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Old 04-07-2016, 11:33 PM   #15
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I know I've posted my rant against my Kenwoods elsewhere online but I'll say it again. I had a Kenwood DNX7100 in my car. Its radio got to the point that it wouldn't pick up a station unless the station's antenna was less than a mile away. Like a fool, I bought another Kenwood. That one was a DNX9960. A few days after the warranty ran out, the GPS stopped working entirely. When I switched the GPS on, the entire screen of the Kenwood went black. It was supposed to work with voice commands but you had to memorize the exact wording for each command. If you didn't say the phrase exactly the way it was in the manual, it wouldn't work.

I now have a Pioneer AVIC-8000 NEX. The interface is MUCH better and is easier to use, especially while I'm on the highway. It also just plain works. The GPS is different than the Kenwood's Garmin and it has a feature that the Garmin didn't have. Instead of it saying, "Turn right at 5th St." it will say something like, "Turn right, after Macy's." Plenty of times, I'm more likely to notice a big landmark before I see the tiny street sign.

It also has Apple's CarPlay. Instead of fiddling with buttons, you have voice control. Siri has problems hearing me when the fans and the AC are on, but for the most part, it works well. Siri is much smarter than the Kenwood voice recognition system because it's actually located in the cloud. Apple's giant computers can figure out different ways of saying things. A Kenwood with its tiny computer in the dashboard couldn't. The newer Pioneer radios also support the Android equivalent of Car Play.

My Pioneer doesn't have a knob, but it has clearly labeled metal button across the bottom with symbols. Not only are the symbols lit, they're raised so that you can feel the difference between them. The "plus" button feels very different than the "minus" button. The center "Home" button has a different finish so that it's easy to recognize. With the Kenwoods, there were dozens of menus that you had to scroll and scroll through to do anything. With the Pioneer, it's usually two taps and you're done.
I think he has a great point... and that is don't limit the scope to just one brand if it works with others. So with our particular models, mine is a 2016 Interstate EXT, we were looking to just match the plugs to reduce install issues. Figuring Apple Carplay will fix a lot of the other issues which I think it will, regardless of the manufacturer.

I have checked with Airstream. They seem unwilling to help. So I am researching other sources now.

I am very disappointed with AIRSTREAM. They put in this horrible radio. I should have known with some experience in the computer industry and audio industry, just the fact that they felt they had to put out what they thought was a simplified manual to the kenwood radio should have been a clue that they knew this was an issue. I am guessing kenwood knows what a lemon this radio is, but put so many unnecessary bells and whistles in it to make it unusable, they made a deal with AIRSTREAM trying to promote this as a high end system. Shame on you AIRSTREAM for falling for it. You should be able to figure out by now from the online issues that this doesn't work and won't work in the future. In the meantime, you leave us to figure this out for ourselves. This isn't a warranty issue. We don't want you to pay for it. Just give us what options work. We will pay to fix this USABILITY and SAFETY issue. No worries. This will be figured out and the dealers trying to sell this radio will suffer because they will have to agree to swap it out before selling future units.
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Old 04-08-2016, 11:16 AM   #16
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Try calling Crutchfield and ask them for recommendations. They are straight shooters. At least they have been in my limited experience with them.
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Old 04-08-2016, 05:51 PM   #17
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I can't speak to the issues expressed about the Kenwood DDN992 since I have the older Kenwood DNX7190HD. Mine has some flaws, but generally works well. It is slow to recalculate a GPS Nav route, but has traffic data which has saved me from getting caught in big backups many times. I regularly use Bluetooth to pair to my iPhone or my iPad to listen to audio books while driving. I've updated the software twice and the Map data once since new. I now have over 65,000 miles without major problems with this Kenwood. I'd give mine a4 rating on 1-5 scale.

Last year I added a second rear camera just above the rear license plate for a better view of objects close to the van when backing. It is a Kenwood camera that give guide line like a lot of OEM backup cameras. Here is a screen shot.
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Old 04-08-2016, 11:32 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by 73shark View Post
Try calling Crutchfield and ask them for recommendations. They are straight shooters. At least they have been in my limited experience with them.
Crutchfield is the absolute best place on or off the Internet to buy electronic things. They're not the cheapest in the short run--their price for an item may be higher than you can find elsewhere. In the long run, however, they provide outstanding customer service and free, US-based technical support for things you buy from them for the lifetime of your product. They have knowledgeable staff who will help you decide what's best for you. That can save you money and headaches.

