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MINI Video Input

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As many of you who follow Motoringfile closely already know, I happen to have an OEM backup camera installed in my MINI (see: MINI Rear Camera Review). The rear-view camera produces such a nice image on the navigation display that it started me thinking about if it would be possible to use the backup camera as a video input for other video sources. It would be really cool to be able to play DVD movies (and possibly even play PS2 games) on the built-in navigation screen in my MINI. Well, after exploring the wiring diagram for the backup camera installation kit, it appears that there are indeed a couple of video inputs that can easily be tapped into (see: MINI Rear Camera Retrofit Kit Installation Instructions).

The backup camera installation kit is comprised of the rear-view camera, a small control module, a video switchbox, and the wiring harnesses used to hook it all up. The installation kit is broken up into two components; The rear-view camera parts kit ( P/N: 66 21 0 392 370 – comprised of the rear-view camera, control module, and wiring harness for the camera) and the additional switchbox parts kit (P/N: 66 21 0 303 085 – comprised of the video switchbox and the wiring harness used for hooking the switchbox up to the navigation computer). As luck would have it, it turns out that the video switchbox has two sets of video inputs that can indeed be used to create an external video input feed for your MINI.

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One set of the video inputs on the switchbox is used for the rear-view camera and the other set is used for a front-view camera. The really cool part is that if you don’t have/want the rear-view camera, you can purchase just the video switchbox kit for around $200 and use it to hookup a switched video input feed in your MINI. The only down-fall to doing it this way is that, for technical reasons, you’ll be forced to use the front-view camera’s video input feed and it automatically switches off the video signal once the car is moving faster than 10 KPH (this is a typical safety feature that BMW uses to prevent you from watching the video while driving your car). If however, you happen to have the complete rear-view camera kit, then you can hook into the rear-view camera’s video feed and get video-in-motion. Since the rear-view camera is designed to work while the car is in motion, it doesn’t automatically force the video feed to turn off at above 10 KPH.

Of course the details on hooking up the video input are a bit beyond the scope of this article. However, if you’re interested, I’d be more than happy to share my findings with you and tell you exactly what to do in order to hook is all up. Either send me an e-mail, or better yet, post a comment here and I’ll do my best to try and explain it all for you. Suffice it to say that it’s quite easy to hook up if you have basic wiring skills.

As you can see from the following photos, the result is quite spectacular. I was able to setup the video input in my MINI and hook up one of the new thin-line PS2 game consoles to it. The new thin PS2 is absolutely amazing! It’s super small size allows you to hide the entire unit within the MINI’s glove box. With the simple flick of a switch (also hidden within the glove box) I can now watch DVD movies and play PS2 games right from my MINI’s built-in navigation display:

In order to provide sound for your video input, you’ll also need to have an audio input as well. This is easily done by simply installing one of the $40 OEM MINI AUX cables (P/N: 82 11 0 153 367) and then hooking up your audio source to it (e.g. the audio output from the PS2 console in my case). Once installed, your factory MINI radio will have a new “AUX” mode (accessed via the “MODE” button on the radio) and this is the mode that will be used to play the audio for your video input. In the following photo, you can see the OEM AUX input jack that I installed in the upper right-hand corner of the glove box (you can also see the small switch in the left-hand corner that switches the navigation computer display over to showing the video input signal):

Lastly, if you’re going to use a PS2 console, as I did, then you’ll also need a power inverter in order to convert the DC voltage in your MINI over to the AC voltage that’s required by the game console. These units are available for around $40-$60 in most electronic shops (such as Radio Shack, eBay, etc.). Just make sure that you get one that supplies enough continuous wattage to run whatever you’re going to be plugging into it (I believe that the PS2 console requires a minimum of 79 watts). I ended up getting a DC Power Supply Accessory Kit from Radio Shack (P/N: 22-540) for $6.99 and tying it into the 12 volt switched accessory jack located in the boot of my MINI. I then plugged a power inverter into the adapter kit’s 12 volt power supply socket and using it to power the PS2 game console:

Written By: Mike

  • chrisfb1

    after all these reading. how much is this switch box cost? anyone has a exact price?

