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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I bought a 2003 540i with 7K miles on it last year. Among the options the original owner had installed was the integrated blue tooth cell phone kit but he kept his phone (imagine that), leaving the rest of the h/w in the car. Anyways, the dealer told me they didn't have a phone (at the time) and if they did, it would cost me around $800. That didn't sound good, so I forgot about it.

Now, I'm midway through my phone contract (with Sprint), here in Raleigh, NC, and I'm wondering if there is a bluetooth phone that I can buy (from any phone carrier) that will sync up and work with the hardware in my six-speed. I'd prefer to stay w. Sprint, as it is one of the few carriers that has a signal in my house, but I'd consider changing carriers.

BTW, the car didn't have a CD changer, so I bought the Alpine unit from BMW (got a decent price negotiated when buying car) and installed it. Had to ignore the instructions to connect the wrong audio cable, but other than that, the install was a snap. Sure hope I can find a bluetooth phone that is just as straightforward.

BTW, the link to the cell phone list in the archive doesn't work (at least the link I tried). Does anyone have a recent link or list?

Thanks in advance for your advice,

Dave
 

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Sony Ericsson T608 on eBay

Look on eBay for a used Sony Ericsson T608 that is guaranteed by the seller to be able to be activated on Sprint's network. It is no longer available new. This is the only Sprint phone other than a Treo (big $'s) that gives full bluetooth functionality. The LG that they sell has been castrated. Beware of sellers who will not guarntee Sprint activation as there are gray market T608's for sale that Sprint will not activate.
 

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Other options

If you are willing to go with another carrier, use the list of compatible phones at X3/X5 World. ( http://www.x5world.com/html.php?file=bmw_bt_phones.htm ) It is very complete and gives a good overview of the options, such as:

Do you want to have a plug-in adapter (the "eject box") to enable charging and connection to the built-in antenna in some models?

Do you want to have the address book transfer automatically, or is manual transfer of entries one at a time sufficient?

Some of the notes about software versions are not relevant to North American users.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Mobile Phone functionality?

I'm no longer sure I have a bluetooth car kit. The salesman at my dealership tells me I can only use a Motorola Timeport CPT8000 with BMW firmware, but the original owner that I talked to last year (and have since lost his number) told me he kept his phone because he loved the bluetooth functionality.

I think I need to find out what my previously installed BMW phone kit and compatible phone (Motorola Timeport CPT8000??) will do, before I go buy that old phone. Is there somewhere I can go to read about what that cellphone/car kit does? I've got an appt. with BMW service in the a.m., and will ask them exactly what car kit I've got and what phone will snap in to the console cradle.

The functions I want, in priority are:
1. Integrate with in-car mic and car antenna
2. Integrate with steering wheel controls
3. Phone book synchronization (automatically)
4. Recharge when connected to center console cradle

Are these functions realistic? Are there more functions to exploit?
Is there an aftermarket solution that will provide some or all of this function (one can dream)?

Dave
 

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Probably the best place to begin is to determine what you actually have. The factory TCU's (telematics control units) are usually mounted on a bracket on the side of the trunk, probably behind a removable panel. Get the model number from the current unit. If it is actually the MY2003 unit, it probably only works with the supported Motorola phones. (I don't think the connection was via Bluetooth, but someone else can confirm that.)

Next, I'd check if the MY2005 TCU can be retro-fitted to your car. Putting 05 TCU's in the 04's is fairly common, but I have not heard of anyone doing this with an 03.

Finally, there are after-market BT kits from a variety of sources. Read the reviews.

In general, I'd check this out before I got a phone, but some models such as the SE 6xx seem to work with almost anything.

BTW our second car is an 05 Prius. We use a Nokia 6230 and a 7610, which are great phones but only sync the phone book manually. I did this once, and it was not a problem or a major pain. Manual syncing would not be a deal-breaker for me, but your opinion may de different.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks b-y

Good point, I know exactly where the TCU is, right behind the CD stacker I installed! I'll get the p/n this morning. I will check on the TCU retrofits, I wouldn't want to buy an old phone just to mate with old h/w. I'd much rather have a good blue-tooth phone that mated with my car controls/speakers/mic.

Thanks again,

Dave
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yes, I have bluetooth

Well, I should never have trusted my salesman. The TCU in my car is stamped BMW 84-21 6934552-02, which my service advisor affirms is bluetooth capable. Good thing, cause the TCU has a bluetooth Passkey number stamped on it, too.

The TCU also is stamped ULF Module: VP3KAF-14B409 BA2 H/W rev 08 S/W rev 38, which is meaningful to those who can decode the numbers. If I get a new b/t phone, is it important to get the latest s/w downloaded or is that phone-dependent or ????

So I want this to be a lesson to me and anyone else who hasn't learned it, never trust the salesman, in spite of his sincerity. He just didn't know what I had in my car.

One more question, if I get a bluetooth phone to pair up with my BMW TCU, will the phone use b/t to talk to the TCU and will the TCU transmit through the installed antennae (with possibly better reception)? Or does the antennae only come into play if the phone is snapped into the cradle in the center console?i

Thanks again,

Dave
 

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One more question, if I get a bluetooth phone to pair up with my BMW TCU, will the phone use b/t to talk to the TCU and will the TCU transmit through the installed antennae (with possibly better reception)? Or does the antennae only come into play if the phone is snapped into the cradle in the center console?
The external antenna only works if you have the snap-box. That provides the connections for the annena and the charging. Without the snap-box you essentially have the car's BT working as a handsfree device, but using the phone's antenna.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks

Thank you for confirming my suspicions. Since I already have a snap-box (cradle) I'll have to ask my service rep to tell me which phone its for. Wonder if there's an aftermarket for a used cradle. Also, what did the top of the console look like before the cradle was installed? Were there better cupholders there? Bet not...

Dave
 
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