Alpine KCE-400BT Shows “No Unit”
Recently, for reasons that aren’t much fun to talk about, I had my car stereo replaced. I bought and installed the Alpine CDE-123 head unit, and because sometime in the future my car will be going to my fiancée who lately does more driving than I do, I also purchased the KCE-400BT Bluetooth add-on kit. (Last year, here in British Columbia, a law was passed that prohibits the use of cell phones while driving.)
It all installed great with no issues at all. It was very easy to pair my BlackBerry Bold 9780 up with it, and worked like a charm. Making calls, receiving calls, and even streaming music from my phone via Bluetooth. Then I did something foolish: I turned the car off. Silly me. When I later was back in my car the next day, I watched my phone as I turned the ignition and seconds later my phone showed that it successfully made a connection to the KCE-400BT. All seems normal. I attempt to make a phone call from the head unit itself and it shows me a message that says “No Unit.” Weird. That didn’t happen yesterday. After much testing and fussing, I consistently get the following results:
- When I initially pair my phone, everything works great.
- After turning off the ignition and then back on (or cutting power to the KCE-400BT and then restoring it) my phone appears to pair — the phone recognizes the KCE-400BT and says it’s connected and vice versa on the KCE-400BT.
- I can take incoming calls without issue, but making or when trying to place a call it shows “No Unit.”
- If I disconnect on my phone and then reconnect, everything works again as expected (a fix, but not an ideal solution).
- Resetting the head unit has no effect (adds to my theory that the issue is with the KCE-400BT itself and not the head unit).
I looked in the manual, and although there are umpteen error messages discussed, there’s no mention at all of my “No Unit” error. I also confirmed that I had the latest firmware installed for the KCE-400BT. After a little bit of research, it appears that I’m not the only one with this issue, which made me feel a little better. Being able to consistently reproduce an issue, and knowing that I’m not the only one with said issue, always makes things a little less stressful. I tried all of the fixed that others had suggested online, which were all different combinations of checking settings, resetting, and repairing the devices. Again, not much luck as my results consistently stayed the same as mentioned earlier.
Time for drastic measures: I cut the car’s battery power to the KCE-400BT by disconnecting the negative battery cable. I could have pulled the fuse if I had cared enough to figure out which was the correct one (I was getting pretty frustrated at this point). Upon reconnected the battery and powering on the stereo, I once again paired up my phone to the KCE-400BT, turned off the ignition and then turned it back on. I pressed the button on the head unit to make a call, expecting to see the “No Unit” message, but this time I was quite shocked to see “Voice Dial” greeting me! I didn’t trust it. For a final test I reset my phone and turned the car off and back on again. To my surprise (and glee) I was again shown “Voice Dial” when I attempted to make a call. Most excellent!
I’m still not sure exactly how the re-pairing fixed the issue, or how the initial pairing after installation went sideways somehow, but it seems that a complete reset (and by that I mean no battery power) is required to perform a “clean” pairing. Oh well. Lessons learned, and new toys to play with.
Update – August 31, 2011: So much for it working. Tested it once on the way uptown and it worked great. Tested it again on the way back home, back to “No Unit.” Back to square one.