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      01-22-2013, 01:14 PM   #1
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E92 Hi-Fi Head Unit Upgrade Problem

Hello all,

I am a newbie to all this audio upgrade stuff and have been doing my research but have not been able to find the answer I need. I have the Hi-Fi audio system and I am only looking to install an aftermarket double DIN head unit. I went ahead and purchased the items below for my install.

- Pioneer AVH-5500BHS
- Metra 70-9003 harness
- Metra 40-EU10 antenna adapter
- Metra 95-9306B dash kit
- Metra Axxess ASWC steering wheel control interface

After taking removing the OEM head unit and installing the harness and the Pioneer deck, I was able to get the Pioneer powered on and fully functional but there was no sound coming out of the speakers. I had a buddy of mine look at all my wiring with the harness and everything seemed to look correct. From the research I did, it seemed like upgrading the OEM head unit would be fairly straight forward. Being that I am a newbie to this, is there something obvious that I'm missing? Can somebody please point me in the right direction so I can finally get sound?

Thanks in advance the help!
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      01-22-2013, 02:12 PM   #2
ctuna
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Did you use the RCA outs

Did you use the RCA outs.
How does the metra harness run the Inputs to the Hi Fi amp?
The Hi Fi amp is only meant to accept 5 volt differential signals.
If this thing hooks it up as common ground single ended Inputs it won't work. You will need a adaptor that converts to differential inputs.
Do you have pinouts of the metra harness and the OEM system.
When you say he checked it out do you mean measured with a meter.


http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=641323

The harness may assume the base system is
what you are working with not Hi Fi.

Last edited by ctuna; 01-22-2013 at 02:52 PM.
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      01-22-2013, 04:45 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ctuna View Post
Did you use the RCA outs.
How does the metra harness run the Inputs to the Hi Fi amp?
The Hi Fi amp is only meant to accept 5 volt differential signals.
If this thing hooks it up as common ground single ended Inputs it won't work. You will need a adaptor that converts to differential inputs.
Do you have pinouts of the metra harness and the OEM system.
When you say he checked it out do you mean measured with a meter.


http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=641323

The harness may assume the base system is
what you are working with not Hi Fi.
Going to try to answer your questions to the best of my ability...

- Didn't use any RCA outs.
- I'm not sure how the harness runs the inputs to the amp. I did not touch the amp during the install and all I did was connect the Metra harness to the OEM harness.
- Where would I find an adaptor that converst to differential inputs?
- http://www.mybimmer.net/E9X_HU_Install_DIY/pin-outs.JPG
I used that link and mirrored the pin outs on my Metra harness exactly.
- He did not use a meter and just checked that everything was connected properly...

I thought the Metra harness was the only one I needed as I saw some other posts (see below) that mentioned it was just a simple BMW harness adapter that would do the trick. I tried PMing the guys that did the install but wasn't able to get a response. I see Technic's harness but I believe that harness is just for an upgrade of the OEM Hi-Fi amp?

http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=716404
http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=521292
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      01-22-2013, 06:46 PM   #4
ctuna
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Most us another amp with that harness I think.

Most use an aftermarket amp with that harness I think.
Technic would know how to solve this I think .
Or VP.

Last edited by ctuna; 01-22-2013 at 07:10 PM.
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      01-23-2013, 01:26 AM   #5
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We don't know if your amplifier is turning on.

We don't know what is connected to the amplifier inputs.

Please post a picture of your head unit wiring.

I've done many head unit installs, and I wouldn't do one without a voltmeter. I wouldn't work on a BMW without a voltmeter.

The most common problem with head unit installs in BMWs is powering the wrong lead for amp turn on.

So are you retaining the head unit in the car?
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      01-23-2013, 01:36 AM   #6
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Just out of curiousity, why isn't the retailer who sold you the hardware providing tech support?
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      01-23-2013, 02:05 AM   #7
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Beside the turn on signal

Isn't it not good to be running speaker output channels from an
aftermarket head unit IC amp into a Hi Fi amp inputs as a preamp signal.
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      01-23-2013, 02:32 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VP Electricity View Post
We don't know if your amplifier is turning on.

