Motorola TK30 Pro-Install BT Car Kit | iCraigt

my ramblings (some tech, some not)

Motorola TK30 Pro-Install BT Car Kit

For the last three years I have been using a Motorola IHF1700 Pro-Install BlueTooth car kit.  It’s an excellent kit, with full voice control and a nice, simple to navigate, user interface module (UIM) comprising 5 buttons for volume up and down, on-hook, off-hook and a central menu button.

The kit works well but it has it’s limitations.  There’s no A2DP support for streaming audio via BlueTooth, no AVRCP for controlling the connected device and no PBAP to transfer the address book to the kit.

So I welcomed the arrival of the Motorola TK30 Pro-Install BlueTooth car kit.  The kit features an up-to-date UIM featuring four push buttons and a job wheel, also with a push to select feature.  Alongside the buttons is a single line display which is a particularly welcome feature over the old kit.  Obviously the display allows full menu navigation as well as displaying caller ID, the song you are playing and so on.

Features

Bluetooth v2.1 + EDR
MultiPoint (connect 2 phones at once)
HFP (Hands-Free Profile)
A2DP (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile)
AVRCP (Audio Video Remote Control Profile)
PBAP (Phone Book Access Profile)
iPod/iPhone connector for playing music and charging
Noice reduction
Voice prompts
4-channel, 60W hi-fi sound (4x15W)
OLED display
Multiple connection options (BT, iPod/iPhone, 3.mm, USB)
Upgradeable software
Full duplex audio
ISO connection for ease of installation

The full low-down of features is available via the Motorola website.

Installation

Installation is very straight forward.  The TK30 uses standard ISO connectors so actually connecting the kit was simply a case of plugging it in.  The MIC and UIM obviously need to be carefully placed and the corresponding wires routed but it’s a very straightforward process and the installation instructions are very clear about how to place each.

The only issues I had with my installation were the placement of the control box and the size of the UIM.

While you could argue that the control box isn’t that big it does have connections along both sides.  This means that you aren’t just looking for space for the control box but also for the connectors and a length of cabling on each side of the unit.  I wasn’t able to place the control box in the same (and very convenient) location as the IHF1700 control box (underside of the drivers side dash) and had to opt for the (very tight) space above the stereo head unit.  This is a temporary location as there is a storage unit that fits above the stereo which has left everything very tightly packed in.

The UIM is, inevitably, quite large as it now incorporates an OLED display.  This makes placement of the UIM also tricky (at least it does in a 2003 Laguna II).  The issue I faced was finding a large enough flat area on which to mount it.  In the end I opted for the included bracket and ball jointed mount, as can be seen below.  While this provides for a convenient location of the UIM I do find there’s a lot of flex in the mount when pressing the various buttons.  It doesn’t feel like it’s going to break but the movement caused by the flexing is a little off-putting.

Motorola TK30 Pro-Install BT Car Kit

The UIM does come with the top and bottom buttons apparently missing.  In fact, these are left for the installer to fit as the device can be mounted in either right-hand or left-hand orientation.  The in-built installation menu (accessible by holding the button closest to the display whilst turning the unit / ignition on) enables the display orientation to be set as well as other features such as language.  The buttons are then simply pressed into place (sticky backed).

In use

In use the TK30 offers very good audio quality.  I always make a point of asking the person I’m talking to how they find the call quality and I’ve not had any complaints.  Most have said it is very good.

The phonebook sync feature (PBAP) is particularly welcome, giving full access to the whole of  the address book on my iPhone (the IHF1700 didn’t have this feature which meant manually entering contact details).

iPod connectivity via the iPod connector is also a very welcome feature.  Previously I had a separate iPod Nano wired in to the stereo head-unit’s CD Changer port via a Connects2 adapter.  Now I have full access and control of the iPod functionality on the iPhone (you can also stream music over BT but of course this doesn’t offer any control via the UIM of the car kit).

The quality of the audio when playing music (via iPod) is very good and there’s an equalizer option to tune to your specific tastes.

Control of the vehicle entertainment system works very well, pausing all relevant audio sources for incoming calls and resuming when the call completes.  When playing music the UIM also offers up control of the volume via the jog wheel.

