Adding DAB or a aux/ video input to a 221/216

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FITTING AUX AND VIDEO INPUTS PLUS dab TO A 221/216

The comand in the dash has to be removed and we start off with the drinks holder.

Remove the two little rubber bungs top front and remove the 2 torx screws, and the complete holder lifts out, (WIS is wrong where it says remove the 2 large screws under the cup holder)

The ashtray/coin holder can now also be lifted out. It is easier to remove this completely by unplugging the cable to the lighter socket.

The next job is the facia panel. If you feel in the top above the clock there is a small grill, this just lifts out by using a flat plastic wedge, once out there is a 30 torx screw in the top, so remove this screw. There are 4 locating pegs on the sides of the facia panel and a large steel spring clip on the bottom, this spring is attached to the facia panel and it need a short open ended spanner to lever the rear of this spring downwards then pull the bottom out a little, the whole thing must come out square or damage to the facia could occur so best to use a plastic wedge to prise the sides of the facia out, once it starts it comes out easily. Once out just move it over to the left side.


just ease the top out a little

here you can see the spring clip that is attached to the facia panel bottom

You now need to remove the 4 screws holding the comand in, once out it will pull forward enough to enable you to get to the rear multi plug.

If just adding an AUX or Video input say for a reversing camera, when you purchase the lead from Mercedes it comes with instructions for where to insert the loose wires, the cover on the multi plug has to be slid off to do this. Once done the car has to go on STAR to activate the addition that you have done.


Adding DAB is not so bad, there are many on the market.
There are the ones that play through a modulated FM, the sound will not be as good as with the direct AUX in, but there is another draw back, if you are using the navigation then you have no access to the radio screen without switching over.

There are the DAB add on’s that use a remote to change stations. These I feel are dangerous, as you have to look at the remote and they are messy.

I settled for the Alpine Easy DAB, this is the same as the PURE version but a lot cheaper at £150 at the time of writing, they are small, easy to use, they have a good display and it will fold away out of site in needed.

The main unit is small enough to tuck away right in front of the comand and you may be able to make it out in the picture. As the AUX wire is so long I cut mine and spliced it to the DAB plug, it is not good to have coiled up audio leads.

modified lead

At this point in time I was not certain about what antenna to use, so I fitted and extension about 40cm long that will rest on the under dash kick panel for easy access.

The main DAB unit requires to feeds, One permanent live and this can be taken from the diagnostic socket on the under dash kick panel, the switched live I took from the cigar lighter. The main DAB unit was now pushed into place right at the rear of where the comand sits and the leads neatly laid, its easier to lift out the foam insulation then re fit after laying the excess from the cable to the DAB control.

you can just see the main box at the rear

I wanted the control unit to fold away if the need should arise so I used a hinge that I had in stock and cut it to suit, I used black tape to cover the parts that shows where the hinge folds, as in the pictures.



You can see the radio control holder screwed into the lighter panel

Once the above work is done it a matter of putting it all back again, nothing special here other than to make sure that the sliding top of the lighter panel works OK, please note that the front edge of the drinks holder clips into the front of the cigar lighter part, once all correct replace the 2 screws and the rubber bung and job done.


out of sight

At the time of writing the antenna has not been finished, the 216 is double glazed and has a metallic front screen, this left only the sun roof where I stuck an active antenna just to have it working. Any in the car antenna is only half as good as an antenna mounted on the rear of the roof, this is a no no as the headlining has to come down.



I will update the thread once I have completed the antenna installation.
 
OP
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Could a kind mod please pop this in the DIY section, thank you
 

drmw

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Malcolm - that's done, with a link back to this thread to allow discussion.
 

ajp558

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I like the look of that Alpine EZ-DAB. I'd love one in my R230 after having great DAB in a loan Volvo I had for a week last Summer, but my R230 Comand NTG2 doesn't have AUX input and I don't know what I'd do about fitting an aerial.

