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Bavarian Soundwerks' Mobile Electronics Forum
Have all your A/V and electronics questions answered here. Ipods, A/V, Radar Detectors Oh My!
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Old 05-13-2009, 12:33 AM   #1
packrat555
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Installed GROM USB / Audio interface

I just installed a GROM USB / Audio interface in a 2001 325i for $133 delivered it does everything I needed.

Hot swap USB sticks that act like a 6 disc changer but it supports up to 32Gb so storage is virtually limitless. Forget your slow a$$ ipod interfaces this is the way to go. It displays the ID3 tag on the screen. Of course the limitation is you can't select by artist or album it simply plays what is in the directory so you can skip tracks or use the random play feature.

Bonus feature is an audio input so your can plug in anything with a headphone jack and use it's interface if you want more control.

It does have a few quirks you need to get used to but it works and sounds great.

Last edited by packrat555; 05-13-2009 at 12:47 AM.
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Old 05-16-2009, 02:27 AM   #2
blatty86
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i was reading about one of these a few days ago. sounds like its a pretty good upgrade for the stock radio.
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Old 05-16-2009, 11:56 AM   #3
packrat555
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What I wound up doing is taking a usb connector that would normally plug into a motherboard. Cut a USB cable and soldered the two together, it's only 4 wires clearly color coded. I carved up the ashtray and mounted the connector into the bottom right hand corner making it easy to reach from the drivers side. The left side of the ash try is used to store additional flash drives. If you buy short flash drives you can even close the lid while they are plugged in.

You will have to carve up the plastic below the ashtray for the connector. I also realized when test fitting when you pull out the usb stick the ash try was coming out too. Turn to the hot glue gun to fix that. Definitely ghetto but none of that shows

For the audio I used a cable that came with my monitor to connect the speakers, it has cute a green connector. I drilled a hole in the top of the sunglasses compartment so I can plug in my ZUNE or any other player (www.anythingbutipod.com) and leave it in this compartment as well.

The device works amazingly well. You can hot sway usb sticks and withing a second it starts playing exactly where it left off the last time. I did have problems with one particularly old usb stick I tried using but everything else works flawlessly with no skipping or dropout or any playback problems at all.
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Last edited by packrat555; 05-16-2009 at 12:07 PM.
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Old 05-16-2009, 01:14 PM   #4
bmwstephen
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great review!! I'm ordering mine soon as well. who the hell needs an ipod anymore!

Do you have a trunk or radio interface kit?
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Old 05-16-2009, 02:11 PM   #5
packrat555
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Originally Posted by bmwstephen View Post
great review!! I'm ordering mine soon as well. who the hell needs an ipod anymore!

Do you have a trunk or radio interface kit?
I went with the radio interface. I didn't like the idea of running the usb and audio wire back to the front but if you are not comfortable tappng wires for power and signal go for the cd interface.

They provide you crimp connectors but I don't like using those so I did a tap splice and soldered. I put the interface box above and to the left of the radio. You have to pull out the center vent to get to this location. Keep pulling hard it will eventually come out.

One thing to watch for is removing the trim around the stick. Find the diy here you need to pull up the trim in the center connected to the boot and remove two screws below to get it out.

If you go with the radio interface they instruct to connect power to a wire that is always hot verses the wire that is only hot when the ignition is switched on. I debated that with them but they assured me it goes into a sleep mode and draws virtually no power when the car is off. You will notice when you shut off the car the usb is still lit but give it some time and it does shut itself off.

Last edited by packrat555; 05-16-2009 at 02:13 PM.
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Old 05-16-2009, 02:14 PM   #6
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soudns good, I was actually concerned with the power drawing issue as well. Do you by any chance know if this power shut off applies to the trunk interface as well? thats the only thing preventing me from hitting the submit button right now on my order
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Old 05-16-2009, 08:21 PM   #7
packrat555
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I'm not sure but go back there and find the connector and if you find there is 12 volt's present then the grom box will see this power all the time. Then again so would the cd changer if it were plugged in.

Like I said the suggest tapping into pin 9 for the 12V which is how I left mine. I think you could tap pin 5 and get the 12v with the car is switched on

scroll down to see the pinout
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=610766


if you don;t mind pull the radio out and tapping the wire i'd go for the radio interface. Running long cable back to the fron of the car for the usb and audio in can onlt hurt the signal and possiable pickup some interference.

Last edited by packrat555; 05-18-2009 at 12:21 PM.
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Old 05-17-2009, 08:14 PM   #8
blk04zhpcpe
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great write-up ! glad this kind of thing is finally available. i have the oem ipod interface but it no longer works. does anybody know if it will have to be removed to use the grom unit ?
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Old 07-01-2009, 11:16 AM   #9
soko
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[QUOTE=packrat555;9968748]What I wound up doing is taking a usb connector that would normally plug into a motherboard. Cut a USB cable and soldered the two together, it's only 4 wires clearly color coded. I carved up the ashtray and mounted the connector into the bottom right hand corner making it easy to reach from the drivers side. The left side of the ash try is used to store additional flash drives. If you buy short flash drives you can even close the lid while they are plugged in.

