iPhone for E36
G'Day All, DEATH2000 expressed some interest in a small mod I made to my 318is... thought I'd give a brief description and post some pics in case anyone else wanted to go the same way.
The mod? Well, later model BMW's appear to have Bluetooth or even iPhone connectivity, but for we band of E36 brothers and sisters there is no such luxury.
Until now. I purchased for a reasonable price a Dension iPhone interface. This is a nifty little box that comes complete with the wiring necessary to plug straight into the back of your BMW head unit, no cutting, soldering or other corrective wiring needed. You unplug the CD changer and the radio harness, plug the adaptor into your radio, plug the Dension controller into the CD changer socket and then the standard radio harness plugs straight into the adaptor - thats the limit of the wiring. At this stage, the head unit can go back into the dash. All that's left is to place the cradle in some convenient place and hide the actual unit out of the way.
Now I mentioned unplugging the CD changer, but believe me, when you have an iPhone connected that you can now control from the head unit, you won't miss the CD changer. I unbolted and sold mine.
So what's the benefit? Well from the head unit, you can select any playlist on the iPhone, or songs by artist or songs by album. You can skip forward or replay the songs using the head unit - in exactly the same fashion as if you were using a CD changer. If you have a text capable head unit (BMW Business CD43 is text capable - thats what I have) then you can see name of the track that's playing.
On to the pictures. First off, a shot showing where I placed the Dension unit (Ignore the silver paper... that isn't supposed to be there!!)
As can be seen, the unit tucks up behind the climate control unit quite nicely (Climate control? Well, unit that controls aircon, heater etc etc :D)
A closer shot
Next, a closer shot with tray replaced and showing placement of optional USB port (The USB port allows insertion of any USB device which the Dension unit will also search through and play music from. It will also allow rapid updating of Firmware when released)
Next, a shot showing placement in my car of the cradle. It sits right at the end of the ashtray and no, it doesn't interfere with the ashtray opening
A further shot, taken from the side showing height of unit.
and finally, my iPhone in the cradle. Mine is a 3GS but the unit comes with adaptors for the cradle to fit iPod, iPod touch, iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 and 4S - there is also a whole load more adaptors that seem to fit smaller iPods
I am sorry not to have any pictures of the finished project i.e. with all parts replaced and the unit operating...... if anyone is interested, I shall take some photos of just that and upload them.
If anyone is considering going this route for their E36, feel free to contact me - I'd be happy to pass on all I learnt during the fitting process.
That looks quiet cool. I like the placement of it. I have an iPhone dock in my truck that mounts to the window and it's okay, but for the BMW I don't like it. Down by the shift knob is great.
The setup works well and of course charges the phone at the same time. The biggest benefit is being able to control the music from the head unit in the same fashion you control the CD.
I originally had the C33 head unit with a casette tape, but the one I had was apparently manufactured by BECKER and the Becker units are not text capable. I swapped it for a BMW Business Radio C43, which has the single CD slot and also the CD controller port at the back. It is very very important to ensure the unit you have has the CD changer port on the back as that is what allows the Dension unit to work its magic.
The benefit of this is of course that whilst I mainly use the iPhone, I can, if I so choose, also play a CD.
This, and the HID headlight upgrade were two of the most cost-effective mods I have made to the car.
The Dension units can be either purchased directly from the Dension website, or the way I got mine, through eBay. Not too sure of protocol so I won't mention any vendors here, but I am happy to supply name of vendor I dealt with on eBay via PM if required - I can HIGHLY recommend this particular vendor, they dispatched quickly, and their after sales service with regards me finding out about having a Becker unit and what to do was absoluetly first class - I couldn't rate them highly enough.
That's pretty cool. I've hesitated getting a new head unit for a long time cause I never wanted to mess up the look of the stock dash. Maybe I'm a purist that way? I got an iPhone a couple months back so this would be a great option. I will definitely have to look into this in the future. I do love the ability to still play CDs. That's important to me and my wife :)
I assume that by plugging into the CD changer port it is designed to replace the CD playler so I would need to replace the factory radio? Is it possibly to get a connector/adapter that allows both of them to be plugged in at once?
It certainly replaces the 6 stack CD changer in the boot, and I did look for an interface to allow me to keep both the Dension unit and the CD changer. The bad news is that Dension could never get the CD Changer retention unit "stable" for the E36 according to them and discontinued manufacture of that retention unit.
My car came with the stock C33 unit with the cassette tape player, and all I did was swap it for a unit that was fitted to the later models - the C43 BMW Business Radio which has the single slot CD instead of the tape. It still looks "stock" (because it is!!) and has the same orange lighting as the original unit and the rest of the dash.
Like most things, I found my C43 unit on eBay :D
Very nice DIY project. Does this have bluetooth?
The unit I fitted - the Gateway 3000 - doesn't, but the Gateway 5000 and onwards do come with full bluetooth functionality.
I went for the slightly cheaper Gateway 3000 as I use a Jawbone bluetooth earpiece to connect and talk on the phone and didn't need the bluetooth function.
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