I've just bought a 2000 330 SE Touring. It came with a BMW
proferssional radio and a 6 CD changer in the back.
It's a great car in every way - but, I would like to upgrade the CD
changer to one capable of playing MP3 cds. Six ordinary CDs just isn't
I would also like to retain the original head at the front if
possible, as it is tied into the steering wheel controls etc.
What are my options?
Is there something as simple as a firmware upgrade?
Would a later MP3 capable BMW CD player be compatible with the
existing head? Are they even for sale as separate units.
Sorry , I don't know much about BMWs at all.... :-)
The 2005 head unit plays MP3s and should swap with your existing
model just fine.
"Everybody wants a normal life and a cool car;
most people will settle for the car." Chris Titus
2003 BMW 325i Black/Black, 2003 BMW Z4 Black/Black
Thanks for the response.
It's an MP3 capable cd changer I really want - as opposed to wanting
the head itself to be MP3 capable. (but that changer has to be
compatible with either the current head, or a new head that fits
seamlessly in a 2000 dashboard, and that can preferably also be
controlled by the steering wheel buttons).
I presume, since you say the 2005 head should swap with my existing
unit just fine, that the 2005/6 CD changer should likewise be OK?
The Alpine unit with a suitable adapter should meet your needs, but that's a
cludgy solution. I'd recommend a Dension Icelink or DICE unit and your
choice of ipod. You'll actually have as much or more control over the ipod
as you'll have with 6 MP3 CD's and their roughly 100 songs / disk. Overall
cost is roughly the same and your ipod is portable (take your tunes to the
gym, the beach, anywhere) and playlists etc are more easily manipulated via
itunes than burning additional MP3 disks.
Why not get somewhere near the leading edge of the technology? A CD
changer, even MP3 capable, isn't it.
R / John
I have one of these on my 2001 330ci and it does everything you could
ever wish for. All tracks have their ID tags and the menus of the iPod
are easily navigated from the steering wheel meaning that you can find
your artists/albums/songs quickly. No longer to you have to struggle
through a CD of 100 MP3s to find your favourite track, iPod will drill
down quickly and efficiently and also remember what you were playing
last you you can pick up where you left off.
Another bonus is that there is no change to the appearance of the car
since you can put your iPod in the glove compartment, away from the
eyes of theives.
Note that iPod is not just an MP3 player, it is a way of life. No
longer will you play CDs, you will rip them then put them in a corner,
your iPod will become (one of) your best friend(s).
It was this website that sold it to me - http://www.ispoons.com /
Come on... join the iPod generation...
Here's what you need (no connection with the supplier, except as a satisfied
I've used this setup on an E39 and two E46s and it works really well. The
Alpine is a perfect fit in the original CD changer brackets - at least on
the saloon, although I would guess that the Touring fitment would be the
Only disadvantages are that you get no info on the display other than track
number (i.e. no different from the standard unit) and you have to step
through dozens (or hundreds) of MP3 tracks to get to the one you want.
Rather than locking yourself to an iPod, have you considered BMW's
official Aux Audio Input connector: http://www.my330i.com/mod26.php
The piece is only $40, and it will take audio from any source. I have
an iPod now, but I don't know (and honestly doubt) I will in the next
couple years (but I'll most likely have my 330 still). Like the guide
above, I mounted it above the shifter and it works great.
First off, if you're using a stock deck, chances are audio quality isn't
a top priority. Furthermore, the post I'm replying to is suggesting a
solution that will lock the user into an iPod -- a device where unless
the user is only using Apple's Lossless codec will already have lossy
songs. With the auxillary in option, you can use a device which
supports line out and a multitude of lossless codecs (FLAC, MonkeyAudio,
etc.) -- in this case audio quality would actually be better. If the
user already has all their songs in Apple's Lossless format, they might
as well go with the iPod solution as they're pretty much vertically
locked to Apple devices. Personally, I keep most of my songs in both
FLAC and MP3, so in the future when I find a device I like which
supports FLAC, migration will be trivial.
no ID3 tags,
The ID3 tags are on the device; personally at the moment I just leave my
iPod in the cup holder, and I'm fairly confident I'll do the same with
any future device. If you do a lot of night driving, than perhaps this
is an issue; I usually try to pay attention to the road and not scroll
through my music collection when I'm driving at night...
and no ability to control it from the steering wheel controls. It's
While you can't change tracks, you can still control the volume. I
guess the importance of being able to scroll through your music depends
on how you go about listening to it. About 85% of the time I use either
a "My Top Rated" or "Songs Not Played Recently", and the remaining 15%
of the time I just listen to a single artist/album. In both cases,
scrolling through isn't a major issue since I can just press the next
track on the device.
Basically what it comes down to is if you foresee yourself staying with
an iPod for as long as you have your car or you buy all your music
through iTunes and are locked in, than you should probably go with an
iPod solution. If you believe that before you sell your car you'll be
switching audio players (at the moment I expect to, my iPod is a 3rd
generation, and I definitely don't see enough value added in Apple's
current offerings), then going with a generic audio in is probably the
This will not fit a 2000 radio, basically you need thye facility for a
second input on the rear of the player.