We don't know what is connected to the amplifier inputs.

Please post a picture of your head unit wiring.

I've done many head unit installs, and I wouldn't do one without a voltmeter. I wouldn't work on a BMW without a voltmeter.

The most common problem with head unit installs in BMWs is powering the wrong lead for amp turn on.

So are you retaining the head unit in the car?
Thanks for the insight VP. I think the amplifier turning on/off is what the problem is but I'm not sure how to check that or get that to work. I was not aware that I needed to do anything with the amplifier inputs and as such, never touched anything that had to do with the amplifier. I only had the Metra harness plugged into the OEM harness and no other wires running anywhere else in the car. I'm at work and can't post pictures at the moment but I will get to those as soon as I can. For now, I don't plan on retaining the OEM unit in the car. I just want to get the Pioneer deck in there and working with sound.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VP Electricity View Post
Just out of curiousity, why isn't the retailer who sold you the hardware providing tech support?
I bought everything off of Amazon and their knowledge of BMW car audio (highly doubt there is any) doesn't compare to what I can find on here. I tried putting the head unit in my buddy's truck and everything worked perfect there, sound and all (he also has a Pioneer deck and we just plugged his existing harness into my deck).

Thanks again for everyone's help on this one!
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      01-23-2013, 03:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ctuna View Post
Isn't it not good to be running speaker output channels from an
aftermarket head unit IC amp into a Hi Fi amp inputs as a preamp signal.
I would think the possibility of that happening is low just because the pins for the low level output of the hi-fi HU probably differ from the speaker level outputs of the base HU. If anything, I think VP is right that the amp is not turning on or there is no preamp signal going to the amp.
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      01-23-2013, 04:16 PM   #10
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By just hooking up to the harness, I would think that would be sending head unit amplified signal to the amp. Not a good thing.
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      01-23-2013, 04:35 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdgatti View Post
By just hooking up to the harness, I would think that would be sending head unit amplified signal to the amp. Not a good thing.
If the harness was really intended for a hi-fi HU, you would think that it would have RCA pigtails coming off it since the manufacturer should have known that the OEM amp needs a preamp signal. Otherwise, you might be right in saying that the harness might have been intended for a base audio system. Still, the OEM connector behind the HU is the probably the same no matter what HU is installed and I'm thinking because of that, the speaker level outputs for the base HU and the balanced diff outputs from the hi-fi HU would probably not occupy the same pins. Therefore, if you connected a base audio harness to the hi-fi HU, those hi-fi amp input in the OEM harness are probably connected to nothing right now.

Of course, I've never looked behind a hi-fi HU or base HU so this is all just guessing at this point.
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      01-23-2013, 05:18 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdgatti View Post
By just hooking up to the harness, I would think that would be sending head unit amplified signal to the amp. Not a good thing.
Probably a dumb question but does that damage the amp?
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      01-23-2013, 07:29 PM   #13
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I think it could - but the fact you never heard anything might mean your amp never powered up.
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      01-23-2013, 10:13 PM   #14
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The outputs of the deck to the HiFi amp ARE the speaker-level outputs. They just turn down the voltage a little when coded for HiFi. Otherwise there is no electrical difference. The ONLY possible problem is when you turn it up ALL THE WAY and you clip the inputs a bit. It already sounds heinous well before you get that far into the volume of the HU, so it's self-correcting. This is what works. (When the amp is turned on...)
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      01-24-2013, 03:57 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VP Electricity View Post
The outputs of the deck to the HiFi amp ARE the speaker-level outputs. They just turn down the voltage a little when coded for HiFi. Otherwise there is no electrical difference. The ONLY possible problem is when you turn it up ALL THE WAY and you clip the inputs a bit. It already sounds heinous well before you get that far into the volume of the HU, so it's self-correcting. This is what works. (When the amp is turned on...)
So if I'm understanding that correctly, once I get the OEM amp to turn on, the sound quality coming from the aftermarket HU will sound like crap but there will be no damage done to the OEM amp?
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      01-25-2013, 02:22 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kirkland Sig View Post
Going to try to answer your questions to the best of my ability...

