Top positive review
Amazingly full featured vehicle receiver that works great with Android Auto.
August 19, 2017
I bought this to replace a factory Chrysler radio (130 RES) in my new 2017 Jeep Wrangler. The Jeep has the Alpine speaker option and Chrysler UConnect, and I bought this unit primarily for Android Auto, which works flawlessly. I also bought the Maestro RR interface and CH1 wiring harnesses and the Metro mounting kit. You also need adapter cables for the FM and Sirius antennas. You can find all of this here on Amazon. Here are some notes that might be helpful:
Here is the process: 1) Flash Maestro, 2) Solder wires, 3) remove the top center/left dash panel in the jeep, factory radio and support bracket, 4) Trim top radio support with box cutter, 5) Run new microphone wire, 6) Run OBDII port wire, 7) Install radio, 8) reinstall dash, 9) Configure.
- You need a Windows PC (with Internet Explorer, specifically) to flash the Maestro because their approach uses an Active-X control. Not a great approach, but it works well. Maestro also has great documentation and instructions.
- You need to solder a bunch of wires between the Maestro and Pioneer wiring harnesses. The wires are all color coded and this is easier than it sounds as long as you aren't terrified of soldering to begin with. You need a fine tip soldering iron, rosin core solder, and stand with alligator clips to hold your wires, and I'd also advise heat-shrink tubing to seal the connections - all of which you can find on Amazon. You could also use solderless connections (crimp connectors) but they would be more bulky and prone to disconnecting when you were stuffing this mass of wires into the dash, as would just twisting the wires together and using electrical tape (like I would have done when I was in college). Do it right and solder.
- For the Jeep at least, you need to use a box cutter to trim a piece of plastic above the radio. It isn't scary - just take a quarter inch off the top plastic and the radio will slide right in. Your cut will be covered by the dash and won't be visible. My end result looks perfect - like it was a factory radio.
- You have to remove the rear support bracket for the Chrysler radio - just two 7mm nuts and it pops out.
- You have to use the Pioneer microphone to get full Google voice recognition functionality - in the Jeep it is easy to wire up without making any cuts anywhere. The factory microphone for UConnect is essentially abandoned the way I set things up.
- I enabled UConnect when flashing so as to use the Alpine factory amplifier and the center console USB port. I disabled Bluetooth for UConnect and use the Pioneer Bluetooth instead. All other parts of UConnect are replaced by the Pioneer. That center console port is for both charging and mass storage media playback.
- Android Auto requires a wired USB connection directly to the back of the Pioneer using their supplied cables - it is not wireless and must use the USB2 jack. I routed the cable down to the bottom of the dash where the Jeep has a mesh pouch that can hold your phone - that worked well. I have Android Auto turn on automatically and use it for everything, including FM Radio via TuneIn. Of course I can toggle back to the built in FM Radio if I want. I had a free year of Sirius from Chrysler, but Sirius will not let you transfer radios so I lost that. The Pioneer supports it and I just would have had to buy an antenna adapter to retain the feature, but personally the sound quality of Sirius is really bad - I think it is unlistenable, so no great loss. If you are using Android Auto that USB connection replaces a Bluetooth connection - you don't need both. The stereo is picky about the Android Auto USB cable - use the 6' USB extension cable provided and then stick a quality converter dongle on the end for USB-B or C, depending on your phone. At first I used a 4" converter cable I already had and periodically it disconnected the phone with a communications error, so if you have similar problems it is the fault of the cable. If you use a 3' cable from USB-A to USB-B/C instead of a dongle, you probably will not charge your phone because the total cable run will be too long - keep the total length at or under 6 feet and either use the cable provided or a heavy duty certified quality cable - not a thin cheap generic which probably won't work at all.
- In the Maestro flashing procedures you can set it to use your steering wheel controls and customize their functionality. I made the VR button go to Android Auto and a long press of that go to gauges (more on that below). You can customize short and long presses for most of the buttons. Now when I press the VR button I get a Google prompt without having to say "OK Google". As that also interrupts music, it means you don't have to yell at your car to get Google's attention. I also have Next/Previous, Vol Up/Down, Mute, and Source mapped to the steering wheel buttons.
- The CH1 harness includes an OBDII plug that directly connects to the OBDII port below the steering wheel, although the instructions imply you need to wire it in instead. That maps OEM functions through to the Pioneer; I can customize two screens of gauges for things like miles remaining, mileage, temperatures, speed, RPM, and a bunch of other fields. It also will show your tire pressures because I have that option in the car. If you have backup assistance it can also handle that, as well as screen based heat and AC if you did not have physical controls and are replacing a unit with a screen. If you take your car to a mechanic or to an environmental check you will need to disable the OBDII feature in the Pioneer and unplug the plug in advance, as they will need access to the port.
- The Pioneer can auto-tune (auto-eq) sound for your car if you buy an optional microphone for it. It both adjusts equalization and time delay for various listening positions and you can toggle them. However, in my Jeep the auto-eq feature only works with the front speakers and will turn off the subwoofer and the back speakers and then you have to re-enable them afterwards. Pioneer says this is a result of how Chrysler did the amplifier, but it makes the additional $28 for the microphone not worth it, in my opinion. The Pioneer will also work with back seat screens for DVD playback as well as a rear vehicle camera - I don't have either of those. It also supports playback of SD Card media.
- I use Android Auto for navigation - if you are into that there is no good reason to buy the higher priced Pioneer (or add it to this unit) for navigation. I just push the steering wheel VR button and say, "navigate to......" and that is it - works perfectly. Most Google Now voice commands work perfectly for, for example, sending a text, playing music, or asking a random trivia question or the score of an ongoing sporting event.
- Other reviews have complained about slowness. From the time I turn on ACC with my key it takes about 9 seconds for the radio to resume music (if FM was the last source) and 4 seconds more get to the drivers' warning that must be acknowledged. After pressing the Ok button you are immediately in the radio user interface - maybe 1 second. If you have Android Auto set to auto-load that takes about 10 seconds after the warning acknowledgement. To me it is reasonable. I'm using firmware 1.05 and Maestro firmware as of 8/16/17 and a Galaxy S7. It is helpful to not have the radio turn off/on when the engine is cranking/starting - that is a setting you can change.
That is about all I can think of right now - it is a great receiver that exceeded my expectations. I probably put five hours into it but if I was doing it again I think it would just be a couple of hours now that I know what I'm going (I hadn't installed a car stereo in more than 25 years).