BMW E39 Android Navigation Update: Added Goodies & Gadgets!


Like i've said many times before, the head unit was about the best update we made to this car. Maybe I'm a media junky, but having any music / video I want on the go transformed the driving experience of our e39. 

But there are a few things that bother me about the install, and the issues are all down to myself. At the time, I did not consider the back-up camera that came with the unit to be any use, other that being a bit of a gadget. However, the screen blacks out any time the reverse gear is selected, and the music / video is paused. A bit of nuisance to say the least. Especially because it draws my eyes to the head unit, and there is nothing there. It feels unfinished.

MÖmus BMW E39 Android Navigation Install Back Up Camera Mugshot.jpg

And so, I decided it had to go in. The wiring was a bit of a headache to figure out, especially since I did not want to cut or slice the BMW's wiring harness. Eventually I gave up, and wired it into to the reverse lights, as per the cameras manual. I tried a few other solutions, but the thing just draws to much current. At the front, it luckily is a plug and play solution straight in to the head unit. 

MÖmus BMW E39 Android Navigation Install Back Up Camera.jpg

With everything apart, I figured it would be the best time to install another gadget that I had ordered earlier. An I-bus USB key to finally regain control of the board computer functions. I-bus is the system that runs all entertainment in this generation of BMW's, such as the radio / navigation, phone, PDC, etc, and this little USB key would be wired into that, with the USB end slotting into the Android unit. 

MÖmus BMW E39 Android Navigation Install I-BUS SUB.jpg

With an App especially developed for this USB key, the board computer functions would be available again. However, after wiring it in (tapping into the I-BUS wires on the head unit), the car started to develop all kinds of faults. First remote for the central locking stopped working, then the instrument cluster went down: indicator lights no longer worked, and neither did the blinker sound, nor did the blue light for the brights. Shortly after, the reverse lights were flickering.

MÖmus BMW E39 Android Navigation Install Board Computer App.jpg

Clearly, the Light Control Module was upset. And for good reason, the app also lets you fiddle with some setting of the car. I was really exited about this, as most settings were exactly what I was missing in the e39, such as a comfort blinker (auto 3x), coming home and leaving home, and locking the door when driving off. The LCM must have registered the foreign influences and shut down. Only after unhooking the battery, and de-activating the app, things went back to normal.

I contacted the company I bought the app from, to hear what went wrong. I then got a response that it must be because of my car being an "early touring" (1997 sedan), that the problem was known, and they don't really care. Nice.

In the end, I'm glad I installed the camera, it is a nice feature and adds a little safety. But I couldn't recommend the I-bus key with this app. It doesn't work.

We made this tasty little video of the install process: