Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Head Unit In Your Toyota Alphard

The NFL giant (Toyota Alphard) comes with an 8-inch head unit with touch-screen LCD display. It is a 2-DIN unit that combine many control functions like GPS, audio video, sound system, vehicle information, parking guide monitor, lane monitoring system, sonar sensor, ETC system, and G-Book online service system.

Toyota call it the HDD Navigation System and provided a two volumes manual for the owner references. However, both manuals are in Japanese so I'll attempt to provide the information necessary to help owners to operate the head unit (as I loosely refer to the NFL HDD Navigation System).

Even though some of the buttons on the front of the head unit are in English, the displayed contents are in Japanese. For non-Japanese speaking owner, it will be quite a challenge in operating the head-unit trying to decipher the functions.

There are two options for the desperate owner; one to replace the head unit with an OEM head unit that has the buttons printed in English, however, all the content are still in Japanese so it doesn't help much. Two, to replace the entire head unit with after-market unit with English content but they may lose some functionalities such as front/rear camera line view, bluetooth connection, steering button control etc with come with the original head unit.

This post will attempt to explain some of the more common steps on how to operate the original head unit with photos as a guide.

When you turn on the ignition, the head unit display will also turn on as shown in the photo below

Toyota Alphard OEM HU
The first thing you'll heard is the voice of a sweet Japanese girl announcing the current date (obviously in Japanese). After that the display will prompt you with the message that you have not inserted the ETC card as shown in the photo below.

Toyota Alphard HU ETC Message

ETC is the equivalent of our SmartTAG toll payment gadget we have in this country. The ETC function is integrated into the head unit but it cannot be used in here since it is operating in a different mode from our Touch n Go system. You'll probably find a ETC card unit installed somewhere in your giant but it will not useable here. Many owner use it as card holder for the Touch n Go card instead.

You can turn off the date and ETC announcement if you don't need them. I will cover this in the other post.

After the ETC announcement, you'll operate the head unit by pressing the buttons around the edge of the head unit. Referring to the first photo above, from the top right in clockwise direction, the buttons are:

1. Power button - press it to turn on or off the head unit
2. "TUNE TRACK" button - use to tune the radio channel frequency or to select a particular music track while playing musics from the hard disk
3. "Information" button - use to receive traffic information (only work in Japan)
4. DISC button - this button cycle between the HDD function and the DVD function.
5. AM FM button - this button cycle between the AM radio channel and FM radio channel
5. MD button - this button operate the Mini Disc function.
6. TV button - this button operate the TV function or the Video function. Japanese TV transimission is based on NTSC format while our is PAL so the TV function cannot be use here.
7. 情報G button - this button operate the G-book online services. The G-book online services required registration with the G-Book Center in Japan and it only work in Japan but you can use it to configure some general settings for the head unit
8. "目的地設定" button - This button is used to configure the destination settings for the GPS function. This function is not operational here since the built-in GPS system don't work here
9. "メニユー" button - this button brings up the menu function to configure the GPS settings
10. " 現在地" button - this button allow you to configure the "current locations" settings for the GPS function, again not useable here.
11. "オーデイオ" button - this button brings up the audio screen display when you operate the DVD/HDD functions
12. " 画質.消" button - when you press this button, it will either bring up the display or cancel of the display
13. "Eject" button - this button flip open the LCD screen to allow you to access to the DVD/MD slots

In the next few posts I'll cover how to operate the radio, DVD, and HDD functions.


  1. Can we install garmin or papago in this head unit, any professional car accessory shop can do this in Malaysia?
    If anyone know pls post it here thanks...

  2. Hi iLoveDr.M,

    I don't think it is possible to install either of the GPS map into our head unit.

    I heard a member in AOC did have some kind of GPS solution retrofitted into his NFL HU but I didn't have a chance to meet up with him to check it out.

    If you managed to find a solution, would appreiciate if you can share with me.


  3. Hi,

    i'm also looking for a way to install GPS map to the original HU.

    I heard from my friend, that his cousins was travelling with Japanese person *which understand technical matters. with just several click, the GPS can show the Indonesia map. I have no clue which GPS data / format that they install. but it seems possible to install.

    I also join AOC, and found out, that there's malaysian already install Malay, Sing, Thai onto his HU. and shown in pictures. So. it is possible.

    if anyone know or heard about this installation. please share...


  4. Please kindly advice if this link can help to modify the GPS a bit


    I tried to google translate it to modify my HU of 2007 Estima
    but fail to understand it, but it seems interesting info they have.


  5. Does anyone knows how or where to tune the TV to local TV (Malaysia)? and how can we integrate or install malaysian map (GPS) inside the original HU. Hope someone has the solution..been asking around about this with no answers yet.

    1. I think this is the one question that many giant owners are asking for. It would be nice to provide a solution to them so that they can enjoy watching TV in their giant.

      However there is the issue of TV license that the owner needs to be conscious of and also the law of using the Navi system while driving.

      I don't have any answers to these questions. Sorry

  6. I have alphard asg 2007, and now, the head unit is cant turn on and also all of the button is not response at all. Can u figure it out to fix it? Tq

    1. I am not sure if I understand your problem. If the HU can't turn on, then I guess the buttons will not functions. Is there any electrical changes made recently?

  7. Hi, I am Zulfian in Indonesia.
    I have a MZG V6 2005 with exactly the same HU as in above pictures.

    The problem is that the sound is completely off when I turn the HU on, included the japanese voice (sonar) is gone/ off/. Cannot turn it on with the volume switches on the HU nor on the steering wheel.

    Do you know what is wrong ? and how can I fix it ?
    Awaiting desperately.

    Best regards

    1. Sorry for the late reply.

      I don't know if it is electrical related or that the HU has completely failed.

      Please get a reputable workshop to check on this.

  8. I was told tht the GPS system used in the HU for JDM model is not useable here.

    The website you posted provide info on how to retrofit OEM Navi into Toyota cars including Alphard and Estima. It doesn't provide any info on how to tweak to the GPS to work here.