Mercedes-Benz Forum banner

1 - 5 of 5 Posts

·
W221 & Audio Moderator
Joined
·
10,839 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My dealer informed me, and MBUSA has now confirmed, that there will be no more nav map updates for NTG 3.5 (MY 2010-2013 S-Class and 2010-2014 CL). The last release was BQ 6 46 0341, v.14.0, for calendar years 2015-2016.

The MB nav map update site for MY 2007-2009 S-Class and CL indicates that v.15.0, BQ 6 46 0340, also covering calendar years 2015-2016 is the last release for NTG 3.0 systems.

Personally, I find that infuriating. V.14.0 was the only update for NTG 3.5 after the 2013 model was produced. Its road data dates from 2014, and it contains errors that were a problem even when the discs came out (among other things I am constantly told to take an exit on I-275 in Tampa where none exists; they were detours during road construction). Cutting W221 and CL owners off after just one update is simply ridiculous, and will have me looking at other brands for my next car purchase.

The message for NTG 3.5 owners from MBUSA said specifically:

"We can confirm that there will not be additional navigation updates for the NTG3.5.

"We appreciate the time you have taken to share your thoughts We welcome your feedback as it is invaluable in our on-going efforts to provide a product that meets the demands of our customers.

"While we cannot promise this will change in the future, it is comments such as yours that help us to provide feedback to the appropriate individuals within our organization, so they can consider improving upon the features available for our products."

That language suggests that perhaps with enough feedback from W221 and CL owners, perhaps they could reconsider and at least one more update might be released. I note that for the '05-'06 W220s, map updates were released covering dates through 2014, eight years after the last W220 was produced. Here, we get three. That is a sorry decision by Mercedes, and we owners should say so. The email address is [email protected]

So, for newer maps we are left with workarounds. There are several ways to get smart phone data displayed on your COMAND screen. That can include the maps, including those with turn-by-turn instructions, often used in iPhones, Android phones, and iPads. They are discussed at post 3, below.

Thanks loads, Mercedes! I will certainly keep this lack of support in mind the next time I go car shopping.
 

·
W221 & Audio Moderator
Joined
·
10,839 Posts
Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
UPDATE

After a month of trying, I did receive an updated response from Mercedes Customer Assistance today:

"I have confirmed with our product specialists that there is not a new update out for the NTG 3.5 systems, and we do not have knowledge of when an update will be released.

"Should you need to contact us via email in the future, please visit the www.MBUSA.com Contact Us page."

While that is a disappointing outcome, it does not seem to foreclose the possibility that another release could occur in the future. I suggest that MY 2010-2013 W221 (S-Class) and 2009-2014 W216 (CL Class) owners make such contact, and let them know of your interest in an update.

FURTHER UPDATE 10/2/2018: A Mercedes Executive Referral Manager today informed me that v.14.0 is also the last update for NTG 3.5. There will be no more nav map updates for NTG 3.0 or NTG 3.5 systems.
 

·
W221 & Audio Moderator
Joined
·
10,839 Posts
Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Alternatives to Nav System Updates

There are mirroring devices for the NTG 3 and 3.5. One such solution was presented by member hilarushi at https://www.benzworld.org/forums/audio-telematics-forum/2999305-mirroring-iphone-android-phones-comand.html - it is a wireless solution using the phone as a wi-fi hot spot transmitting to a wi-fi rebroadcaster (such as Anycast) with an HDMI output that in turns feeds into a device that converts the HDMI output to analog RCA output (https://www.amazon.com/s/?url=search-alias=aps&tag=youcanic-20&rh=n:15684181&field-keywords=HDMI2AV+Converter), in turn feeding into the MMI aux inputs that can be selected and displayed on the COMAND screen. In North America one would have to use that somewhat balky setup with a Video In Motion device (I would recommend the one by NAVIKS, having used one for a brief time). The setup can be used with either iPhone or Android.

