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Custom Aux-In Module

Old 01-13-2004, 08:11 AM
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Do you think if they see a tape deck with wires coming out they will be more pleased???

Just remove the stuff before going to your dealer or get friendly with them!

Keep on going overload, you got me all excited again, like the first time I read about tape module hack!
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Old 01-13-2004, 08:45 AM
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Originally posted by eXentric
Thanks for the pics OverLOAD. I was really wondering what the dev stuff looked like. Just wondering, now that I see how you have it all hooked up, how confident that you will be able to get the required cassette adapter pin header? I'm only asking because I see that you are connecting through an existing cassette adapter at this point. But I conceed that you may only be doing this for protocol hacking purposes.

Anyway, keep up the great work. And thanks again for the pics, they're always welcome
It's the same thing with anything you bring to your dealer in the car. Everyone's familiar with something that can hurt your ability to get warranty work. Even an air filter can leave you hosed..

Net result is if you fear a warranty denial enough, you will take it out before service. If you think they won't find it (And it can be hidden pretty well, unless they are doing service on the Head Unit) they won't find it. They can't really deny warranty on anything other than the HU because of this, I would postulate.

What we think is the actual connector has been sourced. Once we recieve the samples, we'll confirm or deny the part being the correct one.. So using the actual connector to do a professional job should be no problem.

It is possible to do this hack with an actual Tape deck, but like you already said, that's a $180 module, and you still need a Casette tape to make the tape module turn on the audio.. and A hacked, never ending, one-sided tape, if you don't want 2 second muting while it changes sides. The audio quality should be just as good with a 'fully' hacked tape module, as the Custom module. Also, if you want the other features, like being able to plug into a computer, or SPDIF, or RCA connectors, the Custom Module will be a much cleaner implmentation than mucking around with the tape module.

Regards,

OverLOAD

edit: when I say a 'fully' hacked tape module, I mean with the hacks that we've done to make it work on our development setup. The changes have not been documented anywhere yet, and are not the same as the old 'tape aux-in hack'.

Last edited by OverLOAD; 01-13-2004 at 08:48 AM.
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Old 01-13-2004, 03:34 PM
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Hey OverLOAD,

Thanks again for all of your hard work on this. You're doing us all a great service.

Sorry to ask the nagging question....
Do you think that you're still looking at a March delivery of the unit? Or is it still to early to know if it's even going to work?

Thank You!
Ben
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Old 01-13-2004, 06:21 PM
  #104  
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Yup. Things are moving along nicely.. If there's going to be any delays, it'll be in the ordering of the components.

I fully expect to be able to get these modules out in March. It doesn't look like we're going to be using anything too unusual, except for the tape module connector, that's the one part that probably is the least readily avaiable at this point, but should fit our timeline.

Regards,

OverLOAD
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Old 01-13-2004, 06:45 PM
  #105  
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Well, I'm ready to put down a deposit right now!
Thanks for doing all the work, Overload. I was going to dig into it myself, but you seem to be way ahead of me, so I'll just let you do it.
I suppose you have noticed that the TAPE/MD connector and the CD/MP3 connector are just mating halves of the same connector.
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Old 01-13-2004, 10:20 PM
  #106  
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i've just been enjoying the progress of this project (along with RotorMotor's carputer). i'd definitely like to be one of the first to plop down some hard earned cash for this. i'll PM u with my e-mail address.
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Old 01-14-2004, 08:45 PM
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If you are willing to ship the finished unit to the UK then I'll gladly take one also.
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Old 01-16-2004, 11:35 AM
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Overlord,

If you need any help finding the tape module connector or a suitable replacement, I think I might be able to help. I have access to some resources at work that I might be able to use to find a connector that will work.

I would need the dimensions of the connector and/or any markings or part #s on it. I heard somewhere that it was made by AMP.

Peter
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Old 01-16-2004, 12:32 PM
  #109  
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Overload: Please count me in on your device

[email protected]

Thank you for your hard work and effort.

Best regards!

-jcs-
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Old 01-16-2004, 02:17 PM
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Please include thiis NOOB as well!

[email protected]

Looking forward to tossing my FM modulator out!
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Old 01-16-2004, 06:26 PM
  #111  
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I'm in- [email protected] - I have a 40GB RCA Lyra that's begging for this mod : )


I've been following this thread, but if you can clarify for me- if we currently have a tape module, your plans are to just unplug it from the HU and plug the new module in instead? Do we have to remove the tape unit physically?

