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Old 11-14-2016, 02:42 PM   #1
mortybryant
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Default STARLINK 7" w/ Navi + HK Headunit Upgrade

Has anyone with the STARLINK 7" w/ Navi + Harmon Kardon system upgraded their headunit? Just curious if it was a pretty simple swap and what HU you ended up going with. I've heard the HK system makes the swap difficult..

Thanks.
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Old 11-15-2016, 05:05 PM   #2
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Surely to God someone has done this. I can't be the only one that's ever looked into it, lol.
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Old 11-17-2016, 04:47 PM   #3
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AFAIK you have to do more work than the non HK version as the HK sends a digital signal to a seperate AMP/Processor in the trunk. I haven't heard of a replacement for that unit yet that is plug and play. PLUS the HVAC controls are essentially a part of the HK/NAVI headunit and you need a new trim piece for the whole thing.
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Old 11-17-2016, 05:01 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by lycwolf View Post
AFAIK you have to do more work than the non HK version as the HK sends a digital signal to a seperate AMP/Processor in the trunk. I haven't heard of a replacement for that unit yet that is plug and play. PLUS the HVAC controls are essentially a part of the HK/NAVI headunit and you need a new trim piece for the whole thing.


The HVAC controls are just like the base model units. Unless I'm completely missing something.
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Old 11-20-2016, 07:31 PM   #5
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There is a thread about a Andriod HU people are putting in place of various OEM HU, Im thinking about it for my starlink 7.0 in H/K, If you want to go give it a look.

http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show....php?t=2761199
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Old 11-20-2016, 07:33 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by braxwrx View Post
There is a thread about a Andriod HU people are putting in place of various OEM HU, Im thinking about it for my starlink 7.0 in H/K, If you want to go give it a look.

http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show....php?t=2761199

Yeah Subispeed sells that HU. They say that it won't work properly with the HK system, lots of distortion.
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Old 11-20-2016, 07:42 PM   #7
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people have done it you just have to wire it little different, its in the thread.
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Old 11-20-2016, 08:19 PM   #8
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I got ya. I don't carry an Android phone, so I'm still outta luck.
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Old 11-22-2016, 03:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mortybryant View Post
Has anyone with the STARLINK 7" w/ Navi + Harmon Kardon system upgraded their headunit? Just curious if it was a pretty simple swap and what HU you ended up going with. I've heard the HK system makes the swap difficult..
Subaru radically changed the h/k system in the newest models (2016-2018 WRX, STi, & Forester; 2017-2018 Impreza; 2018 Crosstrek; and 2015-2018 Legacy & Outback).

The old h/k HUs still had 4 powered (amplified) speaker outputs. The HU still performed all of the balance/fade and EQ adjustments on those 4 outputs. Those 4 outputs were fed into the h/k amp, and the amp generated 8 outputs (4 doors, 2 tweeters, and a dual-voicecoil sub). There was no other communication between the HU and amp. In those cars, it's possible to only replace the OEM HU with aftermarket and keep the h/k amp. In this case, people found that it's better to send the new HU's line level outputs to the h/k amp (instead of the HU's amplified speaker-level outputs to the h/k amp).

On the new h/k system, the new STARLINK-style HUs only provide 2 audio outputs, at a fixed volume! I'm guessing the HU's audio signals are line level (not amplified). The HU has several separate control lines that talk to the new style h/k amp. The amp handles all of the volume/balance/fade and EQ functions.

The communication between the OEM HU and new h/k amp is via proprietary signals. It's extremely unlikely anyone will develop a box that would allow you to integrate an aftermarket HU with the new h/k amp.

So if your car has the new-style h/k amp and you want to replace the OEM HU, you'll need to replace the h/k amp as well. Likewise, if you want to keep your OEM HU but add aftermarket amp(s), you'll have to keep your h/k amp and connect to the h/k amp's outputs.

If you're shopping for a new Subaru and know you're going to want to install an aftermarket head unit, it will be better to choose a model without the new h/k system.

Last edited by SVXdc; 11-11-2017 at 05:08 PM. Reason: clarified/rephrased a few things; updated years
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Old 02-04-2017, 08:32 PM   #10
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I'll add I got a Toyota rental last week and the hu was almost identical setup right down to the gracenote version
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Old 07-06-2017, 11:53 PM   #11
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Sorry to resurrect a seemingly dead thread here but I just wanted to see if anyone could point me in the right direction here. I have looked all around and can't seem to find any other threads that deal with my particular issue.

