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Portable waterproof CarPlay units for your motorcycle

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Plus...  Batteries no likey being charged (or run on a charger) in the cold. Matters to those of us that ride during the winter.

I've had no issues with mine. Heat or otherwise. And the thing is cheap ($125). I'd rather this cheap unit took the punishment vs. an expensive phone. Bonus... - as was mentioned - both CarPlay and Android Auto work really well for motorcycle applications.

Quote from Guido on 28.07.2023, 17:19

To me personally, the advantage of such a unit is that

  • the screen is better readable in the sun
  • it's (a lot) cheaper if it gets stolen or damaged through vibration (cameras in the newer iPhones can get damaged by the vibrations although there are other solutions for that like vibration dampers)
  • iPhones tend to overheat in warmer climates while constantly in the sun and GPS app running all the time. As a protection, iOS automatically dims the screen significantly, making it even harder (sometimes impossible) to read. Or if it's really overheated, the iPhone will shut down completely to protect itself.

Having said that, I fully agree that these Chinese units are not up for the task yet. As you can read above, I had overheating problems with this unit as well, and I'm experiencing connection drops every now and then. Only a matter of time before better / higher quality units will hit the market though I'm sure.

Thanks for those thoughts Guido. Personally I haven’t had heat problems with my IPhone and I ride in all conditions in Australia. I must admit that when I ride to tropical North Queensland and the interior I do it in the Winter when temps are  a bit cooler. I don’t tend to ride in extreme heat conditions. I use a dampener for my iPhone mount and have done 30,000km this year and have had no problems with my iPhones camera. I have my phone mounted in a position that it is very easy to see and have no problem in that regard. The only slight problem I have had is on my last trip in heavy rain rain drops were flicking back onto the IPhone screen and changing things on the IPhone. I always take my phone off the bike when I stop and this sometimes causes a problem with the Bluetooth connection to my headset when the phone goes out of Bluetooth range with my headset it doesn’t always reconnect and I have to turn my phone and headset off and on again to reconnect.

But I will definitely reconsider if a better CarPlay unit becomes available

 

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Guido

Plus... Plus... Reducing charging cycles --> Less battery wear. Add that factor to the battery wear and tear from heat etc.

Quote from Guido on 17.03.2023, 13:43

Second ride with the Maxca today. It was a ride of 1.5 hours. I did not experience any connection drops like on my first ride (see above).
I can only assume this is because I followed the recommendation of Maxca (to 'forget' my cardo in my phone's Bluetooth settings), see above as well. This is a bit of a nuisance because now I have to pair the Cardo to my phone temporarily every time I want to use it with the Cardo app and every time I want to use the Cardo with my phone, but without the Maxca (e.g. when I don't need navigation I don't need the Maxca for guidance, but I would like some music).

I did experience some very short audio drops just when I left my house. I'm not too worried about this though, because this also happens in my car (also wireless CarPlay) when I drive away. I'm guessing that's because my home Wifi is going out of range as I drive/ride away... or something related to that.

Before this ride, I updated the maxca firmware to the newest version. This firmware did not have any changes regarding the connection, but it did enable a customizable start-up screen and more detailed volume settings.

To get the latest firmware version you have to send Maxca a message through AliExpress. There's no link anywhere. They are pretty fast to respond though.

One small annoyance I found, but hopefully this was a one time thing. Because I installed the new firmware I had to reconnect my phone to get CarPlay. The first time it was pretty easy:... find the Maxca in your bluetooth settings on your iPhone, then connect. And rest went automatic. It wasn't automatic this time though. Not sure it was because I changed the default bluetooth name of the maxca, or if there was still some left-over bluetooth config on my phone. After about 5 tries I finally got it working. Not exactly sure why, but I turned off the Maxca. Then 'forgot' the maxca in my iPhone bluetooth settings. Turned off my phone, waited 2 minutes and turned it back on again. Then I turned on the maxca. Found it in my iPhone bluetooth settings and connected to it. That time everything went OK and iPhone asked me if I wanted to use the maxca for CarPlay...etc.

It would be nice if all the scenic CarPlay audio could be played through my Cardo connected to my phone instead of my Cardo having to connect to this device. I lose all my Cardo iPhone commands.

 

Quote from 2BTSquared on 28.07.2023, 17:36

Plus...  Batteries no likey being charged (or run on a charger) in the cold. Matters to those of us that ride during the winter.

I've had no issues with mine. Heat or otherwise. And the thing is cheap ($125). I'd rather this cheap unit took the punishment vs. an expensive phone. Bonus... - as was mentioned - both CarPlay and Android Auto work really well for motorcycle applications.

Thank you for your views. If you ride in the cold on a long trip surely you still have to have your phone on charge. It is good to see everyone’s views on this and I’m glad it works for you. I have done 80,000 km using my iPhone as my GPS and for music in all conditions and my phone is fine. Personally my views haven’t changed and I will continue to use the iPhone until a better unit comes along.