A second method is wired; using an Apple Lightning to HDMI output cable (https://www.apple.com/shop/product/MD826AM/A/lightning-digital-av-adapter?fnode=ab99a1982b845e72eabfed9bbc128bdb646b46bb4a5f4eacb044fdf55d0b57b45e92f2832d9c7f53204b012a4b4b405a8daab250a81ff86bcf72e675faafbf38b8257455399e85eef67cadc2c02fbd989c4e20d6a519f778df5c5f5782896ea6), one that then connects via an HDMI cable to the same HDMI-to-analog device used in the wi-fi connection above. Selection of the RCA video is again made on the "Video" menu of COMAND. I do not know if iPhones having 30-pin output will work as well, but there are a number of HDMI adapters for various Apple devices. I have not explored similar cables for Android.

A third method is to use a video interface such as that by NAVIKS - https://naviks.com/i-24075303-2010-2013-mercedes-benz-s-class-w221-hdmi-video-integration-interface.html. It is also used together with an iPhone HDMI interface, and North American cars require a Video In Motion bypass device as well (https://naviks.com/i-21933022-2010-2013-mercedes-benz-s-class-w221-video-in-motionbypass.html). All together, including additional cables, etc., you're looking at nearly $650 for a DIY installation.

All of those methods transmit audio together with the smart phone map display, so you can get turn-by-turn instructions. None of the methods offers nav data on the multifunction display. The first two methods involve a bundle of unsightly wires that would need to be hidden, and require a power source. Frankly, I would only use such a setup if I were traveling in an area I am totally unfamiliar with, and I'd be tempted to do it just using an iPad instead of using all that stuff.

There is also a fourth method, which actually involves replacing the OE COMAND monitor. It involves a replacement unit (the monitor, in any case) for COMAND 3.0 and 3.5 that offers Android compatibility, but this link does not mention Apple CarPlay. https://www.sardincar.com/mercedes-benz-s-class-w221-10-25-android-gps-navigation-system-multimedia-player/.There is much more at https://mbworld.org/forums/s-class-w221/710915-w221-android-touchscreen.html (but you'll have to sort through some snarky posts - sorry) - but this site says its unit offers both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility (via a 4G hotspot). I have no experience at all with this system, and the first website (at the time of this post) does not provide pricing; the second indicates about $675. I do not know if this unit is for the CL.

Lastly, there is also another device for adding Apple CarPlay OR Android Auto to your existing screen. This is not a screen replacement (which, I believe, add a wi-fi hotspot to the car for connection to the phone; please correct me if I am wrong). Contact info for the product below is https://www.youtube.com/navtool). Product selection, pricing etc. are available via https://www.navtool.com/mercedes-benz-s-class-main-category.aspx. The first link below provides a demo of the Apple CarPlay capability; the second shows installation and programming.
.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
95 Posts
I hope I am not breaking forum rules by replying to a pinned post. If so, feel free to delete.

I certainly agree with you on the fact they abandoned one of the vehicles core features much too soon, particularly in their flagship automobile. Being the owner of an S600, it is certainly a slap in the face. One would think that the R&D that went into developing these COMAND units for these vehicles with the maps developed and DVD-Audio (one of my favorite features) integrated into the units they would approve the expenditure to continue map development. Although I don't know exactly what goes into developing the data and compiling it for the different navigation devices on the market, I would image there are primary sources that provide the core data and that data is manipulated enough in a scripted fashion to comply with the system it is going to operate on, while adding the additional POIs and other small additions the vehicle manufacturer would request (such as Mercedes-Benz workshops and dealers). With the last map that was released being a very useful source for directions, making a delta of that DVD to make it current sounds trivial in practice for the software engineers that develop these for a living. Why Mercedes would abandon their customers (or perhaps clients is a better word) that spend the most money and without a doubt have more services performed at dealership service departments, it sounds to me like that are taking a risk a losing an order of magnitude of revenue from disappointed customers to save a fraction of that.

