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Old 06-02-2009, 12:47 PM
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Intravee II iPod DIY Install & Review

Parts Needed:

Intravee II. BMW ibus to Alpine AI-Net module. $250
Best Sellers BMW Intravee II BMW to Alpine AI-NET module

Alpine KCA 420i. $100 MSRP (I bought one on eBay for $50)
Alpine Electronics of America, Inc. - KCA-420i

iPod. I used a 5th generation 30GB iPod video. Its dedicated to the car, and I don't need to worry about a charging adapter for the newer iPods

After many frustrating years with various forms of the IceLink, Dice, Dice Silverline, and Neo, I finally gave up with those products and decided to step up and get a legit, reliable iPod solution for my wifeís 2004 325xi. Her car has factory Nav and Bluetooth, which makes the Dice just about unusable. There is enough info on this forum about the Diceís shortcomings that I donít need to rehash it hereóbasically the same complaints everyone else has: popping noises, alternator feedback, having to constantly disconnect the battery for 10 minutes to reset the thing, the inability to browse by artist on the older modules, freezing text on newer modules, and of course, ridiculous shipping charges for warranty repairs. Basically, Iíve had enoughÖ

A few years ago, Iíd first discovered the Intravee II (IV2 for the rest of this review) and had anxiously awaited its release. By the time it came out, I had already invested too much into the DICE that I didnít want to incur additional expenses of a whole new setup. In hindsight, I would have saved a ton of money had I just invested in the IV2 then.

The IV2 is a BMW ibus to Alpine AI-Net converter. Instead of trying to do the iPod controls itself, the IV2 allows Alpineís rock-solid KCA-420i to do the dirty work. The IV2 acts as a converter between the Alpine and the BMW. Iíve been using the product for about a week now and have no complaints. There is a customer support forum for the IV2: Intravee Forum - Index and the developers are active there helping customers. The firmware is upgradable by customers, so you donít need to worry about shipping charges back and forth for simple software fixes.

The searching of the IV2 is amazing. I was first a bit bummed that the length of the Alpine cables (about 4í) would not allow me to store the iPod in the glovebox. Turns out, leaving the iPod in the trunk is just fineóthe IV2 search is so good (and quick!) that youíll never need to touch it except to remove it from the car to load new songs. Sweet.
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Old 06-02-2009, 12:47 PM
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Anyhow, here’s the pics of the install. The official install instructions and user’s guide are linked on Bimmernav’s page.

The IV2 as it arrives. There is a serial port (for firmware upgrades) on one side, and 3 connections on the opposite side. (ibus, CD changer and Alpine AI-net).



Inside the IV2. You move jumper pins if its slaved off a Sirius unit (mine is):



All of the pieces. Alpine KCA-420i, the ipod, the ipod cable, and the cable connecting the IV2 to the Alpine unit:



I am installing my iPod where the CD changer went. I drilled a 1" hole in the back of the CD changer blanking tray:



I used a 1" rubber grommet from an electronics store to clean up the install, and make sure the cables don't pull through:
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Old 06-02-2009, 12:48 PM
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I just plugged everything in to make sure it worked (it did!):


I then pulled everything out and decided to mount the KCA-420i to the Sirius bracket. There was plenty of room for both. Used locking nuts, of course...





There is plenty of room with the Sirius module mounted to feed the Alpine's 2 cables out the back of the unit. I zip-tied the excess cable and stuffed it between the BM53 radio and the Sirius bracket:


Here is everything put back together. I put the IV2 on top of the Bluetooth ULF so I could easily get to it for future firmware updates. For firmware updates the car needs to be in position 1 (for ibus communication) with the IV2 plugged in and a serial cable running to your PC.



With the carpet back on, its super clean. There is velcro under the ipod to secure it in place:
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Old 06-02-2009, 12:49 PM
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Of course... pics of the interface. The thing is really fast.

This is the main "playing" screen with full screen Nav enabled:



Playing screen with split-screen Nav enabled:



The searching interface. You can skip forward and backwards 10 albums / artists at a time, which is fantastic, and makes for much quicker searching.



The main search screen:
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