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      10-02-2016, 05:11 PM   #1
ssshake
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USB Music in Trunk for $5

This is a cheap and quick mod that moves your USB music into the trunk, and gives you a second USB port if you VO code your car with S6NF (optional).

Why you might ask? I recently upgraded from an SD card to a SSD hard drive. The drive takes up a lot of space in the arm rest. So I wanted to free that up.

All that's required is a usb fakra cable like this.

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http://www.ebay.ca/itm/301884842677?...%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

This cable will have typical fakra key/notches on them. You need to take a minute and use a razor black to shave these off.

After that, you need to head to your trunk, lift out the floor board, and remove the existing usb cable from your combox or mulf2 module. Then plug in this new cable in it's place.

You can see from this image, I moved the original usb cable over to the empty port that was meant for phone connectivity. If you do this, you need to VO code the S6NF option to your car. When you do this you will now see a new external device in idrive and you can continue to use the usb port in the arm rest.

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The cable was easily ran from the combox, under the liner, into the amp's location.

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From these photos you can see I hid my drive next to the audio amp, and attached the drive to my car using velcro strips.

I could have positioned it somewhere more accessible, but I only need to access the drive a couple times a year when loading new music.

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The drive is hidden under this plastic cover which was meant for a now-dated cd changer option. I feel like that's a fitting location.

If I wanted the drive to be more accessible, I would have fastened the velcro strips on top of this cover and set the drive on it. I would have cut a small notch in the liner to make room for the usb cable.

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I HIGHLY RECOMMEND DISCONNECTING ANY EXISTING USB DRIVE BEFORE RELOCATING YOUR EXISTING USB CABLE

When I first did my combox retrofit I left my SD card reader plugged into the armrest, and while doing so, I don't know what happened but I ended up frying the USB controller in the combox, and frying my usb thumb drive. The rest of the combox still worked.

I ended up having to buy a new combox. Still no idea what happened, clearly some spike in electricity upon connection. All I can say is if I didn't have anything plugged into the USB port at the time, there would be nothing there to complete the circuit, and my combox and usb drive likely would have been just fine.

I hope this doesn't shy anyone away, just a personal horror story from over a year ago and generally good advice to disconnect things.

Last edited by ssshake; 10-03-2016 at 07:46 PM.
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      10-03-2016, 12:40 PM   #2
opjose
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Does the TCU module have the same available port for this?
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      10-03-2016, 12:43 PM   #3
ssshake
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Tcu is unrelated. You mean mulf2. And yes it does. Mulf2 provides usb support
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      10-03-2016, 04:07 PM   #4
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Well done, looks like a good little mod.

One question, why did you move the existing usb connection to the free one on the combox?

Why didn't you simply plug your new cable to the free slot and connect your SSD to that?
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      10-03-2016, 05:04 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ssshake View Post
Tcu is unrelated. You mean mulf2. And yes it does. Mulf2 provides usb support
Sorry I'm confused...

I have a 2011 E90 w/TCU, L7 and CIC that already has the USB port in the center console.

The diagrams I have show the MULF unit where my TCU currently sits in my trunk. I've read some posts indicating that a MULF may be mounted under the TCU, but I do not have a module there.

I'm trying to figure out where that cable would plug in.

Thanks!

Last edited by opjose; 10-03-2016 at 05:22 PM.
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      10-03-2016, 06:55 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E60525d View Post
Well done, looks like a good little mod.

One question, why did you move the existing usb connection to the free one on the combox?

Why didn't you simply plug your new cable to the free slot and connect your SSD to that?
It's a good question. The main answer is that the existing cable has a 90 degree connector, which if plugged into the original spot would block the extra connector to the left of it. The usb cable I ordered from ebay was a straight connector, so that's the only way both could fit.

As an added bonus, the icon in idrive that pertains to the arm rest usb is now the phone cradle icon. So I feel like this icon is more fitting. I like it.
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      10-03-2016, 06:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by opjose View Post
Sorry I'm confused...

I have a 2011 E90 w/TCU, L7 and CIC that already has the USB port in the center console.

The diagrams I have show the MULF unit where my TCU currently sits in my trunk. I've read some posts indicating that a MULF may be mounted under the TCU, but I do not have a module there.

I'm trying to figure out where that cable would plug in.

Thanks!
Hmm that's really strange. Maybe there's something going on here that I don't know about, can someone else chime in?

Before I did a combox upgrade I had a TCU and a mulf. And you're right, the mulf is mounted on the same bracket but on the bottom of it.

My understanding the the mulf is for usb and bluetooth exclusively. And the TCU is just for BMW assist and stuff like that.

Do you see the type of connectors that I show in my photo?

Are you sure there is no mulf? The mulf is a lot smaller than the TCU so maybe hard to see by visual inspection. If you take a socket it's really quick and easy to unfasten the bracket and lift it up to check.

Also is it possible you don't have a TCU and it's actually a combox? Could you take a photo, I'm interested now.
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      10-03-2016, 08:49 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ssshake View Post

Are you sure there is no mulf? The mulf is a lot smaller than the TCU so maybe hard to see by visual inspection. If you take a socket it's really quick and easy to unfasten the bracket and lift it up to check.
My bad...

I did as you said, and sure enough it is mounted to the bottom of the bracket.

I had not seen it from the angle I was looking at, until I lifted the bracket.

Thanks!

Edit:

It looks like I have the "Hands Free" module under the TCU.

Last edited by opjose; 10-04-2016 at 01:57 PM.
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      10-04-2016, 03:53 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ssshake View Post
It's a good question. The main answer is that the existing cable has a 90 degree connector, which if plugged into the original spot would block the extra connector to the left of it. The usb cable I ordered from ebay was a straight connector, so that's the only way both could fit.

As an added bonus, the icon in idrive that pertains to the arm rest usb is now the phone cradle icon. So I feel like this icon is more fitting. I like it.
Thanks, that sounds about right. I had a look this morning and saw the 90 degree existing connector.

Last question, did you have to trim the plastic connector when moving it across to the free port?

Normally they have different tabs.
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      10-10-2016, 08:18 PM   #10
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can you link us where to buy the cable?
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      10-12-2016, 04:04 PM   #11
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Enter "3.5 mm USB AUX-In Cable Wire Harness CD" into an Ebay search.
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      11-04-2016, 04:57 PM   #12
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I went out to do this today.

I have a MULF2 module under the TCU.

The MULF2 module has only one black connector not two as you've pictured.

If I disconnect that I assume I will loose USB connectivity at the arm reset.

Is that correct?

Also does anyone know the maximum current draw permitted on the trunk USB cables?

I've measured several portable drives and the draw always exceeds 600mA on startup and drops to around 300mA once the drive is spinning.

That explains why USB HDD's frequently come with a secondary power input, such as a "Y" USB cable or a wall wart.

I'm concerned that this is too much for the BMW.

I also checked draw on an SSD mounted into a USB/HDD portable drive box.
With the SSD in the same box, power draw drops to a max of 300mA and hovers around 240mA once the unit is powered up.
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      02-05-2017, 12:05 PM   #13
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Just did this today and it worked perfectly. Got an extra USB input now!
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