New CarAudioStuff Demo Car

We have just taken delivery of a Mini one to add to our Demonstration cars

First thing was to install a double DIN Alpine CarPlay unit. This entailed some extensive dash rebuilding since this car originally only has a singe DIN aperture. We also fitted a reversing camera and a dash witness camera.

Final job for today was to fit the Meta Tracker.

Next job is to upgrade the speakers and maybe fit a sub and amplifier.

 

Good Customers

 

 

Car Audio Customer satisfaction equation.

There are four types of customer that we interact with on an average day.

 

  1. Cautious Clara (I’ll give them names to make it fun).

Cautious Clara has never heard of us and has no idea what we can do but needs our help. Once we have demonstrated that we are not just a small local business but also part of a national body of similar specialist who are capable of taking care of any national warranty issues and show some examples of our past work over all the years we have been trading.  Clara is at ease and happy to take our advice.

  1. Dubious Danny

Danny has ideas that may be unrealistic based on his pals down the pub. Once he sees our expansive showroom displays or sits in our demo car for a few minutes’ his eyes are open to possibilities he never knew existed. Now that Danny knows what he really wants it’s just a case of helping him out with a realistic quote for the work and if necessary a flexible way to pay. Hopefully both Clara and Danny will become customer type number three.

  1. Regular Robin

Robin has been using us for years, he knows we always look after him with special offers and we are happy to subsidize our installation labour a wee bit in the knowledge that Robin is an ambassador for our business and tells all his mates about us. He is a member of our Driving Sounds Club and gets his monthly dose of Car Audio tasty bits from the magazine and newsletter. Happy days!

  1. Clever Dick

Dick knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing.  He will ask all the questions and try to get the part number for all the stuff you are (not) going to sell him because he knows how to use Google.

He might even argue that your advice is not correct and he can’t understand why your labour rates are so high. You can tell him to compare your hourly rate with the franchised dealer rate for his car and he will argue that’s because they are the main dealer. Telling him you are able to work to higher standards on every make / model of car does not impress him, he is too thick (it’s OK for me to insult him; he hasn’t read down this far “too many big words”).

You never the less go through the motions of explaining that the quote for genuine UK quality stock with the exclusive Four Master extended warranty fitted using the correct grade of ancillary equipment by dedicated professional is great value but you know what happens don’t you.

Just for you Dick I will try to keep this simple. We have created a formula based on an equation for when you return to our stores laden with the cheaper products that you need us to fit for you.

CDP = (SDQ + SDL) – (ISP ) +BT

CDP – Clever Dick Pays (This is what Dick has got to pay for our services)

SQR – Specialist Dealer  Quote (This will be a fair price quote without part numbers)

SDL – Specialist Dealer Labour (This is based on our hourly rate which is currently £60)

ISP – Internet Sellers Price (This can vary wildly from grey importers or dodgy dealers)

BT – Bother Tax (This is an arbitrary amount levied dependent on how much time wasted)  

Example 1 CDP £1200 (SDQ £1000 + SDL £200) – (ISP £0 + BT £0) Happy with our quote

Example 2  CDP £300 (SDQ £1000 + SDL £200) – (ISP £900 + BT £0) Found goods cheaper (No warranty No support)

Example 3  CDP £760 (SDQ £1000 + SDL £200) – (ISP £500 + BT £60) Found silly price (No warranty No support)

In the first example everybody is happy. Dick will benefit from the full support of the Four Master Network and product range.

In the second example Dick will pay an extra £100 to have his own stuff fitted and will also have to pay again to have it removed and re-fitted if it goes wrong and he has to send it back to wherever he got it (good luck with that).

In the third example Dick will spit the dummy and walk (oh dear what a shame).

Clara, Danny and Robin we love you, we want to keep serving you with the best service and greatest range of cutting edge products. You understand we have overheads and know we want to be here for a long time, thank you.

Dick don’t bother please!          

Which Dash Cam, Blackvue or Thinkware?

Best dash camera on the market for your car, is it the Blackvue DR650 or the Thinkware F770?