A DIY version, which I made, is shown here, works out a lot cheaper -
the original message to BMW Digest is below:
I have always wanted to connect my iPod to my stereo in my E46 330ci,
however have been put off by the complexity and limitations of the BMW
iPod lead http://www.ipodyourbmw.com /) and other solutions involving
leads to and from the CD changer, adding another interface box and
having to change the CD changer itself (http://isachin.com/BMW/ipod /).
I was browsing through EBay and I spotted a BMW Business CD player that
professed to play MP3, albeit on CD. It appears that all post 9/04
cars have this capability. I urged myself to do some research, so I
googled some key words and was surprised to find the existence of an
AUX-in lead (http://www.eurobuyers.com/instinstr/auxkitdir.pdf and
http://www.mattmcnulty.com/325xi/DIY/aux_input.html ), I called my BMW
dealer and he wanted 60 pounds for it, but it wasnt in stock. I
wanted one at that very minute!!!!
Also, I noticed that the AUX-in jack plug was recommended to be fitted
into the glove compartment, which as we all know is meant for gloves
and not iPods! Seriously though, it means that you have to drive with
your glove box open (OK, not really, but you see my point!).
I did some more searching and I found that a Spanish chap had done what
I was intending to do
and luckily, being fluent in Spanish I was able to see what he had done
(the pictures are enough!).
Unfortunately I was so hellbent on installing it, I forget to take
pictures of the construction, however
show the way the components should be connected. If there is any
interest in this, I can disassemble the car and take some pictures to
Now, a couple of things to note. I have a 2001 car with a 2003 CD
player, this has two 10 pin sockets below the big socket on the back of
I understand that pre-2002 cars do not have this type of stereo fitted.
In addition, the pre-2002 vehicle wiring harness makes putting a plug
in this socket (Assuming you have a later head unit like me) difficult,
but not impossible. DONT BE PUT OFF!!!!
The two 1x5 plugs I used had orientation keys which needed to be
removed with a Stanley knife. The offset of the pins, keeping the
minimum offset towards the mating surface between the plugs, allowed a
perfect installation. Our Spanish friend above used a hacked IDC
connector. I prefer my method since three wires (platted like the hair
of Heidi from that TOP TV programme) are tidier than a 10 way IDC lead.
For my installation, I removed the heater controls and sunglasses
compartment and threaded the cable through to enable the jack socket to
be attached to the switch panel next to the DSP switch (between the
sunglasses compartment and ash tray). On the rear of this panel, there
were a number of strengthening ribs, so out came the Stanley knife
again to cut a portion of one away to achieve a flt surface for the
socket to mate against. I drilled a hole small enough to enable the
socket to be screwed into the panel, doing away with the nut that would
look unsightly. I now have a flush 3.5mm socket! To me, this is a
tidier solution than BMWs offering.
Of course, this solution doesnt charge the iPod (or other external
player), however I will use my PowerPod
(http://www.griffintechnology.com/products/powerpod /) to do the
The list of bits I used in below:
Two plugs for the back of the radio (you have to cut off the
orientation keys to make one 10 pin plug that fits into the back of the
stereo); PCB Latch Hsng 5-Way (BH66W) @ #0.20
Some connectors for above; 0.1in Skt Terminals (YW25C) @ #0.63
Some strip board to build it on (you only need about 1 x 1 to build
it); Strip Board (JP47B) @ #2.49
Two ceramic 22uF capacitors; Disc 0.22uF 16V (JL01B) @ #0.07
A 300kOhm 0.6w resistor; MF Resistor 300k (G300K) @ #0.01
Some cable from the radio to the PCB; red, white and black:
Some cable from the PCB to the line-in socket:
A 3.5mm socket
If anyone else is interested in doing the same and wants more info,
please email me, I am happy to help!
And I later posted this (I can't find any links to this sort of
I am an avid iPod fan and E46 driver.
Firstly, I bought a Griffin iTrip, which transmitted FM to the radio,
this was OK if there was sufficient bandwidth on the FM channel, i.e.
space for you to select a frequency without interference from other
channels. Cost - About 30 USD - try Best Buy.
I then went down the route of wiring up the AUX connector on the back
of my BMW Business CD player and I wrote a story about it for this
forum about 6 months ago. It was a good solution and involved making a
copy of the BMW lead and putting a 3.5mm jack on the strip near the ash
tray, but you had to access the songs using the iPod click wheel. The
problem I had was that some of the sound was not as precise as a CD,
especially the guitar on KT Tunstalls Other Side of the World. Cost
100 USD for the BMW lead or about 20 USD for a home made one (like
I went one step further last weekend and I bought a Dension ICE-Link
see www.dension.com. This is fantastic and words cannot convey the joy
this can give the driver. It involves replacing your CD changer with
your iPod. All the iPod functionality can be accessed from your
steering wheel, the iPod can be kept in the glove compartment and it
charges as you use it. I bought one with a cradle, but I would
recommend buying one without, instead using the Dock Lead solution (you
will see what I mean on the website). All the track names, menu names
etc. are displayed on the BMW Business head unit, it has given my car a
new lease of life (even though it didnt need one!).
Cost 200 USD - but money well spent.
Feel free to ask more questions or indeed if you want me to dig out the
instructions for my AUX lead solution.
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