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      01-12-2015, 07:54 PM   #1
erroberts1
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Interior panel removal/phone install

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I am interested in running cabling from the center console to the driver's glove compartment for a convenient way to plug in my phone which I keep on a magnetic vent mount above the light switch. It's a super clean look with no suction cups, articulating arms, external wires, or grabber claws. I also love the fact that the phone is easily accessible and not at a low angle such as in the cup holder.

Anyone performed a similar operation or have any tips and tricks on panel removal for the interior (or even a parts removal guide)? I realize there may be some drilling involved and plan to use a few rubber wire grommets to clean up the look wherever this is necessary. Generally, I think the trickiest portion will be getting into the glovebox from the panel underneath the steering column. Removing the drawer entirely will likely be necessary to do it right.

So how about it? Who's taken apart the interior of these cars?
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      01-12-2015, 09:27 PM   #2
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There's a 12V socket just below the glove compartment.

It's just above where the passengers left knee would be. Get a flashlight and look for it.

edit: wrong glove compartment, my bad.
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      01-12-2015, 10:07 PM   #3
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Do you require more than power and ground from center console?
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      01-13-2015, 12:30 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by claykin View Post
Do you require more than power and ground from center console?
Even simpler, I am running a flat USB from center console coupled to a flat Apple lightning cable.
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      01-13-2015, 11:58 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erroberts1 View Post
Even simpler, I am running a flat USB from center console coupled to a flat Apple lightning cable.
That's actually more complicated. If it was only +12V and GND you could grab 2 feet away, under the drivers dash.

Note, USB has length limitations, 16' 5" if I recall correctly. And this includes the length of cable BMW used from the headunit to the center console. Be sure to test before you bury that flat USB cable.
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      01-14-2015, 12:11 AM   #6
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Got a pic of this magnetic vent mount?
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      01-14-2015, 05:15 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by claykin View Post
That's actually more complicated. If it was only +12V and GND you could grab 2 feet away, under the drivers dash.

Note, USB has length limitations, 16' 5" if I recall correctly. And this includes the length of cable BMW used from the headunit to the center console. Be sure to test before you bury that flat USB cable.
I want to be able to transfer data in addition to powering the phone. Maybe I'm not totally following I would also require to maintain a standard USB input for software updates, etc. I did test at a total length of 9' from center console and all power and ConnectedDrive functions worked flawlessly.
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      01-14-2015, 05:36 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fronzdan View Post
Got a pic of this magnetic vent mount?
Sample image below. The mount and a couple plates will run about $10 on ebay from multiple sources.

The magnets have enough strength to allow home button presses and to keep the phone from vibrating out of place. The fingers seem to have a pretty solid hold on the vent louver and I can use the articulation of the vent itself to angle it around a bit.

I typically position it so that the bottom of the phone rests right around the top of the headlight switch.

When and if Apple finally unlocks general NFC programming outside of ApplePay, I have a small (2cm square x 2mm thick) NFC chip that I can attach to the vent and will program the phone to automatically activate BT, open the ConnectedDrive app, change brightness settings, etc. or whatever when it comes into range.


Last edited by erroberts1; 01-20-2015 at 01:09 PM. Reason: RFID =/= NFC (brainfart)
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      01-20-2015, 11:34 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erroberts1 View Post
When and if Apple finally unlocks general RFID programming outside of ApplePay, I have a small (2cm square x 2mm thick) RFID chip that I can attach to the vent and will program the phone to automatically activate BT, open the ConnectedDrive app, change brightness settings, etc. or whatever when it comes into range.
Ok I'd jailbreak for that! You'd make a bundle selling that solution. Actually that would be so desirable, it would be worth putting on the App Store.
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      01-20-2015, 01:08 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fronzdan View Post
Ok I'd jailbreak for that! You'd make a bundle selling that solution. Actually that would be so desirable, it would be worth putting on the App Store.
The only hitch there is it requires external hardware. You need a passive NFC chip for the phone to "react" to when it comes into range. From a software perspective, I think you can do this with a jailbroken current gen iPhone (6 or 6+) and an app from the Cydia Store.

General pair and programming access for NFC is rumored to be coming with iOS9 which we should see in September. If the introduction of the TouchID pad and subsequent availability for third party use is to be the precedent, it makes perfect sense.

Frankly, if I had an Android phone, I would have done this a long time ago. Unfortunately, I'm too deep into Apple's ecosystem to exchange major functionality for minor conveniences.
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      01-20-2015, 01:47 PM   #11
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The main thing I'd want is "if a connection to BMW BT is made, then start the Connected App." I'm pretty sure that's available to the developer on Android.

BTW, did you ever figure out the best way to string a cable from the USB in the armrest to the dash? I picked up a cupholder dock and am trying to figure out how to get out of the armrest without exposing a cable...and I prefer not having to drill a hole in the bottom if I can help it.
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      01-20-2015, 03:26 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fronzdan View Post
The main thing I'd want is "if a connection to BMW BT is made, then start the Connected App." I'm pretty sure that's available to the developer on Android.

BTW, did you ever figure out the best way to string a cable from the USB in the armrest to the dash? I picked up a cupholder dock and am trying to figure out how to get out of the armrest without exposing a cable...and I prefer not having to drill a hole in the bottom if I can help it.
I ordered a trim removal kit and just haven't gone back to it yet. What I did find is underneath the rubber insert inside the armrest are plenty of access points to get below the storage compartment as well as a wiring organizer in place for the 6NS option. There's definitely a path here, I just haven't cracked it open yet.

I have a 90 from the USB connector to a flat cable I can snake under the rubber cover and into the void underneath the storage compartment. This should get you to the cup holder area on the driver's side, but it sounds like you will have to create a hole in the cup holder or "ashtray" space to use it.

My plan from there is to go underneath the plastic cover below the steering wheel, and to drill into the little storage compartment under the light switch for access. Since the cable is flat, I can close the compartment on it. I'll also put a donut weight on the cable so that it will retract when not in use and put a little wire organizer hook inside the box to "catch" it in a convenient position when it retracts.
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      01-21-2015, 01:41 AM   #13
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Unfortunately I don't have any rubber inserts in the bottom. I have the mount for the snap-in. There aren't any access points to underneath the panels. I have to tear apart the armrest I think...and I'll still have to drilling think.
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      01-21-2015, 03:50 AM   #14
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It's just above where the passengers left knee would be.
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      01-21-2015, 10:15 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fronzdan View Post
Unfortunately I don't have any rubber inserts in the bottom. I have the mount for the snap-in. There aren't any access points to underneath the panels. I have to tear apart the armrest I think...and I'll still have to drilling think.
If you remove the housing for the LED that illuminates the USB slot, this might be good, clean way to go.
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      01-21-2015, 11:46 AM   #16
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Good idea. Does that pop out from the inside? Most likely.

Basically I'm ok drilling or opening up a small access slot anywhere in there. I just want to avoid hitting something behind it.

Ahh...this helps...someone who has pulled apart the center armrest!!
http://f30.bimmerpost.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=997765

Last edited by Fronzdan; 01-21-2015 at 11:56 AM.
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