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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
(Updated 8-26-04 to repair photo links)

I installed an iPod dock in the ashtray of my '04 Passat wagon. I wanted an installation where I did not have to connect wires to the iPod; I could just select a playlist, start the iPod, set it in the cradle, and listen to music. I also wanted to be able to install this without removing the head unit or the console. I installed everything through the shifter boot hole and the hole under the armrest.



Used in the installation
iPod dock (came with iPod)
Belkin power adapter (eBay)
20 ft audio cable, RCA plugs (Best Buys)
BlitzSafe CD changer to RCA plug adapter (Enfig.com)
Audio adapter - 1/8" plug to RCA plug adapter (junk box)
inline fuse holder, 1 amp fuse, shrink tubing, solder (junk box)
12V inline connector (hardware store)

I pulled the shifter boot and determined that if I ran the wires from the dock downwards I could avoid hitting the ashtray cover. I took the iPod dock apart. After removing the copper tape I was able to remove three screws and remove the metal weight. I then removed the three screws that held the audio and dock cable connectors. I gently bent the copper foil encased ribbon cable until the connectors faced toward the base of the dock. I used a Dremel tool to carve an opening in the dock base for the connectors. I replaced the metal weight and made a plastic spacer (from an old CD case) that was attached via the screws that used to attach the connector. The spacer holds the connector in place.

Unmodified Dock


Disassembled Dock


Modified Dock



I did a test fit of the modified dock in the ashtray well. The cover was too large so I cut away material in the rear of the cover until it would fit. I also cut both the dock base and cover to clear the contour of the front side of the ashtray well. Once everything fit I painted the iPod dock black to match the car.

Test fit


Modified dock cover





Now for the job of cutting the ashtray to fit the cables. I put double stick foam tape on the dock connector. I placed the dock in the ashtray well, the foam tape transfered to the ashtray well and showed where I had to cut for the wires. I used the Dremel to cut a slot for the dock connector cable and a larger hole for a 1/8" audio plug. I then put modeling clay in the well and again put the dock in place. The clay gave me the shape of the spacers I would need. I cut two wooden spacers, one contoured to the ashtray well that went under the front portion of the dock and a smaller one for the rear of the dock. The dock was placed so the iPod just cleared the ashtray cover when the cover was open. After I was satisfied with the dock position I attached the smaller spacer to the ashtray and the larger one to the dock using silicone adhesive.

Hole in ashtray well


The power cable was based on the cable described here:

http://www.mindspring.com/~pmbenn/iPod/cable.htm

I carefully stripped the red and black wires on the Belkin adapter, plugged them in to the car power plug, and checked voltage. I got 12.6 V with the car off, 13.8 V with the car on and about 10 V while cranking which convinced me that the Belkin adapter did not regulate the voltage to the iPod. I also checked the specification for PowerMac Firewire connectors,

http://developer.apple.com/document...rMacG5/3Input-Output/chapter_4_section_3.html

it allows up to 25 V on the Firewire power leads.

Convinced that hooking the iPod to the Passat 12V was OK I cut off the Belkin cable at the end opposite the iPod connector. I stripped the tiny black (ground) and red (+12V) wires. I soldered the fuse holder to the red wire. I soldered the power lead from the inline connector to the fuse holder. I cut a length of wire to connect the black from the Belkin cable to the ground lead from the inline connector. I used various sizes of shrink tube to both insulate and mechanically reinforce the connections. The length of the power cable reached from the iPod dock in the ash tray to the rear seat power connector in the rear of the console.

Power cable


I removed the rear of the console to give access to the power connector leads. I used crimp connectors to attach the other end of the inline power connector to the VW wiring. Checked everything with a voltmeter, then ran the power cable along the right side of the console and fed the iPod connector through the slot below the ashtray.

Power cable installed


I fed the audio adapter cable through the hole below the ashtray. The 20 ft audio cable ran from the shifter area of the console, forward in the console, under the dashboard just aft of the pedals, behind the cover by the drivers left foot, then under the plastic trim along the left side of the car to the CD changer area. I had about 2 ft. extra, which I coiled near the BlitzSafe. I connected the audio cable to the BlitzSafe and to the 1/8" to RCA adapter.

Audio connector


I connected the iPod dock to both cables and confirmed that everything worked. I then used silicone adhesive to mount the iPod dock in the ashtray. After the adhesive cured I used adhesive backed pads and tie-wraps to hold all of the wires in place.

Final result



I completed a 500 mile test of the installation last weekend. It works great!
 

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Wow GW, that looks awesome :thumbup: How does it sound??? I'm thinking about doing an ipod also but wanted a clean install. This is the best I've seen!!!!!! But I would use Monster Cable not Acoustic Research (j.j) :lol:
 

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I give u great props on the install, but you could've saved yourself alot of time and trouble by buying a h.u. w/an auxilary input, and getting a plug that connects the headphone jack to the aux input like i did. the downside is that you cant charge your ipod, and the sound quality is not as good as it would have been if it were connected using a dock.
good job on your customfit dock :thumbup:
looks great :bow:
 

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Looking great man! I'll have mine up in a couple of weeks... I went for the full out removal of the center console, and I think its freakin' amazing you got all of that together without taking it out.. I can't even imagine it..

Excellent job! :thumbup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The sound is good, my ears can't tell the difference between the iPod and CD.

The family van has a HU with aux in, for that I use a monster cable power adapter and a patch cord from the iPod to the HU. For the VW I wanted to have no wires showing; when the iPod is out you cannot tell it was ever there.
 

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I must have come back to look at this about 10 times this weekend. I'd been on the fence about getting an iPod because I really don't think I'd use it much except in the car, and I hadn't seen an install that I think I could live with.

Until now...

There's no way I could do this by myself, but my next door neighboor is a EE professor and basically has an autoshop in his garage. My only concern is that I have a slush box instead of a manual, and I don't know if the gear selector will get in the way when it's all the way forward in park.


I would say thanks for the idea, but I think you just cost me about $500...
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I don't know if there will be a problem with the automatic shifter. When the iPod is in the dock I have about 1/4" between the iPod and the A/C button. The iPod is under 3/4" thick. So you will lose about 1" of clearance between the shift lever and the A/C button.

You may have to remove the console to do your install. With the 5-speed I could just pop the shifter boot and work through the (small) hole. Also, make sure the auto shifter linkage does not interfer with the routing of the wires below the ash tray.

If I were doing this again I would likely pull the head unit and use the BlizSafe that attaches to the rear of the head unit to get a shorter wire run for the audio. The 20 foot cable is not causing problems but shorter is probably better.

The only problem I had on a trip this weekend was that the iPod vibrated, buzzed, on some pavement with grooves. It only happened on one stretch of I-94. When it happened I pushed the ash tray cover so it was pushing back against the rear of the iPod. The spring that closes the ash tray was enough force to remove the vibration.
 

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Any thoughts on using the icelink with this install (will it work with the dock?) This is the best install i have seen. Very clean, and professional. I want to have the use of my steering wheel controls, hence the icelink. I really don't want to have to mod the dock and pull the circuit board out. Thanks! :lol: :thumbup: :b5:
 

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this is one awesome install...and if i wasnt electronically challenged i would go for it. however i picked the lasy way with the 6th switch pro-clip. not as nice as this, but still good.

i second putting this into the info forum. :thumbup:
 
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