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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, maybe not COMPLETE integration, but darned close.

My Caliber now has the 6-disc midrange stereo, a powered iPod docking cable that both charges and delivers the iPod audio to the stereo, AND a 3.5mm auxiliary input for non-iPod (and/or iPod shuffle) devices.

Anyone interested in the story? :)
 

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How? I wish to do the same. Thank You in advance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I didn't take any pictures (yet) 'cause it was 9pm when I finished wiring everything up. I do have a write-up mostly finished; I'll post it tonight (although all of my tools are still in the car, so I'll want to clean that out first).
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Well, it took some doing but I'm finally ready to share some mods I made with the audience at home. Let me preface all this by saying I'm a big fan of factory-looking installations, and if that's not possible, as close to factory as I can get. For the most part I think the goal was met.

Another user in this forum sold me his lightly-used 6 disc CD changer which I swapped out for my stock stereo. I wanted this mainly for the Sirius satellite radio display which the stock bottom-end stereo doesn't have. I was able to use the stock bezel so I didn't have to buy a new one. This was probably the easiest upgrade, although I give kudos to other caliberforums.com members for the instructions on how to do it. Here's the finished installation with the other bits in place:


The cable seen to the left of the passenger seat is the power/audio cable for my Garmin GPS. That's going to be my next project.

Replacing the stereo means that I lose my AUX input for my iPod which I wanted back. The same user who sold me the new stereo also pointed me towards a device on eBay that provided two sets of RCA inputs which are selectable on the stereo. A little more searching on eBay revealed an iPod cable which plugs into the RCA connectors and has a 12v/1a lead to provide power to the iPod. I bought the set and did the installation, which was pretty easy (although I wasn't entirely sure I wouldn't fry my iPod, but I gambled and won). It basically involved plugging and unplugging a couple of factory harnesses (stereo and satellite radio) in and out of various ports. Then I had only to find a secure place for the unit under the dash. There's a horizontal bar right behind the storage cubby in the center console. The interface box fit easily behind it and is secured by a zip-tie.

The iPod cable required some thought but eventually I decided to use the little access hole on the right side of the center console. I drilled a 1/4" hole in the center of the trim button, then cut the button from the hole to the edge. I ran the iPod cable through the cut and into the hole, then secured the button back onto the console after running the cable through it. I simply bunched the cable into the hole where it sits nicely alongside the gear shift and is nicely out of the way when not in use. (A small piece of plastic is attached inside of the gear shift housing to prevent the cable from interfering with the shifter mechanism.) The RCA ends of the iPod cable connected to the "A" RCA ports coming out of the interface box I bought on eBay, and then I sealed them with heat-shrink tubing to provide a little added protection.

The interface adapter also included a fused power lead (intended for DVD players and such), so I soldered that lead to the iPod cable and covered it in heat-shrink tubing. I grounded the circuit to a screw just behind and to the right of the stereo (very easy to reach, much easier than grounding it to the amplifier as I was initially going to do) to finish the job. The cable was zip-tied to the console structure to keep it clean and out of the way. The iPod connector itself is held against the console with a bit of Velcro. Now I had power and signal to/from my iPod to my new stereo.


I adapted the other RCA input to a 3.5mm female stereo input by buying a cable with male RCA ends on both sides. One set of RCA connectors went to RCA input "B" on the interface box and was similarly protected by heat-shrink tubing. The connectors on the other end got snipped off and soldered to a panel-mountable 3.5mm female jack which became my new AUX input. I sealed the back of the input with some heat-shrink tubing just in case.

My car lacks the heated seats so I had a couple of blank switches on my console. I removed and disassembled the switch assembly, then modified the rightmost blank panel to accomodate the 3.5mm stereo jack. (Actually, I modified the panel before I did the soldering described above as I had to run the wire through part of the panel before I soldered it up.) I attached the jack to the panel and tightened it down. It's a snug fit but there's no strain on anything so I'm satisfied with it. After reassembling everything it looks pretty darned close to stock. Now I can use non-iPod audio devices with my stereo (or even an iPod shuffle); I keep a retractable 3.5mm stereo cable in my glove compartment for just such a contingency.


So, that's it: I've got complete iPod integration, plus an extra auxiliary port. To use it, I press the MODE button on the stereo until it says "DVD" and then use the SEEK button to select either the iPod cable or the 3.5mm jack. Everything works very nicely.

For those interested in duplicating the effort here's the parts list. You will need the midrange or high-end (GPS-equipped) stereo to do this.

Auxilary Input for iPod w/Charging Cable: $129.99 (eBay)
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&Item=150038991016

3.5mm Stereo Audio Adapter: $3.19 (Jameco)
http://www.jameco.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10001&catalogId=10001&productId=297035

Stereo RCA Cable w/Gold Adapters: $1.49 (Jameco)
http://www.jameco.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10001&catalogId=10001&productId=228443

Solder, zip-ties, heat-shrink tubing and various tools can be bought from Jameco, Radio Shack, etc if you don't have 'em already.

Questions? Comments?
 

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Worth the 2 day wait for pictures. Nice clean job. The jack in the blank seat heater switch looks like it always belonged there.
 

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Very cool SGODUN. Very nice clean and neat job! Thanks for the pictures and the info on the install!! Probably wont do it to this Cali, but maybe when we get our hands on the srt 4!
 

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Hey, Nice job!!!
I feel like moving my aux port there, just cauz it looks sweet. Nice job!!!
 

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Awesome job, it looks better than factory. Thanx for all the info on the install, if i get some time it looks like a very worthwhile project to do.
 

