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Old 05-26-2009, 09:16 PM   #1
Superman07
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Sirius Satellite Alternative Solution Install

Hey all - I put this up over at M3Forum.net, but I thought some of you might find it useful as well. Enjoy!

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As many of you know Sirius is an option on most E46s, but I had a few issues with the stock solution (despite the clean factory integration).

1) The module is expensive ($400+ new)
2) The module is only a receiver

On top of these I was unsure if my radio (11/02) was compatible with the OEM solution (that would have been another $600!). Once I discovered the OEM solution would work, it turned out that it was discontinued! Even if I was able to find a good deal on a used unit I didn't feel I would be satisfied with simple receiver after living with the benefits of a PnP system for years. My initial thought was simply to go with the forthcoming iPhone application (Sirius XM iPhone App made official - Orbitcast) since I have a DICE unit. However, the application was (still is) taking too long to get to market that I wanted a better solution. Additionally, online access only gives limited channel access.

After trading some e-mails and taking some measurements I decided to see how the non-vehicle specific Sirius Connect system would work out. I ended up buying both the controller and tuner as both are required.

Controller - Universal SiriusConnect™ Controller System FMSC1
Tuner - SIRIUS Connect Vehicle Tuner SCC1

I wanted a very clean install, so I opted to put the unit in the front ash tray under the HVAC controls. However, I needed to take care of two issues. First, I needed a way to route the cables, so I expanded the hole at the bottom/back of the tray (the end of the connector is wider than the cable). Second, I removed the hinge mechanism that stops the tray door from fully opening. This also prevent pushing the bottom part of the hinge "out" when the door opens. On test fittings this was causing the module to shift around each time I opened and closed the door.

Hole expanded in tray (side):

Hole expanded (close up):


I had a few options on where to place the two modules, but I was limited on the cord length of the display module that connects to the controller main unit. The two options that I felt comfortable with were under the passenger seat or behind the glove box. Based on some searches through common forums and concerns with the ventilation output under the seat I opted for behind the glove box. There are a handful of instructions on the web explaining how to access the compartment. A simple Google search will turn these up so I won't both to reproduce these. An added bonus is that the modules fit snug in the existing structure with prevent them from sifting around.

Test fitting the modules:


Hooking it all up:


At this point I will say that my inexperience with automotive electronics really took a toll. For those not wishing to spend the better part of a day on this project (like I did... ) a few suggestions:

1) Go buy a fuse tap/add a fuse : Amazon.com: Bussmann BP/HHH ATM Add-A-Fuse: Home Improvement I picked one up at the local auto parts store. (Make sure you add two fuses into this type of unit. It is necessary for pass through of power).

2) After continual testing I couldn't figure out the problem. The instructions are not entirely clear. Thanks to Josh from TSS I found the problem - you need to hook both 12V lines up to the tap.

3) Grounding was a pain, but I found a place in the area between the door jam and the glove box compartment (used a screw, washer and nut).

Since I only wanted the unit to be on when the car was in the "on" position or running I branched off of the same fuse that runs the radio.

After many, many hours I finally had a working product! Here are some pictures of the final product.







(Sorry for the poor night picture)


Overall I am very happy with the final product. I now have a solution that gives me more functionality than the that of the OEM (e.g. artist seek, song seek, traffic jump, game alerts, etc.) and it was a fraction of the cost. Additionally, I can simply close the tray door and everything is hidden.

It did take me the better part of a day to complete, but that was due to my inexperience with many areas of the car. If I had to do it again I would guess it shouldn't take much more than 2-3 hours.

Finally I'd like to say thanks to Taylor and Josh over at TSS-Radio (http://www.tss-radio.com/). They were a great help in addressing my concerns before ordering as well as helping with a few hurdles during the installation. I had not used them before, but I will certainly be using them for all of my future satellite radio purchases. It's nice to find a company that puts their customers and their satisfaction first. I highly recommend you use them if you need any Sirius|XM products in the future.
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Old 06-02-2009, 10:14 PM   #2
lorenzeandmark
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Looks clean for a stealth install but how is the interface/ ease of operation while driving?
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Old 06-02-2009, 11:25 PM   #3
sna77
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Looks great!

If you want to clean that up just a bir, ditch the ashtray, and buy this OEM storage tray for $12: 51168208369
http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...51&fg=35&hl=25

I replaced my ashtray in my car with this. Great little piece--it's lined with rubber too so if you toss coins in there they don't rattle.
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Old 06-02-2009, 11:29 PM   #4
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Also, how are you getting audio through? Did you install the OEM aux cable or is that an FM modulator?
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Old 06-03-2009, 07:47 PM   #5
Superman07
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lorenzeandmark View Post
Looks clean for a stealth install but how is the interface/ ease of operation while driving?
It's not too bad. The buttons can be a little tricky to hit, but I've memorized the channel presets that I have programed so I can change channel by feel of the buttons.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sna77 View Post
Looks great!

If you want to clean that up just a bir, ditch the ashtray, and buy this OEM storage tray for $12: 51168208369
http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...51&fg=35&hl=25

I replaced my ashtray in my car with this. Great little piece--it's lined with rubber too so if you toss coins in there they don't rattle.
Thanks, although I like the ability to hide away the display module. The unit did come with a "flush mount" bracket that you could put on a DIN, so I imagine it's possible you could mount it in that tray if it's large enough.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sna77 View Post
Also, how are you getting audio through? Did you install the OEM aux cable or is that an FM modulator?
I have a DICE unit so I just used the audio out from the Sirius and routed that through the AUX IN on the DICE.
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