Anyone using an mCar adapter

Discussion in 'Electronics' started by Mackie78, Jun 27, 2011.

  1. Mackie78

    Mackie78 Member

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    Hi Folks,

    I have posted a question about this elsewhere, but it was on the bottom of an old thread.

    I am loosely considering purchasing an mCar adaptor from comandonline. I realise they are a lot of money but I was considering an iPod kit that I have already bought and then was additionally thinking about a parrot kit. Then I discovered the Unika add on kit that activates the steering wheel controls.

    However the parrot kit is £190 and is a compromise as it doesn't sink with the comand.

    So my questions are:

    Has anone installed and used the mCar system?
    Are there any online guides or does it come with comprehensive installation instrctions? (something like the ones on mercupgrades)
    Does the car have to be star coded to accept this kit?

    The advert states that the iPod and the Phone integrate in with the comand so presumably all the functions can be controlled in the comand i.e. key pad, address book etc.

    Cheers
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2011
  2. Alfie

    Alfie Authorised Forum Sponsor Authorised Forum Sponsor

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    I declare that I have an interest in this product.

    Yes we have installed them and they really do give the best sounding ipod integration in a car I have ever heard. MOST ipod/iphone music kits take the analogue output from the device and simply play that. The mCar takes the digital output and uses that. It is awesome. They integrate fully with the cars steering wheel controls, cluster and comand/Audio-20 for phone and ipod. Full address book download also. Instructions are provided with each kit. We have two installed in customers cars plus one in Richards ML so if anyone wants to have a demo they are welcome to pop along. the product is continually being developed and new features added all the time for other USB devices. S/W updates can easily be performed by the end user as and when new features are launched.

    The car would only need coding if there is no fibre on the MOST bus as standard and/or the phone buttons handnt been enabled. Again, instructions for this are provided.

    Hope this helps,
     
  3. OP
    OP
    Mackie78

    Mackie78 Member

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    Thanks for the info Alfie.

    I am confident (famour last words) I can install the iPod kit, primarily because of the instructions on Mercupgrades.com. Is the mCar install on a similar level in your opinion???

    Now.....does anyone want to buy a new iPod kit before I have to fleabay it???:doh:
     
  4. richard

    richard Authorised Forum Sponsor Authorised Forum Sponsor

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    I too have an interest in the mCar product in the same way Alfie does ...

    Whats also nice about the mCar is that you can plug an iPod in and leave in the glovebox, but you can also select bluetooth music from your phone if you have something on there thats not on the iPod.

    The one drawback when comparing just the iPod functions to the iPod kit, if you have an Audio-20/50, then you end up with no track names as the mCar pretends to be a CD changer and the Audio-20 can not display track names - only COMAND can. With the Merc iPod kit you get tracknames in the cluster from the iPod kit (but not on the COMAND if you have COMAND).
    (for others, do remember that the old E/CLS/SLK Audio-20 does not support a Mercedes iPod kit at all, so mCar is perfect for those)

    The Fiscon kit will give you full integrated bluetooth telephony if you decide to use your existing iPod kit which you may well do if you have Audio-20.

    Speaking to my local Meredes dealer, if they ever get a car with a Parrot in as a used car to sell, they remove the Parrot kit as it cause people to not buy the car ...

    Cheers

    Richard
     
  5. OP
    OP
    Mackie78

    Mackie78 Member

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    Right - thanks for your answers.

    I know it's somewhat subjective, butdDoes anyone have an answer to my question about the difficulty of installation please :confused:
     
  6. richard

    richard Authorised Forum Sponsor Authorised Forum Sponsor

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    It is slightly more difficult than the iPod kit as you need to plug the fibre optics in, and connect the power wires to a suitable power feed (i.e splice or solder the wires) whereas the iPod kit has a plug and play harness. The process for installing a fiscon is identical in terms of wiring
    A parrot would also need some splicing and soldering as although it has a plug and play harness, the plug and play harness needs a switched power feed so you have to cut/splice into the cigarette lighter feed.

    COL will of course give you lots of advise.

