Acura Honda Navigation (Black) DVD Update v2.50.. My Impressions

We’ve had our 2003 Honda Pilot since it was new. We bought it December or 2002 from Gardena Honda (which sucks, by the way). I really wanted an Acura MDX, but since they were essentially overpriced Honda Pilots, I couldnt bring myself to part with the money. Instead, we opted for a fully-loaded Honda Pilot. It was our first experience with GPS navigation.

I find that I love to use it. Even if I don’t need it, I have to hit the ‘OK’ button and when I get a chance, I often find myself watching the little red arrow navigate around the line drawings of the map. I’m always looking for opportunities to use it. Call me a geek, but for $2500 or whatever it costs, I’m going to use it as much as possible.

Anyhow, through the years, our maps on the navi DVD have gotten old. If you live in an older, more developed part of the country, its probably fine and you could probably continue using the same map from 5 years ago. However, since I live in Orange County, CA (closer to the southern end), new roads and housing developments were popping up every year. Its actually pretty frustrating to look for a non-existent address, knowing you paid $2500 for a GPS based navigation system that you can’t use.

I had often looked into purchasing the DVD from Alpine/Acura/Honda, but couldn’t bring myself to part with the cash. Each time I’d convince myself that I didn’t really need it. In more recent times, I convinced myself that it would be OK to even use my portable GPS in the car in those times when I knew we would be heading to “uncharted” territory.

A couple of weeks ago, my friend bought the new navi DVD for his Nissan Armada. I didnt think it was worth it since his navi DVD was only 2 years old. But to my surprise, it had maps for many areas that always bothered me about my 5 year old navigation DVD maps. Not only that, but the points-of-interests (POIs) were all updated too. Now you could actually find stores, restaurants, etc that were built in the past few years. So I finally broke down and did it. I bought the Acura/Honda Navigation DVD v2.50 (my original DVD was v2.05b). This is the infamous BLACK DVD. Honda thought it would be cool to color code their DVDs.. so there’s Orange, Blue, and White. Unfortunately for me, the black navigation DVD was only used over a span of about 4 years, starting in 2002 in some Acuras and ending in 2005 in the Honda Pilot (I think the Odyssey even got the Blue DVD in 2005).

If you’re looking for a comprehensive review or to find out if the street you live on in Kansas is in this update, I’m sorry for making you read this far before telling you that it ain’t gonna happen. What I will tell you, however, is that the maps are much more detailed. At the normal zoom level (2nd from the closest zoom), there are more street names that appear on the screen. I think at that zoom level, you also see more street level detail. I also noticed you see much more “green”. Large roads are more detailed in that it shows the left side and right side of the street (shown as 2 parallel lines). The navigation unit also responds much faster. Let me say that again THE NAVIGATION UNIT RESPONDS MUCH FASTER. If you don’t need the maps, thats great, but everyone needs the damn firmware update. Too bad Alpine/Acura/Honda makes you spend $180+shipping to get it.

All in all, I find it to be a worthwhile upgrade. In fact, after using it this evening, I couldnt help but to wonder why I didnt buy it sooner. If Acura/Honda were better about explaining the differences, I probably would have.

You “computer types” will also be happy to know that upon receiving my new Acura/Honda Navigation DVD v2.50, the first thing I did was to make a backup. I have my original stored in a safe place and the back-up DVD is working fine in my navigation unit. If you need help backing-up your Acura/Honda Navigation DVD, drop me a comment here with your email (email addresses aren’t shown to the public) and I’ll get back to you (hint: it involves a dual layer DVD+R, Verbatim if possible, and an ISO of the disc). If you have specific questions related to the Acura/Honda Navigation DVD v2.50 (Black), then drop me a comment and I’ll try to test it out for you.

I’m doing this because I couldnt find the damn info myself and I know how much that sucks.

Update: I get a lot of requests from people who would like to test out a newer navigation DVD.. I’ve tried to make more back-ups and I don’t know if its just my nav DVD unit, but it seems my back-up discs are a little hit-and-miss. What I mean is, I may burn 5 DVDs, and 3 of them work great, 1 maybe not so great and 1 maybe not at all. I only bought a 10-pack of the dual-layer Verbatim DVD+R discs when I tried to make my backup. So it could be any number of things or a combination of the following:

1. The navigation DVD player in our Pilot has gotten old and finicky as to what DVDs it likes to play.. I should also point out that now, when I put in the original disc, it seems its a little finicky sometimes too.. so the navigation DVD player is a strong culprit

2. My DVD-RW drive just isnt cut out for burning dual-layer Honda Navigation DVDs.. I think I have an LG.. I never tried burning it on another one of the many other DVD-RW drives I have at home (laptops, other desktops, etc).. the disc image is on my desktop, so I always tried burning with my desktop

3. I got a bad batch of DVD+R DL Verbatim discs.. probably small chance.. but who knows.. maybe the batch I have doesnt like LG drives.. maybe it doesnt like the software I’m using.. who knows

4. My technique isnt right.. its not really rocket science, is it? Its data that takes up like 8GB of disc space.. so I really dont put much weight on burning technique.. but from what I’ve read, some will swear by writing at max speed (4x I think), others claim writing at 1x is the most sure-fire way. I think I’ve tried both and although I didnt write down my process or observations, from what I recall, one way wasnt any better than another way.. but thats not to say technique may not figure into the grand scheme of things.. maybe it will matter, but with a combination of other things (like right temperature, phase of the moon, etc)

A number of you have reached out to me to test my theories.. and since I’m not as inclined to test any further, I may be able to help provide a disc image that you can try to perfect your technique. I asked you guys to drop me a comment.. which is probably the best way, but I get so much spam in the comments its hard to filter out.. and it makes me lazy to check comments, so I dont do it very often.. so if you’re in a hurry, you might want to look else where.. sorry.. if you’re not in a hurry, then leave a comment

14 thoughts on “Acura Honda Navigation (Black) DVD Update v2.50.. My Impressions

  1. What software did you use to copy and burn the back up? I have shrink and DVD decryptor. I am in the same boat. 2002 Navigation and cant seem to spend the $200, but will consider now. Thx

  2. Hi Aric,
    Nice writeup on your first impression with the GPS. I have a 2000 Acura TL that also uses the black disc. Can you please tell me the process you followed to create a copy of the disc using what software to rip, what type of disc and what software to burn.
    Appreciate your help!! and btw I am from OC too.. so I can feel your frustration with the old version GPS.

  3. Hey…

    Have an 2003 Acura Tl that used the black navi dvd. Would love a copy but like you, don’t want to spend the $185 for a new version.

    How much for you to copy one for me?


  4. How can I make a backup of the Navteq DVD for Honda Ridgeline 2010 (ver 4.81A)?

    I have both a PC and Mac. Whichever works best is fine with me.

    Also, the unit below the car seat has a slot for PC Card. Do you know what this is used for?

    Thanks for all your help.


  5. Please send me instuction on making nav DVD, I have 2007 TL and 2006 Odyssey and according to web site both cars need white 4.81v upgrade DVD, please send me instruction.


  6. Hey Aric,

    I’m looking to get up to 2.7 on my Acura and wondered if you had experience backing that one up? Could you email me if you happen to know anything about it


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