Navigation Systems in cars are like microwaves in kitchens. Once you
get one you wonder how you got on without it. I really liked
my 05 Gallardo but the one thing I regretted was it did not have a
navigation system. All 3 Diablo's I had had alpine systems and I
became spoiled finding my way around California back roads without a
1. Eclipse Navigation System in a Gallardo
I immediately considered installing a navigation system. This
was a reasonable complex task but well worth the effort. I have
written a detailed update here for those that may be considering
doing the same thing. Again it's not for everybody but if you
chicken out you can easily re-install the OEM radio and sell the NAV
unit on eBay.
The process involves removing the OEM radio, adding a cable
connector/converter, an antenna adaptor, the NAV unit itself, a
wheel speed sensor and having a custom bezel cut out of plastic.
Introduction To NAV Units.
There are over a dozen major brands of Navigation
units available these days on the web and in most auto stores. All
these systems work off satellites rotating around the earth in practice
orbits and sending very accurate time delayed signals. You need signals
from at least 4 satellites at a time to get an accurate position.
The first question is which system to use....
- Portable (Handheld) units.
there are a number of well known brands. I have had great success
with a Gremlin "Quest" unit. These days when I travel and rent
a car I always pack the unit. You download from a CD on your
computer data to the unit for the region/country you are going to be
driving in. I used it a lot on vacation in Europe. Saved my neck
many times! You stick it to your front windscreen and
plug the speaker into the cigarette lighter. Its surprisingly
accurate. The only disadvantage is the screen display is small and
you can never leave it visible if you park your car.
- Lamborghini & Audi Navigation
OEM system supplies with the Gallardo is clearly one way to go.
However only about 5-10% of the '04 and '05 cars seem to have this
system. It looks like it will be more common in the '06 and later
cars. If you have one in your car skip this article and don't even
think of swapping it out. The delta improvement in sound and NAV
capabilities are just not worth it. There are varying reports
as to whether the NAV harness is already in the '06 cars even if
they do not have the NAV installed. At least it was not in my late
model '05. The Gallardo NAV system looks identical to the Audi
A3 system (possibly others). I have considered the possibility of
putting an "eBay Audi A3 Nav system" in my car. There seem to
be a number advertised all the time. I have read the system is
difficult to configure and program but this should be confirmed.
The CD sign on probably comes up "Audi". I am even not sure if the
Lamborghini NAV software CD would work in the unit. However to get
and finish look would look good some work is needed. See
- Alpine Navigation
grew up with the Alpine system. I have had it in all 3 of my
Diablo's. Alpine in fact used the Diablo as its model car to
show the system when it first came out over 10 years ago. I have
since pulled one of those systems and installed it in my C5
Corvette. Today this system shows its age. They are 1 DIN height
units. The display comes out and then flips vertically. Now the one
place this is useful is if your original radio is small -- as was
the one in the Diablo. This is not a problem in the Gallardo.
In fact if anything the radio area is too big. If however you
wanted to have a NAV system in a Gallardo along with a 1 DIN height
police scanner for example
then a 1 DIN high alpine system is worth considering. The main
problem with the Alpine system is that not only do you have the
display unit. You have to house the NAV specific DVD player unit and
another box containing a lot of control electronics. Finding a
location in the interior of the Gallardo would be difficult. There
is no behind the seat compartment as there was in the Diablo.
Also programming the unit requires the hand held unit and it is
slow. That being said however I like the Alpine map display
the best. Things just seem to be clearer on it.
- Eclipse Navigation
system I went with was an AVN5435 Eclipse unit. These units
seem to be solid as a rock and can be found on the web for around
$1200. This unit has its software on a DVD. Eclipse also sells
hard disk based pricier version which is suppose to be faster. I
swore off hard disk based anything in cars since the disks simply
cannot seem take the vibration over time. I went through 2 old
Magellan hard disk based systems in the past. The unit is 2 DIN high
and contains everything in one 2 DIN unit. The DVD player, a CD
player, a radio and of course the NAV system itself. Its very
fast. Faster for re-routing that the Alpine for example. Best
of all the radio sound is excellent. I don't listen to the
radio/CD in my Gallardo a lot but if you do the Eclipse sound
quality is outstanding. All controls are entered by a touch
sensitive screen display. Finally for what it is worth the NAV
system itself (display, controls etc) is identical to that in the
Lexus model of cars. possibly others as well. Its made by
Fujitsu. So if you have a Lexus less things to remember!
