TMC is an independent, primarily volunteer organization that relies on ad revenue to cover its operating costs. Please consider whitelisting TMC on your ad blocker or making a Paypal contribution here: paypal.me/SupportTMC

iPod won't connect

Discussion in 'Roadster: Technical' started by daniel, Jul 2, 2011.

  1. daniel

    daniel Active Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2009
    Messages:
    1,131
    Location:
    Spokane, WA
    My iPod model MC008LL (second gen?) running software version 4.3.3 (8J2), which I think is the latest software version, won't connect when I plug it into the iPod connector. The Alpine unit does not recognize that it's plugged in, and the iPod continues to output its music through its own internal speaker. There are no error codes on either device. It's just as though it were not plugged in at all.

    The Bluetooth at first would not connect, but when I turned off the Alpine, rebooted the iPod, and then turned the Alpine back on again, it connected and worked fine. I figured my problem was solved.

    But then at the grocery store I shut off the car, left the iPod on but locked (screen goes blank, music will continue to play, but no buttons respond except the volume buttons on the side until you turn the screen back on) and when I turned the car back on, the Bluetooth again would not connect. The iPod thought it was connected, but the Alpine thought it was not.

    Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. smorgasbord

    smorgasbord Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2011
    Messages:
    2,379
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    I don't know about the bluetooth issues, but via the cable is a "known" problem to Alpine, at least for my recent car. Someone in your Alpine docs is a slip of paper telling you that sometimes it won't recognize the iPod/iPhone and that the "fix" is to disconnect and reconnect again.

    It really sucks. I can see why everyone bashes the Alpine unit.
     
  3. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

    Joined:
    May 17, 2009
    Messages:
    18,235
    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV
    Not sure what is going on but i turned the bluetooth off immediately on the Alpine unit since it's almost worthless (car is so loud with wind noise at highway speeds anyway). That may have something to do with it.
     
  4. daniel

    daniel Active Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2009
    Messages:
    1,131
    Location:
    Spokane, WA
    I did try disconnecting and reconnecting, but I'll try doing it a few more times.

    The bluetooth, when it did work, produced excellent sound for me. It was plenty loud enough. And the sound quality was as good as my tired, defective, old ears can discern.
     
  5. Lloyd

    Lloyd Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2011
    Messages:
    4,886
    Location:
    San Luis Obispo, CA
    I had this problem with another car. I had to use a different connector than the white apple connector, and the software had to be current then all was good.
     
  6. daniel

    daniel Active Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2009
    Messages:
    1,131
    Location:
    Spokane, WA
    The Roadster has its own connector. You don't use the white Apple connector at all.

    I tried disconnecting and reconnecting, and eventually it worked. But then after stopping and starting the car again, after 3 or 4 tries I gave up and listened to the radio.

    On the freeway with the top off (my first time with the top off) the road and wind noise is too loud to hear anything!
     
  7. W.Petefish

    W.Petefish Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2011
    Messages:
    1,059
    Location:
    North Texas (DFW)
    I was hanging around with the touring duo from Tesla Motors when the same thing happened to me before I switched to my pioneer head unit. We discovered the solution if you are constantly getting error 3 with the alpine is to Disconnect the ipod. Reboot the iPod. Reconnect it.

    This is one of the reasons I upgraded to the pioneer unit.
     
  8. markwj

    markwj Moderator, Asia Pacific

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2011
    Messages:
    3,665
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    If this is an iPod with Bluetooth (iPhone?) the problem is most likely the phone is sending output via Bluetooth not the dock connector.

    Plug it in, then call up the music player app. In the bottom right of the iPod screen there is a square icon which is probably blue (Bluetooth). Press it and it will show "Alpine...". Choose "Dock Connector" and it should switch back.

    Let us know if this is the problem for you...
     
  9. daniel

    daniel Active Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2009
    Messages:
    1,131
    Location:
    Spokane, WA
    My iPod Touch (not an iPhone) does have bluetooth. I turn bluetooth off when I try to connect to the dock connector. Per Smorgasbord's suggestion, I found that if I repeatedly unplug it and then plug it in again, sometimes it will connect. Sometimes it does not connect before I give up. If instead (or after) I turn on bluetooth it will never connect until I turn the Alpine off and then on again; but this does not always work. Rebooting the iPod is not an acceptable solution because it takes too long. And is not always necessary, though I have yet to determine if turning bluetooth off, and turning the Alpine off, and then turning them both back on, might work.

    What's the story on the Pioneer unit?

    I am officially declaring the Alpine unit to be trash.

    The NAV in the Alpine is MUCH worse than my Garmin Nuvi, except that its screen is larger than the Nuvi. But if I put the Nuvi on the dashboard it interferes with my view of the road (something that does not happen in either the Prius or the Xebra, since both are higher up). It's kind of annoying that they can build such a spectacular marvel of engineering, and then put a crap system like the Alpine in it, and charge $4,500 for it!
     
