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Integrated Aftermarket Bluetooth

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It has been six long months since MINI first started putting the new phone buttons on the 3-Spoke Multi Function Steering Wheel (MFSW) and there’s still no Bluetooth kit available from MINI to make the new buttons function. Unbelievable! I’ve grown so tired of waiting for MINI to release an updated version of their Bluetooth phone kit that works with the new phone buttons that I decided to go ahead and explore other options that might be available. Much to my amazement it turns out that Mike Wildman of Formby Car Electrical Services LTD (A.K.A. “MikeyTheMini” on the NAM & MINI2 forums) has recently released two hands free phone kits that work with the new phone buttons on the 3-Spoke MFSW.

The first hands free phone kit is a Bluetooth kit that’s based upon the Parrot 3000 controller, and the second hands free phone kit is a cradle type kit that’s based upon either the Nokia CARK91, Nokia CARK126, or Sony Ericsson HCA-20 mobile phone hands free systems. Each kit has both its advantages and its disadvantages. The Bluetooth kit has the advantage of allowing you to use a wireless Bluetooth connection between your phone and the car kit (i.e. your phone can be kept in your pocket and doesn’t have to be mounted in a cradle). However, it’s limited to Bluetooth phones only and your Bluetooth phone must be supported by the Parrot Bluetooth controller which is at the heart of the Bluetooth kit itself (although the Parrot controller’s firmware is updatable and so it has the ability to adapt to future models of mobile phones). Another disadvantage to the Bluetooth kit is that it doesn’t have a display that shows caller ID tags, allows you to scroll through your phone book entries, etc. The cradle type kit has the big advantage of using the factory navigation, or radio display, to show caller ID tags, scroll through the phone’s contact/address book list, etc., but it has the disadvantage of only supporting a limited number of older Nokia & Sony Ericsson phones (see the list below) and forcing you to always have to place your phone within a cradle.

Both of Mikey’s phone kits power the hands free phone controller (Parrot, Nokia, or Sony Ericsson), automatically mute the radio, and route the incoming/outgoing calls through you MINI’s radio speakers. The 2 phone buttons on the 3-Spoke wheel are used to answer/end calls & activate voice dialing (and scroll through the phone’s contact entries & call history lists for the cradle type kit only). Call volume adjustment via the MFSW volume buttons is also fully supported. The kits are VERY easy to install. They’re completely plug-n-play and so you don’t have to cut into a single wire in the MINI’s wiring harness in order to install them. All you have to do is remove the radio, unplug the radio’s existing connector from the back of the radio and plug in the one for the hands free phone kit in its place. The hardest part of the entire install is simply locating a place to hide the hands free controller box and the “Connect 2″ controller box (which communicates/interfaces with the MINI’s k-bus). You’ll also have to install the microphone for the kit, but that’s very easy (again, there’s no cutting, drilling, etc. involved). You simply run the microphone wire up the driver’s side A-pillar and stick it to the headliner via its Velcro pad as shown in the following pictures (no tools required!):

I went ahead and opted for the cradle type kit as I like having a place to put my phone while I’m in the car, and I really like the fact that it integrates with the MINI’s factory navigation display (or the factory radio display if you don’t have factory sat nav). Unfortunately, the cradle type kits only work with the following (older) mobile phones:

Nokia CARK126:
6100, 7210, 7250, 7250i

Sony Ericsson HCA-20:
T610, T616, T630, T637, T230, Z600, T68i, T300, P800, P900

Nokia CARK91:
5110, 6110, 7110, 6210, 6310, 6310i


Note that many of the phones listed are U.K. based models but the hands free controllers should work just fine with their similar U.S. counterparts if available. Also, the hands free controllers listed may support more phones than just those listed. For example, the Sony Ericsson HCA-20 controller should work with any Sony Ericsson phone that includes the “In Car” profile (no guarantees though as I’ve only tried it with the T610 and T630 phones so far).

Since my current phone was not one on the list, I decided to go ahead and get a new phone. I was pleasantly surprised with the rich feature set that the Sony Ericsson line of phones had to offer (even the older models) and so I decided to go with the T610 (or T616) model. The T6xx line of phones can be purchased (unlocked so they will work with most mobile phone carriers such as Cingular, AT&T, T-Mobile, etc.) for around $100 on eBay (no contract required!). The phones offer every imaginable feature (including cameras, Bluetooth capability, calendars, games, etc.) and their small size really fits well with the “MINI” theme.

