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Old 03-09-2006, 03:19 PM
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Location: San Francisco Bay area
Join Date: Jan 2005
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Mein Auto: '05 545i
The Ultimate iPod Info Thread

I wanted to connect an iPod to my car and decided that waiting for the BMW iPod connector might take a while...or never happen, so I got the aux input installed ($64 part + $140 install).

This is what the aux input looks like--it's typically installed in the glove box, next to the flash light:

Here's the aux input install directions:
click here

I decided to have the iPod in the center arm rest (to be out of sight, and also have easy access).

For a power source, I went with the Monster iCarCharger, since it has a direct line out (not through an amplifier like the Belkin adapter, so you have a clean output), which I hardwired to the switched power lines of one of the power outlets in the rear center console (below the A/C vents). You definitely don't want to use the headphone jack, since it is filtered and tailored toward headphone use and the quality & volume level of a headphone simply cannot compete with your car stereo. The headphone jack sound quality and bass levels are greatly reduced. The bottom dock connector (which transfers audio out of the iCarCharger's 3.5mm port) generates pure, unfiltered sound.

Here's a list of parts you'll need--on a difficulty scale of 1 - 5 with 1 being the easiest, I'd say this DIY is a 3--once I had all the parts, it took me half an afternoon to complete:

Monster iCarCharger--$40 from BestBuy:

Monster MP3 MusicConnect shielded cable with mini-stereo connectors (1/8" mini jack on each end)--$20 from BestBuy:

Griffin AirClick remote control for iPod--$40 at Apple Store:

Wire connectors--$4 at RadioShack:

18 gauge wire--you'll need about a foot--I bought 4 feet to have extra ($0.12 per foot)

In-line fuse holder & fuses--$5

With this set up, when you have the audio input on aux input and the iPod playing & you turn off the car, the iPod pauses and shuts itself off after a few minutes. When you start the car, the iPod turns on and is still paused (at the point in the song when you turned off the car), and I use the Griffin AirClick to resume playing, by pressing the play/pause button (actually, pressing any button will work). I keep the AirClick remote in the drivers door storage area, so it's easy to press the play button. You don't have to open the center arm rest to access the iPod, except when you want to select a new playlist.

I first removed the coin holder in the center arm rest--there are 4 torx screws (red circles)--you can see the coin holder on the seat (yellow circle):

Next remove the panel that holds the 2 power outlets at the back of the rear center console--I used a metal spackle knife to wedged it out from the bottom sides--you need to use a bit of force, and it will eventually snap out on both bottom sides. Here's instructions :
click here

The 2 clips on the bottom sides (red circle) fell into the center console so you need to find them with a flash light and replace them for reassembly. The pic also show the 2 clips from the bottom edge of the A/C vent (yellow circle--see next instruction).

Next you remove the A/C vent--instructions:
click here

There are 2 clips (yellow circles) at the bottom corners, which you use needle nose pliers to pull down and out, then you pull the assembly toward you and down to remove. The red circle shows a blue female connector which I connected to the green wire in place of the stock connector, to fit the harness I made:

To hardwire the Monster iCarCharger, I used the metal spackle knife to wedge open the part of the adapter that would slide into the power outlet, to reveal the spring in the center, and one of the metal pieces on the side. I attached a female connector to each and crimped to secure (red circle). The pic also shows the line out connection (yellow circle):

I assembled a harness to tap into the power and ground wires from one of the rear power outlets. The blue male connectors at the far right connect to the female connectors that originally connected to the power outlet (the red circled connection is unnecessary--you can use a straight wire here). The orange female connectors (yellow circles) connect to the power outlet:

Wrap all exposed connections with electrical tape, and reinstall A/C vents and power outlet panel.

Once you have the aux input installed in the glove box, you need to run the mini-stereo cable from the glove box to the rear center console. First remove the trim at the side of the rear center console, using a metal spackle knife and pushing towards the rear of the car--instructions here:
click here

Remove screw (red circle) from side trim panel and pull panel toward you and down. After plugging cable into aux input and fishing through back of opened glove box door, run cable into top of panel and behind it:

Run cable along side of rear center console, and into rear section:

Run mini-stereo cable and coiled wire from Monster iCarCharger into center console compartment below the coin holder--this pic has a white wire for easy identification showing location. You'll need to enlarge the opening, using a Dremel or similar tool, so the iCarCharger plug will fit through:

Install coin holder.

Here's the iPod in the armrest:

You can remove the iPod from the armrest to change playlists, etc.:

I ripped my CDs using Exact Audio Copy w/ LAME eocoder at 256 kbps VBR, then volume normalized using MP3Gain at 94 dB , and the sound quality is excellent. Anybody want to buy a CD changer??!!
2005 545i - sold

Last edited by Ågent99; 10-31-2006 at 01:41 PM.
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