I picked up a unit that integrates my iPod to my car stereo the other day, and installed it last night. Pretty cool stuff… rather than the craptacular iTrip I was using (well, it’s not THAT bad, but it can never get any better than broadcast FM, which… sucks.) - I picked up an iPod2Car interface to my Dodge Nav Deck. This thing is SWEET.
It was a super easy installation. You’ve got to buy the iPod2Car box (which is a little smaller than the iPod itself) - to the tune of $190 - and the corresponding iPod2Car -> OEM deck cable ($20). Pull the iPod2Car out of its blister pack, set the dipswitches on it for your application, plug in the OEM harness, plug the OEM harness to your deck, and then plug in yer iPod (of course, you need to remove your deck and run the cables nicely, your mileage may vary). That’s it. I did the entire install top to bottom in less than a half hour. The iPod2Car wound up in a little niche behind the deck, and I ran the iPod cable back thru the dash, under the center console, and had it pop up near the drivers-side forward cupholder. I then picked up a Belkin TuneDok, slapped that in the cupholder, and put the iPod in it. It fit like a glove!
Operationally, the iPod2Car “fakes” the deck into thinking there’s a CD changer hooked up when in reality you’ve got your iPod there. This is great – not only do you get a super-clean audio interface, but you also get the ability to charge the iPod and control what’s playing using the deck’s native controls. To listen to the iPod, I simply hit the “CD” button on the deck, and hit Seek Up/Down to switch tracks. Works like a charm. The only time I need to actually use the iPod’s controls is to switch playlists. This is a design compromise - there are two schools of thought on iPod interconnects. The iPod2Car lets you completely utilize the iPod’s controls as well as the OEM deck’s controls, whereas interconnects like Dension’s ice::Link and Monster’s iCruze limit you to five custom-predefined playlists and totally lock you out of the iPod’s controls. I think that the iPod2Car’s method is more flexible; if I really want to get lazy I could add an AirClick and have the whole thing be remote-controlled. :)
Since this post is worthless without pix, here’s a quick shot of the installed setup:
See Kelly? Several months of research DOES pay off. I can’t wait for my next commute or roadtrip. :)