SS #670 Modifications:
iPod integration

[iDrive]

I've always wanted some kind of black box that would pretend to be the trunk mounted CD changer but be full of MP3s. I had a PIE GM-AUX9 that plugged into my Monsoon head unit and gave me RCA inputs. Sometimes on trips I'd feed my laptop to it but controlling it was a hassle. I ended up using an iPod and iPod-to-OEM interface. There are a few options these days (fewer when your vehicle is a 2000 Camaro) and after some investigation I picked the USA Spec GM45.

I didn't actually own an iPod so I needed to get one. Since my plan was to hide it somewhere and only control it via my head unit and steering wheel controls, it didn't make sense to fork out for a current generation video iPod. I had about 22GB of music so I ordered an Apple "Certified Reconditioned" forth generation 40GB click wheel.

Click Wheel iPod USA Spec GM45

The GM45 was attractive because it has a mode that maps five playlists onto the Monsoon's changer discs. In practice this mode works so-so. The single most annoying issue is just about any time you skip ahead more than one track or change playlists, it starts playing the song, stops, and then start playing the song from the beginning.

Another annoyance is that after 36 hours of inactivity, the iPod goes into deep sleep mode. To wake it up, you must press the select button. Then the iPod displays the apple logo for a few seconds and eventually the GM45 recognizes it. Luckily a little surfing turned up a neat program called iPodWizard that has a "tweaks" page that lets you disable deep sleep mode.

Instead of deep sleep mode, fifth generation iPods have hibernation mode which they enter after 14 hours of inactivity. But it sounds like they can be woken more easily.

The Monsoon has a random mode is fairly bizarre. It would appear that this is controlled solely by the head unit which jumps around not only between tracks but discs too. Combined with the way the GM45 tends to stutter the start of a song that isn't the next track, random mode is a total lose.

As you would expect, you can't do a lot with the Monsoon's display; you can tell which playlist you're on and the track number just counts up from one and wraps from 99 to 01.

Monsoon head unit display

My MP3s are ripped at 192Kbps and the sound quality is decent. Also, songs played from the iPod have the characteristic Monsoon heavy bass bias also heard when listening to FM and CDs.

[Apple]   [Apple]   [Apple]

iTunes and iPod tricks

Installation notes

Installation of the GM45 was pretty easy thanks to my previous experiences removing the head unit to upgrade it with LEDs and to install the GM-AUX9.

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Craig Leres