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Thread: Blaujunk - Roadster audio/NAV options

  1. #1

    Blaujunk - Roadster audio/NAV options

    As we've been told previously -- and it's been a while back, but I haven't heard about any changes -- the Roadster will come with a Blaupunkt stereo receiver. Blaupunkt also supplies receivers for the Lotus Elise. These are infamous for their poor audio quality, and Lotus owners often refer to them as "Blaujunk".

    From what I've read over on the Lotus forums, most owners either don't care about sound quality (the high-revving 4-cyl engine is what they want to hear), or they replace the Blaupunkt head unit pretty quickly. Replacing all the factory speakers is also a likely move. Tesla at least are offering a premium speaker option.

    A recent photo of the EP2's interior showed what appears to be a Blaupunkt "Key West" MP36 receiver, which is the lowest priced CD unit that Blaupunkt offers. A survey of owner reviews at the Crutchfield website turned up complaints that these units overheat and then "eat" CDs, FM radio reception is poor, and the iPod interface is plagued with electronic noise.

    Also noted. . . Blaupunkt does not offer any receiver units that play back AAC-encoded music from CDR discs. Sony, Pioneer, Alpine, Kenwood, Panasonic, Clarion and JVC offer receivers with this feature. Since Apple are now selling non-DRM-protected music through the iTunes Music Store in AAC format, this could be a useful ability.

    Now keep in mind that most car companies have a long tradition of putting in laughably bad stereo receivers at the factory. I'd hoped Tesla would go a different route, but. . . it doesn't look that way.

  2. #2
    Tony,

    You've got experience with the Elise. How difficult is it to replace it with one from a big box retailer? Not that it's the first thing you want to do, you know, take the Roadster to Best Buy's Geeksquad to have them rip it out for an expensive replacement.

    You'd think with the silence from an EV sound quality would be a big deal to Tesla. Too bad if that's the case.
    Dave

    '05 Passat powered by Biodiesel
    '54 Corvette

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by DDB View Post
    Tony,

    You've got experience with the Elise. How difficult is it to replace it with one from a big box retailer?
    I don't have personal experience with that, it's mostly what I've picked up from the Lotus forums. I haven't heard about any particular difficulty in replacing the units.

    For a full extended discussion of the Blaujunk problem, check here. . .

    http://www.elisetalk.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8958

  4. #4
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    It's more complex than you might think

    Production Roadsters will ship with Blaupunkt Hamburg or Kingston radios, depending on whether or not the Bluetooth option was selected. I've heard that Blaupunkt was chosen because they were the only aftermarket supplier to offer a small navigation system (no room in a small car for a big screen) and radio which play together without extra black boxes and their associated cost and weight. Nav audio plays through the radio speakers automatically, muting the audio currently playing.

    Changing to another radio from Best Buy or wherever won't work because it won't be compatible with the nav system.

    Both Lotus and Tesla use aftermarket radios because their volumes aren't high enough to get a custom (i.e. OEM) radio solution designed -- engineering and tooling costs would be prohibitive, assuming any OEM radio supplier was even willing to entertain such a low-volume piece of business.

    Maybe WhiteStar volumes will be high enough to use an OEM solution.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by sabre View Post
    Production Roadsters will ship with Blaupunkt Hamburg or Kingston radios, depending on whether or not the Bluetooth option was selected. I've heard that Blaupunkt was chosen because they were the only aftermarket supplier to offer a small navigation system (no room in a small car for a big screen) and radio which play together without extra black boxes and their associated cost and weight. Nav audio plays through the radio speakers automatically, muting the audio currently playing.
    OK, that's good information. Thanks for explaining that!


    Changing to another radio from Best Buy or wherever won't work because it won't be compatible with the nav system.
    So. . . For those of us who have aren't getting a nav system and have no interest in one, there shouldn't be any obstacle to swapping out the receiver, I'd guess? I like my old folding maps just fine.

    BTW, I still don't understand what Bluetooth has to do with a car stereo. I gather it has something to do with using a cell phone with a headset. . . but I'm not sure where the car stereo fits into that picture.


    Both Lotus and Tesla use aftermarket radios because their volumes aren't high enough to get a custom (i.e. OEM) radio solution designed -- engineering and tooling costs would be prohibitive, assuming any OEM radio supplier was even willing to entertain such a low-volume piece of business.
    You make that sound like a bad thing. From where I sit, using off-the-shelf "aftermarket" radios makes perfect sense. I'm all for it, I just didn't understand the reason for choosing Blaupunkt in particular, knowing the disrepute they've already earned in the Lotus community.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabre View Post
    ...no room in a small car for a big screen...
    Doesn't Pioneer make a nav screen that slides back into the stereo unit when not in use?

    Sometimes I wish car manufacturers would just provision space for such gadgets, rather than supply them. The tech behind stereos and NAV systems seems to change more quickly than the rest of the car, so it would be nice to be able replace them with the latest whenever the fancy strikes.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brent View Post
    Doesn't Pioneer make a nav screen that slides back into the stereo unit when not in use?
    Yes, the Pioneer AVIC-N3 and now the just announced AVIC-N4. It was actually a Tesla rep that recommended that I not buy the factory NAV system because of the small screen size and less then optimal location for NAV functions. He recommended changing the radio unit to an all in one unit.

    The Pioneer has a 7" slide out display and looks like the same NAV software as my Lexus factory unit, which is one of the best NAV systems I have ever had. It also has something known as the Vehicle Dynamics Display, which sounds like great fun in a Tesla roadster!

    I plan on having one of these units installed in my roadster as soon as it arrives.

  8. #8
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    Responses to various posts

    To Tony:

    If you don't get the nav option, you could swap radios, though you'd have to deal with the differences in rear connectors and such.

    Bluetooth in a car radio bonds to your cell phone (assuming the two are compatible, not a certainty) and uses in-car microphone(s) and the car's speakers to allow for two-way hands-free calling.

    Some of the BP disrepute may be due to the Elise radio antenna, not the radio. You'd have to do an A-B test with another brand of radio to be sure.


    To Brent and donauker: a pop-out nav screen like the Pioneer has is in the head-impact area, making crash testing difficult to pass if it's factory-installed. I don't see why you couldn't install it as a customer, though. In the Roadster it will block the two center heating/cooling vents when the screen is deployed, however. Like I said, it's a small car, not much room for "stuff"!

  9. #9
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    Sabre:

    Yes, I should have worded me statement a bit better. The Tesla individual did explain to me the limitation of what could be factory installed due to the crash testing requirements. His recomemdation was more in the line of "What I would do is install ...". I appreciated his prompt in this direction and when I found the information on the Pioneer unit it quickly made my must have list. Also I realized it would block the center vents when the screen was in use but that is something I will live with.

  10. #10
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    Tony and I could not be more different on these items.

    Here in LA my job takes me to new places every week all over the Southland and the Bay Area. I literally carried 9 Thomas Brothers map books in a full shopping bag. This was probably 20 pounds in my back seat and once or twice a year I still would not have one to cover the area I needed. My new Nav system is the best invention for the car since rubber tires! Next one will have some type of traffic reporting function.

    As for bluetooth, California has a new law that say you cannot be on a cell phone while driving. A hands free system is now mandatory if you hope to get away with it.

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