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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK, I have decided to initiate a new post to summarize my A-thru-Z install experience with the Dension IceLink Plus product for the i-Pod. I have found a lot of tid bits of helpful info, but nothing that was consolidated. So this is an attempt to do just that.

As an opening statement, if your Beast does NOT have DSP (some non-US Beasts), and/or, you have a 6-pin connection to your CD Changer (instead of a Coaxial connection) – you do not need to read this. Just thank the higher powers that your life was made easier. The Dension kit is all you will need without many of the steps (and parts and wiring) outlined below.

OK, so for DSP coaxial Beasts, here is a list of things you need, starting with the most obvious:
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  • i-Pod (duh!). :p Any one will do, the kit comes with a cradle and various adaptors to accommodate any version and model of Apple i-Pod.
  • Dension IceLink Plus kit for BMW – sold at Best Buy for $199, with a limited time $20 mail-in-rebate. It is manufacturer specific, so make sure you don’t pick up the Honda kit. :1: http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?skuId=7049384&type=product&id=1108124556237
  • A Digital to Analog converter (DAC). You can use a Radio Shack one, but those have been discontinued and very difficult to find in inventory. Can buy the same exact piece from Dension or various other sources (other vendors, Ebay, etc.)
  • Two custom wires – you can splice them yourselves, or buy them from Dension and other IceLink vendors directly (but not Best Buy). I chose the latter, including pictures of what they look like.
    • one wire is made up of a coaxial end vs. a regular input jack on the other end
    • the other wire is a standard set of two (white/red) audio jacks on one end versus a BMW specific 6-pin connector on the other end (see pics).
  • Proper lighting, tools, patience and willpower
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Here are the full steps:

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  • Make sure you take out your CDs from the CD changer – notice I am writing this first – a hard lesson learned. Now I have to figure out how to retrieve mine out since the CD magazine eject button is only power operated. ouich
  • Disconnect the battery (‘-‘ terminal). Make sure you do that about 2 minutes after you have shut down the engine (or closed/opened a door/trunk). The NAV computer in the trunk is still engaged and takes about a minute or so for it to ‘fall asleep’, so make sure the red power light in not on or blinking. Always keep this in mind when disconnecting your battery!
  • Open up the trunk side panel door to access your CD changer (actually, it is better if you remove it altogether by taking out the three plastic clips, as you will need the extra clearance when running the wires). Loosen the two bolts facing the rear seats (note, you need to loosen them, not remove them). After this, simply slide up-and-away the CD changer from the bracket.
(btw, the extra clutter you are seeing around my DVD Nav are my 4 MB Quart crossovers, so you will have a lot more space than I did. Now with the extra space left open from the CD changer they are all neatly tucked away)

  • Disconnect the two wires coming into it - the round coaxial wire (simply pull), and the 3-pin wire (it’s got a clip, make sure you don’t pull on it without releasing the clip). From now on, thoughts such as “Hmmm, how much can I get for my CD changer on Ebay” should be going through your mind.
  • The 3-pin wire that was formerly used by the CD changer is a direct plug-and-play to the 3-pin connector on the IceLink kit provided wire, so you don’t have anything more to do there. Time for the coaxial connection.
  • Follow the coaxial wire that came out of the CD changer – it leads to the top of the amp. Disconnect the coaxial cable from there – similar to the CD changer, you will no longer need this wire. In its place, plug in the Dension provided custom wire – the other end of it is a regular jack that plus directly into the input side of the DAC
  • Then turn to the output side of the DAC – you will need to take your second custom wire and connect the set of two (red and white) audio jacks to the DAC. The other end of the wire is the BMW specific 6-pin connector, which directly then connects to the IceLink kit provided wire.
  • Now what remains is powering the DAC itself. There are two options you can take: connect it to the battery terminals, or find a power source wire and then ground the negative to an appropriate metal body panel screw. I personally chose the former approach.
  • Plug the power cable into the DAC and cut the other end of it to expose the wires. Secure the exposed wires tightly to the battery terminals. I made sure I exposed enough wire that the battery terminal clamps grabbed it side to side. The Black wire goes to the Negative battery terminal, the striped wire goes to the Positive battery terminal. See pics.
  • NB: you will notice there is a switch on the DAC, can’t quite recall what is said, but had something to do with the recording - make sure it is set to the OFF position.
  • At this stage you are pretty much done with the wiring. Now you need to decide how you are going to hide all this excess wires (the Dension Kit provided wire is purposely long so folks can mount the cradle in the cabin). I personally chose the little pockets around the M-Mobility kit – never used them anyhow, plus there is a trunk cover, so those will never be visible. Plus God forbid I ever need to replace DAC or the Adaptor, they are at an easy reach. I secured the DAC simply with Velcro as the size of the pocket bay is just right for it to fir without moving around much.
  • Select a good mounting location. I chose the rear driver’ side panel door – out of the way for any cargo, plus very convenient. Note that you cannot use the click wheel functions on your i-Pod once you activate the text and steering wheel controls, so having your i-Pod visible in the cabin didn’t make much sense to me, plus, it can be tempting for prying eye…
  • Before you put all the paneling together, it is a good time to test your work. Reattach the ‘-‘ terminal clamp, plug in your i-Pod, and pray! If you see the Dension logo on your i-Pod screen, that’s a great sign. If you see your battery re-charging, that’s an even better sign. If you can hear one of your playlists comeing through your speakers – you are in cloud nine. And if you see the text display on the Nav screen, you should be in nirvana by now.
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Reward yourself with a beer :cheers: , or some other act :15: you find commensurate with your successful efforts.

