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Discussion Starter #1
I pulled the trigger on the Alpine X409 finally, after waffling on what kind of CarPlay etc upgraded system I wanted to do. There are lots of other good choices, and no doubt is priced at a premium.

Alpine's own installation video is good and mostly complete, so I'll cover some things they didn't talk about or glossed over. I also installed the SiriusXM Satellite radio option and Alpine's KAC-001 external accessory controller as part of this project.

Prep and Cutting

It felt weird to cut the dash panel in half, but these are roughly $200 used or new (shop around for better shipping prices) so the price for screwing up royally is not bad, and also good if you ever want to return to stock. The part # (double check for your model year!) is 1QF19DX9AE and can easily be found used or new. It turns out later that the line you cut does not need to be as precise as you think, as the new Alpine panel has significant overlap. So cut on the line they suggest and clean it up as much as your OCD requires.

It felt worse to cut the top plastic bar that the OEM radio rests against. But as you can see the installation video, this thing tends to break and isn't load bearing. Once I played with it a little bit, I realized it was harmless and it was cut away.

Heated Seats and Satellite Radio

Removing the rear metal bracket for the OEM radio has the downside of removing the mounting bracket for the OEM heated seat module and this isn't covered in the video (you'll notice they have an aftermarket heated seat kit in that module). You'll have to find another place to mount that module, along with all the other loose modules that come with the radio kit. In my case, I used double-sided tape to secure it to the dash panel to the right of the module as shown here. It seems secure so we'll see how that holds up (rattling is the only concern).
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As you'll notice in that image too, there is a SiriusXM SXV300 receiver in that photo. I mounted it with double-sided tape just above the main vents against the back. On one end goes the antenna connection with adapter from the Alpine kit, and on the other side is the control line that goes to the radio.

Also shown in the left side of the image is the two-wire diagnostic CAN bus harness plugged into the OBD2 port; that wire is honestly a little short and causes trouble later (be cautious on how you route it to this location).

OEM USB Connection and UConnect
Another missing detail is connecting to the OEM USB connector that the UConnect module was previously connected to. I completely removed my UConnect module (and I must say gave me no small amount of satisfaction in doing so). There is no advantage of leaving it in the car with this stereo upgrade and nothing will break because of it (the Alpine completely assumes all functionality the UConnect had previously). I'll be using the mounting location for a nice little Raspberry Pi hacker project, but that's another story for another time.

One big detail missing from the Alpine kit, but shown in the video, is the adapter harness from the OEM connector to a generic USB plug. These are only $4 to $9 retail, so I'm not sure why they left it out of the kit. Since they are so generic and plentiful, easy to get later if you know about it. I used a Dynalink version from Amazon but I see Crutchfield and others sell the Metra version. This adapter is only necessary if you want the Alpine's USB connection to go to the UConnect USB slot in the center console; if you prefer it elsewhere, you can skip this step and route the USB connection wherever you'd like.

Wiring Harness and Bench Setup

As you can tell from the installation video, the wiring harness and setup of the major components is... messy. The main radio, display, and Maestro unit are all separate and connect to each other via various wiring harnesses. With some careful arrangement you can make it less messy, and not installing the pre-amp output is useful if you aren't doing that, but it's still of bit of a rat's nest.
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You'll note I stuck the Maestro unit onto the bottom of the main radio with double-sided tape to help manage the mess a bit. I thought about doing the same with the KAC-001 external accessory controller as well, but with both underneath access to the various connection plugs got a little dicey. I think with more patience and maybe even 3d-printing some brackets I could have done a better job there.

You'll note my KAC-001 is off to the left in this photo; I eventually mounted it to the side of the air vents under the radio to get it out of the way. That kit comes with loose wires for the power connection, but the X409 kit includes exactly the right harness you need to connect it to the aux power input, so a bit of soldering or other connection and you've got a complete setup. The KAC-001 connects in the middle between the radio and the Maestro unit so they can all speak to each other over a CAN bus network.

As you'd expect, this rat's nest gets worse once you put the radio into its home:
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Not really satisfied with that, and worried about rattles, I spent quite a lot of time installing sticky foam tape in various locations in the housing and getting the wires put away as cleanly as possible. The end result is much cleaner but doesn't look like it much. (You'll also note the KAC-001 controller sitting off to the left in this photo. I put a lot of foam tape all around it to keep it quiet... I used the same technique with the PAC rear camera module I had for the OEM radio).

