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DIY: Do It Yourself
Post here to share or improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW E46 DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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Old 02-24-2010, 01:59 PM   #1
vert
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Cheap (<$5) AUX IPOD connection with charging solution

I have an HK cd player with the Mode button. Previous owner also installed the AUX cable connection with a wire going into the sunglasses holder. With that in mind, what I would like to do is add ipod charging into the mix. I picked up the usb charger/aux cable combo with car adapter on ebay ($4.94 shipped) which you can see in the picture. I would like to have one wire (flat ipod specific connector in first picture) that plugs into the bottom of the ipod coming out from the sunglasses holder. This wire would provide charging and the sound.

My question is how should I tap into a cig lighter or other source of power. Of course, I don't want to plug the existing usb adapter that came with the set into the cig lighter so it will probably need to be cut off. The power should be switched with the car's ACC since I only want the ipod to be charged when the keys are in. This also pauses the ipod when you switch off the ignition which is a really nice feature.

If anyone can recommend a safe way of doing this I would appreciate it and pics work best as usual. Once this is figured out, I think it will be a nice option for the DIY AUX cable that a lot of people are using on the forum. Just looking for a nice clean install without any wires visible when the sunglasses holder is closed.
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Old 02-24-2010, 03:54 PM   #2
ZZen330
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Easy solution.

Get a female cig lighter from radio shack or whatever (less thatn 10 bucks), then hardwire it into a switched (only on with ignition) extra empty fuspot in the fuse box. Then plus your USB charger into the new extra female cig lighter, then plug the USB cable into the USB charger, then plug the 3.5mm audio cable into the AUX port that's already installed and just have the dock connector in the sunglasses box.

There are many places to hide the new cig lighter and USB charger so it's all stealth (ie: in and around the shifter console area).

That's very similar to what I did.

Good luck.

edit: I would first test that the USB charger and cable you bought will properly charge the ipod (test usingthe cars regular cig lighter).
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Old 02-24-2010, 04:13 PM   #3
snowcatxx87
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That's what I did. Put the new cig lighter under the armrest. However I get a hissing noise? I installed a ground loop isolator so I can charge and listen to music same time, but I think I need a power noise filter?
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Old 02-24-2010, 04:17 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snowcatxx87 View Post
That's what I did. Put the new cig lighter under the armrest. However I get a hissing noise? I installed a ground loop isolator so I can charge and listen to music same time, but I think I need a power noise filter?
Any pictures? I understand the concept but i am not sure exactly how to harwire the new cig lighter and where. Previous poster mentioned the fuse box but it's all the way in the glove box, so did you use another source for power? Did you just tap into one of the wires in the center console area?
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Old 02-25-2010, 01:19 AM   #5
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Use the fuse box. It's super easy and you don't have to splice or tap into any other wiring. Here's what you do. Get either an "Add-a-Circuit" or a simple "male spade connector" and a "female lighter socket" with inline fuse.

The female cig lighter will have a power wire and a ground wire coming from it. The red power wire connects to the red wire of the "Add a circuit". The add a circuit is plugged into an empty spot in the fuse box that is switched (means on only when car is on). There are a few of them available on e46. Or you can skip the add a circuit and just use a small male spade connector to plug the cig lighters red wire directly into the empty fuse spot.

The black wire from the cig lighter just attach it to any good ground spot.

Now the wires from the extra cig lighter I bought were long enough that I ran them from the fuse box area into the center console to underneath the shifter boot area.

In the shift boot area I then plugged the charger device into my new cig lighter socket and ran the dock/audio cables to whereever I wanted them.

It's totally stealth and only comes on when the car is on.

I've included some pics. One has some blue wires to give an idea of a male spade connector (on the left-not my pic). And another pic shows the red wire going to the "Add a Circuit" into a spot on my e46's fuse box. And another is with the shifter boot removed to show the space in there where I put the charging device and new lighter socket. Also a pic of an example cig lighter with hardwires and fuse. Added a pic of Add-a-Circuit too.

If you have telephone prewiring (as I think most US cars do), you can tap/splice into the power and ground wires there (under the arm rest area of the console) instead of going to the fuse box.

Hope that helps.
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Last edited by ZZen330; 02-25-2010 at 01:25 AM.
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Old 02-25-2010, 10:03 AM   #6
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Brilliant! Thank your your detailed post and pictures.
EDIT: With the "add-a-circuit", can I use an empty fuse location, or should I use it to replace an existing one?

Last edited by dvsntt; 02-25-2010 at 10:14 AM.
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Old 02-25-2010, 01:23 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by dvsntt View Post
Brilliant! Thank your your detailed post and pictures.
EDIT: With the "add-a-circuit", can I use an empty fuse location, or should I use it to replace an existing one?
Yes, you can put the "add a circuit" into an empty fuse spot. That's exactly what I did. You have to have the fuses in it for it to pass power through.