With decent reception being so important for DAB while moving about I doubt that a hidden wire or internal windscreen stick-on one would cut it compared to a proper roof mounted antenna.

So, I'll be following this thread to hear of progress, even though it isn't for an SL. The folding hinge is a nice touch.
 
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OP
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You can tap into the FM antenna or the spare one on the front screen if no TV fitted, its is the AUX in that is the problem, has anyone overcome this problem
 

ajp558

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You can tap into the FM antenna or the spare one on the front screen if no TV fitted, its is the AUX in that is the problem, has anyone overcome this problem

No TV is fitted, but I assume that using an FM antenna for DAB would probably give a poor reception compared to a proper DAB aerial. I'd be interested in hearing if anyone else has used either the FM or the windscreen one on an R230 for DAB? Am I correct that the "spare" windscreen one is for Sirius digital radio in the USA, and is not used in European models?

I'd like to upgrade Comand to a newer NTG2.5 but the cost is just too prohibitive and leads me to look at a complete replacement to a Kenwood or Alpine with much better facilities. But then I realise I would lose the full radio display on the speedo/rev counter display and I end up doing nothing. The more I spend the more I would want perfection. So the idea of just adding DAB for £150 or so really does appeal (and that Alpine EZ-DAB also adds USB reader and iPOD control).
 
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OP
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I was asleep :( this DAB receiver that I used does have a FM modulating output, so you can use the existing radio on the comand, the sound is nearly as good. So no aux in required.

I am sure that you have an unused antenna in the front screen, but I must check.

The reception does depend on where you live, I can get next to nothing without getting away from the hills, most inland larger cities are OK for the best part.

The is nowhere for an antenna on a 230
 

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So, I could use the FM "direct inject" as they call it in the notes on the features for the EZi-DAB to get past the problem of having no AUX in on the Comand NTG2. Not as good as proper AUX in but better than an FM transmitter, and I bet the speedo/rev display would show something useful when set to Audio.

The Alpine then comes with 3.5mm connection itself as well as DAB, USB and Apple iPOD connectors to finally give the R230 hifi some decent connectivity options.

That just leaves the issue of using an existing antenna connection or exploring options like the windscreen stick on ones. This could be the cheap and flexible alternative and stop me going round in circles pondering expensive Comand upgrades or replacements.
 
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Give me a bit of time and I can check on the front screen antenna, its easy to get to by just taking down the mirror part
 
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npuk

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I like the look of that Alpine EZ-DAB. I'd love one in my R230 after having great DAB in a loan Volvo I had for a week last Summer, but my R230 Comand NTG2 doesn't have AUX input and I don't know what I'd do about fitting an aerial.

NTG2 has aux input however the SL doesnt have NTG2. It has NTG1 which also does have aux input apart from on the S/CL/SL. You would need to add something on the MOST bus like Dension Gateway to get aux.

There is a fully integrated DAB solution for the SL that connects to the MOST bus but it is expensive. http://www.commandonline.co.uk/in2digi-DAB-digital-radio-D1.html
 
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Comand

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On the R230 the antenna amplifiers are a real PITA to get to. Its a dashboard out job sadly.

We use an on screen antenna on the SL. Its quite discreet and works well. antenna positioning and grounding are absolutely critical for good reception.
 

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On the R230 the antenna amplifiers are a real PITA to get to. Its a dashboard out job sadly.

We use an on screen antenna on the SL. Its quite discreet and works well. antenna positioning and grounding are absolutely critical for good reception.

Have you installed the Alpine EZi-DAB in any R230s using FM "direct injection" because it lacks the AUX input on the NTG1? I have to admit that I don't know whether the FM connector that the EZi-DAB would need to fit into is on the back of the NTG1 unit or an AGW FM tuner unit in the rear of the car. It also looks as though the control unit wont fit neatly into the ash tray as with Malcolm's CL.
 
