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FuLLy LOAdEd bMw X1 crAMMed with ALPine & 10,000w

ticKets Are seLLing FAst!

BOOK YOURS FOR THE ICE AWARDS, NOvEmBER 7TH sPeciAL instALLer oFFer inside >> PLUs! reAd PArKsAFe’s LAtest news on PAge 14 ALSO INSIDE

indUstrY interview

Active bAss

compact enclosure round-up

iPod heAd Units single Dins with Apple control

clarion’s Graham case

Kenwood review new double Din tested 1


w w w. m o b i l e e l e c t ro n i c s n e w s. e u






Industry news


Digital radio news


HandsFree update


Big announcements, plus movers and shakers


ast month we celebrated 10 years of Mobile Electronics News, and this issue we’ve delved a little further back in time – Andy Mills presents the idea that there could be a market for retro head units in his business feature (p34), while Clarion’s Graham Case reflects on his 29 years in the industry (p38). As Graham says, there was a time before DIN slots, when head units were just bolted underneath the dash – perhaps a radio with only five buttons, and if you were lucky it may have FM. It actually made me think of an episode of Pimp My Ride once, where the front of a retro unit opened up to reveal a slot for an iPod behind it. Personally, I’m just glad things have progressed since the cassette tape, and I don’t have to use a pen to wind it back after the player has chewed it up – that’s definitely not a problem experienced with this issue’s round-up of iPod-friendly single DIN units (p20). Not so long ago, plugging in an iPod or iPhone and controlling the music from the front panel would have been considered a bit quirky, but now it’s one of the things you expect to have. In fact, manufacturers seem to be looking at what else can be achieved by having the device plugged in, which is leading us to internet radio and other cool features. All of which is very exciting. And remember, this is the month to really show off to customers the potential of digital radio – there is lots of activity happening around the Olympics, with extra content broadcast on dedicated digital channels. Point it out to customers when they come in for a browse around and it can add a very timely dimension to the sale. Yes, this month it really is about time. Enjoy the issue! Chris Anderson Editor,

The latest developments from the world of digital radio

We catch up with the winners of this year’s FITAS Installer of the Year Award



BMW X1 install


Alpine’s Australian branch has made a BMW demo car packing 10,000W

JVC update

Parksafe update

Active sub enclosures 28

The parking sensor supplier reveals why it’s a good idea to be at MEN Expo


AcuTrac update




iPod-friendly head units


Business focus

Andy Mills asks if your company name is holding back your business

Digital music sales are taking over, so we look at the newest Applefriendly single DIN units


Adam Rayner tests Kenwood’s new DNX4210DAB – a double DIN with digital radio included


Eight of the best active sub boxes currently on the market



Andy Mills gets nostalgic and says dig out those old car stereos

Trafficmaster update 36 All you need to know about Trafficmaster’s Trackstar products

Graham Case


Car Audio & security update


Product news


Installer guide


MEN directory


The Clarion legend reflects on his many years in the industry

We find out what’s been happening with the Hayes car audio dealer

Contact all the team on: Tel: 01268 754897 Fax: 01268 754429 Charlotte Body PUBLISHER Tel: 01268 754897/07903 944666

Peter Johnson ART DIRECTOR Tel: 01268 754897

Chris Anderson MANAGING EDITOR Tel: 07553 564998 email:

Emma Bridges Production/Events Tel: 01268 754897

Loraine Winter SENIOR DESIGNER & CONCEPT DESIGN Tel: 01268 754897

The company reveals its first MirrorLink-enabled products

New to the tracking market, but can this company really save you money?


Loryn McIntyre PUBLICATION MANAGER Tel: 01268 754897/07538 332171


Got an business or install query? Write to us and we’ll see if our experts can help

Product review



The latest aftermarket kit, including connector kits and apps

Contributors: Adam Rayner: Martyn Williams: Andy Mills (Millsy): Creative Media Ltd. 318c High Road, Benfleet, Essex SS7 5HB.

If Creative Media publish any supplied text or photographs by way of contribution to the magazine, you automatically and hereby grant Creative Media a perpetual, royalty-free, irrevocable, non-exclusive right and licence to use, reproduce modify, publish, translate, create derivative works from and distribute such text or photography into any from, medium or technology now known or hereafter developed. In addition, as between you and Creative Media, you assert and waive any and all moral rights in such text or photography. The views and opinions expressed by any contributors (including advertisers) to the magazine are not necessarily those of the magazine and should not be taken as such.

How to upgrade a Mercedes C-Class, from products to fitting


Numbers and websites for manufacturers and suppliers 3


New brands for Armour Armour Automotive adds premium security brands to its portfolio Borden-based company Armour Automotive is already well known for distributing such brands as Autloeads, Dension, Focal and Kicker, among others. One thing that has been missing from the line until now is a security brand, but all that changes this month. From August 1, Armour will be distributing Code-Alarm, MED, Firsttech, Fortin and iData – five brands that between them will cover a wide range of vehicle security needs and functions. Armour’s idea is not to just push five brands at dealers, but to show how they can work together. “There isn’t a single brand on the market that covers what these five can do,” explains Shaun Findley, Armour Automotive’s technical director. “Code-Alarm covers a lot of features you might expect, such as ‘total closure’ – closing windows and so on – even on the base model. “The transmitters are well built, and even the key fobs have a chunky, quality feel. And built into that range is remote start – but you need bypass modules for that to happen. This is

where iData and Fortin come in, both makers of these interface modules.” The idea seems to be to give dealers more options and cater for a lot more customers’ needs. “MED is an Italian manufacturer,” Findley reveals. “Its products are Thatcham approved and Can-BUS based, but whereas with other brands a dealer may need to keep in stock different modules to cater for the three Can-BUS types, the MED box can handle all three – so just keep the one box in stock. And it’s web programmable too, and you can always update it.” The final brand announced is a little more specialist, but will please owners of a certain car make. “Firsttech is a remote start product that plugs straight into the ignition switch of a Mercedes-Benz vehicle,” Findley explains. “Nobody else does this, and it’s an install time of about five-10 minutes. It means you can remote start the car from a factory remote.” Five brands, and a wealth of possibility when it comes to vehicle security. It will be interesting


to see how both the dealers and vehicle owners take to the new additions. Armour Automotive 01420 487110,


Soundstream supreme Parksafe’s new recruit PPA Distribution, which looks after such brands as Pro-Plus, Precision Power and Soundstream, has come up with a very interesting incentive for its dealers – Soundstream Supreme. This will be an exclusive dealer network involving eight-10 outlets currently handling the Soundstream brand. Any dealer involved will receive full marketing support from PPA with regards open days and shows, but most importantly will be able to stock products available exclusively to them. “These items will not be available to buy online, and therefore the dealers will have a suggested retail mark-up of around 120-140%,” says PPA managing director Krupal Patel. “We already have interest from over 30 dealers, but we are being very selective, so we will narrow them down to no more than 10.” PPA Distribution 020 7993 8889, email

Parksafe Automotive, a leading supplier of parking sensors and rear view cameras, has recently welcomed sales assistant Kathryn Read to its ranks. Kathryn will be working in the sales department and supporting customer service. “We are pleased to appoint a new member of staff to our team,” says managing director Mick Barber. “It’s all part of our aim to offer 110% customer service.” Parksafe Automotive 01773 746591,


If you have company developments, news or thoughts to tell the trade, why not let us know? Email information and hi-res images (300dpi) to

DIARY /// Go Digital Rooftop Reception

Up on the roof There were reasons to be cheerful at Digital Radio UK’s recent Go Digital event – and not just because of the free drinks and nibbles on offer. Staging an event on a rooftop could be considered a bold move with the weather we’ve experienced so far this summer, and a date of Friday 13 even bolder, but luckily the rain held off for Digital Radio UK’s July gathering, allowing visitors to celebrate all that has been happening in the world of digital broadcasting. The venue in question was the Vista rooftop terrace at London’s Trafalgar Hotel, with views across the city including The London Eye, the Shard and Nelson’s Column. Sponsored by Ruark Audio, the reception also included guest speakers in the form of Tim Davie, the director of BBC audio and music (inset), and Steve Parkinson, managing director of Bauer Radio, which heads up a number of commercial stations. The event was intended to mark some of the key milestones in digital radio, which Davie highlighted in his presentation. “Digital radio is in a phase where not a month goes by without major news,” he said. “The commercial sector is stronger than ever, and the BBC wants competition – it makes the market strong.” Davie cited in particular the changing attitudes towards digital radio. “Our rallying call used to be, ‘Please believe’, rather than ‘Look what’s happening, this is an inevitability.’ That is worth a celebration. Digital radio as a hybrid medium, with broadcast as a backbone through FM and DAB and use of the internet, is where we are heading – that is not a debate.”

Fri 31-Wed, Sep 5 IFA Berlin Messe Berlin, Berlin Europe’s biggest trade show for consumer electronics kicks off in Germany.


He then listed the main achievements in detail, such as increased coverage, better content, and signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the government, securing the funding for future development. Davie also touched on the role the motoring industry has played. “There are 26% of cars with DAB fitted as standard,” he said. “That’s up from 12% last year, and next year there won’t be many manufacturers not including it at all. It changes the game.” Davie said that collaboration between individuals and companies is helping digital radio to grow, something that Parkinson was able to elaborate on when talking about BT London Live. “What is it? It’s 44 days of free-to-access events across three sites, during the time of the Olympics and Paralympics – Hyde Park, Victoria Park and Trafalgar Square,” he said, revealing that the coverage would be handled by a number of digital stations, including Kiss and Heart, both owned by Bauer, and Absolute Radio. “It’s good to see Bauer and Absolute Radio finding ways to work together. So let’s celebrate the collaborative reasons for us to be cheerful.”

ICE AWARDS Leaving Alpine EXCLUSIVE INSTALLER OFFER The In-Car Electronics Awards tickets are selling fast and we want everyone to get behind the event to celebrate the success of your industry, network with contacts and have a fabulous evening out! This is why we are offering all installers the chance to purchase tickets at the exclusive rate of £130+VAT per ticket (normally £165+VAT). Call the ticket hotline now on 01268 754897 and quote


Supplier to MEN of all Alpine news, marketing and business analyst Joanna Butler has announced she will be leaving the company at the end of August. Joanna will be taking up a new role at Jaguar Land Rover, while her replacement at Alpine will be Jayne Woolford. An employee of Alpine for over five years, Joanna assures us her time with the company will not be forgotten. Alpine 02476 719620,


Our new product news setion is on p44. But don’t just skip to the back, there’s lots more in-between! PRODUCT NEWS ON P44

Sun 2 Trax Silverstone circuit, Northamptonshire Billed as the ultimate performance car event, with track racing, sprint tests, car clubs, retail village, mobile rolling road and kids’ entertainment.

October Thu 18 FCS Comms Provider 12 Eversheds, London Brings together stakeholders in the competitive telecoms sector, giving providers the chance to hear from senior figures and decision makers shaping the industry. Fri 30-Sun, Nov 2 SEMA Show 2012 Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas This industry-only event showcases all kinds of automotive products, including audio and accessories. Over 60,000 domestic and international buyers visited last year.

