Dension ICE>link – fitting an iPod into your car – Dension support forums

I can only really sing the praises of the ICE>Link product from Dension. My experience has been very positive and the installation into my Audi A3 was painless enough.

However, here it is less than two months later and Dension in their wisdom have closed the support forum at their site. The latest firmware version is 2.05 but I am working happily with v2.03.

But that’s not the point. The forum at Dension was generating a lot of good questions and answers – perhaps too many for the good folk at Dension to handle in such a public way, but now we find that a message placed on the forum (or rather, where the forum was) directs us to hackmycar.com. I don’t know about you, but this is hardly a professional, product centred name for the ICE>Link! In fact it feels as if fitting the product to your car is in fact some kind of grubby activity, hacking into an otherwise good car.

Of course, not all hacking is bad… but it feels as if Dension have abdicated responsibility for their own product – they do maintain a standard email based support system, however.

But hold on… what’s this we see… hackmycar.com is in fact a domain that is registered to Dension Audio Systems, specifically Bela Markaus himself. So what gives here?

Anyway, despite all of that, the ICE>Link is providing hours and hours of brilliant music in my car – I wouldn’t be without it (unless a better product that does a similar thing comes along).

Fitting the ICE>Link is simple – the hard part is getting the stereo out of the dashboard. Once clear of the dash you basically unplug a single connector and replace it with the Dension wiring loop. You then re-plug the original connector into the Dension wiring (which is now attached to your stereo head unit) and add the different pieces of the Dension equipment one at a time to the new bit of wiring.

The head unit connects to the link piece, the link piece connects to the cradle (feel a song coming on yet?) and the cradle gets put where you want it.

There is a stray black wire with no label on it on the model ICE>Link that I bought. This turns out to be an earth wire and just needs attaching to any metal part of the head unit. Until you do the ICE>Link won’t power up. As soon as you have got it installed and powered, put the stereo back in the dashboard, careful not to trap any wires, and get to your computer. You need to go to install.dension.com to download the correct file to load to the ICE>Link, identifying the type of head unit you have. In my case, despite the radio being a ‘Blaupunkt’ I used the ‘Audi’ installer file – the unit is in an Audi after all and will have Audi firmware in the radio.

The next thing to download is the latest firmware. There is an instruction .pdf to read too – essentially you load the car config file (which is an .mp3 file) into your ipod, then play that file as you plug the iPod into the cradle. This programs the ICE>Link to be in the right format for your car. You then follow the instructions for the firmware – again it is a set of .MP3 files which you load to your iPod. You find the ‘set up’.mp3 and play that, and the string of many small files will play one after the other. The counter goes up to 99 on your head unit, but there are many more files than that… wait until the iPod display gives you the message that the firmware update has been successful.

Then unplug the iPod from the cradle, turn off the ignition on the car and turn it back on again. You should find that the ICE>Link is now seen as your CD changer. Most CD changers hold 6 discs, but in this case discs 1-5 relate to the first five playlists on your iPod – set them up as you want! Disc 6, if selected, enters you into the Dension menu on the iPod where you get to set up some parameters. It is here that you can ask to use the iPod UI (User Interface) which I strongly recommend. Be aware that you move between the menu items using the buttons on your head unit, not the iPod (the iPod buttons will be disabled at the moment). Set it up as you want, and you should see a message telling you to remove the iPod from the cradle, or similar to that. When you place it back, it’s all done.

I use the iPod interface because I am familiar with it, but also because it lets me access ANY of the playlists I have, and also set up backlighting, etc which is handy when driving at night.

So, all in all I am still really pleased that I got this product – it is the best way to listen to iPod music in your car if you can get it all working. Shame on Dension for closing their support forums – it makes it look as if they don’t care or even wish to support their own product, but we’ll see how the new forums shape up.

HackMyCar.com… whatever next?!!

13 thoughts on “Dension ICE>link – fitting an iPod into your car – Dension support forums

  • 23 February, 2005 at 5:47 pm
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    I actually love having the Dension gadget – it has transformed my drive to work. I can’t imagine not having this in my car at all now… I actually do have the ‘plus’ version installed. I agree – it was very simple to fit and updating the firmware is a great bonus. I have chosen not to upgrade to the latest firmware simply because it all works right now, and on the hackmycar forums there are a fair number of issues regarding version 2.05.

    I note also that there are rival gadgets coming out soon, notably one from Panasonic (just for their head units), but I would think Dension have got to be onto a winner with this if they market it well enough.

    Thanks for the comment and the link – great page to check out!

  • 23 February, 2005 at 12:24 pm
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    Dension ICE Link Plus

    Dension ICE Link Plus

    Very interesting blog from Hal, Dension has just released an updated version to the Original Dension ICE link Plus. The Dension Plus is easier to fit and comes with the ability to update the firmware enabling additional functions and better integration.

    Before you buy your Dension kit be sure to check whether it is compatible and update your IPOD with the latest firmware.

    The Dension is set to be the biggest selling car accessory for 2005 and I would recommend anyone looking to buy one of these products to have a look at this compatibity page on Dension ICE Link Plus

  • 2 March, 2005 at 11:02 pm
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    OK -I upgraded!

