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Dension ICE-Link Plus Issues

As some of you may know Dension has been having a few issues with its latest release, the ICE-Link Plus. The new connector is meant to build on the success off the original ICE>Link (reviewed last spring) while including the functionality of the official iPod connector. However the biggest addition was to be the display of ID3 tags on the head unit.

That addition was to be available when a new version of the connectors software was released around the first of the year. While it still seems that ID3 tags should be available with the software upgrade it now appears they will only work on 2005 head units. Here’s a bit more from Tom and Dension:

“The ice>Link Plus will indeed display ID3v2 tags when the proper firmware is released. What we are finding out is that the pre-2005 will need more development – this does not say this will never be available.

An official statement is that we are looking into the situation at this time, and will release a firmware flash as soon as the ID3v2 text hurdle [on pre MY2005 Minis] is crossed.

Hopefully that clears up some of the confusion some have had with this feature. Initially we reported that ID3 tags would be available on all MINI models since that’s what Dension was reporting. Obviously that isn’t the case at this point.

The other issue with the ICE-Link Plus has been software conflicts due to the ICE-Link firmware. Previous ICE-Links have been relatively trouble free and typically much loved. Personally I’ve had the first version in my MINI for almost a year now and have enjoyed using it. However this new version has been beset with issues that have some users asking for refunds and others asking where to get the latest firmware. That said, it seems that things are starting to work as planed with the release of the last few version of the ICE-Link Plus firmware. Here are a couple of comments from the previous story we ran a few months ago about the ICE-Link Plus that illustrate some of the most reactions to the latest firmware:

I loaded 2.04 last night, no problems so far, course I didn’t really have any problems with 2.01. Just waiting for the IDv3 tag implementation now. – Jim

I just upgrade to Firmware 2.04 and everything seems to work as expected. But I’ve had surprises with the latest firmware upgrade a few days/jours after installation. So I’ll post some comments tomorrow after a full day of use. If you don’t hear from me anymore, that’s probably because my car has burned ;-) – Gregoire

This morning, I installed the latest update 2.05 (it can be found here). I have a 2005 mini-S convertible with H-K stereo. So far, it’s fixed all my problems, in particular with the “hot swap.” I’ve been able to turn the car on/off without my Ipod hooked up, and no problems (so far!) with turn signals and other electrical. – Susan

Firmware 2.04 works on my 2004 MCS with HK. No trouble so far after 24 hours of use. I’m happy after all the troubles I’ve had with previous Firmware. – Gregoire de Streel

For more comments from owners (and a few nightmare experiences with the initial firmware) check out all 149 comments to our original story here: Dension Introduces the ICE-Link Plus.

So it would seem things are almost back to normal with this latest version of the ICE-Link. We were planning on reviewing the ICE-Link Plus this month but we’ve decided to wait until ID3 tag support is implemented to give the product a chance to show-off all of it’s features. Until then we at MotoringFile think it’s important that a potential ICE-Link owner fully understands the situation and the previous issues. While we would still recommend the ICE-Link based on our experience with the first version, it’s important to make sure that you have the latest firmware on your iPod ready to be loaded before use.

The ICE-Link Plus is still the most integrated iPod solution available for the MINI. The Monster iCruze and the official BMW/MINI adapter don’t come close to the functionality or simplcity of the ICE-Link Plus. So while there are other options out there it’s still our opinion that the ICE-Link Plus is the best.

For those curious, you can download the latest Ice-Link Plus firmware here.

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Written By: Gabe

  • Tim Barker

    Unfortunately I have had a mixed experience with the Ice>Link Plus 2.07 on my Blaupunkt DAB54 and iPod Photo 60GB, here in the UK. The sound is great, but I have had 3 problems from the outset:

    1. The number buttons don’t select playlists although playlists can be selected using the CD up/down buttons.

    2. Although selecting playlist #6 brings up the Ice>Link Plus menu on the iPod, I can’t select any menu item – although I can move up and down the menu options. This is a serious limitation.

    3. I’m repeatedly told on my iPod screen that the Blaupunkt profile has been loaded and that I need to switch my engine off and on again.

