I love listening to my iPod in my car, but I hadn't found a good solution. At first I just used the RCA jacks on my headunit to connect a cable into the headphone jack of the iPod. This worked fine, but my battery drained quickly and the iPod was only held in place by the ashtray. It would slide out during turns and quick stops. Also, there was a cord exposed around the console areea, and I hate loose cables and wires. I went out and bought a car charger to solve the battery problem. However, now there was an even more exposed white cord coming down from the cigarrette lighter and the iPod was even less secure, as it had to lay on a side edge in my ashtray. Pics of the first original setup I was running:
Here is the charger that I bought and grossly overpaid for at Circuit City:
So, I went out looking for a solution that would play, charge, and secure my iPod. I was going to custom make something in the area below the radio, using the same technique bill used for his heated seat switches. However, I couldn't find a good way to secure the dock connector (charger) and headphone cord.
I was at work one night and I noticed we had iPod docks for 50 bucks (yikes!). But it gave me an idea. A dock would solve all my problems. So I went home and went on eBay and found a dock shipped to my door for under 15 dollars. It had a USB, Firewire, and Audio Out jack. The fact that my charger was two pieces (usb cord, and plug with usb connector) was invaluable at this point. Had I bought a one piece charger I would've been pissed. I planned to use the USB cord that came with the dock to connect the dock to the charger, just like the charger was a computer. But all those wires just wouldn't do. I went to Radio Shack and bought a kit for like seven dollars that allowed you to hardwire in an additional lighter socket. All you had to do was supply it with power and ground. It looks like this:
So I tried to tap into the fuse box like I usually have done, but I couldn't get power to it for some reason. So I realized I never use that lighter socket that faces the backseat on the console, so I popped open the console, removed a couple panels. A few splices and solders later, I had power to my lighter socket. I ran the socket and extra wire down the center console, under the shifter, and up the the front of the car underneath the radio so it was totally hidden and concealed except for 2 wires you can see 1 inch of when the console is open.
Then my dock arrived. I tested it to make sure it did exactly what I needed it to do. Then I popped it in for a test fit:
Looks good. But let'* try it with the iPod in it:
Damn. It interferes with the shifter when in park. I figured it would be a hassle to remove the iPod itself while in park, but worth it I guess. But that white dock is damn ugly. I went to the auto parts store and got black vinyl dye. I had read about this stuff but hadn't used it. It is a spray paint specially designed for plastic, but much better than krylon fusion. Here is the guide/faq I used for vinyl dye:
I couldn't find a dark graphite so I settled for a flat black. That white usb cable wouldn't do either, so that got painted also. I taped off the connectors on the cord and the dock. Here is the aftermath:
So after painting I went to mount the dock, but I had a better spot. Where I orginally had my head unit remote velcro'ed to the console was a perfect spot (where the switches for AL 7'* should be).
Perfect. It would be right at fingertips length and I wouldn't have to reach or divert my eyes as much as the original location. But those two wires (usb and audio-out) were still kicking around. So I took out my dad'* dremel (my new favorite tool) and cut a slot in that trim piece just big enough for the diameter of the two wires to fit through. Filed down the edges, and ran the wires back under the shifter towards the center console. Then ran them up through that hole:
Got some black velcro, and fastened down the dock. That way, it'* permanent but if I need to take it out, it'* simple. With the iPod installed, here is the top view. Notice how little wire is exposed, much to my liking:
Velcro'ed the remote back in place infront of the dock, and I was done. Heres two completed pics, one blurry and one decent.
It'* perfect so far, the iPod is easily removable when I want to get out of the car, but secure while driving. And there'* none of the that damn 'iPod white' exposed, which just screams steal me. Any comments, questions, or suggestions are welcome. If anyone wants to do something similar, do your research first. I paid too much for a few parts, but for the most part it turned out very nicely IMO, and I'm pretty proud of my work.