Finishing Up

Once the head unit is installed and the new cover is put in place it was time to power it up and see if everything worked (it did!). My initial impression was super positive at this point, and the new dash panel looked a lot better than I had expected. You'll notice a small air gap on the rear left in this first photo, but once you press correctly on all the clip points it settles down tight and clean (not as good as the single panel OEM one but good).
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One detail that I saw some folks commenting on the installation video about the weird light leakage from the side of the panel. I had expected this and prepared to seal it better with foam, but it turns out there's lights there by design. It looks really bright when you take a photo of it, but it's actually not. It follows the same light brightness of the radio and is very clean and subtle when driving. It's a good touch.
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I noticed there aren't many photos of the top of the new dash panel, so here you go. It's a good storage unit, but a nit: it's hard plastic instead of having a soft rubber like the OEM dash panel has. I may do that myself just to keep things from rattling. If you had been using any aftermarket mounts for goodies on top of the OEM panel (I was doing this with my Kenwood amateur radio head) you'll have to rethink or redo it, possibly.
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Once everything is buttoned up, it looks like this. For those of you used to the OEM look, it's a big change at first... but after driving around for 15 minutes it feels OEM and like it should be. Since most newer cars have a much bigger display I think I'm certainly used to that now.
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More details in the next few posts...
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Backup Camera

With the Alpine kit I was able to use my pre-existing backup camera without change; it comes with a harness to connect a regular RCA video plug to the head unit. There are options for its own backup lines but my camera has them already. The bigger, better display does point to needing a better quality camera, but that's an upgrade for another day (more pressing would be cleaning up that messy garage...)
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If you want to connect multiple cameras to the unit, you'll need Alpine's KCX-C250MC multi-camera interface module. That's a little annoying but not entirely unreasonable either.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The KAC-001 external accessory controller is interesting... I've certainly spent too much time worrying about switch boxes in the past, but prior to this upgrade I've been using some cheap S-POD knockoff that's functional but actually junk. I wanted to get rid of the ugly overhead switch block and go with the head unit controlled one. The KAC-001 fits the bill and is easy to wire up.

Coming off of the KAC-001 module itself is a shortish wiring harness with the 8 wires you need to trip a relay or other switch. If you mount the KAC-001 near the radio (almost mandatory) then the wiring harness will run to about this far before it runs out of length. This is a good spot actually, as I'd like to run my own harness from here with weather-proof connectors into the engine bay. The KAC-001 kit comes with its own push-on style weather resistant connector plugs for these harness, but you've still got to get them to wherever your switch box is running.

I'm setting up a new relay box right now before I rip out the old switch box, but playing with the screens gives you some idea of what's available.

You can control up to 8 devices. Each device has its own name, icon, and electrical configuration. You can choose between latched or momentary pulse. You can also have some of the icons available with a camera being displayed, which is a super nice touch.
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It would be cool if the icons can be updated with new images, but I haven't looked into that at all.

Stay tuned for more real-world usage from this. I am planning on hooking up the winch controls to it, eventually.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Overall Thoughts and Review

I'll keep this particular post up to date as I spend more time with the system and get used to it.

First off, I can say definitively I'm a fan of this system. It works well, sounds fantastic, and is a great visual upgrade for the Jeep's interior.

Audio

The overall audio quality is a huge step up from the OEM system, even without changing the speakers or anything else. (Note: I have the OEM Alpine amp and subwoofer). I haven't even messed with all the Alpine tuning options available, which are frankly overwhelming in the amount of control you have.

What I love the most so far is that it's loud and clear, and I don't need to crank the volume up so loud to hear the radio at highway speeds. Even better, the USB audio quailty for my phone is so much better that I don't need to turn it up more for that and it sounds great without feeling like I'm giving myself hearing damage.

I'll get some more photos of the various audio screens in another post since this is deep enough to be worth while. Some of the features aren't available in my setup as I'm using the OEM amp and sub.

Bluetooth

We all know the uConnect module was pretty poor in its overall functionality and quality. The Alpine unit just works, and there's not much more to say about it. It connects fast, works well, and integrates with the OEM controls just fine.

Handsfree Phone Mode

Stay tuned as I gather more info...

CarPlay

If you've used CarPlay before, this unit will feel familiar. It just works, and works well. It does only seem to work over USB rather than Bluetooth too, but I actually prefer that myself.

Navigation

Besides the CarPlay and Android Auto navigation (which I'll use most of the time), the built-in navigation is fast and functional. The best part is off-road mode (why you buy the X409 over the others) which adds quick waypoint control and additional inclination gauges prominently on the display. Love this so far. I've been having way too much fun with those gauges just in the 'hood...
4482756


User Interface overall

The UI is mostly easy and fast to navigate (quite fast, actually - which is weird given the slow startup time). The 'Favorites' feature is nice in that you can put anything on the favorites page, accessible quickly with one big button. This includes radio stations, Contacts from your phone, etc.

The touch screen is responsive and works well without much issue. The screen quality seems to be such that it's not overly sensitive to finger grease, but it is still early.