    However, these issues pale in comparison to the total lack of response from Dension Support.

    I opened ticket “BCH-14059-577″ on 20th August and then updated it to request any comments/feedback. There has been no response from Dension to this whatsoever.

    On 25th August I sent an email to the Dension “support@dension.com” address supplied, asking for a response to my ticket. Dension’s response was to open another ticket “BCH-14059-577″ containing only the original email text. This isn’t really appropriate, although it may have been an automated response.

    I work in a fast-moving IT support environment, so I posted a reply to this redundant call on 1st September asking Dension to simply close it. So far there’s been no activity to even close this ‘nothing’ call from Dension, which is utterly ridiculous.

    All I can assume is that they are either overwhelmed by support issues, under-resourced, don’t have adequate procedures or are just lazy.

    As such I recommend that people steer clear of Dension Ice>Link Plus unless you are absolutely sure that your head unit and iPod will work to your satisfaction with the Dension product – including the firmware version.

    T

  • Steve

    I just installed my new ice-link plus with a Kenwood EZ700SR head unit. The firmware version is 2.07.

    So far, operation is extremely flaky with this Kenwood model.

    In Dension-UI mode almost any operation from the head unit puts the iPod into REPEAT and/or SHUFFLE mode. And, as with almost every other iPod->car integration scheme I’ve read about, communication with the head unit and LCD updating is extremely slow.

    In iPod-UI mode (if you can get it there – you must make sure the disc number is NOT set to 6 before reconnecting the iPod) the track/fast forward/backward skip functions sometimes work, and sometimes don’t. The pause function seems to mute and/or power-down the iPod instead of just sending a pause command – I’d heard this was a kludgy side-effect of some Mercedes factory HUs, but the Kenwood?

    I never got any response to my pre-purchase “support ticket” to Dension tech support asking about specific ice-link integration with the EZ700SR, and I couldn’t find any first-hand reports on the web about experiences interfacing these two products. There’s no forum on their site (they’re probably leery of the avalanche of flame postings) and their firmware page says “everything is up to date” – yeah, right. (A 2.11 beta release is already available at the http://www.tomke.de link mentioned above.) Faced with this total lack of information, I figured I’d order it, hope for the best, and return it if it didn’t work.

    At this point returning the unit looks like the best way to get value back out of my $200 purchase. Even though Kenwood’s own iPod-interface has received absymal reviews, it can’t be worse than this, and hopefully the integration with Kenwood’s own head unit will be more graceful.

  • Rob

    I found version 2.03 to be most stable with my Kenwood.

    It came installed with 2.10, I tried the 2.11 firmware and various old versions but settled on 2.03. It generally works well, but sometimes loses connection from the head unit to the Ice Link so have to turn ignition off and restart the car in order to fix.

    I too have had no response at all from my Dension ticket. Grr!

  • Ben

    I recently got an Ice Link Plus for my Kenwood KDC-MP8017 and at first it was really frustrating. However, I found the 2.11 (shows up as 2c11 on my ipod) firmware online and updated my Ice Link. After that it worked pretty much flawlessly. Every now and then my radio will lose connection from my ipod (30 gb photo) but after turning off my ignition and turning my radio on and off it works again. A quick note about my 30gb photo ipod. On Dension’s website they said that the 30gb photo ipod wouldn’t work with the active docking cradle. However, it works fine for me. I don’t know if I got a new version of the cradle that fits or something but it works fine. For anyone with a Kenwood head unit, it took me a while to realize that the FM and AM buttons control the Disc changer (discs 1-6), which gets you to the ice link menu. While I have had to tinker a bit with the ice link plus, for the most part I am satisfied. I haven’t tried any support but I have heard it’s bad.

  • http://na Tim Beland

    I just bought the I20-JVC Ice>Link Plus. I’m having the same issue as John Pritt (earlier posts). I have a 4th Gen 20GB iPod. If I choose the AUX/INPUT setting, I can hear the iPod no problem, but the head unit controls don’t do anything (with the exception of the SOURCE and VOL +/-) and the iPod continues to play songs but the click wheel doesn’t respond. If I choose the CD Changer setting, the iPod isn’t recognised. Worse: I can’t control the iPod from the head unit. Which means I can’t even choose the iPod gui controls. Since the Dension overrides the iPod controls, the only way to select the iPod gui is to push the CD6 button — which of course doesn’t work because I can’t control anything on the head unit! I too have opened a ticket with Dension and am patiently waiting for a response. Any ideas anyone?

