Sunday, February 28, 2010

Volkswagen UHV bluetooth touch adapter & its problems

My Volkswagen car has the "universal cellphone preparation" UHV built-in. This is the main part of a car kit, but requires an additional adapter for connecting to a cellphone. At first, I was using an adapter for my good old Nokia 6310, even after I changed to the Nokia E71. Connecting was easy: pair the phone with the "VW UHV" bluetooth entity, and done. This has the phone connected to the car kit at all times, so even non-call-related functions use the car audio system (e.g. voice recognition).
But progress will have its way, no matter what happens. So in comes the "bluetooth touch adapter". Instead of a phone-specific adapter, this is a small touchscreen device that slots into the UHV dashboard mount. Connecting a phone is very different now:
  1. the Bluetooth Touch Adapter connects to the "VW UHV" device via bluetooth
  2. the phone connects to "Touch Adapter" device, also via bluetooth
The device doesn't allow step 2 if step 1 didn't succeed. Apparently this complex setup was necessary to allow the Bluetooth Touch Adapter to request phonebook, call list, and SMS information from the phone.

But it's not just good news: because the audio link from phone to car isn't direct, non-call audio functions don't work. The phone thinks it'll receive audio through BT, so doesn't use its own mic, but there's no BT audio feed because the BT Touch Adapter knows there's no call going on. And maybe worse: from time to time, I've experienced connection problems in step 1: the Bluetooth Touch Adapter fails to connect with VW UHV. With the limited UI of the device, this is almost impossible to troubleshoot. This seems to happen mostly after I've unlocked the car, and then closed it without ever turning on the ignition. On opening and starting the car minutes later, the connection failure happens.

the only remedy I've found is to turn on the ignition, "open" the VW UHV for new connections (press the phone button on the steering wheel twice), and keep doing that (every 5 to 10 seconds) until the unit connects. If it still fails, keep "opening" the VW UHV unit and use the "Settings", "Bluetooth", "Connect UHV" function on the BT Touch Adapter to retry. I'm hoping this will be fixed in a firmware update some day...

9 comments:

GOM said...

Just googled by...
I'm expiring the same problem with my UHV to. Brand new car, picked it up last friday. My dealer is going to replace mine next monday. Hope it will work out better then.

bert said...

Mine was at software level 0120. I just updated it to 0123 now, and will evaluate whether the problems persist. I'm sure the audio will still only connect while calling, so voice control on my E71 won't work.
Since your car is new, you should have software 0124 on the BT touch adapter: firmware updates for BT touch adapter.

bert said...

I can confirm that the problems in my post are still valid for firmware 123. My car was delivered late 2007, so according to the documentation firmware 124 is not for me. I'm still thinking about trying it anyway.

Marc said...

How does one upgrade the firmware. Is there a "how-to" available?

tomma said...

I hope VW salv the problem!!!!!!

tomma said...

I hope VW solv this problem

Taneto Beach said...

Hello, This issue have been solved with SW upgrade available in VW site with full step by step instructions: http://www.volkswagen.de/de/servicezubehoer/VolkswagenOriginalZubehoer2/Downloads/Software-Updates_und_Anleitungen/Touch_Adapter.html
Regards

Antony Napoli said...

I have the new updaate v233 and I am still having the same issue. It worked at the beginning, but now...no more. Volkswagen you have a lot to answer for.

Bert de Bruijn said...

Update: I don't have the VW bluetooth touch adapter anymore, so can't share newer experiences. A couple of years ago, I replaced the stock UHV unit under the passenger seat with a newer Skoda/VW module purchased from Kufatec: http://www.kufatec.de/shop/index.php?page=product&info=645 . Best thing I ever changed in that car! Bluetooth is rock-solid, no connection issues whatsoever, and there's good RNS510 and multifunction steering wheel integration.