- Didn't use any RCA outs.
- I'm not sure how the harness runs the inputs to the amp. I did not touch the amp during the install and all I did was connect the Metra harness to the OEM harness.
- Where would I find an adaptor that converst to differential inputs?
- http://www.mybimmer.net/E9X_HU_Install_DIY/pin-outs.JPG
I used that link and mirrored the pin outs on my Metra harness exactly.
- He did not use a meter and just checked that everything was connected properly...

I thought the Metra harness was the only one I needed as I saw some other posts (see below) that mentioned it was just a simple BMW harness adapter that would do the trick. I tried PMing the guys that did the install but wasn't able to get a response. I see Technic's harness but I believe that harness is just for an upgrade of the OEM Hi-Fi amp?

http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=716404
http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=521292
I'm one of the guys you PM'd, sorry didn't notice.

My car has the 8400BH and has the Hi-Fi Amp. I do however have an aftermarket amplifier that powers the underseats (upgraded to SWS) and the fronts. The rear are still powered by the HiFi amplifier and they do work. I fade mostly to the front and I haven't really listened to them with any care so I can't speak for the quality.

My upgrade path was this:

1) SWS and JL Amplifier installed with Stock Radio. I did not use Technic's harness but I did the same wiring work. I'm an electrical engineer and am quite comfortable doing this kind of thing. The JL amplifier at this point used the stock radio's level output. (IIRC)
2) I purchased and installed a Dynavin. I did not change any wiring with regards to amplifier feeds (i.e., switch to RCA)
3) Dynavin failed and I purchased the 8400BH. Again, I did not change any of the amplifier feeds but I do plan to run RCAs from the head to the JL amplifier eventually.

Considering that with the Pioneer 8400BH feeds the stock Hi-Fi amp that in turns feeds my rear speakers, I'd say that you can make it work with what you have.

The stock Hi-Fi amp has a very small gauge wire that is the remote turn-on lead. I tapped off of this to turn on my JL amplifier. I want to say this small guage wire extends to the front of the car and is in the harness where you plug in the radio. Look for it in the factory harness. See what pin it corresponds to and make sure that the Pioneer's remote turn-on lead matches to that pin. I want to say that the Metra harness did not match these up and I had to directly wire this turn-on to the Pioneer's remote turn-on lead. I can't say with 100% certainty though because I did this work Last July and again, I'm an electrical engineer that troubleshoots and develops so much it's second nature to me so I identified and solved the issue rather quickly. Enough so at least that I can't remember exact details.
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      01-25-2013, 02:26 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kirkland Sig View Post
So if I'm understanding that correctly, once I get the OEM amp to turn on, the sound quality coming from the aftermarket HU will sound like crap but there will be no damage done to the OEM amp?
No, not necessarily. See above. I have the same series Pioneer that feeds into the Hi-Fi amp that in turn powers the rear speakers in my E90. I can't comment on it being a great wonderous sound as I fade to the front 2-3 notches (on the Pioneer). I can say that there isn't any distortion, pops, cracks or overall any issues coming from the rear speakers. Nor is there any noise.

You're probably going to be fine once you get it working. You're not going to win any competitions for quality that's for sure, but it'll probably suit you if you're just a casual listener streaming MP3s/Pandora via Bluetooth and the like.
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      02-01-2013, 09:51 AM   #18
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Kirkland - did you ever get your aftermarket HU to work?
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      02-01-2013, 01:14 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scubasteve2365 View Post
I'm one of the guys you PM'd, sorry didn't notice.

My car has the 8400BH and has the Hi-Fi Amp. I do however have an aftermarket amplifier that powers the underseats (upgraded to SWS) and the fronts. The rear are still powered by the HiFi amplifier and they do work. I fade mostly to the front and I haven't really listened to them with any care so I can't speak for the quality.

