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Seek to understand,^Value
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
What do you currently use, in 2013, for handsfree telephone operation in your Bimmer?
Why do you like it, and how much does it cost?

(i.e., what can the rest of us learn from your setup?)

EDIT: See also: What do you currently use for a cigarette lighter power adapter in your E39 today?

Over the time I've owned my Bimmer, I've gone from analog (Motorola StarTac) to CDMA (PalmOne Treo 650) to digital dumbphones (Motorola RAZR V3) and then on to somewhat smarter smartphones (Blackberry Bold, Galaxy S3) as my main in-car telephone.
Meanwhile, my in-car handsfree solutions have also evolved from:

  1. Considering (and then forgetting about) the BMW integrated bluetooth system
  2. Installing (and then giving up on) the DICE Silverline audio iPod integration (because it stinks)
  3. Using (and then constantly losing) Motorola H700 Bluetooth earbuds (always having to keep separate USB chargers on hand)
  4. Until today ... where I'm currently using a Motorola Roadster TZ700 with a 3.1 amp dual-USB cigarette lighter adapter (separate 2.1 Amp + 1 Amp slots)
Searching for what you use for hands-free cellphone threads in the bestlinks, I find:
- How to add hands-free OEM ULF/TCU bluetooth or Parrot or cellphone pairing to your E39 (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) & Hualigan (1) & what to do with an existing BMW 540i mobile telephone (1)

But, all those threads are for integrating with the existing (outdated?) BMW system.

Nowadays, most of us probably handsfree WITHOUT integrating into the (outdated?) BMW system. Right?

QUESTION:
Given that, what handsfree solution do you use, in 2013, for telephone & audio in your bimmer?


EDIT: See also this recent thread:
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > E39 and SmartPhone - How to connect?
And see these old threads:
- How to add hands-free OEM ULF/TCU bluetooth or Parrot or cellphone pairing to your E39 (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) & Hualigan (1) & what to do with an existing BMW 540i mobile telephone (1)
 

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Seek to understand,^Value
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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
For the record, here is my current attempt at a handsfree cellphone & audio solution for my E39:

USE MODEL:
- When a call comes in on either of two telephones, the speakerphone announces "call from name-of-person, say answer or ignore".
- To dial, I press a button on the speakerphone and say "call mom" or "call judy" (and that dials from the address book of the cell phone).
- To search for restaurants or gas stations, the button on the speakerphone also handles that search (that search doesn't work all that well - but that's probably an Android search problem).

Power: Single dual-USB ceramic 3.1 Amp cigarette lighter adapter (CAUTION: Don't get the 10 Watt version; get the 15 Watt one where BOTH the 2.1 Amp and 1.0 Amp slots can be used simultaneously!)
Handsfree telephony: Motorola Roadster Model TZ700 (visor mount Bluetooth speakerphone & FM transmitter)
Handsfree audio: Dice Silverline (plus AUX): iPod nano [Note: The DICE Silverline stinks for many reasons - so I almost never use it nowadays.]
Cell phone: Samsung Galaxy S3 (SGH-T999), with Android 4.1.1 OS
Cost <$100: Around $20 for the power adapter & cables, plus around $50 (nowadays) for the handsfree autodial and autoanswer unit (I paid around $100 for that unit below, about a year ago but they're cheaper now & better).

NOTE: My current rules are that I don't buy any portable equipment for the car unless it's micro-USB (as I think any supplier who insists on using non-standard power supplies should go out of business.)
Note: While dual slot USB is de rigueur nowadays, 1.0 Amps for each slot is OK, as 2.1 Amps is only really needed for the iPad - but you may as well get the 15 Wat 3.1 Amp dual slot (ceramic) one since it's only $10.
Note: I still use an earbud, for talking away from the vehicle; my preference is the Motorola H710 Micro-USB because it has an EASY on/off and most controls are single-use instead of multi-use (which drove me crazy with Plantronics earbuds!).
Note: Motorola supplies an Android app which stamps the GPS location of your vehicle whenever you go out of range of the thing (that could be a boon or a bane, depending on who is looking at your GPS coordinates).


Pros:
- They all work off of one dual-USB power supply (which is why it's 3.1 amps) on micro USB cables.
- Passengers can connect with an extra mini-USB cable to charge iPhone or GPS devices.
- The Motorola Roadster TZ700 handles 2 phones at once, does voice commands with a button press, and has an FM transmitter (which I rarely use).
Cons:
- It's a lot of 'stuff' and the Roadster is visible on the visor (so it can tempt a broken window).
- The Samsung Galaxy SIII is a good phone and GPS, but it's a power hog (so at least a 1 amp charger is de rigueur).
- The DICE Silverline won't charge a totally dead iPod so I have to keep an additional iPod cable in the glovebox.
 

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Seek to understand,^Value
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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
For the record, here is my circa 2010 attempt at a handsfree cellphone & audio solution for my E39:
USE MODEL:
- When a call comes in, the earbud beeps, and I press the central button.
- To dial, I press a speeddial button on the cellphone (but the earbud can redial by re-pressing the central button).

