How to Make Wired Android Auto Car System Wireless | CarlinKit CPC200-A2A Adapter Review

In this video, I check out the CarlinKit CPC200-A2A Adapter to see if it is the best wireless Android Auto adapter.

You can buy this adapter dongle currently for $59.99 from Amazon US 👉🏻 https://amzn.to/3zMRexg, for £89 from Amazon UK 👉🏻 https://amzn.to/3E4vzms, and for €89 from Amazon DE 👉🏻 https://amzn.to/3zNibAK.

This wireless Android Auto adapter is specifically designed to work with an existing factory-wired Android Auto system to allow you to use your android 11 device or higher with your android auto system without using a connected cable. It is the same as all the wireless CarPlay dongles I have covered on this channel, this one’s for Android Auto-only stereos in the car.

In the box you get a paper instruction manual, there is the adapter itself, and you get two USB power cables, one USB-A to C, and one USB-C to C cable for modern Android Auto ports in the car.

Design & Features

Looking over the adapter. It’s a similar size to their own wireless CarPlay adapters. Its case has a matt black rough texture to most of its casing, whilst both ends are more glossy. There are perforated holes on two sides of the adapter, for passive cooling. On one end of the adapter, there is a USB-C port to power the dongle, and on the other side, there are two status lights, and a USB-A port for power passthrough and to also upgrade the dongle via a connected USB drive.

I tried this adapter on a few wired Android Auto systems I had available, including standalone displays and my Alpine receiver, and at first, I didn’t think it was working because I was expecting to see a boot menu UI, similar to the wireless CarPlay adapters. However, this dongle behaves a little differently. There is no boot menu, basically. 

Connection

After connecting the adapter you will soon see the adapter’s Bluetooth profile become available on the Android device. After pairing and connecting to the adapter, wireless Android Auto will connect and show up on display. So it can be difficult if this adapter doesn’t work on your system or not.

I can’t comment on the general compatibility of this adapter. My advice would be if you’re interested in this adapter, to buy from Amazon, for easy returns, should it not work with your own Android Auto system.

Boot-Up Time

Plugging the adapter into my Pioneer system, boot-up time was hard to test without a boot menu to load into, but it was around 13 seconds before I was asked to connect to a Bluetooth profile. From Bluetooth pairing to wireless Android Auto took around 15 seconds. Once first wirelessly connected to your Android device, future connections are seamless and you can keep your phone in your pocket or in a bag and operate your Android device via Android Auto, without needing to connect a wire to your car’s USB port. I also tested the time it took to connect power to the adapter to wireless Android Auto on the Pioneer display, this took a total of around 23 seconds.

Checking the Wi-Fi specs of the dongle, the specs are similar to the wireless CarPlay 4.0 2-in-1 adapter. With 40MHz channel width, 5GHz Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi5 AC standard, and the max data rate between my Android and the adapter were 200 megabits per second, which matches the 4.0 adapter for wireless CarPlay.

Wireless Android Auto

From here though, wireless Android Auto was very good. It was responsive in maps, and the audio lag from Spotify was improved over wireless CarPlay adapters with around 1 second of delay. Calling was good too, with up to a 1-second delay in calling between two mobiles.

Due to Android not being my daily driver, I can’t comment on the long-term performance and stability of the dongle, however, I ran the adapter continuously for 3 hours with audio streaming and google navigation active and it didn’t crash on me, and the wireless range of the Wi-Fi was solid and it didn’t break up over a 5-metre distance.

Updating

Updating the dongle can be done offline by inserting an update file onto a USB-A drive and inserting this into the port on one end of the adapter. Accessing the adapter’s IP config menu over the air, once your Android has been connected to the adapter’s Wi-Fi network, allows updating and a number of other options.

Usually, I have had no issues accessing this config menu on wireless CarPlay adapters, but in the case of this adapter, I just couldn’t connect to it initially. With this dongle, you can’t access the menu whilst Android Auto is operating, you need to disconnect from its BT profile, forget it if you have to stop it from reconnecting, and then access the live Wi-Fi profile of the dongle. Once connected to its Wi-Fi network, entering 192.168.50.2 in the browser took a few refresh attempts before the config menu finally appeared.

After entering your car details you can then access a very similar config menu to the wireless CarPlay adapter, which allows many configuration options to adjust for compatibility of your system by changing things like sync modes, Bluetooth calling, video resolution and DPI, bit rates, echo delay and using internal/car GPS.

You can also check for updates on this config menu, but you’re asked to disconnect from the dongle before it could do a firmware file update check. This again is different to the CarPlay adapter, which allows you to remain connected to the dongle over Wi-Fi and use your mobile data to check for updates. There was no update at the time of this review, so I couldn’t test this process to see if it was as smooth as CarPlay adapters to update.

My Impressions

The CPC200-A2A Adapter from CarlinKit currently retails for $59.99 from Amazon US, £89 from Amazon UK, and €89 from Amazon DE, and you can check out the links above in this article to be taken directly to their selling page in your region.

If you own a car stereo system that has just wired Android Auto and you want to cut the cord and connect your Android to it wirelessly, the options are very slim for you right now. There are very few alternatives. Luckily CarlinKit has taken what they have learnt about their wireless CarPlay dongles and applied this to this CPC200-A2A adapter.

It certainly does the job and the experience is pretty good. Its lack of a boot menu and the friction I had when accessing its IP config menu were my only main issues. But these issues are not much of a concern after you’ve first paired your Android device to it, and if it’s working with your car system out of the box there’s no need to connect to the config menu or update it or change any settings on the dongle.

With its low price and replaceable USB-A or USB-C cable compared to the alternatives that are out there, the CPC200-A2A adapter should be on your list if you’re looking to turn your wired Android Auto car stereo into a wireless one.

TIMESTAMPS:

0:00 – Brief overview
0:36 – Unboxing
0:49 – Design & Features
1:23 – Connection
2:19 – Wireless Android Auto
3:01 – Wi-Fi specs
3:43 – Stability
4:06 – Updating
4:30 – My Impressions

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