BMW CIC carplay retrofit adventures

I decided to buy one of those boxes that retrofits  carplay into an older BMW that has never had carplay available.

Most online as kits are priced all over the road,   from $700 to $200 and beyond.  and if you do any research  paying close attention to the ad's you notice that they are all extremely similar.  Looks like the same box, or a similar box.  Connectors the same, etc...    which makes me believe one or two places make these things.  but why the disparity in pricing?   I think that is if the place actually tests the stuff, or do they simply rebox it and ship it.   Now remember,  these are honestly hacks.  It's injecting it's own video in the LVDS cable to the screen.  it will simply switch from passthrough to it's video then back.  and carplay on these is completely pirated or a china crack/hack  Apple does not license carplay to random companies.  You have to meet their requirements, so I knew what I was getting into.

So I chose the latter.   Found a Cheap $250 box on ebay and got it shipped,  from china.    spent the afternoon installing it and.... it doesnt work.  CIC only gives me the dreaded red screen.  check all kinds of connections,  check the box settings.... nope.   Red screen.

So now I get to spend $50 to ship it back to china for a refund.   I knew this had a  big risk to it, I gambled and lost.  Sadly I can't tell you brand except for china.

If you are going to try one of these,   I do suggest getting one local to you, at least from a seller in your country.  Ask them if they actually open each box and test it.  can they send you a video of the actual box they sell in operation?    Most of these sellers are drop shippers or reshippers.  They do not actually have any way of testing the stuff and they hope it was right when they got it.

There is a big reason why there are not many reviews of these things online, the Price point is stupidly high, and the chances of getting something that does not work is also very high with no real assistance.