I have a 2017 WRX limited with the H/K system and I have installed the V2 android head unit from subiespeed. I figured out real quick that it wasn't going to work without an amp so I purchased and installed an alpine MRV-V500 amp. I mounted it under the passenger seat and ran all the speaker wires to the stock H/K amp in the trunk. Everything sound wise works great, The speakers a clear and crisp (installed a high pass filter for the 3" speakers in the dash and I am running them in parallel with the front door speakers). I left all of the stock harnesses to the amp unplugged and just put tape over the contacts and zip tied them out of the way.

My issue is with the starlink system. I plugged in the module and installed it behind my new head unit and it functions correctly as far as the lock/unlock/location features but I am getting a red light and periodic emails telling me that there are issues with the system. I'm pretty sure that at least one issue is that it isn't reading the speakers and I would assume I can't get the voice related functions (like roadside assistance/ SOS etc) to work.

Would it be safe to plug in all the harnesses to the H/K amp and see if that clears up my issues? I was under the impression that you don't want to feed power back into an aftermarket amp (or any amp) through the output speaker wires. I don't even know if that would fix the problem. Can anyone help me out here? Thanks.
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Old 07-22-2017, 09:17 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRCrutc View Post
...
I have a 2017 WRX limited with the H/K system and I have installed the V2 android head unit from subiespeed. I figured out real quick that it wasn't going to work without an amp so I purchased and installed an alpine MRV-V500 amp. I mounted it under the passenger seat and ran all the speaker wires to the stock H/K amp in the trunk.
...
I left all of the stock harnesses to the amp unplugged and just put tape over the contacts and zip tied them out of the way.

My issue is with the starlink system. I plugged in the module and installed it behind my new head unit and it functions correctly as far as the lock/unlock/location features but I am getting a red light and periodic emails telling me that there are issues with the system. I'm pretty sure that at least one issue is that it isn't reading the speakers and I would assume I can't get the voice related functions (like roadside assistance/ SOS etc) to work.

Would it be safe to plug in all the harnesses to the H/K amp and see if that clears up my issues? I was under the impression that you don't want to feed power back into an aftermarket amp (or any amp) through the output speaker wires. I don't even know if that would fix the problem. Can anyone help me out here? Thanks.
Yes, the problem is that your car's telematics module is no longer seeing the car's speakers.

Subaru's wiring diagrams refer to that as the Data Communications Module. The DCM is the box that was docked to the bottom of your 7" OEM HU.

No, don't plug the factory harnesses back into your h/k amp.

In cars with the DCM and the h/k amp, the outputs for the dash tweeters go from the h/k amp directly into the DCM. When not in "assistance" mode, the DCM simply pipes that audio onward to the tweeters. After a crash or when you press the "assistance" button, the DCM hijacks those speakers (and the OEM microphone) from your audio system.

If you want the SOS system to continue working without the error messages, you'll need to connect the DCM to some speakers. Two ways you can do this (without hacking into factory wires):
  1. Get some new cheap speakers or tweeters. Connect those to the factory harnesses that were plugged into the OEM tweeters. One of the plugs on the back of the DCM already has the connections from the DCM to those tweeter harnesses. You won't need to do anything with the harnesses at the h/k amp.

    The DCM may only be checking for one of the two tweeters. Try temporarily just connecting one and see if the SOS system stops complaining. If that's the case, let us know which one it wants -- left or right.
    .
  2. Re-use the factory wiring from the h/k amp to the tweeters, and integrate that with your aftermarket amplifier. Here, you'll need to reconnect the OEM tweeters to the factory tweeter harnesses in the dash. Then obtain a "forward" 12-pin harness to connect to one of the speaker harnesses that was originally plugged into the h/k amp. Connect the tweeter outputs from your aftermarket amp to those speaker wires.

    The 12-pin harness is a Metra 70-7992 (or equivalent). Extract the wires from that and re-pin so you only have the 4 wires that go to the tweeters.
For people who don't care about retaining the SOS system (like after the free subscription has expired), you can use a resistor to serve as a "dummy load" instead of a real speaker.
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Old 07-23-2017, 01:23 AM   #13
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Thanks SVXDC for the reply. I already have the dash tweeters connected to the factory amp I'm running a high pass filter and using the front output bridged to both the doors and tweeters from the amp. I ran the output for the front speakers from the aftermarket amp to H/K harness in the trunk and then split it between the tweeters (with a high pass filter) and the door speakers. I never disconnected the dash tweeters. I would assume though, that the DCM is sending a signal to the H/K amp (currently not connected) which then lets it cut in and take over the audio stream to the dash speakers. Is there a way of sending that same signal to those speakers without the H/K amp processing it? I will try to get a better look at the tweeters again tomorrow, but I would assume that the DCM doesn't have the ability to drive actual high level signal to the speakers and it would need something to amplify said signal to drive the speakers (please correct me if I'm wrong).

