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View Full Version : Hardware solution to the navigation ACCEPT screen.


DZeckhausen
04-21-2004, 08:46 PM
As many of you know, I agreed to test a prototype of a new hardware device that gets rid of the navigation system "ACCEPT" screen. It does this by plugging into the BMW iBus and inserting a fake button press at just the right moment.

Well, they say timing is everything. One day before the prototype ACCEPT killer arrived, my new MK IV DVD-based navigation computer arrived. I swapped out my old MK III CD-based computer for the new one and installed the operating system. Since the unit was brand new and had never been coded, it defaulted to a European setting. The result? My distance readout was in yards, rather than feet. My EMERGENCY menu option was missing. And the lawyer ACCEPT screen no longer appeared. Normally, the elimination of the ACCEPT screen would be worth the sacrifice of the first two items. But here I was, obligated to test this new hardware device that eliminates the ACCEPT screen, and I had no ACCEPT screen to eliminate! :(

This is where m5board.com member M5Manny (who works in sales at JMK BMW) stepped in. Manny arranged with the service manager, Hilario, to squeeze me in this morning to have my system recoded back to USA mode. At 9:00, I arrived at JMK and Hilario drove my car right into the service area. Jack Donahue, one of their senior technicians, was assigned to the case.

Jack hooked a small wireless module, called a "diagnostic head" into the OBD port on the driver's side of my dash. This device communicates over a WiFi link to a 5 foot tall computer console known as the BMW D.I.S.

http://zeckhausen.com/images/Navigation/BMW_DIS.jpg
Jack recoding my navigation system with the DIS

After exploring a few random error codes in my car's computer and determining they were nothing to worry about, Jack set about to the task of recoding my system. Although other dealerships seem to have a problem with this procedure, Jack had it done in just a few minutes. He started by selecting "ZCS/FA Coding" from the touch-screen menu, then he picked the model "E39" and finally he touched the first item in the list labeled "RECODING". In just a few moments, the download to my car was complete and everything was restored to USA settings. The distance was now displayed in feet, the EMERGENCY menu option reappeared, and the dreaded ACCEPT screen appeared when the car was restarted.

Now I could get down to the business of testing. I removed the CD changer and unplugged the power/ground/iBus connector. This was plugged into the prototype circuit board, then the cable coming from the prototype was plugged into the changer. A row of green diagnostic LEDs lit up, then went out after about 30 seconds.

http://zeckhausen.com/images/Navigation/Prototype_in_context.jpg
Prototype ACCEPT-killer installed

The device works exactly as advertised. When the car is started, the ACCEPT screen appears as normal. But about 8 seconds later, it vanishes as if an unseen ghost had pressed the button. That's long enough that one could argue that the ACCEPT screen had been read and understood by the driver, yet soon enough that it's not in the way if you want to get down to the business of "navigating" right after pulling away from the curb.

The prototype does not resemble the final product. It's a wire wrap board enclosed in a black hobby box. The final product will use a custom printed circuit board to shrink the size down to just a couple inches. The device can be attached, with Velcro, to the side of the CD changer. It can be installed or removed in seconds and it is unaffected by software changes or updates by the dealer.

http://zeckhausen.com/images/Navigation/Prototype.jpg
Close-up of wire-wrapped prototype


http://zeckhausen.com/images/Navigation/Prototype_at_night.jpg
The prototype at night with diagnostic LEDs glowing

I will be testing this prototype in a variety of vehicles over the next month and making sure it doesn't issue an unwanted button press, regardless of the sequence with which doors are opened or closed, alarm is set or not, and peripheral devices (i.e., TV tuners, cell phones, Voice Recognition modules, Bluetooth kit) are attached to the iBus.

BAVORAK
04-22-2004, 07:28 AM
To get rid of the "ACCEPT" screen on an existing navigation computer, couldn't you just recode it from US to European mode? :typing:

My distance readout was in feet, rather than yards.
Feet in Euro mode? :dunno:

DZeckhausen
04-22-2004, 07:38 AM
To get rid of the "ACCEPT" screen on an existing navigation computer, couldn't you just recode it from US to European mode? :typing:


Feet in Euro mode? :dunno:Yes, you can install an old version of the NAV software in your car, then reinstall the new one and a software bug will switch your mode to European. However, that means you have to put up with YARDS instead of FEET on the display and in the voice instructions, plus you lose the EMERGENCY menu option. If you have an integrated cell phone and subscribe to BMW Assist, the European mode doesn't support that and BMW Assist won't work.

The feet in Euro mode was a typo and I've corrected it in my post. I meant to say that my readout was in yards, which I can't stand.

The nice thing about the upcoming hardware device is that it's simple, tiny, installs quickly and can be removed just as easily. The elimination of the BMW ACCEPT screen doesn't depend on software or dealer configuration and there's no risk that a future NAV OS update that fixes the backdate/update glitch, or a dealer service visit involving a hookup to the D.I.S. can screw things up for you and bring the ACCEPT screen back.