The display is bright and quality remains good even with glare. I'll see how it is in the worst case scenario of low sun that washes out the display.

OBD2 Monitoring

You can of course monitor this data a thousand different ways with different phone/tablet apps, but having it built-in to the head unit is a nice touch. The PIDs and gauges are customizable so you can really go deep dive into just about anything you want. Will be spending some quality time here later...
4482760


Downsides, Nits, and Complaints
  1. It takes too long for the unit to power on and become available. After starting up, it takes 18 seconds from turning the key to accessory before music starts playing and you can interact with it. That's roughly twice what the RHB 430N I had before would do. While not a show-stopper, it's the worst oversight for me. I understand all about engineering compromises to
    make, but whatever led them do to his one was a dumb one. At that price point I'd expect a fast enough CPU to get the job done faster.

  2. The lack or a volume control knob is dumb. You've got push buttons on the steering wheel controls; using the same on the key panel was a mistake and it should have been a knob. If I want to change the audio quickly it is much faster with a knob and I know I'll hear some complaints about that one.

  3. While most settings are kept when battery power is removed, apparently the accessory control customizations are not. Really?! That's both annoying and potentially dangerous. (NOTE: I want to test this one more, as I'm not 100% convinced its always true that it loses the customizations.)

  4. The bezel around the screen is that typical shiny black plastic that Alpine likes to use on their aftermarket radios. It's crap, it scratches easy, and it looks cheap. Despite all the protective coverings on all the other materials, this bezel doesn't have one you so have to be super careful in install not to mar it.

  5. The wiring is dumb and at this price point they should have built the box so that the Maestro unit, the head unit, and display were in one frame and hidden.

  6. The complete lack of any anti-theft is weird (no code or anything). This unit is super, super easy to remove from the vehicle and is expensive, so that's concerning. On the flip side, it does look OEM at first and maybe car audio theft just isn't as much of an issue anymore? But I'll not be relaxed about it like I was with the OEM unit.

  7. I'm not convinced the mounting option they choose (using the OEM screws in the plastic dash panel, but removing the rear frame cross-member) is going to work. This unit isn't as heavy as the OEM one, but it is close. It'll be interesting to see if there is any sag in the plastic after a few years of installation.
 

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Downsides, Nits, and Complaints
  1. It takes too long for the unit to power on and become available. After starting up, it takes 18 seconds from turning the key to accessory before music starts playing and you can interact with it. That's roughly twice what the RHB 430N I had before would do. While not a show-stopper, it's the worst oversight for me. I understand all about engineering compromises to
    make, but whatever led them do to his one was a dumb one. At that price point I'd expect a fast enough CPU to get the job done faster.
This really surprises me. It doesn't need to be like that. You can easily have a "standby" feature on any of these devices, so they are warm and ready at any time. Why such a feature is not included is beyond me.
 

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About to pull the trigger on this. How much $$ to have professionally installed? Seems like lots of planning necessary to capture all of the functionality needed.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #7
About to pull the trigger on this. How much $$ to have professionally installed? Seems like lots of planning necessary to capture all of the functionality needed.
It took me about 8 hours... I would imagine someone who has done it before could do it in no less than 3 hours, so take the shop rate from there.
 

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When I had this HU installed I also had multiple amps, replaced all the speakers and 2 JL stealth boxes. For everything it took the shop just under 8 hours with one guy on it all day.
love the system.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
A bit more update after 10 more days of use.

I really do like this radio. The built-in navigation is top-notch. The audio quality is fantastic. The integration between systems continues to impress me.

One plus since last time: the rear-view camera mode does kick in faster than the rest of the options on the radio, so just like with the OEM one, if you start and reverse you'll get the camera quicker than you'd otherwise expect (but it isn't instant, either).

One negative since last time: the restyle kit protrudes enough that it gets in my way when dealing with the wiper control. Livable but weird.

4486539
 

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I’m about ready to pull the trigger on this. If I want to add light or winch controls later, is that an easy add or does the unit need to be completely pulled out?

Make sense to pre-install the KAC-001?

Thank you for all the detail.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I’m about ready to pull the trigger on this. If I want to add light or winch controls later, is that an easy add or does the unit need to be completely pulled out?

Make sense to pre-install the KAC-001?

Thank you for all the detail.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
it is an easy add, but if you would need to pull the radio out (which is easier than you think).

I had the same question and preinstalled mine and was glad I did.
 

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Overall Thoughts and Review

I'll keep this particular post up to date as I spend more time with the system and get used to it.

First off, I can say definitively I'm a fan of this system. It works well, sounds fantastic, and is a great visual upgrade for the Jeep's interior.

