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DIY iPhone 5 Dash Mount (non-iDrive) w/Steering Wheel Controls & Charging Enabled
Control your iPhone 5 & charge it while mounted on dash
Published by Smoke4U
03-23-2013
DIY iPhone 5 Dash Mount (non-iDrive) w/Steering Wheel Controls & Charging Enabled

This post shows how to extend the iPhone control cable to the dash area. I keep my iPhone 5 mounted between the two front air vents on the dash using a Mountek nGroove Universal CD Slot Mount iPhone holder since I use it as my GPS. It is also easier to change songs on GrooveShark, Pandora, etc. vs. digging it out of the center console.

The advantage over Bluetooth AD2P adapters is that this sounds better by far and the steering wheel remotes retains control over the iPhone (can't do that with AD2P).

You will need three items:
  1. Mountek nGroove Universal CD Slot Mount - $25
  2. CableJive dockXtender 6 foot Extension Cable for iPhone - $27
  3. Apple Lightning to 30-Pin Adapter (0.2M) - $34

All instructions are on the images below. Please note that this setup does charge the iPhone as well, but it will not charge it if you are over ~80% charge (no idea why, but if you're at 80% charge you don't need to charge it anyway).
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  #1  
By richpike on 03-24-2013, 12:41 PM
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Very nice write up. I had bought a lightning adapter to do the same thing, but when I went to test it before installing everything it wouldn't charge so I returned the adapter. But I'm sure I was over 80% charge, so maybe that was my problem.

What year is your car?

Thanks,
Rich
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  #2  
By Smoke4U on 03-24-2013, 12:43 PM
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Thanks.

The car is a 2008 (Born on 2008-07-15). It is strange that when the phone is charged "enough" it won't charge, but does when it is low. For the most part when I plug it in it accepts a charge. I typically don't plug my phone in at night so it gets down to 30% or so the next morning when I plug it into the adapter and it accepts a charge.
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  #3  
By richpike on 03-24-2013, 12:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smoke4U View Post
Thanks.

The car is a 2008 (Born on 2008-07-15).
Nice. I'll have to give this another shot.

-Rich
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  #4  
By shakko on 03-24-2013, 04:58 PM
What do you think of the sound quality of the 30-pin adapter?

I'm using one of these adapters hooked to a 30pin for hooking up my iPhone 5 to the car's aux port, but I feel theres distortion/static that can be hard at normal to loud volumes.
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  #5  
By Smoke4U on 03-24-2013, 05:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shakko View Post
What do you think of the sound quality of the 30-pin adapter?

I'm using one of these adapters hooked to a 30pin for hooking up my iPhone 5 to the car's aux port, but I feel theres distortion/static that can be hard at normal to loud volumes.
When used with the BMW Y-cable that connects to both the USB & AUX ports in the center console there should be no distortion. What DOES cause distortion is if you keep the volume on the phone set to MAX. This generally only affects AUX connections to the radio (when AUX is the input source on the radio) since when you're connected to the iPod input source the volume settings on the phone are ignored (I think).

You can also lower the volume of the input source through the menu on the radio.

First try lowering the volume on the phone. I had the distortion problem when connecting the iPhone with a mini-stereo jack cable from the headphone port on the phone to the AUX port in the center console. You must get the volume turned down to at least 75% of max volume on the phone to eliminate it (goes for all stereos, not just the BMW).
Last edited by Smoke4U; 03-24-2013 at 05:21 PM.
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  #6  
By richpike on 03-26-2013, 12:44 PM
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Just wanted to give a big thumbs up to Smoke4U - I went and bought another lightning adapter and sure enough, it does charge at <80% charge! Woohoo. Thanks for the tip.

-Rich
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  #7  
By TreyR28 on 03-26-2013, 10:47 PM
Your post gave me the idea to take the aux cord that I normally slam between the console door and the console, and wire it through the bottom of the dash and out between the seat. It turned out great and now I don't have to open the console and position the cord just right every time I want to use my aux cord. Also I found a shortcut for getting the wire to go under the console. I took off the boot on the emergency brake and it exposes all of the inside of the console. (Removing the need to fish the wire through)

Btw to take off the boot just pull up from the front of the boot
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  #8  
By Smoke4U on 03-28-2013, 09:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TreyR28 View Post
Your post gave me the idea to take the aux cord that I normally slam between the console door and the console, and wire it through the bottom of the dash and out between the seat.
That's great! Good to learn about removing the ebrake boot. Sounds like a nice way to do this.
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  #9  
By Smoke4U on 03-28-2013, 09:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richpike View Post
Just wanted to give a big thumbs up to Smoke4U - I went and bought another lightning adapter and sure enough, it does charge at <80% charge! Woohoo. Thanks for the tip.

-Rich
Kick a$$!! Glad to have helped
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  #10  
By Titanium3er on 05-13-2013, 12:12 PM
Great write up. I did this over the weekend. No more ugly wires overflowing out of my center console. Thanks!
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  #11  
By Smoke4U on 06-17-2013, 05:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickvacc View Post
Great write up. I did this over the weekend. No more ugly wires overflowing out of my center console. Thanks!
Glad to have assisted Enjoy!
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  #12  
By Rosetta Stoned on 06-20-2013, 08:01 AM
How sturdy is that CD mount? I bought the same one but it didn't fit into the CD slot, maybe it would have but didn't want to force it. Did you have to trim it or anything?
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  #13  
By Smoke4U on 06-20-2013, 11:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosetta Stoned View Post
How sturdy is that CD mount? I bought the same one but it didn't fit into the CD slot, maybe it would have but didn't want to force it. Did you have to trim it or anything?
It is super-sturdy - no trimming required for me (although I heard an older version did need trimming). There is a little tiny gap on either side of the lip that goes in the slot so it is just a little narrower than the CD slot itself.

