I recently got an iPod for Christmas, it's the iPod Nano third generation, 8Gb. I drive a Renault Clio, 03 plate, Mk 2.
I bought one of the Belkin TuneBase FM transmitters from Amazon which cost just under £10, but my problem with it was that (1) the sound quality was not amazing, it was just OK, and (2), it was like listening to a very badly tuned radio as I could not find a blank frequency which remained blank for even my 20 mile journey to and from work.
I did some various research into the subject but I didn't find anything that left me filled with confidence that what I wanted to do would work. Also, I have an older "Tuner List" radio head unit which does not have any Aux-In capabilities. (I understand but am not certain that the "Tuner Update" do have Aux inputs so cheaper alternatives are available)
So I spent many happy hours Googling around - and again, I found some units which "should work", but not any actual reviews anywhere which made me feel totally confident.
Eventually, I decided I'd just take a punt, and buy something. I settled for the Connects2 unit, their item code is CTARNIPOD003 (mainly because I was the most confident it would work with my car radio) which connects to the CD changer port on the CD head unit - You can see some very limited information about it on their website, here: http://www.connects2.com/Instructions/IPOD_OEM.PDF
(and a list of cars it works with, here: Connects2 - Car Summary
It should be noted here that similar items are available which effectively provide an Aux-In to connect pretty much any audio item into the CD changer slot in renault radios, I chose the iPod connector for the charging and control features, which I will discuss.
So once I'd set my mind on buying one, I tried to get the best deal - naturally! This led to more Googling around, looking at various online car audio shops (typical price £100) and so forth. I went to my local car audio shop, and they could order it in, at a cost of £120.
So I went to
and looked there. Tip: Use "Advanced Search" and make sure to seach IN the advert body, not just in the subject line!
The item I actually won was RENAULT CLIO/MEGANE/SCENIC CONNECTS 2 IPOD ADAPTOR NEW on eBay, also, Terminals Cabling, In-Car Entertainment GPS, Cars, Parts Vehicles (end time 30-Dec-07 16:59:15 GMT)
- these links only work for three months on
, so for the benefit of the future, the seller is "rudiemods" and the unit cost me £67.95 plus a reasonable £3.95 P&P. The item arrived I think three days after ordering.
I'd also read that I'd need some radio keys to get my head unit out. These I also bought off
by searching for "renault radio keys", the item I bought was Renault Clio/Laguna Radio Removal Keys NEW Stereo Tools on eBay, also, Other In-Car Ents GPS, In-Car Entertainment GPS, Cars, Parts Vehicles (end time 29-Dec-07 20:11:34 GMT)
and cost £2.49 plus £2.49 P&P. (Seller passion_automotive, good guy to deal with also).
So tonight I got home, and the radio keys were in my letterbox and the Connects2 CTARNIPOD003 in my hand, I was so excited to try to get it working that despite it being evening and there no daylight left (and I live in a flat, so no garage), I was out on the car park with a torch and the cab light to guide me, trying to get it installed.
Note at this point, I have zero, absolutely zero experience in this sort of thing.
So I took the radio keys, and just inserted them, heard a dull click, so tried to pull them out and the whole head unit just slid out. I removed the radio keys, and that was that.
Now the head unit does not come out completely, unless you really want to disconnect all the wires (which connect in blocks, making it easy to plug and unplug). However I did not. So I'm sat in the car with the head unit completely out on the right hand side, but still connected to the dash at the left hand side because of the wires.
The Connects2 box I bought is approximately 10cm x 6cm x 5cm. There are two leads, one plugs from the box to the CD changer port in the back of the radio; and the other to the iPod.
So I inserted the cable into the back of the head unit (only one way it could possibly have gone in, so easy) then inserted the other end into the Connects2 box (easy, again).
At this point, I then connected the other lead from the Connects2 box into my iPod, and turned the radio and my iPod on. It came on to "Radio 1" which I was last listening to. I pressed "Src" on the radio a couple of times, and a new source was available, CD changer!
So it worked - more about the usage later.
However I need to find a route out for the iPod cable. Feeling around behind the radio, I can feel a couple of holes and routes out. I just took a guess and blindly tried feeding the iPod cable into one of the conduits from behind the head unit.
Miraculously (and I think very luckily!) the cable appeared! The exit for the conduit I found is in the passenger seatwell, just below the glove box.
So now, I slotted the Connects2 box behind the head unit (it now lives just to the left of the head unit, and slightly underneath, hidden into a conduit), and put the head unit back into place. Perfect!
So the installation was done, in ten minutes, by somebody who has never done this sort of thing before.
So I plugged in the iPod again and fired up the radio onto CD changer mode.
Unlike some photos of this Connects2 box online, no special interface appears on the iPod screen when it is in use. You just use the iPod like normal, as if you were listening to it through headphones.
However that said, the buttons 1-6 on the car radio (which would usually select which CD to play, or in FM mode, which radio preset to use) do supposedly map to the first six playlists on the iPod. This "sort-of" worked, but with unpredictable results. All that actually seemed to happen was it selected random songs to play from the iPod (or sometimes just did nothing) - more research required!
Also, if you have an album playing on the iPod, the "track skip" buttons which you would use when listening to a CD work perfectly, and advance the track on the ipod backwards and forwards.
The "pause" (by clicking volume up and down together on the steering wheel control) also works, though strangely it actually turns the ipod off when you start pause, then turns it back on and resumes play when you take it off pause. Does the job though.
Additionally, the iPod charges through this cable, so no worries about battery life.
So the overall result:
1. It was easy to install.
2. It was relatively cheap (£70) as opposed to having to buy a new head unit which would then mean I lost use of the satellite control under the steering wheel.
3. The sound quality is amazing.
4. You can pause the player, and use track skip functions very easily.
5. Very much recommended!
All I need to buy now is something that mounts my iPod up onto the dashboard so I don't have to leave on the passenger seat or somewhere near the handbrake when I'm using it, and I have a complete solution!
I appreciate this is somewhat verbose, but I just wanted to write a detailed report, with the information I wanted to read when I was looking for this product.
If you have any questions please post - I'll do my best to help.
All the best