I need a COMAND history lesson. - Mercedes Benz SLK Forum

General Discussion Topics must pertain to all 3 generations of SLK - R170, R171 and R172

 
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#1 Old 05-04-2009
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I need a COMAND history lesson.

Can somebody help with a little history lesson in COMAND, some terminology definitions, and some compatibility information?

Is there a difference between COMAND and COMAND APS? I think the answer is APS uses MOST fibre optic ring, correct? Anything else besides "everything?"
What does NGT2.0 and 2.5 signify? Does it refer to a COMAND APS, plain old COMAND or both?
What model years had NGT2.0 versus NGT2.5?
What firmware updates are available for NGT2.0? 2.5? How does one check the firmware version installed?
Does the firmware version on the COMAND unit affect its ability to use newer DVD map disks? The reason I ask is I tried a 2008 DVD disk from my 2008 ML in my 2005 SLK and it didn't work.
Would a Nav processor firmware update be necessary to use a newer map disk?

I'm just trying to understand all this history/version stuff. It would be awesome if the experts here could put together a compatibility matrix for COMAND, available firmware versions/updates and supported DVD map disks.
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#2 Old 05-04-2009
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Gosh, where to start?! One good online resource is http://www.mercupgrades.com/R171+SLK-class-24.html - loads of good info there....


If you read the history, MB has complicated their lives by calling various generations of COMAND "COMAND" or "COMAND APS". The link above will go into gory details.

NTG2.0 is what you have in your car. NTG2.5 is what the new, facelifted R171's (MY09) come with. Navigation is no longer an "option" on the NTG2.5's,. it's integrated. The "Changer" is now the option, as it's built into the head, so no longer a dealer option.

There are various software revisions to the COMAND NTG2.0 you have in your car, and the - honestly - easiest way is to have your dealer pull the data from it using DAS. Complicating things even more is the fact that your car has a separate navigation processor in the trunk, and obviously - it needs software as well!

MB uses one of two Navigation data vendors for the US market, so not all MB models have interchangable Map Disks (they are based on different navi processors as well) - I don't know off the top of my head if the ML is using the same as the SLK - in general the models supported are printed on the top of the disk.

There was a major firmware upgrade for the Navi processor in MY07 to support better route management, a few other fixes, and also a change in the data format. If you put too "new" a disk in the Navi, you'll get a "Can't read disk" errror - and your dealer should flash it for free.

Most minor Navi updates are actually on the maps disk themselves, and will tell you that they are updating, etc.

So - short answers is that Merc Upgrades has the best info available outside MB. Yes, newer maps can require a firmware update on the Navi processor to work, minor included on the maps disk, major from the dealer...



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#3 Old 05-04-2009
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Thanks John,
I actually stumbled onto that site why I was waiting for some responses. Great info on that link, if it's correct. MB sure has made a mess out of figuring this out

My ML disk doesn't list the SLK on it, but I thought I'd try it for S&G
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#4 Old 05-05-2009
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Brian, you still want bacon on that? WOW! what a mouthfull John!!


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#5 Old 05-05-2009
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what the hell is this "sh1ts and giggles/grins" statement?

I don't think we have it over here, I was just wondering what its origins were!

John,

whilst you are explaining things, can you add an explanation of the optional universal media interface?

I want to buy one to add ipod control as we have discussed but I keep seeing that it comes with navigation and find this a little confusing.
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#6 Old 05-05-2009
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;-) No clue where "sh1ts and grins / giggles" originated, but it's heavily used south of I-10, so it's kinda ingrained in me!

The Universal Media Interface is a MOST device designed for the NTG2.5 "Generation" of Mercedes headunits (so the A20/25 and COMAND NTG2.5) as an input/interface device. It was designed to answer one of MB's customers biggest complaints, the lack of "good quality" integration with external media, specifically the Apple iPod.

Historically, MB has always added "options" to the ICE systems (In Car Electronics) with accessories on the various media buses. The NTG2.5 generation was a deviation from this, were Navigation and Bluetooth were integrated into the HU.

Mercedes traditionally retains HU "generations" for the life of a model, so they tend to get outdated rather quickly. To combat this, and to improve the sound quality and integration of 3rd party devices, MB created the "UMI".

This device finally integrates the iPod or other external media directly onto the MOST fiber ring, rather than "kludging" it into the AUX and CAN-BUS.

This gives digital quality sound - one of the major complaints - and also full integration with the HU - second major complaint. The latest NGT2.5 firmware allows full display and control of the iPod through the head and steering controls.

Is it worth it considering this is a $1k add on? Personally, I'm not sure yet - the integration is miles ahead of the NTG2 kits, and blows the old "ipod" kit out of the water. The functionality is about the same as the Gateway500, at about twice the price. Should be noted that the GW500 is NOT certified to work with the NTG2.5 generation of electronics.

Without the UMI, you can still listen to your iPod through the AUX input, but will have to control it via the iPod itself. Not impossible, and we do it in our C class every day. If you are used to better integration, you will want the UMI...

Even better news is that the UMI is an intellegent device, with firmware, so the assumption is that features can be added, bugs fixed, etc over time.



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#7 Old 05-06-2009
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So does it include satellite navigation like so many websites suggest it does?
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#8 Old 05-06-2009
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Hey Adam - not on the R171 - there is a device for the C class W204 that evidently includes a navigation component. I don't know enough about that one to say one way or the other, but it seemed like it was to allow support of an external navi unit, not that one was actually integrated into it - but - again - I haven't kept up outside the R171 and now the R230 since my wife has fallen in love with the seats! :P



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#9 Old 05-06-2009
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Great replies by John as usual i can just see a few things i can throw in -

APS - Auto Pilot System

ML disk in a SLK - No go, the only compatible disk is from the E class setup, the SLK system is very different under the skin compared with the ML setup.

Clarification - anything that is E based and uses the separate navigation processor will work with your car, anything that reads the navi disk from the headunit will not.
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#10 Old 05-07-2009
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BTW. it turns out the Universal Media Interface for the new C-Class NTG2.5 does include internal navigation and is approx Ł675.

A media interface is available for the R171 NTG2.5 for around Ł310 inc wiring and allows IPOD control and USB input.
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