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97 SL500, 98 E320 Wagon, 2002 ML500 - former W108/W112/W114/W123/W124/W126/W140/W220
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Discussion Starter #1
Just got done installing a GROM USB/AUX/iPod adapter on my stock Becker 1492. For those who might be looking at this as an option to integrate an iPod into their stock system, I'll offer my thoughts and observations:

The GROM unit was simple and straightforward to install. Remove the stock stereo, unplug the CD changer connector (if you have one) and plug in the supplied harness. Plug in the appropriate cable (more on that in a moment) and run the cable through the console and into the bottom box of the armrest.

No additional wires or connections are required. The GROM unit gets its power through the CD changer harness. Do note that you will lose the use of your CD changer with this unit.

Found plenty of room on the left side of the radio recess to stuff the GROM unit and cables. Radio went back in without a problem.

Power up the radio and using the provided instruction, press the radio buttons to select the input on the GROM unit and you're ready to go. The new input device will play through the radio when the CD selection is chosen.

The GROM unit has several different choices of inputs depending on how you order/configure it. The default setup uses a USB "thumb drive" (provided by the user) that you copy your music in .mp3 format in a particular way so that it can be "read" by the unit. Using your track selection buttons allows you to step forward and back through the .mp3 files. I tried this but found it to be a bit of a kludge and somewhat tedious to not only load the music on the thumb drive but also in playing it back. Crude but effective.

There are two cables that can be purchased with the unit or added separately. One is a standard 3.5mm stereo jack that allows the user to plug in any device that has a reasonable output. No controls through this method, of course, just playback of music from the device that you connect.

The other cable is for an iPod with the 30 pin dock connector. This is the way I went, as I wanted a direct connection to my iPod's line out as well as for it to be powered while in use (the iPod cable provides charging through the GROM unit, too.)

While plugged in to the GROM unit the iPod is powered and its output is not affected by the volume control as the line out signal is going to the GROM unit, not the speaker output.

I found that the GROM unit provided a very strong signal to the stock stereo, almost perfectly matched to the radio, so there is no noticeable difference in volume levels when moving between the two modes. High volume levels indicated no noise from the electrical system, so isolation appears to be very good.

The only negative I found is that the iPod is powered at all times. I can't imagine that this is a significant enough draw to cause battery depletion, but it is something to consider if you leave your iPod plugged in to the car for long periods of time while the car is not running. Another issue related to this is that due to the power remaining on at all times, the iPod does not turn off when you turn off the car. While this is more of a nuisance than a fault, the last iPod integration hardware I had would shut off when the car was shut off, and as a result the iPod would stop and start as the car did. Again, a nuisance at best, but something to be aware of if you are considering one of these devices.

You can shop around and find the GROM units for under $100. There is also a Bluetooth adapter available that allows you to pair Bluetooth devices to the GROM unit and use your phone and other Bluetooth devices through the stock stereo. It also includes a microphone for hands free operation of your phone. Going this route puts you in the range of $130 or more for the whole package, which is more than I was willing to spend as opposed to the $50 adder to a rebuilt Becker with an auxiliary input. Not to mention that I don't use my phone while I'm driving, so the Bluetooth option wasn't something that was desirable to me.

All in all the GROM unit is a great alternative to gutting your BOSE system and slapping some non-stock ghetto looking head unit in that would ruin the aesthetics of an already beautiful car, not to mention it's far less expensive as well.

If you have specific questions about the GROM unit, let me know.

Dan
 

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1995 Mercedes S420, 1995 SL320, 2000 Land Rover Discovery II, 1985 Lotus Turbo Esprit
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Sweet! I've had my eye on the Grom unit for a while but was hoping someone else took the plunge and posted a good write up. I think I'll go ahead and order one up based on this info.

Did you get the Bluetooth compatible unit or the one without that option?
 

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97 SL500, 98 E320 Wagon, 2002 ML500 - former W108/W112/W114/W123/W124/W126/W140/W220
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Discussion Starter #3
Sweet! I've had my eye on the Grom unit for a while but was hoping someone else took the plunge and posted a good write up. I think I'll go ahead and order one up based on this info.

Did you get the Bluetooth compatible unit or the one without that option?
From what I can tell, they all have the capability for Bluetooth with the exception of the lowest level model that does not have the connectors, only USB. The only requirement is to have the dongle, which can be purchased as a separate item, but it's pricey IMHO - roughly $50 plus shipping.

If you're interested I would encourage you to contact them directly. They have excellent support and respond to email inquiries promptly.