If you want to install a car stereo yourself, they'll provide all of the connectors, adapters and widgets to connect it to your vehicle. They'll also provide you with detailed installation instructions for the particular make and model vehicle that you have. There are no dumb generic instructions like, "Remove the dashboard. Install the radio. Congratulations, you've installed the radio." They have the largest database of what will fit properly in your vehicle, so you don't waste time and money trying to get something to fit into a space that's too small. If you want someone else to install it, you can buy a voucher from them, and they'll refer you to someplace that knows what they're doing. This article from Inc. Magazine sums up the way they do business:
http://www.inc.com/magazine/20110301...utchfield.html
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Old 04-08-2016, 11:38 PM   #19
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As to Airstream's choice of Kenwood, I honestly don't know who's to blame and I can even understand Airstream's choice. Since both of my Kenwoods lasted throughout the warranty period, they'd probably pass a Kenwood/Airstream reliability test. I suspect that Airstream did what I did when I chose my Kenwoods: they looked at the feature list. Kenwoods have a lot of nice features like Garmin Navigation, Bluetooth by Parrot, etc. They look great on paper. The problem isn't lack of features, it's that they have very serious usability problems and the features aren't integrated very well.

These problems are not going to show up on any spreadsheet or brochure because they involve vague things like designing for humans who, if they're using the product properly while driving a car, only have a glance and a few seconds to accomplish a task. In a showroom or at a demo, these problems don't show up. When you're in a showroom or at a demo, you're focusing your vision and attention on a car stereo. You don't notice how long it takes or what's involved making a change to a setting. IMHO, that's the environment that Kenwood designs for. Part of me isn't angry with them for doing that. That's where the products are sold.

I don't know if it's true of Kenwood designers, but it's also easy for some of the folks in high-tech to blame users if they can't use a cryptic and overly complex interface. Instead of redesigning a product after watching people fumble around with it, they staunchly defend their mixed up buttons and menus. Those few skilled people who can design clear, consistant, easy to use interfaces that incorporate lots of user feedback generally command very high salaries. Companies (besides Apple and its CarPlay team) may not want to pay that much. In any case, if the Kenwoods were designed for using while driving, they'd be much better and safer products to use at 60 mph.
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Old 04-10-2016, 07:53 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Lineolated View Post
I agree with you that the Kenwood is an accident waiting to happen.

However, I travel in lots of remote areas without cell service, so GPS is a must for me. Has anyone found a decent double din unit with Garmin navigation?
Lineolated, We just finished a weekend camping along Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah Mountains, Virginia. We were very remote from cell phone coverage (both Verizon and AT&T) cell phones were solidly "No Service." The GPS service on the Pioneer AVIC-8100NEC was flawless. We even performed searches for other amenities, waypoints, traffic incidents, searches with keywords, etc. There were no issues at all. We were dry camping with no hookups and it was especially handy having the cut off switch to shut off all power when not in use while using the coach batteries--I highly recommend installing a toggle switch regardless of what you choose for a replacement system. While up at Airstream Corporate Service Center in January 2016, the Kenwood systems have been a fiasco and embarrassment for Airstream. This was such a bad product choice and they know it. Why on earth would there be a system lockout after multiple upgrade attempts and login procedures just to turn on the radio??? Hope this information helps, the Pioneer product is superior so far.
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Old 04-11-2016, 05:41 AM   #21
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Thanks K9! Very helpful. Hope you're enjoying Skyline Drive, and that you get a chance to check out the Blue Ridge Parkway. My husband - who hates heights - enjoyed it, but in small doses.
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Old 04-11-2016, 04:21 PM   #22
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We did the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive about a year ago. Beautiful country.

As for the Kenwood, I will be a dissenter here as I am happy with my DNX-7190HD. I have a 2013 lounge model with around 23,000 miles. The radio has never failed me ((I have probably jinxed it now!!) and I don't find it difficult to use.

