CarPlay startup is automatic. Every time you start the car, the EC Offroad unit automatically switches the video to itself and then launches the CarPlay app once the unit boots up, which will then automatically connect to your iPhone if you have paired it for wireless CarPlay. Once CarPlay is running, the user experience is more or less like CarPlay in any other car.hi all, how would you review the end user experience of the Carplay? How close to a stock experience is it? As context I am shopping LC200s but wife is trying to get me to go Defender (Luxe) or 4Runner (toyota) since both support Carplay natively..
Mr Greynolds thank you so much for your quick and comprehensive answer. Very helpful input to a big purchase decision for us. Responses like yours are truly what makes this community great.CarPlay startup is automatic. Every time you start the car, the EC Offroad unit automatically switches the video to itself and then launches the CarPlay app once the unit boots up, which will then automatically connect to your iPhone if you have paired it for wireless CarPlay. Once CarPlay is running, the user experience is more or less like CarPlay in any other car.
Each of us has run into occasional glitches.
In my case, every once in a while the GPS feed from the unit to the iPhone goes haywire and the navigation app on the iPhone (running in CarPlay mode) thinks I missed a turn or driving 100 feet off the road and sometimes it just gets completely confused. I've discussed this with @DomSmith and @seajeff and neither of them has run into this issue so far. I'm using an iPhone XS with the latest iOS update, I don't recall which iPhones they're using. I suspect this is an iPhone / iOS issue rather than an EC Offroad unit issue because I have yet to have a GPS glitch when using native Android navigation apps on the EC Offroad unit itself. Unfortunately, I run into this issue often enough that I'm hesitant to use CarPlay for navigation when I'm driving somewhere unfamiliar where I actually need to rely on navigation. My hope is that when I eventually upgrade to a newer iPhone I will find that the problem was something to do with my current iPhone.
@seajeff has had somewhat frequent issues with Waze not getting a GPS signal and has found the forcing the app to close and restart on his iPhone fixes it. I suspect this is an iPhone / Waze issue rather than an EC Offroad unit issue. I think @DomSmith said he has run into pretty much the same issue; I have never gotten into using Waze, so I can't offer another data point.
Once in a while, a weird error pops up on CarPlay, but I suspect these are also CarPlay issues rather than EC Offroad unit issues.
My biggest beef, by far, with this unit is that it ALWAYS starts up with the EC Offroad unit having the screen. This means that when you take the car in for service, you'll need to explain to the service advisor that they need to press and hold the Home button to switch back to the factory infotainment system if they need access to any settings. 99% of the time, I'm happy with how this works, but when I take the car in for service, I'd like to have the option to have it start up in the factory infotainment mode so there's no indication that the Android module is there.
So overall, the user experience is pretty good, though if you and your wife aren't at least somewhat technically inclined, I would probably hesitate to go with a solution like this.
I try to keep the first post in this thread up to date, so I'd also suggest reading through that to get a better feel for what works, what doesn't work, and what our collective wish list items are. I also encourage input from others who are using this unit for additional tips, tricks, and wish list items.
Regarding your other vehicle options...
The obvious concern with a Land Rover Defender is quality control and reliability. The experience the TFL guys (very popular YouTube channel) had with their Defender purchase says a lot about where Land Rover is at with quality control at this point - it took 3 vehicles to get them one that seems to have finally been pretty good so far. My understanding is that the first one pretty much had a catastrophic engine failure after a few hundred miles, the 2nd one was essentially totaled when a tech at the dealership cut a wiring harness by mistake while installing a factory winch option (this may not be a reliability issue per se, but a factory winch install probably shouldn't run the risk of this unless the service tech was a complete idiot...), and the 3rd one has been good overall so far (though I'm pretty sure they've had a few minor check engine light type issues). Land Rover did seem to treat them well in replacing the first 2 vehicles, though it isn't clear that someone who doesn't have a popular YouTube channel would receive the same treatment. The other complaint is that Land Rover's infotainment system is sluggish and difficult to use (I know the system on my 2014 Range Rover was sluggish and poorly thought out), though the Land Cruiser infotainment system isn't exactly cutting edge . Land Rover is a company that frustrates me to no end - if only they could get a handle on quality control, their vehicles are otherwise wonderful in a lot of ways. I only owned the 2014 Range Rover for about 6 months due to quality control and reliability issues, but it was sooooo nice in so many ways. I previously owned a 1995 Discovery that was an absolute blast, but it also spent too much time in the shop for stuff that just shouldn't be failing.