November Wed 7 MEN Awards The Grand Connaught Rooms, Covent Garden, 7pm Book your table for the most prestigious night of the year in the mobile electronics industry. Who will be this year’s winners? More info on 01268 754897, Fri 30-Sun, Dec 2 Gadget Show Live Christmas Excel London Packed with glorious gadget gift ideas, games and toys perfect for anybody’s Christmas list.

December Thu 6 BENher North West Ladies’ Lunch (NWLL) Mere Golf Resort & Spa, Cheshire Open to all ladies, the event will comprise a three-course lunch and fashion show, with stalls selling Christmas gifts. BEN is the automotive industry’s only dedicated charity. More info on 01344 294720, 5


Digital Radio UK’s Sam Bonham tunes us in to the latest developments

Biggest campaign ever Digital Radio UK is currently running its biggest digital radio campaign ever. Launched on Saturday, June 30, the campaign incorporates BBC TV and radio, commercial radio and national print – including full-page advertisements in The Guardian (pictured). Cars are a major focus of the campaign, and there are specific ads to highlight the fact that digital radio is now widely available in both new cars and by fitting an adaptor to your existing car. The campaign continues with the BBC until early September.

Don’t miss a thing

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That’s the message of this summer’s digital radio advertisements, part of the two-year £10 million campaign communicating the benefits of digital radio: “Don’t miss a thing of the amazing summer of music and sport with digital radio.” The summer of 2012 is like no other, with a wide range of music festivals and sports events, including the London 2012 Olympic Games and the BT London Live Concerts broadcast by Bauer and Absolute Radio. The BBC will talk specifically about its music and sports events on digital radio, including the Grand Prix, and Olympics coverage on the new pop-up digital-only station BBC Radio 5 Live Olympics Extra. A lot of the coverage will be broadcast exclusively on digital radio stations.

Coverage milestone An important milestone has been reached recently in digital radio, with the signing by government, BBC and commercial radio multiplex operators of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on local coverage build-out – a framework detailing how to proceed. This is good news for digital radio’s future, and for listeners as it will enable more of them to enjoy digital radio at home and in the car. This is a sign of the radio industry’s commitment to working together to build digital radio coverage and brings the potential digital radio switchover a step closer.

Digital Day in Manchester On Wednesday, July 4, Digital Radio UK, the BBC and Key103 celebrated Digital Day in Manchester, marking the launch of a new digital radio transmitter that will provide 250,000 listeners with coverage for the first time and covers an additional 120 km of road. This marked the culmination of four years of investment into digital radio coverage by both the BBC and commercial broadcasters, providing owners of digital radios with a choice of 42 stations as opposed to 17 on analogue only. There are a number of DAB digital radio signal boosts planned over the next 18 months, around the UK. These include Liverpool, Leeds and Cardiff. Digital Radio UK will be supporting these on the ground with local media and retailers, and we hope to see an increase in digital radio sales going forward. l For all enquiries regarding the above, please contact

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Big win for Handsfree The Manchester company scoops the FITAS Installer of the Year Award


ust as we went to press last month, the FCS (Federation of Communications Services) was gearing up for one of its biggest nights of the year – the FCS Industry Awards, held at Savoy Place in London. There were a total of six award categories, including Innovation for Business Radio, Communications Provider of the Year, Reseller of the Year, the FCS Green Award and the Apprentice of the Year Award, accurately reflecting the different aspects of the communications industry. Most relevant to the mobile electronics sector, however, was the FITAS Installer of the Year Award, judged by the FCS Installer Training and Accreditation Scheme, won by Handsfree. The company installs a range of products – from mobile communications to GPS tracking units – helping businesses around the UK. It was up to four top industry judges to decide the worthy winner of the award, sponsored by Armour Automotive, with Handsfree directors Matt Johnson and Scott Cassell stepping up to collect from Ofcom board director Stuart McIntosh. “Scott and I were both really pleased for our team,” says Johnson. “We hit London with the guys from Armour and ended up in a karaoke bar – it was a great party!” And the party was no doubt well deserved, as it sounds like a lot of hard work has paid off. “It means so much to us,” Johnson continues.

Scott Cassell and Matt Johnson collect their award

“Everyone has worked so hard to get our operation into a position where we thought we could put in an entry. It’s the first year we’ve entered, and we were very aware of the high standards of the competition. We have a responsibility now to deliver excellent customer service and installation, and contribute to the industry in a positive way.” When trying to pinpoint what is was that impressed the judges, Johnson has formed his own opinions. “We have introduced a new scheduling system, and jobs get sent to our engineers’ PDAs,” he says. “Work gets signed off when it is completed, and customers can see online what has been done. It is that investment in training and technology.” Of course, there are other reasons to celebrate for the company, which has grown stronger since it was first founded in 2003, setting up in the States in 2008. So with a successful business and an industry award under his belt, does Johnson have any advice for other aspiring companies? “Focus on training, technology and having a great team in place,” he says. “Pick great people, and provide opportunities and rewards for excellent performance.” l For more info on Handsfree, call 0161 864 6440 or visit Also see

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“...the best choice for vehicle security is still Armour...” “We believe these brands enable Armour to provide quality, competitive security & remote start products. Extensive knowledge and experience from within our technical department will further support our customers requirements.”

in partnership with

- Shaun Findley Technical Director Armour Automotive

For more information on the new range of security products on offer please call sales on 01420 487110 or email 9


& A Q

Got a problem?

For any technical, product or business queries, drop us a line. Our panel of experts will offer their advice, based on years in the industry. Email All equal I haven’t seen any systems around that treat the front and rear passengers to equal levels of sound quality. Is it feasible to design a system so that both the front and rear passengers have a good stereo image, or am I just trying to recreate the impossible? Mark We remember a demo vehicle built in the States that did a very good job of a real soundstage for front and rear passengers. This was done in a Chevrolet Astro van though, and used a console to locate the speakers for the rear passengers that ran the whole width of the vehicle just behind the front seats. Of course, in a normal car you don’t have the space required for this. It’s possible you could work on a build similar to a door build, but mount it to the rear of the front seats that could house the mids and tweeters necessary to create a decent soundstage. If you’re lucky, the doors might be okay with or without a build, but it is best to try and create a basic listenable test arrangement before going to the length of the finished builds. You could opt for a closed-back or dome midrange unit and a tweeter in the headrests, but a normal mid-range driver is unlikely to work in the space available.

Screens in headrests I’ve got to fit some screens next week into the headrests of a 2010 Volvo XC70. I’ve done a couple of these before, but just wondered what other installers were considering when carrying out this job, and if there were any tips for making it extra special. John Steven Berry, a contributor to, has written extensively on fitting screens into


headrests, and here is what he says about performing the task on the very same car: “First, you have to remove the headrest, usually quite simple when you find the release. Then decide which size of screen to fit. I had a customer who wanted 7 inch Alpines, but 6.5 inch Necvox screens worked better. “Next, remove the vinyl cover and lay the frame for the screen onto the foam. I always cut the frame trim surround off, and then trim into the housing, as it allows you to usually fit a bigger screen than you think. You also have to take into account the depth of foam on the headrest, and position of the bars there too. Take your time at this point. “After making out the frame, use a zipper blade or Stanley knife and cut out the foam to a depth where the case can sit as flush as possible, and sit the framework in. I very rarely fasten the cases in, and usually allow the trimming to hold the frame in place. This is because, if you refit the case it sometimes doesn’t look square, and no two headrests even on the same car are the same. “Using a zipper blade or Stanley knife again, cut a cross on the headrest, but do not cut to the very corners of the framework yet. This will allow you to alter the position of the case within the headrest, so straighten it up if need be. I use spray adhesive to glue the trim into the framework. Now using a blade, cut into the corners of the frame, but leave a couple of millimetres spare. “Now to fit the screen and cabling, I drill alongside the left-hand leg to run my cable down. Again on cars with hollow hedrests, I do it slightly differently, drilling the bars to allow the cable to run inside them, but the Volvo headrests’ height does not adjust and the wiring cannot be seen. Now the screens can be fitted to the car. It should take you about two-and-a-half hours in total.” l



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Audiofile-Incar are currently looking for an experienced installation engineer to head up our workshop in Bishops Stortford. We are exceptionally busy with Bespoke Car Audio and Incar Entertainment Systems as well as the usual Parking Sensors, Tracking Systems, Bluetooth etc. Candidate must have significant experience in these areas as well as being comfortable speaking too and dealing with customers. The bulk of our installations are in prestige vehicles. Package includes a strong salary, commission and Health care.


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DEMO CAR /// alpine bmw x1 ///

The focal point of any show car is created at the rear, with a big install on display and plenty of volume to bring in the punters – the Alpine X1 delivers


Alpine Electronics of Australia has come up with a neat BMW X1 install with six 12 inch subs and 10,000W, all decked out with Alcantara, neon, and Stinger cable and termination


esigned to attract maximum attention at shows, the X1 has an excellent compact format and modern design, with good interior space and the wide appeal of a sports utility vehicle. Lots of custom touches throughout the vehicle really show off the equipment, starting with the modified factory sunglasses holder at the top of the dash housing the Alpine IVAD800E head unit with its high definition 7 inch screen. The factory head unit has been removed, and grafted in its place is the RUXC800 controller for the PXA-H800 surround sound processor. Below that, the standard 12 volt socket has been removed and replaced with a reverse camera controller for switching viewing angles. The ‘A’ pillar trim has been revamped with 4 inch monitors fitted at


each base. This goes with restyled door mirror housings, which now have integrated reversing cameras. The X1 also shows off Alpine’s advanced HCE-C300R sensing camera technology. This clever camera kit uses its multi-view system, which allows the driver to select between four different viewing angles. The included software detects moving cars or pedestrians by highlighting them on the screen and giving a warning sound. Overall, the interior has been given the

smooth treatment even down to removing the grab handles. The hood lining, steering wheel and instrument cluster are all re-trimmed in Alcantara – a bit of a cliché, but effective all the same. The heart of the system is the PXA-H800 processor. Its formats include Dolby D and PLII plus DTS. It will perform automated interior sensing with a supplied microphone to time-align and acoustically equalise the vehicle, which also includes the countering of existing sound processing when a factory head unit is used. The result is normally an improvement in stereo focus and raising of the soundstage, plus a reduction of comb-filtering to improve intelligibility. A fantastic user-tool for the installer building for customers who can understand and afford this special black box. The X1 has 10 PDX Audiophile Series amplifiers, giving it total system power in excess of 10,000W. The amplifiers are stacked neatly together on display in the spare wheel well. The amplification group consists of six PDX-M12

