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      04-18-2006, 09:56 PM   #1
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I have a crazy iPod idea. Someone please stop me!!

I'm thinking of building/hacking a modified iPod-like device to integrate with my e90 using the newly announced iPod/BMW integration utilizing iDrive. My iPod-like device, let's call it a carPod, would be a 250GB Wi-Fi Hard drive with a iPod connector so it will plug into the BMW/iPod dock connector in the glove box. The idea is that when my e90 is parked in my garage, my carPod would show up as a virtual iPod on my desktop in my house wirelessly. The advantages of a carPod, versus an iPod, are that 1) it's a lot more space and is less money and 2) I don't need to take it out of my car when I want to sync songs and podcasts. In other words, when my car enters the garage, iTunes thinks I'm connecting my iPod to the computer.

Someone please tell me that there is something wrong with this project and that it's not worth pursing.
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      04-19-2006, 12:08 AM   #2
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No, I can't talk you out of it.

When you are successful, be sure to report back to us with pictures and detailed instructions!

Good luck!
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      04-19-2006, 02:45 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bimmer4me
Someone please tell me that there is something wrong with this project and that it's not worth pursing.
Hehehe...

No it is not a nice project, No no no.... When you think you will have it ready? Please do post instructions though as I am highly interrested in this...

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      04-19-2006, 05:35 AM   #4
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WiFi Hard Drive with Apple Connector? I'd like to see that.

How is the drive going to be powered when the car is off?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bimmer4me
I'm thinking of building/hacking a modified iPod-like device to integrate with my e90 using the newly announced iPod/BMW integration utilizing iDrive. My iPod-like device, let's call it a carPod, would be a 250GB Wi-Fi Hard drive with a iPod connector so it will plug into the BMW/iPod dock connector in the glove box. The idea is that when my e90 is parked in my garage, my carPod would show up as a virtual iPod on my desktop in my house wirelessly. The advantages of a carPod, versus an iPod, are that 1) it's a lot more space and is less money and 2) I don't need to take it out of my car when I want to sync songs and podcasts. In other words, when my car enters the garage, iTunes thinks I'm connecting my iPod to the computer.

Someone please tell me that there is something wrong with this project and that it's not worth pursing.
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      04-19-2006, 06:23 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by BitStream
WiFi Hard Drive with Apple Connector? I'd like to see that.

How is the drive going to be powered when the car is off?
I'm not sure. I'm thinking of buying an old notebook computer for the hard drive enclosure, battery and WiFi support. I could somehow hookup the notebook's power supply to the car so that the notebook battery is being charged when the car is on. I could then get a used 30GB iPod (even with a cracked screen) and rewire the hard drive connection to the notebook's hard drive. At least those are some preliminary thoughts, but I'm obviously not sure it would work. I wonder if BMW would do the iPod install so the wiring goes to the trunk instead of the glove box. Hmmm....
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      04-19-2006, 08:00 AM   #6
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No argument here - that's one of the greatest ideas I've ever heard!
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      04-19-2006, 08:03 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bimmer4me
I'm not sure. I'm thinking of buying an old notebook computer for the hard drive enclosure, battery and WiFi support. I could somehow hookup the notebook's power supply to the car so that the notebook battery is being charged when the car is on. I could then get a used 30GB iPod (even with a cracked screen) and rewire the hard drive connection to the notebook's hard drive. At least those are some preliminary thoughts, but I'm obviously not sure it would work. I wonder if BMW would do the iPod install so the wiring goes to the trunk instead of the glove box. Hmmm....
I think that what you are talking about is way more technical than you think. You should just hold out for the Mp3 players with wifi like this: http://www.engadget.com/2005/06/07/s...d-mp3-players/ and you may be able to do the transfer thing that you are talking about.
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      04-19-2006, 08:07 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s3rous
I think that what you are talking about is way more technical than you think. You should just hold out for the Mp3 players with wifi like this: http://www.engadget.com/2005/06/07/s...d-mp3-players/ and you may be able to do the transfer thing that you are talking about.
The problem with a non-iPod solution is that I don't get the integration that I really want; playlists on the Nav screen, ability to use the iDrive controller, and use the steering wheel buttons.
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      04-19-2006, 10:31 AM   #9
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Well, there are rumors of a bluetooth ipod, so if your bluetooth enabled computer was close enough it's possible the functionality could be there to transfer files to it. You wouldn't have your huge hard drive but it would be close.
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      04-19-2006, 11:19 AM   #10
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Bluetooth is very slow thus making synching iPod and Computer very slow. Not to mention that the effective range is below that 10meters and it doesn't have the tolerance of wifi.

