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Discussion Starter #1
Hey, all. My first new post on these boards. :D :D Anyways, I got a question as to the quality of Eclipse decks? Anyone have any experience with them. I'm looking for a double din dvd player and had my heart set on the Kenwood DDX7015, but I'm finding the cost which includes the deck and a separate navigation module to be quite expensive at nearly $2000. And that's at Ebay prices, too. Going to a regular local shop raises the price to nearly $3000. For the price of the kenwood deck ~$1500, I can buy the Eclipse deck with the navigation system already included. Plus the Eclipse deck has the option of installing a rear view camera for backing up. Just wondering how the quality of the Eclipse brand is as I'm not too familiar with them as I am with Kenwood, Sony, Blaupunkt or Aiwa.
 
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Had a friend that raved about his Eclipse HU, but then again he drove an Eclipse so that may have influenced him. That looks like a hot HU. What model is it and where can you get it? Do you know who makes the navi for it?
 

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Thanks for the comments on Eclipse, guys. That looks like the deck to go with for me. Runciter, that's the Eclipse AVN2454 headunit. They have two earlier double din models, but this one is the only one that has the nav unit already built in. I'm not sure what you mean by who makes the navi for it. It's already built in/included with the deck so I guess they make it themselves.
 

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I am pretty happy with the AVN2454 in my RAV4. I also looked into the Kennwood option, but not only was it twice as expensive, it would have also come at the price of more cluttered boxes (navigation separate). The Toyota navigation system was a closer contender in price, but not only does it not support DVD movies nor MP3, but you can not buy it officially for the RAV4 (just from the Internet - www.oemvalue.com). So i thought - if Toyota does not really want to sell a navigation in the RAV4, i should not force them. Especially given that the AVN2454 seems to be equal or better at a similar price than the Toyota navigation.

Mechanically, the AVN2454 is 2DIN size, whereas the radio slot in the 4.2 toyota is a bit wider, so the installer had to put some black frame around it, but it does look pretty ok. I also got the SWIX steering wheel control, a 3.5" connector into the audio aux port (to plug a walkman into it for audio books or the like) as well as a rear view camera. I did not get the eclipse original, but an in-keyhole camera for the rear door, recommended by the installer.

The original Toyota NAV system would have fitted ideally into the slot of course, and it would not have required the SWIX infrared steering wheel adapter because it has a wired connection to the steering wheel buttons. The SWIX does work pretty well, except if i have got something hanging within line of sight between the AVN and the emitter LED (in the center console).

The mode button on my steering wheel now cycles through the inputs - MP3, radio, and also the rear-view camera, but it takes a couple of seconds to see the camera video in full. I would have liked if it was possible for the camera video to show up without pressing any buttons as soon as i go into reverse, but eclipse told me that that was not possible (not even with their original accessory camera).

I am not a big audio freak, but i think the audio is pretty nice, (4 x 50W), especially the the sound field that allows to configure the system for the driver or rear seat passengers to have the best stereo effect. The toyota OEM navigation does not have the amplifiers built in, but does instead need an external amplifier, so the AVN2454 is really uncontested as far as integration is concerned.

The navigation itself grows on me. Pretty soon i will have reached the expert mode like i know from colleages - where i will not find my way around my home town anymore without using the navigation. I definitely would not want to have a smaller navigation screen like in some of the more mobile navigation systems available for substantially less money.

I know that i would have hated flip-screen solutions in 1DIN size navigation systems (like the pioneer one), due to the mechanical tear. I also need my cold air from the vents which would have been blocked by the flip screens. On top of this, the all-in-one flip screen units only have one CD/DVD slot there are some limits on how much navigation data you have access to while the navigation DVD is not inserted but instead a CD.

The qaulity of the map material is in general pretty good. I have so far found only about 4 locations where it was inaccurate. Two of them where due to larger road constructions which unfortunately where as old as 2 years - so i guess the map data may be as old as 2002. The PoI data is somewhat limited and incomplete (could not find a couple of bank locations for example).

As already noted, the AVN2454 navigation DVD says "DENSO", which is also the manufacturer of the Toyota navigation system. I do not know whether this implies that the material is identical though, but i would assume it is quite similar. It would be great if there was a more ongoing method to update map and PoI data than waiting for 12? 24 ? or more months and then buy an expensive new DVD. Something like a SD or memory stick slot through which one could have additions or updates.

Like all car navigation systems, the AVN2454 limits what can be done when not being parked (hand brake on). For example you can not enter new navigation locations via the on-screen keyboard and you can only listen to the music of a movie DVD, but only watch it via the auxiliary video out port (for rear seat passengers via an additional video display). That is all pretty standard and to be expected.

Unfortunately, the AVN2454 does also limit quite randomnly the MP3 user interface functions available. For example if you have a CD with more than 12 titles you can not get to title 13 or further because only the first nine will have their direct select buttons, but the scroll down button is grayed out. And there is no "skip to next title" button like on standard CD radios. Well, that is of course all for my own protection. I do feel sooo much safer now than with my old $100 mp3 CD radio (not!).