Dan
 

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97 SL500, 98 E320 Wagon, 2002 ML500 - former W108/W112/W114/W123/W124/W126/W140/W220
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Discussion Starter #4
Looks like the power on/off issue may be due to "operator error". According to GROM's documentation, the iPod should power off when the radio is turned off.

I have submitted a support request from GROM and will post their response when I get it.

Dan
 

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1995 Mercedes-Benz S420 (W140), 1997 BMW 740iL (E38), 2011 C300 Luxury (W204)
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I do recommend the GROM unit as well.

For some reason, if I power off while in CD mode (using GROM), I won't be able to power the GROM again. I would have to change to AM/FM or something else then power off. Then power back on and switching to CD mode to use it.
 

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97 SL500, 98 E320 Wagon, 2002 ML500 - former W108/W112/W114/W123/W124/W126/W140/W220
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Discussion Starter #6
I do recommend the GROM unit as well.

For some reason, if I power off while in CD mode (using GROM), I won't be able to power the GROM again. I would have to change to AM/FM or something else then power off. Then power back on and switching to CD mode to use it.
They do have firmware updates on a regular basis, so you might want to make sure your firmware is up to date.

Mine seems to keep the setting, even when powered off.

Dan
 

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1994 S420
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What is the sense of the Bluetooth adapter on the Grom? Is there a readout that shows the incoming caller ID, readout of calls made - received - missed? If not, what is the advantage besides playing through car speaker over using SIRI on iPhone 4S/5 voice commands and speaker on the phone?

Does the Grom offer any features that improve sound from compressed recordings?
 

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97 SL500, 98 E320 Wagon, 2002 ML500 - former W108/W112/W114/W123/W124/W126/W140/W220
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Discussion Starter #8
What is the sense of the Bluetooth adapter on the Grom? Is there a readout that shows the incoming caller ID, readout of calls made - received - missed? If not, what is the advantage besides playing through car speaker over using SIRI on iPhone 4S/5 voice commands and speaker on the phone?

Does the Grom offer any features that improve sound from compressed recordings?
As I did not install the Bluetooth adapter, which was clearly explained in the OP, your questions are irrelevant to this thread, as are the questions about the compressed recordings.

If you have specific questions about the inner workings of the GROM adapter, I suggest you check their Web site for details. This thread is not about sound quality, but the use of the GROM adapter for iPod integration and nothing more. Please stay on topic or don't comment.
 

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Replacing the headunit does not impair the Bose system. Bose designs the speakers and enclosures as well as the parametric equalizer built into the amp and number of channels and their crossovers. LWB250 mentioned the BT and another asked a question. Seems like someone is trying to supress information for selfish reasons. Seems if you are stuck with the Becker the Blitz adapter might be a better choice. It is obviously not the smart option to try to add input options and BT for that amount when a superior HU would have them at ~ same cost. By the way, an aftermarket HU will control the ipod / iphone and have caller id as well as call history and phone book. Obviously your choice to keep the subpar HU and try to get the new up to date features. Just not ideal nor smart.
 

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It is obviously not the smart option to try to add input options and BT for that amount when a superior HU would have them at ~ same cost. By the way, an aftermarket HU will control the ipod / iphone and have caller id as well as call history and phone book. Obviously your choice to keep the subpar HU and try to get the new up to date features. Just not ideal nor smart.
Depends on how you define 'smart' or 'ideal' as a choice. If everyone here was frugal we wouldn't be driving the W140 to begin with.
 

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1995 Mercedes S420, 1995 SL320, 2000 Land Rover Discovery II, 1985 Lotus Turbo Esprit
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Aftermarket head units are generally pretty ugly and don't match the aesthetics of the car. Some people don't mind and prefer the functionality that comes with the new head unit over the aesthetics. But most enthusiasts on here (myself included) are willing to pay a little more and give up some functionality in order to preserve the aesthetics of their car.

If we wanted a modern car, we'd buy a modern car. We drive a classic because we enjoy it.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Aftermarket head units are generally pretty ugly and don't match the aesthetics of the car. Some people don't mind and prefer the functionality that comes with the new head unit over the aesthetics. But most enthusiasts on here (myself included) are willing to pay a little more and give up some functionality in order to preserve the aesthetics of their car.

If we wanted a modern car, we'd buy a modern car. We drive a classic because we enjoy it.
Well said, Thom.

And now back to the subject of the thread...

Just as a follow up to the GROM issue I mentioned in a previous post, I received an email from GROM's support asking me to check the firmware version and report back. I did so this evening and will let the list know when I receive a response.