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PS and Caveat<o:p></o:p>

There are likely somewhat different (and perhaps better) approaches one can take in doing this ‘mod’. I basically described, in very much layman’s terms, what worked for me. There are many experienced professional members here, Boardmember [email protected] sells all the necessary components and has intalled likely a dozen and more of these, so folks should feel free to add anything I may have left out.

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thanks for the write up. I upgraded my radio and wiring harness when i did the sirius retrofit, so i now do not have the coax, and do have the 6 pin connector. I guess that's a good thing if i want to make an i pod work. Does the icelink give more info on the nav screen than the factory bmw aux input (does that give any info on the nav screen?). How about a nav screen shot, i'm curious as to what is displayed. I currently have a phatbox, same idea, but a bit more cumbersome to put songs on compared to the ipod (and it weighs more :biggrin: )
thank for the post!
Mike
 

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I have the Icelink and my Nav is set to split screen. On the top part of the left half of the screen the Artist and Song title scroll across. When you advance tracks it will flash which "CD" and "Track" is playing (ex. 3-14), and then scroll Artist and title of the new song. It works great.
 

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Nice write-up. The only thing I will add is that it's actually a lot easier to do than to describe. If you're thinking of DIY, don't be intimidated by the detail of these instructions; they're actually quite easy. The only difficulty I ran into when I installed mine some time ago was the proper connection for the coax. It stumped me for quite some time. With the help of our members I finally figured out that I was plugging the coax into the wrong place. Near the part of the trunk closest to you (nearest the taillights) there is a big silver box with a coax on it. That is NOT the amp (as it took me forever to find out). The amp coax is tucked way back behind the Nav unit.

Also, instead of wiring the DAC to the battery, you can tap into a switched 12v source right on the bundle near the Nav. Tom says it's the purple wire with the white stripe. Check with a multimeter to be sure. Tap into that, and your DAC will only be on when the car is on. Otherwise it's a constant (very, very) small drain.
 

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What production month/year did they begin using the 6-pin connector instead of the coax?

My m5 is of 05/2002 production.
 

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I am about to install mine, but just wondering why the power to the DAC can't be connected to the factory CD change wiring? Or inline w/ the icelink kit w/ the fuse.
 

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great write-up.

I am going to install mine this afternoon. Everything seems to make sense to me through all the posts I have cross-referenced.....but if I tap the power into the "purple-white striped wire" (switched power)...where does the negative wire get tapped into? I would rather not run it to the battery.


thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
JiAvW said:
What production month/year did they begin using the 6-pin connector instead of the coax?

My m5 is of 05/2002 production.
I don't know the answer definitively, but anecdotal evidence suggests that it is the 03MYT beasts that have the 6-pin connector, so perhaps late 2002 builds should be OK. Very easy to check though, just look at your incoming wires into the CD changer.


Also, I forgot to mention how you setup your text display. Instead of elaborating it the layman's way, here is the official Dension writeup. Make sure you do this before final assembly of the cradle as you need to go back and forth between the cabin (for the radio screen) and the i-Pod itself. One time deal though, you perform this at initial setup.
 

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Thanks for the posts. Hopefully I will be tackling this sometime next week, once my Icelink and Ipod get here. Can't wait to sell that CD changer!
 

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Can't wait to sell that CD changer!
Good luck! Not many would want one if they can put in an iPod instead! :cool:

BTW, here's RedShift's iPod installation instructions. With pics, no less. Shows you where to ground the DSP, where to tap into switched power, and routing thru the trunk (if you want the iPod in the passenger compartment).
 

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question..........

so i got everything hooked up nicely and it seems to be working fine. I routed the wires up the passenger side and up into the glove box....very clean.

Problem is....It plays playlists 1-5 fine....but i have no song titles anywhere on the nav screen or dash. I also can't seem to get to "disc" 6 which i think is the dension menu?...any ideas about what isn't hooked up correctly?

it seems great so far even without those things.


btw way my ipod is a brand new 60g one (if that matters).
 