The navigation voice output mutes only the driver side speaker, which makes it sometimes hard to understand it, especially when listening to voice and not music. Other times it is pretty good. I wish it could be switched to navigation guidance on all speakers as an option.

The AVN2454 does not unfortunately not have any security system. Given that it is an all-in-one unit i fear that makes it something of an attractive target for thieves.

I have not really used the DVD movie function all that much. The little i have used looked very nice, except when using mode 4 (some widescreen aspect ratio mode), which did generate white horizontal stripes. It is a bit tricky to navigate through DVD menus too because there's no on-screen DVD navigation support, instead one has to use DVD cursor keys. Of course it's not region free, but it did even play region 0 PAL DVDs.

Supposedly you can connect eclipse CD changers. Unfortunately, last i looked, Eclipse does not have any external hard disc changer.

For a pretty good review and comparison (against pioneer AVIC-N1 and Alpine NAV-200) check out "Car Audio and Electronics" November 2004 magazine (www.caraudiomag.com).

Last but not least: If you check out the japanese web page of Eclipse you will see that the AVN2454 is a first generation model and that the japanese models are some generations ahead. Eclipse has shown the second generation for the USA at CES. I probably would now go for the AVN5495 with the built in HD (as long as it would allow me somehow to put my MP3 CD files onto it, which is not quite clear to me yet whether that would work).

Check out:

http://www.tmcnet.com/usubmit/2005/Jan/1105362.htm
http://www.cesweb.org/shared_files/innovations/innovations_2004/3239/mainphoto3239.jpg

 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hey, thanks for the great product review. Nice to see someone who's actually bought the unit. Yeah, the Kenwood deck was great but the fact that you had to pay additional for the navigation unit which also takes up even more space kinda led me to the Eclipse HU since everything was all in one. I'm definitely the type who'd use the dvd feature though as I'm usually in the car anyways waiting for my wife to finish her shopping. :x :x :x This gives me an excuse to always buy a dvd movie each weekend when she goes shopping. :lol:
 
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Yo, All, :)

Great to find a topic like this! I'm considering an Eclipse AVN2454 and was wondering about its strengths and weaknesses vs. the Pioneer AVIC-N1. I haven't been able to really see one in action, but your comments are greatly appreciated!

Slayer said:
...For the price of the kenwood deck ~$1500, I can buy the Eclipse deck with the navigation system already included. Plus the Eclipse deck has the option of installing a rear view camera for backing up.
Yeah, I noticed the same thing. Although you can make the same argument about the Pioneer - since the AVIC-N1 is a little older (I think), it's actually quite a bit cheaper than the Eclipse AVN2454.

Is the retraction motor really that much of a problem? Do they break easily?

And does it really block the vents? Couldn't you install it in the bottom DIN and only block the top DIN with the display?

Also, I saw a bunch more accessories for the Pioneer, such as a voice-activated module. That sounds seriously cool. Has anybody tried it?

te36 said:
I am pretty happy with the AVN2454 in my RAV4.
Wow, great! Super to hear from an actual owner. Thanks for writing!

te36 said:
"Mechanically, the AVN2454 is 2DIN size, whereas the radio slot in the 4.2 toyota is a bit wider, so the installer had to put some black frame around it, but it does look pretty ok.
Do the black spacers match closely to the "dark charcoal" plastic? Is it even possible to get plastic that would match perfectly?

te36 said:
I also got the SWIX steering wheel control
Sweet! I didn't even know there was such a thing, and I didn't know the AVN2454 could be controlled via IR. I don't understand how that works - where did you have to put the transmitter?

te36 said:
I did not get the eclipse original, but an in-keyhole camera for the rear door, recommended by the installer.
Do you know the brand? And how much did it cost? Doesn't that put the camera shifted far to the side of the vehicle because it's in the door handle (right?)? I was thinking about a license-plate mounted camera but rejected it for the same reason.

Thanks again for your info. This is great stuff.

BTW, Slayer, did you buy your HU? What did you end up getting, and do you like it??

---Jason
 
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Jason, at this point unless you can get a AVIC-N1 at a smokin hot price, I would wait for the AVIC-N2. Looks to be smokin hot. The first aftermarket NAV system with XM NavTraffic (the Acural RL is the first vehicle with it IIRC). I'm not particularly fond of the flip out face, but I assume Pioneer went that route to fit in the most vehicles. Intersting point about putting it on the bottom of the double din stack.... I haven't looked at those spacer kits, are they swapable like that?

I believe Eclipse also announced new product at CES, but I haven't looked into it too much... torn between the cheap (AVN2454 or Camry OEM) and the balls to the wall AVIC-N2 with NavTraffic. I'm really excited for that feature... or I may just go ultra cheap and wait til there are more products with NavTraffic (or if Sirius comes up with something similar)
 
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Yo, runciter, :)

runciter said:
Jason, at this point unless you can get a AVIC-N1 at a smokin hot price, I would wait for the AVIC-N2. Looks to be smokin hot.
In general, I tend to buy technology a generation behind - much cheaper that way. Usually.