Thanks!
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Old 01-16-2004, 07:13 PM
  #112  
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OverLOAD, you can sign me up for this too, in case I haven't already mentioned that... a PM is on the way to you with my email address.

But, there's a lot of discussion in this thread about what you've developed and/or are still developing. Can you please summarize what the module will do, where it's connected, how it uses the factory display, and how the steering wheel controls operate it? Many thanks...
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Old 01-17-2004, 05:29 PM
  #113  
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Summary (kind of long for a summary :)

As requested, here's the current state of what we plan to do:

We are developing a customized mocule, which can plug into the Head Unit (henceforth known as HU), in the place of the Tape module, or MD module. If you currently have either of these modules in your HU, you will need to remove it to put this module in it.

The module, initially will have the following connection points

1 - RS232 Computer serial port
----A. for firmware upgrade
----B. remote control of winamp on a PC via a 'keypad' plug in

2 - 2 pairs (4 total) RCA line-level Audio input connectors
----A. Selectable audio input between the 2 different channels by pushing the PRG button (Say goodbye to mini-stereo, these are close to the same cost, and have a more sturdy connection)

3 - 1 Expansion/Upgrade connector (These will all be later on..)
----See below for more info.

4 - 1 Main connector to the main Head unit.
----A. This is the main connection point we are using to get into the radio.

Here's what you will be able to do:

Intially, when we make a few of these units, we're going for base level functionality. Thus, the software upgradability.

The steering wheel controls will work as per normal operation. The volume controls the built-in amplifiers level, the Up arrow and Down arrow will send the corresponding Next/Last Track control via the serial port to any connected device, in the format the the existing serial keypad plugin is expecting. There is really very little that we need to do here. The RND button will send the control to winamp in a similar manner to enable random mode playback vs. sequential playback.

As already mentioned, the PRG button will switch between RCA inputs 1 and 2.

The unit will 'appear' on the LCD screen to operate exactly like the Tape module, and will display "Tape" when in playback mode.

We plan on including two circuit boards, which one plugs into the connector on the HU, and the other holds the board in place by screwing down where the tape/MD modules would have.

You will then be able to run your RCA cable to the connection point of your choice, with the type of connection that you desire.

I had previously said that we would have an in line pre-amp, to boost signal levels, but after some testing with various devices, we don't have any trouble driving the radio louder than the CD player with the test devices we have connected (IE, there's plenty of gain on the HU to get an adequate volume level).

We are still planning for March to have all of this accomplished, and ready for anyone who might want to buy it. The initial price that was mentioned is very likely, but until we have costed out all of the materials, and tested the preliminary design, we can't say for sure that's what it will be. There may be some sheet metal fabrication that could cause problems. We're looking for alternatives at the moment.


Then, later on down the road, here's the future plans:

The expansion modules. We don't have the time to reverse engineer the IPOD's controls (or other mp3 player ) until we've got this part completed. He're what we're currently considering.
----A. Remote control functionality for MP3 devices. We are currently only planning on making modules for the Archos Jukebox (what we own) and the IPOD. Others may possibly be developed based on demand, difficulty, and cost.
----B. Additional audio input sources such as Optical or Digital SPDIF connector
----C. Video switcher hardware (to synch video with audio)
----D. Hands-free Cell phone connector


LCD display. We currently don't see anything that looks like text being sent to the HU from the Tape module, so it looks like it runs with pre-configured messages. The plan, is to buy/borrow a MP3 CD player, and reverse engineer the bus traffic to determine how to display our own customized text on the screen. This is a fair sized project in of itself, but we definately want to do this before the mp3 player remotes. This will be a firmware update for the device, and be a no-charge upgrade. It will then display "AUX-IN" or some other appropriate text then, and we will try to figure out how we can get song names from WinAmp to the LCD display. This will likely involve writing our own WinAmp plug-in.


Ok.. That's about it. If there's anything else that I left out, I'll edit this post to update it.

Regards,

OverLOAD
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Old 01-17-2004, 08:03 PM
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OverLOAD, you da man

Now I have to mount my satellite reciever or portable mp3 player where I can see the display. The only limitation was the sound input to the HU which you will take care of....

