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Discussion Starter #1
Thanks to those who replied to my original inquiry about this thread before: http://www.focusfanatics.com/forum/showthread.php?s=&threadid=5281

I figured out a solution. It was explained to me from PIE tech support (www.pie.net) that the Blau radio in the Focus is not really a true Blaupunkt radio. It is manufactured by Blaupunkt, but it has Ford's software protocol and Ford's guts inside of it. I originally bought a cable that would convert the 8 pin CDC to a 3.5m plug that would fit in an iPod. This wouldn't work because there was no compatible data signal coming from that cable that would tell the radio to switch to CDC mode, thus allowing the audio signal from the 3.5m plug (iPod in my case). When I tried this I had the iPod running, and then I'd switch on the CDC button on the HU, and nothing happened. "NO CHANGER" appeared in the display. Anyway, to do this you need an actual factory Ford CD Changer, that will be compatible with the "blau" radio. I'm told that no other aftermarket CD Changers will work because they won't fit Ford's data protocol. Then you need to get a go-between box from PIE called the X3. http://www.pie.net/x3_inst.htm This is a switchbox that has RCA inputs on it that interrupts the audio from the CD Changer and allows audio from anything you want. It goes between the CD Changer and the "Blau" radio. The CD Changer still sends the data link signal to the radio, so that the HU will switch to the CDC mode, but the audio signal is interrupted by the switchbox so that whatever audio you send into the RCA's on the switchbox will go through instead.

The only problem with all this is that I imagine the price of these factory Ford CD Changers is expensive, because you have to go through Ford to get it...I guess. Anyone out there know where else to get one?? Then there's the price of the X3 switchbox...$75 from PIE.

Why not just get an aftermarket radio with an AUX input? JVC makes the only ones I've seen, but I think they're pretty ugly, and they have stupid animation and more flashing lights on it than the space shuttle. Plus you have to get a mounting kit. So I don't know about that. Anyone know of other aftermarket radios that have an AUX input?

If anyone else has any thoughts on all this I'd love to read them! My quest to install an iPod in my Focus will not be deterred!

Syminguy
 

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Discussion Starter #2
By the way...I also looked into getting the ICE-Link for iPod, made by Dension http://www.ice-link.com/ but after several days of talking with tech support they finally told me that their product will not work with the OEM Blaupunkt radios. Bummer...
 

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syminguy said:
Why not just get an aftermarket radio with an AUX input? JVC makes the only ones I've seen, but I think they're pretty ugly, and they have stupid animation and more flashing lights on it than the space shuttle. Plus you have to get a mounting kit. So I don't know about that. Anyone know of other aftermarket radios that have an AUX input?

If anyone else has any thoughts on all this I'd love to read them! My quest to install an iPod in my Focus will not be deterred!

Syminguy
Heh heh. I was in the same boat recently. I did just give up and install an aftermarket head unit. Are you looking for one that has an aux in on the face of the unit, or do you mind if the input is at the rear? There should be plenty of aftermarket units with rear-mounted aux inputs. I was turned off by the monstrosities that are passing for car stereos these days, so I got a nice clean Nakamichi head unit. Looks good, like it actually belongs with the car. They (the installers; yes, I gave up on installing it myself, too) just hooked up an RCA to miniplug patch cord to the input, and ran the cord out near the cupholder on the right side of the console. Since the cord is black you can barely even see that it is there (the SVT interior is pretty dark).

Might as well upgrade. Since you enjoy your music enough to have bought an iPod, then look at it this way. Someday you'll probably want to upgrade the system (speakers, amps) and by installing an aftermarket head unit you'll be making that much easier to do when the time comes.
 

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Belkin makes a little battery powered FM modulator thats works well and is pretty inexpensive @ $20....this is if u just want a quick hookup
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Good point SVT. I don't care where the aux input is, as long as it can be done. I don't mind a cord dangling somewhere that I can connect/reconnect an iPod or other source. I mainly don't want an ugly HU. I don't want/need goofy lights and animation like seeing dolphins in the ocean or rockets flying through space. I haven't done a lot of researching of HU's but I guess that's the way I'll have to go. I used to have a Mitsubishi Eclipse and I bought an aftermarket radio for it and it got stolen. This happened not once, but twice. That's another reason I'm not so fond of installing what would look like an aftermarket HU. And removing faceplates all the time is a pain in the ass.

I'd go the FM Modulator route, but they sound like crap. I had a Belkin FM Mod that is specifically designed for an iPod and there's a constant whine in the background. Really noticable, especially on more quiet music.

I'll look into Nakamichi and I also heard that Alpine makes some clean looking ones too.
 

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FM modulaters are crap - maybe okay for a temporary solution, but they sound awful. I've tried several and they all stank. Just FYI, I got my Nak on eBay new in the box for $299, it's the CD-400 model. Has multiple pre-amp outputs, the aux input, a 24-bit DAC for the CD player, switchable illumination (green/amber), and it looks good and works great. Alpine is also good, I've had an Alpine HU in another car for about 8 years now with no problems other than the buttons starting to wear out and the CD can be slow to respond. Obviously, 8 years is far longer than most keep a HU, so Alpine gets a [thumb] from me.
 

