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Discussion Starter #1
So first thing is I'm not paying 168.00 Euros for a loud link. Its a good system but that is over priced,

I bought one of these for the grand total of £2.79

Gold-Plated 2 Phono Sockets to 3.5mm Stereo Plug Adaptor > Maplin

I set my laptop the blare music loudly and plugged it in to the 166. and the black cable wired into the CD player.

Went to press play on the ICS and of course the CD player which is essentially scrap didn't play so there was no sound. :rant:

I find this particularly annoying as I know there is sound information going the the ICS its just that the ICS chooses to ignore it!

Can any body think of a clever way of solving this problem. I'm quite happy to break the CD player open as I have nothing to loose!

Cheers Stuart
 

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So, first thing is I'm not paying 168.00 Euros for a loud link. Its a good system but that is over priced
I'll knock mine out to you cheaper than that when I unload the car :D

Can any body think of a clever way of solving this problem.
I read somewhere that you need a CD in the changer 'playing' or the ICS mutes the sound. Why not go for the much neater solution from basjan?

http://www.alfaowner.com/Forum/alfa-164-and-166/114956-aux-line-in-on-ics-of-166-a.html
 

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I'll knock mine out to you cheaper than that when I unload the car :D



I read somewhere that you need a CD in the changer 'playing' or the ICS mutes the sound. Why not go for the much neater solution from basjan?

http://www.alfaowner.com/Forum/alfa-164-and-166/114956-aux-line-in-on-ics-of-166-a.html
yeah unfortunatly the only way is to make the CD player think it is playing as far as i know...
But Stu you're right because the sound is going in, there must be a bypass somehow? maybe some firmware tweek.

how does loud link do it anyway? - you could do the same idea? someone on here intergrated the loudlink device into the cassette bay, and did some "magic" on the circuit board to make it work - i can;t find it at the moment but it is on here somewhere...


once sorted you can have an Ipod on the end and nice clear sound!
 

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someone on here intergrated the loudlink device into the cassette bay, and did some "magic" on the circuit board to make it work - i can;t find it at the moment but it is on here somewhere...
That's the link I supplied, isn't it?!
 

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I don't really want to open it up for fear of destroying my ICS!
Was hoping I could do something similar at the CD player end.
Destroy the CD player? :D.

If you know some electronics people, though, I reckon they could follow those instructions easily enough and you'd end up with a very neat solution.
 

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how does loud link do it anyway?
It will be emulating the CD changer. It sends an intermittent 'i'm alive' signal to ICS and the head will send back an ack. I don't know what the signal is on the 166 - could be a simple voltage or could be a more complex handshake (like you used to hear on old dial up modems when connecting).
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Do you want to know something embarrassing? I'm licensed to use the Nano technology centre at our university (I have to dress up like a teddy bear to gain access!) So today I was making a series of 20 wells 70 micros by 0.5 microns. I thought they would look pretty in silver but I decided to construct them out of aluminium.

But I've never soldered. I reckon I could do the instructions on the thread but it only takes one blob of solder and I'm buggered. Plus every time you move the ICS you loose more of the buttons.

If there is something that is cheap and nasty on the 166 its the buttons on the ICS!
 

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Stu, you need to splice into the CD audio input, not touching the data cables, and put a 2 way crossover switch in. That way you can leave a CD running and just switch the audio input. The data cables left untouched means the ICS still recognises the CD and takes the input.
Just done it on my XJR, works a treat.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Stu, you need to splice into the CD audio input, not touching the data cables, and put a 2 way crossover switch in. That way you can leave a CD running and just switch the audio input. The data cables left untouched means the ICS still recognises the CD and takes the input.
Just done it on my XJR, works a treat.
I've already done that. The point being that the CD player is broken and does not work!
 

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Well funny you should say that Stu.
After living years without a CD player I managed to acquire one recently so finally I can get something else connected.

Anyway I got thinking about the LoudLink stuff and had a wander over to where the Unilnk hackers live.
Unilink is the protocol that Sony and Becker use for their radio and CD systems. But the Alfa 166 being what it is, it uses a non-standard Becker protocol which is compatible with no other device out there.

However a number of folks here have cracked the Becker Unilink code and built their own dongles - Rogier, Sandyman, the LoudLinks guys etc. So I had a look and said to myself 'surely it can't be that difficult' ?

So, I am going to embark on a bit of dongle building when I get some time.
I've ordered one of these "Sony XA110IP.U iPod HDD Adaptor" at the fabulous cost of £12.

I am under no illusions that it will work, but it has:
- a nice box
- a unilink connector
- a unilink extension cable
- 2 phono plugs
- an ipod dock connector cable

So the idea is to rip its innards out and replace them with something to fool the CD player.
I have no idea if the dock connector will work - I've seen mixed reports about getting it working, but in the worst case you can just pump the headphone output to the phono leads.

The other alternative is to go the LoudLink route and build an MP3 player, but I'm not sure I can be bothered with the hassle of yet another bit of kit that plays music and has to be filled up.

Anyway whatever it turns out to be it'll involve some soldering and a trip or 2 to Maplin (lucky you have one close) but if you bore holes to those sizes managing a soldering iron shouldn't be hard :lol:
 

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Yup :thumbs:

I know it sounds a bit mad but the Sony box only works with Sony head units.
Even then it has crap reviews as the iPod navigation appears to be pants.

Probably why they're being sold off cheap - when was the last time you could get a bit of Sony kit for less than £10 unless it was a blank CD ?

Originally I was going to try this anyway, but the price for a plug and socket for the CD was exorbitant. Basically you have to buy a cable and cut it to pieces.

So £12 inc P+P for a box with all the right connectors seemed like a good buy - so I figured I'd give it a go.
 

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full details are available here:

GNUnilink for Alfa 166

You don't get the ICS integration with this solution though which is the loudlinks USP :D
Scroll through the thread and you see his master plan is:
...
5.Add automatic synchronisation of the MP3 collection on the board, over Wi-Fi, whenever I park my car near my home address.
Audacious. :wow:

But given I have no DSP, no CD changer and no cables installed I think I'll stick with my FM transmitter. :D
 

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Hopefully, someone can find a decent, budget alternative but the best PnP solution out there at there at the moment is the Loudlink. I still think the AO Forum should have tied up a deal with the Loudlink people when they started, to get a bulk purchase at a sensible price. I'm sure that the price could have been massively reduced. When I bought mine, the Pound was still reasonably strong against the EURO but, now, with the strength of the EURO, it does look very expensive.
 

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