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      09-15-2007, 09:29 PM   #1
orangelax44
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Thumbs up Dension Gateway 500 iPod / USB interface Install in e90 330i

I just installed the Dension Gateway 500 iPod and USB device interface in my 2006 330i. The following is a short writeup of the install process and some pics of it:

1. Followed instructions for the CD-changer retrofit. (do a search) The wiring diagram in the pdf did not show the correct fiber optic cable connection, so I had to fool around with it a bit until I got the light to arrive at the cd-changer connector in the trunk. I can detail which ones worked for me. When you have the wrong wiring hooked-up, you'll know it, your sat radio stops working, and you get errors.
2. Assembled the dension fiber optic cables and connectors. Easy enough
3. Opened the trunk area where the cd-changer connector is.
4. Tapped the cd-changer prewiring for power UPDATE: I was told by dension power should come from a CONSTANT source, NOT a switched one, like the CD-changer pre-wiring.
5. Connected the dension to the most wiring and power.
6. Since it was connected properly and completes the MOST loop, the radio works fine. (And you can see the fiber light).
7. It was at this point I went to the dealer to "code" the car for the CD-changer but they refused to unless I had an "official" bmw cd-changer.
8. Picked up an older cd-changer off of ebay for pretty cheap and installed it.
9. Paid the dealer $120.00 to push a few buttons to code the car for the cd-changer.
10. Now that the cd-changer works with the car (and new iDrive menus) I connected the dension back up.
11. Ran the cables to the back seats, and up through the side of the center console.

I think its a nice alternative for those of us that missed out on the BMW 6FL interface option from the factory.
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Last edited by orangelax44; 09-17-2007 at 09:36 PM.
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      09-15-2007, 09:30 PM   #2
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Continued... The verdict... It works great!! It's pretty fast, the UI is good and intuitive. The sound quality is awesome, much better than sirius. Browsing through artist/folders is pretty speedy, it takes about a second to "load" the folder up, and moving around tracks seems just as fast as a cd. It remembers the last song played on your ipod and plays pretty instantly when you plug it in your car. Some additional features: There is a virtual folder of A-Z where you can quickly get to an artist or album in case you have a ton to scroll through. Discs 1-6 have different features... Suppose you are listening to a random playlist and Van Halen is playing. You can select one of the CD discs (CD-2 I think) to start playing all the songs from Van Halen or from that album. It's called Album Play or Artist Play which Dension had in their previous product. I've only been playing with it for a little while and definitely haven't touched all the features like random yet. I haven't tested the USB connection other than to hook up a usb drive to update the firmware, but large capacity usb hard drives should work well.

So, was it all worth it? Maybe, the cost was a bit high... $460 for the Dension, $120 for the cd-changer coding and $250 for the used cd changer which I can re-sell. Part of the reason I didn't want the dealer installed option was that I am leasing my car, the install cost was huge and the dealer was going to charge me to uninstall it. So with this, at least I can take it out, sell it or use it in my next bmw. Kind of bad timing that there is talk of a retrofit for the new ipod adapter, but I think this is a good option. I'm just glad its working on my car.
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      09-15-2007, 09:43 PM   #3
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Does the dealer technically require the CD Changer in order to "code" the car?

How much time does it take to "code" the car?

What is actually being done for the $120?


I may have to buy that CD Changer from you. It could be passed around the forum like a hot potato.
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      09-15-2007, 09:50 PM   #4
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As far as I know the dealer "needs" the cd changer present to code the car or there will be errors. (Not sure if thats BS or not). I told them I had a "CD changer-like" device and just wanted the programming and they refused to do it without the official BMW cd changer installed. Apparently (someone correct me if I'm wrong) coding the car consists of selecting a "retrofit" program in the BMW computer and pushing a button.

They wanted to charge me for 1.5 hours @ approx. $180 but I put up a fight asking them how much to actually install the whole thing. So, since I was having other work done and it was taking forever, I got a "deal" at $120.

I mean, come on, I did ALL the work... Taking apart the back seats to gain access to the MOST distribution block, fooling with the wiring until I got it right.

Ha Ha, sure make me an offer on the CD changer, I don't think I need it any longer! It's the NON-mp3 capable player, however (2005 version), but it does the job.

