Quick review of Xcarlink for 159
Just thought I'd post my experiences of fitting the Xcarlink to my 159, as I know that a fair few people have the old version stereo in their cars which doesn't play MP3 CDs and who also don't have B&M fitted, so the question of how to get this functionality without replacing the headunit comes up quite often.
The Xcarlink is a CD changer emulator, cost about £80
It plugs straight into the back of the headunit, and will then be recognised by the car as if a CD changer is fitted. Full steering wheel controls work, but no text is displayed - only the "disc" and track number.
I fitted mine no problem in just a few minutes; pull out the headunit, plug it in, route the cable through to the glovebox (by removing one screw at the top of the glovebox at the front that gives access to a removable panel) and that was it.
The device takes SD cards (I tested with a 16GB SD HC and it worked fine), and also has input for a USB memory stick and a line in. There is a version with Bluetooth available too, but I didn't want that.
Only slight pain is that when you prepare the SD card, you have to put all the music within folders named CD01, CD02, etc., and within each folder there can be no subdirectories. However, there doesn't seem to be a limit to how many tracks can be within each folder (although above 99 and the Alfa display starts counting again from 1), so you can fit a vast amount of music onto a card. Shame that the Alfa headunit doesn't have a randomize/shuffle feature as far as I can tell - the unit plays through each directory in Artist order, then track order, I think, but may depend on how your files are named.
I'm very happy with it, does what I want it to do, can't fault the sound quality, was easy to fit, and looks neat and OEM.