ICE & HFT TMC Update - does it work? I found some interesting information

Discussion in '7th Generation (2003-2008) [Acura TSX]' started by GSD2013, Wednesday 24th Jun, 2015.

  1. GSD2013 Senior Member ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

    Ok, I have the sat nav option from Alpine built in at factory fit. I have never had the pleasure of receiving a green TMC logo, always red in colour. I have done the usual 'three fingered salute' but sadly, i have never seen any logged entries in the bottom value box of the TMC diagnostic/unit check screen.

    So I rang Honda UK, who advised me to contact a local dealer. Rather than using my own dealership in Cannock, I tried Wolverhampton, for a possible different reply, who were quite sure that the TMC should work via a software update, but not by an updated disc, as the updated discs only carry updated maps.
    So it would be a software update by the dealer workshop to begin receiving TMC information again.

    @Holdcroft Honda Can you guys help with any clarity on the software update method for TMC, as described above?

    My current genuine satnav disc is relevant to the age of manufacture, 2007/8, and does display the TMC logo amongst other logos on the disc text label, so maybe there has been a change in TMC set-up/software over the time?
    Anyway, my car is due in for an AirCon Condenser replacement under warranty next week, so I shall see what they say about a software update for the TMC part of the Alpine Sat Nav system.
    I will let you know what happens.

    In the meantime I have carried out a bit of a web search for info on the TMC service in the UK, and various results from websites and forums are listed below,
    I hope they help you:

    HonestJohn Forum
    Does Traffic Message Channel work in the UK | Motoring discussion | Back Room Forum | Honest John

    • Unlike most of mainland Europe we have to pay for TMC services because UK regulators missed the boat and allowed TMC services to fall into private hands - currently there are two operators - RAC Trafficmaster Telematics (for Trafficmaster receivers) and iTIS Holdings for TMC signal on ClassicFM.
    • In short, TMC in the UK is mostly transmitted over ClassicFM, whose signal is too weak for many hand-held SatNavs to receive it reliably. Many satnavs do in theory pick it up in the UK, but rarely or never get a good enough reception. In-built satnavs normally receive it much better as the car's antenna is much better than the trailing wires (or whatever) provided with the hand-held device.
    • Depends on how you are receiving it. If it's via an inbuilt car system the chances are that the manufacturer was too mean to pay for the TMC subscription for the UK and you need an updated SatNav disc with the relevent codes. Most recent SatNav discs have something like "including TrafficMaster" or something similar on the disc text label.
    • If it's a portable unit using a FM receiver chances are it is simply not picking up a signal very often. They are all pretty much useless as the local radio stations in the UK are too low a signal.

    Traffic message channel - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Traffic Message Channel (TMC) is a technology for delivering traffic and travel information to motor vehicle drivers. It is digitally coded using the ALERT C protocol into RDS Type 8A groups[1] carried via conventional FM radiobroadcasts. It can also be transmitted on Digital Audio Broadcastingor satellite radio. TMC allows silent delivery of dynamic information suitable for reproduction or display in the user's language without interrupting audio broadcast services. Both public and commercial services are operational in many countries. When data is integrated directly into a navigation system, traffic information can be used in the system's route calculation.
    An RDS-TMC receiver is a special FM radio tuner that can decode TMC data. Satellite TMC receivers use a dedicated data channel that is broadcast as part of much larger broadcast digital audio channels. TMC data is decoded by matching event and location codes against look-up tables of phrases and locations. The results can be translated into audio or visually displayed on a Sat nav device. The look-up tables must be implemented in a service-specific database mapped to geographic routes and intersections. As with the navigation systems themselves, periodic upgrades are needed as the road system changes. This provides opportunities for vendors to generate revenue.

    PR Newswire Association LLC.
    Trafficmaster Completes RDS TMC Contract With Honda -- CRANFIELD, England, May 12 /PR Newswire UK/ --
    Trafficmaster Completes RDS TMC Contract With Honda
    CRANFIELD, England, May 12 /PRNewswire/ --
    - Honda Uses Trafficmaster's Traffic Information in its Satellite Navigation Systems
    Trafficmaster Plc (LSE: TFC), the UK's leading provider of real time traffic information, announces the completion of its RDS TMC (Radio Data System Traffic Message Channel) contract with major motor manufacturer, Honda Motor Europe. Trafficmaster will provide live traffic information to Honda vehicles in the UK equipped with satellite navigation systems with a TMC receiver.
    This announcement marks a major breakthrough for Trafficmaster in the development of its RDS TMC programme. Honda undertook a thorough evaluation and decided to work with Trafficmaster, as its service proved to offer highly accurate and timely traffic information via the RDS TMC channel.
    The National RDS TMC service offered by Trafficmaster gathers traffic data in real time from the company's established network of over 7,500 roadside nationwide sensors covering 8,000 miles of roads and is supplemented with incidental data from our partner the RAC. The data is then transmitted through the RDS bandwidth supplied by Trafficmaster's commercial radio partners - GWR Radio Group, Chrysalis Radio and Capital Radio, who together ensure that motorists across mainland Britain can receive the Trafficmaster service.
    Paul Ormond Head of Press & PR at Honda said, "Honda has a culture that demands quality in both its own products and those of its suppliers. In our evaluation we concluded that the accuracy, timeliness and quality of the traffic data provided by Trafficmaster through its RDS TMC service was ideally suited to the needs of our customers. The traffic data will benefit our customers as it will be incorporated into our satellite navigation systems and used to help drivers avoid traffic jams as they are navigated to their destination."
    Stuart Berman, Chief Executive, of Trafficmaster said, "Through completing this deal with Honda, Trafficmaster has obtained another important route to market for its unique traffic information. We expect RDS TMC to become an increasingly important revenue stream for Trafficmaster and will be seeking further deals with other major motor manufacturers."
    About Trafficmaster
    Founded in 1988, Trafficmaster Plc is the UK's leading journey management company providing high quality satellite navigation, traffic data and vehicle tracking systems.
    Trafficmaster's traffic information is derived from its unique state-of-the-art network of nationwide static roadside sensors and transmitters that gather and distribute traffic data from over 8,000 miles of motorway and trunk routes. Traffic data is then delivered to the customer through a number of screen or speech-based receivers. These include a variety of in-car products and services that include its satellite navigation - Smartnav, Trafficmaster Monitor, YQsquared, Oracle and Freeway units. Traffic information can also be obtained by phoning the 1740 service, which is run in partnership with the RAC and the UK's main mobile phone operators.
    The traffic data provided through Trafficmaster RDS TMC is used, in conjunction with third party satellite navigation systems, to route drivers around congestion. The data is broadcast on licensed radio networks owned by GWR Radio Group, Chrysalis Radio and Capital Radio and is provided to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) or direct to automotive manufacturers. Trafficmaster is now one of two players within this specific market.
    SOURCE Traffic Master Plc
    - - - Updated - - -
    Ok, I have just spoken to HH who confirm that a software update at the dealership is required to get the TMC working again, but it comes with a cost.
  2. Ichiban Founder Staff Team