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Originally Posted by zenmaster View Post
Does the dealer technically require the CD Changer in order to "code" the car?

How much time does it take to "code" the car?

What is actually being done for the $120?


I may have to buy that CD Changer from you. It could be passed around the forum like a hot potato.
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      09-17-2007, 08:08 PM   #5
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Although I have the Dension unit sitting in my office, I had the dealer ipod installed the other day. The woman told me it was a USB iPod interface and it was substantially more than the older kits. I believed her. Turns out it is just the old retrofit kit; no USB. Loads the playlists fast, but on my not full Nano, artists, songs, etc take several seconds. The sound seemed good the one time I used it. After they had to keep the car overnight to finish it up (after telling me it was ready), I had trouble opening the glovebox when I picked up the car. A little fiddling with the key got it open twice, but since then I can't open it to get to the cable. You can imagine my satisfaction with this.

Now, since the ipod interface emulates the CD changer, does that mean my car is "coded" for it and I could install the Dension?? Seems like it would be faster.

BTW, I asked the same thing of my dealer, that I wanted to install a CDC like device. Apparently the car really does have to "see" a factory CDC for coding purposes. They said no go.

My timing is really off, since I too would have taken a turn with the "factory" CDC for coding purposes.
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      09-17-2007, 09:32 PM   #6
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Sorry to hear about the ipod adapter mixup. I would think you would be alright with the car being coded the way it is. If you can see under the "CD" source CD1, CD2... CD6 I would guess a CD-changer (and subsequently the dension) would work alright.

If you have any questions with the dension or install, let me know. I'm actually talking with Dension on an issue I'm having when selecting CD1 - CD4. They are all of a sudden "greyed-out" and not selectable. Its not a deal breaker at this point since the essential ipod functions of browsing albums, artists, playlists, etc are all there... It's an extra feature called AlbumPlay and ArtistPlay, not essential but nice to have. And acually, album play is always selectable in the root menu. I've been told part of the issue may be that I have the dension hooked up to where the cd-changer power is, which is "switched" power and the dension requires constant power, like from the battery. It needs constant power so it can "sense" when the MOST bus in inactive and then shut itself down. So, that could be the issue or maybe I have a defective unit. I'm going to connect the original cd-changer and see if the CD choices come back.

I'll give an update when I re-connect the power to the battery. Even though I have this minor issue, I really want this to work out since it works SO well with my car.


Quote:
Originally Posted by drkeng View Post
Although I have the Dension unit sitting in my office, I had the dealer ipod installed the other day. The woman told me it was a USB iPod interface and it was substantially more than the older kits. I believed her. Turns out it is just the old retrofit kit; no USB. Loads the playlists fast, but on my not full Nano, artists, songs, etc take several seconds. The sound seemed good the one time I used it. After they had to keep the car overnight to finish it up (after telling me it was ready), I had trouble opening the glovebox when I picked up the car. A little fiddling with the key got it open twice, but since then I can't open it to get to the cable. You can imagine my satisfaction with this.

Now, since the ipod interface emulates the CD changer, does that mean my car is "coded" for it and I could install the Dension?? Seems like it would be faster.

BTW, I asked the same thing of my dealer, that I wanted to install a CDC like device. Apparently the car really does have to "see" a factory CDC for coding purposes. They said no go.

My timing is really off, since I too would have taken a turn with the "factory" CDC for coding purposes.
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      09-18-2007, 06:11 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drkeng View Post
Although I have the Dension unit sitting in my office, I had the dealer ipod installed the other day. The woman told me it was a USB iPod interface and it was substantially more than the older kits. I believed her. Turns out it is just the old retrofit kit; no USB.
You should complain, that's not right. I hear/see that the official ipod/usb (6FL option like) retrofit kit is available now for some specs, see other thread: http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=83201

I dearly want that - the Dension GW500 sounds great, but it's so expensive and so much hassle to do if you haven't got a CD changer already. And in the UK where I am the dealers costs are substantially more - I worked out for GW500 it would cost me 850 (~$1700) with cost of fit, dealer supplied CDC, coding and GW500 itself !!!