A 4Runner would definitely be great, but is a big step down from a Land Cruiser in a number of ways. But if you're good with the different level of luxury compared to the other 2 options and the cargo space and feature set works for you, it would be the least expensive of the 3 options.
The installation really is pretty simple. The video that shows how to take the dash apart to get access pretty much shows everything you need to do to take things apart. The wiring is largely plug and play. That leaves coming up with a way to secure the EC Offroad unit, which isn't too bad, and perhaps running the GPS and microphone cables depending on where you decide to locate them. The key is to get a trim tool that won't scratch any of the panels, using tape to protect the panels, and be careful / take your time.Mr Greynolds thank you so much for your quick and comprehensive answer. Very helpful input to a big purchase decision for us. Responses like yours are truly what makes this community great.
I told her that if the LC aftermarket experience was close to a stock experience then we could go LC200. Happy wife...happy life. I too am very concerned about the prospect of Land Rover reliability and would lease if we went the Defender route. Unfortunately that is a lot of money down the drain....I would prefer to own and hold..
As a former engineer I hope to be able to figure out the install of the unit. I do have one more Q: Are there any issues with Audio? With my GX460, I find it quite annoying to have to change audio inputs all the time if I waant sound. Is there a way to ensure the audio defaults to the right place without excessive button pressing?
Are any of these maps good for rural navigation? I'm a Gaia user and like it well enough that I bought a 5 year subscription, but some of their rural map data is suspect (showing roads where they don't exist - like across pastures and field edges, showing road segments connecting when there aren't through roads - like over the spine of a mountain or across a wetland). I mean it is pretty decent overall, but I'm always on the lookout for something even better.Very good point on resale value. Assuming history repeats itself, the Land Rover Defender will lose a ton of value compared to either Toyota option.
Even though I have never gotten into the habit of using Waze, I have looked into the GPS problem a bit (via Google searches) and it looks like it's a common problem with Waze / CarPlay integration, so definitely not an EC unit issue. The general consensus seems to be that a fix needs to happen in the Waze app.
Thanks for the feedback on the other phone and text functionality, @DomSmith, as that's something I rarely use in the car, especially in these pandemic times where I have less than 2000 miles on this LC I purchased back in June of 2020.
On another note, I've been experimenting a bit with offline navigation apps (these are apps that can download maps onto an SD card for use when you don't want to use up mobile data or are perhaps in an area with no coverage). The 2 I'm experimenting with currently (OsmAnd and MAPE.ME) both use OpenStreet maps, which appear to be really good map data. Unfortunately, the speech algorithms they use seem to be less than ideal as I'm getting directions along the lines of "in three zero zero feet, keep left" rather than "in 300 feet, keep left". This is dark ages stuff now that we've been used to Google Maps, Apple Maps, and even the OEM navigation for years now. Other than that, these apps seem to be pretty good overall and may have other options for the speech. One of them, OsmAnd, has a choice of different types map views and the "Touring" option is really nice for just driving around as the color choices used make streets show up really well (the streets are color coded by type and wide enough to actually see) on the map. Even if the navigation functionality is marginal, at best, it could be handy to have downloaded maps for the region you're traveling to or even the entire country to look at when you're out in the middle of nowhere.
I don't know yet as I've just started taking a look at these. Gaia is really good for what it's designed to do overall, but I don't think it's really intended to be used for turn by turn navigation, for example. My understanding though is that the OpenStreetMap format is considered very good and the maps receive frequent updates that can be downloaded to update the offline maps as desired. One of my big complaints with Gaia is how tedious it is to download maps as there's no UI that allows you to download the maps by state.Are any of these maps good for rural navigation? I'm a Gaia user and like it well enough that I bought a 5 year subscription, but some of their rural map data is suspect (showing roads where they don't exist - like across pastures and field edges, showing road segments connecting when there aren't through roads - like over the spine of a mountain or across a wetland). I mean it is pretty decent overall, but I'm always on the lookout for something even better.