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The Holey Grail?

Here's a photo of the connector from Autotoys.com
$71 big fat American Dollars. They call it:

"FORD AUX INPUT ADAPTER 1999+
(FOR COUGAR & FOCUS & ZX3 ONLY!) #335
Aux input adapter for 1998+ FORD FOCUS & COUGAR radios
without CD changer and a free CD changer port.
Direct AUX input via 2 RCA stereo jacks.

Requirements:
Requires a free cd changer port. If you have a CD changer
connected or a in dash cd changer from the factory which uses
the CD changer port, this adapter will not work.
This adapter takes sound directly (stereo) via 2 RCA jacks
and feeds it directly into the car stereo (just switch to CD changer
mode - See factory manual) and voila, direct input sound. Great for
XM radio connections, MP3 players, in car entertainment video feeds, etc. "


Obviously this would work with whatever car has the correct radio... a
ZX5 or wagon or whatever, right?

And how does this thing work exactly? I mean, I understand the two
RCA inputs (what we've all been looking for) but why are there TWO
other plugs? One obviously plugs into the CD changer port... the other,
what does it plug into?


PS... I'm hoping to hook up and Iriver... not an IPOD. Iriver = $346 = 20gig,
Lith/polymer battery with 16 hour play time, FM receiver built in,
includes remote and case, plays Mp3, WMA & OGG formats.
 

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A fellow at Autotoys just responded to my email... the harness has two plugs, one is for options (?)... the other plugs into the CD changer port.

Is this IT guys... what we've all been looking for?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Well this is very interesting. I'm a little skeptical though. Has anyone actually tried using either of these? In that picture above, the plug on the right looks like an 8 pin CDC plug, the RCA's are obvious, but the plug on the left...maybe it's a male version of the female 8 pin connector?? Maybe that end goes to an actual CD Changer. But what I was told is that in order for the factory Blaupunkt radio to switch to CD Changer mode a data-link signal from a compatible cd changer must be present. Otherwise it will say "NO CHANGER" on the HU display, and the audio gates will not open to the CDC port. This looks interesting though, and it would be simpler and cheaper than buying an aftermarket HU with an aux in. PCM, did the guy who email'd you explain more?
 

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I'm confused. Is the Blaupunkt the MP3 head unit, or do they make other headunits as well?
 

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aiwa has a nice cheap hu for around $100. it has the aux in in the front and when i bought it they sent me a mounting kit just for the focus. the directions were very clear and the install was quite simple. then i just drilled a whole in the back of the shelf in the mounting kit that they gave me (because i'm sure as you all know the focus stereo is quite large) and then ran the wire from the hu through the whole, then around the back and down out by the center console and i leave my mp3 player in my cup holder.
 

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Syminguy, I wrote Autotoys and asked if they were guarenteed, and also if anyone had tried them out.

He wrote back:

"Yes, we sold a few of them without any complaints or negative feedback in
our forums."

I wonder about the second plug too... it looks like you CAN hook up the CD changer with this pigtail.


PS -- the FM transmitter approach can at best be considered a stilted workaround... the final sound quality is vastly inferior to a LINE IN and the cockpit arrangement of wires is Rube Goldberg at best. The idea is to use a stock HEAD UNIT and get great sound. Also, the stock HU, from a 'graphic' standpoint, looks "right" in the Focus. It has the same font and printing on the swithes as the other interior labeling and has good size buttons -- while foregoing the amatuerish, 'boy racer,' 'tokyo by night,' aftermarket head unit "look-at-me" look.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I emailed the guys at both Autotoys and Soundgate (see above for the posts about these companies that claim to have a solution here). It's not clear to me which company this guy wrote from (I think Soundgate), but here is the reply from the head tech there:

"I just got done talking with the guys at ford and that radio you have
according to them is not CD changer compatible allot of new radios even
though they have a port in the back are not programmed to accept a CD
changer. If you unit is programmed to accept a CD changer or aux. ford with
the correct cable would work . You stated you've tried something like ours
and it didn't work IM sorry i can't speak for everyone else's interfaces but
ford has updated there language twice in the last three years and allot of
our competitors haven't spent the money to update there language. IM sorry i
don't have a exact answer for you but being ford states its not CD
compatible we've never bought one to do testing on. I can tell you this if
it uses the same CD changer as the rest of the ford line it will work."

The people at AutoToys have been emailing me too, and they seem pretty confident that it will work. Here's a resent response from them:

"Our unit tricks the
radio into thinking it is a CD changer and then keeps it on track 99 disc
1 and feeds the sound in."

Does anyone out there have a Ford CD Changer connected to their Blau MP3/CD Changer radio? If so, these products might just work.

--syminguy[unsure]
 

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Hi guys,

I just did a google search and came across this.. was wondering if there were any updates in the last couple of weeks - has anyone tried it as yet?

Thanks,

VK
 

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I had an AIWA single cd/mp3 unit at one point with an AUX input on the faceplate. Odds are if aiwa has is, other companies probably would too.
 

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I know that the new Sony (CDX-F7000) has an input in the back, you'd just need to run a male headphone cord to whatever device you have. Its really nice, and not to badly priced
 
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