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JiAvW said:
What production month/year did they begin using the 6-pin connector instead of the coax?

My m5 is of 05/2002 production.
On other BMWs, MY2003 was the start of the Digital/Analog scenario. I have never seen an M5 with analog DSP, but a small number have reported analog DSP here on the forums.

With a MY2002 vehicle - its safe to say you have Digital DSP, a surefire way to check would be to remove the CD changer and see if you have a coaxial cable connected. If you have both a 6-pin and coaxial cable connected, pull one of the connections with the CD Chagner in play and see which drops the signal.
 

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3rd One said:
great write-up.

I am going to install mine this afternoon. Everything seems to make sense to me through all the posts I have cross-referenced.....but if I tap the power into the "purple-white striped wire" (switched power)...where does the negative wire get tapped into? I would rather not run it to the battery.


thanks
Perfect place is the taillight stud, which protrudes from the body.
 

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Need4Spd said:
Good luck! Not many would want one if they can put in an iPod instead! :cool:

BTW, here's RedShift's iPod installation instructions. With pics, no less. Shows you where to ground the DSP, where to tap into switched power, and routing thru the trunk (if you want the iPod in the passenger compartment).
The is a great DIY, keep in mind that the silver Connects2 box is no longer used as in his instructions - the box has been integrated into the ice>Link module.
 

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3rd One said:
question..........

so i got everything hooked up nicely and it seems to be working fine. I routed the wires up the passenger side and up into the glove box....very clean.

Problem is....It plays playlists 1-5 fine....but i have no song titles anywhere on the nav screen or dash. I also can't seem to get to "disc" 6 which i think is the dension menu?...any ideas about what isn't hooked up correctly?

it seems great so far even without those things.


btw way my ipod is a brand new 60g one (if that matters).
Here are the procedures for activating text:

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ID3 Text Activation Procedures
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1) Select CD #6 on the Radio/NAV screen
2) Scroll to "Setup" and select setup menu using your steering wheel controls and looking at the menu on your iPod.
3) Scroll to "Text Selector", press the UP button on the steering wheel for +3 seconds and follow the instructions on your radio/navigation screen.
4) Text is now activated!

NAV users: Text can be toggled by using the "info" on your navigation screen
 

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Here are the procedures for activating text:

========================================
ID3 Text Activation Procedures
========================================

1) Select CD #6 on the Radio/NAV screen
2) Scroll to "Setup" and select setup menu using your steering wheel controls and looking at the menu on your iPod.
3) Scroll to "Text Selector", press the UP button on the steering wheel for +3 seconds and follow the instructions on your radio/navigation screen.
4) Text is now activated!

NAV users: Text can be toggled by using the "info" on your navigation screen
thanks Tom....that was it.

awesome service......all around!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Here are the procedures for activating text:

========================================
ID3 Text Activation Procedures
========================================

1) Select CD #6 on the Radio/NAV screen
2) Scroll to "Setup" and select setup menu using your steering wheel controls and looking at the menu on your iPod.
3) Scroll to "Text Selector", press the UP button on the steering wheel for +3 seconds and follow the instructions on your radio/navigation screen.
4) Text is now activated!

NAV users: Text can be toggled by using the "info" on your navigation screen
Thanks, Tom.

The only thing I cannot figure is how can I get my Navigation display to appear with the geographical map while the song info is on. For example, I use the split screen feature and on the top line i see the song info, then under it, the screen splits in two - the left side which is normally the map is currently a black square, while the left hand side does display the coordinates and altitude info. How do I get my map to display on the left?

Also, can I have the on-board info on (e.g. MPG, avg speed, trip timer clock, etc.) while the song info is on? Can't seem to get that either... Do I have to get out of the split screen for this to work?
 

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cosioboy said:
Thanks, Tom.

The only thing I cannot figure is how can I get my Navigation display to appear with the geographical map while the song info is on. For example, I use the split screen feature and on the top line i see the song info, then under it, the screen splits in two - the left side which is normally the map is currently a black square, while the left hand side does display the coordinates and altitude info. How do I get my map to display on the left?

Also, can I have the on-board info on (e.g. MPG, avg speed, trip timer clock, etc.) while the song info is on? Can't seem to get that either... Do I have to get out of the split screen for this to work?
The ID3 text will only display with the map coordinates in split-screen mode. Any OBC or graphical map functions will replace the ID3 text.

Keep in mind that the text can be set to display on the OBC cluster instead of the NAV screen, but not both. This will allow you to kepe the NAV on OBC monitoring or use Graphical maps - and still see sing titles on the OBC display right below the gauges.
 
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