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


Always remembered RIP
Mar 14, 2005
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Your Mercedes
2002 SL500, 216 CL500, all fully loaded

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.

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