Wireless CarPlay and Android Auto adaptor
Do you use your phone as a GPS? Wish you can read and reply to SMS messages handsfree while driving? Want to listen to your favourite songs on Spotify through your car speakers? If you answered yes to any of the above, you will probably be keen to use Apple’s Carplay or Android Auto to achieve these tasks. I for one was a full convert to Android Auto while driving around in Perth Australia and having my family constantly sending me Whatapp messages while I’m driving. Being able to use the big screen of the car instead of the phones tiny screen to navigate and being able to reply to messages on the go was great.
I drive a Kia Rio in Australia which supports Android Auto. Unfortunately, it only support wired Android Auto, i.e. you need to run a USB C cable from the car’s USB port to the phone. This isn’t much of a problem since I’m the only one driving the car, and I’m really not bothered by a cable hanging across the dashboard. But this became an issue when I came back to Singapore and have to share the family car with my wife who uses an iPhone. Now I need a USB C to Ligtning cable to connect my wife’s iphone and a USB -C to USB-C cable to connect mine. Besides the inconvenience of having to keep swapping cables, the cables themselve were becoming an eyesore. I was also concerned that the frequent swapping of cable would wear out the USB-C port of the car. So what’s the solution to this problem? The answer is Go Wireless.
I went about looking for an adaptor that can let me and my wife connect to the car without the need to use cables. And luckily, I managed to find something that fits the bill. It’s called the CarlinKit 5.0 CarPlay Android Auto Wireless Adapter. I believe this is a newer version as some adaptors I found worked either for Carplay or Android Auto, but not both, So it was great to find one that can do both. Below are some of my first impressions of the product
Was quite happy that the adaptor was pretty small so it was quite incomspicous in the car except for the blinking light to show that it’s working.
The setup was surprisingly easy, though instructions could have been better.To get the device to work, you need to do 3 things. I’ve “borrowed” the pictures from the vendor since their pictures look much better than anything I could have photographed myself.
1.Connect the device to your car:
Do note that not all USB ports can be used for data connections. My car only had one port, There were 2 other USB ports that were just for charging devices. So make sure you find the
correct port USB port . .
2. Connect to the device via bluetooth and WIFI
This is pretty straight forward. Just pair your phone to the device, The device name should be AutoKit_XXX where XXX is a number. Mine showed up as AutoKit_291. I believe bluetooth is used as a control channel, i.e. it sends control information to the device. When this connection is broken, e.g. when you switch off bluetooth on your phone, the Android Auto or Carplay connection is lost.
Connecting to the device WIFI is similarly quite straight forward. The SSID (or WIFI name) should also be AutoKit_XXX. Mine is AutoKit_B6. This was a bit tricky as I could not find the password for the WIFI to connect to it, so I just guessed it and found that it was 12345678. I believe this is to stream the data
Once both of these connection were made, the device connect without any issues. Connection to the device is automatic and reasonably quick once you have set it up once.
One thing to note: If, like me, you have multiple phones paired to the device, the wrong phone may be connect to the device. To end the connection, you need to turn off the bluetooth of the phone that’s connected, and use the correct phone to connect to the device.
There are other functions, such as being able to connect a thumb drive to the back of the device so you can access you own music, I presume, but it was not a big deal for me, so I’ve did not test that out.
So far the device has been working well. The Google map works well (though it looks a little different from the phone) and the Spotify music comes out very clear over the car speakers.
All in all, I’m very pleased with the device as it was exactly what I was looking for.