- Removing a Gallardo Radio.
- OK lets get started. First we have to remove the current Audi
Symphony II radio that is in the Gallardo. Without a manual
and circuit diagram etc. this took some poking around. You
start by removing the gear shift cover. You do this by prying it
upwards with a screwdriver as shown in figure 2,3,4 below. Work your
way around the edges. It pops up easy from the back near the hand
brake first. You can see from figures 3 & 4 how it snaps into
Figure 2. Work your way around
edges to pop up panel
Figure 3. Panel clips
Figure 4. Panel removed
- Next you need to remove the curved panel at the base of the
consol below the Heat/AC controls. It pops straight out towards you
as show in figure 5. Next the Heat/AC unit needs to come out.
It is held in place by two screws. remove these and it comes forward
with no problem. There is enough wire attached to the sockets
to leave it hanging to the side without disconnecting the unit.
- Next we have to remove the switch array that controls the
lights, windows etc. I had to be a bit rough with this to get
it out. I unfortunately did not do it right and bent one of the clips
pulling the unit out (fig 7). Fortunately they can be removed and
easily straightened out. As a last resort by the way remember this is a standard Audi part and a replacement
can be easily obtained at any Audi dealer. However this should not
Figure 5. Pull outwards the
panel below the Heat/AC controls.
Figure 6. The Heat/AC unit
Figure 7. Clip (bent) that holds
switch unit in place.
Installing The Navigation System.
Now comes the hard part. Getting the radio itself out. Figure 8 shows
the Audi/Gallardo Symphony II radio side by side with the NAV system we
will insert. It took a lot of time to figure it out (without a manual)
but the radio simply slides right out. There are two spring clips near
the front that press in with a blade as you pull the whole unit forward
(see below, for a proper Audi
radio removal tool to do this). At the back there is a metal knob that
moves along a rail as you slide the radio out. These clips and metal knob are indicted in figure 8. That's the
good news, the bad news is that there are no knobs or clips on the
Eclipse system. Fortunately the width and length dimensions of the
Eclipse are identical to the Audi unit. I made a simple aluminum
frame that the Eclipse unit can sit into (figure 9,10,11). At the base
of this frame I stuck on a rubber pad to prevent any vibrations getting
to the unit (fig 12). It also makes it fit tighter in the car. I
know this frame looks hokey. But it works real good. It slides in
directly where the radio was. It is attached via two bolts that exist in
the front of the car. Drill holes as shown in figure 9 in the frame.
Open the two nuts in the Gallardo (look in, you will see them, they
support the dash) and attach this frame. You can then slide the
Eclipse unit in and out very nicely. It slopes downwards so the display
is at the correct angle already.
Figure 8. OEM Radio and Eclipse
NAV 5435 unit
Frame to hold NAV unit
Frame to hold NAV unit
NAV unit in frame
Figure 12. Rubber pad on bottom
Figure 13. OEM radio socket
OK, now that we have the hardware in place we need to hook up the
electrical connections. The Eclipse manual gives detail accounts of all
wire connections, wire colors and functions etc. I will not go into
great detail here. The first thing you need to do is to pick
off the ignition power on lead, the ground lead and 12Volt battery lead.
These go directly to the back of the OEM radio and are diagramed there
(fig 13). Rather than hack up the OEM radio socket wires
fortunately because it is a standard Audi radio you can get an adaptor
socket/ wiring harness that fits into the OEM male sockets. Many auto
stores have these. I got mine on the web at:-
14). Check all voltages with a voltmeter with and without the
ignition on. Once you have the ignition, power and ground leads
connected check the unit lights up. You must insert the DVD
software for the NAV display to even sign on.
Next we will hookup the car radio antenna. There are two. One has a
small socket. This lead is a feedback lead to the 4 antenna amplifiers
that decide which directional antenna is currently providing the best
signal for that station. It is a complex system used by Audi
incorporating the Philips TEA6101/T "Antenna diversity circuit".
The problem we have is that the Eclipse (ant most other radios) do not
provide this feedback control. So we simply lead this wire loose. We ignore
this one. The other larger one is the "normal" AM/FM antenna.
