PSA: Automatic 2nd gen caused issue with 2018 Mercedes Connect service

  • 1
  • Problem
  • Updated 7 months ago
I have the Automatic 2nd gen adapter for quite sometimes and it worked with my 2016 Mercedes E350 Wagon. Recently, I acquired a 2018 Mercedes E400 Wagon.

I plugged the Automatic Adapter in the new car as usual and soon I noticed that the car computer console show an alert that ther Mercedes Connect Service is limited. This is a service from Mercedes that allow driver to control the car remotely.

I took it to the service center and after hours of checking, it turned out that the Automatic Adapter is somehow interfering with this car computer system, such that it gave this alert. The tech took out the Automatic adapter and the alert disappeared. We put it back and it showed up again. We put the adapter in 2 other cars of the same model and it happened again.

So as a PSA: the 2nd gen Adapter interfered with the computer system in ANY 2018 Mercedes E400 Wagon.
Photo of Chuck

Chuck

  • 496 Points 250 badge 2x thumb

Posted 7 months ago

  • 1
Photo of Justin Rodino

Justin Rodino

  • 820 Points 500 badge 2x thumb
Did you just try the automatic adapter only or did you try any other OBD-ii devices? I’m betting it’s the Mercedes software and not specifically the automatic adapter.
Photo of Chuck

Chuck

  • 496 Points 250 badge 2x thumb
It's the Automatic adapter.

We (Mercedes Service Tech and me) tried it with regular ODB-II device that he has and mine (old Bluetooth ODB-II).

Actually, I was searching for the Automatic Pro review in Amazon and someone wrote a very lengthy review explaining how the new adapter also affect his Jeep and Mercedes.
Photo of Justin Rodino

Justin Rodino

  • 820 Points 500 badge 2x thumb
Interesting. Can you share a link to that article/review?
Photo of Chuck

Chuck

  • 496 Points 250 badge 2x thumb
There is no link to that specific review, but this is the link when I searched for "Mercedes" in the review: https://www.amazon.com/AUTOMATIC-CONNECTED-TRACKING-DIAGNOSTIC-EMERGENCY/product-reviews/B01JRBQ9PC/...
Photo of Justin Rodino

Justin Rodino

  • 820 Points 500 badge 2x thumb
Thanks for sharing. I’d actually take that review with a grain of salt as I do numerous other reviews on the internet. At one point the reviewer says it works great and gives it 5 stars then at an unknown time later gives it one star. Also throughout the review there is very bad spelling which usually coincides with a reviewer who is on a negative route for some rhyme or reason. Further he says he’s trying to find a contact to “sue” them, really? Don’t get me wrong I’m not trying to defend Automatic here but surely you can’t expect a company to test a 2016 ish product on a 2017+ model year car, can you? From what I’ve seem, the forums are ok and their customer support does usually answer their email in a timely fashion...
Photo of Justin Rodino

Justin Rodino

  • 820 Points 500 badge 2x thumb
Net net, Automatic could be a lot more transparent and seem to be greatly lacking in a product management role. That and/or a development engineer that coordinates with other car manufacturers it seems.
Photo of Chuck

Chuck

  • 496 Points 250 badge 2x thumb
"but surely you can’t expect a company to test a 2016 ish product on a 2017+ model year car, can you?"

If Automatic will NO LONGER SUPPORT the 2016 product and no new compatibility testing is done for 2017+ car models, Automatic need to state so in their main website. Otherwise, consumer WILL think the Lite Adapter IS still compatible and working with their car. If the Lite adapter will cause issues with the cars, a message notifying consumer to STOP using the Lite adapter should be issued.

It is NO JOKE if a piece of technology such as Automatic CAN INTERFERE with a car operation. In my case, it interfered with the ONBOARD computer system. I don't know what else it interfere because the dealer will NOT investigate further due to this is not being their product. Why would they anyway?

As a matter of fact, Automatic own website (https://www.automatic.com/cars/) NEVER stated that the Lite adapter is NOT compatible with 2017+ version.

Sorry, but how you wrote your post, especially the sentence above, sounds like you are defending Automatic. It's eerily very similar to some of the response provided by Automatic in here: https://community.automatic.com/automatic/topics/psa-automatic-2nd-gen-caused-issue-with-2018-merced... I'll let you peruse that link at your own time.

Regardless of your stance, my intent is a PSA --> Public Service Announcement. It is to tell prospective consumers that the Lite Adapter have issue with a specific 2018 car, as tested by myself AND the dealership.
Photo of Justin Rodino

Justin Rodino

  • 820 Points 500 badge 2x thumb
Chuck,

I wanted to share the following article with you after doing a bit of research myself:

https://www.slashgear.com/comma-ais-panda-is-a-88-gateway-to-hacking-your-car-07490878/

The TL;DR from that article is in the third to last paragraph:

However there are signs that the automakers themselves are waking up to the idea that they might not want third-party accessories plugged into their dashboards – and that they could be able to better commercialize themselves the data those gadgets are looking for. Ford, for instance, is looking at locking down the OBD-II port so that, rather than the free-for-all of data it currently provides, connected vehicle program chief Don Butler explained to SlashGear, it would only supply the minimum required by the legislation.

So, in all actuality, while it might seem that the Automatic adapter is causing issues, it might in all actuality be the car manufacturer locking down the OBD-II port for their own proprietary software/reasoning.

Also, here is another article wherein a Jeep (a vehicle you identify above as having issues/challenges with the adapter) had OBD-II problems - https://www.automotive-iq.com/electrics-electronics/articles/obd-has-manufacturers-worried

My comment above still stands, what is really needed is a PM team that works more closely with Automatic and the Automotive industry, but notwithstanding, it seems like more and more manufacturers might be actually making it harder to get the information that was once readily available.
(Edited)