I wasn't able to find a good pin out for the DCM, do you have a good source for this? I wouldn't mind trying to trace it out myself.

Thanks again for your help!
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Old 07-29-2017, 03:55 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRCrutc View Post
Sorry to resurrect a seemingly dead thread here but I just wanted to see if anyone could point me in the right direction here. I have looked all around and can't seem to find any other threads that deal with my particular issue.

I have a 2017 WRX limited with the H/K system and I have installed the V2 android head unit from subiespeed. I figured out real quick that it wasn't going to work without an amp so I purchased and installed an alpine MRV-V500 amp. I mounted it under the passenger seat and ran all the speaker wires to the stock H/K amp in the trunk. Everything sound wise works great, The speakers a clear and crisp (installed a high pass filter for the 3" speakers in the dash and I am running them in parallel with the front door speakers). I left all of the stock harnesses to the amp unplugged and just put tape over the contacts and zip tied them out of the way.

My issue is with the starlink system. I plugged in the module and installed it behind my new head unit and it functions correctly as far as the lock/unlock/location features but I am getting a red light and periodic emails telling me that there are issues with the system. I'm pretty sure that at least one issue is that it isn't reading the speakers and I would assume I can't get the voice related functions (like roadside assistance/ SOS etc) to work.

Would it be safe to plug in all the harnesses to the H/K amp and see if that clears up my issues? I was under the impression that you don't want to feed power back into an aftermarket amp (or any amp) through the output speaker wires. I don't even know if that would fix the problem. Can anyone help me out here? Thanks.
Hi I found this thread because SVXdc refer me here. I think I may have the same setup as yours. I have installed Android Octa core from Green Yi in my 2017 WRX premium with HK system and obviously I will require an aftermarket amp. Fortunately the AU version of WRX 2017 does not come with emergency starlink so I don't think I will encounter problem like yours.

The alpine MRV-V500 amp can be found easily near where I live and there is someone selling this that I can pick up right away.

Unfortunately for me I don't have any experience with car amps. Do you think you can point me in the right direction in terms of wiring this alpine amps to work with our current HK system? Thanks in advance.
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Old 07-30-2017, 03:25 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by syamin View Post
Hi I found this thread because SVXdc refer me here. I think I may have the same setup as yours. I have installed Android Octa core from Green Yi in my 2017 WRX premium with HK system and obviously I will require an aftermarket amp. Fortunately the AU version of WRX 2017 does not come with emergency starlink so I don't think I will encounter problem like yours.

The alpine MRV-V500 amp can be found easily near where I live and there is someone selling this that I can pick up right away.

Unfortunately for me I don't have any experience with car amps. Do you think you can point me in the right direction in terms of wiring this alpine amps to work with our current HK system? Thanks in advance.
The install isn't super difficult but it can be complicated if you don't have a lot of experience. I decided to mount the Amp under my passenger seat and I did tap into the speaker wires coming out of the H/K amp and utilized the current stock speakers. I think they sound fine and I don't see a real need to upgrade them (unless you really want thumping bass, more later on this).

I bought a 4 gauge amp wiring kit from the internet and then I also purchased a set of RCA cables (I got one that had 6 connections, or 3 sets of simple RCA cables). You will need at least five RCA connectors (2 for the front speakers, 2 for the rear speakers, and 1 for the sub). I ended up using a simple y adapter to make my 1 sub output from the radio go to both sub inputs on the amp. I also bought a ton of speaker wire because I ran all the speaker wire from the new amp to the trunk where my H/K amp is. Here is the basic overview of how ran everything.



I ran the amp power wire from the battery up to the back of my firewall in the engine bay and then down to a rubber grommet on the passenger side of the engine bay:





I used some 3M "strip caulk" to "seal" the hole that I had to make in the rubber grommet. There are other methods for routing the power cable but this seemed to be the safest and cleanest from my perspective. There are several tutorials for this online.

As for the amp placement, As mentioned before I put mine under the passenger seat:



I had to modify (and then close off) the heater vents under the seat so it wouldn't blow hot air on the amp. I found that the carpet is super rigid here so I didn't actually screw the amp down to the underbody of the car but you might consider this if you do any offroading or have rough roads in your area (I might screw mine down later). I grounded the Amp to a ground point that I found under the seat, any clean metal spots would work though as long as it is close to the amp (the closer the better).

