Sensolutions is offering a generous discount to VolvoXC.com members wanting to purchase their iMIV Volvo - iPod Integration Systems.
On checkout, enter the coupon code VolvoXC70 to claim your discount!
The integration of Apple's iPod and Volvo's OEM head units has become all the easier due to iMIV iPod Integration, and thanks to Martin Siebert from Sensolutions of Calgary, we've now had the opportunity to install and review this equipment in two of our very own Volvo XC's.
Overall opinion? OUTSTANDING! Installation went surprisingly easy on my 2001 V70XC, and the sound quality is exceptional, as would be expected for a direct line-in connection.
I haven't quite had enough time lately to familiarize myself with the menus, but without reading too far into the manuals I'm already reasonably comfortable with their operation.
You'll find a much more detailed Installation Guide in Art's Installation and Review, but here are a few addendums from my experience...
First off, I would strongly suggest finding yourself a set of Bojo Pry Tools, which we've reviewed here on VolvoXC.com in the past. Though you can probably made do with a butter knife and similar tools, I found that the plastics used in the Bojo tools made for a very gentle disassembly of some of the clip and pressure fit interior pieces.
Secondly, refer to the How To area of this website to ensure you're performing the disassembly procedures correctly. I was a touch too hasty in my disassembly, and only after breaking a couple clips (luckily none too important ones), did I take the time to step back and research exactly how some of these parts are connected to one another.
And thirdly, as Art correctly suspected, the Classic LE model I was provided with does indeed fit very nicely into the small pocket at the very front of the passenger side interior panelling, to the inside right of the footwell.
So all that said, take a look at Art's in-depth Installation and Review of the iMIV Classic and be sure to check out the thread in the forums that discusses everything iMIV!
iMIV Volvo iPod Installation Guide & Review
Front End Installation instructions for the following vehicle and audio devices:
- 2006 Volvo XC70, non-Melbus prepped, no Nav/RTI
- HU-850 with 6 preset buttons, PA-300 Aux. Amplifier
- iPod Photo, 4th Generation
The "Classic" is Sensolution's flagship iPod adapter which works in conjunction with our factory stereos and steering wheel controls. It also supplies aux inputs for other portable devices, integrates video capability for the factory nav screen and, as an added bonus, provides an automated function for use with a reverse camera. Following a number of glowing reviews from other iMIV users, I jumped at the opportunity when asked to submit a write-up on the "Classic" Edition for the features section of the website.
Since my vehicle does not have the factory nav system, this article will focus only on iPod integration. Feature-wise, the iMIV should represent a significant step up from the USA Spec. PA-11 iPod adapter that I had been using since 2005. The iMIV has received high praise for such niceties as HU song/artist text display, effortless connections utilizing convenient HU to module power cables, and
superior ground loop noise isolation.
To serve customers' needs, the iMIV is available in three different packages and includes all applicable cables.
My iMIV "Classic" front mount package consisted of the following:
- iMIV Classic iPod/AV Adaptor
- 80 cm Melbus Module to HU Cable
- 400 cm iMIV Classic iPod Cable
- 80 cm Front Mount Power Cable
- Y-Harness Power Cable
The front mount power cable together with Y-harness power cable creates a totally plug-and-play connection between the iMIV module and HU. No longer is there any need to fumble around with clumsy wire taps.
Top View of the iMIV Module
View of the iPod, Aux and Video Ports
Power, TV Camera, and Melbus to HU cable Connections. The ports and connectors are color coded for easier identification.
The Y-harness (top) supplies ground, switched power, battery voltage and connects to the rear of the HU. The front mount power cable (bottom)
transfers power from the Y-harness to the iMIV module. It should be noted, however, that the stock length of the front mount power and
Melbus cables may limit where the Classic module is placed. For further explanation, see Placement of the iMIV Module.
Firmware Upgrade (SAT Channel)
NOTE: If you wish to avoid this step, it is possible to have your module pre-configured at the factory with the desired firmware upgrade for a nominal cost.
