Hello there and welcome to the BMW Car Club of America.

If you are a BMW CCA member, please log in and introduce yourself in our Member Introductions section.

E46 Options for AUX Input

Discussion in 'E46 (1999-2006)' started by mistertripps, Jul 5, 2008.

    mistertripps guest

    Post Count: 18
    Likes Received:0
    Do I have any other options for adding an AUX input to my 2001 330i other than using the cable harness for the CD changer in the back? My car doesn't have the multi-CD (but supposedly is wired for it), so I'm not sure how this affects the single player up front (if at all), but I would prefer to have the AUX input anyway for my iPod or my XM radio. I'm getting by with the FM option, but want to rectify as soon as I can.
    • Member


    Post Count: 4
    Likes Received:0
    AUX Input options

    I own a 2003 530i, with no cd changer. Like you, I wanted to hook up my XM plug-n-play without using the horrible FM modulator. So, the dealer installed the AUX jack in the glove box, and it worked great for about 30 minutes. The input would switch between cd and radio, but no AUX option.

    This happened repeatedly. When cold, it would work for a short time, then kick out.

    The dealer said (unbelievably), that it was working correctly, and I was not supposed to put a power source for the XM radio or IPOD in the cigar lighter port. That was my problem. It is not made to do this.

    I didn't believe them, bought an external battery, plugged the XM in, and waited for it to stop working. It continued to operate as long as the cigar lighter had nothing in it.

    This makes absolutely no sense, but BMW would not address it.

    The IPOD works the same way. When hooked to the power supply via the cigar lighter, it becomes inoperable after a short time.

    All I did was waste money and be frustrated. You could buy an economy car that would accomodate an AUX input adequately. The Ultimate Driving Machine??? Nope.

    Sorry, its not supposed to work that way I was told.

    My advice, don't bother, XM has so many problems for its future potential anyway, and the plug-n-play with all the wires, antenna, etc., is just not worth the effort.


    bmwmedic guest

    Post Count: 3
    Likes Received:0
    Here is what we did for my son's 99 323. We ditched his radio for a 03 (I think one needs a 6/03 or 9/03 business cd radio, We bought it on ebay for $200 (but we were getting rid of cassette) and that date on has the AUX socket in back. Then you need the antenna adaptor from BSW, and the aux kit from the dealer, both $20-30ea.
    Armed with those three items you can , in about one to two hours, install it very nicely using one of the outlined rectangles on the center console next to HK button, ASC, or heated seat buttons, if so equipped, We have all 3 so it took our last spot.Works great all the time, shows up on the radio controls as aux, even lets you set the input level of the aux input, which is great cause you can adjust for different output levels of ipod vs SAT. I have heard that using a dock connector to mini stereo plug gives better sound than the usual headphone jack output on an ipod
    If you don't desire to buy a new radio, I suggest a DICE type kit that gives actual radio control integration for ipod AND an aux for a second source, but you DO have to run it from the trunk.
    Good luck. Search "e46fanatics.com", tell em bmwmedic sent you!

    bimmermike46 guest

    Post Count: 8
    Likes Received:0

    brianjburleigh guest

    Post Count: 2
    Likes Received:0
    I installed the same aux input into the business cd. To get around the power needs of my sat. receiver, I installed a fuse jumper (for lack of a better term), which just added a fuse at the box where the cig lighter is and now you have two power sources. I then wired it up hiding wires all along the way and it looks and performs pretty awesome.

    tiki guest

    Post Count: 6
    Likes Received:0
    An Aux Input and an ipod adapter kit are two different things. The ipod adapter kit is connected in place of the 6-CD changer in the back of the car. The Aux Input is connected to the Business CD player. After a lot of research on this, I decided to go with the Aux Input. The ipod adapter option lets you control ipod functions with your steering wheel controls. However, there are some quirks, like not being able to read playlist names, etc. on the display of our e46 radio.

    The Aux Input still allows you to change the volume on your steering wheel controls, but you control playlist selection, etc. on the ipod itself. This seemed like a better option to me than trying to guess playlist and song titles with the ipod adapter option. It defeats the purpose of the controls if they don't work like the ipod itself. The Aux Input part is approx. $30 at BMW. I bought the part and installed mine into my ashtray instead of the glove compartment because I didn't want a cord coming out of the glove compartment. It works great!

    Also, if you don't want to do it yourself, you can check dealership websites and/or call around. One dealership was completely ridiculous and wanted $620. All the rest were reasonable and in the $110-$150 range for part + installation. The cheapest I found was $110.
    • Member


    Post Count: 2
    Likes Received:0
    This worked great on my '03 330xi. I used the aux input ($30 + dealer install about $150) in the glove box. Get a 90 degree mini jack connector (m to f) from radio shack and a 6' mini to mini wire. Run the wire out of the glove box forward to go under the floor mat. This way it can't be seen. Run it back under the mat and up between the seat and console to the fore cup holder. Drop a Belkin ipod holder into the cup holder, and connect it (headphone jack) with another 90 degree connector. This way the ipod wire drops straight down and out of site and the ipod is at your fingertips. It is simple, easy, and looks great. (Charging? I drive from LA to SF and back on one charge, so no issue.) The downside is that you have to take your eyes off the road to see the screen.
    • Member


    Post Count: 4
    Likes Received:0
    E46 Aux Inpit Options

    Thank you for the kind advice and follow-up.

    The Ipod works great and the charge lasts a long while.

    My problem with the sat radio plug-n-play remains. I can't use the cigar lighter for longer than 20 minutes, so a separate wire to the fuse is the way to go.

    Thanks again,


    cwbiii guest

    Post Count: 160
    Likes Received:0
    I just wanted to explain why the cigarette lighter doesn't work and also why it is not a good idea to use it in that mode at all.

    The reason is that the input to the audio preamp is expecting a pair of differential signals that are not grounded.
    Because of this it will not like one of those signals to be GND (or the negative terminal in the car). The player you are using does not provide the output as a differential pair but as gnd and signal out so when you use the cigarette lighter as the power source this provides a current path that can damage the preamp.
    As long as a battery is used it can float... There is a trick which is to use an audio isolation transformer in between the 2 components to break this current path.
    It can affect performance of the audio connection if you don't get the impedience
    correct or if you cheap out too much on the transformer... the transformer is pretty small so it wont take up much space. The spec's for the preamp and audio device should have what impedience (in ohms) they expect and what frequency range its designed for. Radio Shack used to sell them... don't know if they still do.
    You can probably find them somewhere on line... I would expect you could find an adequate one for $20 or less (before shipping). Another choice is to put a capacitor (or capacitive filter) in the line on the ground side.This also will break the current path... as long as the capacitor value is sufficient the audio signal will not suffer. The electronics formula for the impedience of a capacitor is 1/(2 pi F C) and is measured in ohms. The F = frequency which is the lowest audio frequency you wish to pass, typically 20hz, C = capacitance in Farads... so for a typical 1000 ohm impedience preamp input, The value is 8 microfarads... This will be a fairly expensive cap in anything except a electrolytic cap which is not a good or wise choice for this circuit. Maybe someone with more audio electronics savvy than me will chime in here and make a better suggestion... or just use batteries since they are pretty cheap anyways or only charge the ipod when the audio port is not plugged in which is also safe.

    • Member


    Post Count: 7
    Likes Received:0
    The best way would be to grab a radio from a 2003 or newer E46 and then to install the factory auxiliary input kit. Better yet, a radio from a 2005 or newer E46 (09/2004 build) can play MP3 CDs ad well. If you don't want to get a new radio, then using the line-in on the cd-changer port would work I suppose.

Share This Page