My upgrade path was this:

1) SWS and JL Amplifier installed with Stock Radio. I did not use Technic's harness but I did the same wiring work. I'm an electrical engineer and am quite comfortable doing this kind of thing. The JL amplifier at this point used the stock radio's level output. (IIRC)
2) I purchased and installed a Dynavin. I did not change any wiring with regards to amplifier feeds (i.e., switch to RCA)
3) Dynavin failed and I purchased the 8400BH. Again, I did not change any of the amplifier feeds but I do plan to run RCAs from the head to the JL amplifier eventually.

Considering that with the Pioneer 8400BH feeds the stock Hi-Fi amp that in turns feeds my rear speakers, I'd say that you can make it work with what you have.

The stock Hi-Fi amp has a very small gauge wire that is the remote turn-on lead. I tapped off of this to turn on my JL amplifier. I want to say this small guage wire extends to the front of the car and is in the harness where you plug in the radio. Look for it in the factory harness. See what pin it corresponds to and make sure that the Pioneer's remote turn-on lead matches to that pin. I want to say that the Metra harness did not match these up and I had to directly wire this turn-on to the Pioneer's remote turn-on lead. I can't say with 100% certainty though because I did this work Last July and again, I'm an electrical engineer that troubleshoots and develops so much it's second nature to me so I identified and solved the issue rather quickly. Enough so at least that I can't remember exact details.
Quote:
Originally Posted by scubasteve2365 View Post
No, not necessarily. See above. I have the same series Pioneer that feeds into the Hi-Fi amp that in turn powers the rear speakers in my E90. I can't comment on it being a great wonderous sound as I fade to the front 2-3 notches (on the Pioneer). I can say that there isn't any distortion, pops, cracks or overall any issues coming from the rear speakers. Nor is there any noise.

You're probably going to be fine once you get it working. You're not going to win any competitions for quality that's for sure, but it'll probably suit you if you're just a casual listener streaming MP3s/Pandora via Bluetooth and the like.
Thanks Scuba for the detailed description. Very much appreciated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cdgatti View Post
Kirkland - did you ever get your aftermarket HU to work?
I apologize for the delayed response but I haven't had time to work on the install since my initial post. Been traveling for work and just haven't had the time. Planning on jumping back into it Saturday morning. I'll update once I do so.

Thanks again everyone for the input!
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      02-04-2013, 02:10 PM   #20
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Finally got around to working on the HU again and it was somewhat of a success. I located the small gauge remote turn-on wire for the OEM amp (thanks Scuba) and finally got sound (never though I would be happy to hear static). Now I have two new problems which I think are easily fixed but I'm just not sure how to go about fixing them. First, the HU does not turn on until I actually start the car or if I just hit the Start/Stop button to put the car into "On" mode. The HU also turns off when I stop the engine. I currently have the power wire that came with the Metra harness running to the cigarette lighter fuse in the glove box. I'm assuming I just need to find another source of power so that the HU turns on when I put the key in instead of having to actually start the car. Second, I'm not able to retain the presets for my radio stations and the settings to the HU (button colors and display themes) when I turn off the car and then turn on again the next time. It seems to work if it's a short time frame between turning on/off the car but if it's more than an hour I lose all the settings that I had in the HU from before. I'm assuming I need to find another constant power source so that the HU retains all the settings when the car is turned off.

Can somebody please let me know the correct fuse I'm supposed to be running to as well as a constant power source so I can retain settings? I'll try to snap some pictures of the wiring at lunch. Thanks everyone.
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      02-05-2013, 03:43 PM   #21
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Can anybody point me in the direction of a constant power source so I can retain all the settings on the HU when I shut the car off?
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      02-05-2013, 06:18 PM   #22
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You might be able to find what you need in this.

http://www.caraudiocraze.com/E90-Install-Guide1.0.pdf
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