  10. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

    Joined:
    May 17, 2009
    Messages:
    18,235
    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV
    Did you turn bluetooth off in the Alpine unit itself? I really don't like the Alpine unit either but until something comes along that matches the navigation of my 3 year old TomTom, I'm going to wait. That new Sony unit may be an option but I was told unless you stick within the Alpine family, the transition is much more involved.
     
  11. S-2000 Roadster

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2009
    Messages:
    636
    I have done a lot of investigation with regard to this problem, so I will try to summarize what I have learned:

    1) Between the iPod connector and the Alpine IVA-NAV-10 "head unit" is the Alpine TUA-T550HD "HD Radio Tuner Box," which is unfortunately the weak link here. It is not a simple, direct cable like it should be. Due to the way that USB works, the HD Radio unit must act as a USB hub, and I suspect that this is where all of the problems lie. I'm guessing that the HD Radio shuts itself down when not in use, which tends to disconnect the iPod as well. Either that, or it's a really poor USB hub. Unfortunately, the HD Radio unit is hidden away in the Roadster, and you probably cannot access it without voiding your warranty. Your best bet is to wait until the Alpine system is fully started, then make sure your iOS device is awake when you plug it in. That usually works for me (*).

    2) You do not need to reboot your iPod or iPhone. In general, it is a good idea to reboot your iOS device if you are having problems and have not done so in a very long time. I sometimes go for months without ever turning off my iPhone and have no issues, but then after a mysterious problem crops up I find that a quick reboot usually cures it. That said, the Alpine system fails too frequently for rebooting the iOS device to be a good idea.

    3) You do not need to turn off Bluetooth, nor do you need to turn it on. Use Bluetooth only if you want your in-vehicle microphone and speaker system to work when placing or receiving calls. It's basically too noisy with the vehicle moving, but I leave it on anyway. It does not seem to affect the USB performance, although it may be acting as a red herring.

    (*) We had a problem here in Seattle where my iPhone would not connect to my Alpine at all, but every other iPod and iPhone in the Tesla Store Seattle worked fine. Service was convinced that my iPhone had a problem, but as an iPhone developer and USB hardware developer, I know for a fact that my iPhone has absolutely no problems ever connecting with any other device on the first try. Sure enough, testing my iPhone on a new Roadster 2.5 on the showroom floor showed that my phone worked fine.

    Upon ripping apart my car, and with my investigative help, we discovered that when wired directly to the head unit using the Alpine-supplied iPod cable, my iPhone works every time.

    Thus the eventual "solution" was to replace the HD Radio unit with a new one, since it lies in between the iPod connector and the head unit. This seemed to work, in that I went from only having one day where it worked to having it work every trip if I'm persistent, but it's still far from 100% reliable.

    I am fully tempted to remove the HD Radio unit so that the iPod connector would then be wired directly to the head unit. The direct link seemed 100% reliable, although I didn't test it more than the two days my Roadster was in the service bay. The thing is that HD Radio sounds like crap. If it required a paid subscription like the Sirius XM Satellite Radio system then I would rip it out immediately. At least for now, there's the conflicting temptation to access crappy-sounding music for free. I am also interested in maintaining my Tesla Motors warranty, so I won't be changing anything on the Infotainment system until the warranty has expired. Perhaps Tesla Motors charged $4,500 so they could afford to replace the cheap components frequently.
     
  12. daniel

    daniel Active Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2009
    Messages:
    1,131
    Location:
    Spokane, WA
    Thanks for that. Just a note that since I have an iPod, not an iPhone, my reason for connecting with Bluetooth (when the cable didn't work) was to stream music from the iPod to the Alpine. Not to make phone calls. (My phone also has Bluetooth, but the car is far too noisy to talk on the phone while driving, which isn't safe anyway, even hands-free.)

    I may have once or twice plugged in the iPod when the Alpine unit was off, but many times I have plugged it in when the Alpine was fully on and the iPod was awake. A couple of times it has worked. Most times it does not.

    Considering the price (which I paid because the car was an existing one in inventory, and the "infotainment group" was in it, though I would have preferred a car without it) I think it is unacceptable for Tesla to just say "Sorry, sometimes the Alpine doesn't work right." I'm going to follow up on this with my customer advocate. Maybe, in lieu of a functioning iPod interface, they'll give me a free ten-year subscription to Sirius. That would still be a small fraction of what I paid for the defective Alpine unit.

    Hey, I'd have settled for an RCA-type AUX-in plug that I could use to plug in the iPod, like my Xebra has. For now, my backup for music is the CD player.
     