  • John Pritt

    Tim, you don’t say what your head unit is. My (first) probléem was that I had a JVC navigation unit, but was using the Becker version of the ICE>Link (because I thought that the JVC, being a rebranded Becker, would have the same CD-changer protocol — I was wrong). This is “solved” by getting a “proper” Becker head unit. If you are using the AUX input, then I don’t think that the ICE>Link is needed. This may be why the click-wheel doesn’t respond, since I guess it would be disabled by the ICE>Link. Have you tried resetting both the iPod and the head unit (disconnect it from the power supply)? This may enable the iPod to be recognised when using the CD changer option, and let you configure it. Also, check the software version of the ICE>Link to make sure you have the latest compatible version. You say you have the JVC version, but as far as the Dension compatibility list is concerned, there isn’t a JVC version. Go figure. Perhaps you should check with the dealer who sold it. I hope this helps.

    John

  • Johnny Colon

    I just received my Ice Link Plus and installed everything but the power cables. Don’t know where to get the power from. My Car is a 2002 BMW 540i with DSP. Any ideas.

  • C Yarbrough

    I just purchased a Harmon/Becker Traffic Pro 4773. I received a new 30GB ipod for Christmas that I need to be able to play throught the TP. I talked by phone to a salesman about the Dension products. He suggested that I buy the Dension universal which they have listed as the Dension I20-Aux rather than the Dension I20-Porsche. He stated I would control from the Ipod only and that the I20-Porsche would only provide limited control through the 4773. He also stated he had never seen the 4773 used with either Dension products. If someone with personal experience would offer advice I would be verey appreciative. Thanks.

  • http://www.gadget-and-gizmos.co.uk Richard Walker

    The Dension kit for the Becker is one of the most straight forward kits you can purchase. Basically the becker kit will work with any becker headunit and it can be viewed here:

    Dension for Porsche

    Most Porsche have Becker headunits installed as standard and thats why we have categorized this kit under Porsche.

    We also sell the Becker headunit removal keys:

    Becker Removal Keys

  • ben senize

    ice link causes an unbearable amount of alternator whine and dension provides no support. 250 bucks in the trash.

  • Pingback: MotoringFile » Archive » The Dension ICE-Link Plus Reviewed

  • David

    I used the Dension Ice>Link Plus to bring iPod play with MP3 tag text display to the BMW CD unit and steering wheel controls. Hats off to BMW for their forward thinking design in the 2003 325xi by selling prewired CD Changer 6 pin connectors and a head unit that was capable of text. The ease of install and quality sound and maneuverable play lists have been very enjoyable. I suspect some of the install problems related to firmware upgrades needed, not rebooting the ice>link on install by battery disconnect and poor use of ipod playlists. Dension has moved onto new and oem products and has change head unit design for the better.

  • ozone567

    SOLUTION TO THE BMW ENGINE NOISE, WHINING DENSION ICE LINK PROBLEM.

    For all of you that have probably been ripping your hair out trying to figure out this problem I too have wasted many days on this. I tried to install the dension iceLink in a couple of 2002 & 2003 330i models as well as an 05 M3 and always had the same problem this annoying buzzing sound accompanying all of my tracks. I tried playing with the connections, re-wiring all the cables, hell I even bought the latest version of their product as of late 2006 and none of this solved the problem. I tried playing with different setting like the iPod EQ, turning the halogens on and off to see the differences and NO FIX!!.