  • http://IML337.com IML337

    Nice work! Kudos for figuring out the hack :)

    I chose to buy a BMW Video module and do it properly :D

    TVonNav.com sell an awesome video in motion add on, and I am using an amplified Clarion Antenna.

    The BMW Vid module also has reverse camera input too.

    Info and pics:

    http://www.mini2.com/forum/showthread.php?t=85601

    http://www.mini2.com/forum/showpost.php?p=1651979&postcount=39

    http://iml337.com/iml337/mcs/tv/

  • Mike (The Office Maven)
    after all these reading. how much is this switch box cost? anyone has a exact price?

    I believe that I mentioned in the article that it’s right around $200 or so. It’s hard to give an exact U.S. dollar amount since the unit is not available from U.S. MINI dealers and so you have to buy it from a MINI dealer in Canada, Germany, or the U.K. instead. Thus, the U.S. dollar amount will change based on the exchange rate with those countries. I bought mine from a German dealer nearly a year ago now and I think that it was just shy of $240 at that time.

  • Mike (The Office Maven)
    Nice work! Kudos for figuring out the hack :)

    Thanks!

    I chose to buy a BMW Video module and do it properly :D

    Yes, but you also paid well over $1,000 for it as well (and probably closer to $1,500 (or more) fully installed with a backup camera, which is nearly as much as the MINI’s nav system cost from the factory). I’m not saying that’s a bad thing mind you, but my intent here was to show that it (i.e. just the aux video input) can be done for much cheaper.

    Personally, I really like the full systems, I just couldn’t get myself to spend the money on one. Also, out here in CA, a TV tuner wouldn’t do us any good. Without a cable or satellite feed, we can’t pick up any TV signals worth a darn (if at all). Thus, the TV tuner is completely worthless for us.

  • Mike (The Office Maven)

    BTW, KUDOS to you too on that install!

    Those were the photos I was actually looking for when I posted my original message over on NAM (e.g. TV/Video On Nav Install Pictures Help). I knew I had seen them somewhere. Thanks for the links.

    Also, the integration with the nav computer is very cool (i.e. getting the “Television” entry on the main nav menu that switches the unit into video mode).

    Great job!

  • MINI4cathy

    Agree about the TV tuner in Cali, and there’s no TiVO option, so fuggedaboudit. But it does look good in the photos.

    I’d rather spend about half that on a Mac Mini and the video input. Since we just got a Mac Mini, it’d be nice to be able to pop it into the MINI for the weekly round trip between the Bay Area and Sacto.

    Does anyone have a lead on where we can buy the rear-view system? Mike, where did you buy yours?

  • Mike (The Office Maven)
    Does anyone have a lead on where we can buy the rear-view system? Mike, where did you buy yours?

    Take a look at the write-up I did for the OEM rear-view camera here on MF. In the article I give the address and phone number to the German dealer where I purchased it from. I believe the parts guy’s name was Lars Hellwinkel (and he speaks pretty good English if I recall):

    MINI Rear Camera Review

  • MINI4cathy

    Mike’s review of the rear view camera is another really good article. It is available here:

    [URL]http://motoringfile.com/2005/03/29/minirearcamera_review[/URL]

    The switchbox was quoted for 200 Euros (about $240), the rear camera kit another 500 Euros (about $600).

  • kannan

    This URL is very Useful to me

    Thank U sir/madam

    by Kannan

  • MINI4cathy

    Uh, sir if you’re refering to me. Our first MINI is going to be madam’s, but she’s not prying it away until the second one arrives in about a month.