To get it in the CD slot you need to unscrew the thumbscrew and release the pressure on the pressure plate (lots of redundant words there). Once the two mounting plates that go into the slot are not forced apart anymore it should slide in easy. Then crank the ever lovin' SOB out of it to lock it in place.

I replaced their thumbscrew with a less obtrusive hex key screw from Lowes so it wouldn't block as much of the stereo display.

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  #14  
By Zero_09 on 06-23-2013, 11:44 AM
For non-I drive cars you can use the controls on the steering wheel if you use the BMW Y cable to connect your IPhone?

I've been using a generic 3.5mm to iPhone 4 connector to play my music....
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  #15  
By Smoke4U on 06-25-2013, 06:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zero_09 View Post
For non-I drive cars you can use the controls on the steering wheel if you use the BMW Y cable to connect your IPhone?

I've been using a generic 3.5mm to iPhone 4 connector to play my music....
Yes. The steering wheel controls work for the iPhone/iPod with this setup using the Y cable.
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  #16  
By J3 L U N T on 10-03-2013, 12:34 AM
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Has anyone had trouble with iOS 7?

I have a non iDrive 2008 e90 that does not register my phone when I use the Apple 30pin to lightning connector on my 6FL cable.

My original setup up was with the 6FL cable and iPhone 4s, no problem. Now the iPhone 5s and iOS 7 nothing works!

Thoughts?
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  #17  
By Smoke4U on 10-03-2013, 10:43 AM
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Use OEM Apple Lightning Adapter

Quote:
Originally Posted by J3 L U N T View Post
Has anyone had trouble with iOS 7?

I have a non iDrive 2008 e90 that does not register my phone when I use the Apple 30pin to lightning connector on my 6FL cable.

My original setup up was with the 6FL cable and iPhone 4s, no problem. Now the iPhone 5s and iOS 7 nothing works!

Thoughts?
I updated to iOS7 on an iPhone 5 when it came out and experienced no problems. The phone is recognized as IPOD on the radio as usual and works as it always has.

Real Apple Adapter OEM Required
Please note that it must be an Apple adapter and not a generic one since the generic ones do not pass audio through (they just charge).

Another possibility would be the small 30pin to lighting adapter. Did you use the extension one used in this writeup? There may be a subtle difference but I doubt it. They should both work.

I'm betting you used a generic 30pin to lighting adapter and that is causing your problems.
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  #18  
By J3 L U N T on 10-03-2013, 12:59 PM
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I purchase the 30pin to Lightning from Apple (Real OEM) and it was the extension one, not the small.

I also have an OEM BMW Y-Cable (6FL).

When I go to audio sources I see AUX and USB instead of the IPOD source I previously would see when attaching my iPod or iPhone via the 6FL only.
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  #19  
By Smoke4U on 10-03-2013, 01:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J3 L U N T View Post
I purchase the 30pin to Lightning from Apple (Real OEM) and it was the extension one, not the small.

I also have an OEM BMW Y-Cable (6FL).

When I go to audio sources I see AUX and USB instead of the IPOD source I previously would see when attaching my iPod or iPhone via the 6FL only.
That's a bummer I was hoping it was a power only adapter which would cause this problem. Are there any extension cables added to your 6FL? If so I am sure you removed them to test connectivity between the 6FL connected directly to the lightning adapter. If that did not work then maybe it's a bum lighting adapter?

Not sure about this but I have the original iOS 7.0 install. I did not install the update to it yet (7.02). Are you on the same version or is yours updated to 7.02? If so maybe that breaks things (I hope not).

Things To Try
1) Hard Reset your iphone by holding down the lock and home buttons simultaneously until the phone cuts itself off. Turn it on again and try connecting it to the adapter once again.

2) Try a new lightning adapter. Maybe its a bum one. A quick drive to the Apple store could confirm this (quick is all relative here).

3) Try a newer 6FL cord. I recall that the oldest cord was for iPhone 3's and I believe they released a newer cord for the iPhone 4's. If this statement is true (can't remember nor find supporting documents now) then maybe it won't work without a new 6FL cable. A drive to the dealer would confirm this.

You should be working and those are the only points of failure possible.
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  #20  
By s!ke on 10-21-2013, 10:49 AM
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Wow, I just realized that this won't work for me because I don't have the usb port on my car. I bought the Y cable and everything, but my car only has the AUX port.
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  #21  
By Smoke4U on 10-21-2013, 10:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s!ke View Post
Wow, I just realized that this won't work for me because I don't have the usb port on my car. I bought the Y cable and everything, but my car only has the AUX port.
Bummer! I hear you can add one with some coding if you have the correct head unit. See http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=869836

But in all honesty it probably isn't worth it. You could simply run a long 3.5mm cord to the same location in the dash. All you lose is control functionality which isn't that big of a deal.
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