However the socket is not the same as in US cars. Its -- you guessed it
-- "European style" . On top of that, the signal from this antenna needs
to be slightly amplified and provided with a small voltage bias to work
properly. Fortunately this is a common problem an again there are
standard parts to convert the antenna to a US plug socket with
amplification. I got mine from
http://www.cardomain.com/item/SCOVWA2B (fig 15). The red lead goes
to the ignition lead. Next we hook up the speakers. These are
indicated on the OEM radio (fig 11) and for the Eclipse unit. There are
no rear speakers. Just front L and R as well as tweeters L and R. At
this point you can check the radio. You should hear clear sound with no
interface even with the engine on. The "Illumination input signal"
is an input to the Eclipse unit that lets you know the headlights are on
(i.e. it is dark). A +12v on this line will cause the display to switch
over to "Night Time Colors". These are darker and less distracting at
night. I tapped into the "lights on" switch (fig 16). Its the
You also need an input for when the car is in
reverse. This is only really required if you use the backup camera (see
You can probably find
an appropriate lead under the dash where the "R" button is in
e-gear cars. However it is hard to
get in there. I got the input by splicing a wire to the reverse lights
at the back of the car. Just locate one of the two leads going to one of
the reverse lights in the rear fender of the car. One lead is ground,
the other will go to +12Volts when you put the car in reverse. Sorry I
don't have a good picture for this, but to get to this light you need to
remove the grill directly below the lights Fig 17, remove the two screws
that hold the light assembly to the frame and gently push the lights up
to get you hand in to grasp the light wires Fig 18.
Then run the wire forward to the NAV unit through
the engine firewall as I described in the
rear radar installation
Next we need to add the GPS antenna. This specialized
antenna must be visible to satellites at all times. Ideally on the roof
of the car. This would look ugly! By trial and error I find the sloping
windscreen of the Gallardo allows the antenna to work well if it is
placed at the base of the windscreen in the center of the dash. See
14. Wire harness for radio leads
European antenna adaptor and preamplifier.
Fig 16. Hookup "illumination on" to
lights on switch.
17. Access backup light
18. Hookup to backup
19. Location of GPS
We are almost there. If you drive the car with the navigation system
at this point (after it properly initializes and is configured to the
right region location) it will work fine. As you drive along the arrow
will follow your route quite well. However from time to time it will
flash a message "speed sensor unavailable". More important it will
not provide route guidance. The unit needs to be provided with a
wheel speed sensor signal. Now on older cars this was easy. You could
pick a signal from the "speed line" going to the odometer or the ABS
computer. On recent Audi and Lamborghini cars this information is
encoded in one of the three different CAN data likes that feed the
computers and instruments of the car. After spending a lot of time with
various adaptors that are made to read the CAN data bus for a speed
signal with no success. (I could not locate the best spot to pick off
the engine CAN data bus -- no Gallardo circuit diagram manual!). I found
a simple reliable solution. At least two companies on the web sell
a simple device that you place over a wheel of that is magnetized. As
the wheel rotates it emits a signal. This signal feeds directly in to
the Eclipse speed line. There are a few of these systems out there. The
Alpine NVE-K300 unit is best known. I tried various locations. I
found that the best location was directly above the front left wheel
(fig 20,21). The rear wheels while larger seem to get stray magnetic
signals from the alternator etc. The steel in the rubber
tire is magnetized by a magnet provided. One side is set to North the
other south. Takes about 5 minutes in all and lasts as long as the tire. If you
rotate the wheel you will see the LED on the unit pulse (twice per
rotation). I routed the wires for the unit into the interior of the
car the same way I routed the leads of the
front radar detector.
Figure 20. Wheel speed sensor
Figure 21. Wheel speed sensor
installed over left front wheel.
Figure 22. Bezel to surround NAV
unit in dash
Test drive the car before you wrap things up. Check the navigation
system provides voice commands properly. Test the CD player section of
the unit and test the radio. All that then remains is to create a
plastic bezel to fit around the unit. I had a local shop cut one out for
me. It took 3 tries to get it right. The side angles are sloped. Figure
22 shows the bezel. It is made of polycarbonate plastic painted flat
black plastic that exactly matches the rest of the cars interior. Done
right it exactly snaps into place. Be sure the NAV screen can open and
tilt when setting the internal cutout dimensions. Figure 1 shows
the final setup. Note I have surrounded the NAV unit with a small
picture frame to fill in some of the empty space around the sides of the
|Figure 23. Audi radio removal tool
||Figure 24. Removal tools
inserted in radio after its removal.
