Saturday 8 March 2014

E60 Audio: Getting A Remote On/Off Signal from the 12v adapter.

The amp and subs need a remote-signal to tell them to switch off with the ignition. BMWs fitted with iDrive have a 16-minute shutdown sequence on most of the car's electrical equipment. This means that a 5-12v remote-signal cannot be taken from any of the wires at the rear of the car, such as the parking-sensors on the E39 or E46. With iDrive they will keep the amp turned on and draining the battery for quarter of an hour every time you turn the key.

The only viable option and the most popular online is to take the remote-signal from the 12v adapter / cigar-lighter in the dash, which shuts down straight away. It's a fiddly setup with a spring, so to avoid wrecking the sliding ash-tray mechanism it's best to remove the whole centre-console as one piece and quite a bit of dash and trim has to be removed to do this. With the battery and audio-feed already in the boot, this is the longest and most involved part of the whole job, but a lot less difficult than I imagined.

You will need a good length of wire to reach from the cigar-lighter, over the dash, under the sills and into the boot. The blue remote-wire that comes with

1. Removing the Trim to get to the Cigar-lighter wires:

1.1 Pull forward the trim-strip that holds the passenger and centre air-vents on the dash, starting at the passenger side edge [door-open], working it gently up with a flat screwdriver and moving along to the centre.

1.2 From behind the trim-strip, press out the hazard-light and lock switch-panel out of the trim-strip and unplug the wiring-connector. The trim-strip can now be removed.

1.3 Remove the 2 crosshead screws from the top corners of the radio/climate-control fascia and pull that forward top first.

1.4 Unplug the 2 wiring-connectors from the climate-control fascia and pull it further forward.

1.5 Unplug the 3 or 4 wiring-connectors from the bottom of the fascia [ASC/PDC/heated-seats etc.] and completely remove it.

1.6 Gently prise up the gear-stick gaiter and lift it up out of the way.

1.7 Remove the iDrive knob by pulling it vertically upwards.

1.8 Remove the 2 screws under the gearstick-gaiter holding the centre-console trim panel using a T20 Torx-head driver.

1.9 Use a flat-screwdriver to gently prise up the centre-console trim panel, being careful of the 2 push-studs at the rear, unplug the 'Menu' button wiring-connector and remove the panel.

1.10 Remove the 4 screws holding the ash-tray using a T20 Torx-head driver and lift the ash-try out. It is not necessary to unplug the wiring-connector as it should reach out enough to splice the wire.

2. Splicing / Running the Remote Wire:

2.1 Pull down the plastic trim-panel directly under the steering-column. It has a push clip at either side.

2.2 Run the remote-wire in through the open trim-panel and round to the bottom of the dashboard and under the ash-tray surround so it comes out with the cigar-lighter wiring.

2.3 Splice the remote-wire into the Red live-wire for the cigar-lighter. Solder/heat-shrink is best, but I went with the quick and easy Scotch-lock method.

2.3 Re-fit the centre-console and dash/fascia trim, or if you wish to add a switch so the subs/amp can also be turned off manually then follow THIS POST first.

2.4 Remove the coin-tray from under the steering-column by undoing the 2 crosshead-screws.

2.5 Pull back the door-seal from the lower front-corner of the driver's door.

2.6 Run the other end of the remote-wire through the opposite side of the open trim-panel under the steering-column [towards the driver's door] to where it can be reached from the coin-tray aperture.

2.7 Reach into the coin-tray aperture with the end of the remote-wire and feed it through the edge of the dashboard until it can be seen in the gap behind the door-seal.

2.8 Pull the rest of the remote-wire out of the door-seal and re-fit the trim-panel / coin-tray.

2.9 Feed the remote-wire down behind the trim-panel at the low front corner of the driver's door and lift up the door-sill trim until the wire can be reached and pulled through from below into the footwell.

2.10 Re-fit the door-seal.

2.11 Remove the rear seat-squab by pulling it up sharply at the either side.

2.12 Run the remote-wire through into the rear footwell and up the side of the rear seat, tucking it under the door-sill and B-pillar trim as you do so.

2.13 Locate a gap along the top of the seat-back / parcel-shelf for the remote-wire to run through into the boot, the easiest place is the driver's side about halfway to the centre, and feed the wire down about 6 inches. From side the boot the wire should be coming through at the far edge of the parcel-shelf, so pull a good length through to avoid it getting yanked back up.

2.14 Run the remote-wire under the trim at the side of the seat-squab, tuck it up behind the side of the seat-back and along the parcel-shelf, then pull the remaining wire through into the boot.

2.15 Re-fit the rear seat-squab.

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