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Audi A7 Head Up + night vision retrofit

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Old 03-04-2014, 08:38 AM   #1
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Default Audi A7 Head Up + night vision retrofit

Currently I have an Audi A7 TDI 180kW and I want to add some extra features as I bought it off the dealership and it didn't have some 'toys'. On German ebay I found the parts I want and I have beent thinking whether I can install them by myself and activate them somehow with VAG-COM. My dealer told me that such thing is impossible for my car and there is no way of retrofitting any extra audi oem parts plus it would discontinue the warranty. Is it true that it is impossible to activate it with the VAG-COM or are there any other barriers?

If not, then I will try to order them and fit them myself. I already had some experience with retrofiting navigation to my old bimmer, but I have no idea how the audi system works.

The parts would be as follows:
The head up display unit
The new light switch
Night vision control unit:
Night vision camera:
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Old 03-05-2014, 03:59 PM   #2
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I emailed the part supplier and the only answer I got was 'We dont know'. Is it really impossible to retrofit those parts?
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Old 03-05-2014, 04:23 PM   #3
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After a little of research, for the future retrofitters: if you want to replace or install the head-up display, you must remove the windshield and/or replace it with a special one that has a PVB foil lining inside of it. As far as I could get from the manuals, most of the control modules are within the unit and need no add-ons (except a new light switch). The part connects to Terminal 30, Terminal 31 and Display and Control CAN.
So for retrofitting you need not only the part itself and a new light switch, but also a new windshield.

Resource: The 2012 Audi A7 Occupant Protection, Infotainment, Climate Control, and Head-Up Display

I still don't know how to figure out the VAG-COM stuff and if anyone would help me, I would highly appreciate.
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Old 03-05-2014, 05:01 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by simonas View Post
After a little of research, for the future retrofitters: if you want to replace or install the head-up display, you must remove the windshield and/or replace it with a special one that has a PVB foil lining inside of it. As far as I could get from the manuals, most of the control modules are within the unit and need no add-ons (except a new light switch). The part connects to Terminal 30, Terminal 31 and Display and Control CAN.
So for retrofitting you need not only the part itself and a new light switch, but also a new windshield.

Resource: The 2012 Audi A7 Occupant Protection, Infotainment, Climate Control, and Head-Up Display

I still don't know how to figure out the VAG-COM stuff and if anyone would help me, I would highly appreciate.
From what I've learned over the two and a half years I have owned my A7 is that retrofitting options simply does not make sense.

First of all the cost of the parts is prohibitive, even if you can do the work yourself.

The other issue is that practically every part has coding, and the codes have a great interdependence on what other items are installed in the vehicle. Some of the coding is accessible and can be changed with the VAG-COM cable and software but there is a bunch of stuff that is not accessible with it. On top of that, there is very little info on what the codes supposed to be.

The central computer at Audi AG keeps the info on every vehicle based on its serial number. If you take the car in for service, it is hooked up to the computer and most codes get reset to their original values.

I found that I can trade my car up to a newer model with the options I want for less money than the parts to do the upgrade would cost, and that way it is guaranteed to work.

If you search the forums, you will find a number of sob-stories from people who spent countless hours (besides the money for the parts) trying to make a modification to work and have never succeeded.

By the way, I do have the night vision camera system in my car. It is a great conversation piece to show it to somebody, very impressive but it is a totally useless thing and a complete waste of money. My next A7 will not have it.

Last edited by fkaufman; 03-05-2014 at 05:06 PM.
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Old 05-18-2015, 03:53 PM   #5
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I found that I can trade my car up to a newer model with the options I want for less money than the parts to do the upgrade would cost, and that way it is guaranteed to work.
That might work only if there is a demand for the car with given options. Otherwise the value of extra options is nil and the cost of upgrade is rather huge. If you have this possibility, you are rather lucky.

I would hope that car makers realize there is lot of money in retrofit market and would start offering component upgrades themselves. Current policy is rather shortsighted.

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By the way, I do have the night vision camera system in my car. It is a great conversation piece to show it to somebody, very impressive but it is a totally useless thing and a complete waste of money. My next A7 will not have it.
Exactly my observation. The first generation is only a useless toy.
But ironically there is a chance that at the time your next A7 comes out, it will be improved substantially and actually made useful (and you would miss on that).
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Old 05-19-2015, 06:01 AM   #6
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Some of the toys given are useless and the only thing I really liked and would of loved to have is the HUD and ACC. At the time I got my A7 I it was only included in the Tech Pkg. That was quite upsetting. One of the main reasons why I got the Prem Plus vs Prestige.
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Old 05-19-2015, 10:49 AM   #7
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By the way, I do have the night vision camera system in my car. It is a great conversation piece to show it to somebody, very impressive but it is a totally useless thing and a complete waste of money. My next A7 will not have it.
I use it for spotting deer....it works way better for that then your headlights and looking for eye reflections. The range is impressive. Won't help if a deer comes charging out at the last second, but for spotting them up ahead along the side of the road it's fantastic.

My eyes do get drawn to it when bright white objects appear.....spotted several deer already in just a few outings at night since I got the car.
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Old 05-19-2015, 10:55 AM   #8
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I use it for spotting deer....it works way better for that then your headlights and looking for eye reflections. The range is impressive. Won't help if a deer comes charging out at the last second, but for spotting them up ahead along the side of the road it's fantastic.

My eyes do get drawn to it when bright white objects appear.....spotted several deer already in just a few outings at night since I got the car.
Ooo... how can I forget about deer? However, I live in SE MI so not too many dear xings around but still that is a good reason to have it.
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Old 05-25-2015, 04:50 AM   #9
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Problem with that is that you have to remember to turn it on every time and you need to have it displayed on the dashboard.

If they implemented the following features, it would be dramatically more useful:
1) Ability to turn it on automatically on startup (during the day)
2) Reliable animal detection with presentation in the HUD (might already be improved since the 2015 facelift)
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Old 05-25-2015, 06:44 AM   #10
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3) Have the night vision display on the HUD instead of just in the DIS.
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Old 05-25-2015, 09:13 PM   #11
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3) Have the night vision display on the HUD instead of just in the DIS.
+1.
Yes Yes. Night vision in HUD would be GREAT so we don't have to look down and take eyes off road. Cadillac projects night vision on windshield but never seen this first-hand so not sure if it works well.
I've seen Night vision cameras on Ebay few times. Only once did I see a night vision controller available. I did see a Youtube video of an electrical guru trying to make the night vision camera work as an independent system outside of the car but didn't work. I saw a post of same attempt with caddilac system and that did work. For the Audi system, the posts and theories that followed were that the Audi system communicates and looks for signals from many other on-board systems to complete the signal loop and enable proper operation. In other words, everything was tied together electronically in order to work. So even if HUD isn't used for the night vision system, it's anybody's guess if it is possibly used to relay signals for it to work.

I scored a Cadillac Night vision system and HUD from a junkyard once to replicate the successful retrofit I saw, but unfortunately the camera was fried. = (
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Old 05-26-2015, 11:36 AM   #12
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For the Audi system, the posts and theories that followed were that the Audi system communicates and looks for signals from many other on-board systems to complete the signal loop and enable proper operation. In other words, everything was tied together electronically in order to work. So even if HUD isn't used for the night vision system, it's anybody's guess if it is possibly used to relay signals for it to work.
Since the HUD does display a warning signal, it would be in the loop. The VAG COM is a process logic controller (PLC). The programming can be changed to delete/alter the other systems input signals to achieve the desired output signals. All you need is programming knowledge, secret codes to get into where you're not supposed to go and luck.
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Old 05-26-2015, 11:36 AM
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