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December 21, 2005

My Car is iPod Enabled

After getting my free iPod I just had to get it into the car since that was the point of this whole exercise. I used a Dension ice->Link: Plus to connect the iPod to the factory radio. It gives me line quality audio and head unit/steering wheel controls of the iPod just like it was a CD changer. I cheated on the installation and didn't disassemble anything. On the Accord, if you open the center console bin, you can get at the bottom of the radio where the connector is. So far the unit works as advertised. A few things I noticed. If you leave the iPod connected it remembers the play list you are on, where you are in it and where you are in the current song. All that gets lost if you disconnect the iPod. So after reconnecting you have to reselect a play list before it starts playing. I also noticed that the interface is a bit slow, faster than changing CDs, but a bit slower than switching tracks on a single CD. Using the menu can be cumbersome as you use the radio controls to navigate the menu on the iPod screen. I'm still trying to get the proper connector for my video iPod, the company hasn't been too helpful so far. So in summary, pretty good, but definitely room for improvement.

Update: The connector was finally obtained. The adapter had some serious issues with heat it seems. It would lock up and need to be physically unplugged from the radio or the radio fuse pulled to get it going again, not easy or fun. A later firmware update which wasn't posted on the companies website sorta fixed it as it resets by itself. I'm still getting lockups that eventually reset after a couple days at the longest, not sure of the cause. I also seem to get input lock ups where it will play music but not accept any radio selections, toggling the radio mode seems to reset it. Other than that there are all kinds of random usability issues. The USA distributor dumped Dension and came up with a clone of their own, which they offered to upgrade me to when I was having issues, actually more like sell me one at a discount. I'll be looking for a new adapter when I get a new car :(

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