That's my 0.02$

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      04-19-2006, 11:30 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bimmer4me
I'm not sure. I'm thinking of buying an old notebook computer for the hard drive enclosure, battery and WiFi support. I could somehow hookup the notebook's power supply to the car so that the notebook battery is being charged when the car is on. I could then get a used 30GB iPod (even with a cracked screen) and rewire the hard drive connection to the notebook's hard drive. At least those are some preliminary thoughts, but I'm obviously not sure it would work. I wonder if BMW would do the iPod install so the wiring goes to the trunk instead of the glove box. Hmmm....
Well it is not that simple. If you wire the iPod HDD to the notebook then the OS of the iPod will be failing as no HDD is present. Newer iPod have smaller disks than the ones that notebooks have. If you have opened an iPod you will see the ribon cable connecting to the drive so you will need an adapter (i am not sure there is any) to connect it to the notebook.

If you manage to overcome all the above then you must have also the notebook to run a kind of OS with wifi support in order to be able to write to the HDD but then again iTunes will not be able to work as the notebook will not be an iPod. So....

Check here this may help you a bit.

http://www.engadget.com/2004/07/10/s...ocketster-pro/

I was thinking that may apple have in their plans to release an iPod with wifi support but then again wifi boards and antennas are way too big to be fitted in an iPod.

Future will tell. It will be quite a gadget though...

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      04-19-2006, 11:30 AM   #12
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well, when i first read your post... i thought it was some lofty dream by someone who didn't have a clue. but i think maybe you might have something here... however, there are 2 major issues:

1. hack the ipod... i'm not sure about this one, but are ipod hd's specially coded like xbox hd? they may be protected so that they can only be used with an ipod... and also the other way around --does the ipod hardware require a coded hd? if so, the super big hd you are adding in there may not work with the ipod interface.

2. how do you connect the hard drive to the ipod and to the laptop computer at the same time? you can't have two devices controlling one drive.


so, i guess the first thing to do is buy ipods with bunk hd's off of ebay ($60 or so) and try to verify it works with non-oe hd's. secondly, the interface problem... you may have to design some kind of ipod emulation program, and design a special piece of hardware to take the ipod cable and have it communicate with your laptop through that emulation software. OR you can have some kind of crazy switching hdd controller to load songs, then switch back to use the ipod controller... but then that's not any better than just putting a wifi enabled laptop in your car and just using itunes to load the ipod the normal way. and a laptop is a lot heavier than an ipod... so maybe you should just disconnect the ipod and bring it inside to load.

okay, so maybe this might be more complicated than i initially thought... good luck if you really want to try this, but i think the costs will end up far outweighing the benefit.
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      04-19-2006, 11:37 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E90-320
...
I was thinking that may apple have in their plans to release an iPod with wifi support but then again wifi boards and antennas are way too big to be fitted in an iPod...
NikGr
This is too big?

http://www.nikonusa.com/template.php...roductNr=25534

Different application (digi cam) small form factor though and same idea (transfering files w/o cord)
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      04-19-2006, 11:42 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghunger
This is too big?

http://www.nikonusa.com/template.php...roductNr=25534

Different application (digi cam) small form factor though and same idea (transfering files w/o cord)
Ehmmm.. different body, not as slim as an iPod not the same size. It is true that wifi boards are getting smaller, but if you ever open an iPod you will see what I really mean. There is room for NOTHING in there, even the air is packed . Apple tends to make them smaller, so.... I for sure wouldn't mind to have an iPod with wifi even if it was bigger, but then again it is just me....