Thanks for the update
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Old 01-17-2004, 08:32 PM
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Very good OverLOAD, glad I got in line early. A March timeline sounds excellent. Well worth the wait for the described functionality.

Regards,

eXe
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Old 01-17-2004, 08:50 PM
  #116  
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Thanks for doing all the work for us, Overload.

Just a quick question. Does this unit work with both the Bose AND base stereo?
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Old 01-17-2004, 09:03 PM
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It should... unless I'm totally wrong, there is no difference between the head units in the base and Bose systems.

At least I seriously hope my base head unit will work fine with this plug-in module.

Great work, OverLOAD - can't wait to buy this module!
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Old 01-17-2004, 10:06 PM
  #118  
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Originally posted by loco4rx8
Thanks for doing all the work for us, Overload.

Just a quick question. Does this unit work with both the Bose AND base stereo?
As Tamas said, It Should.

The Tape module itself seems to be a very generic part which is common across almost all of Mazdas current product line. That means that the Aux-In Module in development should work in any Mazda that this tape module goes in. That amounts to every RX-8, Miata, Mazda6, Mazda3, Tribute, and possibly the Mazda Truck (Still unconfirmed), in any of the trim packages. The major differences in the Mazda sound systems between the 'base' and 'Bose' sound, is changing out speaker components, and the addition of amplifiers, while retaining the same Head Unit.

It is still possible that this module will not work with some vehicles, particularly older model years that used a different style head unit, instead of the newer fully integrated FMS audio unit (That we RX-8 owners have too). I am told that some of them may have a physically compatable connector and module, but may have used a different Tape module part number. Anyone who has an 'Unverified vehicle' and wants to get this module, and finds out that it doesn't work in their vehicle, will be more than welcome to return the unit for a refund.

Once the unit is released, we'll keep an application note on our home page which lists all vehicles and trims that the unit has been tested (by anyone who reports their results to us) to help people figure out if this module will be useful to them.

Regards,

OverLOAD

Last edited by OverLOAD; 01-17-2004 at 10:12 PM.
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Old 01-17-2004, 10:20 PM
  #119  
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OverLOAD,
Just so im understanding you ... This module will plug into the plug where the tape deck would go, and then there would be AUX IN jacks for both a left and right channel? Or will this be in the form of a single mini stereo plug. Also, when you touch the tape button, will the display read tape or AUX? Just curious if that is something that you can do or not?

Thanks,
Frank
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Old 01-17-2004, 11:24 PM
  #120  
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Originally posted by flyboyindy
OverLOAD,
Just so im understanding you ... This module will plug into the plug where the tape deck would go, and then there would be AUX IN jacks for both a left and right channel? Or will this be in the form of a single mini stereo plug. Also, when you touch the tape button, will the display read tape or AUX? Just curious if that is something that you can do or not?

Thanks,
Frank
Yes, exaclty. but two pairs of RCA plugs.

Please read my rather large post in the middle of this page. That should explain the process by which we plan on adding features down the road.

2 pairs of RCA plugs = 2 different inputs.
The module will 'appear' on the LCD screen to be a Tape module. As we do further development on the unit, we might be able to have it display whatever we choose.

Regards,

OverLOAD
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Old 01-18-2004, 01:44 AM
  #121  
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count me in too

I'm more than willing to purchase one of these for beta testing (and for use). I'm working on a carputer project over here too.
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Old 01-18-2004, 05:19 AM
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RX-8 HU OEM manufacutrers?

Hey OverLOAD,

it's me, I am back. :D

good to hear that you are making good progress.

It seem's it is not as easy to put text on the screen as we thought. So you want to buy MP3-CD unit to read the bus out?
Maybe you also can use the MiniDisc unit. It uses the same port like the Tape module and I think MD should send some text on the display.

Glad to hear that you will use RCA connectors and not that childdren's toys mini stereo.

Who makes the RX-8 headunit and its modules? I think parts are made by FMS audio (who is that?!), Clarion and Panasonic. Who makes what?!