What I like about it:

Garmin Navigation-because we have portable Garmin GPS units, I like the familiarity of the Garmin interface-it is very easy to enter an address or find a POI-much easier to use than just about any other factory nav I have had-one exception was an Acura TL that also used Garmin-I am not a user of the nav from my phone while driving as we are often in areas with limited or no signal

Bluetooth-my iPhone sounds great during calls and it was easy to pair-if I switch to the Bluetooth input, Pandora or my music are easily accessed

Input for TV-on another thread, I rewired the unit so the front TV will play through the radio speakers-works great, sounds good and makes it so you can hear the TV when the AC kicks on

Menu Options-I do not find it difficult to access or select the menu options even when driving-XM works very well

Dislikes:

Screen Brightness: No brightness adjustment-all of my portable GPS units have provisions for brightness adjustment-the screen is fine without my sunglasses on but washes out when I use them-the portable Garmin we use in the "toad" has a HD quality screen and is much brighter-I wish the 7190 had that screen clarity and brightness

No provision for Daylight Savings Time:
Because of this, the arrival time is off by an hour
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Old 04-12-2016, 10:10 AM   #23
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Interstate 2016 Kenwood Radio- Being Replaced

Quote:
Originally Posted by jerhofer View Post
We did the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive about a year ago. Beautiful country.

As for the Kenwood, I will be a dissenter here as I am happy with my DNX-7190HD. I have a 2013 lounge model with around 23,000 miles. The radio has never failed me ((I have probably jinxed it now!!) and I don't find it difficult to use. ......

Dislikes:

Screen Brightness: No brightness adjustment-all of my portable GPS units have provisions for brightness adjustment-the screen is fine without my sunglasses on but washes out when I use them-the portable Garmin we use in the "toad" has a HD quality screen and is much brighter-I wish the 7190 had that screen clarity and brightness

No provision for Daylight Savings Time:
Because of this, the arrival time is off by an hour

I also have had a good experience with the DNX-7190HD on my 2013 Extended Lounge model for over 65,000 miles as I noted earlier. Maybe these older units were just better, not perfect, but good to be useful.

You can change the screen brightness and contrast. You just press the "TEL" for one second. It's the button below the screen just to right of the "MENU" button. I'm attaching page 82 from the manual that describes this function. Also attaching two photos to show you where the button and the resulting screen. I added the small piece of white tape above the MENU button to make it easy to find.
Hope this helps.
- - Mike
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Old 04-12-2016, 03:09 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boxster1971 View Post
I also have had a good experience with the DNX-7190HD on my 2013 Extended Lounge model for over 65,000 miles as I noted earlier. Maybe these older units were just better, not perfect, but good to be useful.

You can change the screen brightness and contrast. You just press the "TEL" for one second. It's the button below the screen just to right of the "MENU" button. I'm attaching page 82 from the manual that describes this function. Also attaching two photos to show you where the button and the resulting screen. I added the small piece of white tape above the MENU button to make it easy to find.
Hope this helps.
- - Mike
Attachment 260539
Attachment 260540
Attachment 260541


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Thanks for the tip. I'll check that out.
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Old 04-13-2016, 12:01 AM   #25
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You can change the screen brightness and contrast. You just press the "TEL" for one second. It's the button below the screen just to right of the "MENU" button.
That's a really good example of an interface problem that can easily cause confusion. Yes, the info is in the manual, but buttons should be labeled logically and logical things should happen when you press them. Most people would start by pressing the MENU button, not the telephone button, to get to the screen brightness control.
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Old 04-13-2016, 05:48 AM   #26
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Most people would start by pressing the MENU button, not the telephone button, to get to the screen brightness control.
Most people would call that a "bug." Microsoft would call that a "feature."
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Old 04-13-2016, 09:47 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Boxster1971 View Post
I can't speak to the issues expressed about the Kenwood DDN992 since I have the older Kenwood DNX7190HD. Mine has some flaws, but generally works well. It is slow to recalculate a GPS Nav route, but has traffic data which has saved me from getting caught in big backups many times. I regularly use Bluetooth to pair to my iPhone or my iPad to listen to audio books while driving. I've updated the software twice and the Map data once since new. I now have over 65,000 miles without major problems with this Kenwood. I'd give mine a4 rating on 1-5 scale.

Last year I added a second rear camera just above the rear license plate for a better view of objects close to the van when backing. It is a Kenwood camera that give guide line like a lot of OEM backup cameras. Here is a screen shot.
Attachment 260210


- - Mike
2013 Lounge EXT on 2012 Sprinter
Hi Mike, I like the idea of adding a low camera. It would really facilitate trailer hookup. How difficult was it to route wiring to the head unit?
Bill
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Old 04-13-2016, 09:56 AM   #28
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Unfortunately my brightness setting was already at the max. I did use the contrast and black settings to add more definition to the screen. My son recently bought a 3D printer. I am going to see if he can design a hood to go around the screen to reduce the amount of direct light.


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