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  1.    #1  
    Hey everyone, I'm the proud new owner of a silver 2006 Honda Ridgeline RTL, which I purchased last week. The previous owner had already done a lot of the work for me, tonneau cover, fog lights, d/n mirror, towing package, running boards... but he hadn't messed with the stock sound system at all... which is fine for me, as I used to be a sound man for Cedarville University and am pretty particular about the quality of what I listen to. I've already ordered 2 sets of Hertz ECX690's and a Pioneer TS-SW2541D 10" shallow SUB, which I'll install later, but of course Palm Pre integration was the first thing on my docket. I hooked up a Parrot Mki 9200 unit, which adds Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, as well as 4 extra media inputs: iPod hookup, USB input, 3.5mm input jack, and an SD media card slot (for cards up to 32gB). I've got the unit fully functional: it plays media from my ipod, the SD card, a USB flashdrive, the 3.5mm jack, and from my cell phone via bluetooth streaming. I haven't tested using a usb-powered hard drive, but from Parrot forums this is possible. A full color screen shows me the menus, what's currently playing, and allows navigation between the different sources and settings. It also shows the artwork from what's playing on my iPod, usbstick, and sD card, but not the Pre over BT connection. The hands-free works flawlessly, including impressive voice recognition. The people I called couldn't tell I wasn't speaking directly into the phone.

    Alright, now to impressions on the unit after having it for a few days... The unit was easy to set-up and pair to my phone. The call quality is fantastic, both outgoing and incoming. The sound quality from iPod, usb stick, 3.5mm jack, and sD card is very good and can get louder than comfortable for listening without distorting. I expect that the quality will also improve once I substitute the standard speakers with the Hertz I've already ordered, but haven't arrived yet. The wireless, steering-wheel mounted control is intuitive and works very well. Music streaming via Bluetooth from my Pre and computer works extremely well, and again, the quality is very good. This allows me to play Pandora radio,YouTube, videos, and audio files from my Palm Pre and listen to the sound through the car speakers with no wires attached. This could also be used for the phone GPS navigation, though I have a TomTom unit I prefer to use instead.

    Now the negatives: the advertising stated that it was possible to integrate the unit so that the OEM headunit amps could be used: from what I've read since in forums this IS possible, but requires quite a bit of wiring and a headunit that will support it... it isn't clear to me whether the Ridgeline's will or not. I might undertake that adventure at a later time, but I will wait and see how the unit sounds with the Hertz speakers first. Basically, what is happening right now is that all audio played through the Parrot unit is being amped by its "brain" a blue box that resides wherever you choose to hide it and all the ins/outs plug out of. My understanding is that it delivers 20watts x4, as opposed to my headunit's 25watts x4 plus 60watts subwoofer. This means I will be listening to my iPod without sub, but the Hertz speakers (2 sets of ECX690's) have a range from 40Hz to 23kHz. Which should give me plenty of low end. I also did not realize that the Parrot brain "takes over" the iPod controls, so the iPod cannot be used to pick music, unless you use the 3.5mm jack instead of the port. This is a little inconvenient, as in the past I've always had friends riding with me use the iPod and pick music, I was expecting that with the long cabling would allow passengers even in the back join in the fun of picking music. As I said, this is still possible by using the 3.5mm jack, with slight loss in quality being the downside. It is also possible to slide the wireless remote off the steering wheel base and pass that to a passenger, though then they'd have to have clear line of sight to the screen, which I placed to the driver's left. I suppose that if you mounted it on the center of the dash it would be better for letting passengers pick the music. Finally, the parrot will not play videos off the iPod unless, again, you use the 3.5mm jack instead of the port.

    The Parrot unit comes with a wiring harness, which needs to be attached to a harness specifically for your vehicle, unless you want to solder 300 wires. The connections are all intuitive, as the different harnesses can only fit into the appropriate receiving ends. The pic shows the blue "brain" of the Parrot setup, where all the inputs and outputs meet.

    After all the cables are connected the blue box can be placed deep into the hole the HU resides in... there's plenty of space for the box and the cabling in my Ridgeline, but I can tell you there's no way i could have fit it into my former Jeep Grand Cherokee with the iPod box I already had there... for setups with less room, Parrot recommends feeding the blue brain into your glovebox and securing it there.

    I ran the input cables into the compartment below the HU, where my ipod now permanently resides.

    I ran the microphone cable under the steering column, up the A-frame, just within the rubber seal, and the microphone resides on the top left corner of my windshield.

    I also ran the screen dock cable under the steering column. I decided the best point for this cable to enter the dash was along the edge of the dash tweeter. I used a dremel tool to route a very small channel for the cable and attached the screen mount using Velcro instead of the included 3M tape so I can move it somewhere else at will.

    I also mounted the TS using Velcro and wired a hidden cigarette lighter plug behind my steering column. The best mounting location seemed to be next to the light switch to the right of the steering wheel on the upper dash. I decided to steal power from one of the 12v cigarette lighter sockets, so I also removed the lower dash. I did this because a. it allows easy troubleshooting. b. turns off power to the TS when the vehicle is off. c. adds a fuse to the setup without me having to do extra wiring. d. permits me to still remove the usb cable and TS (which I mounted w/ Velcro) for when I take trips out of town and have to stay at a hotel or otherwise, allowing me to leave my home TS there. I fed the usb cable to run out of the steering column assembly. It doesn't interfere with the steering, key insertion, or lifting/lowering the steering column in any way. The Palm Pre holds strongly to the magnetic base. I had a similar set-up in my former Jeep Grand Cherokee, and when I first set it up I went out and drove like a madman, over bumps, railroad tracks, off-roading, swerving side to side, sudden braking, and it never once fell off of its magnetic hold.
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  2. #2  
    very nice! im about to do something similar very soon! Now that you have the Parrot system for a while, would you still recommend it? Thanks.
  3. #3  
    That Sucks That The Palm Logo is Upside down, Other than that it's Awesome.
  4. exieramos's Avatar
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    #4  
    That's a nice install! I've had the mKi9200 installed in my 2002 Sport Trac for about 2 months now and I agree with everything you said about the functionality. It works great with the PRE. I did have issues at first when I was streaming audio through BT and I tried to answer a call. The car kit basically would keep ringing even though you answered the call on the PRE, however, you could not hear the caller and they could not hear you all while the car kit kept ringing in the background! I had to go back to using the Aux input jack of the car kit which worked with the music and calling until Parrot released new FW (v1.24) which fixed this problem. Now everything is perfect! I can stream audio all while taking and making calls (using the voice dialing feature of the car kit as well!) The only con that I see (which is a minor issue for me) is that you cannot control the music player on the PRE with the car kit's remote control. You need to use the controls on the PRE.

    Anyway here are pics of my install where I used a Panavise universal cell phone holder for the display and a previously installed cell phone mount that accommodated my Rocketfish belt clip holster perfectly on the dash near the steering wheel. I mounted the noise canceling mics near my overhead console. The iPod, USB and Aux jack interface cable is wrapped around the Panavise mount behind the display until they are needed. See my pics below. Note: All pics except the overall shot were taken with the PRE's camera.
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  5. #5  
    very nice install! Is the color screen good for anything? im thinking of getting the mki9100, but if its worth the upgrade then why not.. Also cant you control the Pre with bluetooth? Thanks
  6. #6  
    Hey s1374537,

    I love your retro cassette tape skin on the iPod pic (5th one down).

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