Posted on Friday, 17th July 2009 by Bob

One thing that I need whenever I drive is TUNES – no matter what.  This is particularly important when you have the top down, shades on, sun shining!  One thing the Jeep does NOT have, is a lot of dashboard real estate for mounting new stuff (or even keeping old stuff).

Side bar here – Up until yesterday, I had an HTC Touch Pro – an awesome Windows Mobile phone, that did, well, everything…. not not everything well.  It didn’t have a lot of room (1GB storage, but I could have bought another CD card I suppose) and didn’t have a very good music interface either.  If you wanted to plug it into the AUX port on the Jeep’s radio, you had to attach a pigtail to the Micro-USB port on the bottom that had a 2.5mm and 3.5mm jacks on it, then into the charger – talk about CLUNKY.  So I would carry my iPod with me, and plug THAT into the AUX port.  But since it is a Gen II – it is big, clunky, and the battery is about shot, so that means ANOTHER wire – soon you have more wires – one to charge the HTC, one to charge the iPod, and then the one to the AUX port – it sucks.

So, I decided to make the jump from the HTC to the iPhone, and I wanted to have something that was easy to manage, easy to use, didn’t clutter up the dashboard, but still gave me good music, a charging option, and was easily accessible for calls, etc.  And well, I think I have come up with a good combination!

First, I wanted to get an iPhone, so I got this one – a 32GB iPhone GS.  STUPID fast ( compared to a WinBlows Mobile device, EVERYTHING is fast.), lots of cool apps, the works.  OK, so that covers the phone and music part, now we need to get it mounted into the Jeep, and make it USEABLE :)

Next thing I needed was to get it mounted to the dashboard – not an easy task in a Jeep with a cheap plastic dashboard.  I don’t really like to drill holes into my cars unless it is an easily replaced trim piece or something like that, so I went shopping for various different mounting options.  Right now, I have a gooseneck mount from Mount Guys that has served me well in different cars (first the Bus, then the Magnum, and now the Jeep).  It has a mounting tab that attaches to the seat bolt, so you don’t need to drill any holes or anything!  The only problem with this, however, is it clutters the area around the shifter and literally blocks the access to the transfer case handle (to shift into 4wd, etc).  So another option was needed.

Based on good feedback from friends, I checked out Bracketron and ordered JEE-203-07 (link on pic to the right) that will provide a “wing” off the radio to the right, keeping it off the console, and away from the shifter handles, interferance with the sliding of the seats, etc.  And since the phone is that far from me (not too far, but far enough), I also ordered a swivel mount that will allow me to tilt the phone side to side without having to bend the mount in case of glare and so on. This mount also comes with an adapter plate that includes the standard single-T connector so you will need to also order one of their double-T mounting plates.  Since I have both the single-T and double-T plates, I can use different types of mounts, without, again, pulling the dash apart or bending the tab for a different device.

I didn’t like the actual phone holder that Bracketron carried, so I went back to my friends over at MountGuys and picked up one of their iPhone/iPod holders, since they are much slimmer and less bulky than the Bracketron option.  The really good part is that this mount also has the double-T mount, so it will mount right to the Bracketron swivel with no modifications whatsoever.  All put together, it works very very well.  When all the parts are put together, the phone looks perfect, is easy to see, adjust, use, take calls, use apps, the works.  But one thing is missing – power and the radio interface.

Unfortunately, my factory radio does not have an iPod controller built in, and I am NOT going to replace the radio just for that functionality, especially when the mount is this close to me.  I do, however, need to get the device charged and music from the phone to the radio and remember – I don’t want to have wires all over the place.  Well, thankfully P.I.E. makes an adapter that does just that – plugs into 12V power, and has RCA jacks to plug into an AUX input so when you play your tunes, they come through the car speakers… unfortunaltely, though, the Jeep radio does not have RCA jacks or an AUX port on the back of the stereo, so I simply added an RCA to 3.5mm adapter, and plugged that into the AUX port in the front of the stereo with a 90* adapter from Radio Shack.  Tucked everything up under the dash, ran the cables where they would not interfere, and wala- music!

I still have not added the AUX 12V harness to the Jeep yet (Jeeps have a CAN bus wiring plan – and since I don’t know shit about that, I will do my own, thank you very much!), so I have, for the time being, added a cig lighter plug to the power leads on the PIE adapter, and plugged it into the auxiliary power in the glove box (another little addition).  Once I get the full supplemental power distribution system in, I will add this to that interface as well.  I hope to be installing that this weekend, and I will write that up as I do it.

On a side note, the folks at Bracketron really should get a big fat “Hell Yeah” because they were just great.  You would think that a company of that size would not necessarily have the time or inclination to support single unit end users, but when I spoke to their sales dept, they were great, walked through what I needed, and really went the extra distance.  I know there are companies that may make a less expensive option for the side mount, but I value customer service HIGHLY – and the simple five minutes they spent helping me out earned them a customer for life.  It wasn’t so much WHAT they did, but HOW they did it.  The woman I spoke to was VERY polite, and even though my problem was self-inflicted, she helped take care of the problem and get it fixed FAST.

I hope this helps someone some time :)

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