Any idea on when the N2 units will hit the street? And their MSRP?

runciter said:
I'm not particularly fond of the flip out face, but I assume Pioneer went that route to fit in the most vehicles. Intersting point about putting it on the bottom of the double din stack.... I haven't looked at those spacer kits, are they swapable like that?
Dude, you surely know more than me. I'm a newbie to modding and car audio. I have a feeling that the Eclipse looks better installed (flush, etc.) than the Pioneer... but I haven't seen 'em both up close to really compare.

Anybody know of a store near Fremont, CA (SF Bay area) where I could check out these units?

I believe Eclipse also announced new product at CES, but I haven't looked into it too much...

runciter said:
torn between the cheap (AVN2454 or Camry OEM) and the balls to the wall AVIC-N2 with NavTraffic.
What's up with the OEM unit? Have you investigated that? How much does it run?

Later,

---Jason
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Fremont, huh? Check out the local Pennysaver magazine that you get in the mail. I believe there's a place called Pacific Stereo on Albrae Street that carries Eclipse units and Pioneer units. Might want to give them a call up first to see if they have what you want. As for me, nah, haven't gotten my HU unit. Got sidetracked and bought a Tanabe cat back exhaust instead. Since they've been discontinued, I figured I'd buy that one first before I buy something that's more readily available. Next thing on my list are new rims and then finally the headunit. Hopefully by then, it'll be a bit cheaper.
 
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Yo, Slayer, :)

Slayer said:
Fremont, huh? Check out the local Pennysaver magazine that you get in the mail. I believe there's a place called Pacific Stereo on Albrae Street that carries Eclipse units and Pioneer units.
Thanks, dude! I know exactly where that is - visible off the freeway (880). I'll give 'em a call. I want to see what these things look like and maybe play around with 'em, if possible.

Slayer said:
As for me, nah, haven't gotten my HU unit. Got sidetracked and bought a Tanabe cat back exhaust instead. Since they've been discontinued, I figured I'd buy that one first before I buy something that's more readily available. Next thing on my list are new rims and then finally the headunit. Hopefully by then, it'll be a bit cheaper.
Sounds you've got a nice rig. I'm pretty much stock all the way - I'm not all that fancy. The NAV, though... and maybe some decent speakers. Some day!

---Jason
 

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jasontiller said:
Do the black spacers match closely to the "dark charcoal" plastic? Is it even possible to get plastic that would match perfectly?
Charcoal ? The RAV dashboard piece surrounding the radio is black to me, the AVN2545 is black to me, and the frame piece is black. Matches perfect :)

Did you check out the picture from my previous post showing my AVN2545 installation ? you can see how the radio hole in the dashboard is wider than the AVN2545 (or any any standard size 2DIN unit by the way), and the space in between is closed by the installers frame piece.

You can also see the GPS antenna under the window. The installer put it there so the GPS has best reception.

jasontiller said:
I didn't know the AVN2454 could be controlled via IR. I don't understand how that works - where did you have to put the transmitter?
The installar put the IR LED in between the seats so it has line of sight to the head unit. Works pretty reliable unless you put something into the line of sight of course. Most OEM units have IR support and SWIX can pretty much support them all. It's just like a learning TV remote which you can wire up to the steeering wheel control acting as remote buttons. But don't ask me about the wiring, i had an installer doing it all. I just saw the car once in mid-installation (for the nav system and alarm system) - not a pretty sight ;-)

te36 said:
I did not get the eclipse original, but an in-keyhole camera for the rear door, recommended by the installer.
jasontiller said:
(keyhole rear camera) Do you know the brand? And how much did it cost? Doesn't that put the camera shifted far to the side of the vehicle because it's in the door handle (right?)? I was thinking about a license-plate mounted camera but rejected it for the same reason.
No idea on the price, my installer (bay car stereo) made me a good package price. No idea about the brand either, sorry. The rear view picture is pretty good, maybe the camera is a bit tilted within the keyhole to compensate for the off-center installation.

Then again of course, using the rear view camera with the AVN2454 is not that snappy because you first have to press a button on the head unit (it does not switch automatically to the camera when going into reverse gear) and then the AVN2454 takes a couple more seconds to show the whole picture (initially it's just half screen with menu on bottom). So i use it more for special situations rather than for everyday leaving of a parking lot - which isn't bad, but it would actually be cool for everyday use too if it was more snappy - and it's of course all just a small oversight in the AVN2454 firmware (go to reverse gear, show camera picture - immediately *sigh* gotta love consumer equipment when it comes to price, gotta hate them when you're missing a simple software upgrade).

If you want to check out the AVN2454, there is a good korean BBQ at 2642 el camino in santa clara and next door is a dealer that had one on display last time i was there for dinner. There's a hometown buffet too if that's more your taste :lol:.

If you are interested in the AVN2454 you should check out the successors (see URLs in my previous post) - they seem to have fixed a couple of what i'm missing in the AVN2454 (hard disk, security, ...).
 
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