Then I ran all of the output speaker wire from the new amp to the trunk where my H/K amp was. I didn't have a diagram of the speaker wiring so I used the 9 volt battery method to test the twisted pairs of wires coming out of the H/K amp. If the speaker pops out then you have the polarity correct (positive to positive), if it pops in then you have it reversed. Here are the wire colors that I found in my car, but they may be different for you (I would suggest testing at least one set using the method noted above to verify that your wiring is the same as mine):



These wires were in two different harnesses and I didn't grab the pin locations but I can if you need them.

Here is a high level diagram of how I made the connections:



The diagram above doesn't show that I tapped into the H/K wiring but it does show what channel on my amp went to what speaker and how I divided 5 channels among 7 speakers. I also added high pass filters to the tweeters in the front dash. The dash speakers are about 3 inches so I just found a HPF online that was designed for 3 inch speakers and installed it inline with the positive speaker wire when I connected to it in the trunk. Also, the sub in my car was a dual coil sub so I wired it in parallel. I have the gain pretty low since it is only an 8 inch sub. It will clip pretty hard if you push the gain up on it. If you are looking for significantly more bass then a new subwoofer would probably be a good investment.

I used to do this for a living so I was pretty comfortable with the steps involved and it took me most of a day to complete. I would budget several days just to be safe if you aren't real familiar with the process. If you have any further questions feel free to ask.

Last edited by JRCrutc; 07-30-2017 at 03:46 PM.
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Old 07-30-2017, 11:40 PM   #16
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You can use off-the-shelf aftermarket car stereo harnesses to connect to your car's speaker harnesses that were plugged into the h/k amp.
Quote:
For the 10-pin harness (door speakers), use half of one of these Toyota harness:
  • Metra 70-1761
  • Raptor (Metra) TY-8100
  • Scosche TA02B
  • American International TWH-950
  • Best Kits BHA1761
For the 12-pin harness, one of these for a Suzuki:
  • Metra 70-7992
  • Scosche SI03B
  • American International SWH960
  • Best Kits BHA7992
You'll want to re-pin both harnesses so that the wire colors make sense, but that's fairly easy to do with a small jeweler's/eyeglasses screwdriver.

If you're keeping your h/k amp and want to grab the outputs from that amp (to feed into an aftermarket LOC, processor, amp, and/or subwoofer), you'll also need the reverse versions of the above harnesses (e.g., Metra 71-1761 and 71-7992).

I called harman/kardon's tech support and they confirmed that the polarities of the 8 speaker outputs are consistent across all Subaru models/years that have the h/k amp with the same sockets (24-pin, 10-pin, and 12-pin). I'll post those later. Be aware that you cannot assume that everything on the top rows are the (+) terminals.

Last edited by SVXdc; 09-14-2017 at 01:36 PM.
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Old 07-31-2017, 01:56 AM   #17
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@JRCrutc
Wow, thank you very much for such detailed explanation and the effort that has been put towards it. This makes the task a lot easier. Your explanation is very easy to understand.

@SVXdc
Thank you. I am off collecting those stuff now.
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Old 12-16-2017, 09:54 AM   #18
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I just recently brought the subispeed headunit for my STI 2016 HK with navi. I ordered all the recommended parts that the site offered for the 2016 STI. When I connect all the wires (via RCA plugs to the HU RCA plugs and connecting the amp con to the 3pin on the 10 pin harness ,from the car stereo) I get no sound. Is that due to the amp or am I supposed to still get sound, but be distorted? I'm going to follow the method that @JRCrutc is using, but I want to check to make sure I don't have a defected unit before proceeding with the aftermarker amp install.
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Old 11-03-2018, 05:17 PM   #19
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I have a 17 Subaru WRX STI with Harmon Kardon. I have been looking at the Seicane unit, I like that its Android, the size and the clean look. I have done as much research, and this does not seem to be a simple install. With that said, it appears that retention of the HK amp is not a possibility. I found one thread that talked about the Idatalink Maestro RR, but seems not with a Seicame unit, no serial connection.

So, I think, that bring be to 2 choices: Replace the HK amp with a Alpine MRV-V500 or choose a different headunit that may play better with the HK amp.

My tendency right now is to go with the Seicane, and the alpine amp. What and where should I get wiring harnesses to make this as simple and unobtrusive as possible.

Just want to make sure this will all work, with little or NO loss of currently functionality.

Thanks
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Old 11-03-2018, 08:14 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 509eagle View Post
I have a 17 Subaru WRX STI with Harmon Kardon. I have been looking at the Seicane unit, I like that its Android, the size and the clean look. I have done as much research, and this does not seem to be a simple install. With that said, it appears that retention of the HK amp is not a possibility. I found one thread that talked about the Idatalink Maestro RR, but seems not with a Seicame unit, no serial connection.