Unfortunately, it seems to be a trend with the company as of late from my experience, with the first indication being the act of MBUSA terminating the free EPC access for US-based customers and charging $75 for access. I feel this is self-defeating as well, as people that go to the trouble to access EPC are obviously experienced with their vehicle and the brand, and are preparing to make a transaction to purchase parts from MBUSA. They are just making it harder for those customers to do that.

Additional trends that are disturbing - the 24 hour lifetime roadside assistance offered that was advertised prominently in my W123 on the sun visor mirror door was something promised for the life of the vehicle. MBUSA goes back on that as well, stating that it only applies to customers that have their vehicles regularly serviced at authorized Mercedes-Benz dealerships. Well, that is not a problem for me as I would still qualify, but for those that expect to have that service without knowing the rules changed have been or will be in for a surprise.

I have some Mercedes-Benzes that do not get driven but 1,000 miles/yr, and have often had Roadside Assistance bring me a battery to purchase and they would install it in my driveway for me, at a lesser cost than purchasing it across the parts counter. Just a few weeks ago, I called as I desperately needed this service on the weekend, desired an OEM Mercedes-Benz battery for a W221 S63 AMG. This was completely unexpected as they were adding even more stipulations to their prior promise at purchase by tacking on a $75 free to Roadside Assistance if the vehicle was dealers serviced or not. They should at least grandfather in customers that purchased vehicles under different terms. I expressed my disappointment and frustration in a polite manner and they agreed to waive the $75.00 fee. After this discussion I was greeted with more disappointing news - I was told that Roadside Assistance was not offered on the weekends. Know for a fact this has never been the case prior and having the person that was assigned to Roadside that weekend on my speed dial on my cellphone (I have a great relationship with my dealer) I called him up directly and he replied that yes, he would be happy to bring me a battery as long as he had the correct one for my car on his vehicle but I would need to have Roadside generate a ticket and case number and contact him with the information. I understood he needed to follow protocol. Long story short, Roadside Assistance had dispatched a local 3rd party to my home with a jumpbox to assist. Although the person that responded was not at fault, I did not need a jump, but I needed a battery. The vehicle would start using the Starter Battery, but the consumers were clearly running nearly 100% off the alternator which would have taken its life soon and had been another expense if operated that way for any length of time. I had to send him back, well over an hour after I first called them. They did text me occasionally before his arrival to see if the technician had arrived yet. I responded no. An automated bot responded for me to call an 800 number to speak with someone. They stated they contacted the person that was dispatched and he was stuck in traffic and was running late but would arrive in a 10 minute window. 20 minutes later, they check in again and I informed them still no contact and the person had not arrived. They said they would call him again directly and placed me on hold. When they returned, they informed me he was still stuck in traffic but would arrive within 10 minutes. I said "okay" but of course was not holding my breath. This was the person that arrived with the jump box to jump the car. I told him I needed a battery and apologized he had to drive from the vicinity of the dealer about 30 miles to my location in heavy traffic and not be of assistance. His response changed my attitude toward Roadside Assistance staffers as he responded "oh - I'm sorry I couldn't help, and it was no problem as I actually just live right up the road from you." I was being lied to all along with the "stuck in traffic" story.

After dialing them up again about three hours after my initial call, they escalated my call to a nice gentleman that did not dispute my requests in any way and agreed to create the dispatch. In the end, the gentleman working roadside did not have my battery on his vehicle so his hands were tied as the parts department at my local dealer is not open on weekends. The local auto parts store had was used.

It also seems they are getting rid of a long standard feature that apparently I am one of the few to use, but that is WB on the radio. Now you must subscribe to a service to receive real-time weather, so I guess you are paying for the fancy television-like graphics that display the 5-day forecast.

I have been loyal to the brand for many years and there is nothing else on the market I am interested in or as familiar with, so I am sure I will continue owning them, but I see the direction they are going and am not a fan of it.