monoblocks, each powering a Type-R Thin 12 inch subwoofer, and four PDX-F6 600W RMS four-channel amplifiers feeding each door. The subwoofers have a mounting depth of just under 90mm and have been designed to equal the performance of a conventional sub. The fabricated front and rear door trims with custom-made armrests have dedicated enclosures for each speaker. The front doors house a set of SPR-50C 5.25 inch Type-R component speakers and two SPR-60C 6.5 inch woofers. The tweeter is mounted in the mirror pad, and the dual woofers are decoupled with a sealed enclosure, which helps to reinforce bass-mid punch and attack while limiting the chances of door resonance. All doors are lined with Stinger Roadkill sound deadening. The rear doors are fitted with SPR-50C 5.25 inch Type-R component speakers with the tweeter grafted high in the door trim. A single 6.5 inch Type-R woofer is also used, again in a sealed enclosure. The focal point of any show car is created at the rear, with a big install on display and plenty of volume to bring in the punters – the Alpine X1 delivers. Extra impact is created inside the hatch by reinforcing the bass assault with a

row of four SPR-50 5.25 inch Type-R coaxial speakers. The visual effect is enhanced with three TMX-R2150E drop-down 10 inch screens, plus an HCE-115 rear view camera that plays back images of the people looking in through the centre screen. The original battery was in the space that is now taken up by the amplifier rack, and

the new arrangement features three Stinger SPV69 batteries fitted in the engine bay, with two behind the front bumper. The other battery is used for starting and running the car and is conventionally mounted under the bonnet. The two audio system batteries are wired up with a fully automatic isolator along with two 120A power supplies for static display at shows. All the wiring is upper range Stinger HPM series, with Stinger HPM ‘Shoc-Krome’ terminals and distribution blocks. No show car would be complete without some external petrolhead-attracting bling – the wheels are eye-catching 22 inchers shod with 255/35 Toyo Proxes. Brakes have to be big to match the wheels and are 356mm front and back with eight and six pot calipers respectively. Bodywork treatment is subtle and cleverly includes M3 side skirts plus 12mm wider front wheelarches and 24mm wider on the rear. Stock suspension has been lowered – this was done by fitting 22 drive units, 10 amplifiers and a couple of miles of wiring! l For more info, contact Alpine’s UK office on 02476 719620,

EQUIPMENT LIST • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Alpine IVA-D800E head unit Alpine PXA-H800 processor Two pairs Alpine Type-R SPR-50C speakers Three pairs Alpine Type-R SPR-60C woofers Four pairs Alpine Type-R SPR-50 coaxials Six Alpine Type-R SWR-T12 thin subwoofers Four Alpine PDX-F6 four-channel amps Six Alpine PDX-M12 monoblock amps Alpine TME-M780 and Alpine TME-M780EM rear seat monitors Three 10 inch Alpine TMX-R2150E drop-down screens Three Stinger batteries Stinger HPM series wiring throughout Stinger Roadkill deadening throughout 13








Mick (second from left) and the Parksafe Expo team

Why MEN Expo is vital to your business

Mick Barber, managing director of Parksafe Automotive, explains why it’s important to be at the MEN Expo, and how this year in particular led to big business


“ remember when Mobile Electronics News first started,” says Mick Barber, reflecting on his 25 years in the industry, “and I think it’s the Expo that has kept the mobile electronics industry alive. It gives the suppliers the opportunity to express and showcase their portfolio or range of products to a number of potential dealers and customers.” Mick is interviewed for’s online Expo coverage, which included a look around the stand

The next MEN Expo will take place from March 5-6 in 2013, with the venue as always the Jaguar Exhibition Hall in Ricoh Arena, Coventry. Mick’s company, Parksafe Automotive, will once again be fully committed to the event, demonstrating its complete product range just as it did this year. It is through the Expo, the only event of its kind for the industry, that Parksafe has been able to get its message across. “Parksafe Automotive is a manufacturer of parking solutions direct to the customer,” Mick explains. “Our aim is to give the customer good value with maximum profit. Earlier this

EASY FIT Parksafe offers parking sensors, cameras, lights, sirens and more 14





year at Expo 2012, we demonstrated our commitment to the customer and our range of products. Parksafe believes there is not an industry application we cannot cater for.” In fact, it is through building awareness with an event like MEN Expo that the company has been able to become a market leader. “It has helped us go from strength to strength,” says Mick. “In the months that followed, we saw our business grow by 30%. We offer a quality product, and the Expo helped us show that. We’ve grown so much and had enough interest to justify getting more staff on board, which is great.” Parksafe Automotive, formerly known as CSS, has been in business for 30 years, offering a range of parking solutions, front and rear parking sensors, wireless, commercial, waterproof IP rate products, including rear view camera systems 12-24 volt. It’s even possible to choose the colour of the sensors, matching any vehicle. “We’ve become known for our range of products, with the versatile easy-to-fit parking sensor range and benefitting features helping to make us a market leader,” says Mick. “The Expo has really helped us to develop the business from those early days.” At this year’s event, the company even used the opportunity to launch a new product, the PS740. “It’s an intelligent four-eye parking solution with angled heads for more accuracy,” Mick explains. “And just

The industry has changed a lot. It’s up to you to promote your business and build your customer base like the other products that we offer, it’s easy to fit and reliable.” No doubt there will be more products launched at the MEN Expo next year, but whatever those might be, the company remains tight-lipped at this stage. According to Mick, though, the message seems to be to just make sure you are there. “The industry has changed a lot over the years,” he says. “But to survive takes dedication, passion and hard work. It’s up to you to promote your business and build your customer base – that’s all we’ve done, and we’re excited by the results.” l For more info on Parksafe Automotive, call 01773 746591 or visit the website at

To book a stand for MEN Expo 2013, call 01268 754897, or visit our website at



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What’s in a name? Is the name of your company holding you back? Or does your name not really matter?

Andy MIlls is a former editor of MEN and industry journalist


hen I was born it was seen fit that I be called Andrew. I’ve since been called a lot of names, but perhaps my most used alter ego has involved the imaginative addition of a ‘y’ to my surname, Mills. Particularly in the halcyon days of the modified car world, ‘Millsy’ was the name I went by, actively encouraged in fact. Nowadays though, that nickname doesn’t seem right for the work I do, so I’m back to just plain old ‘Andy Mills’. I miss going by one name if I’m honest; it’s about as close as I’d ever get to Messi or Ronaldo. But I don’t think I could be a racing driver with a name like Andy Mills, or a politician, it just doesn’t seem right. This is why any expectant parent takes so much time over naming their soon-to-be-born child. “You can’t call him William, I knew a William at school and he ended up in prison,” says one, with the other countering, “Well, Lucifer is just wrong. How can we get him into the local Catholic school called that?”

Change and adapt, as it could make life easier, or keep the old name as it’s built up a reputation

Contact Andy on 18

This meaning behind names is also why car companies spend so much effort naming their latest models; would you prefer to driver a Ferrari Bolognese or a Ferrari Modena? A Lamborghini Murcielago or a Lamborghini Malcolm? A Vauxhall Astra or a Vauxhall Adam… oh, wait a second! Names are one of the first things people learn about you, it’s something that can create an impression before you’ve even met and it doesn’t have to be just your own name, it could be that of your company, the school you went to or the street you live in. If someone invited you for dinner in Scumbag Flats or Westminster House, Kensington Gardens, where would you rather visit? And so it may be with your business. When you named it, perhaps ‘Disco Dave’s Car Radio’ worked a treat, fitting big audio systems and tape decks into Ford Capris. If I was looking for a Tracker system installed, Parrot handsfree kit or high-end tweeter

upgrade, might I be more tempted to take my custom to ‘Automotive Technology’ who have just opened up down the road, over Disco Dave who has been established for 20 years? If I didn’t know better, Disco Dave probably wouldn’t get a look-in, which is a shame because he’s probably evolved and adapted to the needs of the modern customer brilliantly. Would he change the name of his company to be even more relevant and attract new customers now, though? There’s probably two schools of thought here; either change and adapt as it could make life even easier, or keep the old name as it’s built up a reputation amongst those who know, hoping that word of mouth can help people overlook the dodgy impression it gives. Some big names have changed over time, like when Marathon chocolate bars became Snickers, or Opel Fruits became Starburst. Prince even became known as… well, I don’t know what he ended up calling himself, and the WWF became the WWE. Did those name changes really help them? I’m not actually sure. And conversely, would you have chosen a fruit, like Apple, as the name for your technology company? Probably not, but it seemed to work out okay for, well, Apple. Perhaps names don’t mean much ultimately, it’s about what’s behind that name. While being called Thunder Jazzpants might help me be remembered in whatever I do in the future, maybe it’s better that my actions speak for who I am rather than just my name. Sure, if I was back at the time I was named with the option of being called something else, then perhaps I would have chosen something cooler, but it wouldn’t really benefit me now… I’ve invested too much time in Andy Mills. For your company, you might feel the same way, but maybe, just maybe, it’s worth giving it a little thought to see if there’s merit in changing your name to represent who you are now, not who you were when you first set out. Native Americans used this approach, naming themselves again when becoming adults based on something they had done, or relevant personality and physical traits. That led to names like Sitting Bull, Touch the Clouds and Crazy Horse, and if there’s something those names certainly do is they give a clear idea of the sort of person you’d be meeting. If you wanted someone tall, you’d give Touch the Clouds a call. If you wanted the latest automotive electronics installed in your car, you’re still not likely to try Disco Dave. l


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There are so many head units released now with iPod and iPhone control – all of these single DINs have it, plus other great features. Chris Anderson finds out more


n important milestone was reached in 2011 – according to an industry report, it was the first time that digital music sales topped those of physical, namely CDs. In an annual review, released at the start of 2012, Nielsen SoundScan, the entertainment industry’s data information system, and Billboard, compilers of the music charts in the US, stated that digital music accounted for 50.3% of sales for the previous year – an increase of 8.4%. Physical album sales, meanwhile, declined 5%. It is a trend that is likely to continue. While portable players such as iPods have slowly grown the sales of digital music in recent years, Brian Zisk, executive producer of the SF MusicTech Summit held annually in San Francisco, cites the growing popularity of smartphones as the reason it has suddenly toppled CDs in the past year. “The ability for folks to purchase music everywhere has really expanded the marketplace,” he told “They don’t need to go to a physical store – anywhere the phone is, people are able to purchase music.” Naturally, this has led to an increase in the importance of car audio products being compatible with such devices, with iPod or iPhone control now as commonplace on head units as the CD changer control function was a few years back. The Apple products have been available for a few years, so it is understandable that they are catered for so well, with users simply plugging their iPod or iPhone in via a USB socket, and the device operated via the head unit’s controls. But now things are taking a step further, as these single DIN units demonstrate – Android and Blackberry control is starting to appear, and some models can even work with compatible apps on the phone, such as the Alpine giving the user internet radio. There are also units that go down the digital route completely, shunning CD and only catering for digital. With smartphones and apps constantly being updated, it makes us wonder what other features to expect in the future.


Liking them RRP9 £24 Alpine At first glance, you might be wondering what all this ‘vTuner’ business so proudly displayed on the front of the Alpine CDE135BT is all about. Well, vTuner is the name of an Alpine app that can be downloaded to an iPhone with OS5 or above for about 69p, enabling internet radio to be played through the car speakers as soon as the handset is connected. That means a huge choice of

radio stations from across the world, catering for all kinds of music, sport and so on, all to be operated from the head unit itself – just select vTuner as the source. Music stored on the iPod or iPhone can also be played, connected through either the front or rear USB, and there is also a 4 x 50W amp, Parrot Bluetooth, four different colour illuminations and a three-band parametric EQ. Alpine 02476 719620,

RRP9 £16 Beats2 The Beat490 will be familiar to readers of last year’s guide, as it was first released then, but it’s still one of the only single-DIN iPod-ready models on the market to have DAB and DAB+ included. That means a DAB antenna is all that is needed to present the customer with digital radio, with greater sound quality and more stations – and a roof-mount version is provided in the box.