Actually, looking back I didn't really even need the "add a circuit" because the cig lighter I added already had an inline fuse, so I could have just used a little spade connector/blade (like in the pic with the blue wires on the left) to connect the cig lighters red wire directly into the empty fuse spot (lower hole).
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Old 02-25-2010, 04:22 PM   #8
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Wow that method looks so ghetto

I tapped into current cig lighter.
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Old 02-25-2010, 04:25 PM   #9
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you can do the usb style charger like in my sig....
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Old 02-25-2010, 06:04 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snowcatxx87 View Post
Wow that method looks so ghetto

I tapped into current cig lighter.
MY method looks ghetto?

YOU had to cut/splice into your factory wiring. I ran one red power lead to an empty switched fuse spot for power. Your power splicing choice is constant/always on. He wants a switched powersource. The wire is 100% hidden with the fuse box cover closed as is the entire wiring/charging solution other than the iPhone dock connector that comes out whereever I want it.

I can take it all out and return it to untouched condition if I want to also.

Somehow I don't think my one red wire to the fuse box looks more ghetto than your wire splicing into the current cig lighter wiring. Why don't you put up a picture of your wiring work?

Either way they're both hidden. So who cares.
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Old 02-26-2010, 08:46 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZZen330 View Post
MY method looks ghetto?

YOU had to cut/splice into your factory wiring. I ran one red power lead to an empty switched fuse spot for power. Your power splicing choice is constant/always on. He wants a switched powersource. The wire is 100% hidden with the fuse box cover closed as is the entire wiring/charging solution other than the iPhone dock connector that comes out whereever I want it.

I can take it all out and return it to untouched condition if I want to also.

Somehow I don't think my one red wire to the fuse box looks more ghetto than your wire splicing into the current cig lighter wiring. Why don't you put up a picture of your wiring work?

Either way they're both hidden. So who cares.
Actually, I think your solution is one of the most elegant I've seen especially if you don't want to splice into the wiring. Cig lighter is NOT switched, so I would not use that. The other option is the BMW phone harness under the center console as you mentioned and I found a DIY for that as well.

By the way, where did you get your female lighter socket? Any tips on running the wire from the fuse box to the sunglasses box?
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Old 02-26-2010, 09:11 AM   #12
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I agree, I think this is an elegant solution. Immediately after seeing it, and your confirmation that I could use an unused fuse location, I purchased the add-a-circuit and a usb cig adapter similar to the one in the OP. I don't think there is any better place to get the power from than a power distribution panel aka: the fuse panel.

One further inquiry that I have, can I use any empty fuse, or are there ones in particular that they are not on until the car is turned on? (switched?)
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Old 02-26-2010, 07:08 PM   #13
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you should buy a BMW Auxiliary Power Adapter its $7.79 on ebay it plugs into your flashlight thats in the glovebox
type in BMW Auxiliary Power Adapter on ebay
go to ebay http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/BMW-A...Q5fAccessories
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Old 02-27-2010, 02:40 AM   #14
ZZen330
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"can I use any empty fuse, or are there ones in particular that they are not on until the car is turned on? (switched?)"

Some empty fuses are constant and some are switched. The ones in the upper right side section like where you can see I put my add a circuit are switched. I can't remember the exact fuse number location I put mine in but I can check if you want.

Yeah you could use the BMW power adaptor that replaces the flaslight in the glovebox, but then you lose the flahlight and it will be only semi-stealth, not full stealth, but that could work if your USB charger + plugged in cable fits in with the glovebox closed.
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Old 03-01-2010, 12:53 PM   #15
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yes, it looks ghetto.

It runs arcross the front.

You should of removed your glove box and wired it from behind, went around the fuse holder and put the fuse where it was supposed to be - where you put your wire.
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Old 03-02-2010, 02:35 AM   #16
ZZen330
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From my other post: "YOU had to cut/splice into your factory wiring." I'm sure if you pulled your console up and showed a pic of your wire hacking/tapping that picture would look just as ghetto if not more. Oh wait your ghetto wire splicing is completely hidden right? Well duh so is mine. In case you don't get it, it's completely hidden!! Once I close the white fuse box cover, no can see! Sure I could have wired it from behind, but it's not like I have the white fuse cover hanging down for all to see my red wire Comprende?

SO why didn't you get power from the back of the fuse box as you suggest instead of cutting into your factory wiring at the cig lighter (I'm sure that looks so pretty right?).