Note: This style of earbud was carefully selected after prior mistakes:
a) This particular earbud has VERY FEW controls (on purpose!) because I was confused to no end by my original Plantronics earbuds!
b) The earbud shuts off and turns on by a simple mechanism! (in this case, you lever the arm outward or inward to turn on or off) because my original Plantronics earbuds answered from my trunk or my pocket all the time!
c) The earbud uses a standard power connector (so that you don't need to keep multiple power supplies in the vehicle), which I had to do with the original Plantronics earbuds! Auurrrgggh!

Power: A single dedicated mini-USB cigarette lighter adapter (for years, I only bought mini-USB devices, on purpose)
Handsfree telephony: Motorola H700 Bluetooth earbud (with mini-USB charging) Note: I needed 2 because of the anemic batteries.
Handsfree audio: Dice Silverline (plus AUX): iPod nano [Note: I had tried the iTouch & the iPhone but the Silverline was problematic with them so I returned them within a month.]
Cell phone: RIM Blackberry Bold (mini-USB charging)
Cost <$75: Around $40 for the bluetooth earbud (which came only with the 120 mini-USB volt charger) + around $15 for a Motorola mini-USB car charger (although I had plenty lying around for my other mini-USB equipment).

NOTE: My rules always were that I didn't buy a piece of portable equipment for the car UNLESS it was mini-USB (this was before micro-USB existed).

Pros:
- They all work off of mini-USB power so a set of chargers (with a cigarette lighter splitter) works for all.
- The earbuds work both inside and outside the vehicle and the sound is pretty good considering how tiny they are.
- The DICE Silverline allows the iPod to play music via the MID using the standard BMW radio & steering wheel controls.
Cons:
- It's a lot of 'stuff' to put away when you're parking for the evening.
- The Blackberry Bold little trackball stopped working which killed the phone.
- The Motorola H700 earphone microphones constantly stop working after about a year of use (I've used up four or five of them!)
 

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Hi,

I'm currently running an Alpine double DIN head unit. Built in Bluetooth Parrot handsfree car kit, wired direct high speed iPod connection. Sometimes, I will 'stream' via bluetooth, audio from Tune In radio on my HTC Smartphone.

Pic;



So my solution is 'Aftermarket' and as it's all in one, reduces the 'clutter' of having separate units everywhere. For when I'm in another vehicle or in the USA in a rental car, I will use a Sunvisor mounted Bluetooth handsfree kit, so just 'one' extra box to carry around.Currently the sunvisor bluetooth hands free is a Supertooth unit but will soon have the Parrot Neo instead.

Cheers, Dennis.
 

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I'll be upgrading next week to an Alpine double din touch screen like Dennis. However, these run around $500 and up. A cheaper and equally good option that I have currently installed is the Alpine cde hd137bt. It has built in bluetooth for making, answering calls as well as streaming music. It also has a Pandora function and HD radio. It retails at around $140. The sound quality is amazing and with the built in bluetooth it's definitely something to consider.
 

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Member Supremo
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I use an Iphone 4s with the OEM Aux cord. Given, with mount somewhere in the car, all I need to do is press the home button to use Siri make a call for me.

As far as voice command goes, Siri seems to be smarter than BMW voice command :). Plus I can also control music and hear voice nav very easily, while hearing everything though the car speakers.
 

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I use an Iphone 4s with the OEM Aux cord. Given, with mount somewhere in the car, all I need to do is press the home button to use Siri make a call for me.

As far as voice command goes, Siri seems to be smarter than BMW voice command :). Plus I can also control music and hear voice nav very easily, while hearing everything though the car speakers.
+1

I just install the OEM Aux Cord to the left of the cup holders yesterday and it works GREAT! :D
 

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Seek to understand,^Value
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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Edgy just turned me on to this PC Magazine review of the newer Motorola "Roadster 2".
(I have the older Roadster TZ700, which I paid about $100 for about a year ago)
- Home > Product Guides > Cell Phones > Bluetooth Headsets > Motorola Roadster 2

A beef I have with the roadster is how it handles power:
a) The beep is similar for turning it on or off so I have to memorize the switch position
b) The power-on LED is teeeny tiny (and it's above your head on the visor) so you can't see it
c) I have to take it off the visor just to get the micro-USB power cable into the connector
d) Also, it doesn't tell you when the battery is so low that it turns off bluetooth automatically!
Note: One way to test the power is to hit the buttons (which do light up brightly for your purview).

 

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Seek to understand,^Value
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
For bluetooth earbuds, I used to recommend the $40 Motorola H700 because:
a) It has single-use controls, such as an on/off switch that is OBVIOUS and EASY! (this is paramount!)
b) It used a standard power connector (in those days, it was mini-USB)
c) It worked well (except in windy conditions)

However, after going through at least a half dozen of them, I found their fatal flaw was the microphone dies after about a year of use. Some people resolder the wire, and others unclog the microphone port - but I have been unsuccessful in resurrecting two of them myself and I still have two that are broken (as shown below).

