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4.30.2009

Kia Soul Audio Experiements, iPhone, PSP, USB

I got a new Kia Soul last week. So far I'm really enjoying it, and I'm thoroughly impressed with the audio and bluetooth setup. I got the Soul + with the audio system upgrade. This package also includes the bluetooth option.

When I got the car, the dealership was not quite sure how all the USB functions and iPod integration on the system worked. Now that I've had a chance to thumb through the manual and run a few tests, I thought I'd post a few things for folks who are considering a Soul, or just got one themselves.

  • iPhone and iPod integration. The owners manual doesn't list support or iPhone, and the dealership didn't know anything about it. You'll have to buy their $35 iPod cable. It splits a standard dock connector to fit the USB / Aux setup on the car.
    IMG_3028
    My 1st gen iPhone popped up the "unrecognized accessory" warning and asked me if I wanted to use Airplane Mode. I tapped no, and everything worked. The cable charges the phone and I'm not hearing any radio interference on the audio. You can control the iPod easily from both the steering wheel or the head unit. Artist & Title show up on the dash display. I also tested my old iPod Mini, and it works fine as well.
    [EDIT 7-1-09] I have tested an iPhone 3G and 3GS as well, both work fine with the Kia cable. A warning will popup for Airplane mode, but just cancel it. Charging and playback work fine.


  • USB mass storage device - Works fine, put MP3's on it and plug it in. The jack on the dash doesn't supply enough power for large hard drives, and larger disks take longer to scan for tracks. Drives need formatted as FAT16 or 32. The manual lists the compatible bitrates. They recommend you not use larger keychain-style drives, as they may get bumped and damage the connector.
    IMG_3029
  • PSP - There are two ways to do this.
    1. Plug in via USB and go into USB Storage Mode. The PSP will charge and the audio system will scan the Memory Stick for MP3's. Just remember it probably won't be able to play any wierd MP4 or ATRAC files you have on there. My PSP seemed to charge intermittently this way. I think it may be wanting more power than the USB jack can supply.
    2. The other way to utilize a PSP is to navigate to the Music folder on the PSP and use it as a MP3 player and then plug it into the AUX jack on the dash. You'll need a 1/8" stereo mini cable to do this. You might want to use a car charger when doing this.
  • Bluetooth - The bluetooth integration on this car is great. You can pair a phone from either the head unit controls or from voice prompts. The car will automatically link with your phone when you get in range and the ignition is on. You can select from multiple phones or turn bluetooth on or off via voice commands. There are control buttons on the lower half of the steering wheel that control the voice dial, answer, and hangup commands. I was suprised how well it works with my iPhone since my phone has no voice dialing support. It imports my contacts in about 5-10 seconds, and voice recognition seems to be very accurate. My wife says the call quality is great.

Updated 11/10/11 - I've also now used the Kia cable with my iPhone 3GS and 4S with no issues. 
Bluetooth tethering works fine, and the Airplane Mode warnings no longer display since iOS4 and iOS5. 
Here are a couple of generic equivalent cables offered by Amazon if you don't want to pay full price at the dealership. 

4.07.2009

Custom Dice!


IMG_2612, originally uploaded by macrogeek.

I had custom dice made yesterday. I had e-mailed Chessex on Friday to ask for a quote and how long it would take to get them done. I full expected to hear a several week lead time. Monday morning, I got an e-mail with an attached picture of a proof of the design I asked for. By 10AM I had ordered them, and they were ready for pick up by early afternoon. (I'm lucky to live within driving distance of their headquarters)

I had these made as a signature item / geotoken for geocaching. I wanted something unique to drop into caches that I find, and since I'm a gamer. I decided to do dice. Plus these fit into most micro caches nicely. FireConvoy is my username on GeoCaching.com and the Groundspeak forums. The "Gx" logo is the public domain geocaching symbol.

I was really impressed with how fast Chessex turned these around. Also the cost wasn't prohibitively expensive, and you can order small quantities. If you wanted a poker chip or something similar customized, you have to usually order 500 to 1000.

This first run was 26 pieces, half Vortex Burgundy and half Vortex Blue.