Issues

I have noted a number of issues which have all been reported to Motorola in detail and most are specifically related to interaction with the iPhone.

The most obvious issue I’ve noted is a lack of audio when connected via the Apple dock connector.  It’s seemingly hit or miss as to whether audio is routed through the connector or not after the first connection of the iPhone.  Motorola report this as an iPhone issue and that despite being plugged into the dock connector, the iPhone defaults to routing audio via BT when the BT connection happens before the physical dock connection.  Disconnecting and reconnecting the dock connector fixes this for now. iOS4.1 doesn’t do anything to address this unfortunately.

Another obvious issue happens when connecting a call.  Upon making an outgoing call, the UIM display alternates between the connected call and “call ended” three times before correctly displaying that the call is connected.  There is a corresponding click as though the audio channel is opened and closed in accordance with the on-display messages.  More an annoyance than problem but again this is reported to me as an iPhone problem (again iOS4.1 doesn’t fix this).

Other issues I’ve noted and reported include poor management of audio routing during playback of music.  I have noted on several occasions, when reducing the volume to zero via the TK30 UIM, audio is still routed to one or both of the right-hand speakers.  Likewise, at higher volumes it appears that audio is not routed correctly to some of the speakers as they appear muffled.  The TK30 does seem to eventually catch up and correct the routing but it seems fairly random as to when this happens.

Conclusion

The Motorola TK30 is a great kit.  It boasts some good features, audio quality (both in-call and music playback) is very good and the UIM is reasonably well thought out and implemented.  Installation is very straightforward, especially if your stereo head unit already sports ISO connections (if it doesn’t it just means plugging in an adaptor cable which will need to be purchased separately).

The issues with the iPhone connection (which according to Motorola are iPhone specific) leaves the TK30 a little short of where I want it to be.  The features are all there they just don’t work as they should.  Whether this is the TK30 or the iPhone has yet to be fully determined.

What’s next?

I like the kit and shall continue to use it.  I am hopeful that between Apple and Motorola that a fix to the issues are imminent.  Having said that the problems aren’t critical.

As always, if you have a TK30 I would love to hear your feedback or comments, especially if you use an iPhone.

The Motorola TK30 retails for around £120 (based on a quick search via Google).

Visit the Motorola product page and the fact sheet for further information and detailed specifications.

Disclaimer: I should point out that I am an ex-Motorola employee although I am no longer connected to the company and therefore offer up this review as an independent individual.

Update: I am using a development build of SW on the TK30 although the issues reported above are common to both the release version and the development build.  The development build does improve the general responsiveness of the kit and allows much faster scrolling through the menus as well as fixing a previous issue of the unit crashing when selecting “Genres” via the iPod menus.

Update 16-Sep-2010: Update: 15-Sep-2010

I have run the TK30 with the iPhone upgraded to iOS4.1 for a week now and can report the following:

The existing issues (as I noted in the original review) have not been fixed.  All the issues, as reported, remain evident with iOS4.1.

In addition to the previously listed issues iOS4.1 has introduced an annoying problem whereby it drops the BT connection.  On several occasions I have noticed a couple of variations of the bug.

The first is that, once connected, the link is dropped momentarily and then re-established.  This may happen immediately after the initial connection or a few minutes afterwards.  The good news is I haven’t noticed it drop more than once.

The second is that the kit and iPhone don’t automatically connect and I am forced to manually connect the iPhone via the TK30 menu.

iOS4.11?

@icraigt


34 Comments

  • Just bought a TK30 and fitting it at the weekend, i have a BB Bold 9700, i hope there are no problems with this kit.
    i shall let you no how i get on.

    • I think you will be fine with the BB. A lot of the issues I’ve seen have been down to the iPhone I think.

      I’ll be interested to hear how you get on.

      Cheers,
      Craig.

  • I have the TK30 and an iphone and have experienced the hit and miss problem with audio not playing sometimes when connected through the dock connector. This can be resolved by manually choosing ‘dock connector’ rather than ‘TK30’ on the iphone. It isn’t ideal but you can do it before you set off and even if you have to do it whilst driving it is safer than unplugging and plugging back in (which is the only other way I have found to resolve the issue).