Quote from Stuffa on 28.07.2023, 18:44
Quote from 2BTSquared on 28.07.2023, 17:36

Plus...  Batteries no likey being charged (or run on a charger) in the cold. Matters to those of us that ride during the winter.

I've had no issues with mine. Heat or otherwise. And the thing is cheap ($125). I'd rather this cheap unit took the punishment vs. an expensive phone. Bonus... - as was mentioned - both CarPlay and Android Auto work really well for motorcycle applications.

Thank you for your views. If you ride in the cold on a long trip surely you still have to have your phone on charge. It is good to see everyone’s views on this and I’m glad it works for you. I have done 80,000 km using my iPhone as my GPS and for music in all conditions and my phone is fine. Personally my views haven’t changed and I will continue to use the iPhone until a better unit comes along.

Yes and no... Generally, rides in the winter are of shorter duration, so no I don't necessarily need to have the phone on a charger. It's wireless WiFi, so I could just keep the phone in my pocket. Alternatively, when I do have my phone on the charger, it's in the windshield bag - so it would be protected from the direct wind and cold. If necessary, I can wrap it - just normal operation and charging would keep it warm enough.

If I was running a navigation app on the phone, I would necessarily need the phone out in the elements so that it can be seen/used. Since navigation apps put a significant hit on the battery, it would need to be on a charger. Being cold, that would be no bueno.

New user here.. I found this forum while searching for info on my Ali express motorcycle unit that I purchased… it does everything I want it to do except stay on while riding. When I bought it it appeared that every seller is selling the exact same unit, even using the very same pictures to describe it so I just picked a seller and bought one… not from Maxca though. And like many of you here I have found out that it works perfectly in the garage before going for a ride and when I was playing with it when it first arrived. Unfortunately mine does what many of yours is doing… when out for a ride it starts powering on and off about 30-45 minutes into a ride and becomes unusable. While trying to diagnose what the problem could be I powered it up in the house off of a few different power supplies and it stays on and works for hours… so I figured it could be the voltage reducer that comes with it. I removed that and hard wired another permanent converter (also Chinese, like everything else in the world) and hoped that was the problem. So I headed out on my FZ1 for a nice ride and of course it does the same thing. I have 2 cradles since I have 2 bikes and hadn’t installed it on the Goldwing 1800 yet and used that to test it in the house. I removed the original cradle from the Yamaha and powered it up again in the house and it isn’t shutting off after an hour. I am starting to think it’s heat related…my next test will be heating it up with a hairdryer to simulate the sun’s warmth… I’ll keep you all posted… assuming anyone actually reads this. It’s a shame that there is no support for these… some company has to make them all and wholesales them to the various distributors. I have about 200 bucks into the whole thing including 2 cradles and the mount I bought to install it… worse case scenario is it ends up in the trash can… but I really like the overall idea and just want the damn thing to work…

Definitely reading this. And very curious about your hairdryer test. My findings/feeling too is that it’s heat related. (See my posts above).

If you're enjoying Scenic and are happy with the support, please leave a nice rating in the App Store. It would mean a lot to me ❤️

I too have read your post with interest. I don't have a unit prefer to use my phone but am still interested in the concept. I like the idea of not having the phone on the bike but for me where it all falls down is that the phone still needs to be powered while riding. So how do you power your phone when it is in your pocket. If you power your phone with it tucked away on your bike, then I see very little benefit. When I don't want my phone on my bike I use a Beeline Moto. The nice thing about Beeline is that it plays well with Scenic. Plan in Scenic and send to Beeline. In fact often I use the two together. Beeline is mounted more in my line of sight, so I sometimes use it as a kind of HUD for the Scenic app. The simple answer to all this phone worry attached to the bike is just use an old one.

Pete, the problem with using an old phone is that unless it is an active phone it won’t do navigation or app streaming (as far as I know, anyways). Yes the phone has to be powered up to connect to these devices and for basically anything (other than music stored on a memory card) but I’ve found the battery drain is not to bad and I haven’t had my phone go dead on my rides thus far. To me the benefits of android auto on my bike are worth it. And you can keep the expensive phone tucked safely away from falling off and the elements.

as far as the issue with my unit powering on and off after 40ish minutes of riding… I have powered mine up on a table for over 3 hours without issue. I haven’t done my hairdryer test yet ( tomorrow hopefully) but I think it’d either heat or vibration causing my issue…

Not sure you are correct about the requirement for phone to be active. My understanding is the phone just needs WiFi do get app and maps and then only needs GPS to navigate. The phone does not need an active sim card to work. However I could be wrong. Maybe someone who is using an old phone for navigation only can confirm this.