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      04-19-2006, 11:52 AM   #15
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What you're talking about is building a 'carputer'. Powering the carputer requires a special power supply (Google on 'Opus').
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      04-19-2006, 12:27 PM   #16
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Quote:
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What you're talking about is building a 'carputer'. Powering the carputer requires a special power supply (Google on 'Opus').
Well, a goal is to build an inexpensive solution. All I want, essentially, is an WiFi MP3 player. A 'carputer' is far far more than the functionality and expense than I want.
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      04-19-2006, 12:42 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xcalibr
well, when i first read your post... i thought it was some lofty dream by someone who didn't have a clue. but i think maybe you might have something here... however, there are 2 major issues:

1. hack the ipod... i'm not sure about this one, but are ipod hd's specially coded like xbox hd? they may be protected so that they can only be used with an ipod... and also the other way around --does the ipod hardware require a coded hd? if so, the super big hd you are adding in there may not work with the ipod interface.

2. how do you connect the hard drive to the ipod and to the laptop computer at the same time? you can't have two devices controlling one drive.


so, i guess the first thing to do is buy ipods with bunk hd's off of ebay ($60 or so) and try to verify it works with non-oe hd's. secondly, the interface problem... you may have to design some kind of ipod emulation program, and design a special piece of hardware to take the ipod cable and have it communicate with your laptop through that emulation software. OR you can have some kind of crazy switching hdd controller to load songs, then switch back to use the ipod controller... but then that's not any better than just putting a wifi enabled laptop in your car and just using itunes to load the ipod the normal way. and a laptop is a lot heavier than an ipod... so maybe you should just disconnect the ipod and bring it inside to load.

okay, so maybe this might be more complicated than i initially thought... good luck if you really want to try this, but i think the costs will end up far outweighing the benefit.
The iPod HDD can be formatted using the iPod Updater so I don't think that will be an issue.

I thought about that HDD controller issue you raised in your second point and I think you are spot on.

The problem with a laptop is that it does not connect to the BMW glove box dock connector. I don't know if there is any software and cable to make a laptop look like an iPod. If there were that would be a reasonable start I think.

I have a strong feeling that you are correct that the costs will be too high to outweigh the benefit, but it's at least worth thinking about it right now.
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      04-19-2006, 02:22 PM   #18
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I should have been a little more specific...

I believe that the only way to pull this off is to build a carputer..
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      04-19-2006, 02:36 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank2808
I should have been a little more specific...

I believe that the only way to pull this off is to build a carputer..
I think you may be correct. I think one way to accomplish the goal is to create a virtual iPod through an inexpensive notebook. To do this, one would need a female iPod dock connector to male USB adapter, a notebook, a custom USB device driver to interact with iTunes and possibly and iTunes plug-in to communicate to the USB device driver. In this setup, iTunes would act as a virtual iPod. I can't imagine all the hardware would cost more than a total of $500, however the time writing the software could take awhile (as in 2 months to 2 years).
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      04-19-2006, 03:25 PM   #20
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Yep, but for the same price you could build a full blown carputer with GPS, bluetooth, tons of storage for music, and a WiFi card for easy access to the carputer via wireless network from the garage.

The main issue is getting the carputer to interface with the stock speakers and amps. If you leave the factory head unit in the car, its easy, aux port. Only problem is if you leave the stock radio in, there's no where to put the touchscreen that looks even remotely stock. (short of swapping out the entire dash with an iDrive dash).
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      04-19-2006, 03:51 PM   #21
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I already have iDrive and bluetooth so I don't need that. I just want tons of storage for music and WiFi AND the have the user experience of the newly announced iPod integration (which is the key). My previous post (#19) is about doing just that; interfacing an inexpensive iTunes-savvy 'carputer' with the new BMW/iPod integration.
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      04-21-2006, 12:36 AM   #22
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I think you'll save yourself a lot of time and effort by just getting a 60 GB HD... ipods will drop in price soon anyway. The "inconvenience" of occassionally disconnecting the ipod to load music is worth it for not having to spend ridiculous amounts and energy on a custom solution. Just a note... you can ebay an ipod with a dead battery since you don't plan on using it for on the go. My friend is doing just that with an icelink and ipod more or less permanently in his trunk for his e46.
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