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· W221 & Audio Moderator
2015 S550
11,244 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For those of you considering the Dension iPod integration, or who have one and are considering a firmware update, a bit of caution.

First, I am relatively happy with the results of my Dension ice>Link installation (see http://forums.*.org/forums/sh...ighlight=Skylaw and (For the asterisk in the first link, substitute MB Wor ld without the extra spaces). I would like to see Tag info (Playlist, song title, etc.) displayed on the COMAND LCD and instrument cluster display. However, lacking that, the Dension interface is easy enough to use, and Tag info is displayed on the iPod screen. Sound quality is superb, especially with files I have recorded in the Apple Lossless format, vice AAC or mp3. Having at least some integration with the steering wheel and displays is good - and being able to access all of my music is simply great!

However, firmware updates for the Mercedes D2B installation are a disaster. This may be a problem for users in other configurations as well, according to discussion forums. The principal problems from my standpoint are extraordinarily poor instructions for the updates, and inadequately developed firmware code.

As of this writing, the current firmware version is 2.05; that version is not posted on the Dension USA website - it is on the international site at (I may not be doing anyone a favor by providing that link).

First, the automatic update procedure at will not work with the Mercedes COMAND head unit. When you follow the instructions and seek to start the automatic update with the "update ice>Link" portion of the Dension menu, you will get a loud "thump" and you will promptly be returned to your prior software version. The update fails (though without harm to the ice>Link or iPod).

As it turns out, you may need three more files: "Startupdate," which allows for a manual start of the update; "Clear Config," (Carif_Clear) which lets you clear out old menus; and the Mercedes/Kenwood config file "Carif_Mercedes...(knw)," which restores the menus for the Mercedes.

The Start Update file and the woefully bad instructions related to it are at
The Clear Config is at
and the Mercedes configuration file is at

Again, I may not be doing anyone a favor by providing the links. The instructions are completely inadequate; they do not tell you whether the files are placed in their own folder, or in no folder at all, or in the "UPDATE" folder created in iTunes and copied to your iPod (according to the firmware update instruction). They do not tell you whether you must be in the Dension User Interface when you start them (the instructions say to start running the files on the iPod, then connect it). They do not tell you if having and "repeat" or other options activated on the iPod must be reset for the update (I set all of these to "off").

It doesn't seem to matter. According to the instructions, when running a manual update with the "Start Update" file, you get no head unit indications. So, you spin your wheels for 10 minutes per effort, with no feedback while the 775 update files run, then nothing happens. At least, that was my experience. I tried every possible combination - sometimes with disastrous results (yes, i know - firmware updates are serious, not something for play; they can ruin your equipment). The iPod usually did not shut down and restart, as advertised; once or twice it did shut down, but when I switched off the ignition and restarted, as instructed, I still had firmware 2.03.

And at times i had equipment malfunctions after trying to run the update. After one effort ( which stopped in the middle - possible corrupt file in the first download attempt) I lost all control and music capability from the iPod (but the iPod worked fine itself, when disonnected). Disconnecting and re-connecting the iceLink board (2 minute disconnect) after that disaster restored all functions.

After clearing out the first download from iTunes and my iPod and restarting the whole process from scratch, I tried again. I cleared out the menus, manually started the download (which did not seem to take), and ran the Mercedes menu configuration. I lost all ice>Link control of the iPod. The ice>Link would not recognize it at all (gave indications that no cartridge was installed in the CD changer). Resettting the iPod menus didn't fix it. Unplugging the iceLink board again didn't fix it. Using the COMAND service function and re-initializing the D2B bus didn't work. Dension support coudn't tell me what to do (and to their credit, sent a new circuit board updated to firmware 2.05 - I hope to receive it today). Ultimately, I disconnected the power and control wires at the D2B interface unit, and reconnected after 60 seconds. That restored conection to the iPod, and the iceLink functions (but still with firmware 2.03).

I tried the updates again, several times, poring over the fragmented instructions downloaded from several places on the Dension international site. No luck. I have abandoned the effort, and will just await the new board with the update.

Some more observations: Dension may recognize that it has a problem with its firmware update procedure - that may be why the update is not listed on the Dension USA site. The original firmware update instuctions (for older updates) once listed a service support number at Dension USA - but as of their January 21 site update, they no longer do. Worse, the links provided from the international site to Dension support result in a "404 page not found" error.

Last, Dension has removed its discussion forums from its official site, and directs one to the Hack My Car site, which it sponsors ( - see the MP3 section (a lot of us are asking for a dedicated iceLink forum). A lot of us, I say - right now there are few members. However, perusing the forum indicates that firmware update problems are common.

I am used to doing firmware updates on computers, hard drives, cameras, and even my Bose home theater equipment. I have been successful with all. The commons threads in the success, however, were 1) good firmware, and 2) thorough and complete step-by-step update instructions in one place. One, and possibly both, of these are completely lacking at this time from Dension.

The product provides a very desirable function - I love having access to all of my music, and the portability of the iPod. I would not like to see the effort fail because of the problems documented here. However, Dension must focus its efforts better. Their U.S. support staff (reachable through the main Dension USA number) try their best, and I appreciate their prompt sending of an updated board, without hassle. However, they aren't getting much help from Dension International.
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