BMW iPod Connectivity

Last Monday I came across a post on http://www.bmwblog.com/2014/04/14/add-ipod-connectivity-older-bmw-hard-think/ talking about adding iPod connectivity to BMW vehicles. I’ve got a 2002 BMW X5 with the high end dsp equipped stereo and navigation system. It’s got a 6 disk CD Player in the back, which was reasonable in 2002, but extremely limited in 2014.

I’d heard about the DICE model in the past, but never heard about the http://usaspec.com/ model. The state of the USA Spec website was slightly concerning, but the fact that I could order the part from Amazon was at least a bonus. That it explicitly listed compatibility with the DSP unit was also promising. I ordered the item, expecting it to arrive by Wednesday. The model that arrived on Wednesday had the right information on the outside of the package, but had a PA11-BMW instead of the PA12-BMW-dsp that I needed. Thankfully Amazon returns department set up a shipment of the correct model to arrive by Friday, and simple return label for the incorrect item.

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The first package came with all of the correct supplementary parts, just not the correct electronics. It’s got the DSP cable at the top right, the cable that connects the USASPEC PA12-BMWdsp to the BMW Wiring harness, the iPod connector cable, and a small coax male to male cable connector.
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The correct hardware has both the dsp connector and a four position dip switch.

I removed my CD Changer and plugged the device into the cables in its place. I plugged my iPod into the device. The iPod put the words BMW up on the screen, and also told me it was OK to disconnect.

I was not able to get the device working in my system. At one point I had music playing, and the text of the song names displayed in my instrument cluster, but not on the center console display. I never had control working from the center console radio.

After all of this work I found references that it is not compatible with the NAV system. I had seen some references that it was not compatible with the satellite radio systems, as well as other misspellings in the documentation, so I didn’t know if I’d be able to find a way to make it work.

I’ve been interested in having this working with my vehicle, and wouldn’t mind paying for an original BMW part if I can make it work. Unfortunately my BMW was built in May of 2002, and there was a revision in October 2002 that has an AUX port on the back of the head unit that would make connecting any device to the unit much easier.

I’ve read that various parts of the system can be swapped out, such as the fact my nav system is CD based, and I can swap out the CD Nav System with a DVD Nav system, and the console should then be able to do the newer 3d navigation that was in newer models.

I’d really like to know if I can buy a newer head unit and get the Aux port just by swapping out the in dash component.

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