As mentioned previously, the cradle type kit integrates nicely with the factory navigation system. After installing the kit, a new “Telephone” item is added to the navigation system’s main menu:

When you select the “Telephone” menu item you are shown another menu screen that allows you to browse your phone’s address book and call history lists:

The “Voice” option allows you to speak the name of the caller you wish to call and the phone automatically dials the number for you and connects the call. The “Top 8″ option allows you to call a contact listed on your pre-defined list of top 8 favorite callers. The “PhoneMem” option allows you to scroll you phone’s address book in alphabetical order. The “Dialed”, “Missed”, and “Received” options bring up the call history lists from your phone (including the contact’s name and date and time of the call). The “Settings” option allows you to changes the “Connects 2″ controller’s settings. The “Dial” option brings up a really cool screen on the nav display that allows you to manually enter in a telephone number and then dial it. Unfortunately, this feature wasn’t working properly for me (but it’s not claimed to be a feature of the kit; It’s just a byproduct of activating the navigation system’s telephone mode I’m sure).

Besides being able to work with your phone via the factory navigation interface, the real power behind Mikey’s hands free phone kits is their ability to dial, hang-up, and answer calls from the phone buttons on the MINI’s MFSW. Clicking on the “R/T” button enters or exits the telephone mode. Once in the telephone mode, you can use the “Phone” button (i.e. the button with the image of a phone handset on it) to move through the telephone mode’s top-level menu items (e.g. Voice, Top 8, PhoneMem, Dialed, Missed, Received, and Settings).

Once you’ve located the menu item that you would like to look at, you simply scroll through its list of items using the MFSW’s Track+/Up & Track-/Down buttons (i.e. the ones that look like upward and downward pointing arrows).

Each contact in your phone’s address book is listed individually in alphabetical order as you scroll up or down through the list. If the contact has multiple phone numbers (such as Home, Work, and Mobile), then they are indicated by a “/H”, “/W”, and /”M” tacked onto the end of the contact’s name. To place a call to the current contact, you simply hold down the “Phone” button on the MFSW.

For incoming calls, the phone rings (via your handset) and the nav display shows the incoming callers name on the following screen (note that the “V—>” text is where the caller’s name/number normally appears):

Using the navigation system’s interface, you can hang-up or answer the incoming call. The call can also be answered by simply holding down the “Phone” button on the MFSW.

Alternatively, when you use the navigation interface to scroll the “PhoneMem” list, multiple contacts appear in the list at one time:

You move through the list seven contacts at a time (using the “< <" and ">>” menu items) and the focal contact is indicated with a asterisk (*) next to their name. Selecting the “Options” menu item takes you to another screen where you can dial the focal contact or add them to the nav system’s Top 8 memory list for quick recall.

Both the Bluetooth and the cradle type hands free phone kits are available from Mikey’s web site at www.NewMiniStuff.com. Mikey’s business is based in the U.K., but his web site is setup to handle orders coming from the USA. His kits are very reasonably priced (even with the strength of the Dollar currently getting clobbered by the Pound) and they are MUCH less expensive than the current OEM MINI Bluetooth kit which sells for around $450 plus installation costs. The cradle type kits even include a phone cradle and a system cable matched to your specific phone model as well as a really nice cradle mount that attaches to the hidden radio screws located behind the center column pillars:

Rating: 4.0 (out of five)

Written By: Mike

  • MINI4cathy

    Woohoo! Finally a solution that uses the Nav screen and works with the S-E P900, a pip of a PDA phone that does not support the handsfree profile. When the new Convertible arrives, I’ll be adding this.

  • Paul

    Any idea if there is any functionality for any of these systems (including the MINI aftermarket system from the dealer) for us 2005 owners that don’t have those phone buttons on the steering wheel spokes?

    Thanks!

  • Mykl Milligan

    So if i have a Nokia 6600 from Tmobile that has Bluetooth which kit do i need? I didnt see my model listed in the “cradle type” kits above.

  • Mike (The Office Maven)
    Any idea if there is any functionality for any of these systems (including the MINI aftermarket system from the dealer) for us 2005 owners that don’t have those phone buttons on the steering wheel spokes?

    Alas, I’m afraid not. MINI has been dragging its heals forever on this one. Thus, I wouldn’t expect any help at all from them. Aftermarket companies are already hacking the signal for the phone buttons on the car and MINI can’t even get their act together when they’re the ones who own the source code. Oy!

