
  36. benw123
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    benw123 Moderator

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    [Dec 28, 2006]
    That raises an interesting point actually. I haven't read on any forum about any RNS-E units being stolen from cars, unless anyone else knows different?
    #35
  37. benw123
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    benw123 Moderator

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    [Dec 28, 2006]
    Just to update this, reception is definitely better - on a Boxing Day trip to East London under very heavy skies, we still saw up to 7 consistently. Sometimes it dipped to 3-4 but the navigation was still fine. It's still not perfect though, which again is why I may consider sharkfin next year.
    #36
  38. h5djr
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    h5djr Well-Known Member VCDS Map User

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    [Dec 28, 2006]
    Interesting no matter what the conditions my SiRF III CF card slot Globalsat 337 GPS picks up 7-8 satellites when attached to my iPaq in it's cradle in the car. When it's in the cradle it cannot see the sky so to speak. It even picks up the same number in the lounge in my house.

    I used to use a Globalsat 338 which is a again a SiRF III GPS with a bluetooth link to the iPaq and that could also always see 7-8 satellites and that was mounted on the underside of the armrest.

    Prior to these two I had a Globalsat 308 SiRF II GPS and that would not see any salellites from inside the house.
    #37
  39. hburnett
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    hburnett Member

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    [Jan 17, 2007]
    How much did the RNS-E cost??
    #38
  40. cliveywolves
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    [Jan 17, 2007]

    Hi all

    Yeah i have postioned my GPS also in the gap above where the Rns-e goes in the dash...

    I pushed it in the gap and feed the wire foward so it got right into the front of the dash.

    I get between 6-7-8 Sats most the time but sometime does drop to 4 but the rns-e still keeps navigating with no probs...
    #39
  41. benw123
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    benw123 Moderator

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    [Jan 17, 2007]
    I paid £409 for a used RNS-E on eBay (which included the antenna and DVD), plus another £25 on top for the adapter. Best mod ever! :)
    #40

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