    Until finally after contacting Dension almost 2 dozen times and them having told me buying the latest product would fix my problems, which it never did I was able to get a PDF document out of them which in 8 super easy steps details the process of switching the ground wire around. Apparently this is a known issue, and known enough that they have a document with pretty good high quality images that explain how to move the ground wire around that should be on one of the connectors in the trunk. After months of struggling with this, in about 10 minutes I switched the ground around and VOILA! No more buzzing, no whining nothing. It was all gone. Here is a link to the pdf I through up on my server, please enjoy, I hope it helps and pass it around as I know hundreds of people are having this same problems.

    http://www.level209.com/downloads/dension/bmw_ext_cbl_repair.pdf

  • ozone567

    SOLUTION TO THE BMW ENGINE NOISE, WHINING DENSION ICE LINK PROBLEM.

    Updated Link, the last one got modifed during the post. This one should work.

    http://www.level209.com/downloads/dension/bmwExtCblRepair.pdf

  • Darren

    Please HELP me.I have the icelink plus in my AUDI A4 and I was trying ot upgrade the firmwar from 2.05 to 2.15 and i started playing the start_update file then inserted the ipod into the cradle.My cd changer display imediately started scrollin throught tracks 1-99 but when it got to 99 my head unit switched to the in dash cdplayer and the icelink never rebooted.I cannot switch to the cd changer at all anymore and nothing happens when i insert my ipod into the cradle.I tried pulling the fuse for a few minutes but still nothing from the icelink.Is it dead? Can’t I reload the firmware to it somehow for another try.I can’t get it to do anything.I even unplugged the module from my headunit for awhile and then put it back in.Still nothing.any help would be much appreciated.Thanks

  • mark from Hong kong

    thanks ozone567, I have the same problem you had, it works perfectly now.

  • Arfster

    Ozone you rock man…i was so pissed for the last 4 weeks thinking id just have to get used to the noise…U ROCK! it works!

  • RFBakeruk

    Hi Darren did you find a fix for this as I have the same problem?

  • Dennis Chang

    This was originally written for mini2.com’s thread but I couldn’t post with all the URLs in my document. See the original thread at:

    http://www.mini2.com/forum/interior-ice/77777-ice-link-plus.html

    And here’s my post:

    Hopefully this will help someone. I went through all the firmware nightmares before when installing my ICELink>Plus I20-BMW-T into my 2001 BMW E39 530i with Business single-CD HU, and I was rewarded with three years of solid, fully-functional use on firmware 2.2B2. If I remember correctly, I had to swap out my ICELink>Plus hardware version 1.1 for a hardware version 1.2 in the troubleshooting process.

    Imagine my surprise to find that the exact same ICELink>Plus unit would work in my R52 2007 Mini Cooper S Convertible with non-Navigation Harmon Kardon (Boost single-CD) HU! (It did take a while to figure this out, as no source specifically mentions the 2007 MCSC as being supported, but I found that it’s pretty much the same as the 2006 MCSC, in which there were two or three success stories on the web.)

    Some time ago, I had driven over to Dension USA in Signal Hill, CA and swapped out the cradle for the glove-box dock cable and the trunk cable (noisy, even with the proper pin-swap), so I effectively have a back-of-the-head-unit kit, not the original I20-BMW-T (trunk) kit. I had reinstalled the kit so many times I can do it in my sleep and know the pitfalls (such as the HU connector not seating properly, resulting in crackling/cut-outs in some of the speakers).

    Here’s what I did:

    1) I followed the DIY instructions at

    http://www.newministuff.com/new/index.php?section=13&diyid=6

    to remove the HU.

    2) Then, the instructions at:

    http://www.newministuff.com/new/index.php?section=13&diyid=8

    to install the back-of-the-head-unit cable, but of course I don’t have the cradle and decided to drill a 0.5-inch hole in the left-side of the glove box to feed the dock cable through. I used a strain relief-type grommet to plug the hole and secure the Dension dock cable.

    3) At this point, the ICELink>Plus was working in the following ways:

    • My 60GB Video iPod w/ iPod firmware 1.2.1 is detected by and plays properly through the ICELink>Plus
    • track info is shown on the iPod but only “TR01″ on the HU Multifunction Display
    • iPod wouldn’t respond to any of its own controls and could only be controlled by buttons 1-5 and Next/Prev on the headunit and the steering wheel controls
    • HU button 6 does not bring up the Dension menus
    • RND button shows and works

    But hey, I was happy, since I could play my first five playlists and charge the iPod while it’s hidden in the glove compartment. This is a step up from using the AUX jack, and at no additional cost for hardware.

