Radio Xtreme Installed and Reviewed
Well based upon the recommendations of others I went ahead and purchased and installed the USB version of Radio Xtreme. I had tried using a D-link USB radio which I would rate a D- in terms of overall performance. It had miserable sensitivity and reception.
I ditched the head unit so that I could install my screen in my dash and was without a radio. I was hoping that the Radio Xtreme unit would help fill in the missing part of my CAR PC setup.
I ordered it from the only place it is available (HERE) and it arrived in about 2 and a half weeks. It was shoddily packaged. Brown paper wrapped around the retail box which was slightly squashed. Upon removing the unit from the box I noticed a rattling noise coming from inside the sealed Radio Unit.
I saw no way of obvious was of opening it. It is either snapped or glued together and I didnt feel like breaking it open or going through the hastle of shipping it back to singapore.
I am guessing some plastic snaps holding the cable in place had broken so I bit the bullet and installed the drivers and then connected it to my PC via the USB extension cable it came with. The LED didnt light and the PC didn't see the unit. I figured it was broken but decided to toss the extender and plug the USB connector directly into the PC. That fixed the problem. After that, the installation was straightforward.
The unit includes a configurable IR remote. It would come in handy if I wanted to allow someone to control frodoplayer remotely. I have a touchscreen and Griffin Powermate so I wont bother with it.
The unit comes with a Bipolar antenna designed for home use:
It works only marginally well in a mobile environment. I went ahead and wired up a connector going from the mini audio plug to the external car antenna. Reception is considerably better than the D-Link USB but I only receive half of the stations I used to with get with my old head unit. There is also an extremely noticable whine coming from the engine when I accelerate. I have tried every conceivable combination of wiring between the mini plug and the various antennas I have lying around. The best reception I get is with the external antenna.
I am using frodoplayer as the interface to Radio Xtreme and it works reasonably well. I just wish it had a seek function.
One other very annoying issue I have had is that sometimes when I exit the Frodo Radio screen the Radiator program does not Mute the MIC-IN. There is an option in radiator that is supposed to mute the audio on exit:
This causes the annoying engine whine to bleed over when I am playing MP3's. I have to manually go into the control panel and mute it.
I would have to give Radio Xtreme a grade C overall. It is alot better than D-Link but still no where near as good as a real receiver. It is better than no radio at all. I may have to bring back the head unit though.
OBD II Interface Installed
Ordered an OBD II interface cable from OBD Diagnostics. Quick and painless. Paid $88 via PayPal and got it in 3 days via USPS mail.
Installation was straightforward. Only gotcha I can warn you about is that it introduced an even louder thump when my sub's amp turns on. Gotta try one of those ground loop isolators.
I like the software from the site. Very Car PC/Touch Screen friendly. Here are some pics of the install:
Here is the box:
Connector fit plug perfectly:
Nice big fonts for displaying information:
And of course cool analog gauges:
Let me know what you think.