The other selling point might be the number of sockets it has on its front panel too, including Aux in, USB and SD memory card, which helps create a long list of sources it is able to play music from. There is an RDS tuner too, bass control, six-preset equaliser and a 4 x 40W amplifier. Connects2 0845 257 5588,

RRP9 £11

RRP9 £17

RRP9 £20

Apples Blaupunkt There are two new iPod/iPhone-ready models from Blaupunkt this month, both upgrades of units out last year – the Toronto 420BT and the San Francisco 320. These are pretty much the same unit, with the 420BT having Bluetooth included for handsfree phone calling, music streaming and phone book access, and there is even a Bluetooth microphone built in. But on both models, the front and rear USB sockets handle the iPod and iPhone connectivity, and there is an SD card slot hidden behind the front panel to give a little more flexibility. For those still using CDs, the player here is said to have shockproof memory, so no skipping on bumpy roads. Other features include a 4 x 50W amp, three-band parametric EQ and sub out. Autosound 01274 685411,

RRP9 £14

Clarion Clarion has a slightly unusual iPod/iPhonefriendly offering this year in the FZ502E at £149. This is a unit that basically does away with things like the CD player, and simply offers the connections for an Apple device, with a large rotary controller and digital display to help navigate its contents. Bluetooth is also included, as in an Aux in socket for other devices. Sticking with a more traditional CD unit, however, Clarion has a basic model, the CZ202E, for just £119, with USB socket and Aux in built into the front panel. Or try the CZ302E at £179, which adds in Parrot

Bluetooth and a built-in microphone. Both have a 4 x 45W amp, and sound functions like Beat EQ and subwoofer level control. Top of the range here is the CZ702E at £209, which takes everything listed above – including the iPod/iPhone control and Parrot Bluetooth – and adds in more sound controls, such as a Digitial Sound Processor (DSP) and time alignment. There is also DAB readiness, allowing for digital radio with the purchase of an add-on receiver. Clarion 01793 859560,

RRP9 £19



Kenwood hasn’t just catered for customers who store their music collections on their iPod or iPhone – this KDC-BT92SD looks after those with albums and playlists on their Android smartphone as well. The frontmounted USB port is the place to connect either, and the Android users just need to download the free Kenwood app to play their music through the car speakers, then skip through folders and tracks using the controls on the removable front panel. Bluetooth has been included too, for hands-free phone calls, as has variable colour illumination, an SD memory card port, 13-band EQ and infra-red remote control. Kenwood 01923 816444, 21


RRP4 £22


RRP9 £15

RRP9 £22 JVC JVC starts the ball rolling with iPod and iPhone compatibility at £159 – that will get customers a KD-R731, which is Bluetooth equipped and allows the full time connection of two phones. There are front and rear USB ports for iPhone or iPod, and Android smartphone owners can also have some fun by downloading the free JVC gesture remote app. It basically turns the touchscreen of the phone into a remote control for the head unit, allowing you to switch sources or tweak the sounds. Next up are the KD-X70 and KD-SD80, which are around the same price at £224 and £229. They look pretty similar too, both with flip-down front panels and bigger graphical displays, but one difference lies

in what can be found behind them – both have an SD card slot, but there is no CD mechanism for the KD-X70. In fact, you could argue this model is aimed more at the gadget savvy than audiophiles, as its tuner has some interesting features, such as programme memory and a timer, Bluetooth and compatibility with the Android app. Blackberry owners can also join in thanks to Drive Change Mode, allowing the user to change source with a connected phone. The KD-SD80, meanwhile, retains the Bluetooth and Apple functions but skimps on the smartphone apps, instead squeezing in a TI/Burr-Brown 24-bit DAC. This should result in the best possible sound. JVC 0208 8450 3282,

RRP9 £29


RRP9 £21

RRP9 £16

Parrot Parrot Bluetooth is a feature often found on the head units of other manufacturers, so it may be a surprise to discover that the brand actually has a single DIN product of its own. The Asteroid model featured in last year’s round-up, and remains the only one Parrot produces, although there are hints that more might be on the way. In addition to the iPod and iPhone control, the unit also features 3G and GPS connectors, making internet radio and web service apps a possibility, with the user able to navigate them via the hi-def 3.2 inch colour screen. Naturally, it has Bluetooth included, with the ability to connect up to 10 phones, while a 4 x 55W amp, sevenband parametric EQ, echo and noise cancellation complete the package. Parrot UK 0844 472 2360,

The new DEH-8400BT seems like a pretty good all-rounder for those looking to plug in their iPhones and iPods, with Pioneer’s old favourite, the animated OEL (Omni-Electro Luminescent) display, giving the menus and general operation a nice extra touch. As well as two rear USB sockets to plug in the Apple products, the unit has an SD card slot and front Aux in socket, with Parrot Bluetooth and an included microphone making hands-free phone calling or music streaming a cinch. A five-band graphic EQ with GEQ curves and custom presets, 24-bit DAC and bass booster means there is plenty of flexibility with the overall sound too. Pioneer 01753 789789,

RRP9 £11 Sony There are a number of Sony single DIN head units with iPod and iPhone control, with two of the highlights being the CDX-GT565 (£119) and CDX-GT660 (£169). The 565 model has a front USB socket for the Apple device, with interesting features like Zappin – giving a quick blast of the chorus – to help you search for the right song. Then there is the Automatic Level Optimiser, which maintains the same volume regardless of the source, and a seven-band EQ, time alignment and high- and low-pass filters, helping the user tweak the sounds to suit the vehicle interior.

RRP9 £11

Spending a little more for the 660 gets you a flip-down front panel with a bigger digital display for showing artist and song info, and another nice feature is SensMe, automatically grouping together tracks into themed channels, which you can switch to depending on your mood. Or you could stick with the same price and go for the DSX-S100, released last year but still available. This has no CD mechanism, and instead of connecting the iPod or iPhone via a USB, you simply slide the whole device into the dedicated slot behind the front panel. Definitely one of a kind. CEL Trade 0116 244 9846,

Double DIN A/V Receiver Excellent value Double DIN

XAV 63 ► 6.1" WVGA touchscreen ► DVD / DIVX / CD / MP3 ► iPod / iPhone control ► Front USB ► Zappin ► 5.1ch Surround Sound ► Aux Audio / Video inputs

£146.72 QFC : 10126


► Front USB + Aux in ► 4 × 45w ► 1 pre-out


QFC : 9934


MEX BT3900 U

► Direct iPod / iPhone ► Bluetooth ► Optional external mic

► iPod control ► Front USB + Aux in ► Zappin ► 1 Pre-out

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QFC : 9931





QFC : 9072

► Mechless ► iPod control with tray QFC : 8120 ► USB in tray ► Aux in front ► Zappin ► 2 Pre-outs

► Mechless ► Bluetooth ► iPod / iPhone ► A2DP audio streaming QFC : 8494 ► Zappin ► 2 × USB

► 6.1" touchscreen ► DVD / iPod / Bluetooth ► AV input ► Dual USB

QFC : 10125


T: 0116 2449846 E:



T: 0116 2449846 E: 23

REVIEW /// Kenwood DNX4210DAB ///


asically, this new DNX4210DAB from Kenwood is a lovely marriage of what an old school buyer would want to find in a double DIN head unit. This is backed up with a plethora of wonderful digital cleverness and even possessed of an inherent design that proves the maker gives a darn about how easy the machine is to use and install. To start with, this is a member of the ‘new generation’ – or in other words, it has a digital radio. In fact it has a DAB+ tuner in its guts, so not only can it read the digital airwaves in the UK on regular DAB, but it can also be used in Europe where DAB+ is found as well (so you can find those





Adam Rayner tests the first multimedia double DIN from Kenwood with digital radio built in

T• M


All in one


The mass of chevrons and arrows in the graphics does serve to confuse until you have been told the logic behind them, but this will confront any end user for moments only and is so easy to master. In fact, I plan to make a video of all sorts of things being done in succession in real time for Talk Audio TV. I can deliver the Full Geek online! But ultimately the ‘feel’ is classy and the look is lovely, with absolutely huge capability. I didn’t use the Bluetooth on test, but it does come with a quality microphone. Not a dual model to better echo cancel, but still a good one. I gather that there will be other models above this one later, but for now she’s a bit of a digital radio flagship.

‘adult orientated’ DAB channels I’ve heard about in Germany). Anyway, it is a 6.1 inch touchscreen with VGA resolution (not the highest, but it keeps the cost sane) and a disc slot above the screen. A USB ona-wire hangs out the back, and with the Kenwood J-Link lead connected to that and also plugging the analogue jack into the iPod AV socket in the rear, it connected my iPod Touch a treat. If you want, though, you can specify this USB to be just that alone and hook in a regular data stick instead (although you really should look at selling Verbatim 8GB ‘bean’ USBs with your car audio stuff – go look ’em up). It’s all configurable. I also plugged the AV output – well, image anyway – into the test bench’s NESA dropdown screen, so I could monitor the video second-zone output, whatever was running on the ‘front’ ie main unit’s screen. For this is, of course, strong at dual zone stuff. There are RCAs for a slew of amps if you want, as well as sockets for the included GPS antenna, and the DAB aerial and mic, in addition to the regular FM aerial socket-on-a-coax and the FM tuner inside. The lovely Mike Edwards from Kenwood delivered me a pukka J-link and showed me some of the stuff it can do. Way more than you can fit in here – the point is, it has a potent processor and is well featured.

What’s it like? It feels like a very clever piece of kit, with the iPoddery either being doable with all sorts of cute extra conveniences using the metadata (album art, titles and stuff) on the screen, or else at another press, reverting to the device so a passenger can mess about instead of getting their hands in the way of your gearstick.

How well does it work? Blisteringly. I flung the magnetic-mount digital aerial and the GPS spud in the window of my box room office, wound the wires across the room, and when I fired up the unit in the bench, the GPS grabbed the sky almost immediately, showing my street. Mike showed me how the nav map can be flung around to look about your location and told me of the out-sourced database service that has speed traps, or caravan sites… loads of data you choose yourself to add to the nav. The DVD performance is delicious and the iPod video function works wonderfully too. I tuned a bloody heap of digital stations into the unit’s presets and set illumination colours to scroll madly rather than match a dash. The front screen can show navigation as well as, say, monitor the rear view camera on a split screen (beloved of trailer users, I gather, to check it’s safe), all the while playing the DVD movie in the back via AV out. A lot of potential – and it does everything so well.

Why stock it? The thing can just do it all, and best of all it is the vanguard of why you would spend a grand on a full new infotainment system. Get one running in your dealership and show off what it can do, it’s worth the effort of learning how. l Kenwood DNX4210DAB, RRP £999 plus fitting (varies according to vehicle).