    England CJ Leeds
  3. GSD2013 Senior Member ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

    I have contacted TrafficMaster, and explained the issue, and although not quite a definitive answer, the call centre operative said that they believe no longer send signals to the type of sat nav unit installed on the 7th Generation Accord 2008.

    I am still not convinced that this is the answer, but I will be having a conversation with the dealership next week to try and figure out what is wrong.

    I know that the TMC is not the answer to all our prayers regarding advance warning of traffic snarl ups etc, but I would still like to find out why it has never worked.

    I don't have the luxury of checking against another vehicle to compare, so it is a case of seeing what's what with the dealership.
  4. Ichiban Founder Staff Team

    England CJ Leeds
    Dirk I have a 7th Generation Accord and it works perfectly, please look at the TMC data on your unit we have hundreds of FL car owners who can assist and compare your TMC counter data.

    The choice is yours fella, but I have to say TMC Has worked on the 7th Generation and still continues s to work, if it hasn't worked on yours then that a diffident issue specific to your area and your car.

    Have a look at this thread also ICE & HFT - Sat Nav TMC operation - lack of.
  5. Dave Club Veteran ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

    Mine works but only in France! Anywhere on the UK and it's red :Frown:
  6. GSD2013 Senior Member ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

    Thanks CJ, I do get where your coming from and with the information in links to other threads for further reference.

    I have the factory supplied disc for the year of manufacture (2007/8).

    On the count screen, with the radio frequencies, this rises up and down the range.
    As it does the field strength has never risen above 12, and I tried the unit check test in Devon too, to get a comparison, when we were down there last week on holiday.
    A combination of the two areas of the UK gave the average figures as listed here.
    I even tried tuning to Classic FM, to see if that made a difference to receiving signals, the dog enjoyed the music (lol), but still no change in TMC performance :shock: :Sobbing:

    Frequency: low 80s to below 110
    Field strength: 3-10, sometimes 12
    Error rate correction: 0 - random number, then clears back to zero, and displays fresh values again
    Uncorrected blocks/min: 0 - random number, then clears back to zero again, and displays fresh values again
    TMC group counter: 0
    Provider counter: 0

    I am going to ask Brindley Honda, Cannock to check this out on Monday and see if it comes under the approved used car warranty still in force, and also about the software/firmware aspect. Although, being the EX model, and having the HFT, as mentioned in your linked post, this sat nav unit should not have an issue needing replacement by Honda.

    I know the TMC is not the best, but I now have a little OCD regarding this and want to see an outcome that satisfies.

    Thanks again CJ for your help, and the reply from Barnsley Dave, it is a shame that there is no on-screen/IT link up double diagnostic for the TMC, I wonder if Alpine could shed light on the issue?

    Apologies for creating a fresh thread on the same issue around the TMC, I didn't see the post in the search I did within the forum.
    It seems to be a common subject with some members, regarding the TMC performance.
  7. GSD2013 Senior Member ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

    Ok, so I have my car back from the dealers following a leak with the air con system, repaired under warranty. I asked the service team to look at the TMC issue. They carried out some diagnostic tests and have said that the sat nav unit is picking up satellite signals fine. But the TMC feature is working incorrectly, as they stated:

    "the TMC feature is working but it is just talking to itself and not the car, there are no workshop software updates that can be applied to fix this. It would mean having the relevant part of the system sent away for repair. But, based on the value of the TMC, we advise that the cost is not worth it. This is an issue with the older 7th Generation cars, but the TMC works differently in the later 8th Generation models and there are no issues with TMC as far as we aware"

    So, for me, the route to Alpine is the only solution to see the TMC go green - but based on feedback from members on here, I am reluctant to finance the cost based on the value of the TMC service and airwave reception issues nationally.

    @Ichiban, Thanks for your information and help, i have quoted the value of the forum to the dealership and they are aware of the forum.

    @Beefy Additionally i informed them about the new video service being delivered by HH at service level, they already have this in place and they called it EVAC? or HVAC? Basically, the engineers carry iPads and tap into the system (workshop) and take photos of any parts needing repair and send to Service Manager to contact customer and photos can be included in the service report.
    Ichiban likes this.