    4) I read here and at MotoringFile that some people had succeeded in getting ID3 tags working on 2005+ Mini Boost HUs with a firmware upgrade (from early versions such as 2.01). So I searched for and found the latest possible BMW-specific firmware, 2.2B4.

    I downloaded the latest BMW-specific ICELink>Plus firmware, 2.2B4 at:

    http://www.bimmerboard.com/forums/posts/311541

    Looking at the included text file that shows the changes, it appears that there really is no benefit to me upgrading from 2.2B2 to 2.2B4–they are pretty much functionally identical. In the face of the high risk of bricking my ICELink>Plus, I figured I’d go ahead and upgrade it. Doing so was as simple as:

    a) putting all the firmware files into iTunes and putting them all by themselves into my iPod’s first playlist b) plugging in the iPod and turning on the car, at which time it began playing the last song I had played c) pressing the HU button 1 to force the ICELink>Plus to play the first playlist containing the update. I had to do this because I could not access the ICELink>Plus Setup Menu either through the HU button 6 or through the iPod, which was not responding to its buttons

    The upgrade went fine from TR2 through TR99 and then rebooted the ICELink>Plus, resulting in my HU switching to FM radio and telling me I could disconnect my iPod.

    d) I pressed HU button “Mode” to switch back to the Dension, at which time it discovered my iPod and displayed firmware version 2-2B4. Success!

    5) But my HU still wasn’t displaying ID3v2 tags, and I still couldn’t control the iPod except with the very rudimentary Next/Prev and playlists 1-5 buttons. So I began reading more of this thread and tried:

    6) resetting the Dension by unplugging the fuses at F10 and F27 (F10 did nothing–it was F27 that shut down the radio). This didn’t work.

    7) Downloading and playing the CarIf_Clear.mp3 file from:

    http://support.dension.com/support-center/index.php?x=&mod_id=2&root=8&id=40

    (The trick with this and the following steps is to detach the iPod, turn on the car and HU, switch to the CD changer mode, then press play on the song, and then quickly attach the iPod to the ICELink>Plus.)

    This did nothing either, and it would just start playing the very first song on my iPod.

    8) Downloading and playing the CarIf_BMW.mp3 file from an earlier post in this thread.

    No luck–the Dension still ignored the file and skipped to the first song on my iPod.

    9) I figured that since my ICELink>Plus and iPod appeared to be half-stuck in iPodUI mode and half-stuck in BMW Text mode, I’d probably have to reset the unit to be fully in either one of the two modes. I found the BMW_Text_disable.mp3 file:

    http://support.dension.com/support-center/index.php?x=&mod_id=2&root=10&id=67

    This did the trick! I saw some text on my radio (“ANNOUNCE” if I remember correctly, but it flashed by pretty quickly). Then, I pressed the HU button 6 to activate the menu, which showed up in teeny tiny text on my iPod’s screen.

    10) The iPod’s face controls were still not working, so I used the Next/Prev buttons on the HU to navigate through the Dension menus (Playlists, Artists, Albums, AlbumPlay, Setup). I drilled down into:

    Setup>Text On

    and then I held down the Next button to activate this.

    Immediately, the tiny menus on my iPod disappeared and I started seeing the menus on the headunit’s Multifunction Display. “Artists” showed up clear as day.

    And I found that even though my iPod’s face controls still didn’t work, the iPod now showed no track info on the screen, just the Dension logo (as it did before when in my E39). More important, the HU button 6 now works and kicks the ICELink>Plus into its menus.

    So, everything appears to be working great (have yet to let it burn in to see if electrical problems surface, but I made sure that “Charge>Play” was set so that it doesn’t charge the iPod nonstop.

    11) Finally, for safety purposes, I removed all the ICELink>Plus files from my iPod.

    With this switch, I avoiding having to spend $160 on a new DICE unit or $500 (dealer-quoted hardware plus install) for the official OEM Mini iPod interface. I hope that someone else can make use of these instructions–thank you to all the other people who posted their problems and solutions in various forums, because it was your answers that helped me assemble my solution.


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