Subaru: New in-car display

Hey. This page is more than 5 years old! The content here is probably outdated, so bear that in mind. If this post is part of a series, there may be a more recent post that supersedes this one.

Our 2006 Subaru Legacy, when new, must have been the NUTS. It is crammed with entertainment tech to make those 00s Tokyo traffic jams more manageable.

A standard morning of Tokyo traffic? Well at least I can watch my box DVD set of LoveJoy, or the morning news

Redundant stuff

Unfortunately, in 2018, in New Zealand, pretty much all the gizmos are next to useless. The car came equipped with:

Mix-minidisc on eBay. Not paying $200 for them though!
  1. A 6 CD/MP3 stacker,
  2. mini-disc (yep! apparently Minidiscs were massive in Japan),
  3. A DVD drive in the glove box,
  4. A hard-drive for MP3s (in glove box too) and;
  5. a TFT touchscreen in-car computer system
The engine stats page from the Japanese system. ‘V’ and ‘%’ …no idea! I did try and Google Translate it one time.

Useful stuff

The two still-useful features are the reversing camera – it flicks on when you go into reverse – and the current outside temp from a sensor somewhere.

I am going to add the cd player and minidisc to ‘useful’ – they are part of the main head unit.

I would love to integrate the DVD and HD into a new system too.

What to do?

I have had the car for a year now and decided to pull the screen etc and replace it because:

  • The whole system is in Japanese, with no English option. I was communicating with a guy who said he could upload an English translation, but he went silent when push came to shove. Maybe he was busy, maybe (s)he was a bull-shitter.
  • The DVD video is locked to region 2. New Zealand is region 4.
  • The sat nav has only a map of Japan only. Everything else is just ‘the ocean’. You can (apparently) load in a non Japan map.
  • The in-system clock, whatever you tried, sets itself back to Japanese time – I assume it comes off the GPS. Dunno.
‘The English translation’ version from the Guy/Gal-who-said-they-could do it. hum? Whatever.
Snapshot from YouTube vid of a unit in the US. Makes in wonder (i) in hindsight could I just have sourced one of these from the US? (ii) Is the photo above just bull shit?
NZ navigation system…out of date the moment you get it. But I do dig the 8-bit-alike colours. Incidentally, this is also from the-Guy/Gal-who-said-they-could. (I don’t think so). There are people who can sort out the maps though…but why???


I procrastinated over a few options but ended up with a Raspberry pi 3B+ and the official raspberry pi 7″ touchscreen running Emteria OS, an Android build.

It’s not ideal – slow to boot and laggy in service, and no reversing cam at the minute, but I do have my car stats courtesy of the BTSSM app. The BTSSM app does the basics – I am using a VAG-KKL 409.1 USB cable. I tried Bluetooth options- they did not work.

The video below is my replacement running (yes, the buttons are a work in progress). This series of posts is to be what I have done.

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