The Law of Unintended Consequences

I get burned by this law all the time. You know it, even if you don’t know you know it. “No good deed goes unpunished.” That pretty much sums it up.

I bought an in-dash touch-screen infotainment unit for for my car. Unwise, I know, but I wanted it and I had the money. Mostly because it has the navigation feature. We’ll get to that in a minute.

After having the marvellous new touch-screen infotainment unit installed in my dashboard, I discovered I got no more audible alerts from my car. No seatbelt chime, no door ajar chime, no key-in-the-ignition chime. Not even the click-clack of the turn signals. Turned out all those sounds come out of the factory-installed entertainment unit, i.e.: the radio that we had just removed. I needed an optional wiring harness with its own built-in chimes. Back to the installation shop with more money in hand.

My two key fob remotes are getting worn and lazy. Neither will lock the car remotely. Only one will unlock it. Inconvenient, but that’s a First World problem. Both remotes will open the trunk without hesitation. I’m not sure about the panic buttons. I’ll find out if I ever need to try them, probably to my peril.

I decided to research how to go about getting new key fob remote, and more importantly, how to program it to my car once I had it. The instructions didn’t make much sense to me. One didn’t make any sense to me at all: press the reset button on the trip odometer while doing such and so. Turned out that was for vintage cars made before 1992 or thereabouts. The best instruction I found said I had to find and press the Information button on my dashboard—a small button with a lower case “i” in a circle. My car doesn’t have that. Hmmm. I dug a little deeper, and got a little vexed when the puzzle started to come clear. I do indeed have an Information button. It’s on the old car radio that I’d replaced, which now sits in a box in the basement. So I guess I’m not going to replace my key remotes any time soon.

And I’m pretty sure I no longer have access to OnStar. That was an unintended—but not unexpected—consequence. I haven’t tried it. If I ever get in an accident, OnStar might know it and call me, but I probably won’t hear them or answer them. Maybe.

The navigation system is controlled by a microSD card, a tiny black memory card about the size of my little fingernail. I’m very familiar with these, I have them in my cell phone and tablet, and I use them for backup storage for lots of my computer data. Very familiar. I can pop this one out and plug it into my computer and update the NAV maps and maps any time I want to. I do that every now and then, and I did buy a new map a couple years ago. It was time again. I popped it out of the car and into the PC, debated on buying the latest map, which was listed as 3rd quarter 2016. I decided since I’m probably not going anywhere far away soon, I would wait. But, in the meantime, noticing that the 4gb card was nearly full, I did a backup and attempted to restore the maps and iGo NAV system to an 8gb card.

I did some research on the Internet and made a go of it, but it did not go so well. Many times. Actually, it did not go at all. With two different microSD cards. I did more research, made more attempts with different methods, restoring, reformatting and restoring again, copying files and modifying boot records. The new/used cards would still not give me a single map. The NAV system didn’t know where I was, or who I was, or what time it was. I’d double check each time that the original card still worked—and it did—and try a new tack.

In the process of popping the two or three cards in and out and in and out, the original managed to slip through my fingers and vanish, apparently into the console. Uh oh. I proceeded to disassemble the console from both sides, scour its dark innards with small powerful flashlights and dental mirrors. Then I pulled off the top panels, redoubled my search efforts, even got out, cleaned and employed a vacuum cleaner. All to no avail.

Last ditch effort, I chatted online with someone at the iGo navigation company. “You have to use the original SD card. No other will work.” So I’m screwed? When pressed, he suggested I call the manufacturer of the unit—Jensen—and get a replacement card. I called. I was told to do exactly what I’d already done: do a restore to a new card from my backup. They do it at Jensen all the time. Ack. That was not working for me! What now?

The answer seems to be—I hope—that the unit demands a Class 10 microSD card (of at least 4gb and no more than 8gb capacity), and it’s smart enough to not be fooled by anything less. The two replacement cards I was trying to use are both Class 4. Who knew? (It took more scouring of the Internet to learn how to spot the difference. Hint: if you’re old like me you’ll need a magnifying glass.)

Okay then. I certainly hope.

I ordered one. It should be delivered today. I am now watching eagerly for the mailman to come. If this doesn’t work, I will be taking apart the interior of my car down to the bare metal. I just hope that (a) I find the original card, and (b) I can put my car all back together again.

Update. Still no go. Jensen tells me I’ve lost the “key.” That’s a file that identifies the card as mine and it’s legitimate. Mailing it back to Jensen for a fix. It’s only taken me several days and about $45 (so far) to update my NAV system for free. Hopefully I’ll get the restored card back before I go somewhere.

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