EC Offroad CarPlay Solutions For 2016+ 200 Series LC (1 Viewer)

Joined
Oct 31, 2020
Messages
9
Location
Sydney, Australia
Hey Gents.. First time poster here...
Landed on this informative thread while googling.

So I have had the EC Kit for almost 6 Months now, got the 1st Gen kit back in early April for both our LC200's. Lets just say it was one of the worst aftermarket mods I have ever done to any of our cars (Not just LC200's). Some of the issues i had as follows:

- Constant Drops out from CarPlay while connected via either USB or Wireless
- iPhone always needs to be plugged in 2nd time for CarPlay to work. Sometimes only way to reconnect is by doing a hard reboot of the unit itself.
- Constant Reboot of the Unit itself intermittently
- Intermittent Pops through the Speakers as noted on here already.
- Major amount of feedback while on Bluetooth phone calls
- Extremely bad audio heard by person youre on the phone with. Sometimes bad crackling etc.
- Reverse camera sometimes not activating

These were the notable issues I had with both modules on both cars. So much so that after chatting with ECOR, they agreed to replace both units for me with the latest gen one which is noticebly different in both size, wiring, outputs and extra accessories. Some of the differences i note:

- New Gen Unit is at least 5mm smaller in width
- New HDMI Connection
- Speaker no longer comes with unit
- Extra external mic comes with unit
- GPS Antenna is noticeably smaller
- All wiring loom connectors are now on 1 side as opposed to older unit having both sides.
- MicroSD Slot seems more on center and MicroSD card now sits flush
- Wifi Antenna connects directly to a Reverse SMA Connector into Unit as opposed to older Gen unit had the Coax Wifi cable coming out with the Reverse SMA Connector hanging off it.
- GPS Antenna connection now also uses integrated Reverse SMA Connector
- 8 Jumpers vs 4 Jumpers on old Gen unit

Pic below for reference (Apologies was in a hurry and didnt get proper pics):

IMG_8335.JPG


It took almost 4-5 weeks of going back and forth with the ECOR guys to finally get the new units and it worked out quite well because the current Gen units I got are dated October 2020, having the latest software and notably for the CarPlay running the latest version of that being 3.6.18 as opposed to the Gen 1 Unit running 3.6.6.
Also the actual UI itself is different from the previous Gen modules which gives me great comfort that they are constantly developing the platform.

Pics for Reference also:

IMG_8388_1.JPG
IMG_8389_1.JPG


My observations thus far are that it is literally NIGHT and DAY from functionality perspective as well as overall performance of the Android unit itself. In saying this however, my Gen 1 unit was a 3GB RAM / 32GB ROM whereas the new unit is 4GB RAM / 64GB ROM.

Wireless CarPlay although Im told isnt supported has actually been working absolutely flawlessly thus far with all functions working well on both our cruisers.

Going to keep playing with both units, we have a long drive over in a couple of weekends coming up shortly so looking forward to testing them out properly.

Cheers fellas!
 

greynolds

SILVER Star
Joined
Jan 20, 2006
Messages
582
Location
Billerica, MA
^ Thanks @technopato - For anyone considering a purchase, it should be noted that for those of us in the USA, the new version of the EC unit that came out in September of this year is NOT supported yet. There are also some known issues with the older EC unit in USA spec LC's that I've been keeping up to date in the first post.

My EC unit is currently bricked. The most recent update they sent me to attempt to resolve the issues with CarPlay navigation instructions getting chopped off at the start resulted in my unit frequently locking up after booting (unresponsive to the touch screen and then rebooting itself after about 15 minutes). They sent me a procedure to reinstall the OS from scratch and that left the unit in a state where I just get a blank screen. So it looks like mine is going to need to go back to Australia (and perhaps back to China from there) to get sorted out.

I'd like to upgrade to the newer hardware, but if they won't support it in USA spec LC's, that's a showstopper. The new UI looks like a substantial improvement.
 
