Saturday, July 17, 2021

I Will Never Have a Post-Factory Stereo Installed Again

When we bought my wife's Jeep we did not even think about CDs.  So several years ago I had a Pioneer AVH-2330NEC installed, which has a CD player.   The voice feature for making calls through your cellphone was a safety feature I thought important.   For the first year it worked fine.  BestBuy's installer mentioned Android Auto but I did not what it was.  I should have asked.

As some point some Android update turned Android Auto on as a normal boot app.  From then on, it no longer allowed her say Call <name>.  Repeated efforts by Geek Squad never worked for more than a few weeks and I was no more successful than Geek Squad.

So we went to a Pioneer dealer in the hopes that they would debug this.  Their solution was a Pioneer AVH-2500NEX.  ($1000 by the time we were done.)  This was supposed to do Android Auto.  It did work somewhat randomly.   When it worked it was very cool.

After four visits to the Pioneer dealer and two wild goose chases that ended up at BestBuy, it seems to be solved.  Android Auto is very picky about the USB cable because of bandwidth.   The Pioneer dealer told us that we have to buy the right cable at BestBuy.  They do not stock the USB cable required to make their product work.

No more buying yearend closeout cars!  It is cheaper but my sanity is worth a lot more. If it does not have all the features in the stereo we want, we will not buy it. 

Now I see that Pioneer says the AVH-2330NEX supports Android Auto (perhaps with a firmware upgrade).   Either the Pioneer dealer was not competent to know this or they just wanted to sell another stereo.  It appears that the fourth visit did not solve the problem.   

The next step is to tell them to put the AVH-2330NEX back in and refund our money.   Fortunately we paid on Discover so we can refuse payment for being either incompetent at installing or for misleading us as to the need for a new stereo.  As it turns out, it was likely both.

It is actually working correctly with both of our phones!  It appears the problem with my wife's phone was that we needed to set it to automatically unlock when it was in Bluetooth contact with the stereo even though it appears that Bluetooth lacks the required bandwidth to do Android Auto.  That is a shame because having to plug and unplug the phone each time you enter or exit the Jeep is annoying.

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