So, I think, that bring be to 2 choices: Replace the HK amp with a Alpine MRV-V500 or choose a different headunit that may play better with the HK amp.

My tendency right now is to go with the Seicane, and the alpine amp. What and where should I get wiring harnesses to make this as simple and unobtrusive as possible.

Just want to make sure this will all work, with little or NO loss of currently functionality.

Thanks
You'll have all functionality but you will not like the sound quality. I found it degraded the audio quality from the stock HK unit and amp. These Android units audio processors are really bad. I had the same setup with the Seicane like unit and the alpine amp. I ended up selling it off and getting an Avic 8400 and never looked back. Sounds better than my HK unit and I get wireless apple car play.
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Old 11-03-2018, 08:33 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tway22 View Post
You'll have all functionality but you will not like the sound quality. I found it degraded the audio quality from the stock HK unit and amp. These Android units audio processors are really bad. I had the same setup with the Seicane like unit and the alpine amp. I ended up selling it off and getting an Avic 8400 and never looked back. Sounds better than my HK unit and I get wireless apple car play.
I had a sneaking suspicion this would be the case, which is why I haven't given them much thought.

Better to leave audio processing improvement to companies that specialize in audio (such as the aftermarket HU manufacturers). The Android units probably tossed in some basic audio processing and called it a day. Would be acceptable in a phone, but not when providing a signal to car amps and speakers.
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Old 11-04-2018, 01:05 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tway22 View Post
You'll have all functionality but you will not like the sound quality. I found it degraded the audio quality from the stock HK unit and amp. These Android units audio processors are really bad. I had the same setup with the Seicane like unit and the alpine amp. I ended up selling it off and getting an Avic 8400 and never looked back. Sounds better than my HK unit and I get wireless apple car play.
I also just had the Pioneer AVIC W8400NEX installed in my 2017 WRX LTD back in August, and it works great using the Mestro RR to connect it to my Starlink, backup camera, and steering wheel controls.

I had the factory 7" Navigation with 440W HK, and for almost 2 years I was using an Audio Control LC-7i to connect the factory HU and amp to my 5-ch JL Audio amp and Focal Speakers + dual 10" Kenwood sub, and it sounded much much better than stock. I was waiting to install a nicer HU once they had options for SWC, starlink and backup cam.

But with the W8400 the sound upgrade is incredible now - it took forever for the Mestro to support the 2017 WRX for SWC, Backup, and Starlink. I even have the gauges now, and can see EGT and AFR, and other parameters.

I highly recommend the Pioneer head units - I have the AVIC 8200NEX in my Forester XT, while I try to convince my wife to let me install my 1 year old 4201NEX into her 2013 Tribeca. It's just sitting in the closet collecting dust right now (1st bought the 4200 in Nov 2016, and it was replaced with a new 4201 by car toys last spring under extended warranty).
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Old 11-05-2018, 07:02 AM   #23
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I have been talked out of the Seicane unit, just seems to problematic. So now I find myself looking at Kenwood and Pioneer. Amazing how each company can have so many different model, do add to the confusion.

Android Wireless --- How many actually use it wirelessly. Only the top model have it. Or do you just end up plugging in your phone anyways.
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Old 11-05-2018, 11:18 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 509eagle View Post
I have been talked out of the Seicane unit, just seems to problematic. So now I find myself looking at Kenwood and Pioneer. Amazing how each company can have so many different model, do add to the confusion.

Android Wireless --- How many actually use it wirelessly. Only the top model have it. Or do you just end up plugging in your phone anyways.
Android auto burns the battery fast I wouldnt use it wireless. Liking that the 2019 wrx has a higher amperage usb port.. my S9 charges while in AA.
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Old 11-05-2018, 11:29 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 509eagle View Post
I have been talked out of the Seicane unit, just seems to problematic. So now I find myself looking at Kenwood and Pioneer. Amazing how each company can have so many different model, do add to the confusion.

Android Wireless --- How many actually use it wirelessly. Only the top model have it. Or do you just end up plugging in your phone anyways.
Iíve had the pioneer 4200NEX without GPS, the 8200NEX with GPS, and now the 8400NEX with wireless, but I use CarPlay not android auto.

The only time my phone burns battery while Wireless, is if Iím using Apple Maps. I can frequently just get in my car for trips around town with my phone in my pocket, and use my head unit as if I was plugged in.

For longer trips I do charge my phone, because Iím using GPS most of the time. However Iím using a Pitaka magnetic case with their magmount Qi vent clip phone holder/charger. So I just slap the phone onto the magnetic vent clip, and it charges wirelessly.
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