Totally get the benefits of phone in pocket which is why I'm following this thread. Good luck with your experiment.

Quote from PeteRT on 14.08.2023, 03:56

Not sure you are correct about the requirement for phone to be active. My understanding is the phone just needs WiFi do get app and maps and then only needs GPS to navigate. The phone does not need an active sim card to work. However I could be wrong. Maybe someone who is using an old phone for navigation only can confirm this.

Totally get the benefits of phone in pocket which is why I'm following this thread. Good luck with your experiment.

Getting off topic a bit, but I'll answer this one: you are correct, PeteRT - I bought a used, pretty cheap iPhone that I'm using on my handlebars, with no active sim card.  My "real" phone stays on my person.  Both phones have the app installed, so I can use either one for planning.  I use wifi to manage the nav phone off the bike, and when on the bike I can access data if I need to by connecting to my "real" phone as a hot-spot...

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PeteRT

Thanks for the confirmation. Yes sorry a little off topic. But it seems to me if you don't want your new expensive phone on the bike then a cheap old one would do the job instead of these Carplay units, which seem to be unreliable. Just a thought.

An older iPhone is the route I am going to as well. I tried this CarPlay unit and I also have a Garmin Tread but I cannot get both units to work correctly with my Cardo helmet communication. I can get the navigation commands to my helmet but they both interfere with Siri commands. So placing/answering calls  and text messages is not possible and voice commands like open garage door will not work because the Siri commands are not recognized once the Garmin or the CarPlay unit is connected to the Cardo. Everything perfectly when I use a phone. And I can get a refurbished iPhone 8 max for $150 which is cheaper than the CarPlay unit any way cheaper than the Garmin cost.

A big plus of the CarPlay unit is that you are presented with a distraction-free display of the essential information you need to arrive at your destination.

A phone has too much going on, needs to be updated regularly, several apps don’t sync automatically so you have to remember to upload your routes, etc.

Also my plan is to mount the CarPlay device permanently to the bike so I don’t have to carry it with me when parking somewhere. The special locking screw and it being a dumb display make it perfect for that. (A cheap phone would be gone in minutes…)

If you are using it for just having your directions showing on the screen and it tells you directions and nothing else, then this set up for work for you.  But I lose all my Cardo unit functionality when it connects to the CarPlay unit as it renders the Cardo unit disabled and I didn’t pay $250 for Cardo unit just to be a microphone on speakers.  With a phone connected to my Cardo I can operate the phone completely hands free. Everything works.

Quote from msprygada on 14.08.2023, 10:24

But I lose all my Cardo unit functionality when it connects to the CarPlay unit

I only need Siri - and that works either via microphone or via their Bluetooth remote. And almost all Cardo features can be toggled using the keys on the unit or voice commands that don't need a phone connection.

Music control is lost.

If you're enjoying Scenic and are happy with the support, please leave a nice rating in the App Store. It would mean a lot to me ❤️
Quote from mbirth on 14.08.2023, 17:15
Quote from msprygada on 14.08.2023, 10:24

But I lose all my Cardo unit functionality when it connects to the CarPlay unit

I only need Siri - and that works either via microphone or via their Bluetooth remote. And almost all Cardo features can be toggled using the keys on the unit or voice commands that don't need a phone connection.

If that works for you then you know something I don't as I lose control of my Cardo. I cannot adjust volume of anything, I cannot answer the phone, or take text messages. I can say "Hey Siri" all day and it never responds. CarPlay was designed as a touch interface and not a voice interface.

Quote from mbirth on 14.08.2023, 06:56

A big plus of the CarPlay unit is that you are presented with a distraction-free display of the essential information you need to arrive at your destination.

A phone has too much going on, needs to be updated regularly, several apps don’t sync automatically so you have to remember to upload your routes, etc.

Also my plan is to mount the CarPlay device permanently to the bike so I don’t have to carry it with me when parking somewhere. The special locking screw and it being a dumb display make it perfect for that. (A cheap phone would be gone in minutes…)

I only use the Scenic app on the phone to show a graphic as to when I need to turn confirming what the voice prompts are telling me or to confirm how close I am to the turn and am I going to turn on the correct road. I have been on roads where it says turn right in a 1000 feet but I only see the road tuning left. But a quick glance at the map and I see the road makes a left turn and then shortly ends at a T where you have to go left or right which then the command makes sense. And since I can do everything I need on the phone with voice commands, other than glancing at the map for a visual of the upcoming road, I never need to look at it. Yes a phone can do so much more but I am not surfing the web, playing games, scrolling through Facebook while I am on the motorcycle. I just ride. no more distraction than a CarPlay device. And I don't agree that it was created to have less distracting interface. It was created to simulate the phone experience on a car dash without having to pay Apple to have the same iPhone screen show up on the dash.

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