And clearly you've been outvoted as to which solution they prefer so off the island with you

Last edited by ZZen330; 03-02-2010 at 02:38 AM.
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Old 03-03-2010, 09:50 AM   #17
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I performed this on Tuesday, very happy with the results!
I purchased the add-a-circuit at radio shack and a USB-charger\cigarette-adapter at best buy. I hacked up the USB device and had to de-solder one circuit board from another then connect again with a pair of wires (it proturded so I had to do this to make it fit). I also cut up the old USB\cig adapter case and used it to protect the circuits, then I installed the circuits behind the sunglass cubby placed the modifed covers over them and put the USB ports in the cubby itself so I can charge my phone and tuck it away in there, it is also where I put the aux-in so I can put it all away in the cubby, including the cables. It took me a while to find a place to ground it, I finally found a screw by the shift lever that did the trick.

I think this was much better than splicing into wires, it will take me just a few minutes to undo it all and no damage to any wires. Will have to replace the cubby if I want to return it to stock, it does have a USB shaped hole in it.
Thanks fly out to ZZen330 and vert for the inspiration and details on how to accomplish this. Even my girlfriend is impressed.

EDIT: I used fuse location 24 which turned out to be a switched 12v.

Last edited by dvsntt; 03-03-2010 at 09:54 AM.
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Old 03-03-2010, 02:56 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dvsntt View Post
I performed this on Tuesday, very happy with the results!
I purchased the add-a-circuit at radio shack and a USB-charger\cigarette-adapter at best buy. I hacked up the USB device and had to de-solder one circuit board from another then connect again with a pair of wires (it proturded so I had to do this to make it fit). I also cut up the old USB\cig adapter case and used it to protect the circuits, then I installed the circuits behind the sunglass cubby placed the modifed covers over them and put the USB ports in the cubby itself so I can charge my phone and tuck it away in there, it is also where I put the aux-in so I can put it all away in the cubby, including the cables. It took me a while to find a place to ground it, I finally found a screw by the shift lever that did the trick.

I think this was much better than splicing into wires, it will take me just a few minutes to undo it all and no damage to any wires. Will have to replace the cubby if I want to return it to stock, it does have a USB shaped hole in it.
Thanks fly out to ZZen330 and vert for the inspiration and details on how to accomplish this. Even my girlfriend is impressed.

EDIT: I used fuse location 24 which turned out to be a switched 12v.
Nice! I am still waiting for my ebay USB charger to come. Meanwhile, could you elaborate on running/hiding the wire from the fusebox to the sunglass cubby and also what parts in the car you had to disassemble. And does your ipod stop playing when you turn off the car? That's really one of my main reasons for doing this - I always forget to turn it off and drain the battery. This way the battery will always be charged AND it will auto turn off when ignition is cut.

Last edited by vert; 03-03-2010 at 02:58 PM.
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Old 03-05-2010, 09:48 AM   #19
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I'm not using an ipod, I am using a Motorola Droid and it does in fact stop charging when the car is off, so your concern that it would drain your battery is taken care of.
Access to everything only required the removal of 4 screws: 2 to remove the radio, and 2 to remove the trim around the shift lever (mine is an auto). The sunglass cubby and the climate control just pop out. With those things out of the way, you can fit your hand inside the dash area, but not well enough to pass a wire to the glove box area. What I did, was to lower the fuse panel in the glove box, this exposed a cavity at the top of the glove box area between the fuse panel and the center area of the dash that I started to shove wire into. After I stuffed about 2 feet of medium gauge speaker wire into that cavity, I eventually saw a bit of it sticking out into the front area where the radio and stuff was removed from. This allowed me to grab it and pull it through, now I had a pair of wires between the center to the fusebox.

The cig adapter thing is about 2 or more inches long, and can't just be placed behind the cubby with the USB ports sticking into the cubby. So after opening it up, it was easy to see that there were 2 circuit boards, a long one that traveled the length of the tube, and appeared to contain the components to step down the 12v to 5v. this was attached (soldered) to another board in 2 locations that was circular and connected directly to the USB ports. I des-soldered the long board from the round board, and hot glued them to the back of the sunglass holder, reconnected with some wire, and glued the hacked up cig adapter case over them to protect the circuits.

Attached the wires and foudn a place the ground, and presto!
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Old 03-28-2010, 08:16 PM   #20
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Well, after about a month of waiting for the seller to ship the item i finally got it. Picture below shows what i actually got in the mail minus the 3.5mm adapter that I attached to connect to my existing AUX line. I decided to test out this set up by plugging the charger into the cig lighter, connecting the aux line to the male end of the wire i bought through an adapter and connecting the flat docking cable to the bottom of the ipod. When i clicked the Mode button, the radio did not find the Aux input. The only way it finds the Aux is if i unplug the cig adapter.

Then i disconnected the wire i bought alltogether and tried another cig ipod charger that i had plugging that on the bottom of ipod and plugging the aux line on top and it is the same - can not find Aux using the Mode button and no problem finding it as soon as the charger is unplugged.

What am i doing wrong??
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