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Hey!

I don't own a Zoe but a Renault Clio. Found this site by googling Rlink.

I agree the Rlink system is pretty useless and proprietary in its design. I share your frustration. But there's a solution I stumbled on. There are android based car stereos made for the Clio (and I assume the Zoe too) from China.

They look pretty sweet. I've been doing a fair amount of research on them as I'm thinking of replacing my Rlink system.



IPS Android 8.0 4GB RAM 8 Core 32GB ROM For Renault Clio 2013 2017 Car DVD Player GPS Glonass Map RDS Radio wifi Bluetooth 4.0-in Car Multimedia Player from Automobiles & Motorcycles on Aliexpress.com | Alibaba Group

Hope this helps!
 

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Personally, I think RLink is OK especially as I have stock AA. I wouldn't want to lose the Rlink EV aspects which are key for Zoe, such as trip data, EV charging, etc. I can't see replacing RLink would be viable in Zoe.
 

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That looks excellent! But unfortunately I can't seem them tying in the EV capabilities like timed charging etc. Though that can be set up in the app... Imagine having CanZE on the big 10" screen though
 

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Ah good point. I completely overlooked the fact that the Zoe needs particular apps because it's an electric car. Again, apologies, I own a Clio and when I saw the Zoe Rlink unit I thought they must be exactly the same.

I wonder then if the Zoe Rlink unit is different to the Clio beyond physical appearance. Perhaps it has additional connectors at the back for the battery sensors etc.
 

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Co-author of CanZE. Q210 nov 2013
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Perhaps it has additional connectors at the back for the battery sensors etc.
Nope. It's basically CANbus interface and then some. For the EV aspects it's just a dumb display, it really doesn't "do" anything, but displaying other ECU's data or passing on commands to them, and that includes the radio. Ignoring the Nav of course which it does do.

Having said that, even if it's "dumb", you still loose all those things as an alternative unit won't have the software to display / pass on the EV stuff.

Nice idea though really
 

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Maybe we'd see aftermarket replacements in due course, I doubt it though with EVs still being niche relatively speaking.
 

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Hey-hey, going to necro your thread.

I'm also pretty tired of the stock R-link and never use it much anyway. Activated Android Auto and was happy for a while but it's also very limited and I really neither like Google Maps nor Waze for cartography and you need to root the phone for anything else and it still isn't convenient. So I'm considering making a complete overhaul for the unit.

Current thinking is:

1. Same form factor. Bolt on replaceable with the stock unit. So this can be swapped in an out (just in case!), also so that the car can ultimately be sold as it was. So, reusing the antenna, USB, µSD, etc.

2. Better display. Looking at some 1920x1024 units at the moment. I know R-Link evolution comes with a capacitive one, but upgrading R-Link for R-Link is plain boring and still you're sort of locked to 840x600 as far as I can understand. I tried projecting my favourite maps from a rooted phone, and it does look blurry.

3. Better hardware. Currently thinking about RockPro64 as the obvious choices (RPi4) don't seem to mix with Android all too well. Maybe something else it's just the one I can get my hands on quickly without waiting for the end of quarantine for normal shipping. Maybe an external DAC, I'm a pretty music-deaf person, looking for suggestions on this front.

4. AOSP (Android) for a core system. I'd love to skip that part and just do plain Linux, but there's already so much functionality such as BT calls in there, so that I miss out on a lot of things and it won't be feasible to one man such a project in any reasonable time. Also my maps of choice are OsmAnd while it can be ported to Qt, still hell of a task. There is a cap-oriented Kodi build for Android too, so that can be used as a launcher.

5. CAN over SPI, apparently Linux has socketCAN drivers for MCP2515 so that's a breeze. My car has both the air sensor package and park assist, so I can cover too, also basic functionality (displaying "you pressed eco off" etc), consumption graphs especially if it can be done better than the original, radio controls, parking assist, timed pre-heating, night mode brightness change and economy screen. What I probably can't to is the Eco² tutor, that would require quite a bit of domain knowledge (if that's done on R-Link at all?) and I don't think it's any useful to nerdy EV drivers anyway.