Ratings Ease of use Installation Performance Value Overall It’s the way to get the most out of your car’s double DIN space – a truly impressive unit


*Picture representation of some available stations only. Stations vary by location.


Bluetoot h


Introducing the first multimedia system from Kenwood Electronics featuring cutting-edge digital radio technology. The all-new DNX4210DAB offers playback of hundreds of radio stations at the touch of a button - giving you instant access to sport, news, jazz, classic, rock even 60s, 70s and 80s music. The easy-search system makes finding the right station quick, and once tuned in the latest technology means that listening to digital radio on the move is free of annoying breaks and distortion. iPod* hook-up, full European navigation, seamless Bluetooth mobile phone integration and DVD-playback all brought to you via touch-screen technology and a super-fast Central Processor Unit make this the ultimate multimedia system. Digital radio has something for everyone.


To find out more about the Kenwood Range *Optional lead required 25


JVC embraces MirrorLink Plug a smartphone into this new JVC unit, and see the display and functionality transferred to the dashboard


ortable music and video sources continue to converge in the car. With the proliferation of smartphones, people are carrying vast libraries of sound and pictures around with them. JVC is one company which thinks the convenience of a single universal device makes perfect sense in a hi-tech world where we are constantly bombarded with music, video and information in many formats. With the launch of the KW-NSX1, JVC demonstrates why MirrorLink is seen as key to the continuing reliance on smartphones, as it enables MirrorLinkequipped in-car products to present users with all of the functions, controls and apps on the front panel of a dashboard-mounted device.

How it works MirrorLink (previously known as Terminal Mode) is based on a set of established, non-proprietary technologies that allow for seamless integration of a smartphone with a car infotainment system. The consumer merely gets into a car, connects the phone with a cable, and immediately gains access to phone applications through car controls such as the navigation screen and steering wheel buttons. In other words, by allowing consumers to access their smartphone in the same way they access their car radio, MirrorLink allows the use of the smartphones safely and simply, keeping eyes on the road and hands on the wheel. MirrorLink provides a mechanism that ensures only approved applications are accessible while driving. Applications will be approved using a standardised testing process that will be introduced later this year.

Which smartphones? JVC’s brand new KW-NSX1 smartphone receiver allows users to add Android, Symbian and iPhone functionality in the car, via a 6.1 inch WVGA touch panel monitor with a host of high-performance in-car AV multimedia receiver features. The new unit allows fully synchronised operation with 26

compatible Samsung Android and Nokia Symbian phones, duplicating their screens on the head unit’s monitor. The user can take advantage of Car Mode to access apps that have been optimised for in-car use, thereby assuring a safe and comfortable driving experience. The Samsung Car Mode application, Drive Link, can be downloaded from Samsung Apps or Google Play Store. Once downloaded, individual apps are grouped into three categories for easy access — Music, Location and Phone. Selecting a category lets the user quickly access specific apps within the three categories, as well as hands-free voice communication. Through a close cooperation with Samsung Electronics, the KW-NSX1 can offer optimised features dedicated for Samsung Galaxy S III smartphones, such as context awareness, which displays next schedule and destination stored in the phone, and a text-to-speech feature that allows users to hear incoming text messages or SNS updates (Facebook, Twitter) through the vehicle’s speakers. Symbian Car Mode application is available at the OVI Store and the screen is grouped as Call, Drive, and Music, but operates in a very similar way to its Android counterpart. iPhone compatibility is also afforded, including App Link Mode that enhances the user experience of certain iPhone (and iPod Touch) apps with live on-screen graphic display and music playback through the vehicle’s speakers. These apps are downloadable from App Store as well as iTunes. Synced operation is possible between the KWNSX1 and iPhone using apps supplied by 10 different providers in Europe. Its Drive Change Mode feature allows music playback with BlackBerry via USB connection from either the phone’s internal or external memory. Also featured with the device is a USB 2.0 port for two-way Control of iPod/iPhone and 1A current capable USB power supply for smartphones.

Special features In addition to being smartphone friendly, the KW-NSX1 is also a full-fledged multimedia AV head unit in its own right, offering DVD/ CD/USB compatibility with support of WAV/ MP3/WMA formats, DivX/JPEG/MPEG compatibility, three-band parametric iEQ, Dolby Digital, MOSFET 4 x 50W amplifier, three sets of 4V pre-outs, line input terminals, HPF and LPF, rear-view camera input, built-in Bluetooth wireless technology, steering wheel remote control ready, multilingual display, and detachable face panel. National sales manager, Adam Wiegleb, says: “With the pace of app development and consumers’ increasing dependence upon smartphones, it was vital the our research and development team got into this technology quickly. As always, we have come up with a solution which we believe will revolutionise the way that in-car head units are viewed by a public which feels it only needs one solution for all entertainment needs.” l

More information JVC provides comprehensive online information regarding compatibility and is able to offer firmware updates to maintain compatibility with new smartphones as and when it becomes necessary. To find out more, call JVC on 0208 450 3282 or visit


Seamless Smartphone Control from JVC Receiver Link your smartphone to the KW-NSX1 for seamless integrated control on a 6.1-inch high-resolution WVGA touch screen. Enjoy your Samsung Android™ or Nokia Symbian™ phone apps, optimized for your driving environment. Music, car navigation and telephone communication are all just a touch away. And of course, iPhone™ integration is assured too. Your smartphone feels at home, in your car, with JVC.


Active 8 Chris Anderson takes a look at eight of the best active bass enclosures on the market


hese days, it seems that bass and stealth go hand in hand. The addition of bass to a car audio system is still desirable, and to the customer will represent the biggest difference between a factory and aftermarket system. But there is a growing reluctance with customers to pursue this at the expense of space, making the car less usable by filling it with amplifiers and subwoofers. That is where active sub enclosures come in, featuring a sub and amp all in one – presenting bass in a small, compact and hideaway package. Marketing manager at Armour Automotive Mike Smith has noted how the needs of today’s customer are increasingly discerning. “The subwoofer market has seen some big changes over the years as the consumer expectation and requirement continually evolves,” he says. “Of course, the market for the all-conquering subwoofer and amplifier install still exists and always will, but is in decline and being replaced by a demand that asks for a more cultured solution – such as hideaway underseat subwoofers, OEM fit and stealth installation, which allow for a space saving answer to adding bass. This new consumer demand and expectation has presented subwoofer manufacturers with both a problem and an opportunity to provide all of the bass without the need for space.” Looking at the active sub offerings on the following pages, it’s interesting to note how many manufacturers now offer a product suitable for underseat mounting. There are companies offering bigger subwoofers, but these too are becoming more slimline and entering the stealth arena. But more solutions can only mean more choices to the customer and more opportunity to the dealer.



RRP9 £19

Beat This underseat option with an 8 inch subwoofer is available from Beat. It is said to feature a cast alloy enclosure, designed to set new standards in bass production from a small unit. It has a variable low-pass filter ranging from 50-100Hz, plus a phase reversal switch, while the power output is rated at 180W maximum. A bass control remote and wiring kit is included in the box, and as well as under the seats, suggested mounting includes behind trim panels in the boot. Connects2 0845 257 5588,


RRP9 £19

Alpine The active bass solution we’re most excited about from Alpine is the SWE-1200, out this month. Ideal for use when space is limited, the main box contains an 8 inch sub, in a bandpass enclosure, with a lowpass filter ranging from 50-125Hz (-12 dB/ oct) and a phase selector switch. This is supplied with an external amplifier and a wired remote control, but as an all in one solution seems well priced at £199, and looks very grown-up too. Alpine 02476 719620,


Blaupunkt The German brand has been weaving its ‘Blue Magic’ once again – that being the name given to its top end series. This new XLf 200A active sub enclosure hails from that line, containing a Class D amplifier capable of 150W RMS or 300W peak. The sub itself is 8 inches, with the aluminium compound cone featuring a metallic blue colour scheme. A very small unit, Blaupunkt says this one will hide easily under the front seats, and is designed for easy set-up and connections. Autosound 01274 685411,

RRP9 £18


CA ML600

CD CD700

CD CD800

Mechless / SD / WMA / USB / AUX iPod / iPhone control

iPod / iPhone SD / CD / WMA / USB / AUX

Bluetooth audio streaming / SD / CD / WMA / USB / AUX / iPod / iPhone control

£46 .60

£72 .35

£84 .30

QFC : 9790

QFC : 9789

QFC : 9788

CS AT1100

EN AW1121

CP AW1121

RVE PORT // INSTALLATION KIT INCLUDED* 10” 360w active enclosure 12” 1000w active enclosure 12” 1500w amplified enclosure by FUSION, this revolutionary Everything needed to wire the Active Enclosure VBASS controller with digital volt meter stent and maximum bass to your car is included in the box (Power cable, Earth We’ve calculated and tuned .99 .40 65 cable, Remote turn on wire, RCA cable, Fuse and High Port is Exclusive to QFC FUSION. : 8581 QFC : 9965 QFC : 9964 level connection wires). Once you open the box, you’re moments away from extreme FUSION Bass.



ON Active Enclosure is nsively tuned to provide ubwoofer. The efficient heat er provides improved thermal ility. RCA and High Level cater to any car stereo. lifier solutions are available.


CS FR6930 310w / 6” x 9” CS FR5020 190w / 5.25” um Enclosure designed with CS FR4020 160w / 4” to reduce internal audio ng cosmetics the front and CS CM60on 240w / 6” comp.


// VBASS The FUSION CA-VBASS is an innovative Bass remote with in-built battery voltage display. Adjust the bass level from the drivers seat and monitor the voltage of your vehicle, if the voltage drops below 11 Volts, a red warning light will display, letting you know it’s time to start your vehicle.


is included with £32.90 QFC : 8578 £21.94 QFCThe : 8589 CA-VBASS CP FR6930 450w / 6”x 9” CP-AW1122 and also sold separately. £13.70 QFC : 8586 CP FR5020 220w / 5.25” £27.42 QFC : 8577 Compatible with EN-AW1121, CS-AT1100, £10.96 QFCCP-AW1122, : 8585 CPCS-AW1120, FR4020 180wCS-AW2120, / 4” £19.18 QFC : 8576 CP-AW2120. £19.18 QFCCP-AW1120 : 8584 CPand CM60 280w / 6” comp. £43.88 QFC : 8575


PP CM650

340w / 5.25” comp. £93.23

QFC : 8704

Download the Fusion brochure & price list at:


efore, delivering a custom cost and time involved.

Note: CA-VBASS is not compatible with the CP-AS1080.







*CP-AS1080 Does not include a wiring kit.

