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Old 11-10-2011, 10:40 PM
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2009 X5 Combox Retrofit from Bimmer Tech / Patryk

As a follow up to my CIC retrofit post

http://www.xoutpost.com/bmw-sav-foru...ch-patryk.html

I'll share my experiences of retrofitting the 2012 Combox - Media in a 2009 X5. For those folks that are not familiar with combox, it replaces two ECUs (TCU and MULF) that provided BMW Assist and USB/Aux/old smartphone capabilities. The Combox also improves on the MULF's ipod integration allowing voice search, album art and digital playback of music. It also provides the gateway to BMW apps and can be configured to use two european only capabilities .. BMW Live and Internet Browser.

As I mentioned above, I installed Combox Media. This provides all the services above, apart from BMW Assist services. You can purchase Combox - Telematics, but in my case that would have being a waste of time. Despite what you might read on the forums, the *only* way to enable BMW Assist services in a combox, is from BMW themselves, and theres no way that they would have done that for me, given my car never had the combox in the first place ... along with a retrofit CIC. I just couldn't be bothered to even go there with them.

That said, I was prepared to "give up" BMW Assist. Thats a choice you need to make, if you want to do this retrofit.

As I said in the title, I used Bimmertech again, since they had done such a fantastic job on the CIC retrofit. They provide a full retrofit kit that includes the combox, as well as a retrofit harness. Installation is painless and take about 10 minutes. Simply disconnect the plugs from MULF and the TCU ECUs. Terminate the MOST connector to the MULF with the supplied termination adapter. Connect the supplied retrofit harness to the existing car harness MULF and TCU connectors. Remove the USB and Bluetooth connectors and move them over to the Combox. The remaining Roof antenna and backup antenna connections are not used since there is no BMW Assist telematics.

Once the installation was done, Bimmertech took remote control of my laptop again and programmed / coded the car. It was all very painless and over quickly.

So to summarize, I went for a pretty archaic CCC idrive system to the very latest CIC hardware and software, with the very latest connected drive features.

BMW Live has a lot of potential, and am quite excited about what comes in the future with that.

Note, BMW Live and the internet browser feature require's a phone that can be bluetooth tethered to the car for data. The iPhone can do this, so long as you have a plan that supports this.

The one thing I didn't do is plugin or video. These two items, I'm not bothered about, since I have DVD and a DVD changer !

This retrofit is completely reversible, involves no changes to the existing wiring harness, and can simply put the older TCU and MULF back in the car (along with the CCC too).

I'll answer any questions, but for pricing, speak to bimmertech direct.
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Old 11-10-2011, 10:40 PM
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Old 11-11-2011, 08:11 PM
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Sorry for the dumb question, but where does BMW Live come from? I have a 2011 and about to get into 2012 on a early lease renewal. Is BMW Live part of BMW Apps? A separate thing? I know I can do Google search if I sign up for BMW's yearly concierge service, but it sounds like you didn't do that since you got rid of BMW Assist. Would love to know how you did all this.

Thanks!
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Old 11-11-2011, 08:14 PM
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Over the next few years we will see more of these upgrade's as e53 owners start to get into pre LCI e70's.

Nice one, paving the way.

Thanks
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Old 11-11-2011, 09:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tlon View Post
Sorry for the dumb question, but where does BMW Live come from? I have a 2011 and about to get into 2012 on a early lease renewal. Is BMW Live part of BMW Apps? A separate thing? I know I can do Google search if I sign up for BMW's yearly concierge service, but it sounds like you didn't do that since you got rid of BMW Assist. Would love to know how you did all this.

Thanks!
BMW live is currently offered on the 1-series in select markets (the USA is not one of them). Its essentially the same thing as BMW online (in Europe), or enhanced BMW Search (as its known in the USA ... with the concierge service).

Theres one big difference though. The way the car connects to get the data in the first place. With BMW live, it uses a bluetooth tethered mobile phone. With BMW Search/BMW Online, it uses the built in cars telephone (BMW Assist).

Hope this explains how it works.

There's actually no reason why BMW couldn't add these capabilities in to the BMW Connected iphone app ... and do it that way. However, they are more about up-selling the concierge package for $200/year ... and BMW Assist for that matter, once its expired.
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Old 11-11-2011, 09:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 5wany View Post


Over the next few years we will see more of these upgrade's as e53 owners start to get into pre LCI e70's.

Nice one, paving the way.

Thanks
Yes, that will be good, to get more folks doing these updates. It may drive prices down too ... and a healthy supply of parts.

Lots of people say, hey, just buy a new car to get xyz ... but thats just silly, and way too expensive. Anyway, its not as much fun as doing it yourself. You learn so much.
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Old 11-11-2011, 09:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by apw2607 View Post
There's actually no reason why BMW couldn't add these capabilities in to the BMW Connected iphone app ... and do it that way. However, they are more about up-selling the concierge package for $200/year ... and BMW Assist for that matter, once its expired.
Thanks so much. So, how did you enable it? Is it something that can be enabled with coding? Or was it part of the Combox you purchased?
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Old 11-11-2011, 10:45 PM
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It's a feature of combox and only combox is capable of Bluetooth tethering to your phone.

In addition the combox needs to be coded to your car.
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Old 11-12-2011, 12:21 AM
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Thanks. I guess my question is if I have the combox and BMW Apps in my car, can it be coded to access BMW Live?
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Old 11-12-2011, 04:41 PM
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I am jealous - I wish I could just snap my fingers and get what you have done. I am a bit reserved at opening her up like you have though. Maybe after warranty is out... but I also have an extended warranty.
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