For those of you that want a more elegant way of removing the
Lamborghini radio, most car audio stores supply the special clips for
removing Audio radios. These are shown in figure 23 and 24. You simply
insert them in at the top and bottom sides where the clips are and pull
the radio out. Remember once you insert these clips they cannot be
removed without removing the radio itself.
Note added later.
As with many car radios I found that the radio signal strength coming in through
(one of the 4 car directional antennas) is quite sensitive to the direction
the car is being driven for distant radio stations. Probably no surprise
since the OEM
Audi radio would simply switch the antenna to one of the
other 3. I tried bypassing the cars internal
antennas completely and connecting the Eclipse radio to a generic glass
mounted AM/FM amplifier antenna such as this
METRA - 44UA200 - METRA Deluxe high performance
However while there was a slight improvement the
result was still not completely satisfactory.
Attaching a Sirius radio system to an Eclipse NAV system
Because of the above signal strength issues I decide to utilize the Sirius
Satellite radio capabilities of the Eclipse NAV system. The Sirius
unit costs ~$200 and plugs directly into a special socket at the back of
the Eclipse unit. It automatically detects the Sirius radio which you
must then activate via the web or a phone call. You get rock solid radio reception no matter where you
are in the country for ~$110/year. I will never go back to the old AM/FM
Figure 25 below shows a close-up of the Sirius
radio unit. This unit is specifically made for many Eclipse NAV
and radio systems. There are only two connections. One is a connection
to the special Sirius antenna. This antenna is placed on the dash (about
2" away from the Alpine NAV antenna). Closer seems to give interference.
The second connection is a special cable with sockets that directly go
into the back of the Eclipse head unit and to the Sirius radio itself.
You can place this box anywhere you like. Most would place it somewhere
behind the Alpine NAV head unit deep within the dash. I have
placed mine behind the passenger seat. This allows me to switch radios
quickly and use one Sirius radio in two cars easily. Figure 26 shows
such a Sirius radio setup.
|Figure 25 Sirius radio
for Eclipse NAV system
||Figure 26. Location of
Sirius radio behind passenger seat
Attaching a Rear & Front
View Backup Camera to an Eclipse NAV System
One really nice thing about the Eclipse system is that it has the
ability to add a backup camera to the system. When you put the car in
reverse an image of what is behind you appears on the screen.
Figure 27 shows how this camera is hooked into the Eclipse NAV system.
The camera is called a BEC105 unit. It is a small cubic unit with
a small lenses on one side.
|Figure 27. Attachment of camera to an
Eclipse NAV unit
||Figure 28. License frame with camera
The problem we have is trying to find a place to mount the camera at the
back of the car. The OEM Lamborghini unit is integrated nicely in the
rear spoiler. Clearly that could not be done here. I came across a
neat rear view camera system that actually has the camera located in the
license plate frame (Fig 28). I think there are a few others like
it out there. The problem is that they are not compatible with the
camera input to the Eclipse unit. You can see a video picture from
any camera but you have to select it from the screen menu - it will not
automatically display a rear view image when in reverse.
So this is what I
did. I removed the camera unit from the i-CAM frame. Cut away some
plastic and glued/molded the Eclipse BEC105 unit into the frame. I
used a little epoxy and body filler to seal the unit in place. The
unit is shown in figure 29 below. The single lead is run through a
small hole in the rear bumper plastic behind the license plate, up to
the top of the bumper on the inside across an along the side of the car
frame through the firewall and into the passenger area. From there
it is run through the center compartment of the car Figure 28. This is
all described in detail here.
For those with more
time on their hands; you can also use the left over camera from the
above i-CAM unit.
I placed this camera just behind the left front radiator plastic grill
(fig 30) beside the front radar
detector unit. With this camera (manually selected) on the
Eclipse unit I can get a close up view of the front bumper area of the
car. This turns out to be very useful in parking lots where you wish to
avoid scratching your front bumper by pulling up too close. Figure
31 shows a view of an image as seen from this front view camera. Sorry
this image was taken without a flash and with poor lighting.
|Figure 29. License Plate camera
||Figure 30. Front view camera location
||Figure 31. Image from
front view camera