Joined
Oct 31, 2020
Messages
9
Location
Sydney, Australia
@technopato-

I would be interested in the phone call quality and how it connects to the OEM System?
Phone call quality is deadset back to normal. Pretty much the same as the Toyota factory BT. Phone calls default to the Module's microphone which i tested when i first plugged, when the mic wasnt plugged into the module, nobody could hear me so tells that the module's BT overrides that of the OEM unit in the car. If that makes sene.

So now on my 3rd day using it and have been pretty much using BT/Wireless CarPlay since most of my trips are short trips around the suburbs. Working an absolute treat without any issues.

For the Wireless carplay, i had to pair my phone via BT to the EC Module, when the car is turned on, it firsts connects me to the Module's BT and from there offloads my connection to the built in WiFi hotspot built into the module which is fairly standard fare and seeing as Wifi has greater bandwidth that makes perfect sense. So far this connection has worked seamlessly.
 

greynolds

SILVER Star
Joined
Jan 20, 2006
Messages
582
Location
Billerica, MA
@technopato - Several questions for you:

1) What are you using for a microSD card in the slot on the unit? I'm curious if you had success getting anything larger than 64GB to work and what partition type and file system you formatted it with. I tried a 512GB microSD card in the TF slot on the older hardware formatted with FAT32 and it wasn't recognized.

2) Did you route the GPS unit and microphone to the locations shown in the installation guide from EC Offroad? If so, how involved was it to route the cables from the unit to the A pillar area and what path did you take with the wires? This is the only part of the install that I'm concerned about doing myself.

3) According the Michael, USB2 can either connect to the factory USB harness on the center console or be used as a standalone USB connection in the glovebox (or other location of choice) - can you confirm that?

@seajeff (who has a 2016 LC) and I (2020 LC) have ordered the new version of the hardware and should be receiving them early next week. If we don't run into any unexpected compatibility issues with our USA spec LC's, @DomSmith (2016 LC) is also planning on switching to the new hardware. We collectively decided it made sense to try on 1 2016 and 1 2020 LC before ordering the 3rd one as it reduces the amount of extra shipping and open box units that EC Offroad potentially will end up with. We'll report our results once we've had time to install and test the new hardware.
 
Joined
Oct 31, 2020
Messages
9
Location
Sydney, Australia
@technopato - Several questions for you:

1) What are you using for a microSD card in the slot on the unit? I'm curious if you had success getting anything larger than 64GB to work and what partition type and file system you formatted it with. I tried a 512GB microSD card in the TF slot on the older hardware formatted with FAT32 and it wasn't recognized.

2) Did you route the GPS unit and microphone to the locations shown in the installation guide from EC Offroad? If so, how involved was it to route the cables from the unit to the A pillar area and what path did you take with the wires? This is the only part of the install that I'm concerned about doing myself.

3) According the Michael, USB2 can either connect to the factory USB harness on the center console or be used as a standalone USB connection in the glovebox (or other location of choice) - can you confirm that?

@seajeff (who has a 2016 LC) and I (2020 LC) have ordered the new version of the hardware and should be receiving them early next week. If we don't run into any unexpected compatibility issues with our USA spec LC's, @DomSmith (2016 LC) is also planning on switching to the new hardware. We collectively decided it made sense to try on 1 2016 and 1 2020 LC before ordering the 3rd one as it reduces the amount of extra shipping and open box units that EC Offroad potentially will end up with. We'll report our results once we've had time to install and test the new hardware.

Hello Mate..

Ill answer your questions best i can.

1. Yes i am using an MicroSD, just a standard Sandisk 128GB MicroSD formatted with FAT32, I had always planned on putting extra screens in at the back for the kids and there are some shows that the younger kids like for longer trips, so MicroSD is perfect size to fit all. I was using the same MicroSD in the older units, no issues with it being recognized at all. Id say there will be a limitation on size. Even some of the current Android tablets still have a limit of 256GB. Its a combination of Android OS version and hardware limitations.

