MHD, xHP and Backup Cam on iDrive CIC or CCC

doublespaces

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After many requests I've decided to put together a little bit of information on how to get some android apps displaying on your iDrive as well as a backup camera. I have to give @Dreyo27 credit for most of the ideas and help with his work on the JB4 gauges on iDrive video. There were several things I had to figure out, you can skip it and go straight to the list of things I bought. Here is a video of what you'll be able to do:


There are several ways to do this, particularly if you have CIC, but due to wanting a backup camera as well as integration with the stock iDrive menus and not wanting an external device showing, I chose this method as it seemed the most OEM. If you want just the gauges or just the backup camera, there is are better and less expensive ways to do this. For the backup camera only method, click here. Everything I explain here will be regarding the CIC because I have not done this with CCC before, although I know most of this should still apply to CCC cars. There may be some exceptions, particularly related to the backup camera as well as the labels on the box and perhaps some of the canbus wiring for CCC modules. I'd recommend referencing one of the several other CCC videos floating around youtube for help in that area.

The concept is to use a module called xcarlink which is essentially a receiver for the car. The xcarlink goes between the 'head unit' and the iDrive display and acts as a pass-through. It also is able to read the canbus and grab data like gear selection and steering angle for the backup camera. If configured, when you enter the reverse gear, the xcarlink will automatically switch the screen to and from the rear camera RCA signal. CIC cars have a built in backup camera software, although it is not enabled by default and for the sake of simplicity, I decided to just use the xcarlink backup channel. The video real estate is larger than OEM, though I do not have PDC so I'm not sure how that would impact the layout if someone did.

There is also an AV1 and AV2 input, one of which we will plug in our Android box/stick, as well as AV OUT. You access these inputs from the iDrive home screen by long pressing the menu button and it will switch to the first channel you have enabled. There are dip switches you can set to turn on and off the channels you wish to use. Long press it again to cycle through the channels. The DVB-T channel is AV1. Short press menu to go back to the iDrive menu.

The xcarlink was designed for several different cars, so when it arrives you'll get several cables that don't apply and for the most part can be ignored except for the LVDS cables, AV connector and the power/can cable. There is also a little board with control buttons which will connect to the "PROGRAM" port, but at least for CIC, it is not necessary as the same menu can be reached by holding the Option button on the iDrive controls for several seconds while in one of the xcarlink channels. There are a few things about the unit that I don't fully understand but I'll explain the way I got it working.

What you'll need:

xcarlink
Android box (Note: I don't actually recommend this box unless you don't care if its kinda big - a slower quad core stick would probably be better)
Bluetooth Keyboard
Add a Fuse
DC Step down
USB to 5.5x2.1 Power Plug
3.5mm to RCA cable (See issue below)
Backup camera trunk handle(See ebay)


The xcarlink I got for around 250. The android box can be any box or stick you want, but it needs to have an AV out and also bluetooth, a newer version of android and fit in the glovebox. The android box I got won't fit in the space behind the glovebox panel, but it will go back into the fusebox area if you insist on hiding it from the glovebox itself. You can use a different keyboard, but I know this android box and keyboard work together. The 5.5x2.1mm power adapater will depend on the plug size of your android device. You may have to order the box/stick you want and then measure the plug ID/OD of the power cable before you buy the adapter. The step down is so we won't fry the android device with 12+v from the car, as most devices won't need that much including this unit which uses 5v @2A.

Once you have all the parts, you'll need to take out the iDrive screen, headunit and trims. I followed parts of this video except some of the wiring instructions.

IMG_20170309_231954.jpg


In this image, it may be hard to see but Cable B has been moved and now routes from the head unit to the glove box area. It used to go from the screen directly down to the head unit, however due to where the xcarlink fits in the cavity between the head unit and the glovebox, that cable is not long enough to extend from the screen to the box itself. So instead, I pulled this cable out being careful not to get it stuck, and left one end to connect to the head unit and the other end to connect to the LVDS-IN on the xcarlink which will be directly to the right of the head unit. I then took the supplied LVDS cable(Cable A) and fished it from the screen area, down to the same cavity near the glovebox so it could connect the screen to the LVDS-OUT. Do the same with the supplied power/can cable. The wide connector that used to go in the screen now Y's into the xcarlink's power/can cable with the other two ends going to the screen and the xcarlink.

A lot of this is difficult to explain or visualize but more or less, you just plug things in where they fit. They don't fit any other connector as there is only one way to wire this up. The only tricky part was situating the LVDS cables so they would be long enough to reach the mounting location.

IMG_20170312_173131.jpg


Notice, the only other things plugged in besides those two LVDS cables is the power/can connector and the connector for the AV cables.

You should be able to put the screen back in and install the head unit and most of the trim in the center entertainment area. The next part is installing the android box to the xcarlink, this is not hard and I won't really explain it too much.

ISSUE: The one catch with the android box and from what I'm told, other android sticks as well, is that the 3.5mm jack doesn't seem to function properly. There is an issue with the three stripe 3.5mm jack design/standard which appears to exist across several models of android sticks/boxes. I've tried a few connectors and have found that many don't work at all and I recommend testing on a TV first. With some plugs it is necessary to push the AV jack in partially for the video signal to appear or to swap the connectors around until you see something pop up on the screen as the colors won't match the plugs in this case. The permanent solution to this is to open up the box/stick and solder the RCA wires directly to the board or use an HDMI to AV converter, however this will require an additional power source.