You will have to carve up the plastic below the ashtray for the connector. I also realized when test fitting when you pull out the usb stick the ash try was coming out too. Turn to the hot glue gun to fix that. Definitely ghetto but none of that shows


Packrat

I received my adapter yesterday and would like to install it today. I think the ashtray is the best place for USB connector as well. My only concern is, how to attach it securely enough, so when I plug the USB stick, it doesn't push the connector inside. Can you tell how did you do it? I am thinking of using the hot glue on the inside of the plastic cover below the ashtray.
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Old 07-01-2009, 11:43 AM   #10
Ben Z.
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Here's something cool that I'm going to do with my new headunit:

http://ilari.scheinin.fidisk.fi/itunemywalkman/ this is for mac, itunes sync is one for PC..

Basically it lets your USB flash drive sync with iTunes so to your iPod cable headunit/dice/usb input, it looks like an ipod.. for a fraction of the cost
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Old 07-02-2009, 11:54 AM   #11
soko
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OK, installed it yesterday, or almost installed it.
It plays the MP3s from the USB stick, but the volume is veeeeery low. Can't even crank it up enough and is pretty noisy. Emailed Grom tech support and I am waiting for their answer.
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Old 07-03-2009, 12:52 AM   #12
packrat555
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Packrat

I received my adapter yesterday and would like to install it today. I think the ashtray is the best place for USB connector as well. My only concern is, how to attach it securely enough, so when I plug the USB stick, it doesn't push the connector inside. Can you tell how did you do it? I am thinking of using the hot glue on the inside of the plastic cover below the ashtray.[/QUOTE]



My usb connector is a panel mount with screws. If you have build a pc the motherboard usually come with addional USB connectors that install in one of the rear slots. I am sure you can buy this at an pc hardware store or find a repair center I am sure they have a big box of them and you could snag one for a few bucks. I cut this cable and took a regular usb cable and cut off one end and spliced them together. ONly 4 wires clearly color coded. All this is hidden from view. That is what I used for the connector. In the bottom of the ash tray I drilled the 2 holes and cut the rectangle opening for the connector. It is actually bolted under the ash tray.
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Last edited by packrat555; 07-03-2009 at 12:54 AM.
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Old 07-06-2009, 12:34 AM   #13
jose325i
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so what kind of "quirks" are you talking about? can you elaborate on that? thanks
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Old 07-06-2009, 01:20 AM   #14
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Glad you are enjoying it. If you like having your music on a jumpdrive/usb stick the kit worked great when we tested one here at BSW!
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iPod Integration | Plug & Play Speakers | Subwoofer Solutions | Satellite Radio | HD Radio | Bluetooth
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Old 07-06-2009, 02:50 PM   #15
soko
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so what kind of "quirks" are you talking about? can you elaborate on that? thanks
Basically I was unlucky to get a faulty unit. It connects to the radio, shows the ID tags, but the sound is barely audible. The tech support figured that the unit was probably damaged in shipping, they are sending a new one.
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Old 07-06-2009, 03:33 PM   #16
Hartman
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I'm assuming you have to have a radio with a MODE button for this to work? Or at least pre-wired for a changer?
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Old 07-06-2009, 03:39 PM   #17
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I would guess it was bad as well. Ours worked great on our e46 Business CD Test Bench
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Old 07-06-2009, 03:49 PM   #18
LewiNC
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Re:

This is exactly what I'm looking for, thx!
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Old 07-15-2009, 09:53 PM   #19
eml
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Basically I was unlucky to get a faulty unit. It connects to the radio, shows the ID tags, but the sound is barely audible. The tech support figured that the unit was probably damaged in shipping, they are sending a new one.
have had my unit for a little over 2 weeks and the problem i'm experiencing is that playing from the USB stick suddenly cuts off and switches to the radio. if i try to "go back" to the GROM unit (via mode button), the display changes to the ID tags of the music last playing on the USB stick but what you hear is still the radio. it maybe takes a minute or so before i can actually go back and hear the music playing from the USB stick (same song as before it got cut).
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Old 07-16-2009, 05:31 PM   #20
soko
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have had my unit for a little over 2 weeks and the problem i'm experiencing is that playing from the USB stick suddenly cuts off and switches to the radio. if i try to "go back" to the GROM unit (via mode button), the display changes to the ID tags of the music last playing on the USB stick but what you hear is still the radio. it maybe takes a minute or so before i can actually go back and hear the music playing from the USB stick (same song as before it got cut).
eml
did you update the firmware with most recent one? If not, give it a try. If you have already done it and it still does what it does the unit is defective. I guess your connections have to be good, otherwise the radio wouldn't be able to read anything from the USB stick. I would email GROM, or phone, explain the issue and get their authorization for the replacement.

I shipped the first unit and prepaid for the replacement, so I could get it quicker. They already received my first unit and refunded the prepayment. The new one should come any day now.

I was waiting for something like this for some time. I was encuraged by Packrat's and some other people's positive comments about this unit. I will see how it goes with the replacement.
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