2. GPS Antenna is sitting just below the grill of the center speaker and the microphone on top protruding out. So far these havent presented any issues.
In fact what i do notice with the GPS antenna is that I am not getting a fix on sattelites much quicker than before. I wasnt keen to remove the trims for the A Pillar because of the location of the Airbags.

3. Current module only has 2 USB Outputs that are hard wired into the harness. USB 0 can be used for any USB devices including 4G Dongles. The other USB Output is USB 1 which is now also labelled as CarPlay. Ive run those temporarily through one of the switch panels below the steering wheel until i decide what else i will integrate into the unit itself.

Hope this info helps you. Let me know if you have any other questions.

So having now had the Modules in both cars for the last 2 weeks, i can definately say the functionality overall is night and day difference between the older module and new. Havent had a single dropout when on Wireless CarPlay or Wired CarPlay. Have installed several apps so far also including Google Maps, Waze, Netflix, Prime Video etc. All are working flawlessly via 4G Dongle or even tethering off my iPhone.

Id love to get my hands on the admin password to do a few finer tweaks to sound etc.
 

greynolds

SILVER Star
Joined
Jan 20, 2006
Messages
582
Location
Billerica, MA
Hello Mate..

Ill answer your questions best i can.

1. Yes i am using an MicroSD, just a standard Sandisk 128GB MicroSD formatted with FAT32, I had always planned on putting extra screens in at the back for the kids and there are some shows that the younger kids like for longer trips, so MicroSD is perfect size to fit all. I was using the same MicroSD in the older units, no issues with it being recognized at all. Id say there will be a limitation on size. Even some of the current Android tablets still have a limit of 256GB. Its a combination of Android OS version and hardware limitations.

2. GPS Antenna is sitting just below the grill of the center speaker and the microphone on top protruding out. So far these havent presented any issues.
In fact what i do notice with the GPS antenna is that I am not getting a fix on sattelites much quicker than before. I wasnt keen to remove the trims for the A Pillar because of the location of the Airbags.

3. Current module only has 2 USB Outputs that are hard wired into the harness. USB 0 can be used for any USB devices including 4G Dongles. The other USB Output is USB 1 which is now also labelled as CarPlay. Ive run those temporarily through one of the switch panels below the steering wheel until i decide what else i will integrate into the unit itself.

Hope this info helps you. Let me know if you have any other questions.

So having now had the Modules in both cars for the last 2 weeks, i can definately say the functionality overall is night and day difference between the older module and new. Havent had a single dropout when on Wireless CarPlay or Wired CarPlay. Have installed several apps so far also including Google Maps, Waze, Netflix, Prime Video etc. All are working flawlessly via 4G Dongle or even tethering off my iPhone.

Id love to get my hands on the admin password to do a few finer tweaks to sound etc.
Thanks for the response - the new unit sounds very promising. It's definitely possible that a 512GB microSD card was just beyond the limit for the built-in slot and a 256GB card may have worked. I've ordered a few different sizes and will report back with what works and what doesn't when the new unit arrives and I get it installed (I'll start with the largest size and work my way down). I'm very glad to hear that locating the GPS antenna below the center speaker grill is working out well and that putting the microphone in that location is also working well as those will greatly simplify the install - I'll use those as my starting points. I'm not thrilled with messing with the A pillar either for the same reason.

The only concern we have on this side of the planet is potential compatibility issues with USA spec models. We ran into a few things with the old unit that EC Offroad had promised to work through with the manufacturer - Michael is a bit more non-committal on the new module for now. Due to travel restrictions related to Covid-19, it was going to be quite a while before the manufacturer could get access to a USA spec LC anyway to work on the issues.
 
Joined
Oct 31, 2020
Messages
9
Location
Sydney, Australia
Thanks for the response - the new unit sounds very promising. It's definitely possible that a 512GB microSD card was just beyond the limit for the built-in slot and a 256GB card may have worked. I've ordered a few different sizes and will report back with what works and what doesn't when the new unit arrives and I get it installed (I'll start with the largest size and work my way down). I'm very glad to hear that locating the GPS antenna below the center speaker grill is working out well and that putting the microphone in that location is also working well as those will greatly simplify the install - I'll use those as my starting points. I'm not thrilled with messing with the A pillar either for the same reason.