As a software developer, I don’t think your expectations are really unrealistic as it should be possible for these maps to be even more accurate than the old paper maps as they can be crowd sourced and continually updated. But these map apps have come a long way over the years and should only get better.Thanks @greynolds. I generally just use google maps for the rare situation where I need turn by turn. I want a good mapping solution for exploring off the beaten track in rural areas.
To be honest, I think I have unrealistic expectations - I'd like the electronic and mobile equivalent detail to the "Gazeteer" map books that I used for paper maps before mobile device mapping software was so ubiquitous and affordable. I think the limitations I experience on Gaia are more related to the form factor of the device I am displaying it on than the Gaia software capabilities or the data - it'd probably be sweet with a 12" iPad pro on the dash instead of the factory monitor.
And I agree, the map downloading is a bit of a hassle sometimes.
Welcome to the forum and thanks for your kind words.
- EC Vision sold me the wifi OBDC reader however testing and this thread shows that its not possible to use this as CarPlay takes over the wifi connection - if the device is primarily a CarPlay device then why advertise/sell OBDC connectivity when you can’t do both together? (as an aside, the Torque app talks about hacking the wifi to work - maybe there is an oblique way of getting both to work? I’ve emailed EC Vision to ask)
Welcome to the forum and thanks for your kind words.
With the old version of the EC hardware, it was possible to plug in a USB to Ethernet adapter (and I suspect a USB to WiFi adapter would have worked as well) to get Internet access while the built in WiFi was otherwise occupied. I asked the EC guys about doing this with the new hardware and they claimed it would cause problems, so I haven't tried it yet. I kind of doubt it would brick the unit, but I'm not too keen on having to ship the thing back to Australia to be fixed if I were to brick it.
But the point being if a USB to WiFi adapter could work to create a 2nd network connection, you could pair the WiFi ODBC reader to that connection while the built in WiFi is busy with CarPlay. If you don't live too far away from the EC folks, I might nominate you to be the first one to try it .
Welcome to the forum. Am I correct in assuming that would that have been a 4Runner? I actually considered getting a 4Runner, but didn't end up even test driving one as I knew that I "really" wanted the Land Cruiser... But people do really love their 4Runners and it probably would have been fine for my needs, if I'm being completely honest. I'm a bigger guy (aka "fat" ), so the extra space in the Land Cruiser is nice.New to the forum as well, just got a 2016 LC200. I was originally planning to get the 2020 Green TRD pro, but markets been crazy for it and an LC200 popped up locally here in Seattle, and my wife and I fell in love. I've been reading options to update the infotainment system and really appreciate your in depth reviews of the EC unit. In kind of curious, have any of you read much about the Alpine x902d unit? Any thought about compatibility in the US? Pros/cons (other than price) compared to the EC unit?
New to the forum as well, just got a 2016 LC200. I was originally planning to get the 2020 Green TRD pro, but markets been crazy for it and an LC200 popped up locally here in Seattle, and my wife and I fell in love. I've been reading options to update the infotainment system and really appreciate your in depth reviews of the EC unit. In kind of curious, have any of you read much about the Alpine x902d unit? Any thought about compatibility in the US? Pros/cons (other than price) compared to the EC unit?
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Ah, that probably explains why it hadn't been brought up yet - I missed that detail when I took a quick look at it.
Yeah, as long as the clunkiness of getting WiFi going and having to exit CarPlay mode isn’t a problem, it’s an excellent solution. I have a hunch the Tesla style options will be more viable after some more time. Mostly due to the pandemic, I’m not putting many miles on lately - just over 2000 since I purchased it in June.I think I'm leaning towards the EC unit as my top choice after reading through here and the NaviPlus threads. I think the added Android functionality could be pretty useful.