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Loads the playlists fast, but on my not full Nano, artists, songs, etc take several seconds. The sound seemed good the one time I used it. After they had to keep the car overnight to finish it up (after telling me it was ready), I had trouble opening the glovebox when I picked up the car. A little fiddling with the key got it open twice, but since then I can't open it to get to the cable. You can imagine my satisfaction with this.
have you any further experience on how often this 'several seconds' delay occurs, everytime you get in car??
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      09-18-2007, 12:41 PM   #8
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Nice write-up, thanks!
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      09-18-2007, 07:47 PM   #9
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I worked all weekend, Mon, today. I keep fiddling with the key in the glovebox and can't get the &#%^&&## thing open. I will get to the dealer Wed or Thu. Can't wait to see their reaction. They ask if they "get it right the first time"; this is my third try. I'm still toying with trying the Dension, since it seems the BMW iPod equals a CDC to the car, so I think my car's coded. Of course, add it up and we're over $1000. Luckily my credit card's on autopay, so I won't notice it.
Other option is to try to return the Dension; they said they'd take it back if I couldn't get it installed.

I still don't get why they couldn't have just made the same wire as 6FL and run it to the glovebox; obviously the connection to the radio HU is the same.
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      10-03-2007, 03:53 PM   #10
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Hi all, just got my car and had the GW500 installed by BMW -- it works great -- looks exactly like the pics above --- BUT --- the freeking Ipod does not switch off so when i leave the car - the ipod goes into pause mode and stays like that untill the battery goes flat -- i have spoken to BMW and they are more clueless than one can imagine. Any suggestions
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      10-03-2007, 05:08 PM   #11
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Nice!

Do you guys know where we can get this unit? and price? i've seen it for $550 or so...
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      04-16-2008, 10:33 AM   #12
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AUX-input placement?

Hello,

Very very nice install of the Dension gateway 500.
I'm also considering having this kit installed.
I was only wondering, where did you fit the AUX-connectors also containing the maintenance-switch of the Gateway?
Didn't see that in your pictures. Would it also fit in the opening underneath the armrest where the usb/ipod cables are?

Thank you very much!
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      04-22-2008, 07:19 PM   #13
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Hey, sorry everyone for not posting in a while. The AUX connector fits right next to where the actual dension unit is. The cord is kind of short, so unless you build an extension, you won't be able to put it under the armrest.

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Hello,

Very very nice install of the Dension gateway 500.
I'm also considering having this kit installed.
I was only wondering, where did you fit the AUX-connectors also containing the maintenance-switch of the Gateway?
Didn't see that in your pictures. Would it also fit in the opening underneath the armrest where the usb/ipod cables are?

Thank you very much!
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      04-22-2008, 07:32 PM   #14
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Well, it's been awhile since I've posted here, but I just wanted to share my experience with the Dension unit after several months.

Aside from the issues I already discussed previously, such as not being able to select CD2,CD3, or CD4, the unit works very well.

Even though I'm happy with buying and installing the unit for my purposes, there are two big reasons I cannot FULLY recommend this unit:

1. Occasionally, when browsing through folders using the idrive controller the unit hangs and shows "CD Content is loading". I have to shut the car down and restart the unit. This seems to happen when I'm selecting things very quickly.

2. The other issue (and much more serious) is that once in a while (maybe once a month) the entire bmw system goes haywire. I get an SOS warning in the dash, bluetooth goes dead, all radio and satellite functions die and BMW assist dies. The only thing that fixes this is to pull over, disconnect the unit, reboot it and turn the car back on. Now, this could be just an issue with my car and not the unit. I don't think there was a way for me to mess up the install, since it's a fiber optic loop, either everything works, or it doesn't, there's no in between.

Anyway, for ME, I think the Dension 500 was a good purchase. I have an '06 330i which had no good ipod options at the time, no 6FL equivalent other than the Dension. I do have to say that I think despite the bugs I've had, it's worked 90%. The lockups and SOS errors only seem to occur once a month which isn't that bad and the disabling of CD functions 2, 3 and 4 aren't a deal breaker.