    I’ve heard tale that the buttons can indeed be added… You can buy a new face plate and the buttons for the 3-Spoke wheel from the MINI parts department for around $45, but no one knows if the older cars will accept the new phone buttons or not. i.e We’re not sure if the cars will require special programming to “activate” the new phone buttons, and if they do, will the older car’s BC-1 computer support it???

  • Mike (The Office Maven)
    So if i have a Nokia 6600 from Tmobile that has Bluetooth which kit do i need? I didnt see my model listed in the “cradle type” kits above.

    Many of the newer Nokia and Sony Ericsson phones aren’t supported by the cradle type kits I’m afraid. The best thing for you to do (if you’re interested in one of Mikey’s cradle type hands free phone kits that display on the nav or radio) is to contact Nokia directly and ask them if your Nokia phone will still work with either their CARK91 or CARK126 hands free car kits (you might be able to find this information out for yourself by simply searching their web site). I’m sure that Nokia probably has a newer hands free car kit available (that they’ll want you to use instead), but a lot of the time the older CARK91 and CARK126 kits will still work with the newer phones.

    Other than that, you can always use the Bluetooth kit instead as long as your phone is Bluetooth compliant and it’s supported by the Parrot CK3000 Bluetooth controller. You can see a complete list of Bluetooth phones currently supported by the Parrot CK3000 kit here:

    Parrot CK3000 Supported Bluetooth Phones

    If your phone is on that list (which it is), then you can get one of Mikey’s Bluetooth hands free phone kits instead. It won’t display on the nav or radio, but you will be able to use it with the new phone buttons on your MFSW (which is EXACTLY how the factory MINI one will work is/when it finally comes out).

  • Mike (The Office Maven)
    Woohoo! Finally a solution that uses the Nav screen and works with the S-E P900, a pip of a PDA phone that does not support the handsfree profile. When the new Convertible arrives, I’ll be adding this.

    Just as an FYI… The User’s Guide I have for my cradle type hands free phone kit has an asterisk next to the P800 & P900 phones which reads:

    “Only partial SIM card reading”

    I’m not exactly sure what that means, but it may be of interest to you since you have a P900. However, if you store all of your address/phone book entries within the phone itself (and not on the SIM card), then it shouldn’t be a problem I’d imagine.

    Just wanted to give you a heads-up is all.

  • http://1bystander.blogspot.com/ Radiationman

    From what I hear the P800 & P900 don’t get along very well with Bluetooth car kits. For some reason they don’t support the handsfree profiles that just about every other phone on the market supports.

    That could also tie into the shortcomings of using them with the cradle as well…

  • Kurt Gillespie

    Any idea if an ipod adapter is still able to be hooked up in a daisy chain effect with the phone adapter so that both can be installed?

  • Mike (The Office Maven)

    BTW, if anyone’s looking for some more discussion about these kits, there are a couple of relevant theads going on over at http://www.MINI2.com (including comments from Mikey himself). Here are the direct links to them:

    MINI2 Forums – Retro fit Bluetooth kits for new MFSW Minis

    MINI2 Forums – Aftermarket Phone linked to MFSW, phone book on stereo & nav screens

  • Mike (The Office Maven)
    Any idea if an ipod adapter is still able to be hooked up in a daisy chain effect with the phone adapter so that both can be installed?

    I’m not exactly sure how the OEM MINI, nor the Dension ICE-Link [Plus], iPOD adapters hook into the car, but I’m pretty sure that Mikey’s iPOD adapters kits will work just fine with the hands free kits.

    I assume that if your iPOD adapter hooks into the MINI’s factory radio wiring harness then it will indeed daisy chain just fine (I know for sure that the OEM MINI AUX adapter works with it). You can always drop Mikey and e-mail (his contact e-mail address is on his web site) and ask him directly just to be sure.

  • http://www.jonodove.com Jono

    I don’t know if it’s sacrilidge to post info about non-sponser stuff, but a quick google search will find you the parrott 3000 unit for 150 US, whereas if you boughgt it from england it would cost over 2x that much. Cheers

  • http://motoringfile.com Gabe

    Jono – while we love our sponsors here we’re also all about info. So please google away and let us know about those good deals.

    PS – none of the products mentioned in this review come from any MF sponsors.