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I did the installation described by sgodun. No point in including pictures since the installation appears identical except that I didn't use the hole on the right side of the center console through which to route my iPod cable.

A couple of notes to expand on sgodun's already excellent narrative; I installed a mini-jack in the same place (an empty position on the row of indicators above the gear shift). I used a jack I bought at Radio Shack.

When pre-wiring the jack before its installation you have the option (on the Radio Shack part in any case) of routing audio THROUGH the switch when no plug is present. This could actually give you a THIRD audio source! In other words, there are five connections to the mini-jack. One is ground. Two are the left and right audio connections to carry OUT audio from any jack that may be plugged in and two are the right and left channels IN that will be fed THROUGH the jack when there's no plug present to break the through connection. In use, this means that DVD input 2 will have audio present thats feeding through that jack when no plug is inserted and will change to have the audio of any device that is plugged into the jack. Hope I'm making this clear. My purpose is to give you a heads up on better preparing for installation should you need a third audio source. One idea of mine is to get a second mini-plug jack and put it on the back of the center console for the people in the back seat. A kid in the back seat, for example, could plug in the audio from his game player or DVD player.

Another thought is this: The included cable has both video and audio plugs from the iPod connector. I have an iPod Video. Hhhmm... that video plug was left unconnected back behind my radio but with a little forethought you can extend that video plug to, again, the back seat where you can hang an LCD monitor. Kids could watch a show from your iPod and the sound for it would be on the car stereo system. Can't wait for the iTunes store to carry more movies from more distributors.

Finally, be prepared to tear the insides out of the back of that section of the buttons to make room for the jack. You'll find that using the far right position (assuming you don't have heated seats) is the best because there's no circuit board in the back to block access.

My system works great and many thanks to sgodun for the concept and execution.
 

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I have just completed my IPOD installation.:) Installation went well and relatively smoothly. I have a faulty IPOD - RCA lead that is dropping the right hand channel intermittently :( but with a gentle 'wiggle',things come right. I will get a replacement when the store opens again.
I'm interested to know where you are storing your IPOD. I have mine in the fold up console between the front two seats. But there is no where to hide the cable. I have looked at pulling the console apart and will try running the cable though the console. But if anyone has ideas or photos that would be appreciated.
Cheers from Cailberkiwi, in Sunny Hot, Auckland New Zealand
 

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If you try to unmount the center console from the floorpan the mounting clips almost always bust off. Trust me, my area is carpet and since launch there have been several cars a carpet rip was not noticed until after everything was in (seats & center console) and with help from other team leaders took everything out to replace the carpet. If running the cable up the side of the center console is an option for you then I say run it under the carpet from behind the shifter/under the dash down the side and bring it out next to the heater duct opening under the seat.
 

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That looks awesome. I second you on keeping mods to looking like they came from the factory. In fact i was thinking of doing something similar if i get the 6cd changer in my caliber. Only i was going to use the RCA plugs and mount them on the console somewhere, but i like your idea better of using the headphone type jack...i might have to get one of those jacks from radio shack that donsmith is talking abour so i can do both lol!

Excellent job, good pics and excellent idea!!
 

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donsmith said:
I did the installation described by sgodun. No point in including pictures since the installation appears identical except that I didn't use the hole on the right side of the center console through which to route my iPod cable.

A couple of notes to expand on sgodun's already excellent narrative; I installed a mini-jack in the same place (an empty position on the row of indicators above the gear shift). I used a jack I bought at Radio Shack.

When pre-wiring the jack before its installation you have the option (on the Radio Shack part in any case) of routing audio THROUGH the switch when no plug is present. This could actually give you a THIRD audio source! In other words, there are five connections to the mini-jack. One is ground. Two are the left and right audio connections to carry OUT audio from any jack that may be plugged in and two are the right and left channels IN that will be fed THROUGH the jack when there's no plug present to break the through connection. In use, this means that DVD input 2 will have audio present thats feeding through that jack when no plug is inserted and will change to have the audio of any device that is plugged into the jack. Hope I'm making this clear. My purpose is to give you a heads up on better preparing for installation should you need a third audio source. One idea of mine is to get a second mini-plug jack and put it on the back of the center console for the people in the back seat. A kid in the back seat, for example, could plug in the audio from his game player or DVD player.

Another thought is this: The included cable has both video and audio plugs from the iPod connector. I have an iPod Video. Hhhmm... that video plug was left unconnected back behind my radio but with a little forethought you can extend that video plug to, again, the back seat where you can hang an LCD monitor. Kids could watch a show from your iPod and the sound for it would be on the car stereo system. Can't wait for the iTunes store to carry more movies from more distributors.

Finally, be prepared to tear the insides out of the back of that section of the buttons to make room for the jack. You'll find that using the far right position (assuming you don't have heated seats) is the best because there's no circuit board in the back to block access.

My system works great and many thanks to sgodun for the concept and execution.
I havent been to radioshack to check yet, but do you have a picture of the package or a part number of the jack that you speak of?
 

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UN4GTBL said:
I havent been to radioshack to check yet, but do you have a picture of the package or a part number of the jack that you speak of?
I'm afraid I don't. Radio Shack now puts those kinds of parts in drawers and you have to look for an icon that depicts jacks on the front of the drawers. Once you find it, though, it appears to be the only one of its kind, so just make sure you have a mini-jack and that it has five taps for attaching wires.

If I can make it by my local RS today I'll try and get a picture or at least a part number.
 
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