Best CAN Bus Adapter for Aftermarket Radio - Jeep Commander Forums: Jeep Commander Forum
Electronics / NAV Discussion This section contains discussion about the electronics system and NAV system in the Jeep Commander.

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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-13-2016, 10:42 AM Thread Starter
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Best CAN Bus Adapter for Aftermarket Radio

My PAC C2R-CHY4 CAN bus adapter has burned out for the 2nd time, and they didn't work that great before they burned out. So I've had it with PAC products. After a little research I've learned there are two other providers of CAN Bus adapter for after market radios, that have models that work for the Commander:


iDataLink Maestro RR
*Covers multiple brands and models, firmware flashed per specific models/features easily over the internet.
*Requires an additional vehicle specific wire harness adapter to purchase.
*For later model vehicles, has many amazing features, but they are no use for the Commander that doesn't have them.


Axxess (Metra) AX-ADBOX2
*Covers multiple brands and models, Auto-Detects the vehicle its plugged into, easily updateable over the internet.
*Requires an additional Steering wheel controller to purchase.
*Requires an additional vehicle specific wire harness adapter to purchase.
*This model is a new generation of controllers, so if the previous models may have had some drawbacks, this might be worth the little extra it costs.


Axxess (Metra) BX-CH4
*Everything included in one kit
*Is NOT easily updateable over the internet NOR as flexible as the others, but for the Commander it covers all the feature they could have.


So, does anyone have any experience with any of these? I'm particularly looking for reliability, since I've wasted Money on PAC products that have proven to be very unreliable, and fail within months of install.

If you have no idea what I'm talking about:


I have an aftermarket head unit I installed in my Commander. A pioneer AVH-X8500BHS, that has video and blue tooth. I have steering wheel buttons to control the OEM audio on the radio as well. I do NOT have a factory Amp.


Since the OEM radio works using the CAN Bus, and as of 2010 there was NOT a lot going through the CAN Bus to the radio, you have a couple of options how to handle it.


You can forgo the features the CAN Bus provided you, if you have a factory amp, that isn't much of an option cause the amp won't turn on. But if you don't have a factory amp, the features you lose is the RAP (the radio staying on for as much as 10 minutes after removing the key, until you open the door), the steering wheel button controls and NAV/Video interlocks, that the aftermarket radios use as well for video. You do have the option to hook up discrete circuits for the Video for the parking brake, to get video working.


OR you can buy a CAN Bus Adapter.


The CAN Bus Adapter wires into the CAN Bus wires on the wire harness adapter between the aftermarket radio and the vehicle, some of the wires (like for speakers) go straight to radio. The CAN Bus adapter reads the data messages on the CAN Bus, and responds to what is commanded by sending the proper signals to the aftermarket radio to do the things the CAN bus commanded. Like to turn on or off, to turn up/down volume, skip to the next track, switch sources, tell the radio the parking brake is engaged and thus it can enable the video screen, the vehicle is in reverse to turn on the rear view camera, tell the head unit the vehicle speed to help the NAV system track your position. It can turn on and control the factory amp that is controlled by the CAN bus.


Of course there are different models and brands, and NOT all have all these features.


As well, the aftermarket radio are setup to detect when the ignition is turned on or off, so you do have the option install an aftermarket radio with a simple wire connector adapter, and it will turn on and off, even though the OEM radio needs a data message on the CAN bus to do that. The Commander, the rest of CAN Bus controls are just extra features, that you don't need. If you have a video screen to watch movies, the aftermarket radio will come with an extra long wire to splice it into the parking brake switch to trigger the enabling of the video screen.


If you have a factory amp, that is a problem, it won't turn on with an aftermarket head unit. You either have to replace it with an aftermarket amp you wire up yourself, or get a CAN Bus adapter. Same with NAV, or Reverse Camera's, either go without the CAN Bus info to make it more accurate or to automatically trigger the back up cam.


They do make steering wheel control only CAN Bus Adapter, that are much cheaper than the other Adapters with more features, so that is also an option, give up the other not so useful features but get the steering wheel control.
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Last edited by Mongo; 05-13-2016 at 10:45 AM.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-13-2016, 11:50 AM
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Interesting that you would post this, as I am getting ready to redo the stereo in my '06. I was going to purchase the PAX, but the Axxess AX-ADBOX2 looks pretty awesome, I may go that route since I don't really care for steering wheel controls anyways.

2006 Jeep Commander Limited 5.7L, Rough Country 2.5" Lift, Spidertrax 1.5" spacers, DiabloSport i1000, Stock Wheels and Tires
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-13-2016, 01:33 PM Thread Starter
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Well, you can always purchase and add the ASWC-1 module later to get the steering wheel controls. And considering it seems to be the steering wheel control that burns out, which creates more problems with the PAC unit, its sorta tempting that the steering wheel control is separate and thus could be replaced if it burned again in the future without replacing the entire unit.


