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Thread: AUX-IN to stock E36 head unit

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    AUX-IN to stock E36 head unit

    EDIT:
    full tutorial writeup here
    http://jcrowell.info/bmw-aux-in.html

    crosspost from e36 forum
    I believe that I am the first to ever do this, so, if you have any questions, feel free to ask!

    mod works, pics should explain everything
    open radio
    take out cassette deck
    remove metal shielding
    on that circuit board, from right to left is
    GROUND LEFT RIGHT
    for audio signals
    solder a wire to each of those and a connector to the other end which i ran through under to the space under the onboard computer

    materials
    soldering iron (any crappy one will do, preferably lower wattage, but just be quick if its more than about 30 watts)
    solder
    cable with at least 3 wires in it ( i used a cat-5 on my saab and a usb cable on my brothers BMW)
    1/8" connector

    pics should explain everything pretty well
    http://bayimg.com/DAJOBAabk
    http://bayimg.com/DAjODAABK
    http://bayimg.com/dAJoEAABK
    Last edited by jeffc313; 08-21-2008 at 12:09 PM.

  2. #2
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    so how does it know when you want to use aux or cd?

  3. #3
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    aux is when it is playing tape. you use a blank tape or remove the innards of the tape so that no sound goes over your AUX-in

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    hey jeffc313,

    Thats awesome idea!
    I am looking to do the same with my e39 head unit.

    Can you play Tape (maybe when AUX-IN is not on)?
    Do you have any more pics?

    Do you have any luck of doing this?
    What is the outcome?

    Thank you in advance,
    siny528i

  5. #5
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    tape is still fully functional, when tape is on, both tape and aux are playing, so if nothing is plugged into aux, tape is all that will be heard, and when doing aux, use a blank tape or tape with everything removed.

    mine does work, there is a video of it in use here
    [ame]http://youtube.com/watch?v=8QcAk_QPnjc[/ame]

    i can take a few more pics, i have an extra broken e36 radio that i can take pics of. if you take any hi res photos of the tape deck in the e39 radio, i can try to help you, it should be very very similar

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Awesome...I hacked into a cassette adapter and permanently left it in my tape player to have an aux in port, but your idea is 10000x better. How is the sound quality? Better than an aux tape adapter I hope?

    Also, can you take a picture from the back of the headunit but from farther out? Just so we know exactly where the area is that we need to solder to.

    Thanks.
    1997 328i Jet Black (Sold)
    1995 M3 Daytona Violet (SOLD)
    Planning his return to Bimmerdom...


  7. #7
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    Another question about sound quality. Is it better than a tape adapter?

    Also, does the tape make the little "tape is playing" clicks and rolling around noises from the mechanicals being moved?

  8. #8
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    sound quality is definitely better than a tape adapter. if you remove the ribbon from the tape, the sound doesn't really happen. I'll be sure to snap a few pics tomorrow.

  9. #9
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    so far I removed top cover of my tape deck:


    any ideas where should I go from here?

  10. #10
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    remove teh cassette portion, there are 4 screws holding it down.
    (if you wouldn't mind taking more pics as you go, it would be nice for my tutorial as my pics kinda suck)

    then after that, remove the metal shielding on the cassette portion held on by 2 screws

    I circled the shielding on this picture as well as the cassette deck
    http://img212.imageshack.us/my.php?image=001uo6.jpg

  11. #11
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    no problem

  12. #12
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    ok, thanks, also, when you get the shield off, take a pic of the underlying circuit board so that I can guide you from there

  13. #13
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    you got it, give me few sec

  14. #14
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  15. #15
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    nice pictures!
    ok, so solder a wire to each of the pads shown
    http://img87.imageshack.us/my.php?image=005rl0.jpg
    and then to the corresponding pin on your audio connector, reassemble the radio and you're done!

  16. #16
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    what if make a hole on the back, put a wire with RCA connectors or phone jack and then solder it? But first make a knot on the inside in case of accidental pull of the wire

  17. #17
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    that should work fine, as long as you get the signal in the proper pins on the final connector and the radio, it should work.