Having had both models fitted to my own car I will try to give you my unbiased opinion and maybe surprise you with the result.

We always recommended and fitted the Blackvue cameras believing them to be the best quality; certainly they have always had excellent playback quality and easy to use software however when I had my DR650 front and rear cameras fitted to my new Mercedes C class I noticed a definite drop in DAB reception.

Also after a while my new car started to tell me on the small display in the speedo that the cars battery was low. This I presumed was because on an average day I start the car at my home and stop it about five minutes later at my shop, then the same going home at night. After a few days of this the car complains that it needs a run 🙂

The Blackvue Power Magic option had been fitted and was supposed to switch the camera off after a period of being parked or when the battery voltage dropped below a set level.

The Mercedes engine start stop feature never seemed to work either and only after about three hours constant driving would the green light come on and the “stop-start “start working.

I had not connected any of this with the camera system however one day when I was on the Four Master dealers private forum I was made aware that some witness cameras could affect the cars DAB signal. Especially if the DAB antenna was built into the rear screen and the back camera was near the aerial elements.

Someone (a Four Master) suggested that Thinkware has solved this problem so I fitted the F770 front and rear camera system for appraisal.

First impression when I turned on the Thinkware Dash Cam was it certainly likes to chat a lot. It starts off by telling you how many events it has recorded while you were parked and then announces it has seen the sky and is connected to GPS satellites and after a few seconds just when you thought she had shut up it tells you it about to start continuous recording. Once you are on the highway it bings and bongs to tell you that for the speed you are doing you are too close to the car in front or if you stray over the white line road markings it bong a couple of times to alert you. Unfortunately it has no concept of whether your indicators are on or off so it bongs anyway every time you stray across the white line.

Now I’m making it sound like this is all a nuisance but you can turn any or all of the warning signals off in the settings but one you definitely don’t want to turn off is the speed camera warning sounds. Even the average speed cameras on the M8 were noticed and the cameras voice announces what type of speed trap you are near; Very good.

After a few days with the Thinkware F770 fitted to my car I noticed that the DAB reception was as good as it ever was (which isn’t great in East Lothian) but much better than before and the cars stop start is more responsive because the battery warning sign is also no longer present . This is because the power management is built into the F700 and not an add on option like the Blackvue and the voltage threshold is adjusted in the setup which can be done on your phone using the Thinkware app.

Conclusion

Blackvue is an excellent product and over the years we have supplied them to lots of happy customers. My own unique situation with a car that gets very short runs and DAB in a poor geographical location has brought me to the conclusion that the Thinkware product suits me better.

Feature for feature the Thinkware F770 beats the DR650 and is better value as it costs less.

I have made a short video, I hope you like it and I hope you find this article useful. Please contact me if you need any help choosing your witness dash cam.

New AHD Products from C-KO

What is AHD?

AHD (Analogue High Definition) is the latest technology for MDVR systems. Its main advantage is the ability to transmit images in HD (1080P) using 4 pin screw connections. This makes upgrading current systems to AHD far cheaper and faster. Unlike IP Cameras AHD cameras,AHD cameras transmit data that is not encoded resulting in real time transmission with no processing delays.

Different AHD formats

AHD has the following formats:

  • AHDL: AHD 0.8, works with 960H AHD cameras and traditional analogue cameras 
  • AHDM: AHD 1.0, works with 960P/720P/960H AHD cameras 
  • AHDH: AHD 2.0, works with 1080P/960P/720P/960H AHD cameras 

Main Advantages of AHD

  • Clear high resolutions images up to 1080P (720P on the DVR) 
  • Uses current infrastructure so no need to run new cables making it faster and easier to upgrade existing systems
  • Low latency, real time images. Faster than IP systems. 
  • Installation procedure remains the same so no need to learn new installation techniques.
  • Can transmit data over much further distances so less chance of image loss. 
  • Backwards compatible with standard cameras. 

Range of C-KO Products with AHD Technology

(AHD-400-GGT)
Connect up to 4 cameras with audio and video with the AHD-400-GGT. 720P resolution provides high quality recorded images for playback either via the provided software or straight from the device if connected to a monitor.