EDIT: I've used an HDMI converter box which bypasses the need for a 3.5mm jack, so any android box/stick with hdmi will work. I've also ordered the official xCarLink MHL to HDMI module which I will post about when I get it.

As far as routing the camera, I explain that in another thread for E93's, HERE.

And here are some pics of the remaining glovebox wiring:

IMG_20170313_165609.jpg

IMG_20170313_214543.jpg

IMG_20170313_214720.jpg

IMG_20170313_222946.jpg
 
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doublespaces

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rebo0t

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Good info, I am thinking of trying a different brand of media interface module like xcarlink. I will update if it works out.
 

doublespaces

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I got this obd extension today. Once I remove the panels and fish the other end up under the dash the obd cover should close properly without modification. I'll tout this wire over to the glove box for a constant connection for logging.
IMG_20170331_090242.jpg
 
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rebo0t

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Fits right? I can't test with the cover on until I pull the panels. Which direction did you route it?
I have mine route to the right, but also my OBD2 port not mounted to the chassis. I have it sitting freely behind the cover
 

BeastMode335i

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Dec 28, 2016
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I have that same cable as you guys, but I unplug mine every time I get out of my car because I swear by leaving it in it seems to mess with things.. You guys never notice anything like that..?? For instance, I left it in one day and came out after work and all my trip odometer stuff, clock, etc had all been reset.. So i leave it unplugged for a while, about a month or two later I left it in while at Universal for the day with the fam, come out after a few hours, and again all my stuff was reset.. I figured by leaving the kdcan connected to the obd2 port it was doing something to mess that stuff up..
 

doublespaces

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I have yet to even drive my car much as it's been undergoing a lot of work. Thanks for the heads up I'll definitely let you know. I have an INPA cable as well as a BT cable which is prefer to use if it would be supported by MHD.
 

R.G.

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I have that same cable as you guys, but I unplug mine every time I get out of my car because I swear by leaving it in it seems to mess with things.. You guys never notice anything like that..?? For instance, I left it in one day and came out after work and all my trip odometer stuff, clock, etc had all been reset.. So i leave it unplugged for a while, about a month or two later I left it in while at Universal for the day with the fam, come out after a few hours, and again all my stuff was reset.. I figured by leaving the kdcan connected to the obd2 port it was doing something to mess that stuff up..


If it's left plugged in on the usb side it will continue to give data. I've always left mine plugged in on the OBD side and haven't had an issue like that. Trip, odometer, clock resetting only happens when I disco the battery. Strange, might be worth checking if the car was part of battery cable recall.
 

doublespaces

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So here is the link to the xcarlink hdmi adapter which came in today: http://www.xcarlink.co.uk/product.php?productid=459&cat=39

It has no labels at all and plugs in to the MHL port on the xcarlink itself and does not at first glance appear to require an external power source, which is nice. So if anyone wants to buy my other HDMI converter box with usb cable, its for sale. I just switched to this one because I wanted to eliminate the power cable.

IMG_20170412_121620.jpg
 

Jeffman

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So just that I understand: With the Android TV box connected to the Xcarlink we can load MHD via the Google PlayStore, run MHD with the K+DCAN cable connected directly to one of its USB ports, flash DME tunes, and monitor and log engine data? The Bluetooth keyboard is our data entry interface and we read everything off the iDrive screen? And while we are in the Google PlayStore let's load xHP to tune the 6AT transmission, again using the BT keyboard and reading off the iDrive screen?
 

doublespaces

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Basically yes. Everything you mentioned is possible with the android box just like a tablet or phone. The only difference is the android box has a dedicated hdmi out that the xcarlink can display on the idrive. The xcarlink is basically just a receiver for the car.
 

Jeffman

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Excellent. I'm going to give it a try for my '08 CCC iDrive with the appropriate Xcarlink. But instead of your Android TV box I'm going to try this Android 5.2 Quad Core stick which is much smaller:

Tops CX919 Quad Core TV Stick Google Android 5.1 2G/8GB Bluetooth 1080P with External WiFi Antenna XBMC DLNA
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01EHG57K0/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_EpUizbV1976K8

I also plan to mirror my iPhone screen into the second AV input on the Xcarlink (hopefully to get both Waze and MHD together on split screens). I have an iPhone 6+ mounted via the CD slot above the shifter for Waze, etc., I plan to connect it to an Apple Lightning Digital AV (HDMI) Adapter (poking out from the ashtray area, which is also connected to a Lightning cable for charging ) --> HDMI cable --> HDMI/RCA converter --> Xcarlink AV2 and audio back to AuxIn.

And finally add a backup camera too.
 

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doublespaces

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Not sure about the split screen stuff but the only tricky part is the hdmi connection. You'll need a converter (I'll sell you mine) or the mhl/hdmi box they sell(overpriced).
 

Jeffman

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Not sure about the split screen stuff but the only tricky part is the hdmi connection. You'll need a converter (I'll sell you mine) or the mhl/hdmi box they sell(overpriced).
Thanks. I'll let you know how it goes. If the iPhone AV and audio connections then I'll need a second converter for the Android.
 

doublespaces

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Thanks. I'll let you know how it goes. If the iPhone AV and audio connections then I'll need a second converter for the Android.
The audio connections don't work on the xcarlink. You have to use the line in port in the armrest. I don't have any audio hooked up yet. Don't use the 3.5mm av jacks. They don't work right from what I've seen. Since I got the MHL->HDMI dongle, I'll sell my AV->HDMI adapter cheaper than you can buy it.