It was nice to have my iPod connected up to the Becker as I drove to and from work today. I was finally able to listed to some music and a couple of podcasts I follow. The system sounded fantastic, especially with the FLAC files I was playing back on the iPod. This was an excellent means of integrating my iPod into the original Becker radio, which I would highly recommend to anyone who wants to preserve the aesthetics of their classic Benz.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Boy was that quick!

I emailed the GROM support person who has been working with me and received a response in a matter of minutes. They asked me to check and make sure I had renamed the firmware file before I had attempted the update - I hadn't.:eek:

So I renamed the file on my USB flash drive and went out to load the new firmware. In a matter of a minute or two, I now have iPod control through my Becker head unit! You can use the CD track buttons to step through your playlists, and the running time of the file that is playing is now shown on the Becker's display.

I also gained power control, which is the one thing I really wanted - when the Becker is powered on or the car is turned off, the iPod stops playing and shuts down. When you start the car or turn the Becker on, the iPod resumes playing where it left off.

I can't say enough positive things about this GROM unit now that it is working as intended. While the Becker cannot emulate a factory stereo from a current model car (and never will) the addition of the GROM adapter makes the use of an iPod a reasonably priced and simple upgrade while retaining the aesthetics of these classic automobiles.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I wish you took pictures of your install
I can take some and post them this weekend.

There isn't much to see, as the GROM box, which is maybe 3" x 3" x 3/4" in size, just tucks neatly into some empty space on the left side of the console area behind the radio.

I ran the iPod cable through the console and drilled a 5/8" hole in the console "box" under the armrest so the cable feeds into the armrest storage area. There is enough of a gap between the armrest/lid and the box for the cable to pass out without being damaged. I haven't determined if I will try and arrange some sort of holder for the iPod, as I am totally against drilling/screwing/sticking anything that's not stock on the inside of the car. Since I rarely have a passenger I just put the iPod on the passenger seat where I can reach it if necessary. MacAlly has a really nice setup for iPods and other devices that uses a cup holder - I've had one of these in another car and really liked it, but I'm not sure the ergonomics of the cup holder location on the W140 will work well with one of
.

I am really pleased now that the features they advertise on current GROM models (mine is about a year old) are working and there is potential for future enhancements through firmware updates. The GROM support people were fantastic and did a great job with assisting me in getting it going.
 

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Nice write-up. Thanks.

While searching to fix trouble codes on my '93 300SE, I came across this topic, far more interesting. I've wanted this feature for my iPhone 4 use since I bought the car last year, and now it look feasible, yea! After I fix the check engine light, this radio is my top project.

I will set up the same configuration as our threadowner. I will lose use of the boat anchor found in the trunk.....goodbye useless CD Change Unit, I will not miss you!

Now, questions. I assume all power connections are undisturbed for the HU, SOOO no security disabling of radio, right? I hope not, I've not dealt with that one yet.

How do you remove the HU for the job? Easy? (I hope, lol)

I should note I may be rebuilding my Bode AMP due to crazy and exotic tones emanating from the speaker. Sources say this problem is from the amp, not the HU. Dude in Richardson TX has a rebuild service on Ebay who seems well regarded for this job on Bose W140 units. I'm excited, in a few weeks I can be rolling down the freeway, blaring music from the Official State of Texas Patriot Band Group, the Dixie Chicks.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
True. The GROM devices only work with MY 1994 through 2008 for Mercedes. That would cover the Becker 1492 and 1692 models in our cars.

To answer your questions, as they are relevant to owners who might have these models, there is no need to disconnect the Becker head unit to perform the install. The factory harnesses are long enough to permit the Becker head unit to be pulled clear of the dash and still reach the back of the unit.

The Becker head unit, much like others of similar vintage, can be removed using removal tools found online or through any well stocked car stereo supplier. There are two narrow horizontal slots at the bottom corners of the radio faceplate where the tools are inserted, pushed towards the center of the radio, and the radio drawn out of the dash opening using the tools.

As for your BOSE amplifier, there are a number of suppliers online who rebuild these amps. If you are experienced with a soldering iron you can do the work yourself. The problem is electrolytic capacitors in the amp that have dried out. They are common values and can be sourced cheaply through most online component suppliers.

Since the GROM unit won't work on your 1432, you might want to consider contacting Ed or Tom at Becker North Americs and having your radio rebuilt or purchasing a rebuilt replacement with yours as the core. When doing so Becker can add an auxiliary input to the radio for an additional charge. This would allow you to play your iPod or other device with an auxiliary output through your radio.
 
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