 

 

 

 

 

AHD Body Mount Camera

AHD 720P Body mount camera with 1/3″ 8310AHD image sensor.

5 Reasons to have a Witness Dash Camera

Not everything Dash Cam that looks the same, is the same, choosing a dash-cam can be a minefield. Let us try to help.. In-Car Witness Cameras, could be invaluable for those who drive as part of their job, or simply spend considerable time on the roads. No-one expects to be in any sort of accident or crash, but using a dashcam can help you prove whose fault any sort of accident was, should one ever happen. For insurance purposes, it could be invaluable. Here’s a brief look at a few of the top reasons to purchase or invest in a dashcam.

  

1 – They Could Net You an Insurance Discount

Some insurance companies will discount premiums for dash cam users, because they already know that anyone who has a dash cam fitted takes safety seriously, and  has a motivation to become a better driver.

2 – They could be a Crime Deterrent

A dash cam that may be always recording (some accomplish this, however, not all models do is an excellent crime deterrent because individuals will likely be unwilling to approach your car or truck when they think they are being recorded.

3 – You Have Peace of Mind

Accidents are something which no-one likes to contemplate. For those who have a dash cam it is possible to operate a vehicle more confidently, since you will be recording everything happening near you. If the accident happens, the footage could be automatically saved some dash cams can even note time and location together with saved footage to ensure you can use it for insurance purposes.

4 – They Enables you to Collect Memories

Dash cams don’t really need to be all doom and gloom. Lots of people make use of them to record scenic drives while they are on vacation or on a break to allow them to return back and take out the most interesting elements of their trip.

5 – The Authorities May Consider Them as Evidence

Depending on the way the footage is saved, and exactly how premium quality it really is the law enforcement authorities may accept dash cam footage in their investigations, so you could use it to clear your name in case you are within an accident.

If there are no independent witnesses, then often it can come down to the word of one driver over another to determine liability, which can make it very difficult to prove you are not at fault. As well as filming images of what has happened outside the car, cameras fitted in cars can also be used to continuously record driving and breaking speeds, which again can be a source of valuable evidence to show what happened in the moments before an accident and to demonstrate who is at fault.

Car insurance fraudsters often target newer, more expensive cars or cars with a more vulnerable driver, such as a young driver or a woman with young children in the car. One of the best ways to protect you and your family in the event that you are caught up in one of these insurance frauds is to install a witness camera in your car. These cameras can be quickly and easily fitted to cars to record the actions of other drivers on the road. The footage shot by these cameras can be invaluable in proving who is at fault in the event of an accident, and can provide vital evidence of the existence of a ‘Crash for Cash’ or ‘Flash for Cash’ type fraud.

Some questions on Witness Dash Cams that we get:

 

  1. Do dashcams lower insurance? Some insurance companies will offer a discount if you have an approved device professionally fitted.
  2. Do dashcams show speed? All quality cameras have the ability to show vehicle speed on the recorded playback.
  3. Do dashcams work when parked? Some can have a voltage sensing device fitted that allows recording when the car is switched off.
  4. Do i need GPS on dash cam? Inbuilt Global Positioning on some cameras show the vehicle position on the recordings.
  5. How long can dash cam record? They record in a loop so indefinitely however the length of the loop is determined by the SD card size. 
  6. Which dash cam is best? Witness cameras should have the highest video resolution and the price usually indicates quality.   

So which Witness camera is right for you?

Depending on what you requirements are governs which camera:

If you have a fleet of commercial vehicles it might be important for you to ensure that the driver/operator can not tamper with the device or you might need to see in real time the actual footage from the vehicle. We can accommodate all that here…

If you require full time protection of your precious car both front and rear even when parked then you need the Blackue system here...

If you just want an inexpensive front viewing camera recorder for your car then look here…

We do carry a huge range of witness dash cameras and we offer a pro fitting service (no dangling wires on our installs). We can help you to find a good installation company in your area – See Map, please contact us by email or telephone direct 01368 860800 if we can be of further help. 

 

If you have found some value in this article please like and share our content.

