Some of you may remember a few months ago when Jeremy wrote in his editorial about how our flagship Truckin vehicle, the ’13 Ford F-150, was broken into and the Alpine was stolen. Well, part of it anyway, rendering it useless to the thieves but just as expensive for us. The door and handle were repaired at LGE-CTS, but we still had the head unit to contend with.
Luckily for us, Alpine is in the process of releasing one of the most innovative head units in recent memory—one that just about stole the show at CES recently, the Halo9. The Halo9 features a single-DIN chassis with an adjustable, floating, 9-inch screen and all the bells and whistles, including Apple CarPlay. There are two reasons why the Halo9 will soon be a game changer. The first is because the price is considerably lower than any of the 9-inch head units previously on the market. The second is that since you’re dealing with a standard, single-DIN chassis, all it takes is a standard installation kit, making the Halo9 feel at home in just about any truck made in the last half-century!
Since all the cables and wiring for the components, subs, and amps were still intact, the process was as simple as installing the kit and wiring up the new plug for the Halo9. We also installed the new 900-watt Alpine X-A90V 5-Channel X-Series digital amplifier, which provided an additional 75 watts to each 10-inch subwoofer, giving us a little more bump to go with our new Halo. Follow along as we knock the truck out in about half a day and check out the Alpine website to see what you can do in your truck’s cab.
| Alpine’s resident tech expert Phil Bowen got right to work assessing the damage caused by thieves when they stole the first Alpine system out of our resident Ford F-150. Thieves suck!
| The Alpine iLX-F309 Halo9 unit boasts a full 9-inch touchscreen display, which can be moved up/down, in/out, and even tilted to accommodate different dashboard styles.
| From the side, the Alpine Halo9’s universal design can be seen. A single-DIN–style chassis ensures the unit can be installed in anything with a single- or double-DIN radio opening. For example, just about every truck on the road!
| Connections for multiple media sources can be seen on the rear, along with a cooling fan to ensure reliable operation in even the tightest dash spaces.
| Alpine’s X-A90V 5-Channel X-Series digital amplifier provides 900 watts of clean, continuous power for the whole system, while keeping the chassis size small for easy installation.
| The iDatalink Maestro K150 dash kit for the ’13-to-’14 Ford F-150 seamlessly integrates an aftermarket radio like the Alpine Halo9, and the OEM features are retained by the kit when installed with the Maestro RR interface module (sold separately).
| The original Alpine digital amp was able to easily fit under the rear passenger seat in the truck, with plenty of room for ventilation. The updated version has another 150 watts of power and will fit in the same location.
| All wires were run under the carpet to the amplifier location under the rear seat. Note the heavy 4-gauge power and ground wires that are critical when installing a powerful amp like this.
| Phil tied the speaker leads to the proprietary plugs Alpine uses to connect the speakers to the amp.
| All the wiring was terminated with the plugs Alpine supplied with the amp and snapped into place.
| When completed, the wiring looked neat and clean like this. A hole to route the wiring was cut under the amp so it can’t be seen.
| The two Alpine Type S 10-inch subwoofers and the custom-sealed enclosure provide the low frequencies and were carried over from the last install. This box was designed by Alpine’s own Steve Brown to down-fire under the rear seat for max output.
| Phil spliced the Alpine power harness to the universal harness included in the K150 dash kit using crimp connectors.
| With the wiring complete, Phil plugged everything in to test the system before reassembling the vehicle. This is an important step and potentially a huge time-saver.
| The Alpine Halo9 chassis was mounted into the vehicle first, and the screen was bolted on the front of the faceplate. Note the thick steel used for this connector to ensure long-term rattle-free operation.
| Phil plugged in the appropriate connections, including this plug that matches the F-150’s OEM radio harness. If the truck ever needed to go back to stock, it would be no problem.
| Then Phil installed the dash kit trim bezel around the chassis of the Alpine unit. Note that while it appears stock, the heater and A/C control unit is actually part of the kit. It is necessary to replace it when replacing the radio in certain F-150 models (like this one).
| With the truck buttoned up, Phil checked the functionality of the new Alpine Halo9 system.
| The K150 kit incorporates some innovative features, like this pocket with USB, HDMI, and 3.5mm inputs for easy media connection to that huge 9-inch screen.
| CarPlay and Android Auto are both standard on the Alpine Halo9, allowing most-used functions like navigation, phone, music, and messages to be driven by the smartphone and controlled by the Alpine unit.
| With an iPhone connected, functions like navigation become instantly available and controllable via touch or voice.
| Multiple audio sources like Bluetooth, HDMI, and CarPlay allow connectivity across a wide range of devices.
| Phil spent some time tuning the system using Alpine’s built-in sound-processing functions, and the result was a system that rocks!
| The voice button allows hands-free control of the system, which is important in places like California, which have steep fines for in-car cell phone use.
| Alpine’s Steve Brown dials in the amp gains and crossover points to get the most out of the system. Tuning is an often-missed step that can really maximize the sound and output of a quality setup like this.
| Now that the sound is right, Phil installs the beauty covers to finish the amplifier install.
| The installation is complete, so Phil wastes no time testing it with a rap classic! The Alpine Halo9 display not only upgrades the look of the F-150’s dash but vastly improves the connectivity as well. If you have an older vehicle you plan on keeping, maybe it’s time to upgrade the dashboard to 2018 status! All that was left to do now was hit the road while bumpin’ “Boyz in the Hood!”