I do understand your position, Warren, on keeping the forum in line and prohibiting the the linking to COMAND telematics discs, but I personally feel that since the many of them are out of print and have been for years, and are not available to purchase or locate from a dealer service department as many dealers tossed some of them away years ago that it does no harm to help owners that wish to upgrade firmware and have the technical capability and understanding to do so and accept the risks involved should they have some way to carry that out. The copyright holder is not losing money as they no longer offer these items for sale, and they were free to use to update the devices they were made for. Even the internal Mercedes-Benz workshop documents encourage copies to be made of telematics/firmware discs to ensure they always have them and have backups. Map data is in another category, but the COMAND 2.0 DX Maps have not been available since around 2010 for the USA, and 2014 (or perhaps newer) for the ECE, and these are certainly not available to purchase anywhere in the USA. I wonder if it is reasonable to reconsider this given they are simply not obtainable by owners willing to pay, and the platform has been abandoned, and BOSCH, etc., has no expectation to profit from these products any longer. With you being an attorney I am sure you understand this and interpret it differently, and strictly speaking I am sure being an attorney you could not advise such action, but in reality I wonder what the chances are of BOSCH or similar company filing a suit against something this far beyond its End-Of-Life?
 

·
W221 & Audio Moderator
Joined
·
10,839 Posts
Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Tiffany Twisted, there is no problem posting in a "sticky" that is open. We close the threads that are "reference" documents, to keep them from going off-topic - but we welcome member contributions to those that are open, such as this one. A closed sticky (or even a non=stuck thread) will have a small lock beside the title. If you ever find a closed sticky that you wish to add to, send me the addition via PM, and I can post it (at least in this forum and in the W221 forum).

Believe me, I thoroughly understand your frustration. The battery/roadside assistance situation was awful. The changes in pricing of both the EPC and the roadside assistance policies (including the changed conditions for use) have been disappointing. If you ever get stuck with a battery problem what follows may help: As far as I know, there are still only two automotive battery manufacturers in the U.S. - Johnson Controls and Exide (each at several manufacturing locations). Johnson Controls manufactures the MB-branded batteries in the U.S. A battery manufactured by Johnson Controls having the same physical size, the same construction (wet cell, AGM or gel), and the same CCR, CE and RC ratings will be the same as the Mercedes branded battery, no matter what brand it carries. Johnson Controls owns global brands Varta, Optima, LTH and Heliar; and in the U.S., it manufactures Interstate, Die Hard (Sears), Duralast, Kirkland, Everstart and Prostart (as well as the MB-branded batteries and batteries branded for other car makers). They supply batteries to Advance Auto Parts and Western Auto as well. Keep in mind that the type of battery construction (AGM in a W221) and matching your charging system matters more than the brand!!

I checked on my Weather Band feature just this week (actually, I accidentally selected it while seeking something else); I still have it in my '13 W221 (NTG 3.5), and the '08 owner manual has info on p. 101 that indicates it works the same as mine. I know there may be some programming differences for the S600 vice the S550, but you might check. It is reachable via the Audio menu>AM/FM; it appears as a selection ("WB") in the band that appears at the bottom. Though I almost never use it while driving, I can envision cross-country driving situations where I would.

Of course, I cannot advise a go-ahead on the approach you suggest to creating new map discs. It would be crosswise to the law, which you know. However, the argument you present is one of the more logical ones I have seen, and Mercedes' orphaning of our cars so soon after production ended almost invites such an approach. Unfortunately, copyright protections apply for a long time, both in the US and Europe. Anyone doing so would invite a lawsuit from companies having considerable resources to pursue such a matter. :crying
 
1 - 5 of 5 Posts
About this Discussion
4 Replies
2 Participants
Skylaw
Mercedes-Benz Forum
BenzWorld.org forum is one of the largest Mercedes-Benz owner websites offering the most comprehensive collection of Mercedes-Benz information anywhere in the world. The site includes MB Forums, News, Galleries, Publications, Classifieds, Events and much more!
Full Forum Listing
Top