    Remember in both cases coding is necessary with Star Diagnosis
    a) on Mcar to enable the fibre optics on the COMAND
    b) on Mcar and iPod kit to enable the steering wheel controls

    Cheers

    Richard
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. david.townsend

    david.townsend New Member

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    Hi I have the mcar kit installed by command. Very expert job done. What they say about the sound is all true, excellent play quality back. The handfree is acceptable but bit of an echo so I always get asked that question when making call. I have it on an audio 20 works great can use cable or bluetooth for music. will charge phone as well and all controls work on steering wheel and face. Bluetooth is good when have tom tom sat nav on iphone as it will slightly mute music when speaking directions via the car speakers which is nice. Only disadvantage is (a) no track names but that is due to me having audio 20 (b) When finding a name difficult to see what number your dialing e.g. I have mobile, home, office against each name. It does accept the iPhone default as first number which is mobile in my case but if I want to phone office or home then I do not really know what I am dialing. Not a problem as just dial from the phone instead.
     
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  8. richard

    richard Authorised Forum Sponsor Authorised Forum Sponsor

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    There is a way of turning down the microphone sensitivity, which may reduce the echo. Also, from memory, the end of the name has (work), (home), (mobile) appended to help determine which number - but it may well be that the name is too long for the Audio-20 to display it !

    Contact Alfie, we can send you a new config file with reduced microphone gain to try

    Richard
     
  9. Pitts Pilot

    Pitts Pilot Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I had a mCar fitted to my R230 by Comand Online, and I thoroughly recommend their installation service and the mCar unit.

    Yes, there is an Installation Guide you can print off on the C.O. website

    Yes, it needs Star software coding.

    The great thing is the way the unit integrates with the MB Command system. The Command controls an iPod almost as well as one does on its own. Even the steering wheel buttons work.

    Comand Online did a very professional job installing it, and to that end I would recommend you consider leaving it to them.

    Reasons? Well, apart from the fact that they know MB electrics inside out, it does require working with fibre optics, as well as uploading software to get the unit communicating with the Command properly.

    I am happy wielding a soldering iron and a multimeter, but I thought the mCar was just a tad too expensive to potentially mess up.

    On the subject of the hands free, the microphone positioning is everything.

    C.O. had it positioned top right on the A pillar, quite close to me, and the call quality was (according to my wife) "excellent".
    For various reasons I’m not entirely clear on, it was subsequently re-positioned to the drivers mirror, and it’s there the problems of echo and poor call quality started.

    Obviously, if you are paying this amount of money it’s essential to have the installation just right. So do discuss the mic positioning if you have C.O. do the work. They are very professional and will make every effort to leave you happy at the end of the day.

    Incidentally, I have run a new (reasonably expensive) microphone to the old A pillar position, but get echoes, and the common 'gurgling' sound that makes the listener think you are underwater!

    So I'm delighted to learn from Richard that the gain can be turned down, (I must sort it soon). However, it seems the standard mic is best! Just position it correctly :)

    Back to your OP. Music quality is first rate. I can easily tell the difference between older CD’s and newer recordings, such is the difference in clarity and recording quality. The mCar is definitely ‘hifi’ quality and up to the job of delivering first rate sound quality.

    The mCar has a USB socket, so I had a USB extension lead run into the armrest storage pocket between the seats. This receives the iPod’s 30 pin USB adapter (better sound quality than the headphone socket), and the USB is ‘powered’ so the iPod gets charged whilst it’s playing.

    All good news and effectively gives you a ‘set & forget’ situation where you just use the Command system as if the car had a CD multi-changer. Brilliant!

    IMHO: Don't hesitate- get an mCar, and leave the installation to C.Online :)
     
    1 person likes this.
  10. BiKenG

    BiKenG New Member

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    Thinking of an mCAR for my SL, but concerned that the interface is inadequate. Would appreciate it if someone who already uses an mCAR could help.

    The first question is a biggie:-

    Is it possible to select an Artist from a list of Artists and then view a list of that Artist's Albums (from which one can be selected and played, tracks displayed etc).

    My understanding at the moment is that when picking an Artist, you are just presented with all their Tracks and with all the music I want to have with me, that's hopeless. If an Artist has over 20 Albums, how would it be possible to just play an individual Album and with over 1500 Albums, just using the overall Album list is unworkable. Maybe I'm wrong and you can list an Artist's Albums. I hope so.

    In what order is the data displayed on screen? Does the mCAR simply display everything in the same order as the iPod, or does it perform its own sorting. In which case, what MP3 tags are used for sorting?

    Again this is pretty important. I've spent a long time with iTunes, getting it to display everything how it should be, also on iPods and Apple TVs, so to have it wrong in the car would be unacceptable.

    Hope an existing mCAR user can help with this.
     