Anyone else install the Dension and have a similar experience?
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      07-12-2008, 10:58 PM   #15
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Have the same unit and the same problems. SOS error occurs more often for me. The 'loading cd info' occurs very frequently. I actually swapped the unit hoping it was a bad unit but doesnt look that way. These are serious downsides to the unit and I sort of wished I would have kept my old BMW ipod adapter
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      09-02-2009, 11:19 AM   #16
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Gee sounds like my $21 belkin mobile docking connector is a better solution since i dont have iWreck. 100% reliable, fast and saves over $500

Dension seems like THE definition of a "long run for a short slide"

http://catalog.belkin.com/IWCatProdu...duct_Id=193794
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      09-02-2009, 04:27 PM   #17
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I have a working....

...but not always reliably changing disks, CD changer that someone can have cheap. It may actually just be the cartridge, but it should do fine for these purposes. First $40 paypal'd takes it...
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      09-03-2009, 02:28 PM   #18
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Hi,

Is the unit still up for grabs and if so would you post to uk for extra?

Thanks,
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      03-08-2010, 04:41 PM   #19
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How I got my Dension 500 and BTA1500 working

Quick post for anyone thinking of getting a Dension 500 system in their car.

This may be common knowledge to some but it has taken me months to get sorted so I thought I would post my experience up here. Please feel free to post this anywhere you can as it is a very common problem.

I purchased a Dension 500 kit last year, including the BTA 1500 module and laterly a WiDrive wireless interface. My car is a 2005 320d SE without a CDC (Boot CD Changer) but apparently with CD Prep of the MOST cable in the boot.

I had the unit professionally installed and the installer chose to install the unit in the passenger footwell I was then told to take the car to my BMW dealer to "code" the car to get it working. The instructions from Dension at this point are a bit woolly regarding what you should do and how to get it working.

To cut a long story short BMW refused to code the car without kit being installed in the car, this will more than likely be your experience. Please fit a CD Changer then we will code the car - if I wanted a CD Changer I would have it but I've got a Dension kit! Still BMW stick to their rules and I can't blame them for that, it's not really in their interest to get this kit working.

After this whole saga I went back the installer who happens to know the Dension people quite well. I was told to speak with a company called Auto Logic - http://www.autologic-diagnostics.com/products/bmw.htm - these chaps create the software and hardware that allows independent garages and home enthusiasts with lots of cash diagnose problems with their BMW's.

Apparently (this is hilarious!) they have a button on their BMW diagnostic tool called "Dension" and they just hit this (it has some options for what you have fitted) and it codes the car. Well taking my car to my local Auto Logic equipped garage (Big up to Stewart at M3 Power at Bathgate in Scotland http://www.thebestof.co.uk/local/wes...motor-co/55758 who took my 700 investment in Dension kit and made it all work! Can't recommend him enough and he's a top guy aswell.

I now have my iPhone plugged in and I can listen to my music, I also have the capability to put a USB hard drive in my glove box - my iPhone even supports A2DP so it can stream my music over Bluetooth into the car too. I have full bluetooth capability now integrated into the car also.

I am now a happy chap and I wanted to pass on this knowledge to all those who are slaving away trying to get it working.

The following (I believe) was coded for me - CDC Support, MP3 Playback, Telematics and iPod.

By speaking to these chaps you don't need a CD Changer installed or anything else, just turn up with a Dension installation completed (MOST connected and power to the unit) and then the install should work. It should be noted that I made sure my car was on the latest BMW software before I attempted the installation to avoid any problems.

I'm happy to comment on my installation to anyone who needs a hand.

Jim.
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      03-08-2010, 04:59 PM   #20
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Sweet! Good to know some things work!

Well done Jim
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      03-14-2010, 03:47 AM   #21
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Interesting - the OP suggests the BMW pdf for the CDC installation is incorrect when it comes to the MOST Bus connectors........as when I connect my CD Changer into the MOST Bus as per the instructions given, I get an SOS error.

CDC not coded into car as yet [as I can't live with the SOS error being flagged up] so any up-to-date info on the MOST block connections would be much appreciated.
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      04-19-2010, 02:51 PM   #22
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Thanks to all who input into this thread especially the OP and Jim from Scotland who has the story about the indy with Autologic.

I have put together a thread of my own experiences, trying to explain the MOST BUS and the MOST connector block, with pictures.

http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=376617
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