 

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Demo of Target Blue Eye working. Taken on Blackvue Front & Rear Cameras. Fitted to Merc C250

NEW tracking system installations standard

 

The NEW standard in ‘insurance approved’ tracking system installations.

 

Meta Trak VTS is approved to meet the new Vehicle Tracking Systems criteria launched by the Thatcham Research Centre on 1st Oct 2016.

 

What is “Key cloning”?

Key cloning is the method by which a thief can programme a new key into the vehicle without the owner’s knowledge. This can be achieved using a low-cost programming device connected to the OBD diagnostic port of the vehicle. In some cases thieves can connect to vehicle electronics without even entering the vehicle. You may think that could never happen, but thieves are cunning, they will wait for a driver to leave their vehicle, press their remote control to lock the vehicle as usual. But, they are jamming your remote control; you think your vehicle is locked but it’s not!

 

In the event of the vehicle being driven WITHOUT the Driver ID Tag present e.g. with an unauthorised key, an alert will be sent to our SOC within seconds Making Key Clone theft a thing of the past Installer support 0208 867 2340 or info@metatrak.co.uk The ‘Because the objective is detecting vehicle theft using a cloned key rather than stolen keys the ID tag can be attached the vehicle keys.

 

This eliminates the need for the driver to remember to carry a separate ID device as was the case with Cat 5. Which also means they avoid being contacted by the alarm receiving centre each time he/she forgets to do so.

 

Want even more pro-active resistance to theft using a cloned key? With Meta Trak VTS it’s possible to add a wireless starter motor immobiliser which can be set and unset remotely via the app, or automatically each time you leave your vehicle and unset each time you enter the vehicle with the ID tag. In the event a thief successfully manages to clone a key any attempt to steal the vehicle using that key will be blocked if the immobiliser is active.

 

Under the new Thatcham Vehicle Tracking Systems criteria, tracking solution providers are permitted to use their own in-house call centre for receiving system alerts. Meta Trak have decided to continue to use the services of a ‘National Security Inspectorate’ approved centre for the professional handling of alerts from Meta Trak VTS customers.

 

First year subscription included. Lower renewal cost with one and three year options Includes mobile app and online web access for instant vehicle connection Leading edge technology from lobal
manufacturer.

 

Meta Trak VTS is approved to meet the new Vehicle Tracking Systems criteria

 

 

And now for something completely different

In the car Hi-Fi world the word “Revolutionary” gets bandied about a lot and in my 45 years plus in this industry I have not witnessed many revolutionary products so far.

 

However I may have just been surprised by something completely different!

 

When I first heard about digital speakers I laughed out loud, surely an analog device couldn’t be digital?

 

If you can convert the radio output to digital then process it and send it directly to the speakers without using Amplifiers and all the complicated wiring that goes with them you would theoretically have a lossless path from source to ear but surely this is not possible. Such a system would have the advantage of incredibly high-resolution audio playback without the need for power hungry amplifiers and wiring taking up all the space and would use much less current thus longer time on the battery.

 

Clarion has developed a Full Digital Sound system. The Z3 Digital sound processor married to the Z7 digital speakers and Z25W digital Subwoofer. 

 

The clever bit is it is so simple to install since there is no requirement for anything other than the cars standard speaker wiring and it will convert any factory standard OEM head unit into a HD digital system with all the EQ curves and time alignment taken care of by a phone app.

 

Control is done by a small commander unit and the main Sound processor box is small enough to hide away behind the dash.

 

Now for the technical bit: VLSI (very large-scale integration) is the secret behind Clarion’s new devices. Inside each speaker are six voice coils being driven by a tiny VLSI chip which take scare of Oversampling + Digital Modulation and has Multi D-Class drivers.  The current consumption is so small it is accommodated down the standard twin core speaker cable with the exception of the Sub-Woofer which has its own small wiring harness to provide fused power and the subs can be daisy chained together.

 

I can see applications for this in vehicles which are sensitive to power consumption and space saving like Motor homes, trucks who might park up for a few hours listening to music or even on board a small boat.

 

Finally something completely different to try. Another YouTube tutorial on Clarion FDS

 

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