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General E46 Forum
This is the place to get answers, opinions and everything you need related to your E46 (sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon) BMW!

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Old 05-28-2008, 02:39 PM   #1
rorschach
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iPod + BMW - my adventures

As you can see from my profile, I've got a '01 E46. The interior is pretty basic, the car came with a Business Cassette head unit. Fortunately, it also has the CD-changer in the trunk so the same day I got the car, I automatically put in 6 discs and started listening to them like crazy, rarely changing them out because I'm.. well, lazy.
Obviously, my ultimate goal was to get my iPod hooked up to the car somehow. Started doing my homework and found a couple of ways.

1) DICE - $200 (~$50 for shipping)

2) Post-09/2002 head unit + AUX cable - ~$250

After finding out these were the only two options, I was ready to give up and just keep listening to those 6 CDs. I'm a student, so I decided the iPod isn't worth it. Plus at one point I got screwed on eBay for about $50 when I just decided to get a Business CD head unit to have the CD deck in the dash.

Then I found this. I had almost everything I needed in my closet, apart from a little male-to-female converter that I bought so I didn't have to mess with those 10 copper wires the DIY mentions. Victory!

3) DIY iPod cable that works with pre-2002 head units (if you have the CD-changer) - $0.50

Sure, it doesn't have steering wheel controls, ID3 tags or charging capabilities, but it's 400 times cheaper than DICE and personally, I'd take an unlocked iPod any day over the DICE options. Ironically, if you want to achieve that with DICE, you'd lose everything except the charging capability.

I finished the cable and hooked it up for a few minutes. I think the sound quality is excellent, though I'm not much of an audiophile.

As Hannibal would say, I love it when a plan comes together.
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Old 05-28-2008, 02:58 PM   #2
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When people decide to DIY, it's always great. And I'm really happy you found a DIY solution, instead of a pricey solution like the DICE kit.

The prime motivation in me buying my dice kit was the steering wheel controls, using my ipod nano is worse than texting while I drive.

Congrats though!
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Old 05-28-2008, 03:15 PM   #3
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i think the dice has a mode you can set so that it does not "lock" the ipod. i know with my iphone you can quit out of the ipod application and it will allow you to manually browse music on the ipod after relaunching it.
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Old 05-28-2008, 03:17 PM   #4
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Yea, my ipod doesn't lock.
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Old 05-31-2008, 12:13 PM   #5
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I finally got the cable installed. The cable I talked about in the first post was just a test to see if it'll work.

If anyone wants to attempt this, I've learned a few things. The most important is that you don't need a CD-changer. You just need a head unit with the CD-changer connector (if you haven't got AUX). I made the cable and the first time I tried it, I accidentally forgot to hook the other end up to the changer wire. Don't need to! I clipped the other end of the wire off and it works just fine, though it seems that the HU might still be getting some sort of information from the CD-changer over some other connection, because it displays "CD 1-01" and when I took out the cartridge, read "No magazine". The iPod kept playing just fine, though.

Basically, it seems like the CD-changer connector works just like AUX.

When you're making the cable, try to find a 40-wire IDE cable or even better, a FDD cable. The wires are larger, it's easier to connect them. I put two female RCA connectors to the other end of my FDD cable and then ran a separate RCA (male) -> 3.5mm jack to the sunglasses holder. Has more slack when I connect the iPod and when I pull on the cable, it won't break the original connections to the FDD cable. Soldering the connections works, too, though I've never been good at it, so I messed them up and the volume kept fluctuating.

When you cut the FDD/IDE cable, the connector ends up being very brittle, so you might have a hard time keeping it from breaking when connecting the HU to the large connectorbracket. I messed up 3 cables that way. It's possible to buy the original CD-changer connector from a dealership for about $1 and then just connecting a 10-wire flat cable to it. Actually, now that I think about it, you don't even need a 2*5 pin connector and 10-wire, you just need a 4-pin connector for the + and - for both channels. The other wires seem to be completely useless.

-----

About the locking thing.

I can't say for certain about the Nano, but the people who have a Touch have no problem keeping it from being locked while retaining steering wheel controls, ID3 tags etc. Unfortunately, I have a simple 5G Video iPod and I only have a choice between an unlocked iPod or all of the comforts DICE has compared to an usual AUX cable.

Last edited by rorschach; 05-31-2008 at 12:24 PM.
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Old 06-24-2008, 02:13 PM   #6
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I've run into my first real problem with the cable. It doesn't charge the iPod. I'm guessing that the cigarette lighter is the closest 12v switched power wire that I can tap into, since the iPod is in the sunglass tray. Also, can I just pull out the FW/iPod connector wire from the wall socket adapter, cut the FW end off and tap into the 12v?
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Old 07-06-2008, 06:43 PM   #7
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I've got an 01 e46 with the cd thingie in the front. I ain't got no trunk changer. How do I go about this?
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Old 07-06-2008, 07:42 PM   #8
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Misinformation in one of the older posts in this thread, I'm sorry. You do need a CD-changer. If you don't have it, this cable won't work.
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Old 07-06-2008, 08:37 PM   #9
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to be honest, i have a DICE unit and im un-impresssed to say the least. it works, but not as advertised and i couldnt get any help with it so i made it work as best i could. congrats on getting what you wanted, thats worth more than the money saved
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Old 07-06-2008, 08:46 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by kcalhoun27 View Post
to be honest, i have a DICE unit and im un-impresssed to say the least. it works, but not as advertised and i couldnt get any help with it so i made it work as best i could. congrats on getting what you wanted, thats worth more than the money saved
+1

Had the DICE for about 6 months. Sometimes it worked great, sometimes it did what it felt like doing. Clicked constantly.
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Old 08-05-2008, 03:00 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by kcalhoun27 View Post
to be honest, i have a DICE unit and im un-impresssed to say the least. it works, but not as advertised and i couldnt get any help with it so i made it work as best i could. congrats on getting what you wanted, thats worth more than the money saved
What issues are you having?

I would be happy to assist!
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Old 07-06-2008, 11:18 PM   #12
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If your DICE unit didn't work properly, you should have sent it in for a replacement. Have mine installed for a year now and it works great!
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Old 12-01-2008, 07:46 PM   #13
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Pictures?
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Old 01-07-2009, 07:16 AM   #14
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Pretty please?
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Old 01-07-2009, 07:26 AM   #15
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Pictures? Of what exactly?
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Old 01-07-2009, 07:48 AM   #16
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Pictures? Of what exactly?
actually you're right, all the necessary pictures are in that linked PDF.
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Old 01-07-2009, 07:45 AM   #17
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6 month old thread. Anyways, Dice sucks, I regret buying it, but I'm stuck with it for now.

Should've diy like OP
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Old 01-07-2009, 07:48 AM   #18
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6 month old thread. Anyways, Dice sucks, I regret buying it, but I'm stuck with it for now.

Should've diy like OP
sell it to me
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Old 02-13-2009, 01:55 PM   #19
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DICE does suck!!! It does not even play in my car! And I have to pay someone to install it...worked for about a month and now my audio guy wants to "fix it" for a bunch more money. I hate DICE and regret buying it! I should have gone with a simple AUX input in the first place.
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Old 02-13-2009, 02:06 PM   #20
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DICE does suck!!! It does not even play in my car! And I have to pay someone to install it...worked for about a month and now my audio guy wants to "fix it" for a bunch more money. I hate DICE and regret buying it! I should have gone with a simple AUX input in the first place.
What is your "audio guy" actually "fixing"? Can you explain in detail?
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