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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > ConnectedDrive / I-Drive / Navigation Related Discussion > Playing with the Combox system for iPhone 5



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      10-16-2012, 03:36 PM   #1
jwzimm
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Playing with the Combox system for iPhone 5

Hey Everyone,

I have been getting curious about how my combox system works with regards to BMW Apps and the snap-in adapter. Since I picked up an iPhone 5 I have lost the ability to use my snap-in adapter. The main thing I miss is the iPod Out functionality (called PlugIn by BMW). The issue here is that the Ipod out function requires an analog composite video output to the correct pin on the old 30-pin connector. Since the iPhone 5 went to an all digital connector (lightning) there are no analog outputs and this functionality does not work. I know BMW has a new snap-in adapter in the works that would presumably have built in DAC's for both video and audio to make this functionality work again. Sadly this may mean it will be pretty $$$.

The 30-pin to lightning adapter fixed one issue in that it has a built in Digital-to-Analog-Converter (DAC) for audio. What I am hoping is that someone will come out with a lightning to 30-pin adapter that replicates all the functionality of the old 30-pin connector (i.e. has a DAC for audio and one for video). If this comes to pass I would be able to plug this in to my iPhone 4/4s snapin adapter and be good to rock and roll. They might even consider picking up the phones headphone jack as that could be used as an analog audio signal to feed in to the car.

I decided to try an experiment yesterday with regards to the Combox. There are two USB inputs on the Combox (one blue and one black). There was also another USB cable taped back at the Combox. I suspect, however, that this is due to an issue I had on delivery of my car. The two connectors in use are keyed so they can't be swapped but I took apart the connector and plugged the wires in directly (and swapped them). When I went in to the car and hooked up my iPhone to the USB port via my apple cable it registered in the iDrive as a snap-in. I was not able to select the Plug-In function though and when I tried to play music through the regular interface it played through the phones speaker. This does tell me something though. The snap-in adapter uses the phones DAC for audio.

I would love to get my hands on a wire diagram (with pins identifications) for the wiring between the center console and the Combox. I am willing to bet there are analog video and audio wires between the base plate and the combox that are used to transport signals for iPod out and Video out.
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      11-02-2012, 10:32 AM   #2
KevinJ
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Well it is not easy to get all the tools and software to do.

I'm about to order my iPhone 5. Having poked around a bit I can tell you that I speculated that you could do video over USB all along but it had to be digital when I got my iPhone 4 and a year for a cradle and having missed 6NR by one month and they wouldn't let me add it while my car was being built. So why the hell does BMW do crap like this and not make it easy to add simple features after the fact.

For you having the cradle, native in the "DAC" USB and video is set to analog. This is why it stopped working. For analog BMW uses separate cabling which you have if you ordered 6NR in addition to a separate USB to the cradle. If you only have the iPod/USB port (6NF) like me you don't get these extra video cables or second USB. Either way for the USB port, the computer senses the analog output from this separate video cable making the plug-in active (from a high level).

So...since I am aware that you can tell the USB ports to use digital or in fact use both analog/digital, I speculated over the last could of years that this will allow digital video over USB.

I'm sure someone like Technic or other may correct me or know this answer already since it may be more complicated.

Could BMW simply come out with a magic patch that sets the DAC to accept digital so folks out here don't mess around trying to figure it out, sure. They act like they don't like aftermarket but do nothing to be in front of it. They go hire all these people in multiple countries and act like there will be all of this support for iPhones and yet still nothing.

Based on the post below it sounds like they will keep the analog video and jump through hoops in the cradle to do the conversion and make you wait until next June which will likely come and go like last time. It sounds like laziness instead of figuring out how to do all digital.

They put out these dates and miss them as before so expect some time after June next year.

http://f10.5post.com/forums/showthre...one+5+iPod+out
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      11-02-2012, 12:04 PM   #3
jwzimm
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I honestly don't think video over USB is possible. The bandwidth is not there to support a video stream in addition to all the other data being passed.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Univers...al_Bus#USB_2.0

According to that wiki the maximum throughput on USB 2.0 is 35MB/s. This bandwidth must be shared with the audio and control data being passed. To add a video stream to this may just be asking too much.

http://www.edn.com/design/consumer/4...video-over-USB

That article illustrates some of the difficulties with implementing this. Granted we would not be looking to transmit 1080p over the USB but it still would take a lot of bandwidth to transmit even a composite video signal. In addition, you would still need hardware on the receiving side to accept the video feed and convert it to something useful for video display (i.e. a DAC). This is not currently in the hardware in the Combox so that would require a whole new Combox. A new Snap-In adapter with built in DAC's is far cheaper I think.
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