DIY BMW E39 radio mount (business CD, non DSP, non Nav, non changer, no tapedeck)
My DIY to install the latest DICE Silverline kit
(2002, BMW, 525i, radio mount, Business CD, no DSP, no Nav, no CD changer, no tapedeck, no Sirius stellite radio, no bluetooth phone)
Time: It took me half a day but it should take you (with these instructions) and hour or two at most.
iPod: You can identify your iPod at this web site.
Note the instructions that came with the unit are for trunk mounts, and most on the net are also trunk mounts.
Even those DIYs on the net for radio mount have very different connectors so, that's why this DIY was needed.
As a start, you can follow Tom's suggested X5 instructions for the radio part of the DIY but the connectors were different than mine.
As far as I can find, no exact instructions yet posted on the net have the same configuration as my Blue B, but many were close.
Unfortunately, I had to guess which connectors to leave and which to swap out but I must've guess right 'cuz it worked!
Note: These steps have been cleaned up by removing the multiple dead ends, wrong turns, & u-turns I actually made.
- Order the latest radio mount DICE integration kit from Tom (see Tom's note about USB charging).
- This kit handles both the old (12v) and the new (5v, 500ma, USB) iPods (released in September 2008).
- Optionally buy a 1/8" 18-inch length mini-stereo-jack AUX extension cable (some suggested Radio Shack).
- Read as many instructions as you can & watch the many videos listed in this posting .
- None (except this one) pertain exactly to my configuration so consider yourself lucky if you found this.
- Clean out the glove box (some instructions recommend removing the glovebox door, but I left it in place).
- Some DIYs recommend recording radio-theft codes (if any), but I don't know what mine is (if it even exists).
- Some DIYs recommend saving radio-preset-button frequencies (I didn't bother; luckily my presets were preserved).
- Despite what other instructions say, I didn't need philips or torx screwdrivers.
- I only needed a 1.5 mm allen wrench & a 2 mm allen wrench & a 10 mm box wrench.
- You'll probably want a flashlight also (to find locations for routing wires).
Disconnect the battery:
- Open the trunk (you may wish to leave it open after disconnecting battery cables).
- With a 10 mm box or socket wrench, remove both battery cables, negative first.
- Most instructions say "touch them together" but mine didn't reach each other.
- Touch the positive cable to a ground strap for five seconds (a quick spark would be normal).
Remove the MID unit:
- Cover the gear-shift knob with a soft towel to protect it and the equipment you're removing.
- With your fingers, pull the Multi-Information Display (MID) knob straight out & off.
- With a flashlight, locate the allen-head set screw at the 6 o'clock position just below serrated post.
- Insert a 1.5 mm Allen hex-head wrench & twist 90 degrees counterclockwise to retract the MID lock pin.
- With your hands, using light force, pull the MID unit straight out away from the dashboard.
- Disconnect the MID data-input cable (press the fancy Molex-connector lever & flip it's handle 90 degrees).
- Place the MID unit in a safe place (e.g., on a towel strategically placed across the back seat).
Remove the Business CD & radio combination unit:
- Twist the two 2 mm allen head clamp-adjust screws under the Business CD just until they spin freely.
- With your hands, using light force, pull the Business CD straight out away from the dash.
- Unclip the small black radio aerial connector by depressing the raised ridge with your fingers and pulling straight out.
- Unclip the very large radio-cable harness by depressing a small tab inside the black lever then opening the lever upwards.
- Pull the radio-cable harness connector straight out, away from the Business CD unit.
- Place the radio in a safe place (e.g., on a towel placed across the back seat).
Configure the DICE unit:
- On the DICE control box, locate the "Car switch" dual-inline-package (DIP) switches (two tiny white levers).
- Set both to the "off" position (toward the colored DICE Electronics logo, away from the black-and-white labeling).
- On the DICE, locate the "IPod switch" dual-inline-package (DIP) switches (two tiny white levers).
- Set both to the "off" position (toward the colored DICE Electronics logo, away from the black-and-white labeling).
Note: The definition of these settings was the only place where the installation manual shipped with the DICE was actually useful.
At this point the referenced X5 DICE installation instructions both become a lifesaver & become less useful.
They're less useful because the physical parts are different (e.g., there is no need to remove a climate control unit).
But, they're a lifesaver because they show the critical stop of swapping out the black bluetooth molex connector!
BTW, the otherwise excellent Gunsmoke instructions are too old (and, again, the wiring is too different from mine.)