  11. kitus

    kitus New Member

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    Hello,

    can any of the mcar users update us with updated experiences? I came across this product on the comandonline website, and went ahead and tried to look up more information in the internet. It turns out that this device seems to not be that popular, or at least I'm failing at digging up relevant websites. Can anybody point me to a good website (with demo videos preferably)?

    On another note, I would appreciate being given advice on which iPod integration to go for. I own w C Class W203 with a Comand APS. I installed a Viseeo MB-2 a couple of years ago and that enables phone integration over bluetooth. When I want to listen to music I use the aux connector located in the glove box.

    My requirements are:
    - full control from the steering wheel
    - Siri integration
    - flexible enough in order to support the new upcoming dock connectors by apple

    A2dp is desirable and mass storage support is not mandatory.

    I don't mind getting rid of my mb-2 if I can consolidate its current handsfree capabilities on the new system. I also would love to know the answer to the questions BiKenG made a while ago.

    Thank you everyone,

    Marc
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2012
  12. BiKenG

    BiKenG New Member

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    I still have no answer to the questions I posted above so would really appreciate any current mCAR users helping me (us) out.
     
  13. BiKenG

    BiKenG New Member

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    Still no answer to my questions:(

    It is proving very hard to find out this info about the mCAR. Anyone with one already fitted can easily answer, could I ask that someone please help me with this.

    Can I search through a list of artists, select one and get a list of that artist's albums and then of course select one to actually play?
     
  14. redbaron

    redbaron Banned

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    so why don't you contact comandonline who sell it then?
     
  15. richard

    richard Authorised Forum Sponsor Authorised Forum Sponsor

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    When you select Artist you get a list of all the tracks by that artist. You do not get the albums for that artist.

    Richard
     
  16. astamir

    astamir Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Hi guys can anyone help me please I have a parrot c3100 kit on my mercedes e class w211 320 cdi 2003 reg and the problem is I can not play music on my iPhone through the hands free kit. Is there any adapters or connectors to make lithe music play through the parrot?
    Thanks
     
  17. richard

    richard Authorised Forum Sponsor Authorised Forum Sponsor

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    This is a thread about mCar !

    However, to answer your question CK3100 does not support bluetooth audio streaming. You can replace it with a Parrot MKI9000, MKI9100 or MKI9200 relatively easily which does. (9000 = no screen, 9100 small screen and iPod connection, 9200 big screen and iPod connection)

    Richard
     
  18. astamir

    astamir Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Hi Richard thanks for the help I just thought it might somehow related to each other ))
     
  19. BiKenG

    BiKenG New Member

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    Hi Richard, sorry for attacking you on 2 fronts about this, but thanks for the definitive confirmation.

    However, I'm sorry to say that (disappointingly) this totally rules out the possibility of my using the mCAR. As an example, with over 20 Beatles albums, how could I possibly select and play one particular album? Trying to search through a list of all 1600 albums would be completely out of the question, even if I absolutely know the name of the album. In fact I am baffled as to why the designers (you?) thought this was in any way an acceptable form of presentation for the music data.

    Is there any possibility that this might change in the future? I can only think it requires a programmatic change by the developers. Is there any chance this could be accomplished or do I have to direct elsewhere my efforts at finding an iPod solution for my SL?
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2012
  20. richard

    richard Authorised Forum Sponsor Authorised Forum Sponsor

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    Hi

    Sadly, i'm not the designer, Comand (Europe) is just one of the distributors - but we work closely with the developer on some other projects.

    Also, sadly, there is nothing such as a "simple programmatic change" - it needs a whole extra layer of menus - which is not easy at all when in fact you are making a square peg (iPod) fit in a round hole (CD changer). And yes I agree that selecting an album by album name when you have any more than a few albums is a completely impossible. And its pretty difficult when you have hundreds of artists too. Just the regression change testing after any change is some few days work given the 20 or so different head units that have to be properly tested.

    But again, the underlying issue is that you are trying to fit an iPod into a CD changer set of menus - and all the different Mercedes Head-units have subtly different user-interfaces for controlling the CD changer too. The NTG1 was designed in 2000 or earlier (probably spec'ed earlier) well before the rise of the iPod!

    The mobdridge and dension appear exactly the same, and i wonder whether the iPod actually even sends the albums across the datalink when you select an artist, or whether it actually just sends a complete list of the tracks.

    Cheers

    Richard
     
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