6. Camera support. Recently retrofitted the rearview camera, so can test that out too. Would love to install a front looking camera (over a separate connecting, e.g. USB, so that the pin-compatibility isn't lost with R-Link) and use both for dashcam functionality. Maybe front parking aids (kinda useful in South France). Or being OpenPiloit-ready? :D

7. The only major functionality I don't know how to replicate would be the Traffic Message Channel support. From what I can look up, it's proprietary to the bone, not all well supported everywhere and sometimes a paid service. I don't mind the last part at all, but I do have a suspicion it's very tightly locked to vendors. Wonder if anyone has any experience with it? That being said I never use the stock navigation so it's a moot point, there isn't much use of traffic info if you're just looking at it.

That's it in short. I wonder if such a project could be interested to somebody else as well, despite basically re-making the same R-Link just on open platform, and whether anyone has ideas or suggestions on this front?
 

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Hello!
Still no aftermarket units available as they are for the Clio...
Very interested in your project, landswellsong!

Maybe this document might help;

And also noticed on for instance AliExpress, screens of 9/10 inch are available, which do not have a deep backside (sometimes called 'nodin', for instance look for 2din Autoradio Android 8 Universele Gps Navigatie Bluetooth 2.5D Touch Split Screen Wifi Car Audio Stereo Fm Usb Auto multimedia on Aliexpress). Any idea whether this can be even connected...? To make it fit might need some 3d print part or whatever. First would like your idea on how to connect it?


130218
 

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Maybe this document might help;
Whoah, thanks a ton for the link! That is indeed very helpful, now I know I can cut the radio altogether :D

And also noticed on for instance AliExpress, screens of 9/10 inch are available, which do not have a deep backside (sometimes called 'nodin', for instance look for 2din Autoradio Android 8 Universele Gps Navigatie Bluetooth 2.5D Touch Split Screen Wifi Car Audio Stereo Fm Usb Auto multimedia on Aliexpress). Any idea whether this can be even connected...? To make it fit might need some 3d print part or whatever. First would like your idea on how to connect it?
I'm not sure about Clio, but for Zoe you'd lose quite a lot of functionality because the unit probably doesn't know anything about CAN. I think it's feasible to make an adapter connector for it, but now I'm also unsure about the radio part since it's USB and not inside R-Link apparently so you might end up losing AM/FM radio too (unless they are inside the unit). My biggest concern though is that you'd have to cut or modify the original plastic over, something I'd love to avoid really. Also did you check it it's dimensionally compatible at all?
 

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A 9 inch should fit the part including the home/up/down button, or maybe even 10 inch (the replacement units for clio have 10 inch). Maybe a 7 inch could fit only the screen part.

It is a fully android based unit, including CANBUS and also OBD2 support, so might even be possible to run "CanZE" app on it.

The link is:

aliexpress.com/item/4000111827485.html?spm=a2g0o.productlist.0.0.231e2908nNdzP9

But also found some other similar options (different GB RAM/Storage, android version, etc), some include size in the images on the ali page.
 

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It is a fully android based unit, including CANBUS and also OBD2 support, so might even be possible to run "CanZE" app on it.
Yes, but no. By canbus support what they mean is that they might support some of the CAN-driven steering wheel controls. But there's no indication if Renault is supported and I don't think they are anyhow standardized. For other stuff (outside temp, consumption, scheduled charge etc) you're most likely out of luck completely, unless you can write your custom code (which I doubt).

You sure can run CanZE with a normal BT dongle because that's a BT enabled Android device but it won't have anything to do with the CAN support. First off R-Link isn't connected to the diagnostic CAN bus, but only to multimedia CAN. So you'd have to disassemble the main connector and add new wiring from the diagnostic CAN. Secondly, CanZE doesn't support running off native CAN interface, it requires a ELM (or similar) to access the bus.
 

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6. Camera support. Recently retrofitted the rearview camera, so can test that out too. Would love to install a front looking camera (over a separate connecting, e.g. USB, so that the pin-compatibility isn't lost with R-Link) and use both for dashcam functionality. Maybe front parking aids (kinda useful in South France). Or being OpenPiloit-ready? :D
Do you mean you've fitted an aftermarket reversing camera to the existing R-Link unit? I'm looking at doing this. What camera did you go for and how did you find installing it please? Did you just have to add the +ive, -ive and the two signal cables to the headunit and it picked it up automatically, or did you have to DDT4ALL the settings or something as well?

Sorry for so many questions - I thought I was having to go about this completely blind.
 
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