  • http://www.jonodove.com Jono

    OK cool. Then to let you all know my methods… I froogled the “parrott 3000″ and found it at several places for about $150 I think you still would need to buy an adapter that Mike at newministuff.com sells. If there is a part that has to come from England, I would be ok with presenting a group buy, maybe at a better price but certainly a less costly shipment overall. Lemme know. Cheers.

  • Mike (The Office Maven)

    Juno,

    Yes, that’s quite true. However, you still need the interface kit to make it work with the MINI MFSW phone buttons (i.e. the “magic black box” that reads the MINI’s k-bus code) and you still need the proper plugs/wiring harness in order to make it “plug-n-play” with the MINI’s factory radio. This is where Mikey’s kit really comes into play (i.e. it’s an enhancement to the existing Parrot CK3000 controller).

    Note that Mikey sells his Bluetooth hands free kit with or without the Parrot CK3000 controller. This way if you can find the Parrot controller cheaper (or you already have one) then you can still purchase just the bits you need from Mikey to make it work properly with the MINI. Mikey is a very fair guy that way and he isn’t out to take anyone for sure.

    BTW, the same also applies to the cradle type kits as well. If you can find the Nokia or Sony Ericsson hands free phone kit cheaper (or you already have it), then Mikey will sell you just the required controller and the wiring harness bits (i.e. the important parts) separately.

    I hope this helps some…

  • http://www.jonodove.com Jono

    absolutely helps… just for reference, that’s what I was talking about when I said, Either way, thanks a lot! Happy Motoring! Cheers

  • http://www.jonodove.com Jono

    Oops, the quotes were supposed to say, “I think you still would need to buy an adapter that Mike at newministuff.com sells.”

    Cheers

  • http://www.newministuff.com mikeythemini

    I am out of the country right now so will answer most of the questions when I am back. But I agree the dollar pound rate is a killer so am quite happy to just supply adaptors if you guys can get kits over your side

  • Avitor

    Okay, so my MINI was built in September ’04 and lacks the new steering wheel. Someone please tell me that if I lay down the cash on a whole new steering wheel and this kit that I can make it work!?!

  • Mike (The Office Maven)
    Okay, so my MINI was built in September ’04 and lacks the new steering wheel. Someone please tell me that if I lay down the cash on a whole new steering wheel and this kit that I can make it work!?!

    If you have the 3-Spoke MFSW on your MINI, then you’d be better off just updating the face plate and buttons instead of buying a whole new wheel (as it would cost much less to do it that way). If you have the 2-Spoke wheel, then you would indeed have to replace the entire wheel as the hands free phone kits ONLY work with the 3-Spoke MFSW.

    Now… No matter which way you go, at this time no one knows for sure if it will work or not as I don’t think anyone’s ever tried it yet. We don’t know if the car will require special programming to recognize the multi-function buttons (including the new phone buttons), and if it does, we don’t know if the older car’s computer will have that programming option or not. It could be a simple plug-n-play installation, but knowing MINI, I king of doubt that.

  • http://goofytruax.blogspot.com/ GoofyTruax

    He also has a Parrots 3100 kit that includes screen but not a whole lot of details.

  • Mike (The Office Maven)
    He also has a Parrots 3100 kit that includes screen but not a whole lot of details.

    Yes he does… The Parrot 3100 kit is good for those folks who don’t have the extra phone buttons on their MFSW. Instead, the Parrot 3100 kit includes a small display that shows caller ID tags, etc. Mikey provides the interface kit (by itself of with the Parrot 3100 controller) that allows it to hook into the MINI. His kit will power the Parrot controller and hook it into the MINI’s factory radio. Just like the two other hands free kits, it’s all 100% plug-n-play.

  • ///ACS330Ci

    What about the bluetooth armrest cradles?

  • Mike (The Office Maven)
    What about the bluetooth armrest cradles?

    As far as I know, they’re only available in the U.K. and they’re only for specific phones. Here’s the list (with part numbers):

    Bluetooth preperation compatibilty news

    And here’s a link to a Motoringfile article that mentions a bit about them:

    New Bluetooth Integration and Armrest

  • MINI4cathy

    Still Woohoo-in’ … yeah, the SIM card isn’t well-integrated into the P900 so I’m not surprised that it’s not completely accessible to Mikey’s system. I keep all my contacts in the phone since the SIM isn’t accessible to the PIM functions.

