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Doesn't work with Sirius Stiletto radios
on September 11, 2010
This is generally a fine radio and I agree with the other reviewers' sentiments that its sound quality is very good and it's a great bang for the buck.
But there's one BIG problem.
If you connect it to a Sirius Stiletto radio via the KS-SRA100 adapter and an SCVDOC1, the KD-HDR60 will never "see" the Sirius radio. The problem appears to be that the Stiletto takes too long to enter "Sirius Connect" mode, so the KD-HDR60 times out.
Note that it *can* successfully control an SC-C1 without problems.
Also note that the documentation both for the KD-HDR60 and KS-SRA100 clearly states that a KS-SRA100 to SCVDOC1 connection is *supposed* to work.
I've isolated this problem to the head unit by trying multiple Stilettos, multiple docks, multiple KS-SRA100's, and even a second JVC radio (the KD-S26). *It all cases, the radio can successfully connect to an SC-C1, and in no cases can it reliably connect to a Stiletto/SC-VDOC1.*
Indeed, if you start with an SC-C1 connected and then *hot-plug the KS-SRA100's connector from the SC-C1 to the SC-VDOC1* the Stiletto will now work just fine until you power-cycle the KD-HDR60 (...at which point you'll get the infamous "RESET 8" message).
I've now spent about half an hour talking to JVC about this. They're aware of the problem and agree it's possible this particular configuration just wasn't tested as "almost everyone" is using the SC-C1 these days. They're looking into what it would take to fix it... so at the moment I'm crossing my fingers!
I have been quite pleased that JVC is at least willing to work with me on this rather than just completely ignoring the problem as some large companies might.
I did a detailed analysis of the serial commands that go between the KD-HDR60 and the SL-100 that's in the SCVDOC1 so as to ascertain what the problem is. In brief, what happens is as follows:
-- The SL-100 claims it's ready (technically, this is a "put module ready" command)... but this turns out to be not entirely true.
-- The KD-HDR60 tells the SL-100 to power on (technically, "set power mode"). Since the SL-100 isn't really ready yet, it takes several retries before the SL-100 actually responds. In fact, it may well be after the KD-HDR60 quits listening for the response... but the point is that the SL-100 *does* respond, just much more slowly than in should.
-- About 5 seconds later, the SL-100 claims it's ready again... and this time it actually means it.
-- The KD-HDR60 sends the *exact same* "power on" command (significantly, there's a one byte "message ID" in these commands packets that's typically incremented with each new command, but the KD-HDR60 resets this number to zero every time the SL-100 claims it's ready). This should be OK (if perhaps a little unexpected), but for some reason *the SL-100 never responds to this second command*. Oops! My guess is that this occurs because the SL-100 "thinks" it's already responded, since the message ID of zero was already responded to once.
-- Since the KD-HDR60 never receives a response, the whole serial interface just grinds to a halt and the KD-HDR60 never advertises "Sirius" as an option.
So, in very brief this boils down to: The SL-100 code appears to be buggy (by not responding) and the KD-HDR60's code is not robust because it hangs (rather than timing out and retrying or similar). Several demerits for the SL-100, one for JVC?
If you simply disconnect the KS-SRA100's serial receive line such that the KD-HDR60 never sees the *first* "put module ready" but then reconnect it within the 5 second window before the second one is sent, all is well (since there's no re-use of message #0).
The difference between the SL-100 and the SC-C1 is that, when the SC-C1 first says it's ready, it really truly is; the KD-HDR60 sends its "power on" message and the SC-C1 immediately accepts and acknowledges the command.
I've sent this updated information (summary and detailed serial debug traces) to JVC. Should be interesting to see what they have to say...
Final update, 3/14/2010:
JVC was able to reproduce the problem. It's kind of a long story, but essentially they choose not to update the KD-HDR60's firmware and were unable to get Sirius to update the SL-100's firmware (this doesn't surprise me -- they haven't updated it in several years, even to the point of correcting station logos). As a workaround, they offered to give me an SC-C1 with a lifetime subscription -- with the understanding that this was a "one time deal" for helping them with the problem and not something they're intending to do for everyone who encounters the same problem; I took them up on that offer.
Meanwhile, the KD-HDR70 has come out (JVC, like many manufacturers, announced their new product lineup in January at CES). While you might assume this to be the successor of the KD-HDR60, somewhat surprisingly (at least to me) this isn't the case: the KD-HDR70 has *no* satellite radio (nor CD changer) capabilities! Kinda intriguing -- reading between the lines a bit here, I get the impression that Sirius and JVC are so busy implementing "Satellite Radio 2.0" (which is supposed to be released later this year) that they're largely ignoring "Satellite Radio 1.0," including fixing remaining legacy problems with it... and I suppose they figured CD changers are no longer required now that most everyone has an iPod or similar.
In any case, while I was really hoping the "fix" would be in the form of a firmware update, I am entirely satisfied with JVC's response and consider the issue to be resolved. If you're willing to use an SC-C1, the KD-HDR60 here is still an excellent choice, and since it's now "last year's model," appears to be available at an excellent price point (it's really a better value than the KD-HDR70 at present, IMO).