I think there is a small difference between RX-8 base and Bose HU. The base has (maybe better luck) "just" speed dependend volume increase and the BOSE has that active noice compensation system. It seems it is not working very reliable, huh?
Maybe it is the same HU, just a little pin on the circuit board or somewhere else on the HU that switches the speed dependend volume increase off and enables to activate to AUDIO PILOT signal for the Bose amp. What do you think?
It should couse no problems with that AUX module, I think it would just be good to have speed dependend volume increase for all Bose HU owners who install aftermarket speakers/amps. In that case I bed AUDIO PILOT will work even worse and has to be turned off. So why not use at least speed dependend volume increas?!

rgds
Tobi
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Old 01-18-2004, 10:33 AM
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Re: RX-8 HU OEM manufacutrers?

Originally posted by RX-8-Tobi
Hey OverLOAD,

it's me, I am back. :D

good to hear that you are making good progress.

It seem's it is not as easy to put text on the screen as we thought. So you want to buy MP3-CD unit to read the bus out?
Maybe you also can use the MiniDisc unit. It uses the same port like the Tape module and I think MD should send some text on the display.

Glad to hear that you will use RCA connectors and not that childdren's toys mini stereo.

Who makes the RX-8 headunit and its modules? I think parts are made by FMS audio (who is that?!), Clarion and Panasonic. Who makes what?!

I think there is a small difference between RX-8 base and Bose HU. The base has (maybe better luck) "just" speed dependend volume increase and the BOSE has that active noice compensation system. It seems it is not working very reliable, huh?
Maybe it is the same HU, just a little pin on the circuit board or somewhere else on the HU that switches the speed dependend volume increase off and enables to activate to AUDIO PILOT signal for the Bose amp. What do you think?
It should couse no problems with that AUX module, I think it would just be good to have speed dependend volume increase for all Bose HU owners who install aftermarket speakers/amps. In that case I bed AUDIO PILOT will work even worse and has to be turned off. So why not use at least speed dependend volume increas?!

rgds
Tobi
It's quite likely that the only difference between the Base & Bose (other than components and amplifiers) is that the Bose also has the noise cancellation microphone. The Head Unit could easily detect the presence of this, and offer the AudioPilot option, rather than the AGCLevel control. This is all head-unit stuff, and should be completely independent of this module.

It would be an interesting test though, to try removing the Bose Microphone, to see if the AudioPilot reverts to another type of gain control. If it doesn't, then it's probably the Radio Flash memory that stores the various EQ settings, and information, such as the start-up message of "mazda RX-8", which is different on the Mazda6, but has the same radio. It's quite likely that there are minor differences in the code that's programmed into the HU, for the various vehicles and trim pakcages.

In terms of figuring out the Text Display on the LCD screen, I think that the MP3 module may be the best way to go, since we all know, for a fact, that it does indeed put text on the LCD. I think the MD does too, but that's just speculation. Who here even has an MD player?? I've never even used one before, so I don't know what data it's capable of storing. Anyway, this is a project for later, we want to start from the bottom, and then work our way into more complex configurations, so that this module is rock-solid each step of the way.

As for the manufacturer of the Mazda Radios, It's all FMS Audio. You may not recognize the name, but that's ok. It's a joint venture between Sanyo, Ford, and Mazda, created to build products of this proprietary nature for Mazda (and potentially Ford too). They've been in Mazda's Stereos for at least 10 years, if not more. (My '96 MX-3 had an FMS Audio 1-DIN (Industry standard form factor) radio, which was a much easier component to change out. They have definately done a better than average job than other audio manufacturers, IMHO.. There isn't a whole lot of information about them floating around, and I suspect that the majority of it would be in Japanese if it did exist.

Regards,

OverLOAD
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Old 01-18-2004, 10:43 AM
  #124  
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OverLOAD-
Thanks for all the info. I have a follow up question- since those of us with a cassette module will have to remove it, do you know if Mazda supplies a solid trim piece to replace the cassette opening piece?


Thanks...
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Old 01-18-2004, 12:01 PM
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You will probably have to get the trim piece that's standard when you have neither the tape nor the MiniDisc module. A simple plate with no opening.
You should be able to order it through your dealer - they have to find the part number for it.

Oh, something else: does anyone know what's the RMS wattage of the base head unit's amplifier? Is it about 12 or 13 watts? I'm just thinking because they rate the base stereo to be "100 watts". I bet that's 100 watts peak (if at all :D).
It's a pity there is so little information about these FMS audio components. I called Mazda and they claimed that the head unit is made by Panasonic...
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