  • Mike (The Office Maven)

    Hi All,

    Just in case you’re wondering… It appears that Mikey doesn’t currently have the complete hands free cradle type kits listed on his web site (I’m not exactly sure why, but perhaps it’s because the kits only work with the older Nokia and Sony Ericsson phones).

    Thus, you’ll actually need to contact Mikey directly for a price quote on one of these kits (his e-mail address is given on his web site). Just tell Mikey that you’re after one of his cradle type hands free phone kits that work with the new phone buttons on the MFSW and he’ll let you know the price (it should be close to the price of the MFSW Bluetooth kit that’s listed on his site I’d imagine).

    Also, be sure to tell him what phone you have and he’ll set you up a kit for it including the proper Nokia/Sony Ericsson phone controller, wiring harness, system cable, phone cradle, cradle mount, etc.

    The hands free cradle type kit that Mikey sent me (i.e. the one reviewed here) was 100% complete when I received it, and it came fully pre-assembled as well. It had everything I needed to make it work with my phone (a Sony Ericsson T610/T616 and a T630/T637) right out-of-the-box. :-)

  • Mike (The Office Maven)

    Hi All,

    FYI… Here’s a link to the HCA-20 handsfree kit on Sony Ericsson’s web site. It shows a much broader list of the mobile phones that the kit is compatible with (including more U.S. models/versions of the Sony phones):

    Advanced Vehicle Handsfree HCA-20

  • Mike (The Office Maven)

    Here’s another link that lists even more compatible Sony Ericsson phones for the HCA-20:

    Advanced Vehicle Handsfree HCA-20

  • http://www.newministuff.com Mike Wildman

    Only the phones I list are guaranteed to work with the interface though as there are many firmware variations about

  • http://www.newministuff.com Mike Wildman

    Now I am back I will add these ne systems to my site

  • rakh1

    Hi – I was wondering if any more progress has been made in finding compatible newer phones with regards to the display using the Sat-Nav unit? Specifically – the Sony K750i or the Nokia 6230i. Cheers – Rich

  • http://www.TheOfficeMaven.com Mike (The Office Maven)
    Hi – I was wondering if any more progress has been made in finding compatible newer phones with regards to the display using the Sat-Nav unit? Specifically – the Sony K750i or the Nokia 6230i. Cheers – Rich

    Hi Rich,

    From what I understand, MikeyTheMini now has the MINI’s MFSW buttons working with the Sony Ericsson HBA-300 Bluetooth kit as well as one of the more recent Nokia Bluetooth kits. However, neither of those two kits will give a display on the NAV or radio like the cradle-type kits do (i.e. like the one I’ve reviewed above). And, as far as I know, there hasn’t been any progress made on updating the cradle-type kits for use with the newer Sony Ericsson & Nokia phones. However, you could drop Mikey an e-mail and ask him for sure.

    So you’re interested in the Sony Ericsson K750i eh. That’s an AWESOME phone! I recently picked up one of the new Sony Ericsson W800i “WALKMAN” phones and it’s to die for! The thing is absolutely AMAZING! Built-in Walkman media player, 2 megapixel camera, 2 GB Memory Stick, etc. It’s AWESOME! :-)

    The only bad thing about it is that I can no longer use it with my cradle-type car kit. So… If anyone’s interested in purchasing the complete kit I’ve reviewed above. I’ve got it up for sale now. I even have the really cool Sony Ericsson T610/T630 hybrid phone up for sale that works just great with it. Send me an e-mail if you’re interested and I’ll send you back all of the details.

  • http://www.TheOfficeMaven.com Mike (The Office Maven)

    Hi All,

    Just as an FYI, this phone kit is now up for sale on NAM. See the following link for all of the details:

    FS: NewMiniStuff Hands Free Sony Ericsson Phone Kit With Nav/Radio Display

    BTW, I’ll be doing another MF review for the replacement Bluetooth kit soon. :-)

  • gadgeTT

    Apparently the Parrot 3000 unit that comes with the newMINIstuff MFSW kit requires a serial cable to do firmware upgrades of the kit. Does anyone have information on that serial cable; what the pin-outs are, where to get one, etc..? Mikey says that one is available from the UK wholesaler but $85 seems like a lot for serial cable. I could make one of my own if I knew the connector and the pin-outs.

    I’m hoping that it will work OK in my ’06 (awaiting shipment over the pond) with the HK stereo and the blitzsafe XM interface box.