Likewise with "InCarIpod" instructions (less old, less different, but different connectors and procedures nonetheless)
It's the same with the "BMW installation instructions supplement", which, like most, only covers the trunk-mount method.
Even after all the research, I was basically on my own at this major point as to the choice of wiring connectors.
- Given there were at least two approaches, I didn't know which to take.
- The one approach would be to simply splice the DICE cable into the radio harness, without swapping any of the original connectors.
- The other approach would be to swap some or all of the likely molex sub assemblies, and then splice the DICE cable into the radio harness.
- I opted to swap only the one black molex "bluetooth" connector from the old harness connector to the new DICE harness connector.
You just have to guess what connects to what based on your intuition.
- I guessed. It worked. I wrote up the guesswork below. The fact that the iPod works fine, indicates I guessed right.
- Be advised, I had to try multiple things, most of which didn't work, and twice and to take it all back apart & redo.
- Below are only the direct-route idealized instructions (i.e., as if I had been a genius and had done it right the first time).
Route wires from the glovebox to the radio:
- Wedge a flashlight in the glovebox pointing to port, toward the radio mounting.
- Look through the large rectangular opening where the radio was to see the light from the flashlight behind various & sundry items.
- Basically that flashlight shines along the very convoluted path you're going to route the iPod & Aux wires through.
- Pick up the blue end of the DICE IPod connection cable (do not hook it to the DICE controller just yet).
- The direction to thread that blue end is important; start at the glovebox working toward the radio (not the other way around).
- Begin right behind the glovebox support arm and thread the blue end of the DICE cable into the radio compartment.
- It turned out to be easiest for me to angle the DICE cable blue end to port a bit and then to the stern (my little hands help).
- Finally route the blue end of the iPod docking cable through the larger top radio hole grabbing the blue end with your other hand.
- Leave the blue 8-pin DIN DICE iPod round connector dangling out the radio hole for the time being.
- If you're routing an AUX cable, follow the same path and directions as for the iPod cable (I didn't 'cuz it's inconvenient to switch anyway).
- You're supposed to secure connections with cable ties but I didn't 'cuz it took three tries alone to get this right & I didn't know when if was done).
Swap out just one of the multiple Molex connectors:
- At this point, if you already know what do do, it's very simple (it took me multiple guesses and tries but why explain that here).
- Don't even bother with the printed instructions that came with the DICE unit as they don't even resemble your harness connectors.
- First, you must realize the DICE cabling is an "almost" duplicate of the male:female radio-cable harness connector.
- Comparing them, side by side, notice there is an additional black Molex connector in the original radio-cable harness connector.
- Later, I found out from Tom this is the "bluetooth" connector and the X5 instructions Tom referred me to clearly say to swap it out.
- Remove just that one black bluetooth Molex connector from the original to swap it into the DICE harness connector.
- That's it! This was the most complex step for me (should I do it or not was my dilemma). I'll make it easy for you. Swap it out!
Splice into the main radio-harness wiring:
- At this point, as they say, the rest is simple and intuitive (so, who needs instructions!).
- First, plug in your now-modified large squarish DICE radio-cable harness connector to the back of the radio.
- Plug the other (almost empty) end of the DICE radio-cable harness connector to the original radio-cable harness connector.
- Be very careful not to allow the individual thin blade pin connectors to push back out (as they did on me a couple of times).
- Snap all Molex connector saddle straps down (these Germans sure know how to make a tight connection).
Finish the DICE wiring:
- Now that the radio harness is spliced, it's time to hook up the other two cables to the DICE controller unit.
- Route all wires through the larger (top) radio hole (not the smaller bottom MID hole).
- Connect the blue DIN 8-pin round DICE "IPod docking cable" connector to the DICE "IPod" port.
- Connect the black Molex 12-pin rectangular DICE "vehicle specific connector" to the DICE "Vehicle" port.
- Place the now-wired DICE control unit below the MID, lying flat, shiny logo up, below the waterline of the MID opening.
- Juggle the now-large newly-spliced radio harness cabling & huge molex connectors so as to be out of the way of the radio.
- If necessary, cut the tie wrap around the loops of the DICE cable in order to juggle the wiring to fit the radio.
(I'm not sure what that DICE tie wrap was originally there for but I needed the jiggle room so I had to cut it off.)
Finish the radio wiring & reassembly:
- Connect the radio antenna onto the back of the combination Business CD & radio unit.
- Now is a good time to dangle the MID connector out the lower MID hole so you have it handy for later (lesson learned).
- Push the radio unit back into the dashboard taking care not to pinch the DICE splice harness connectors.