    I had a moment of sheer panic when my ICE>Link stopped working… I think it was because I plugged andunplegged it in too swiftly, causing the device to hang. I upgraded the iPod firmware (kindly supplied by Apple and it started working again after the iPod restarted, but in for a penny in for a pound – I went ahead with the v2.05 firmware for the ‘link’ too… so all back to normal – upgrade worked well.

    Why don’t iPods have a power on/off switch? It would have saved a headache on this occasion!

  • 15 June, 2005 at 4:25 pm
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    IPODS DO HAVE AN ON OFF SWITCH ( OF A SORT ) – SIMPLY HOLD DOWN THE ‘PLAY/PAUSE’ BUTTON UNTIL IT SWITCHES OFF ( 3RD/4TH GEN).

  • 15 June, 2005 at 4:37 pm
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    Help !! – My ICE>LINK PLUS is driving me mad ! –
    sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. I have a 3rd Gen Ipod with a BMW OEM head unit. I have downloaded the new BMW update from dension which allows ID Tagging to be shown on the head unit – this is disappointing though because i can no longer access ‘Disc 6’ which gave me a very usuable menu on my ipod’s screen.
    That aside it seems to be pot luck wether or not the damned thing decides to work or not !!! ARRGGGH !!
    Sometimes it plays a track but will not display on the ipod or respond to the head unit – other times it wont connect at all , then it will begin to work suddenly (as i arrive at work) – sometimes it works from the start then freezes after about 20 min.
    I have now updated my firmware from Apple to see if it will make any difference – if not i will be looking for my money back !!
    If anyone has any advice please reply (i am sure this is a good product but i think i have a dodgy one)- short of that i will be looking for my money back i think.

  • 3 December, 2005 at 4:18 pm
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    Hi there

    We have a very active Dension forum which will provide you with contacts, assistance and additional info

    http://www.ipodmycar.com

  • 6 December, 2005 at 12:18 am
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    Excellent! Really glad to see a busy forum dealing with this excellent gadget. I’ll be sure to point folk towards your site as and when they ask.

    I am somewhat disappointed with the Dension forum experience – HackmyCar just isn’t the kind of title for a forum of folk keen to get the best iPod audio experience.

    I’ll be maintaining the old config files for folk who want a retro experience though! I am keeping my Dension for posterity – it was, after all, a gift 🙂 I seriously doubt I’ll ever install it again though – the Alpine head unit I now use is far better, and new cars are coming out all the time with iPod connections built in.

  • 9 December, 2005 at 8:32 pm
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    If you are still looking for an active IceLink forum….we do have 400+ members and 1,500 posts..check us out at http://www.ipodmycar.com

  • 20 June, 2005 at 5:02 pm
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    Thanks for that – yes, iPods of all kinds do have a way to turn them off, it’s just not so easy to find the info on this anywhere you’d expect it to be (like on the Apple site). I could have sworn mine needed a hold switch moved across, then back, then pause held down (whilst facing east, probably) before anything happened! I’ll try it tho…

  • 20 June, 2005 at 5:08 pm
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    Whichever way you look at it, the Dension ICE>Link is not as robust as we would like it to be. It seems to work for some, but not all head units in most of the cars (old and new). That said, mine was pretty reliable and the only real reason for me taking it out was so that I could change the HU for a Sat Nav Alpine system… much better audio all round.

    If I were you I would update the iPod firmware then run the config files for the Dension once more. If that doesn’t do the job, get over to http://www.hackmycar.com/forum/index.php and ask in the forums there – this is what replaced the Dension forums, believe it or not.

    Finally, have a look at the way BMW are integrating iPods in their new cars – is there some way you could get this fitted to your HU? Failing that, have a look at the Alpine system and the KCA 420i adapter for iPods.

  • 28 February, 2009 at 9:36 am
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    Hi, I have icelink plus and bmw e46 bussines tape. I can not see song text in my radio (i can read RDS and radio station names) I tried to make it active from disc 6 menu but when it says select disc3 i select but nothing happens.So i decided to update firmware but first of all i don’t know which version will i choose? v2 or v4 also i dont know my version too. i installed vers v2b for bmw and copied all the files(about 600) i ve followed the instructions i went to my car opened the radio,but didnt plugged to icelink, started playing start update.mp3 then plugged the ipod to icelink but update didnt started radio started to playing my songs also same thing happened in the showing headunit to icelink nothing happens and it starts to play songs. I dont know what to do please help me.

  • 14 August, 2010 at 5:00 pm
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    Hi,
    I’ve got a Gateway 500 GW51MO2 which I am fitting to my Volvo XC90. This was removed from a BMW 3 series by the dealer and given back to me. I have now found I have various bits missing to complete the installation. I need the fibre optic cables and the plug fittings for them, and the 9 pin ipod cable. I am struggling to find these and Dension dont seem to want to help other than sell me a complete system. Anybody know where I can buy them.
    Many Thanks
    Mark

  • 21 October, 2011 at 1:34 am
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