Thursday, June 29, 2006

Finally, a real Lotus Elise iPod solution!

Alright, so its been quite a while since I posted the Blaupunkt iPod integration install and my ill thoughts about it. I have since returned the Blaupunkt interface and used the credit towards an Alpine CDA-9856 and the KCE-422i iPod cable. While I was researching the stereo install I found that you can use a 2001 VW Passat (or similar model/generation) wiring adapter harness in the install to avoid having to cut into the stock Lotus wiring.

Start out by removing the old radio (see the previous post for instructions/photos) and running the iPod cable. When you start making your new wiring harness try to imagine it as "Alpine into Passat into Stock Lotus", the Alpine and Passat will be cut and wired together and the Passat connector will plug into the stock harness. The wiring goes like this...

Yellow --- Red = Constant Power (Battery)
Orange --- Orange = Illumination
Red --- Yellow = Ignition (Switched power)
Black --- Black = Ground

Violet --- Violet = Right Rear (+)
Violet/Blk --- Violet/Blk = Right Rear (-)
Gray --- Gray = Right Front (+)
Gray/Blk --- Gray/Blk = Right Front (-)
White --- White = Left Front (+)
White/Blk --- White/Black = Left Front (-)
Green --- Green = Left Rear (+)
Green/Blk --- Green/Black = Left Rear (-)

When you are done you should have two unused wires on the Lotus/Passat side of the adapter, theres are for the non-existant sub out (white/red) & antenna motor (pink). Tape these off and set them aside.

Now that you have the harness made you can plug everything together, stuff the excess wiring into the dash (it WILL fit, just takes some real effort) and slide the new head unit in. Connect your iPod and you're finished!

Getting used to the iPod controls takes a little effort but you should be able to pick them up. The one thing that threw me off is that you can't change/search playlists while in "Mix mode" (button 5), just switch this mode off whenever you want to find a specific song. The entire experience is a WORLD better than the Blaupunkt experience. An added plus is that the audio quality seems to have improved quite a bit with the new head unit as well! A lot of Lotus car folk swear that a speaker upgrade is the way to go with the Elise but with this radio I'm VERY satisfied with the sound quality. You can choose to display the time remaining, clock, artist, album or track name, all of which are clearly displayed and very easily read.

My ONLY complaint with this head unit is that theres only one line of text and no way to display the clock alongside the other info. The next model up ($100~ more) has two lines of text which I think is the main selling point based on exactly this. Still though, this is just a minor inconvenience.

The only other new note since the last post is that the lidbone developed a rattle very early on which is very annoying while the car is cold. The rattle fades away after the car warms up though so its still livable.

Aside from that the car is running strong at 6,200~ miles. Not much has been added to the dealer/service "To do" list other than the turn signal seal, a little rubber piece that disappeared from the fuel door (kept the door flush, now it sits in a little) and the ongoing "window adjustment" issue. The exhaust has opened up quite a bit and the car absolutely screams now when your above 6,200rpms.

A few days ago I got to play with an older Porsche 911 on River road. He turned out in front of me, noticed what was in his rear view and proceeded to just take off. At first I didn't really get on it (I'm very mellow on the street) but after a second or two I said to hell with it and chased him up to about 105mph or so. I've found that driving after a small bit of rain is very enjoyable in this car. Hanging the tail end of the Lotus out is VERY easy and VERY controllable at very low speeds in the rain. You CAN do the same on dry pavement but you really have to be beating on the car to do so, something I don't do often at all.

So yeah, that about sums up my thoughts so far :) The only photo I have to post right now (at work) is one I took outside of a local salon, I thought it was pretty appropriate for this little Lotus car.

Until next time....

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At 5:23 PM, Blogger Jed said...

Hmmm. I'll take it then that you felt the problems listed on your install post were irreconcilable. :-(

I don't really want to replace the head unit as I don't value music in the car that highly but did want to install an (old) iPod to use instead of trying to keep CDs in the cabin.

Thanks for your notes.



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