  • I have just had the kit installed and found that most (90%) of the time, when making or receiving  calls, I can hear he person I am calling or calling me, but they cannot hear me.

    Very distracting when driving and dangerousAny suggestions?

    Jonathan

    • Hi Jonathan,

      I’ve not experienced that issue with the Motorola kit. I would be inclined to think it is faulty or perhaps the microphone is not fully connected to the control unit. If you can access the control unit it’s definitely worth checking the connections. Otherwise, as I mentioned, I’d be inclined to think the unit is faulty or not installed correctly.

      Hope that helps.

      Cheers,
      Craig.

    • Hi Nick,

      I’ve downloaded the 01.04.03I firmware and will update and test the kit today. I’ll drop an update to the post later this evening with my initial findings.

      I’ll drop you a tweet when I’ve posted.

      Cheers,
      Craig.

    • Hi Nick,

      Just to capture the conversation we had on Twitter.

      I installed this build and encounter exactly the same issue as you…… the install hangs at around 50%.

      I’ll give it another couple of goes and report back (likely mid-next week).

      Cheers,
      Craig.

  • Hi
    I have the tk30 kit the only problem I have with it is it dose not charge the iPhone 4s but it charges a ipod 3 dose anyone else have this problem ?

    Thanks
    Jason

    • Hi Mani,

      the Motorola TK30 is a Bluetooth car kit so yes, the Blackberry will connect to it without issue. I’m not familiar with the head unit / wiring in the Infiniti i30 but if it uses standard ISO connectors it will work plus there is always the option of an interface cable or splicing into the wiring directly (the latter almost certainly not required).

      I hope this help.

      Cheers,
      Craig.

  • Is there a fix for using an iphone5 with this unit ? my iphone 4 worked a dream, now the connector has changed my adaptor does not work and I can only listen through bluetooth!

      • Hi,Ihad this too…i unplugged the motorolla supplied apple 30 pin (pre iphone 5) to usb and 3.5 audio and replaced it with the apple lightening to usb and a separate 3.5 audio (male and female) cable. They just plugs in to the tk30 female usb and 3.5m wiring that goes to the main unit. All good. ipod functionality works a treat., Bluetooth all good for phone calls.
        Do make sure it’s a genuine apple connector for the lightening because it seems with ios& they are detecting after market jobbies. I ‘d tried 30 pin to lightening adapter, but it’s no good without a seperate 3.5 cable and has been problematic..
        This probably won’t work for those using the proper dock/cradle with integrated wiring.. It’s not beautiful (two wires rather than 1) but is functional.
        Does anyone have an alternative/better solution?
        Hope that helps.
        Tim

  • Here is a good one, all features seem to work except one…. The most important. When I call using the TK30 the person on the other end can hear me fine, but I cannot hear them. When using ipod features via BT or connection it plays the music fine and I can hear it all ok. I have an Iphone 4 and wonder if it is the problem, however it is updated to the latest software as of April 2013. The ipods one old 2005 and i new 2010 work fine when connected.
    How do I fix the phone problem where they cant hear me I suspect it is hardware not software has done it since it was first installed.

    • Hi Pete,

      can they not hear you or you not hear them? Do you get any call audio at all (does it ring when someone calls)?

      Have you checked the selective mute switches on the rear of the main control box? You need at least one of the front speaker channel switches to be up (off).

      • Thanks Craig,

        after 2 years it now works, was the little white switches, I must have knocked them when I installed it in the Subaru Liberty. Tight little spot it lives in.
        My mate has a Parrot and I can say I think the TK30 beats it hands down, it is less intrusive in the cabin because of the small controller,

        Now it works perfect and meets all my needs.

        The sound clarity is great the ipod functions are great and I just upgraded it to the latest software. Voice control is good too even for an Aussie accent

        cheers
        Pete

  • I’ve just installed a TK30 in my ’03 Audi A4. Seems to be fine, with the odd quirk, but I’m only getting music playback through the front speakers.

    • Music playback and not call audio? If it’s music playback sounds like a connection issue? If it’s call audio make sure that at least one of the front speaker channel selective mute switches are in the up position.

