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Old 12-27-2003, 07:13 PM   #1
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Custom Aux-In Module

Here's the beef:

Everyone seems to want an Aux-input jack in their RX-8 (and/or Mazda6).

The head units for both vehicles feature interchangeable modules, and are common across several Mazda platforms, first the Mazda6, now the RX-8, and very soon the Mazda3.

There remains no simple way to get the auxillary audio input into the car, cleanly and effectively without soldering into the head unit and mucking around with it.

Therefore, I'm proposing that I develop a plug-in module for the RX-8 (and compatable modules mentioned above) that has several audio line-in connectors, either concealed in the expansion module bay, and/or routable to the face-plate or other hidden location within the RX-8, which also can route the controls from the steering wheel, and the face-plate via a serial port/USB to send remote commands to a computer running WinAmp, or some other MP3 player variant, through some sort of Keyboard driver or WinAmp specific serial port type interface.

So far a $50 target price has been suggested by myself, but it remains to be seen how close to this figure a final product could get.

Anyone who is interested in this device, should please list their interest below, and their preference for this devices connectivity, Serial port/USB, etc.

Regards,

OverLOAD
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Old 12-27-2003, 07:21 PM   #2
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Old 12-27-2003, 07:53 PM   #3
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great idea
I suggest simple options, like L and R RCA inputs controlled by the TAPE/MD button on the head unit. This wasy we can switch inputs by the mode button on the steering wheel to use an I-Pod or satellite radio.
A more complicated option with computer / winamp controls would probably be out of technical reach or desire for the common drivers
Keep up the good work though and I will definitely like to be your customer if it works
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Old 12-27-2003, 08:15 PM   #4
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I'd certainly be interested - I'd love to be able to hook up an iPod. Controlling the iPod from the steering wheel might not be easy or even possible, given its controls, but heck, I'd probably be willing to pay $50 for an AUX IN jack routed anywhere.
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Old 12-27-2003, 08:21 PM   #5
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I'm with Unser. Get something simple going for now, go for the fancy USB stuff as a 2nd model. I just want one RCA input jack controlled by selecting tape/md. I need it to be a clean plug in module that doesn't involve too much messing around with the car.
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Old 12-27-2003, 08:46 PM   #6
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I second that emotion. A plug in module is the perfect solution for those who are looking for a quick and effective way to connect external music sources. Count me in. A bargain at that price point. A need exists . . . the market awaits.
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Old 12-27-2003, 09:13 PM   #7
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If you can make a simple plug-in module that provides at least 1 RCA input that is controlled by the Tape/MD button I'd be all over it.

Please make it so that the connections are hidden in the dash and that it is small enough so that it clears the plastic cover for the Tape/MD expansion slot by at least 3/4" as I've already used that area for my V1 remote display. Thanks! :D

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Old 12-27-2003, 09:45 PM   #8
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I would like the whole shebang you mentioned (USB, preferably as an HID device and aux input).

I'm interested, but I'd really like to know what you've accomplished so far. I'm willing to wait some time for this feature, but not forever. I'm not trying to doubt your abilities, but this is quite the undertaking (especially tricking the unit into thinking a module is there and catching button presses).

Thanks!
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Old 12-27-2003, 09:51 PM   #9
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I would love a way to conect to the head unit and use the tape md input button to run an wire to the armrest console to install a female mni stereo jack so i could plug my zen jukebox directly to the head and use the tape/md button instead of the radio.
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Old 12-27-2003, 10:50 PM   #10
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I have the single disc cd player and the cassette. I would like RCA jacks for my commander xm radio though and still have use of the other things. Thanks
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Old 12-28-2003, 07:14 AM   #11
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Hey OverLOAD,

knowing anything more than we do?! ;-)

That's quite exactly what we wanted to do in this thread:
Engineers: Can this be hacked?

Hacking into to stock control system. Do you know which are the input lines and the control lines of the module ports?
I would say forget that about controlling special devices like ipod ect with the headunit. Most people do not have that, would be very hard work and we first just want a simple aux-in.
How about 3 or 4 INs that we can switch with the AUX-module? One of them as front aux with headphone jack. In case of your friend brings his own device in the RX-8, for fast connecting. ;-)
Others should be RCA (Cinch) jacks on the back of the AUX-module. Of course you can longer them to come out in the car whereever you want.

Giving the AUX-module his own buttons and display would make things easier. So we wil not have to find out all that digital control signals.
We just activate the AUX-module by pressing the TAPE/MD or AUX ;-) button, aynthing else we be done internal.
The possibility to give each input a name would be cool.
You could also fully use the top RX-8 display to see all of that. Would save money cos we don't need extra display. But not easy to find out how to display and how to use the headunit buttons to create the source names.