  18. #18
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    Make a hole with 7/32 drill bit. BE CAREFULL not to hit circuit board! I slightly went over it



    Now I have this wire. I believe I will have to splice bare wires together and it will be GROUND. White is LEFT. Red is RIGHT. Please correct me if I am wrong.



    PS. And, yes, before soldering it make a knot in a case of accidental pull.

  19. #19
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    yes, the shielding should be ground, left and right, I am not really sure how the phono works, but if left comes out of your right and vice versa and it annoys you, then switch it
    edit: if you want,
    Digg it
    http://*********/mods/AUX_IN_to_stock_E36_head_unit
    Last edited by jeffc313; 05-20-2008 at 01:49 PM.

  20. #20
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    Unhappy

    Unfortunately, I dont have any luck with this

    Its playing ok, but probably some wire touching something and as result I have a distortion. I will try to find another way to connect. Either somewhere else inside a tape deck or, like JuBu did, through cassette adapter with option of leaving it there.

    As a matter of fact I was amazed by the quality with cassette adapter, if you use right adapter, of course. I used Belkin # F8V366. No clicks. Sorry i had to ruin it for this project - not sure if I will be able to fix it back.

    Keep in mind that I am not trying to connect it straight to iPod, but to the brain of Harmon Kardon Drive+Play. This way I will 2 kills in 1 shot - easy navigation and great sound.

    Any input would be welcome,
    siny528i

  21. #21
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    you may have the ipod volume up high and the radio volume low, try the opposite, the ipod amplifier is much worse than the car's amplifier. also make sure that your grounds are solid connections and that none of the wires are shorting each other

  22. #22
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    Hey, I've had this idea for some time, but never had time to try it. Good job!

    I have these ideas for when I do mine:

    a) Find someplace in the deck itself to mount a female 1/8" jack for a cleaner install.
    b) Use an audio isolation transformer for a better quality signal and less distortion.
    c) Find a way to "trick" the deck into allowing AUX in audio through without needing a blank tape.

    Item "c" may prove the most difficult due to the electronic controls governing the tape operation. I'll have to see once I get the deck apart.

    1999 ///M3 TiAg | Heated Power Vaders | DDM Projector36 5000K 55W HIDs | DDM 3000K 35W HID Fogs
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  23. #23
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    item "c" is not that difficult, it just involves the cutting of a trace to open the circuit so that the cassette deck thinks that it is always in use. This causes a bit of trouble however if you want to use a real tape. I just did it that way to be a little less destructive. if you want, i could try to find the trace that you need to cut, but I suggest against it.

    "a" and "b" are good ideas, let me know how it works out

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffc313 View Post
    item "c" is not that difficult, it just involves the cutting of a trace to open the circuit so that the cassette deck thinks that it is always in use. This causes a bit of trouble however if you want to use a real tape. I just did it that way to be a little less destructive. if you want, i could try to find the trace that you need to cut, but I suggest against it.

    "a" and "b" are good ideas, let me know how it works out
    My plan is to use one of those 1/8" jacks with the integrated switch inside to auto-switch the deck into "AUX" mode when the jack is occupied.

    I'll post results when I get something working. First I need to get my suspension project done, but a fun DIY like this is just what I need after all the wrenching!

    1999 ///M3 TiAg | Heated Power Vaders | DDM Projector36 5000K 55W HIDs | DDM 3000K 35W HID Fogs
    DDM Smoked Corners | DDM Weighted Shift Knob | K&N CAI | Mishimoto AL Rad w/Zionsville AL Shroud
    Stewart HiPo Water Pump | Samco Hose Kit | 16" SPAL Puller Fan | Viper 5701LE Security
    E36 OBC is now open! Join the effort: BF.C Thread | openOBC Wiki

  25. #25
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    good luck with it.

    and here is a tutorial that I just wrote up, hope it helps.
    and siny, thanks again for the excellent pictures

    http://jcrowell.info/bmw-aux-in.html

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