Audio

The overall audio quality is a huge step up from the OEM system, even without changing the speakers or anything else. (Note: I have the OEM Alpine amp and subwoofer). I haven't even messed with all the Alpine tuning options available, which are frankly overwhelming in the amount of control you have.

What I love the most so far is that it's loud and clear, and I don't need to crank the volume up so loud to hear the radio at highway speeds. Even better, the USB audio quailty for my phone is so much better that I don't need to turn it up more for that and it sounds great without feeling like I'm giving myself hearing damage.

I'll get some more photos of the various audio screens in another post since this is deep enough to be worth while. Some of the features aren't available in my setup as I'm using the OEM amp and sub.

Bluetooth

We all know the uConnect module was pretty poor in its overall functionality and quality. The Alpine unit just works, and there's not much more to say about it. It connects fast, works well, and integrates with the OEM controls just fine.

Handsfree Phone Mode

Stay tuned as I gather more info...

CarPlay

If you've used CarPlay before, this unit will feel familiar. It just works, and works well. It does only seem to work over USB rather than Bluetooth too, but I actually prefer that myself.

Navigation

Besides the CarPlay and Android Auto navigation (which I'll use most of the time), the built-in navigation is fast and functional. The best part is off-road mode (why you buy the X409 over the others) which adds quick waypoint control and additional inclination gauges prominently on the display. Love this so far. I've been having way too much fun with those gauges just in the 'hood...
View attachment 4482756

User Interface overall

The UI is mostly easy and fast to navigate (quite fast, actually - which is weird given the slow startup time). The 'Favorites' feature is nice in that you can put anything on the favorites page, accessible quickly with one big button. This includes radio stations, Contacts from your phone, etc.

The touch screen is responsive and works well without much issue. The screen quality seems to be such that it's not overly sensitive to finger grease, but it is still early.

The display is bright and quality remains good even with glare. I'll see how it is in the worst case scenario of low sun that washes out the display.

OBD2 Monitoring

You can of course monitor this data a thousand different ways with different phone/tablet apps, but having it built-in to the head unit is a nice touch. The PIDs and gauges are customizable so you can really go deep dive into just about anything you want. Will be spending some quality time here later...
View attachment 4482760

Downsides, Nits, and Complaints
  1. It takes too long for the unit to power on and become available. After starting up, it takes 18 seconds from turning the key to accessory before music starts playing and you can interact with it. That's roughly twice what the RHB 430N I had before would do. While not a show-stopper, it's the worst oversight for me. I understand all about engineering compromises to
    make, but whatever led them do to his one was a dumb one. At that price point I'd expect a fast enough CPU to get the job done faster.

  2. The lack or a volume control knob is dumb. You've got push buttons on the steering wheel controls; using the same on the key panel was a mistake and it should have been a knob. If I want to change the audio quickly it is much faster with a knob and I know I'll hear some complaints about that one.

  3. While most settings are kept when battery power is removed, apparently the accessory control customizations are not. Really?! That's both annoying and potentially dangerous. (NOTE: I want to test this one more, as I'm not 100% convinced its always true that it loses the customizations.)

  4. The bezel around the screen is that typical shiny black plastic that Alpine likes to use on their aftermarket radios. It's crap, it scratches easy, and it looks cheap. Despite all the protective coverings on all the other materials, this bezel doesn't have one you so have to be super careful in install not to mar it.

  5. The wiring is dumb and at this price point they should have built the box so that the Maestro unit, the head unit, and display were in one frame and hidden.

  6. The complete lack of any anti-theft is weird (no code or anything). This unit is super, super easy to remove from the vehicle and is expensive, so that's concerning. On the flip side, it does look OEM at first and maybe car audio theft just isn't as much of an issue anymore? But I'll not be relaxed about it like I was with the OEM unit.

  7. I'm not convinced the mounting option they choose (using the OEM screws in the plastic dash panel, but removing the rear frame cross-member) is going to work. This unit isn't as heavy as the OEM one, but it is close. It'll be interesting to see if there is any sag in the plastic after a few years of installation.
Hi, I just bought this radio and will do the instal this weekend, just one question .. I’ve seen almost all the review/install videos that I could find in YouTube .. and I noticed that in the screen while the doors or tpm readings are shown .. some show a jeep and others show a regular car .. what did you get on this screen ..? And how can I make sure I get the jeep instead of the car .. Tnks ..
 

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Hi, I just bought this radio and will do the instal this weekend, just one question .. I’ve seen almost all the review/install videos that I could find in YouTube .. and I noticed that in the screen while the doors or tpm readings are shown .. some show a jeep and others show a regular car .. what did you get on this screen ..? And how can I make sure I get the jeep instead of the car .. Tnks ..
Welcome to the Forum, from Cave Creek AZ.
 
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Nice looking Ride!
 
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