  • http://www.TheOfficeMaven.com Mike (The Office Maven)

    gadgeTT,

    Actually, you don’t need the serial cable as you can also do it using a Bluetooth dongle as well…

    I’ve just updated my Parrot 3100 kit using an inexpensive USB Bluetooth dongle that I picked up from my local Comp USA computer store for around $20. All you do is plug the Bluetooth dongle into one of the USB ports on your computer, install the software that came with the dongle, and then run Parrot’s “Flash Update Wizard” (which can be downloaded for free from their web site) and follow the instructions given on their web site in order to flash your phone kit’s controller firmware to a newer version.

    The USB Bluetooth dongle that I bought has a range of something like 330 feet and so I just rolled the car into my garage and made the Bluetooth connection with my home computer that’s upstairs (it’s even easier if you have a laptop computer that you can take out to your car instead). It worked great for me.

    Parrot Bluetooth hands-free car kits updates

  • gadgeTT

    Hi Mike,

    Thanks, but as I understand, the 3100 is able to be flashed via BT but not the 3000 – the 3000 must be flashed via a serial cable that is not easy to find or cheap to buy.

    Hopefully I’m wrong as both my PowerBook and my ThinkPad have built-in BT.

    BTW, I just received my Blitzsafe XM Direct adapter so the pieces are finally coming together for my ’06 MCS. Now I just have to wait for delivery of the car itself (awaiting transport right now).

  • http://www.TheOfficeMaven.com Mike (The Office Maven)

    You’re most welcome.

    Hmmm… If you look at the upgrade procedure for the Parrot CK3000 kit that Parrot has posted on their web site, you will see (you have to scroll through the document a bit) that there is a section showing that the CK3000 kit is able to be updated via a Bluetooth dongle. Maybe it’s just a mistake in the documentation though as the procedure appears to be the same as the one for the serial cable update.

    CK3000 Upgrade Procedure

    Maybe you can post a message on Parrot’s end user forum asking if it is possible to update the CK3000 via Bluetooth, and if not, where to get a serial cable from (or what the pin-outs for the cable are). The forum can be found under the “Customer Care” section on Parrot’s web site (http://www.driveblue.com).

    Sorry for the mixup.

  • gadgeTT

    Hi Mike,

    Thanks again. My kit from http://www.newministuff.com has been shipped so I’ll wait until it arrives and then if things aren’t obvious, I’ll write to the parrot forums (need a product serial number to do so, I think.)

  • gadgeTT

    By the way, I contacted Parrot North America Tech Support and the response I got was that the CK3000 unit is discontinued, no longer supported and there are no planned updates, so version 3.16 is the last planned firmware version. Therefore, there is no real need to worry about how to apply updates as there are no plans for them to release any more udpates.

  • http://www.TheOfficeMaven.com Mike (The Office Maven)

    Yes, that’s sad but true… Parrot now uses the CK3000 Evolution kit instead of the older CK3000 (non-Evo). I’ve heard tale from MikeyTheMini that he is currently working to try and get an interface kit that will allow both the CK3000 Evolution and the CK3100 Advanced Car kits to function with the extra phone buttons on the MINI’s MFSW. However, there’s no promise of any release date available (meaning that it may or may not happen).

    I’ve just finished installing the Parrot CK3100 Advanced Car Kit in my own MINI and so I can tell you first hand that support for the extra phone buttons on the MINI’s MFSW is not really necessary. The controller/LCD display (when mounted properly) is very accessible and I find myself not really needing the buttons on the MFSW. While they would be nice to have/use, they’re not at all necessary.

    So… If you’re looking for continued support for the newer Bluetooth phones by Parrot, then you’d be better off going with the Parrot CK3000 Evo kit or the Parrot CK3100 Advanced Car kit instead (unless you’re saying that Parrot is killing off the CK3000 Evo kit as well???).

    If MikeyTheMini ever gets the MFSW interface kits finished, you can always add it in later on. BTW, I chose the CK3100 over the CK3000 Evo as I really like being able to see the contacts in my phone’s address book on the LCD display as well as have caller ID, etc. (things you don’t get with the older CK3000 or CK3000 Evo kits).

    Lastly, for those who may be interested, I have both a Sony Ericsson K750i and a Sony Ericsson W800i “WALKMAN” phone and I was really struggling with getting them working with my CK3100 kit. However, yesterday morning Parrot released a firmware update (version 4.12) and now both of the phones work flawlessly with the CK3100 kit.