Prior to installing the iMIV, I downloaded a firmware file from Sensolution's website to my PC's hard drive: www.imiv.ca/cms/index.php?id=12&rid=43
As a personal requirement, I wanted the HU to have the ability to display text for playlists, song titles, artist names, etc…which, for the HU-850, only works in conjunction with the SAT Channel. After connecting the iPod and starting up iTunes, I dragged the sound file over to a new playlist that I created (iMIV) making it easier to locate.
Connecting the iMIV Classic iPod Adapter
For this particular installation, I opted not to disconnect the battery. You may, however, choose to do otherwise. Other than a #25 torx bit driver, no other special tools are required to complete the job. I also made a point of printing off a hard copy of the SAT channel firmware procedure and having it on hand prior to uploading the firmware. As noted above, firmware upgrades are available for downloading from Sensolution's website.
I started by first removing the center console cupholder. This is simply done by pushing in the clip at the rear of the cupholder and pulling up.
Next up is the removal of the aluminum trim piece around the gear selector panel. Start by pulling up on the rear of the trim with your fingers.
It helps to have the gear lever in the D position. Don't forget to engage the e-brake. There are four clips on the underside and at each corner that need to be pushed in so that the aluminum trim can be freed from the shifter panel.
Once all four clips have been released, it's just a matter of pulling out the trim surrounding the shifter panel.
Using a #25 torx driver, remove both screws at the base of the CCM module. Take care not to drop the screws as it will be nearly impossible to retrieve them. At this point, it's probably a good idea to place a towel at the front of the console to avoid scratching any of the components.
Begin by pulling out at the bottom of the body then lift it up until the entire assembly wriggles free. Do not attempt to unplug the CCM module with the battery still connected. Doing so would trigger a trouble code which would mean a trip to the dealer for a reset. Pull it out as far as possible and rest it on the towel.
At the center of the photo is the Melbus cable for the iMIV adapter and to its immediate left is the existing cable for the aux. amp. All of necessary power and ground cable connections have been completed in one simple step thanks to the Y-harness power harness and front
mount power cable.
Looking down at the top of the HU, you can clearly see male end of Y-harness plugged into the back of the HU. The female end of the Y- harness
gets connected to the HU's (now unplugged) green connector and finally the 3rd leg of the Y-harness (white) connector plugs into the companion connector of the front mount power cable which ultimately supplies power to the iMIV module.
Connect the iPod cable to the iMIV module….
….and the foam-wrapped Front Mount Power cable and Melbus cable from the HU.
Initial test run is a success and sound quality is superb! Time to move on to the final steps of the installation.
iMIV and iPod Cable Routing
For sheer convenience, I decided to stick with the identical layout that I used for the installation of the USA Spec adapter.
I began by removing the passenger side soundproofing panel and routing the other end of the iPod cable into the recess underneath the gear selector panel.
I utilized the opening in the front bump-out of the console cupholder cavity that I had previously created for the USA Spec iPod adapter
cable. The hole is hidden once the aluminum trim is put back into place.
The iPod cable is long enough to reach well beyond the cupholder cavity.
Cutting a small notch in both ends of the plastic cupholder enables the iPod cable to pass underneath without becoming pinched.
The center console storage bin makes an ideal location for the iPod as it is totally accessible while also being out of site from prying eyes.
A ProClip cradle and mount that were also used to hold the USA Spec adapter, virtually completes the installation. www.proclipusa.com
With the iPod raised up from the bottom of the bin, there is still plenty of room for storage.
Finding an appropriate location for the module proved to be the only challenge of the entire installation. Ideally, my first choice would
have had it occupy the space under the front passenger seat where the USA Spec module was previously positioned, but regrettably both the
stock Melbus and front mount power cables would not extend far enough to make this work. The area behind the glove box would not
accommodate the module due in part to the plug end of the iPod cable interfering with the closing of the compartment door and also due to
the awkward location of the passenger air bag module. Since I considered the space inside the glove compartment essential for storage I ruled out that location too and the short cables also made the area behind the driver/passenger side fuse panels an unreachable option. I reluctantly decided to try and bury it behind the passenger side compartment panel but realized that the bulge in the upholstery created by the module would interfere with the side panel. I suspect that the more compact iMIV LE unit would have fit nicely in there.