Also the AUX-module should be able to set volumes of each input source to make it fit the headunit input signal levels and so each input will play as loud as the CD and tuner section.

Click the image to open in full size.

Just a first try. We can discuss the final design. :D

rgds
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Old 12-28-2003, 09:05 AM   #12
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RX-8-Tobi,

That's some neat photo-choppin' there.

That's a possibility, but I think that would be kind of overkill for what most people want.

Here's what I know:

We (My EE partner & I) have scoped out the signals coming from the aux-module. we believe the following:

1. We can decode the signals sent by the head unit (and steering wheel) controls relatively easily into a serial-cable bus control signal.

2. We can fool the HU to think that it's got a 'normal' tape module in it.

3. We can provide several "overrideable" audio input sources into the HU. This means that if the RCA plugs are connected, they work, if the SPDIF becomes active, it switches to that, if the Optical connector becomes active, it then overrides to that, in a priority type sequence.

My take is this:

We can make a very cheap, entry level module which provides 2 or 3 input sources (1/16" stereo plug - can be connected to RCA's if you like), SPDIF digital, and SPDIF optical connectors. The optical connectors are probably the most expensive, and it might be worthwhile for us to just make a single 'audio type' module pluggable into out unit, which gives you the type of connectivity you're looking for. The Serial-out to the computer isn't all that hard, I'm not familar with writing the app to control winamp, but I don't think it would be that difficult.

So it looks like we'd have a base module, with a serial port, and a 1/16" mini-stereo plug, and possibly have a mini-riser for the other options.

We could possibly even have some kind of ipod remote control. I don't have an Ipod, but I know that it wouldn't work for all ipods, since they have two types of connectors now. This would be a more difficult undertaking, and obviously much lower sales potential, and probably more significant cost.

However, for now, my target it to get a module which is very basic, and plugs into the CD expansion plug, and provides a very basic signal input capability, and does it with nice, high-quality sound. For this, the SPDIF (digital format) is clearly advantageous, due to the likely introduction of signal noise from an analogue connector. I think that this would be the most basic and cheapest device that we could produce.

My partners goals are very much along the same lines, and our timelines are to have a prototype within a couple of weeks. If the interest keeps up, we'll probably offer the unit for sale within a couple of months. We're aiming for a reasonable target price, but I believe that once the price goes much above $50, there's a much smaller market.

I'll keep you all up to date on the details as they unfold.

OverLOAD
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Old 12-28-2003, 09:13 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by RX-8-Tobi
Giving the AUX-module his own buttons and display would make things easier. So we wil not have to find out all that digital control signals.
We just activate the AUX-module by pressing the TAPE/MD or AUX ;-) button, aynthing else we be done internal.
The possibility to give each input a name would be cool.
You could also fully use the top RX-8 display to see all of that. Would save money cos we don't need extra display. But not easy to find out how to display and how to use the headunit buttons to create the source names.

Also the AUX-module should be able to set volumes of each input source to make it fit the headunit input signal levels and so each input will play as loud as the CD and tuner section.
8<---8<---

Yikes, that looks pretty complicated. A nice custom plastic injection molded housing, with pretty buttons, a pretty display and nice labels.. I'd say that it's be expensive to develop that unit and sell it, for the much reduced market size that that device would offer over the basic aux-in unit. It Looks very nice, but I think it might be too much overkill.

Of course, the way I'm hoping the device gets built, it would probably be easy to just plug this unit into the aux-in unit to get the desired result, but that looks like too big of an undertaking.

On the other hand, if enough people want it, it might be worth-while. I think that the plastic housing only becomes feasable with a 1000 unit minimum quantity, or if the stock cover plate could be re-purposed to this function. But $60 for a blank face plate, that's going to add a lot of cost.

I figure that even if there was enough demand for this type of add-on the the aux-in it would probably have to be priced between $200 and $300 to make it not bleed the developers (us) dry.. but I'm not saying that it can be done... I'm just not sold that it's feasable yet.

OverLOAD

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Old 12-28-2003, 12:57 PM   #14
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All I want is the ability to plug in my iPod.
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Old 12-28-2003, 04:02 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by Speed Racer
If you can make a simple plug-in module that provides at least 1 RCA input that is controlled by the Tape/MD button I'd be all over it.
I second that. For $50, I'll buy the plug-in module in a heartbeat.
How soon do you think you can be done with this?
(Meaning: how soon can I get my greedy hands on my new module? :D)
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Old 12-28-2003, 07:04 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by Tamas
I second that. For $50, I'll buy the plug-in module in a heartbeat.
How soon do you think you can be done with this?
(Meaning: how soon can I get my greedy hands on my new module? :D)
I think I suggested about 2 months? Maybe by early March? maybe sooner but that's my target. sooner may happen.