    Kudos to Parrot for their efforts in getting their phone kits working so quickly with the newly released (and very popular) Sony Ericsson phones. Note that I’m not sure of either of the phones will work with the CK3000 Evo kit yet though as they don’t appear to have done any updates to its firmware so far – e.g. still v3.16 as gadgeTT mentioned).

    – MIKE

  • http://www.TheOfficeMaven.com Mike (The Office Maven)

    Oops! My bad… The CK3000 Evolution firmware is currently at version 5.05. The version 3.16 firmware I mentioned is only for use with the older CK3000 (non-Evo) kit.

    Also, note that there has been mention by Parrot in their user forums that they are expecting an upgrade for the CK3000 Evo kit’s firmware to make it work with the newer SE & Nokia phones. The upgrade should be available within 3 weeks or so according to Parrot.

    However, as gadgeTT mentioned, Parrot is probably not going to support the older CK3000 (non-Evo) kits anymore and so I wouldn’t expect a firmware upgrade for those kits. Thus, please keep this in mind if you are currently considering ordering one of MikeyTheMini’s Parrot CK3000 kits (that works with the extra phone buttons on the MINI’s MFSW) and you want to use it with one of the newer Sony Ericsson phones (like the K750i or the W800i, etc.).

    Also, another thing to note is that it appears that only the newer Parrot CK3100 kits are able to be upgraded via a USB Bluetooth dongle. Thus, this might also be a factor in your consideration of which kit you want to buy. I find it very easy to update the CK3100 kit via a Bluetooth dongle which are very easy to obtain at your local computer store. Having to use a proprietary serial cable for firmware updates might be a deal killer for some I’d imagine.

  • Ian Goldsmith

    I just bought the Parrot 3100 from NewMiniStuff. I bought the kit including the harness. I already have an ICE>Link Plus so was a bit worried about how the install would go, given how much junk there already is stuffed in behind my stereo.

    The install was very simple, I would NOT want to try this without the harness from NewMiniStuff. It would not be pretty. Anyway, mine popped in very easily, the big blue Parrot box fits nicely behind the dash end cap by the drivers side, I put the display on the dash panel between the Tach and the center vent with the wire running cleanly down the “channel” in the dash (I don’t have photos yet). I also put the mic just behind the front light cluster in the middle of the headliner (very easy to tuck the wire up into the headliner and down the driver’s side ‘A’ pillar.

    Sadly, I’m a bit disappointed with the kit so far. It pairs very easily, syncs up the phone book and does all that stuff. It mutes the stereo, voice rec works and all that good stuff, but there are 2 main problems.

    1 – the parrot itself seems a bit buggy, it keeps forgetting preferences, like phone and mic volume, activate/deactive voice commands and spoken menus on/off. Not a huge deal, but very irritiating to have to drag through the Parrot menus to change 5 different settings every time you start the car.

    2 – much more serious is the audio quality. It’s great when stationary, but awful to the point that folsk I’m talking to can’t hear me at all when moving. To be fair, my car isn’t quiet. I have a Magnaflow exhaust and an Alta intake, but still it is unusable right now. I am having to unpair the phone and the car kit and go back to using by Jabra headset.

    Mikey from NewMiniStuff has been very helpful so far, and I hope to get a response from Parrot on these issues. I’m certainly not giving up on this kit yet, because it has the potential to be great. My primary goal for this thing is the whole “mute the stereo” thing. I like my music loud, and often don’t hear the phone ring. I love the fact that the kit mutes the stereo, shows me who’s calling on an easy-to-read display, and lets me answer with a voice command. Now if my callers could only hear me……

    Ian

  • Tvilling

    Interesting site :-)

    I have just got then CK3000 evo, but the version is from marts and has some bugs. I’m not satisfied getting this old version, and then have to pay 85,- to get the upgrade cable. Do anybody know the connections inside this cable. It’s just to open and…….

    Look foreward to get some news from you

    Tvilling

  • http://no maher

    i dont know if i could get that one in my car like i could have all the phone info on my navigation screem cause i have a nissan maxima with navigation system and bluetooth but my bluetooth not on the navigation screem only throught the audio system thank if you answer me

  • Adrian Simoes

    Well…. now I’m just confused! Does either one of these kits support my new Samsung SGH-D807?? Its also Bluetooth compatible… but I don’t seem to see it on either list! Basically…. if its possible to make the function work in my Mini with my phone… I want to know how and what are my options.

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