- Twist the two 2 mm allen bolt lock screws under the Business CD until they are both tight.
Finish the MID wiring & reassembly:
- Check that the 1.5 mm Allen hex-head lock pin is still retracted before placing the MID unit back in the dash (lesson learned).
- Connect the previously dangled MID connector to the back of the MID unit & snap down the lock bar.
- Push the MID unit back into the dashboard taking care to slide above the DICE unit stored below the MID.
- Insert a 1.5 mm Allen hex-head wrench & twist 90 degrees clockwise to push out the lock pin (which works like a laptop cablelock does).
- Replace the volume control knob on the MID unit.
Reconnecting the battery:
- If necessary, use the BMW key to manually open the trunk compartment ('cuz it didn't open electrically for me).
- Instructions say touch the battery cables together (but mine didn't fit so short the positive to the battery strap instead).
- With a 10mm socket or box wrench, reconnect the battery cables, positive first.
- Sit inside the cockpit for a few minutes admiring your work and doing a nose/eye/ear smoke test of the connections.
Connecting the iPod:
- Most instructions say to reboot the iPod by pressing on MENU & CENTER buttons or MENU & SELECT for five seconds.
- Of course, that won't work for the iPod touch that I had, so I borrowed an iPod nano just to be sure.
- For the iPod touch, you might try Settings > General > Reset > Reset All Settings (is a reset really needed?).
- Before connecting the iPod to the DICE, some instructions say to set the iPod to "Shuffle" so that random (RND) works on the DICE.
- Open the glovebox and connect the flat thin DICE iPod connector to the iPod (this is the fun'nest step of all ... no poof... no smoke ... no smell.)
- Whew! Breathe easily. You guessed right. Or at least you didn't guess very wrongly. You hope.
Using the iPod:
- Unfortunately, you can not operate the iPod from the iPod itself; all operation will be thru the BMW radio & steering wheel controls.
- Be patient, instructions say the iPod may cycle through a set of screens while it initializes in the DICE mode (I went inside for some tea).
- So just wait at least 10 seconds to a minute or more before making any selection or changes (it was ready for me when I came back).
- Bear in mind the iPod will not charge unless the key is turned to at least the accessory (Acc) position (lesson learned).
- Turn on your radio and press "Mode" to select the CD mode.
- To step through songs, press the radio ">" or "<" buttons.
- Or press the steering wheel "<" or ">" buttons to scroll through songs.
- Even though you do not have a CD changer, the DICE acts as a CD changer so you'll see new (to you) words on your radio (e.g., "CD 1-01").
- One by one, select CD 1-01, CD 1-02, CD 2-01, etc. to see how each button changes the DICE operation.
- Watch the instrument cluster display go from "PLAYLIST: IP" to "ARTIST: ALL" to "ALBUM: ALL A" to "SEL: IPOD" to "SOFTWARE VER", etc.
- Notice the MP3 ID3 tags display in the instrument cluster (either ID3v1 or ID3v2, I'm not sure because all my songs have both tags).
Recommendations for setting up the iPod:
- Check your iPod firmware http://support.diceelectronics.com & compare against the manual supplied by DICE.
- The manual I had didn't seem to have the latest-generation I had so you really need to play it by ear (Tom says they all work now).
- Most people don't realize iTunes software (currently at subversion 22.214.171.124) is only required to initially set up your iPod.
- Personally, I recommend Windows users consider deleting iTunes immediately after initializing a new iPod (reasons too numerous & OT to list).
- I also recommend Windows SharePod freeware to manage your songs (for all iPods except the iPhone & iPod touch which don't act as disks).
- With SharePod, you simply slide any desired song on or off your iPod from or to any Windows PC without any hassle or fuss.
- I also recommend you strive to MP3 ID3 tag all your songs (both ID3v1 & ID3v2) for consistency (plenty of free software exists for that).
- This way, your instrument cluster display will be more meaningful to you because the meta data is what is displayed (not the file name of the song).
Registering your DICE unit:
- You're supposed to register your Dice at htp://www.diceelectronics.com/register (I'm not sure what that buys you though).
- You're supposed to post your experiences here on Bimmerfest (that doesn't help you as much as it helps the next installer).
Note: I have hundreds of photographs of the entire process which I hope to find time to annotate and post separately to create a bona-fide DIY complete with pictures and annotations. Until then, this photo below is my attempt at a poetic closing.
Last edited by bluebee; 11-17-2008 at 11:01 PM.
Reason: Edited real time as the job was progressing (corrected steps after making many mistakes)