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Recently I added a Kenwood Excelon KDC-X998, single DIN head unit to my 2012 Unlimited. It came with the base factory radio and I wanted to add NAV without breaking the bank. I already had a sturdy RAM mounting system I used for my iPhone and occasionally, my iPad Air, so I decided to go with a cheaper single DIN HU and pick up a used iPad Mini for a dedicated on/offroad NAV unit, as well as iTunes, Pandora, etc.

Everything has worked out great with one exception. I began to notice that the iPad Mini (connected via the rear USB input) was not getting charged well. At first I thought it was just because of my short hops around town, but then I began to suspect the KDC-X998's charging capability. I checked, and sure enough, the HU only charges at 1 Amp (and the iPad Mini needs around 2 Amps).

So here's the question. Is there some means of electronic wizardry whereby I can keep the iPad connected to the USB port for better function and sound quality, but feed in an additional charging source that will supply what it needs in order to not operate at a charging deficit? Seems to me that it should be possible, I'm just not electronically educated enough to know how to go about it.

Thanks in advance for your help and suggestions.
 

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R.I.P. Mr. Nibbles!
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Great read, you're not likely to solve this issue easily. Most USB host head units are designed to work with smart phones which need less power. Even my GN4 would completely shutdown the USB port on my Pioneer head unit from trying to pull 2.1 amps instead of 1.0 or less like most smart phones...

http://plugable.com/2012/03/13/charging-your-ipad-or-iphone-with-a-usb-hub
 

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Have you tried using a USB powered HUB?
Not unless he wants to run a 12VDC to 120VAC converter, otherwise he's limited to what the HU can supply. He won't be able to use the USB port on the phone to both get power and stream music then.



Unless there is some chinese gadgetry out there on Amazon or Ebay that will eventually burn your Jeep to the ground, you're probably stuck with charging direct from the aux power supply and running an aux cable from the device to the aux input of the HU. I'm not familiar with the I-crap to know immediately if they all have an aux output? I know my work 6S does.
 

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You should be able to split the USB data and the power wires. Run the data set to the head unit and the power set to a 12v USB charger elsewhere. A little cut and splice.

 

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Interesting thought on the wire splicing.

Why can't you just connect your iPad and headunit via bluetooth and leave your ipad plugged into a 2A charger? I stream music from my phone to my headunit all the time and use bluetooth, works just fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
First, Thanks to everyone who has responded thus far. I posted the same question on Wrangler Forum and interestingly have gotten pretty much the same answers.

Have you tried using a USB powered HUB?
Hadn't thought of that until it was mentioned on WF, but I like the idea if it will work. I have tried throwing a non-powered USB hub inline with the iPad, just to see if the HU would recognize it. Unfortunately, it didn't, but I'm still willing to try a powered unit to see if the extra power makes a difference.

Not unless he wants to run a 12VDC to 120VAC converter
Actually there are a few powered USB hubs out there that have a 12V input, so that's not as big an obstacle as it might sound at first.

You should be able to split the USB data and the power wires. Run the data set to the head unit and the power set to a 12v USB charger elsewhere. A little cut and splice.

This was suggested on WF as well, and I may end up going that route. One concern I have is injecting noise into the data stream as a result of the broken shielding. Any thoughts on that?

Interesting thought on the wire splicing.

Why can't you just connect your iPad and headunit via bluetooth and leave your ipad plugged into a 2A charger? I stream music from my phone to my headunit all the time and use bluetooth, works just fine.
Couple of issues there. 1) Unfortunately (and a little surprisingly), my HU will only store 2 BlueTooth device pairings, and since this is our only vehicle at present and my wife drives it as well, I need those two pairings to be my phone and hers. 2) When connected via USB, the HU itself controls the functionality on the iPad for iTunes, Pandora, iHeart Radio, etc.; when connected via BlueTooth, the apps have to be controlled on the iPad, which is less convenient and less safe since I have to look farther away from the road and it is at a really bad spot for my progressive lenses to make the on-screen text readable at the size and contrast levels used on most apps not designed for driving.

I think I have some things to try here. Thanks again for your help. And if you think of anything else, please post it up.
 

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This was suggested on WF as well, and I may end up going that route. One concern I have is injecting noise into the data stream as a result of the broken shielding. Any thoughts on that?
The stream IS digital, it would take a bunch of noise to affect the audio quality any. Besides, it should not be too difficult to rig some shielding around the spliced area if need be.
 

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Good to know about the 12v hubs, I was just going off what was linked.

If you are worried about noise within the few inches of non-shielded cable you can do a few things.
1) tie the shields back together. This doesn't protect the exposed part, but it continues to protect the rest of the cable.

2) leave the shield split and tie the ends to ground. The potential problem with this is creating a ground loop which could act like an antenna instead of a drain. I'm not sure how USB's do it, but only one end of a shielded cable should be grounded to avoid noise inducing ground loops. I'd bet though both ends of the shield are tied to the ground cage of the USB plug for a multitude of reasons I don't care to type as it would all be speculation.

3)don't worry about it as most likely you wont have an issue anyhow.
 

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On a short cable noise shouldn't be an issue. There's three options I see and I'll outline them:

1. Powered USB hub. There are powered hubs designed for the car.

Pros: Lots of power, clean install.
Cons: May not work with your stereo. Expensive.

2. Hacked USB cable. Carefully take apart a usb cable. Disconnect the power wire from the head unit and tape (Pin 1, red wire). Connect new red wire to some source of 5v power. Connect all three black wires (pin 4) to 5v power source ground.

Pros: Cheap, Should work with all devices.
Cons: Wires are very small, require soldering skills and 5v power supply.

3. Buy a Power Injector. These cables are made for this purpose. There's not many of them but provide two usb ends or many other choices. Plug one end into the radio and the other into a power supply.

Pros: Easy install, cheap, should work with all devices.
Cons: Difficult to source.

Power Supply:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Convient-Car-Boat-Motorcycle-2-USB-Charger-DC-12V-To-5V-3A-Power-Adapter-Supply-/181990162953?hash=item2a5f758209:g:8KkAAOSwX~dWlf-P

Power Injector:
http://www.amazon.com/Power-Enhancer-Female-Charge-Extension/dp/B00NIGO4NM/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1456940908&sr=1-1&keywords=usb+power+injector
 
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