EC Offroad CarPlay Solutions For 2016+ 200 Series LC (NEW SEPT 2020 MODEL) (3 Viewers)

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Still nothing on mine. Keep getting the response, "forwarded to our developers...will let you know". They have zero concern.
 

greynolds

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Still nothing on mine. Keep getting the response, "forwarded to our developers...will let you know". They have zero concern.
It seems like you either have defective hardware or need to be provided with a full factory reset procedure. I supposed there's an outside chance that there's some sort of installation issue (bent pin on a connector, or something along those lines). Unfortunately, communication with the people who develop the hardware and software can be a challenge on these sorts of devices because there's both a communication barrier and it seems like it's frequently a very small group of people working on a relatively large set of products and wearing multiple hats (customer service, developer, hardware designer, etc.). It's quite possible EC Offroad has reached out to the company that builds the unit and simply hasn't received a response yet - when I ran into an issue where my original unit was bricked, it took some time to get answers back for how to proceed and it was definitely very frustrating, so I feel your pain.
 

greynolds

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I just ran an experiment regarding having the CarPlay functionality work while simultaneously having an Internet connection via one of the USB ports. I had asked Michael at EC Offroad about doing this, and he told me it would hopelessly confuse the Zlnk CarPlay app. It looks like he was incorrect on this point.

In addition to the EC Offroad unit and the wireless CarPlay connection to my iPhone via Zlink, I connected a StarTech Ethernet to USB adapter (part number USB31000S) to one of the USB ports on the EC Offroad unit and then connected the Ethernet port on the USB adapter to an unused port on the network switch in my basement (using a long Ethernet cable).

CarPlay continued to work just fine and the EC Offroad unit also obtained an Internet connection that showed up in the Android settings as an Ethernet connection (so in addition to the WiFi settings). I was able to open native Android apps that require an Internet connection and use them just fine and then switch back to CarPlay without any issues.

I then walked far enough away with my iPhone for the CarPlay connection to drop. When I walked back to the car, Zlink didn't automatically reconnect to the iPhone. However, going into the iPhone Bluetooth settings and selecting the entry for the EC Offroad box (mine shows up as "BNR-EOAC") initiated a reconnection and CarPlay started right up again.

I then tested several combinations of turning Bluetooth and WiFi off on the iPhone to force CarPlay to lose the connection. Generally speaking, Zlink doesn't automatically reconnect for CarPlay, but the same solution of going into the iPhone Bluetooth settings and selecting the entry for the EC Offroad box worked every time to restore the CarPlay connection.

I don't know if this same trick would work using a USB to WiFi adapter and I don't know if the unit would be smart enough to be able to give you a user interface in settings to select the WiFi connection and enter the password. However, I'm very confident that an external WiFi access point with an Ethernet port that can be connected to the USB to Ethernet adapter or a MOFI adapter (for cellular data service) with an Ethernet output that can be connected should work just fine and allow simultaneous use of CarPlay and native Android apps with Internet access as the Android unit shouldn't see any of those options any differently than the network switch I connected to.

@DomSmith - depending on what combinations will actually work, this may give you a way to have a simultaneous connection from the Android box to a WiFi OBDII reader that can work with the Torque Pro app. I don't have the right adapters to test with, but it could even be possible to use 2 USB adapters with one providing Internet access and the other providing an extra WiFi connection for an OBDII reader.

I'm going to order a few more adapters and gizmos to experiment with and will report back with my findings.
So I ordered a pile of network adapter gizmos from Amazon and have done some more experimenting. It's mostly good news.

I ordered a couple of UGREEN USB to Ethernet adapters that also have 3 port USB hubs built in and they both work great.

Amazon productAmazon product
I also ordered an IOGear Ethernet-2-WiFi adapter. Using my PC, I set it up to connect to my home WiFi for now and then connected a network cable between it and the Ethernet to USB adapter. This adapter only does 2.4GHz WiFi, but the important thing is that it works - when it is connected to the USB to Ethernet adapter, the EC Offroad unit gets a connection to my home WiFi when I'm parked in the garage at home.

I also ordered a TP-Link USB WiFi adapter, which did NOT work with the EC unit.

I also tried hooking multiple USB to Ethernet adapters up. I tried 1 on each USB port on the EC Offroad unit and also tried connecting one to the USB hub on the UGREEN adapters. This doesn't work - only the first one plugged in will be recognized. I wasn't surprised, but may mean it isn't possible to use something like a WiFi OBDII scanner (paired to another Ethernet-2-WiFi adapter and then plugged into the 2nd Ethernet port) AND a network connection at the same time, though there may still be some hope for that.

So all of this is all well and good, but this combination of parts, so far, obviously doesn't provide Internet to the EC Offroad unit while on the road. But there are solutions for this.

A portable hotspot with an Ethernet LAN connection, such as the Inseego M1000 could be plugged into the Ethernet port on the USB to Ethernet adapter and would provide Internet to the EC Offroad anywhere you can get a cell phone signal.

A portable hotspot that only does WiFi, such as the Inseego M2000, could be paired to a Ethernet-2-WiFi adapter and then connected to the Ethernet port on the USB to Ethernet adapter.

There are fancier devices that are essentially full blown routers that have built in hotspot modems from companies like MoFi and GL.iNet that also have WAN and LAN ports. These provide much more advanced configuration, VPN, and so on.

I need to do some more research on data plans that are reasonably priced (it looks like I might be able to get something from Verizon at a discount if I switch my phone plan to a different option) and what hotspot makes the most sense, but will probably go with something at some point. The other trick will be figuring out where to mount the hotspot, get power to it, and get a network cable from it to the USB to Ethernet adapter. Many of these hotspot devices either have built in antennas or attached antennas and also generate some heat, so they may not work well stuffed in the glove box.
 

DomSmith

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I had a thought yesterday that if I were to install one of these again I would figure out a way to have a small switch that cuts the power to the EC Box. If you were able to isolate the power to the EC Box you could just turn it off and it wouldn’t startup and prioritize itself over the OEM system.

So kill it before startup when taking to the dealer, when my wife drives it and doesn’t want anything but the stock system, etc.

I might look into this a little more so if I have the MFD out again I can add it.
 

greynolds

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I suspect you would probably lose all video on the screen if you cut power to the EC Offroad box as the box serves as an A/B switch for the video.

I ended up buying a MoFi4500 cellular router and put a Verizon SIM card in it that’s on a hotspot plan. The router takes slightly, longer to boot than it take the EC unit to boot and start CarPlay, but by the time I exit CarPlay and start an Android app, it’s pretty much ready to go. I have only had this hooked up since Friday afternoon, but it works great so far. The only open questions are where to mount the router (that’s a work in progress) and whether the 15GB per month hotspot plan will be sufficient (time will tell). I also ordered the VeePeak WiFi unit and will need to see if I can feed it into the MoFi box so I can simultaneously access it AND have Internet access.
 
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can anyone tell me what is written on the box on the newest version?

is the LLT-FT-VER7.1.7 this version 4? or wa that version 3?
 

Cincodemustache

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Six good pages of reading, thanks everyone for the info. I’m really on the fence about pulling the dash apart myself. Has anyone in the Dallas area done this or have had a shop do it for them?
 

greynolds

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can anyone tell me what is written on the box on the newest version?

is the LLT-FT-VER7.1.7 this version 4? or wa that version 3?
I don't have any pictures of mine, unfortunately. However, one way to tell is where the cable connections are - the newer one has all connections on 1 long edge, while the older one has connections on both of the long edges. Once you get it hooked up, the user interface is very different as well, so that's an easy way to know if you have the older or newer unit.
 

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