T: 0116 2449846 E:

T: 0116 2449846 E: 29




RRP9 £27 Focal Highly regarded as one of the world’s best speaker brands, it’s no surprise that Focal has a number of active subwoofer solutions in its range, with a recent emphasis on the underseat variety. The iBus 20 features an 8 inch sub and a maximum handling of 150W. Simple to set up and use, it has high and low level inputs, phase inverter, bass boost and a separate remote control unit. There will be a version out soon, the iBus 2.1, which also features a two-channel amp to run a set of speakers. Armour Automotive 01420 487110,

Once again, Pro-Plus demonstrates that you don’t need to spend a fortune to find a compact, all-in-one bass solution. The PP-180 features an 8 inch subwoofer, with 200W RMS power handling, and comes in at just £89. For that money, the customer will get a small unit ideal for underseat mounting, with 400W peak handling, RCA input, high-level speaker input, adjustable gain and low-pass frequency control, a 180-degree phase switch and all wiring. Saving both space and money. PPA Distribution 020 7993 8889,

MTX The UK distributor of MTX, Celsus, informs us that the brand’s RT8PT is a good seller. Those initials either side of the ‘8’ numeral – highlighting the fact that it houses an 8 inch sub – stand for Road Thunder and Powered Tube, which merely hints at the performance and value offered. Expect 120W RMS power handling, 360W peak, high output, variable low-pass crossover from 50-200 Hz, RCA and high level inputs and external bass controller. It’s available as a 150W RMS 12 inch too. Celsus 01202 664390,


RRP £89


Rockford Fosgate

RRP9 £29

5 RRP9 £14



Not quite the right configuration for an underseat solution, but the slimness of this Punch P300-10 enclosure is still designed with stealth mounting in mind. One of the two amplified boxes made by Rockford Fosgate (the other is the P300-12), this version features a 10 inch subwoofer in a sealed enclosure, powered by an internal 300W amplifier. Features include separate low level and speaker level inputs, bass boost EQ, a low-pass crossover and a remote bass level controller. Vestatec 0208 867 2340,


And the prize for the lairiest active sub enclosure goes to Vibe for its BlackAir Vented 12 bass reflex enclosure, sporting a yellow cone and chunky silver finishings. This is aimed at the customer looking to make a statement rather than hide the source of their bass away, so the huge power handling figures of 550W RMS and 1,600W peak will be no surprise either. It does have some neat design touches though, such as Vibe’s Port Plug, allowing the unit to be run vented or sealed, and an anti-resonance

RRP9 £24

feature. All cabling and a remote bass controller are included too. Midbass 0870 765 8423,


Exclusively distributed in the UK & Ireland by: Contact us: 020 8867 2340 Email: Rockford Fosgate UK 31


‘Tracking systems can be affordable’ David Martin, managing director at AcuTrac, reveals why his company’s tracking system is more suited to single vehicles, and more cost-effective to customers


he original AcuTrac product was designed by Acumen Electronics six years ago in response to a comment from Carole Nash Motorcycle Insurance Brokers requesting a tracking device for motorcycles. “What are you doing about it?” they asked. David Martin and his team replied: “There’s no tracker out there at the moment that we would put our name to...” On the journey home, Martin asked himself why he had thought this – and decided that the tracking systems available at the time were too big, too thirsty in terms of drain on the battery and most importantly too expensive, with monthly and annual fees. It led to the company creating its own product, initially for motorbikes, but eventually branching out into cars. AcuTrac then became a separate company four years ago. The biggest appeal of AcuTrac’s systems is the fact that there are no ongoing fees – but it will still work when it is most needed, in the event that your vehicle is stolen. “A three-year contract SIM card is included in the price,” says Martin, “but around 40% of our customers will run the device with zero credits, topping it up online if they need to track the vehicle. It’s simple and affordable. Our philosophy is good honest systems that work when you want them and don’t end up costing a fortune.” All AcuTrac devices are priced with an


inclusive SIM card contract (to protect against loss of the service number) and utilise ‘pay as you use’ text messaging to keep running costs firmly under the customer’s control. Of course, if you want an ‘all-singing’ unit, hard wired to your kit, and you plan extensive use, there is a money-saving monthly fee option – with no hidden charges for use outside the UK. The trackers also use text messaging rather than GPRS, to reduce the battery

There are no ongoing fees – but it will still work when it is most needed, if the vehicle is stolen drain and ensure a higher reliability of signal, and there are three main models: Locator, Locator Plus and Locator Alarm!, which can connect to any vehicle alarm with a positive or negative output if triggered, so customers receive a text alert. All have low current drain and automatic battery saving mode for long (up to four months on internal battery) monitoring. While AcuTrac devices are primarily designed for asset recovery, access to a user defined, password protected, web panel allows you to:

• Set up a contact list for text alerts and emails (and email messages are free) • Set up regular timed position reports • Get a one-off position report • View a trail of your position reports • Set up any number of safe areas (geofences), where a text alert is sent should your device leave one of your predefined zones • Check the status of your device’s battery • Put your device into sleep mode to reduce the current drain even more Locator Plus units also feature motion sensor alerts and regular GPS position reports when the ignition is activated for added security. These are more a ‘Stolen Vehicle Location’ devices than a vehicle tracking system. Being a theft device, the owner hopes he will never need to use it – so there’s no desire for him to pay monthly fees for something he won’t use. And anyone selling tracking will know the biggest stumbling block they come across is the monthly fee. l To find out if AcuTrac unit is right for your business and your customers’ needs, call 01264 310007, email on david.martin@ or visit

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Back to the Future

Andy Mills contemplates the lure of the old school and the potential for digging out those discarded car stereos


here was a column on the Pistonheads website a few weeks back by one of their regular contributors, a character more known for throwing supercars around test tracks than his love of car audio. But in this one-off he spoke about growing up with car stereos and the excitement and bragging rights of upgrading to a Blaupunkt Toronto SQR 46 or Alpine 7681R from the factory option. Most enthusiasts over 30 years old probably recall this feeling, I certainly can recognise it. While I will freely admit that my early upgrades were cheap options and my interest in spending any money on car audio waned after a few incidents of my cars having windows smashed or locks bust just to pinch a Goodmans tape deck, plenty of my mates stuck with it (they could obviously afford decent car alarms too). In fact, I’d also admit I’m infinitely more excited about the potential of car audio systems nowadays. The sound quality,integration possibilities and audio/visual capabilities are much more appealing to a kid that grew up thinking his first vehicle at 17 years old would be an X-Wing fighter or the Millennium Falcon. But I get the nostalgia… and I also get the other point the Pistonheads columnist was making about getting the right upgrade for your retro car. In his case it was a 1986 E28 BMW M5 he was thinking about, and it bothered him that there was a 1990 model Blaupunkt stereo fitted. Nearer to home, my brother-in-law is currently restoring a 1989 Peugeot 1.9 205 GTi to its former glory and the fact that it came with the original stereo was a big plus point. It’s a bit of a head-slapping moment when you realise you gave all of your old cassette tapes to a charity shop years ago and now have nothing to play on that original stereo, but this just adds to the fun. Visits to eBay and a few lucky instances with friends having a clear-out have resulted in a healthy new collection of tapes; Dire Straits, Spandau Ballet and more are now all safely stashed in the glovebox. And there’s something really satisfying about having everything of the right period, playing the right soundtrack in the right equipment when you’re trying to rebuild a slice of motoring past. So I can also understand the need for a 1986 BMW to have the 1986 stereo it came with. There are some great modern head units designed to have a retro style yet modern functionality, the hook-up of an iPod or other MP3 player being the key bonus, and while I don’t know how well they have

sold (I know one person who has bought one if that’s any guide), they seem like a decent option. But what about all those people who want the genuine article, the stereos they lusted after in their youth to go in the car they also lusted after at the same time… that’s now sat in their garage? It’s never likely to be a huge market, but I can’t help thinking that a company with a good stock of quality old car audio, both standard equipment and aftermarket upgrade, could really make a splash in the retro car world. While we may have all moved on and think any car without an Aux in is not worth paying attention to, there’s a growing desire for all things retro when it comes to cars. The slick, electronically-controlled cars of today are great, but the nuts and bolts of cars from yesteryear hold

Raid your stock rooms, the backs of drawers, and see what gems you can find from the old days a convincing allure. Who reading this wouldn’t fancy a 205 GTi, Audi Quattro, E30 BMW, Sierra Cosworth or Renault 5 GT Turbo sat on their driveway at home? I know I’d like any one of those and I’d go one of two ways with them; either turn them into track weapons or restore them to their original beauty, stereo and all! The ’80s, ’90s and early 2000s were halcyon days for the car audio market, exciting for both dealers and their customers alike. There’s surely nothing wrong with any of us getting nostalgic about that and the cars we were driving or dreaming about back then. So it’s surely a shame that the car audio of the day may be relegated to museum pieces, or worse still, to scrap. I suggest you raid the corners of your stock rooms, the backs of your drawers and see what gems you can find from the old days. Make sure they’re working, stick a ‘for sale’ sign tag on it and put it in your shop window and you may just be surprised how many other people share that passion for the old school. If nothing else they’ll be great conversation pieces. l

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TRACKING WITH MASSIVE BACKING Trackstar products with Thatcham CAT 5 and 6 rating have wide-ranging approval from the police and vehicle manufacturers plus the security of monitoring from the Trafficmaster Control Centre

The Trackstar unit has a suggested list price of around £300 including installation and a subscription charge of £147.50 a year. A three year duration subscription is £399. With an installation time of less than 1.5 hours, Trackstar represents a great profit opportunity of over £200. If you want further information and would like to become a Dealer, training and Dealer set up can be arranged by contacting

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T: 0116 2449846 E: 37

T: 0116 2449846 E:


On the case Graham Case has been with Clarion GB Ltd for 29 years. Now general manager, he looks back on his time with the brand, which started when the height of car audio was the eight track… What was the industry like 29 years ago? Very different. Cars weren’t fitted with audio as standard, and believe it or not the big technological development was FM radio. Until then you had AM, but the quality wasn’t great. And noise was a big problem too – if you fitted a stereo, most of the installation time you’d be trying to find out where it was coming from. At that time, we were crossing over from eight track players too – a cartridge tape that would play and break, wrap around itself. And people would screw in radios underneath the dash because there just wasn’t space in the dashboard.

How did you get into it? I was in the automotive electrical environment, and being a young guy, the first thing you did when you got a new car, you fitted audio. And for me, it was like, wow, this is amazing. And then I wanted to move into sales. And I’d been selling Clarion alongside Radiomobile and Blaupunkt, Philips, all these things, and I just loved it. So I basically banged on Clarion’s door, secured an interview, and next thing I’m out there selling for them. And I’m still with Clarion some 30 years later.

What were the key Clarion products in those early days? Oh that’s easy, there were a couple – we had a five-button radio with FM tuner and an auto reverse button for the tape deck, that was quite impressive in those days, and in about 1983 we launched a DIN unit that retailed for £300 – a lot of money then, and we sold hundreds. It was extremely 38

popular because it had an LCD display. But one of the things we started was tape alignment, as cassette players started to take off, which was a mechanism that would align with the tape, and you’d get the ultimate playback. It was all about getting the best out of tape playback, reducing noise and getting the best out of the FM signal. And then you remember CDs, but before that there was the DAT (Digital Audio Tape). People asked, should we follow DAT or CD? Clarion made DAT players – so we definitely got it wrong there [laughs]. Then we had the encased CD, then the regular CD, then autochangers – lots of things that took place.

