My tribulations with the Xite AM/FM/DVD/Backup Camera/GPS/Sirius/XM/Toaster unit in the ERA 70X continue to vex me, but I am beginning to think that many of the issues are related to the geometry of the coach into which the unit has been deployed.In other words, Mercedes Benz builds the Sprinter Chassis as an industrial platform, not a rolling concert hall like their automotive products. This is a constraint that both Winnebago and Xite must contend with. Xite provides the audio unit with 4 leads out the back for the speakers: Left Front (LF), Right Front (RF), Left Rear (LR) and Right Rear (RR), and Winnebago takes those leads and wires the LF and RF to 2 in-door speakers (which we replaced with Alpine speakers) AND front in-dash speakers comprised of 2 tweeters (according to Car Toys, there are high frequency crossovers connected to them) and to a center mid-range/bass speaker. I suspect that the tweeters are passing the entire range of frequencies, though, contributing to the poor audio from the dash (bad capacitor perhaps?). Winnebago then couples the LR and RR to the 4 smallish all-range coach speakers. These are activated via the Radio/TV switch next to the Jensen unit:
In other words, the way Winnebago wires up the Xite unit, the LR and RR are basically worthless to me as I drive down the road. And anyone sitting in the back of the coach during the drive is going to listen to the Jensen unit, not the Xite unit. So I am debating whether to return to Car Toys to have them put some full range co-axial speakers in some boxes behind the front seats, and a separate subwoofer amp and subwoofer, to be wired to the LR and RR speakers.
Car Toys also offered the AudioControl DQ-61 OEM Processor as a way to tailor the sound in the coach. But I think that with the LR and RR wired to the coach speakers, it will not make much difference.
In any event, Xite found out about the blog and did call in an effort to help me identify the issues and optimize the unit. The fact that they reached out says a lot about the company. For that alone, I give them credit. In any event, they suggested I upgrade the firmware in the unit, which I did using a USB stick.
Now, the upgrade of the RAND McNally software certainly did, objectively, improve the performance of the GPS, as I previously documented. That improvement is quite easy to observe. With respect to the audio quality, things are a bit more subjective. In any event, I have no idea what portions of the OS or applications the firmware update modified but the firmware update does appear to have improved the dynamic range of the Xite unit. I went into the audio controls and messed around (cut midrange, increase high and low) to get a much better audio output.
It could be that the firmware update optimized the DSP processing, allowing a higher resolution digital signal to be converted into the analog signal that is then amplified. Of course, it could be the addition of happy bits (these are real) that woke up the lethargic bits in the digital modules of the unit. Perhaps Xite will let me know what the update did. I will say that the audio sounds better now than it did at least as it the ERA 70X sits in the driveway. Need to get the coach on the highway with the road noise to see how it performs.
Training for the San Jose Rock n Roll Half Marathon continues.
Sat: Cross training comprised of walking up, with weight, and jogging down, multiple flights of stairs for about 45 minutes. Good practice for the Manitou Springs Incline too.
Sun: 4.30 mile run. Night before the start of the new school year, and the sun set quickly. I ran partially in the dark, but at least the temp was still in the low 90s.
Mon: 3.1 mile run. Up to the YMCA across from Dowel Middle School and back. Nothing exciting occurred on this run. Used the new handheld water thing from REI. Did not collapse from a heart attack.
If you are thinking about getting into shape, running is the single best thing you can do (and it is inexpensive). Forget the expensive gyms and gimmicky devices like the ellipticals, Bowflex, etc. S and M agree–run distance and run often to get into the best shape of your life. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Good shoes are critical–don’t skimp. S wears Brooks and I swear by Mizuno.
2. Pacing–start out slow, and keep that slow steady pace throughout your jog/run. Don’t go out fast or you’ll find yourself huffing and puffing 100 yards from the start. Run your own race–don’t pay attention to what others are doing. 9 of 10 doctors agree that a color coordinated outfit makes you run faster.
3. Force yourself to get through that first mile. The first mile is the hardest because your body is rebelling and if you are of weak mind, you’ll capitulate to it. Force yourself to jog without stopping through the first mile, then miles 2 to 10 will be much easier. When running a marathon, miles 1 and 23-26.2 are the hardest. Force yourself to smile when running long distances. If you express pain, you will feel pain.
4. Running/jogging is easier with music. Fire up the iPod/shuffle/MP3 player and focus on the music–soon you’re body will learn to go into autopilot and will keep moving while you’re grooving. Start with Aerosmith-Train Kept A’ Rollin:
5. Running is 20% physical 80% mental. Counter the negative thoughts with positive thoughts. There is nothing special about S and me, and if we can run 13.1 miles, you can get out there and run one too!