      I have a similar issue but I know the wiring to the rear speakers is knackered as it was the same before the kit went in 😀

      • Thanks Craig, it now seems that I’m only getting radio through the rear speakers and TK30 music through the front. I received a call yesterday while listening to the radio and volume wasn’t muted. I needed to turn the radio off but the call volume was fine. I think I need to check my jumpers and connections – space was a bit compromised under the head unit when I pushed everything back in.

        Cheers,
        Chris

  • Hi, found your article here whilst googling tk30 and iphone 5!
    Tk30 and iPhone 4 was awesome in my 2009 Golf. Work updated my phone to iPhone 5.

    I got the Apple adaptor (iphone 4 to 5) for the dock connector and use the phone as an ipod . With the 4 I prefered the ipod feature…much better than bluetooth. It’s soo problematic it’s not funny. Doesn’t work half the time, sometimes it does no problem, Other times it does then ‘freezes’.

    Calls and playback are fine through bluetooth. Bluetooth is ok, but dock connector isn’t.
    iPhone 5 isn’t exactly new…so anyone know of a solution?

    I’m not brave and had a shop install it. Is this a common issue? is there a fix? I’ve not done any updates to firmware (and wouldn’t know how to Idon’t think!)

  • I have a question about bluetooth audio connectivity. If I am listening to a cd but have a bluetooth audio device (example: ipod touch) connected but the audio device is not currently outputting audio, will the tk30 use the mute function while the ipod touch is connected via bluetooth or only mute when an audio output is detected from the ipod? The real reason I want to know is for my GPS audio. I am planning on buying a bluetooth audio transmitter that should pair up with the tk30 from what I have read. I want to be able to listen to my car stereo and only be interupted via bluetooth for GPS commands(turn right, turn left, etc…)

  • Hi, I have recently had a Motorola TK30 installed in a Mk5 Vw Golf. The only problem I have is that when my Iphone4s (or Ipod) is connected via the lead I only receive audio through the right hand speakers. If I play music via bluetooth or make a call both left and right speakers are in operation. Any help would be appreciated.

  • where can I buy replacement buttons from, the play button decided to ping off after 2 weeks of use. I cant find it anywhere or anywhere that sells just the buttons!!

    • Hi Laura,

      I can’t find any spares online either. I assume the button doesn’t simply clip back on?

      I’ll have a dig through my old stash of Moto parts and see if I have any spare interface panels. I think all the ones I have are from earlier car kit models so don’t have the centre rotary.

      Cheers,
      Craig.

  • I have a Motorola TK 30 installed on my Volvo V60, when it works its great but it appears that when the weather gets cold it starts to switch itself on and off continuously ( when I switch on ignition the screen lights up with Volvo symbol for a couple of seconds then switches off and then on again and then off etc etc) on one of its occassional working sessions I did factory reset which made everything work really good all through the summer but as soon the cooler weather returned it started to play up again, might be just a coincidence but it certainly appears to be connected, any help would be greatly appreciated

    • Hi Brian,

      sounds like an intermittent fault which, though not possible to rule out a software error, may indicate a dry joint somewhere on the PCB.

      It could also be a faulty cable or one of the connections isn’t fully plugged in (have you tried taking all the connectors out of the control unit, cleaning them up and then reconnecting them)?

      Just a few thoughts…

      Cheers,
      Craig.

      • Hi Craig,

        Thanks for your reply, it’s a while since I contacted you and didn’t realise you had replied, haven’t really checked anything as it was a dealer installed unit when new by previous owner and I’m not sure where the main unit is, have tried to remove panels/covers below steering wheel but they are not keen to come off and didn’t want to force/break anything, will try again soon to locate the wiring and main unit to see if there is anything obvious.

        It’s very annoying, after a long run and the car has thoroughly warmed up it suddenly bursts into life, but next day you go back and it’s back the same on off on off.

        Anyway thanks for your help

        Brian

  • Hi,
    Thx for a great articel! I faceing some problems with my TK30, i can hear the person I am Calling perfectly but they can not hear me in 90% of the cases. Sometime it works just fine. Any sUggestons?

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