What have been the peaks and troughs you’ve seen? Everybody remembers the good times, and I think the boy racer market was a reaction to this development, when dealers and manufacturers started soundoffs, to generate business and to educate. It was a success, and it was a good thing to do. We had a recession in ’92, and the first sound-off came after that, with people wanting to get things going.

How has your role changed over the years?

Is that the case with this recession we’re in now?

When I first started I was a sales manager, I covered the south of England, from Dover to Penzance, and then I became aftermarket sales manager, looking after everything that was retro fitted. And then I became general manager as I went on. I’m involved in all aspects of the company now, including technical back-up, sales and logistics.

This recession is obviously different. I think really the young people attending that kind of show don’t have the problems they have today. The cost of running their vehicles, when you think about fuel and insurance prices, and general cost of living, that has had an effect. But there are other pressures on the industry too. At one time there was no high street intervention, and there is the internet now. As a manufacturer, we want our product in dealers and we want that product installed. But there are companies just wanting to push a box, so there are things that are wrong.

How has OEM fit developed? manufacturers must take more of an interest these days They do. Back then they gave you a slot in the dashboard and that was their contribution. But today, the technology in the car is all shared, and vehicle manufacturers do have input and play a role in its development. There is a misconception that they want to lock us, the aftermarket, out, because it’s so integrated now, but there are still a lot of vehicles that are upgradeable.

If somebody was starting out as a dealer now, what advice would you give them? I think you’ve really got to do your apprenticeship, get those skills right in terms of installing. There are people that set up and sell from a bedroom with

no overheads, and that adds to the pressure of the marketplace. But it’s having the skills and a business sense – you can’t throw money in without a plan. But there is new blood, it’s obviously slower because of the recession, and we’ve seen a few casualties, so just think about the business and how you want to go forward.

What’s in the pipeline for Clarion at the moment? Well, I can’t say exactly. But in a nutshell there is definitely a convergence of different technologies going on, fusing these environments into one. And it’s happened – audio and navigation have come together with the mobile phone, you’ve got music streaming… all the compression problems have gone, an MP3 can sound like a CD, and we love touchscreen, voice control, sharing data. But the primary thing is always safety.

You’ve been in the industry 29 years – you can see yourself sticking with it? Yes. As long as I’m entertained and excited by what I see, and as long as the company still wants me [laughs]. I love gadgets to bits, I have to play with them. They have a usefulness, and what we’ve seen going from audio to visual, and then crossing over to using phones… as long as that is still going on, then yes, why not? More info from Clarion on 01793 859560,

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New brands for CAS The Hayes distributor reveals the new security brands in its portfolio – Clifford and Viper


ome big developments are taking place at Car Audio & Security, based in Hayes. “After a few months of speculation, it has now been confirmed that Car Audio & Security (CAS) has been appointed the UK distributor for Clifford and Viper security products,” announces managing director Raj Sangha. Clifford and Viper are two of the world’s best known automotive security brands, but the appointment of Car Audio & Security as UK distributor will come as no surprise to many, due to the company’s dedication

Technical support will be provided, including a dedicated phone line for after hours and reputation within the industry. “CAS has extensive experience with the trade aftermarket, already offering brands such as Kenwood, Alpine, Pioneer, Sony and JVC – and JBL and Infinity, for which we are the UK appointed distributors,” says Raj. The acquisition of the new brands will also give customers a chance to get their hands on the very latest products. “Security stock is readily available off the shelf,” says Raj, “including Viper’s SmartStart Technology. This allows the user to download an app to their

About Viper Viper is the world’s best selling vehicle security and remote start brand. It uses precision engineering and cutting-edge technology to make sure you are in control. Viper systems offer range and features you can count on every time. Viper created the smartphone car control category and is pioneering the keyless lifestyle revolution with Viper SmartStart, which has been downloaded to more than one million iPhone, Android and BlackBerry handsets. iPhone or other smartphone, and with the correct equipment fitted will allow the vehicle to be unlocked, locked, started, tracked and ringfenced from anywhere in the world!” But as well as new technology, there will also be a commitment from CAS in terms of promoting and marketing these brands. “Clifford’s Can-Bus alarms, new models and accessories will be available over the next few months,” Raj confirms. “CAS will also be

About Clifford Founded in 1976, Clifford pioneered most of the innovations and features found in today’s remote controlled security systems. Clifford has revolutionised vehicle security with the most innovative breakthroughs and sophisticated concepts in the industry. Leading the fight internationally to protect vehicles worldwide, Clifford was the first UK Thatcham certified system. Over the past quarter century, Clifford engineers have created five distinct generations of definitive vehicle security technologies. G5 systems are the latest in this evolution and the most advanced, reliable and uncompromising Clifford products ever.


running an extensive training programme at its Hayes headquarters shortly for which dealers will need to register. Technical support and back-up will also be provided, including a dedicated phone line for after hours and Saturdays. An extensive marketing campaign will also be started shortly, with reviews and product placement lined up for key automotive magazines.” And as ever, there will be benefits for those dealers looking to truly get behind the new products. “There is a selective dealer programme being rolled out with discounts for those who select to have SmartStart installed on their demo vehicles,” Raj reveals. It’s good to see these brands returning to UK dealers. It will be interesting to see how Car Audio & Security develops them in the coming months. l For more info, contact Rino or Allan at Car Audio & Security on 020 8569 1543, or visit

Clarion show car by kind courtesy of Wallis & Son, Cambridge

Prepped for business Are you fully-prepped to do business and make the most of every opportunity to nail a sale? There’s a simple way to find out... just give us a call. The 2012/13 range of Clarion audio and multimedia head units, speakers and amps are all new. The only thing you’ll find the same is Clarion’s constant commitment and support to our UK dealers. So be sure that you’re best equipped to make the most of every sales opportunity by getting in touch today. Clarion NX702E. The latest all-in-one multimedia showcase with a flickthrough, touch-screen, animated icon interface; made for iPod and iPhone; intelligent navigation; Parrot Bluetooth; built-in DVB tuner and loads more. Now isn’t that the business?

Clarion (GB) Ltd, Unit 5C, Interface Business Park, Bincknoll Lane, Wootton Bassett, Swindon, Wilts SN4 8QQ. Tel: 01793 859560 E: 41



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TomTom offers daily updates TomTom has just announced that free daily map changes via its Map Share community will now be available for each of the 60 million portable navigation devices it has sold – previously only available on certain devices. Map Share allows users to personalise the maps on their own devices, plus share and receive updates with others. Common road changes such as speed limits, new street names, blocked roads and more can all be updated straight away, with an estimated community already using the service of 250,000. Bigger changes, such as new roads or roundabouts, will still be validated and updated by TomTom, with new maps available on a quarterly basis. “The more people who use Map Share, the greater the navigation experience for all our customers,” says TomTom managing director Corinne Vigreux.


From 24V to 12V Connects2 has just released an adaptor to make it a little easier to install 12V rated items in vehicles with 24V, namely trucks and lorries. This opens up a lot more possibility when it comes to fitting head units, Bluetooth, navigation, tracking devices and security. The adaptor, CT54-04, converts permanent and ignition feeds, dropping the voltage by simply plugging in. If your business looks after a lot of commercial fleets, this could be a good one to order in. Connects 2 0845 257 5588,


Power through technology BHP UK explains the benefits of ECU remapping, and how to become a part of its dealer network


he engine ECU has evolved from a simple circuit that controlled electronic ignition to a very sophisticated computer that controls every variable of engine function. It receives data from all engine sensors, and from that data it calculates how the engine is to be controlled. Engine ‘chipping’ was born in the mid-1980s, and was the domain of the petrolhead trying to extract a little more power from his car. Chipping evolved into ECU remapping – a multi-million-pound industry that involves tuning not just for power but also for economy. This tuning is not limited to performance car drivers either, but also caters for diesel cars, and light commercial, heavy goods and agricultural vehicles. ECU remapping is also used to eliminate or programme out DPFs


(Diesel Particulate Filters), so it really does have multiple uses. BHP UK is a company at the forefront of ECU remapping, with inhouse map writers and full test facilities at its headquarters in Lancashire. It offers a unique business opportunity too – a

BHP UK has over 60 dealers worldwide and is looking to expand. There are no ongoing royalties or fees dealership package that comes complete with all the required hardware and training, so that independent garages and fitters can capitalise on the ECU remapping market.

It currently has over 60 dealers worldwide and is looking to expand. There are no ongoing royalties or fees, and as a consequence its success is based on that of its dealers. For more information, call 01282 779000 or visit 45


Camera alert app upgraded Cyclops, the company behind the world’s first intelligent live speed camera alert system app, has just released an upgrade – Speedwatch 2.0. Available from iTunes, the app is automatic, and once opened does not need any user interaction to receive alerts or updates. The phone can be used as normal, with a tone sounding to warn of an approaching camera or if the car is moving too fast. Reports of new cameras, or whether a live site is still active or has moved, can be reported with a single touch, with the information being transferred to the database. Speedwatch 2.0 is available with a 14-day free trial, and the annual subscription is available for a limited time for just £9.99. Existing users will automatically receive the update. Available on iTunes,

TELL US YOUR NEWS! If you have company developments, news or thoughts to tell the trade, why not let us know? Email information and hi-res images (300dpi) to


5 new reasons to visit C-KO is helping its dealer network get more from the brand online


-KO is well known for its aftermarket mobile media solutions, upgrade and safety products. Its new website is a valuable tool for dealers. Place orders online Orders can be placed using the C-KO order pad at any time. Discover special deals For dealers only, on existing and end of line products. get more info The new website has extended information for each product.


Easy marketing High resolution product shots are available for your own advertising. ITEM SEARCH Find the product you need quickly with the online search facility. The latest price list and monthly offers are available to download now. To activate your account, email or call 020 8863 8333.


Join us for an evening celebrating the best of the mobile electronics industry, where only those at the top of their game will compete to take home a coveted I.C.E Award! This year we have chosen the opulent Grand Connaught Rooms in London to reflect the high standard of awards we will be presenting on the night. For your enjoyment we will bring The Rat Pack to London, starting at 7pm with a champagne reception, entertainment, a sumptuous three course dinner and DJ till late. We have hotel options available, please contact our events team on 01268 754897. Look out for the nomination form in this issue of MEN or download it online to ensure your company is in with a chance of winning! Nominations close on 1st October. FOR SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES OR TO BOOK A TABLE CONTACT LORYN MCINTYRE ON THE ABOVE NUMBER OR LORYN.MCINTYRE@CREATIVEMEDIALTD.CO.UK




The W204 in saloon, estate and two/three door form was launched in 2007, and this guide covers Audio 20 and COMAND cars mainly before the audio system change in the 2011 facelift. Martyn Williams reports


ercedes cars are known for hidden trim clips and mysterious interior panel retention methods – the previous C-Class series required the whole of the centre section modules to be removed before the head unit would come out. Now at least there’s less to do before the keys are used to remove the head unit. Most universal key kits cover this, or the Merc part number is MW140 589 02 33/00. (1)

of the OE screen, which is no longer used when an aftermarket unit is fitted. The usual Quadlock to DIN adaptor harness is required with the appropriate steering wheel control patch lead depending on the brand of the head unit. A Fakra aerial patch lead is also needed. Some manufacturers, such as Armour’s Autoleads range, supply two different harnesses suitable for standard and amplified systems.