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npuk

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FM antenna connection would be on the AGW for all NTG1 based units apart from Audio 20 CD.
 
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ajp558

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Thanks for clarifying the location of the FM connections npuk.

It sounds like the best place for the EZi-DAB main box might in the rear compartment alongside the AGW, but in turn that makes it a bit more difficult to route a windscreen mounted DAB aerial cable tidily through to the main box compared to having everything tucked in behind the NTG1. I was hoping to avoid using any extension cables in order to minimise any signal loss.
 
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I will give this some more thought
 

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I will give this some more thought

Thanks Malcolm. Sorry if it appears as though I am hijacking your thread. I am still very interested in hearing how you finish your installation.

I have been humming and ahhhing for so long about getting an Alpine or Pure DAB put in my cars for so long but as the costs escalate and as the SL doesn't have AUX in I start thinking about replacing the NTG1. Then I go round in circles looking at more modern touchscreen systems but don't want to lose the full integration with the speedo/rev counters, but the NTG2.5 is probably just to expensive and would still need an extra DAB add-on.

The 8-way latched Molex connection plug for the EZI-DAB main unit look like overkill when all that it requires is a power feed. Did you have to butcher that to get power from the diagnostic and cigar lighter feeds?
 

BongoShaftsbury

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I'm just about to install one of these (albeit the PURE version). I agree the molex connector is over the top. All you need is two power feeds and earth.

For info on other parts of this thread, if you have no AUX in you can physically connect your FM aerial into the DAB unit and out again to your head unit, or have the DAB transmit an FM signal wirelessly. Either way you tune your existing radio to the right frequency and there's your DAB sound.

Worth noting that the iPods supported by this unit are not extensive. I managed to have one of the ones that is not supported.
 

rpalmeida

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BTW, there is now a slightly more cost effective fully integrated DAB for W221/W216 NTG3 and NTG3.5 and NTG4 (pre facelift W204 & SLS), avoids the extra "EZI-DAB" type screen. It uses an stick-on antenna, rather than factory antennas (because the W221 antenna amplifier pack is significantly expensive and takes a long time to get the antenna wiring to it)

Talk to Alfie at www.comand.co.uk (forum sponsor)

Cheers

Richard
 
OP
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:confused:
BTW, there is now a slightly more cost effective fully integrated DAB for W221/W216 NTG3 and NTG3.5 and NTG4 (pre facelift W204 & SLS), avoids the extra "EZI-DAB" type screen. It uses an stick-on antenna, rather than factory antennas (because the W221 antenna amplifier pack is significantly expensive and takes a long time to get the antenna wiring to it)

Talk to Alfie at www.comand.co.uk (forum sponsor)

Cheers

Richard

Hello Richard, the front screen on my 216 is metalized and no way can any internal antenna be used, at the moment I have one on the under side of the glass roof, I was going to put a through glass one on but not sure if the roof is double glazed. Getting a wire from the rear to the front is not funny either.
 

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BTW, there is now a slightly more cost effective fully integrated DAB for W221/W216 NTG3 and NTG3.5 and NTG4 (pre facelift W204 & SLS), avoids the extra "EZI-DAB" type screen. It uses an stick-on antenna, rather than factory antennas (because the W221 antenna amplifier pack is significantly expensive and takes a long time to get the antenna wiring to it)

Talk to Alfie at www.comand.co.uk (forum sponsor)

Cheers

Richard

I would not recommend it.
I buy it and make it fitted at their shop.
It never worked correctly even after countless visit to their shop and they have updated everything in the car and changed the antenna.
I have a terrible reception in UK (at best) and no reception when in Europe.
And the worst is that, as it is the default source when you start the car, you have to switch on something else every time. So I ask them to remove it and it will cost me extra money.

They are really kind and trying to help. I will recommend this site and garage for the rest (I got the Iphone pack and it is REALLY GOOD.) But the DAB did not work.
 

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