I decided to go for one of the Chinese sat nav/DVD players from eBay I'm not saying which seller as I will be contacting him very soon for reasons that will become very obvious.
The unit is described as suitable for Passat B6 and Octavia, and is fully CANBUS compatible.
Anyway, I received this yesterday, 17 days after paying in full for it, a value of $420 for the unit, plus an extra $50 upgrade for the inbuilt digital TV DVB-T. As promised,the unit arrived with green LED backlighting to match the car, and a Skoda splashscreen on start-up.
Apart from the mass of extra wiring which is VERY tight to accommodate behind the dash, the unit went in fine, and started up as planned. However, despite what may be advertised, it is not simply a case of plug into the existing VAG wiring loom. The VAG plug goes into the wiring supplied with the headunit, and because of the differences in this, the first problem was evident - 1. THE BOOT MOUNTED CD CHANGER CANNOT BE CONNECTED UP
OK, so at first I was going to live with that, as it has full ipod control - WRONG - 2. ALTHOUGH THERE IS A SOURCE SETTING FOR IPOD, ALL YOU GET IS THE WORD IPOD ON SCREEN AND ON THE MAXIDOT (yes it does communicate with the maxidot). You cannot control the ipod from the headunit touch screen.
Radio aerial - on the VAG loom and headunits, this is a FAKRA connector. On these, it is a standard aerial plug and socket, with a booster attached. - 3. ALTHOUGH THERE IS POWER TO THE AERIAL AMP, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO LOCK ONTO ANY RADIO STATION so impossible to use the radio.
Whilst on the subject of radio stations, - 4. THE UNIT IS DESCRIBED AS RDS - YES, EUROPEAN OR CHINESE, BUT NOT UK, so it would be impossible to get radio station names showing, even if you could tune in to them
Inbuilt digital TV - 5. THE SUPPLIED AERIAL IS UNAMPLIFIED, AND IT IS ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO GET MORE THAN A COUPLE OF TV STATIONS, AND THESE ARE TOTALLY UNWATCHABLE.. I've priced up a decent DVB-T antenna, and I'm looking the best part of Â£50 for an Alpine one.
Finally, the maxidot -- I got all excited when I first saw the maxidot display WELCOME and radio, CD/DVD details, and, as I said earlier, just showed IPOD, AUX and DVB, but 6. VERY DISAPPOINTED THE MAXIDOT JUST SAID NAVI, AND THAT NO SAT NAV INFORMATION WAS RELAYED TO THE MAXIDOT
Also, on maxidot, 7.ONCE SHOWING ANYTHING RELATED FROM THE HEADUNIT, THE MAXIDOT FROZE TOTALLY, AND EVEN AFTER SWITCHING BOTH HEADUNIT AND IGNITION OFF, THE ONLY WAY OF FREEING THE MAXIDOT WAS TO DO A RESET OF THE HEADUNIT - not good as it would wipe any stored radio and TV stations, audio settings, navigation favourites etc and reset the unit to factory defaults. And this happened EVERY time I tried it out.
Finally -8. VCDS CODING - THE HEADUNIT IMMEDIATELY THREW UP FAULT CODES IN CAN GATEWAY, RADIO AND NAVIGATION CONTROLLERS WHICH WOULD NOT CLEAR EVEN AFTER PLAYING WITH ALL THE DIFFERENT VCDS SETTINGS
SO, there we have it it - that's my verdict on the Chinese headunits. I seriously regret getting rid of the Nexus now.
One or two folks did warn me, but never did I think things would be as bad as this.
Advice -- don't touch one of these with a barge pole
In future, I'm gonna listen to Simbo, Brimma and Pete8tch. But no, SImbo, I'm still not going for a Columbus.
EDIT:- Another thing I wasn't bargaining on was having to pay import duty/VAT to DHL before they would release the package to me. Nothing in the listing about that.
Mike (now with original Skoda Stream unit working perfectly in the car)
Edited by mikeholroyd, 30 June 2010 - 23:11.