The only concern we have on this side of the planet is potential compatibility issues with USA spec models. We ran into a few things with the old unit that EC Offroad had promised to work through with the manufacturer - Michael is a bit more non-committal on the new module for now. Due to travel restrictions related to Covid-19, it was going to be quite a while before the manufacturer could get access to a USA spec LC anyway to work on the issues.

Its no worries at all mate.

So this is the part that is getting me, not sure where the compatibility issues would be with US, in fact what ive noticed in the Radio settings, Australia isnt listed whereas rest of the world is. Pics below:

Also attached is a clearer picture of where i mounted the mic.

IMG_8430_1.JPG


IMG_8431.JPG
 

greynolds

SILVER Star
Joined
Jan 20, 2006
Messages
582
Location
Billerica, MA
i gather Dom is sending the super secret code 😀. The microphone looks fine in that location, so as long as it picks the voice up well, mine will probably remain in that spot.

The compatibility issues have been related to the heat and AC functions. Things like when you change the temp setting, the EC unit always shows max low for us instead of the actual setting. The Android functionality has been pretty much fine on the old unit other than the things we’ve discussed in this thread. I’m looking forward to trying the new device out soon.
 

seajeff

SILVER Star
Joined
Mar 15, 2016
Messages
37
Location
Pacific Northwest
Thanks for the detailed answers to some of our questions- we're all very excited to try out the new unit. Curious, though, what is the "Radio Area Setting"? Is there some sort of tuner access via the new unit interface or is that for some sort of RDS decoding?
 
Joined
Oct 31, 2020
Messages
9
Location
Sydney, Australia
Thanks for the detailed answers to some of our questions- we're all very excited to try out the new unit. Curious, though, what is the "Radio Area Setting"? Is there some sort of tuner access via the new unit interface or is that for some sort of RDS decoding?
Good question!
Not 100% certain because i couldnt find any Digital Radio Functions within the module at all.
Might be worth relaying this question to ECOR to their supplier to see what their feedback is on this. I might ask this question..
 

psnyman

SILVER Star
Joined
Apr 13, 2020
Messages
157
Location
Bay Area, California
@technopato - Several questions for you:

1) What are you using for a microSD card in the slot on the unit? I'm curious if you had success getting anything larger than 64GB to work and what partition type and file system you formatted it with. I tried a 512GB microSD card in the TF slot on the older hardware formatted with FAT32 and it wasn't recognized.

2) Did you route the GPS unit and microphone to the locations shown in the installation guide from EC Offroad? If so, how involved was it to route the cables from the unit to the A pillar area and what path did you take with the wires? This is the only part of the install that I'm concerned about doing myself.

3) According the Michael, USB2 can either connect to the factory USB harness on the center console or be used as a standalone USB connection in the glovebox (or other location of choice) - can you confirm that?

@seajeff (who has a 2016 LC) and I (2020 LC) have ordered the new version of the hardware and should be receiving them early next week. If we don't run into any unexpected compatibility issues with our USA spec LC's, @DomSmith (2016 LC) is also planning on switching to the new hardware. We collectively decided it made sense to try on 1 2016 and 1 2020 LC before ordering the 3rd one as it reduces the amount of extra shipping and open box units that EC Offroad potentially will end up with. We'll report our results once we've had time to install and test the new hardware.
Are you returning your original unit or purchasing the latest as an extra out of pocket? I have one of the originals and following these developments
 

greynolds

SILVER Star
Joined
Jan 20, 2006
Messages
582
Location
Billerica, MA
Are you returning your original unit or purchasing the latest as an extra out of pocket? I have one of the originals and following these developments
@seajeff and I each purchased a new one out of pocket. If the new one works out well, we'll each be returning the original unit, which we bought only a few months ago (in August when I started this thread, not long before the new version came out). If the new one doesn't work out well, we'll return the new ones (and it's possible we'll have different results on 2016 and 2020 model years). @DomSmith, @seajeff, and I have been working somewhat closely with EC Offroad since we first purchased the older units (all within a few weeks of each other) on a few issues around audio pops, CarPlay navigation audio being chopped off at the start of each instruction, and compatibility issues with the heat and AC controls / display on our USA spec LC's.