Best I can tell, the Axxess (Metra) BX-CH4 will do everything a Commander would need. (Unless you have a Factory Amp you're keeping, I forget if it controls amps or NOT, so look into it). And it is the cheapest of the three.


BUT, its an early model, and what I've seen from PAC at least, these things aren't fully ready for primetime. So, while the AX-ADBOX2 might cost more because it has features you just can't use in a Commander; it might be worth it simply being a later model it might be more reliable and less buggy.


Now the iDataLink Maestro RR, that has all sorts of features for the latest vehicles. What's really cool about it, certain models from Kenwood and JVC are built to work with it, and they will actually replicate the same info and controls that come up on the entertainment systems, things like engine/trans data, HVAC controls, etc... You can find a youtube video of it, Kenwood Head Unit installed in a 2015 car, that you can press a button and the HVAC controls come up on the Kenwood Screen to control it.


Since the iDataLink product has the steering wheel controls built in, you can probably get everything you need cheaper than the Axxess AX-ADBOX2, of course if you forgo the steering wheel control unit, that will probably make it cheaper than the Maestro RR.


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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-13-2016, 02:40 PM
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I looked at that one, but it says 2008 and up Commander, I'm in a 2006.

On a separate but related note, do the OEM ?Navigation units have an antenna somewhere on the vehicle, or is it built into the unit itself? If it's an external antenna somewhere on the Jeep, I wonder if it can be used with an aftermarket radio.

2006 Jeep Commander Limited 5.7L, Rough Country 2.5" Lift, Spidertrax 1.5" spacers, DiabloSport i1000, Stock Wheels and Tires

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-15-2016, 07:07 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PickleSlice View Post
I looked at that one, but it says 2008 and up Commander, I'm in a 2006.

On a separate but related note, do the OEM ?Navigation units have an antenna somewhere on the vehicle, or is it built into the unit itself? If it's an external antenna somewhere on the Jeep, I wonder if it can be used with an aftermarket radio.
I don't have the factory NAV, but from my research when I was looking at aftermarket head units, there is a little plastic button in the center of the dash near the front by the windshield. The antenna for the factory unit goes into a holder under that button, you access from under the dash, while the head unit is out. From what I saw, most of the aftermarket antenna's fit into the same spot. No real point in keeping the OEM antenna, since there will likely be connection issues.

Of course this a 2010, they changed the dash and radio 2008 and up, so the antenna might be different as well.

Sirius XM, I re-used the OEM antenna on the roof. iDataLink makes and adapter connector, I didn't know about it when I hooked up my Sirius XM unit to my aftermarket radio, if I had, I probably would have ordered it and used it. The OEM connector is slightly larger and won't clip onto the Sirius XM unit, it will fit into it, but just NOT snap in and stay in, but if you wrap electric tape all around the unit to hold the connectors together it works perfectly, the reception is just as strong as the OEM radio or with the Sirius provided antenna.
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Last edited by Mongo; 05-16-2016 at 09:43 AM.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-16-2016, 08:02 PM
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Is this the button to speak of?

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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-17-2016, 08:17 AM Thread Starter
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No, that is NOT it, its on the horizontal surface of the Dash Board in the center near the base of the windshield.

Look at the radio in this photo, follow it up till you get to the base of the windshield, see the little button sticking up out of the dash, the GPS antenna is below that.


You don't pull the button out and stick the antenna down it, NO, actually when you have the radio out, you will see a little slot/shelf to stick in the antenna that connects to the back of the head unit. The little button is probably a different kind of plastic that lets the satellite signal trough, and is why its right under the windshield, that will let the signal through as well.


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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mongo View Post
No, that is NOT it, its on the horizontal surface of the Dash Board in the center near the base of the windshield.

Look at the radio in this photo, follow it up till you get to the base of the windshield, see the little button sticking up out of the dash, the GPS antenna is below that.


You don't pull the button out and stick the antenna down it, NO, actually when you have the radio out, you will see a little slot/shelf to stick in the antenna that connects to the back of the head unit. The little button is probably a different kind of plastic that lets the satellite signal trough, and is why its right under the windshield, that will let the signal through as well.
Quote:
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Ahh, great. I always assumed that was the light sensor for the headlights. I'll be sure to use that location with the new GPS.

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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-17-2016, 09:22 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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Ahh, great. I always assumed that was the light sensor for the headlights. I'll be sure to use that location with the new GPS.
I think that is an IR sensor for the HVAC controls, it can detect what the interior air temperature and change the HVAC to correspond to what you set.


I think the sensor for the automatic Hi/Low Beams and dimming is in the rear view mirror.


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