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Old 12-28-2003, 07:07 PM   #17
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thats all I want too. to plung in my zen and use the tape/md input and would pay $50 in a heart beat so get working so we can have it now........just kidding
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Old 12-29-2003, 12:14 AM   #18
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I want to plug in my satelite tuner and use it like I do on the after market decks in my other cars. Extra controlers and displays clutter things up and require too much attention.
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Old 12-29-2003, 02:51 AM   #19
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Re: Custom Aux-In Module

Quote:
Originally posted by OverLOAD
Here's the beef:

Everyone seems to want an Aux-input jack in their RX-8 (and/or Mazda6).
You got that right!

Quote:
... Anyone who is interested in this device, should please list their interest below, and their preference for this devices connectivity, Serial port/USB, etc.

Regards,

OverLOAD
I am very interested, and am working on this problem myself (just not very fast!). I would prefer a fairly simple interface -- just a line-level stereo input jack (either 1/8" stereo jack or a pair of RCA jacks) and the ability to select the aux-in by means of the standard CD/MD button. I think it is a mistake to design a device-specific interface, since we all don't use the same devices (some use i-pod, some use Nomad JB3, etc.)
OK, thinking more on this, I think a female 1/8" stereo mini-jack routed into the centre console would be the way to go, but it would require a bit of installation to route the cable. Why female? So that the chances of shorting the channel(s) to ground are reduced. Most devices would connect with a short male-to-male cable.
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Old 12-29-2003, 03:46 AM   #20
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If you insert in aux-in module, one or two video-in, for the version whit nav, is very very great... the people, we can connect, dvd-video-player, game console and other....



Bye..!
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Old 12-29-2003, 04:29 AM   #21
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As I was considering running the tape-player hack, I'd definitely be interested in the development of a genuine aux-in solution in the $50 range.

Remote control of iPod through the paddles would be sweet. But iPod may be a difficult product to develop for. I put a pre-order on Griffin's iFM product early in 2003. They missed so many ship dates I gave up and cancelled. They have STILL not shipped.
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Old 12-29-2003, 07:11 AM   #22
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Re: Re: Custom Aux-In Module

Quote:
Originally posted by bobclevenger
[B]You got that right!

I am very interested, and am working on this problem myself (just not very fast!). I would prefer a fairly simple interface -- just a line-level stereo input jack (either 1/8" stereo jack or a pair of RCA jacks) and the ability to select the aux-in by means of the standard CD/MD button. I think it is a mistake to design a device-specific interface, since we all don't use the same devices (some use i-pod, some use Nomad JB3, etc.)
OK, thinking more on this, I think a female 1/8" stereo mini-jack routed into the centre console would be the way to go, but it would require a bit of installation to route the cable. Why female? So that the chances of shorting the channel(s) to ground are reduced. Most devices would connect with a short male-to-male cable.
That's the plan. The Tape-Deck Aux-IN hack that I put together basically does the same thing. The point of this one is that it's cheaper than the tape deck, and should sound better.

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Old 12-29-2003, 08:47 AM   #23
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Overload, I just got my sat radio and I too would be more than happy to buy the hardware as you describe. 50 bucks for say 2 line inputs (miniplugs for space are OK I guess, but would prefer independant RCA jacks myself) would be very doable by a lot of people I think.

Maybe ya should start taking emails from interested parties. I know I'll sign up for it.
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Old 12-29-2003, 09:49 AM   #24
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I just wanted to add my vote for a simple AUX in connector (preferably a stereo mini jack) that is enabled by selecting the tape/MD mode.

Like many of us, I want to get my hands on this as soon as possible. When you get to the point where you have a working prototype and are ready to start production, please don't spend too much time trying to create a refined design or add cosmetic touches. I'll take a quick and dirty solution as long as it works as advertised and won't fall apart under the dash.

I can't wait to throw out that stupid FM transmitter!
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Old 12-29-2003, 11:44 AM   #25
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I'll send my 50 now if I can get an early unit. (I would prefer at least 2 imputs if possible, if not I'll make something work). I was about to buy a tape player and hack away. I like this solution much better.
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Old 12-29-2003, 11:44 AM
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