Saturday, May 06, 2006

Elise iPod Install and "Lidbone" install

Yeah, so I decided to forego the oil change and just hold out until the 7,500 mile service. I did go ahead and install the Blaupunkt iPod Interface adapter and the Sector111 Lidbone though. The iPod installation was pretty straight forward.

The iPod kit includes all of this (aside from my 60Gb iPod Video)

When this is all installed it should be a completely stealth installation.

The factory Lotus Elise head unit (at least with my Touring Pack) is a Blaupunkt Acalpulco MP54, which is on the list of iPod ready recievers.

The installation starts by removing the face plate and using the supplied (with your radio) removal tongs to pull the unit out of the dash.

The Radio has plenty of excess wire which allows it to reach the floor, handy because you don't have to unplug it with one hand while balancing it on the shifter (as is the case with some other cars).

Next you will want to go ahead and remove the right access panel, its held on by two screws inside the cubby hole. It has foam backing that sticks to the frame, it prys off pretty easily. Go ahead and run the iPod interface cable through the dash by feeding it through the big headunit hole and get most of it in and over the bracing. It's a tight fit but isn't too bad to work with. Once you have it fed in go ahead and work your hand as far into the access hole on the right and start feeling around for the cable. My only word of warning here is that the aluminum inside (remember, the car uses Aluminum everywhere, tons of raw edges) is damn sharp and WILL cut you pretty easily.

Now that you have the cable run you can go ahead and plug it in at both ends and get the Radio back into the dash. When you power it on the iPod should display a message with a checkmark showing that its connected. Once you've verified that you can go ahead and seal the iPod up or leave it out. You're done!

Now, my thoughts on this setup. I haven't spent too much time messing with it (Derby week in Louisville is CRAZY) but I'm hoping to get some issues resolved. First is the lack of text display. I KNOW this is possible with the combination but I need to figure out what setting or firmware update it is. Next is the 9 Playlist/99 song maximum. My library consists of about 850 songs so I'm safe for now, but it irks me that I need to center my library around this one application. This is a cross between Blaupunkt and iTunes issue but it is still annoying. Third is the severe electrical noise that comes on after a bit. This isn't hard drive noise but very very similar to alternator whine which is caused by power wires being to close to data/sound wires. I'm sure thats the case here but it still sucks for now.

I'm going to work on these issues sometime this week and hopefully get them ironed out. If they all persist then I'm returning the interface and will just go with a different manufacturer. Thats obviously more expensive and more work, but if it works much cleaner in the end then its more than worth it to me.

So, onto the lidbone installation. The Lidbone is a brand new product from Sector 111 and is used to open and prop the engine lid with one hand. Installation is very straight forward and simple.

This is whats included with the kit. Everything just screw together and seems pretty sturdy.

The assembled Lidbone...

The installation starts by removing these two torx bolts that are used to hold the plug cover on.

Bolt the Lidbone base to that point using the two existing torx bolts.

Once you have that bolted down you can go ahead and remove the two 10mm nuts at the lock/latch area on the lid. They are hard to see but pretty easy to feel and remove.

Sideview of the LidBone holding the lid up. It actually gives you a couple more inches of room over the factory prop rod.

And from the rear (notice our neighbor's cat Veda walking by the Suzuki ;)

Well, thankfully I'm very pleased with this product so far. It took a couple adjustments to get it to work right (needs to be fairly loose) but it works great. I shut the lid and gave the car some quick revs (up to about 4,000) with me about halfway out of the car to see if it was going to rattle around at all and I couldn't hear a single rattle. Either its just very quiet or the exhaust is just getting louder. So far the Lidbone looks like a "must have" for Lotus Elise owners.

The last little bit I did before running inside to start my next (unrelated) project was to toss a reflective Apple sticker on the car. I'm not sure how this managed to go so long but its well overdue. I'm an Apple Computer nut and this was the first question quite a few folks asked (You gonna put an Apple on that one too?), well now they can quit asking.

I'm gonna try and set aside some time for a few little photoshoots soon, hopefully the next blog update isn't too far away ;)

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At 5:10 PM, Blogger Jed said...

This is informative and I'll likely be following you in the iPod installation before long.

Did you get the quirks ironed out? I'll look around but would love to hear how it's running now.



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