A quick email explaining my situation to Martin at Sensolutions was all that was required and longer cables were dispatched to me in the
following week. I can't say enough about the team at Sensolutions as they are all about customer service.
For front end installations, there are really only a handful of spots to place the beefier 'Classic' module and ultimately the lengths of the standard front power and melbus cables severely limit one's choices. The only other workable solution that comes to mind is the area above the driver's soundproofing panel near the steering column.
With the longer cables attached, the module can now be moved around to most any location of choice. I opted for the space under the
passenger seat which I consider to be the most logical alternative in terms of simplicity and accessibility. Any excess cabling is easily
tucked behind the side panel.
Manually Uploading the SAT Channel Firmware File for the HU-850
At this point, it's nice to have a hard copy of the SAT channel firmware procedure on hand for additional reference. Begin by placing the iPod into firmware mode by pressing the HU preset button #5 ten times and then pressing the advance (>>l) button once.
NOTE: The upgrade firmware procedure above only works with the HU-850 with 6 preset buttons. Model HUs with a rotary CD selector utilize a different procedure. It is important to have your iPod fully charged during the upload sequence and to refrain from pausing it to avoid firmware corruption.
Locate the firmware sound file from the iPod playlist.
Press play to start the sound file upload. SAT ERROR simply indicates the correct channel usage.
Once the upload process has started, the LED on the panel will light red with a short green flash every two seconds. The procedure takes a few
minutes. During the upload, the sound file (crackling noise) can be heard over the audio system which is considered normal.
Once uploading is done and the file has completely played through, the LED will light green indicating a successful upload.
Turn off the ignition and wait for at least 30 seconds or until the LED is no longer lit. Turn the ignition back on and check to see that
The HU in advance mode. Press preset button #5 to switch over to simple mode.
iMIV SAT Channel Operation and Functions: Simple Mode
Pressing the RND button will allow scrolling through a static display. (Simple Mode -> Sensolutions Inc -> iPod) Text display for song title,
artist name, and playlist is not available in simple mode.
In simple mode the user has total access to the iPod controls.
Pressing preset button #3 switches the HU from simple to advanced mode. The status line shows the playlist and song number in play. The % sign indicates random shuffle mode.
Advance mode as seen with the iMIV logo in the iPod display. The user has no control of the iPod.
Pressing the scan button allows you to turn random play (%) mode on/off.
Pressing the RND button each time will enable text scrolling of the playlist…….
……the artist's name…..
…and the song title.
pressing preset button #3 and then advance >>l (with either
status/playlist name line displayed) will allow the user to switch
Once again, pressing the RND button will allow the user to scroll text from playlist to song title….
….to the artist's name.
Pressing preset button #5 will take the user out of advanced mode and back into simple mode.
Another feature of the iMIV is the firmware data that can be read off of the iPod display. (applies only to non-touch iPods). By putting the iPod
into service mode, the user is able to view the serial number, firmware version and firmware code (last letter/number). The firmware
code contains info relating to the iPod channel, aux channel and other supported functions. E.g. VWIM, backup camera, video, etc... A
firmware index decoder is also available on Sensolution's website.
Conclusion and Final Comments
Sensolutions Inc. definitely has a winner on its hands with its versatile iMIV adapter. It provides the listener with a choice of module packages
and firmware upgrades for a totally customized multi-media interface. Sound quality is exceptional as is its routine method for firmware
operation and functions. Backing up a quality product is a support team full of helpful and knowledgeable staff to answer any technical questions/concerns that customers may have.
Be sure to check out the thread in the forums that discusses everything iMIV for more information!