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Discussion Starter #1
First thanks for all the informatiion others have posted. Most of the technical work has been done by others and is posted in various locations on newsgroups and websites.

I've just completed the installation of an XM Delphi Roady in a 9 day old '04 330cic. I did it with no new holes in any part of the car. The antenna is not visible. With a hat "thrown" over part of the center console neither the Roady nor any wiring is visible.

The XM unit is active when the key is on and turns off with the ignition.

I used a Blitzsafe adapter for digital input through the existing but unused CD changer input in the trunk.

Installation:

The rear seats were removed (easy, under 2 min) and the wiring was run with a large existing bundle on the left side of the trunk forward through the sheet metal to the back seat area. From there it was run along behind the rear seat to the center and then forwards. It was run under the carpet to the underside of the console.

The antenna was placed on the dash, in the extreme right side by the lower right corner of the windshield. The wire was tucked into the seams between existing parts of the side of the dash. I tucked it in with the edge of a credit card. The wire then runs under the dash to the center console where it is concealed under the edge of the console. No antenna wiring is visible.

A gel pad was placed over the antenna itself and the first inch or so of wire. The black gel pad is sold by Office Depot for about $6 and is made to be used on the dash for holding small items like cell phones. The gel pad is about 4X6 inches. It keeps things from sliding around when cornering. This is just the right size to cover the antenna and wire. It is subtle and unnoticed. No family member was able to find the antenna with the jel pad covering it. I used a second gel pad on the opposite side of the dash in the left corner. This makes it symmetrical and even less noticable. Also it gives me a place for my cell phone.

I used switched power from the phone bundle in the console. I bought a "cigarette lighter extension" from Radio Shack. I cut the extension wire in half, used the socket end and discarded the plug end. I used a couple of Radio Shack crimp on power taps (the red ones, don't get the larger blue ones). I used the purple/white wire in the phone bundle for switched 12v+ and the thin brown wire for GND. (Don't use the fatter brown wire, it isn't a ground).

The Roady itself is mounted to a short cup sized piece of acrylic rod. This is placed in the front drink holder. The factory Roady stick-on ball joint mount was stuck to the flat upper end of the acrylic rod. A thin foam rubber drink cozy around the rod makes the fit very snug so there's no play, no rattle, and no movement. Using the front drink holder to hold this makes it easy to control the Roady with the console arm rest cover closed. This car is a 6 speed manual and there's no problem with being in the way when shifting.

If the console armrest cover is lifted, the Roady can be rotated 90 degrees and moved to the second (rear) cup holder. It must be rotated as it is moved because the wires were kept short. (In this 2nd position, the display now sideways which is readable by the driver and upside down to the passenger.) The Roady, mount, and acrylic rod is easily removed by lifting it from the cup holder. No screws, anchors, holes, or adhesives are necessary so the car remains unblemished.

Wiring was concealed in the console. The 3 wires with the Roady connectors were wrapped in spiral wrap and run out through the inside edge of the emergency brake cover to the Roady. The wiring is kept well away from the emergency brake arm and hinge mechanism and so doesn't interfere with emergency brake use.

Result:

I'm very happy with the result. It looks great. Reception is good. It doesn't interfere with anything.

I didn't need to buy any new BMW parts. I can remove the Roady unit and mount in just a few seconds. I did give up use of the front drink holder. I can move it to the rear drink holder but then I must leave the console arm rest up. Had I cut the acrylic rod shorter I may have been able to to put the Roady in the rear cup holder with the arm rest down. This would have made the XM receiver a little less convenient to use but it is still an option.

I do have some pictures but don't know how to upload them here. If there's an interest, I can put them on my site and post a link here.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)


The antenna is not visible























Wires run out through the parking brake boot cover



OK, I've got no idea why the images aren't being loaded here.
Anyway the links work even if the images don't show up.
 

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greeps said:

OK, I've got no idea why the images aren't being loaded here.
Anyway the links work even if the images don't show up.
Fixed :thumbup:

Tim
 

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Great job. How is the reception with the antenna on the dash? Does the XM ever cut off? I live in MD (much farther away from the sattellites than you are), so I ended up mounting the antenna on the roof in my van, since it wouldn't work that well on the dash. (if I do it in my BMW, I wouldn't mount it on the roof, rather not have XM).

A tip, for a more solid/accesible/permanent mounting location, you can get a cell phone bracket that mounts on the right side of the radio (without cutting any holes, uses existing bolt). If you are insterested, PM me and I can share some pics and part number.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
The reception is good. Anytime I'm outside with a clear view of the sky there are no cutouts. Driving in areas with high hills next to the road or downtown next to high buildings results in some cutouts. They're infrequent and tolerable.

I believe the satellites are at about 22,500 miles or so in geosynchronous orbit. If this is so and if we're about 2000 miles apart, the distance difference from each of us to the satellite wouldn't be that different. If you are in a van I would think the signal cutouts are due to the metal roof of the van obstructing the path from the satellites to the antenna. I think the van windshield is more vertical than either a BMW windshield or rear window so that would have the effect of bringing the antenna further "into" the van which would make the roof more of an obstruction. In my car the roof is fabric anyway so shouldn't block the signal. I believe the problem would be the same in the van no matter where you were.

That mounting bracket you mention... that's the one that looks like a bent piece of steel, isn't it? I believe it hangs it out in front of the dash an inch or so. I did see those in other posts and I didn't really care for the look of them at the time but I haven't looked recently.

There's another type of cell mount that uses an upholstered piece that mounts in the passenger tunnel and gives you a factory look. It gives you a flat area that appears to be a matching part of the dash. I'd thought about one of those. Still, it calls for screw mounting so would have involved some drilling. I was trying to avoid any drilling for this mount.

The mount you mention would have the advantage of not taking up a beverage holder. Do you have a link? I'd like to have another look.

Thanks.
 

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Here's a link to another brand, but works and looks pretty much the same as the one I have (I bought mine at my local Verizon Wireless store): http://bracketron.com/xmain/manuals/BMW-100-99.pdf Another downside of the bracket is that it calls more attention from thieves than the cup holder solution.

I agree with you on location. If I ever install it in my Bimmer, I would sacrifice reception for looks (already did that with my cell phone hands-free kit antenna). My van has a rather large windshield (Odyssey), larger slope and longer than the BMW, but it wasn't as good performance as the roof. Both satellites are over the southern part of the US, so the farther away from the south you are, distance increases. Driving around DC area and travelling to Ocean City, MD, Raleigh and The outer Banks in NC, I have NEVER lost reception unless I go into a long tunnel or underground garage. I can even get XM inside my garage at home.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the link. The bracket would be a way to mount it without using a cup holder although I don't think it would look as good.
Even if we don't worry about the metal roof blocking the satellite signal, the roof or trunk locations should work better because they provide a ground plane around the antenna. I'm surprised the dash mount works as well as it does.

I have spotty reception in my garage.
 
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