PUR NRG
04-22-2004, 09:09 AM
Nice. Any estimates regarding availability and cost?

DZeckhausen
04-22-2004, 09:19 AM
Nice. Any estimates regarding availability and cost?I'll try to find out. I expect it will be ready in a few weeks and cost less than $200. If testing reveals any issues (none so far) there might be a delay.

Terry Kennedy
04-22-2004, 10:20 AM
I'll try to find out. I expect it will be ready in a few weeks and cost less than $200. If testing reveals any issues (none so far) there might be a delay.I have an unrelated i-bus product in my car which may also handle the Accept screen as a bonus feature. I have a beta where the Accept bypass doesn't currently function, but I expect this to be addressed in the near future. I can't say what the product is, but I will be showing it at Bimmerfest, so the cat will be out of the bag soon enough :D

alee
04-22-2004, 10:33 AM
IIRC the nav screen doesn't present the accept screen if the car was recently started.

Assuming I'm remembering right, how does the prototype handle this?

crete
04-24-2004, 03:54 PM
[QUOTE=DZeckhausen] I removed the CD changer and unplugged the power/ground/iBus connector. This was plugged into the prototype circuit board, then the cable coming from the prototype was plugged into the changer. A row of green diagnostic LEDs lit up, then went out after about 30 seconds.

I do not know much about the ibus wiring, why is the cable pulled from the CD changer?
Wouldn't make sense to come from the Mark IV DVD Nav unit?

DZeckhausen
04-24-2004, 04:46 PM
IIRC the nav screen doesn't present the accept screen if the car was recently started.

Assuming I'm remembering right, how does the prototype handle this?It handles it perfectly. There are no inappropriate button presses. The device monitors all traffic on the iBus and knows when the ACCEPT screen is there and when it isn't.

DZeckhausen
04-24-2004, 04:51 PM
I do not know much about the ibus wiring, why is the cable pulled from the CD changer?
Wouldn't make sense to come from the Mark IV DVD Nav unit?The CD changer has a 3-wire plug connected to it that contains power, ground, and iBus. A coax cable feeds audio back to the amplifier. It is far easier to yank the small connector off the the CD changer to gain access to power, ground, and iBus than it would have been to remove a large connector from the back of the navigation computer. Plus it would have cost MUCH more to purchase male and female connectors that mate with the navigation system and you would have had to loop all sorts of connections through the new device. It makes total sense to use the CD changer plug from a cost and ease of installation perspective.

Ågent99
06-10-2005, 02:24 PM
Any update, Dave? :)

I know this was posted like a year ago but it caught my eye....

:D

DZeckhausen
06-10-2005, 03:21 PM
Any update, Dave? :)

I know this was posted like a year ago but it caught my eye....Funny you should ask now! Parag Garg, who runs www.TVonNAV.com, is working with Travis Beste, the developer of the www.BMW-Accept.com module, to improve and market the device. He called me two days ago to let me know.

Recent improvements to the device include detecting if the driver or passenger has pressed the Accept button manually and then NOT adding an inappropriate 2nd press. Right now, the version in my car will send a fake button press regardless if I forget and press it myself. So I can end up in an unexpected menu area.

Parag said he would be sending me a new version to try out in a few weeks. I'll let you know how it works. I had almost forgotten about this thing.

CrazyxMidget
07-15-2005, 03:11 PM
Sorry for upping an old thread, but... that's my uncle! (Jack)

DZeckhausen
07-15-2005, 03:20 PM
Sorry for upping an old thread, but... that's my uncle! (Jack)Who's your uncle? Parag? Travis? I'm not aware of anyone named Jack in this thread.

CrazyxMidget
07-16-2005, 12:13 AM
Who's your uncle? Parag? Travis? I'm not aware of anyone named Jack in this thread.
http://imgs.pbnation.com/smilies/dodgy.gif

pappde
07-21-2005, 11:13 AM
Hi. Iam a desperate MINI user and I am trying to get one of these modules.
Called Travis several times, got no reply and his website does not seem to accept ordrs. Any idea how to get in touch with him?
Sincerely: Denes
pappde@verizon.net

DZeckhausen
07-21-2005, 12:09 PM
Hi. Iam a desperate MINI user and I am trying to get one of these modules.
Called Travis several times, got no reply and his website does not seem to accept ordrs. Any idea how to get in touch with him?
Sincerely: Denes
pappde@verizon.netI believe Parag Garg has taken over the marketing of these modules. He's at garg@paraggarg.com

chivas
07-21-2005, 07:52 PM
StealthOne has something like this but i can't make it work right... good idea though but my MKII isn't worthy of such upgrades. :(
need a MKIV.