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#1 (permalink) Old 09-23-2010, 07:29 AM
 
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Information for Pioneer navigation unit owners

For those of you who own a Pioneer AVIC head unit, this may be a welcomed piece of information.

Yesterday, while doing some features "programming" on our AVIC 7010 BT navigation system ("Do I want the daytime maps in Pioneer Red or Pioneer Blue? H'mmm...") I did something to the volume knob. Just what, I didn't know, but after doing so, the word "Mute" appeared in the upper right corner of the display.

I didn't notice at first, as the volume on the radio was dialed way down, the only way that I knew of to get the Elvis channel on XM Radio to shut up without turning it off completely. But, when I saw the "Mute" notation, I boosted the gain and - sure enough - Elvis' "burning love" had been silenced for the time being.

Emboldened by my random discovery, I next tried to figure out how to turn the sound back on again, but all of my twitching of the "multi-function control" wouldn't bring the King back on line. Only when I turned the engine off and on again did The King's rich baritone voice again issue forth from the speakers.

Once back home, I again turned to the manual, thinking that I would search the index for the term "Mute" and all would be made plain. Wrongo. The massive manual (190+ pages) has no index!

(Saving paper was obviously not the motive, as the manual devotes dozens of pages to various trivial features of the unit. Maybe they were just tired after spending five pages talking about MSN Direct, without ever once revealing just what MSN Direct was for, or covering any of its functions. (For fans of this service, you should be advised that it is scheduled for termination in the very near future.))

Not one to easily give up, I went to the table of contents (a massive document in and of itself), and started looking for entries that might involve the volume control. After a bit of reading (and not a little amount of inference on my part as well), I finally centered on a section of the manual about a twentieth of the way through.

Once there, all was made clear. At the tail end of the entry concerning the volume knob in the "Basic Operation" section, there is an elliptical sentence that states that "continuing to press" the MULTI-CONTROL would result in the muting of the audio system, and than a second "press and hold" of the MULTI-CONTROL would remove the muting. Bingo!

Mind you, this is not as good as having a separate switch for the Mute function, as has been provided on our Toyota navigation units. Using the MULTI-CONTROL for anything in the lively cabin of a smart is a chancy proposition at best when it is only provide with the low profile (say 3/8") knob with which it ships.

With the driver's arm at near full extension when operating the MULTI-CONTROL, it is quite easy to change the radio preset/change the track being listened to, or change the map scale when instead intending to change the volume level. Very frustrating.

However, the installation of a knurled knob atop the one original provided on the AVIC unit almost removes this problem. Now, with the "Mute" problem's solution "discovered", only two remaining objections to the AVIC way of doing things remain, in my opinion:

• The inability to turn the sound system on or off (and return to the navigation screen) without going through a total of four different key or on-screen button presses. Toyota manages to do this with two presses, with the screen automatically returning to the navigation screen - why can't the Pioneer unit be as simple?

• The inability to suspend and reinstate guidance on a particular route. On a Toyota unit, this is a two key press process, but on the AVIC, there doesn't appear to be such an option. Instead, you have to kill the current route in order to shut up the endless cycle of "Make a legal U turn", immediately followed by "Route recalculation".

It all goes to show you (or, me at least) that you never stop learning...
Terry Stibal is offline  
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