Apple CarPlay in an e9x

Discussion in 'General maintenance, upgrades and modifications' started by RBM3, Oct 24, 2019.

  1. 24 Oct 2019 at 3:03 PM #1
    RBM3

    RBM3 On the path

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    I took my E92 M3 to Audiofile incar the other day to Demo their various upgrades. After being very impressed and subsequently agreeing to spend far more than i had planned to, i went in for seconds by asking if they knew of a (good) way to fit apple CarPlay to the e9x platform.

    They recommended this from xcarlink:
    http://www.xcarlink.co.uk/product.php?productid=524&cat=16&page=1

    From what i can see it does look like the ideal solution, and i don't believe they would have recommended it if it weren't up to the high standard i experienced when visiting their shop.

    Has anyone got this? If so, is it as good as it looks?

    E90 E91 E92 E93
    325 330 335 M3
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2019
  2. 25 Oct 2019 at 1:06 PM #2
    RBM3

    RBM3 On the path

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    Anyone?
     
  3. 30 Oct 2019 at 6:17 AM #3
    hakhan22

    hakhan22 On the path

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    Looks good, never heard of it though!
     
  4. 30 Oct 2019 at 7:57 PM #4
    RBM3

    RBM3 On the path

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    I bit the bullet and ordered one. Fitting it this week. Fingers crossed its not £500 of cack
     
  5. 30 Oct 2019 at 8:02 PM #5
    hakhan22

    hakhan22 On the path

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    Let us know how it is, fingers crossed it works well!
     
  6. 31 Oct 2019 at 12:02 AM #6
    cannyjock

    cannyjock A mere Chipper

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    I'd be interested in the sound quality given it uses the aux input?
     
  7. 5 Nov 2019 at 7:15 PM #7
    HeyPresto1970

    HeyPresto1970 A mere Chipper

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    How did it go? Easy to fit?
     
  8. 5 Nov 2019 at 7:38 PM #8
    RBM3

    RBM3 On the path

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    The instructions are very poorly translated but you can work out where things need to go. Got it all connected up, went to switch to CarPlay and the screen went blank and started flickering.


    After faffing about with dip switches, emailing backwards and forwards (responses were slow), calling them, them sending me a firmware update, me trying to update firmware via usb (screen was blank so had no idea what it was doing), finding out that the dip switches need to be the opposite way round to how the instructions are vs. the labelling on them, many attempts later trying another usb stick – suddenly came to life!


    Had a little play about with it and it does seem to navigate quite well using the idrive controller. Waze / Spotify / Whatsapp / etc all appeared.


    Next up was to try and play some music - no sound. Checked the aux input and the volume was on zero. Tried upping it but it wouldn't shift from zero. What's more, i can't seem to play my iPod through the usb socket under the armrest anymore either.


    I have a sneaking suspicion that in the process of repeatedly connecting / disconnecting things it has upset the aux function / combox. Potentially fucked up the coding so the car thinks it doesn’t have aux function fitted. Or worse, the combox has **** itself.


    So far, it’s not been a great experience and I will need to get some one to look at the coding as I don’t have several days to learn how to do that myself.


    I’m not giving up though. The small glimpse of it I got on screen actually looked quite good.


    Anyone near M25 - Jct 13 do coding?
     
  9. 7 Nov 2019 at 7:35 PM #9
    RBM3

    RBM3 On the path

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    Success!

    Okay, i'm a muppet. i hadn't refitted the panel under the glove compartment, which has a connecter mounted on it that completes the MOST loop. Without that, nothing was going to work! Plugged it back in and it works.

    So to offer a few opinions if anyone is thinking of doing this.

    Good points:

    • Waze / Google Maps / Apple Maps are a serious upgrade in the satnav department.
    • Having spotify / iTunes on the screen is nice.
    • Text messaging / Whatsapp also seem to work pretty well.
    • Phone function works well.
    • Voice commands work, almost as well as doing it through the phone.
    • idrive is still running in the background so you still hear the gong if there is an alert requiring your attention.
    • Connection is good - automatically connects via bluetooth straight away. Connection to android is via USB but i don't have android so haven't tested it.
    • You can play music / videos through the USB socket that comes with the kit. It's had no problems recognising my USB stick / 2.5" USB HDD. i've tested .AVI / .MP4 / .M4V / .3GP / .ASF formats so far and they all play, only one that won't play so far is .MOV (typical QT).
    • For £60 extra they supply a reversing camera that comes mounted in a boot release handle so all you have to do is snap it in place and run the cable. I'm yet to fit / test, but the unit detects reverse gear and mutes the volume so i have no reason to suspect it won't work fine.

    Bad points:

    • Apple CarPlay is really designed for touchscreen so it takes a little while to scroll through large lists / menus using the idrive controller. They've done a good job though, it's about as good as it can be considering. Some better organisation of my playlists will help here (500 songs in one of them!).
    • Voice commands work, although you have to install the microphone that came with the kit. Still deciding where to mount that.
    • Controls (this is probably the most annoying part): To switch between the idrive system and apple CarPlay requires pressing the menu button on the idrive controller for a few seconds - no problem with that, it does the job fine. But...when you switch back to the idrive system, the apple CarPlay is still running in the background which means that it responds to everything you do with the drive controller. End result: you end up skipping / pausing songs and occasionally making phone calls unintentionally. Bit of a howler this, but i am going to get in touch with xcarlink and see if there is anything they can do. If not, then it's not the end of the world - I won't have much cause to switch back to the idrive most of the time and if i do, i can just switch bluetooth off on my phone.
    • Sound quality: The unit interfaces with the sound system via a 3.5mm jack that plugs into the AUX under the armrest. As such, sound quality isn't amazing. I'm being quite fussy though so will just accept it and if i am on long journeys i will use my iPod / HDD through the BMW factory USB socket under the armrest.
    • It's a bit of a PITA to install. The unit came with a firmware version that wouldn't support the BMW screen. The dip switches need setting and the instructions in the manual (and from tech support) are back to front. The instruction manual might as well be written in sanskrit! Responses from email tech support are very slow too.

    All things considered, am i happy with it? Very much so, it's £500 well spent (even just for the ability to use smartphone based satnav apps wile Waze). It's not perfect, but if i want perfect then i need to buy a newer car with factory fitted apple CarPlay.

    If anyone wants pictures / videos of screen shots just shout.
     
    Sparkyb and cannyjock like this.
  10. 7 Nov 2019 at 9:42 PM #10
    cannyjock

    cannyjock A mere Chipper

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    That's a great review thanks. I was thinking about one of these but looks like it's not ready yet if you want it to work perfectly.
     
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  11. 8 Nov 2019 at 6:34 PM #11
    Sparkyb

    Sparkyb A mere Chipper

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    If you have some pics and vids please post, I’m interested in the idea of brining the entertainment upto date on these cars.
    Thanks in advance Marc.
     

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