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  #1  
Old 03-25-2004, 02:25 PM
st_o_p st_o_p is offline
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Dension MP3 player finally working (long)

Today I finally completed my 2-month long installation of the Dension MP3 player. I've been looking for an MP3 hard disk player intended for a car ever since I took delivery. The 2 best choices were PhatBox and Dension DMP3 (I have an iPod, but it does not integrate well and it is not intended for a car player to start with). Anyway I decided to go for Dension - I know there are a lot of PhatBox enthusiasts around, but I personally prefer on-screen selection instead of voice (and the price difference is significant).

I bought the player around New Year (got a $100 discount); it arrived sometime in January. The package is nice - pretty much everything you need (including the computer cradle and the separate power adapter). The sound quality when played on my home system is impressive despite the not-so-good specs. I got the BMW package, so it came with all adapters necessary, and I also got a satelite display so I can have it trunc-mounted. It plugs in the CD-changer wiring, but requires an additional +12V (the hard disk needs more power than what is provided for the changer).

Eventually I used a professional installer (StreetEffectz - really nice job) - and that was back in January. It worked exactly for 5 min - and then the hard disk gave up on me (on my way home from the installer). I knew the disk was quirky - it was an old one I had laying around. So I bought a new drive - 5400 rpm 40 GB Seagate. Then I figured with the temperature around in the 20s and 30s - way below the disk specs - I better wait (I presume the trunc is not really heated). Eventually I remembered yesterday, and now I have it working. I have the satelite display in the ash-tray (perfect fit) and it is completely hidden when you close the door.

The player is recognized by the head as a CD changer - the steering wheel controls work (incl. skipping song forward and back). Also, you can click on any of the buttons for CD 1-6 and get a pre-selected album (the trick is - it's played in random order). The player also has a great function called "my radio" - where you can select a huge number of songs which are played randomly. I have several such selections (one of which is all the music on the drive). I still haven't used it long enough, but so far it is great. I'll post some pics when I get around to it.
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  #2  
Old 04-19-2004, 11:24 PM
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demenas demenas is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by st_o_p
Eventually I used a professional installer (StreetEffectz - really nice job) - and that was back in January. It worked exactly for 5 min - and then the hard disk gave up on me (on my way home from the installer). I knew the disk was quirky - it was an old one I had laying around. So I bought a new drive - 5400 rpm 40 GB Seagate. Then I figured with the temperature around in the 20s and 30s - way below the disk specs - I better wait (I presume the trunc is not really heated). Eventually I remembered yesterday, and now I have it working. I have the satelite display in the ash-tray (perfect fit) and it is completely hidden when you close the door.
Hi, Do you have any pictures of the satellite display mounted in the ashtray? I have the Dension unit and satellite but have not installed it yet. It looks like if I take the ashtray out the display will fit down there, but wanted to find a way to mount it so it did not move around, and was at the best angle. Also, any tipis running the remote display would help (for a car without the rear fold-down seats).

Thanks.
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2004 BMW 330i, Imola Red, Step, ZHP, NAV, Sirius, Leather, Xenon, PDC, Gruppe M Intake, Dension 300GB MP3, AUX Input, Front/Side Clears w/Silvervision Bulbs, bimmerfreak Black Grill, AC Schnitzer Pedals/E-Brake Handle, Imola Red Shift/E-Brake Boots. Previously: 2001 Audi A6 2.7T, 1998 BMW M3/4 5-Speed Dakar Yellow
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  #3  
Old 04-20-2004, 12:05 PM
st_o_p st_o_p is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by demenas
Hi, Do you have any pictures of the satellite display mounted in the ashtray? I have the Dension unit and satellite but have not installed it yet. It looks like if I take the ashtray out the display will fit down there, but wanted to find a way to mount it so it did not move around, and was at the best angle. Also, any tipis running the remote display would help (for a car without the rear fold-down seats).

Thanks.
I guess I was just too lazy - still haven't taken any pics.

The remote display fits nicely in the ashtray. I haven't attached mine; in fact I keep it lose on purpose - I have some extra cable in, so I can always pull it out if I want to. The only issue I have with this setup is that when I close the ashtray door, sometimes it hits the big button Play/Pause - very inconvinient

One important detail - when you install it, use unswitched power for the red extra wire. They don't mention that anywhere in the documentation, but it's important. When I did my install, I used switched power - makes sense when you turn the engine off you want the player to go off as well. But as it turns out, this resets the Soundgate adapter and the head unit loses the player. So instead you have to use unswitched power, so the adapter is always powered; the player itself goes on pause when the engine goes off, and turns itself off automatically after a minute or so.

As for the cables - the installer I used initially did a very good job - no visible wires anywhere. Later I traced the cables - both the red wire and the satelite display cable go through the wiring harness opening behind the driver-side rear seat (I have folding seats too). From there the red wire goes under the driver-side door sills and under the dashboard where it connects to a power source (I guess the reason for this was my request for switched power back then). The satelite display cable actually goes into the center console from under the rear seat (I presume you have to dismount the center console in order to do that) and then comes out in the ashtray. Hope that helps
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  #4  
Old 04-20-2004, 07:28 PM
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demenas demenas is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by st_o_p
Hope that helps
Very much so. I appreciate the information and tips.
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Steven de Mena
Los Angeles, CA


2004 BMW 330i, Imola Red, Step, ZHP, NAV, Sirius, Leather, Xenon, PDC, Gruppe M Intake, Dension 300GB MP3, AUX Input, Front/Side Clears w/Silvervision Bulbs, bimmerfreak Black Grill, AC Schnitzer Pedals/E-Brake Handle, Imola Red Shift/E-Brake Boots. Previously: 2001 Audi A6 2.7T, 1998 BMW M3/4 5-Speed Dakar Yellow
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  #5  
Old 04-20-2004, 07:36 PM
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Nick325xiT 5spd Nick325xiT 5spd is offline
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If the current drive fails on you, I'd suggest getting an adapter and using a laptop drive. They're a little more durable.

I look forward to seeing pics of the install.
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Old 04-23-2004, 05:21 PM
st_o_p st_o_p is offline
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Ok, I finally got the pictures today - for what they are worth. The images may be a little distorted - I had to resize them cause of the 1024x768 limitation.

The player itself is nicely attached in the middle of trunc top which looks great; but as I found out it's a bit in the way sometimes. It's in a cradle and can be pulled out easily when I need to copy more MP3s.

Nick, I don't think there would be problems with the hard disk. I heard concerns from other people as well, but haven't had problems so far. The player doesn't skip or anything. My first disk was just piece of junk.
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