Honda Navigation Hacking

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Revision as of 12:15, 22 February 2010 by Craig (talk | contribs) (Working with the firmware: compiling your own binaries)
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I have a Honda Civic 2009 with Navigation (NavTeq) builtin. After a year of having my car I decided it was time to start digging into the Navigation system to see if I could make it do more things. After some research I saw lots of work was done by AngryDad in 2006 for the Honda Civic/Accord system. There appears to be no real work since then.

Getting Started

First you need to get to the DVD for the Navigation software. It is under the CDROM. Press the Open button for the screen to come down. Under the CDROM is a black cover. Pop that down with the tab and then you should see the hidden DVD-ROM. Press eject (or 'map') and it should eject a DVD. The version should be on the DVD but they are also color coded.

  • v3.x - Orange Disk (See AngryDad's forum below)
  • v4.x - White Disk (See guicide's info below)
  • v6.x - Teal Disk (This is mine...lucky me :)

The system runs the Hitatchi SuperH SH-4 Processor. This processor is specially designed for floating point and vector math and was made popular by the Dreamcast Gameconsole. Today it's mainly used for a few media terminals and automobile dashboard units. It's a 64-bit processor. The software is Windows CE (wince). The tools from v3.x don't really work on v6 but the update tool for v4 is a good jumping point for our work.

I'll attempt to repost any relevant info from the other forums here as well.

Copy from the CD

You'll need these files from the CD to do an update (basically the same as v4.x)

  • 09AVN2.bin
  • 09AVN.bin
  • A0000_00.MNG
  • DCA0.REG
  • UPDATE_APL.exe

We will be working with 09AVN2.bin for all of our changes but you'll need the other files when it's time to burn your 'update' disk.

Working with the firmware

For windows you can download the file from the v4.x site. This will list and extract all the files and can update non-module files (non-exe/dlls) for v6.x. Because I only have a windows box at work (and it does not have an internet connection) I mainly use Linux. The source was available for Bysin and it's in VC++ and uses CECompressv4.dll. I decided I could fairly easily port the code (minus the windows DLL) to linux. THe CECompress stuff is just Microsofts LZX compression stuff (like in CAB files) but with it's own proprietary structure for the .bin files. Ideally I'll just write the LZX algo into my linux code and then it will be cross-platform compatible w/o the need of any DLLs.

When porting a fixed some small bugs with the original Bysin code and more importantly added the ability to update modules. You don't need this feature to change images but you do if you want to change text or the way the actual program behaves. Keep in mind that when listing the contents of the DLLs the modules will often times be marked as compressed (they start with a 'C' in the listing) but when you inspect the headers they actually are not. Go ahead and try to update even the ones marked as compressed. If you see a TODO message about compression then do NOT upload it to your car and just revert back. So far I haven't ran into any modules that truly are compressed.

Compiling your own binaries

Instead of modifying a binary it should be possible to compile my own. I haven't gotten to this yet but I think the CE binaries are Embedded Visual C and they used Microsofts Automotive Platform Development kit. I'll post more when I get to this step.

Uploading Hacks

You can use just a CD-R (no need to use a DVD-R). Just copy the above files (Including your modified 09AVN2.bin of course!) to the CD-R. Replace the Navigation DVD with the CD-R. When the car is turned on it will show you an error message about contacting your dealer or something.

Press: Map & Menu & Cancel buttons all at the same time for 5 seconds until you hear a beep.

Then a dialog should pop up. Pick the bottom button (I think it says diagnostic)

Then pick "Version"

Then push the button that says "Download"

(NOTE: See guicides tutorials for step by step details [1])

It should then read your CD and 'download' your new changes. This takes almost 5 minutes for the progress bar to complete...sloooow. But once it's done it should reboot and your changes should be there. You will need to replace the original Navigation DVD for anything but the Splash Screen to work. But once the original DVD is in all your custom code would work (hopefully) fine.

My Hacks

Here are the hacks I've done with my linux code w/o details. I will try to duplicate the older hacks as well as add my own.

Splash Screen Hack

You will find a file called OpeningBase.bmp. This is the background image (The Earth's horizon on mine) For some reason Gimp can not view this image but I noticed that M$ paint could. I need to figure out what's up with that. Anyhow you can however create an image with the same dimensions as save it as a 16-bit BMP file (In gimp use the Advanced dropdown when saving).

Also the radio will overlay the Honda logo and text over this image. These files are called Honda_emblem.bmp and Navi_Title.bmp respectively. The transparencies are not working very well for me at the moment (I get a green aura around the images) But since BMP doesn't support transparency I have no idea what method the car is using yet.

Nag Screen Text Hack

The Text for the Nag screen that tells you something about the operations manual or something...never read it... Can be found in HMIManager.dll. You can use a hexeditor to change it. Just make sure the file is the same size before you upload it. HMIManager.dll is a 'module' in 09AVN2.bin and that code is very alpha so be careful :)


  • cerom - Linux wince dumping tool (Will upload shortly)