(2) Connects2 kits shown are the facia panel and rail adaptors plus the additional screen-covering panel – if required – which allows transfer of any extra switches such as heated seats and blind control, plus a switch extension loom.

(6) Connects2 harness adaptors only require a specific head unit patch lead with plugs to interface the steering wheel controls. Cheap non-branded lead sets have been known to leave out some functions and display items resulting in customer dissatisfaction.

(3) On the previous model, removing the vents was a massive fiddle requiring six stages of clip release plus a couple of screws. Now they only need careful levering to pop them out as shown in the picture. In the vent cavity a pair of Torx screws retaining the head unit are revealed. Lift the two plastic clips upwards to release the locks on the side of the head unit – this is slightly fiddly and the unit needs to be angled to draw it out. (4) It’s worth mentioning that some replacement facia trim mouldings for fitting aftermarket head units don’t conform to the manufacturer’s rail mounting, and only use the new head unit’s mounting cage. This is flimsy compared to the original mount and a Connects2 kit part number CT23MB14, for example, retains the more substantial rail mounting system. (5) If a switch panel is used to replace the display and lift-up cover, the other part supplied is a new bottom section forming a lower mounting point Connects2 also sells the CT23MB15 screen panel kit and wiring, which is for cars with extra options, such as heated seats and a rear sunblind. This extra switch panel is fitted in place on models having a lift-up panel in front


(7) Ignore any black FACRA plugs behind the head unit when patching in the aerial lead. Any amount of add-on boxes can be hidden in the depths behind the head unit with side space in the voids to the left and right good for stashing bulky Quadlock plug/sockets and space for hideaway DAB tuners. Cable routing from the head unit area to large spaces in the passenger footwell and panel under the glovebox is also an easy job. AV Management Both Mitsubishi and Harman units are catered for by NAV TV modules covering TV in motion and AV inputs and outputs. Phone Connectivity All models, even those without any OE phone equipment, have phone buttons on the steering wheel which can be adapted to function with aftermarket equipment. Phone kits can be integrated, for example the Parrot MKi Series, using a Can-BUS interface such as the popular Paser Unika from Celsus which brings the steering wheel buttons into play. Using a kit with no external buttons means that a totally OE look is preserved in the vehicle. The phone kit processor can be mounted on the passenger side in the areas mentioned and the microphone can be mounted next to the






interior light by carefully levering the plastic trim above the rear view mirror and running the cable along the roof lining and behind the ‘A’ pillar. The wire can be neatly routed to the dash by prising off the dash end panel. There are plenty of kits available for phone-ready cars, including the NAV TV TookiMB Bluetooth integration system. The website features a long list of compatible phones. Cars with a UHI connection in the arm rest can be fitted with XCarlink’s Visio product for example. Connecting up the MB4 module offers the customer a Bluetooth link with info on the OE screen and steering wheel phone button control. Speaker Upgrades Woofers are 165mm – usual method is to cut out originals and mount new speakers using either an MDF ring or reinforcing hole with fibreglass filler.



Parking Sensors Prise-able bumper moulded strips with sensor markings on the inside make the job easy. Blank grommets in the wheel tub at the rear provide wiring access. Hatch on the right in the boot has plenty of space going down into the bottom of the wing plus a chassis earth stud and access to grey/yellow reverse supply on a multiplug. The rear seat bolster pulls out for routing a display lead up front (look for grey foam). Acknowledgements Special thanks go to the Connects2 technical team who supplied images and information. My thanks also go to vital info from VCE’s Vernon Craig and VCE member Wayne Sparks. Sean Mackay, IFitStuff member, Jas at FOUR, Celsus, Armour Automotive, NAV TV, Mark Godden, Paul Ellis, Peter Preston and XCarlink.


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Cobra UK Contact: Cobra Sales T: 01932 772 400 E: W: Brands: Cobra has been providing tried and tested vehicle security, safety and electronic systems since the 1970s. Our products include: Cobra Alarms and Immobilisers, Cobra ParkMaster Parking Sensors, CobraTrak Stolen Vehicle Tracking, NSV Bluetooth® Handsfree Systems (compatible with all Bluetooth® enabled handsets), VizualogicTM In-car DVD Systems, Rear View Reversing Cameras and Monitors, Cruise Control and Speed Limiters.

Aftermarket Vehicle Solutions Ltd Contact: Peter Hughes T: +44 (0)1255 434353 E: W: Brands: Distributor of Speed Limiters, Cruise Control, Parking Sensors, Security Products, CAN interfaces and Carbon Fibre Heated Seat Kits to the Aftermarket and the OEM Industries. Alpine Electronics of UK Ltd Contact: Keith Holness T: +44 (0) 2476 719623 E: W: Brands: Alpine

Commercial Electronics Contact: Salim Ali T: +44 208 404 7105 F: +44 208 404 7104 E: W: Brands: Designed & Engineered in UK, Est. over 25 years. OEM service available. Hawk Car Alarm, Hawk Reversing Angel, Hawk Motorcycle Alarm, Hawk GPS, Demon Car Alarm, Demon Motorcycle Alarm, Demon Reversing Angle, Demon Tracking, Cyclone Car Alarm, Cyclone Motorcycle Alarm, Cyclone Parking Sensors Kit, Cyclone Central Locking Kit, Cyclone GPS and much more….

Armour Automotive Limited Contact: Sales T: 01420 487110 E: W: Brands: Autoleads, CTi, iO, Mutant, Radiomobile, Veba, VI, Avital, Clifford, Focal, Hornet, Kicker, Orion, Viper, Oxygen, Dension, Kinetik, Hushmat, Sony Antennentechnik Antennentechnik Bad Blankenburg AG, Hermann – Petersilge – Srasse 10, 07422 Bad Blankenburg, Germany T: +49(36741)3690 F: + 49(36741)36963 Email:


Autosound Limited Contact: Lee Fergus T: 01274 688990 E: W:, Brands: Blaupunkt, Bosch Car Multimedia, Funkwerk, Funtoro Mod Systems


Canm8 Ltd Contact: Colin Palmer T: 08452266283 E: SALES@CANM8.COM Brands: Canm8 range of can bus interfaces can bus custom design Celsus UK Limited Contact: Sales T: +44 (0) 1202 664 390 E: W: Brands: Celsus Accessories, Calearo, Antennas, Caliber, Dynamat Europe, iSimple, Jehnert, JL Audio, MediaDAB, MTX, PAC Audio, Paser, Phoenix Gold and Stinger.

Daltec AI Ltd Contact: Jiten Patel T: 0208 515 7820 F: 020 8515 7820 E: W: Brands: Distributors for Dice Ipod, Dension, Fiscon, Steelmate, Bluetooth Car Kits Including Novero, THB, Bury and Nokia, Brodit, Tow-Trust, and many more. Get your full range of workshop supplies and lighting

Dashmount Contact: Steve Taylor T: 01883741460 E: W: www.dashmount Brands: Dashmount, Bury, Nokia, Parrot, Adapt, Brodit, Autoleads, Elan, Kram, Park Control, Steelmate.


CKO International Limited Contact: Tony Rook T: 020 8863 8333 M: 07751 726 598 E: W: Brands: C-KO, Eurologics, Nesa/VST, Necvox, Rosen Area of business: In Car Multimedia, Interfaces, Rear View Camera Systems, Parking Sensors, Heated Seats, HID/Day Running Lights, Digital Video Recorders, Digital TV, Digital Radio Clarion (GB) Limited Contact: Sales at Clarion T: +44 (0) 1793 859563 F: +44 (0) 1793 859598 E: W: Brands: Clarion


Kenwood Electronics UK Limited T: +44 (0) 1923 816444 E: W: Brands: Kenwood


Navman Contact: Andrew Marsden T: 01162 449846 E: W: Brands: Navman


Panorama Antennas Ltd Contact: John Thomson T: +44 (0) 20 8877 4444 E: W: Brands: Manufacturer of antennas for DAB, Mobile Radio, Tetra, 3G Broadband and other wireless technologies.

Connects2 Contact: Andrew Simner T: 0845 257 5588 F: 0121 522 5589 E: W: Brands: Connects2 – Interface solutions for O.E.M and aftermarket systems, Including interfaces for iPod, USB, MP3, Aux, Steering wheel controls inc CAN-Bus, Stalk & Display, Telemute, Parrot, and MOST fibre optic iPod & Bluetooth hands free interfaces. BEAT, Ground Zero, Tsunami, Shuriken, Balistic, Raptor, Zenec, Metra, LG, MAC Audio

Audiovox Incaar Systems GmbH Contact: Damian Trybuszewski T: 01483 722 531 E: W: Brands: Audiovox, Audiovox Incaar Systems, AIS Automonitor Mobile Multimedia Ltd Contact: Hugh J McTernan T: +44 (0) 116 275 2020 E: W: Brands: Automonitor, SAVV, Necvox, Baton, Rosen, Visteon, Britax and Westfalia

In Car Technologies Contact: Steve Patient T: 01392 829435 E: W:


FLYAUDIO UK Contact: John Pedlow T: 0333 4560236 F: 0333 7007120 E: W: Brands: FlyAudio – In car advanced replacement media head units. Chevrolet, Ford, Honda, Kia, Hyundai, Jeep, Subaru, Toyota, Vauxhall, VW

iGRIP® / Herbert Richter GmbH Contact: Scott Bouquet Email: T: +44 (0) 2081447413 E: Brands: iGRIP, Herbet Richter. Exclusively Available at Strax (UK) LTD

Parksafe UK Contact: Mick Barber T: 01773 746 591 F: 01773 743 251 E: w: Brands: Parking and Rear View camera systems Parrot UK Limited T: 0844 472 2360 E: W: Brands: Parrot


Radio World Contact: Dale Johnson T: 01132 578932 E: W: Brands: Accessories importers


Sailes Marketing Ltd Contact: Matthew Sailes T: +44 (0) 1386 554210 E: W: Brands: Manufacturer and Distributor of CAN Bus interfaces, Electronic Interfaces, Parking Sensors, Speed Pulse Generators & Installation tools. Scorpion Automotive Ltd Contact: Dianne or Philly T: 01257 249928 E: W: Brands: Scorpion Security, Toad Security, Sigma Security, Stirling Security, Scorpion Parking sensors, Scorpion Track Stolen vehicle and fleet management tracking Soundmasterscotland Contact: gordon ballantyne T: 01418761819 or 8761919 F: 0141881 1515 E: W: Steelmate Automotive (UK) Ltd Contact: Kevin Kay T: 01582 475677 E: W: Brands: TPMS, DVR. Promata - DRL, High level brake light warning device, Reverse Alarm.

For less than £17 per month, you can list your company details here. For more information, contact 01268 754 897 or email 50

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Mobile Electronics News August 2012  
Mobile Electronics News August 2012  

Mobile Electronics News August 2012