Even so, once I (inevitably) switched to micro-USB, I bought the Motorola H710 earbud, which has the exact same features.

Let's hope this micro-USB Motorola H710 doesn't have the same microphone problem after a year of use!
 

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http://www.bokchoys.com/differential/diy_parrot_bluetooth.htm

The setup I run which is more thoroughly explained in the link above combines a Connects2 harness and a Parrot CK3000 bluetooth device. The Connects2 harness allows you to use your OEM (non DSP) business cd bmw radio as well as your steering wheel controls to (in a handsfree fashion) pickup an incoming call, make a call, and redial. Caller ID and any calls made, however, do not appear on either the dash or mid displays. This is also a hard wire option and doesn't use FM modulation.

If you have an Iphone 4 or newer, SIRI even works using your steering wheel controls. With SIRI, this setup effectively even allows you to make calls with just your voice and even do voice to text. This setup runs about $150, but is very hard to find. I bought the Parrot kit luckily off craigslist and the CK3000 unit from a UK seller on ebay.

I read some earlier comments where one might just use an OEM AUX input. My E39 has this aux cable too, but when you use the Parrot/Connects2 device the integration is more involved. Incoming calls immediately quiet the radio and when the phone call ends, the radio volume kicks back in, seamlessly.

Install is super easy and I couldn't be happier with the microphone's ability to pickup my voice.

Key Features of using the Parrot CK3000 Evo Bluetooth w/ Connects2 Steering wheel harness
- Uses BMW Steering wheel Controls for normal Operation. (You do NOT need to use the ugly Parrot keypad. It is only needed to program the Parrot CK3000 Evo. Parrot Keypad must be plugged in at all times. You can hide it in your glove box since it is not used in normal operation)
- Sound goes through the stereo speakers
- Kit is Plug & Play, no cutting / splicing of wires is needed.
- Mutes radio when in use.
- Much cheaper than OEM retrofit. Cost ~$150
- Voice Dialing (If your phone supports it)

What you DON'T get vs going with OEM BMW retrofit.
- Caller ID on the Stereo when someone calls.
- Ability to Scroll through your cellphone's phone book on the car's display to make a phone call
- Other voice commands (if you have NAV)
 

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BadBrad
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Does BMW have an OEM bluetooth plugin option for the E39? the FM transmitter thing is cool but would like to go factory if it's available.
That depends on your car's vintage. If like me, you have the phone prep and it was manuf after 03/02 then you can easily add an OEM TCU or ULF module to the trunk area and be plug and play. You also have to open up the console (simple) and connect the bluetooth antenna module to the wire harness. Otherwise for earlier build dates you will have to use some adapter cables.

You need to do some research and can start by looking at these links and see where you stand......

http://www.unitedbimmer.com/forums/e12-e28-e34-e39-e60/10027-late-model-e39-bluetooth-retrofit-experience.html

http://www.bimmerboard.com/forums/posts/762914/

http://www.bimmernav.com/BMW_E39_Bluetooth_Installation_Instructions.html

http://www.xoutpost.com/electronics/bluetooth/61715-retrofit-bluetooth-tcu-instead-ulf-any-i-bus-car.html
 

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I put in an aftermarket jvc single din radio. It has a aux jack on the front and one on the back. Also have a bluetooth hooked up to the back aux port and routed under the dash through the pillar and its a perfect fit where the stock mic goes by the sun roof.

I stream music via bluetooth and can change tracks from the bluetooth button i installed. Take, make and hang up calls via bluetooth. No need to touch my phone.

Ill try and find a link

http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=ZQmNEYkCbsA&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DZQmNEYkCbsA

This is the cd player. I have the bt button routed near my sunroof.

Cheesy video they made but shows how easy it is to use.

Also, it only cost 120$ for the cd player and adapter together from frys last xmas.

Need to close all windows for the other side to hear me but besides that i have no complaints. I can actually text using it too.
 

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Seek to understand,^Value
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
This thread today shows an iPad and iPhone installation in the BMW E39.
Iphone seems to fit a bit better and allows access to MID.


Just wanted some feedback on phase one of my e39 ipad install , it might just be temporary depending on really just how practical it is and untill i feel like putting that chinese oem thing in ( if thats even worth doing ) or 3000 - 4000 later which i dont see happening i'd rather sell it and buy an '03 m5
phase 2-wire up power
phase 3-alum. vinyl wrap all wood trim
phase 4-determine whether bracket should be anodized black or just leave it polished
 

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Seek to understand,^Value
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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
For the record, these threads are related:
- One users method of installing 12v and USB cigarette lighter power adapters for smart phones and cell phones in 2013 (1) & how people add a handsfree bluetooth cellphone or smartphone in 2013 (1) (2) & how some install an iPad (1) or an Android tablet (1)
 
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