  • Ben

    Hi Do you think you could install a mac mini using a similar process? I want to install one, but the only ones i’ve seen have used an additional monitor rather than the satnav screen. Ben

  • MINI4cathy

    Ben,

    I think it is quite possible. I’m going to do some initial testing with composite input using an LCD TV and an LCD RPTV to see how a 408 x 240 area looks. If it seems usable, and my UI works as expected, then I’ll get the switchbox and hook up the Mac mini in the car.

    I’m not keen on adding another screen to my MINI for a couple of reasons. Space is limited, and more importantly, I want the display up higher where I can see it easily while I’m driving.

    Paul

  • https://home.comcast.net/~cory4333/dean_and_bobbi_cory.htm Dean Cory

    Fantastic stuff. Makes the factory nav a manditory option when we get ready for our second MINI!

  • Pingback: Factory Sat Nav and TV Tuner (Multimedia) - MINI2()

  • http://www.googlemail.com derry

    Hi its just a bit confusing reading all the stuff posted re sat tv install . i would like to watch tv and run my ps2 through my sat can some please list the exacts parts i need to do this insatll .i already have the switch box unit 66219303085 i would like the video to be on in motion for my passenger .

  • Nav

    hi mate how did you change the camera input plug so that you can connect a RCA lead to it, because i have bought the same kit but want to put a dvd player to it

  • J-Dub

    :-O DUUUUUUUUUUUUDE… that is absolutely awesome. answered everything i needed to know. I love my MINI so much bought it like 18 days ago and i havent stopped driving in it. 4get what all the other dudes are saying about concentration. obviously your not gona be an idiot about it n get the popcorn out while doing 70 down the highway. I think the set up is incredible and i give you MAXIMUM BOOST for being so bloody clever! hahaha

    im gona put my XBOX360 in there. might need to carve a bit out the glove box though cos of the size but im thinking it will be awesome as its got 120gb memory and can rip music to it… making it a JUKEBOX aswell as having a nifty graphic display for your music aswell as having cordless controllers but i also want split screens in the back of the car headrests. thats gona take a bit more wiring but by the sounds of it that should be doable the same way youve wired the ps from the video(in) connector right?

    i think im following what youve done but i know nothing about wiring etc so im gona need someones help that knows what there doing.

    YOU ARE GENIUS! hahahahaha power to the people

  • J-Dub

    DUDE… Another thing… if the video is playing i.e got my xbox playin music and im also a-hem… needing to use the satnav. would i be able to switch between the 2 or does it completely override any other input i.e the car cpu until i switch off the video in signal?

    and for example say i had the xbox playin music but just through the Aux in the car stereo but had the satnav working still (displayed on the screen) would satnav still cut in over the xbox?

    thanks dude. i noticed this is a really old post so i dont even know if your gona look at these messages anymore :-S i really hope so cos i really wana get this done on my cooper.

  • http://www.ateslimini.com Ufuk

    So after all is said and done, which aftermarket interface is still there besides Soundgate and Avelectronics? The soundgate looks to be the best bang for buck (w/o video in motion).

    I am planning to use the TV out function of my Samsung Omnia. This way I could display the desktop of my phone. What good is this? Well the Windows mobile operated phone does indeed have the Divx player ;)

    An additional option would be to use the Bluetooth based OBD interfaces like the one from OBDKEY. It would transmit all the sensor data through BT to your phone and by opting to display the screen, you could as well have sensor readings on your nav screen like IAT, MAP, long ter fuel trim, water temp etc.

    The good thing with OBDKEY is, it already has a WM based program with nice gauge graphics etc. So I could show four important gauges on my screen. Scary, right? :)

    So please help me to find the best deal on a nav interface for my 2006 R53 Cooper S with factory nav so that I can realize these :D

    BTW, since BMW does not offer any nav maps here, my sat-nav unit is sort of non-functional. By adapting the Omnia to the system, I would be able to use its navigation (Route 66) and display it on the screen as well. One more argument to buy it!

  • http://www.ps3-hacks.org/ Oliva Sturm

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