So EC Offroad is working with us to try out the new units and then either return the old unit for a refund or return the new unit for a refund (we'll each end up paying a little extra if we keep the new units). We arranged to only try 2 new units initially - one in a 2016 and on in my 2020 rather than sending all 3 at once to minimize how many open box units they end up with. If things go well for @seajeff on his 2016, @DomSmith will also upgrade. I don't think they'll make the same trade-in offer to people who may have had the old unit for a significantly longer period of time.

On another note, @technopato mentioned that communication with EC Offroad can be a bit challenging in some respects, and I would agree. If you send an email with several questions, they'll frequently answer the first and forget to answer the others. There are sometimes multi-day delays in getting responses and it's even worse in that regard being on the opposite side of the world as there's already essentially a 1 day delay in responses both ways. But at the end of the day, I get the impression that they're good, honest people who do care about making the customer happy. Part of the problem may be that they're too busy for the number of employees they have. Answering everything in an email at the same time would save them time in the end rather than having to respond to multiple emails (slow down to speed up...) and that's something they need to try to get better at, but I get it.
 
Joined
Oct 31, 2020
Messages
9
Location
Sydney, Australia
@seajeff and I each purchased a new one out of pocket. If the new one works out well, we'll each be returning the original unit, which we bought only a few months ago (in August when I started this thread, not long before the new version came out). If the new one doesn't work out well, we'll return the new ones (and it's possible we'll have different results on 2016 and 2020 model years). @DomSmith, @seajeff, and I have been working somewhat closely with EC Offroad since we first purchased the older units (all within a few weeks of each other) on a few issues around audio pops, CarPlay navigation audio being chopped off at the start of each instruction, and compatibility issues with the heat and AC controls / display on our USA spec LC's.

So EC Offroad is working with us to try out the new units and then either return the old unit for a refund or return the new unit for a refund (we'll each end up paying a little extra if we keep the new units). We arranged to only try 2 new units initially - one in a 2016 and on in my 2020 rather than sending all 3 at once to minimize how many open box units they end up with. If things go well for @seajeff on his 2016, @DomSmith will also upgrade. I don't think they'll make the same trade-in offer to people who may have had the old unit for a significantly longer period of time.

On another note, @technopato mentioned that communication with EC Offroad can be a bit challenging in some respects, and I would agree. If you send an email with several questions, they'll frequently answer the first and forget to answer the others. There are sometimes multi-day delays in getting responses and it's even worse in that regard being on the opposite side of the world as there's already essentially a 1 day delay in responses both ways. But at the end of the day, I get the impression that they're good, honest people who do care about making the customer happy. Part of the problem may be that they're too busy for the number of employees they have. Answering everything in an email at the same time would save them time in the end rather than having to respond to multiple emails (slow down to speed up...) and that's something they need to try to get better at, but I get it.

I ended returning both old units and the new units provided were replacements.

I honestly find the quickest way now to chat to the ECOR guy is via FB Messenger. You still might not get an answer straight away but its certainly a more direct dialogue with them.

I think any of their Gen 1 Open box units will end up going back to the supplier as a faulty unit. The reality is that even though its software based issues regardless the product isnt working as it should and for me it was quite consistent happening across 2 vehicles with the same type of modules in both.

Its definately a lot more challenging for you guys state side espescially for shipping also, but im happy to say that persistence paid off, its a piece of tech that realistically shouldve been stock from Toyota, to think that their flagship vehicle (In Australia being the LC200) doesnt come with this and their entry level hatchback the corolla does is ridiculous. Im happy with the way the current module is working, hasnt skipped a beat since install of both.

Hoping that once ive added the screens things will continue to operate smoothly..
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top Bottom