  13. S-2000 Roadster

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2009
    Messages:
    636
    Bluetooth works great for music, and you never have to take the device out of your pocket as you enter or dismount the vehicle. That's actually an advantage over the USB link. The only disadvantage of Bluetooth is that you don't get song title information, and some people have said that the audio quality is lower. Considering that the Infotainment system doesn't live up to my own typical custom stereo installations, I didn't really notice a distinct problem with Bluetooth quality. I used Bluetooth for the first several weeks while waiting for Tesla to ship a replacement unit.

    I would suggest to Tesla that they remove the Alpine TUA-T550HD HD Radio device from owner's vehicles who don't want HD Radio anyway. It would require a USB-to-USB adaptor to avoid reworking the wiring harness, but I have a hunch that it would alleviate all of the problems we're seeing.

    Note that the iPod cable in your Roadster does have an RCA plug for your iPod, it's just that it doesn't connect to the Alpine head unit (or at least I don't think it does). The RCA plug is there for older iPod devices that do not support digital audio. Again, the biggest problem here is that the iPod does not connect directly to the Alpine head unit, but instead goes through the HD Radio accessory.
     
  14. markwj

    markwj Moderator, Asia Pacific

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2011
    Messages:
    3,665
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    The Hong Kong roadsters use a different Alpine head unit, and no HD radio. Other than the iPhone-switches-to-Bluetooth problem, dock connection is fine.
     
  15. W.Petefish

    W.Petefish Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2011
    Messages:
    1,059
    Location:
    North Texas (DFW)
    I asked permission from the Tesla Regional Service Manager to change my stereo. He said "as long as no structural modifications are done, keeping in mind that if your aftermarket radio causes an other component of the roadster you are liable for the repairs".
     
  16. S-2000 Roadster

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2009
    Messages:
    636
    This is a shame, because the old, old Roadster allowed custom-ordering the stereo system with each component priced separately. That would allow folks to avoid the HD Radio troubles and also not pay the Tesla tax (markup) on the price. But by 'simplifying' their option packages - a smart move in general that many small-production-run vehicle makers end up doing - most of us get stuck with an overpriced system that doesn't work because it's overly complex. Of course, this assumes I'm right that the HD Radio box is responsible for the troubles.
     
  17. daniel

    daniel Active Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2009
    Messages:
    1,131
    Location:
    Spokane, WA
    While not having the ability to select playlists and tracks from the screen is a disadvantage of Bluetooth, I'd accept it if it connected reliably. Mine does not, and in a more than $100,000 car I should not have to spend 5 minutes getting my iPod to connect.

    I don't require specifically high definition radio, but I do not want to give up the ability to listen to FM radio. Especially since Sirius requires an expensive subscription and their a-la-carte plan is not available for the Alpine unit.

    I do not see any audio-in plug on the iPod connector or on the unit. Nor is there an AUX-in selection on the Source menu.
     
  18. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2006
    Messages:
    17,252
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    #18 TEG, Jul 3, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2011
    When I got the Nissan Leaf, I started by plugging my iPhone into the car's USB connecetor... It would charge the phone, but I had issues with Bluetooth audio changing the source input on the audio system. I could select USB to play songs from the phone, but then when I got a phone call or the phone tried to play a sound on its' own, the USB would cut out and it would switch to Bluetooth mode and had to be changed back manually.
    Ultimately I decided to put a USB power adapter in the 'cigarette lighter' and charge the phone that way, and put a flash drive full of music in the car's USB slot.
    Now if I have a passenger (or ones in the back with the Leaf), I just hand them the iPhone and let them play Bluetooth DJ. I was afraid that the sound quality would be bad, but was actually surprised how good the Bluetooth audio can sound.
    No big concern with lack of song titles on the audio system display as people are just looking at the songs on the phone screen.

    Summary - Bluetooth audio is great for letting someone else play DJ who can look at the phone/iPod screen. This is even more useful in cars with back seat passengers that wish to control the audio playback.
     
  19. daniel

    daniel Active Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2009
    Messages:
    1,131
    Location:
    Spokane, WA
    This morning the Bluetooth was working fine. Go figure! I'll see how it goes over the next couple of days. Not sure if I did anything different. Since I'm pretty much always in the car alone, though, once I start, I cannot change the play list without stopping the car, since I value my life. I still think Tesla or Alpine owes me a working iPod cable connector or a free subscription to Sirius radio.
     
  20. daniel

    daniel Active Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2009
    Messages:
    1,131
    Location:
    Spokane, WA
    This afternoon, again, I had no trouble connecting the Bluetooth. I think I shut the BT off in the iPod and then turned it back on, then started the Alpine and waited for it to boot completely and put it on radio. Then turned BT on in the iPod and told it to connect to the Alpine. Then switched the source in the Alpine to BT.

    I have no idea how much of this rigamarole was necessary. I still wish I could connect to the cable and be able to select playlists and tracks from the Alpine's screen.
     

Share This Page