DIY Audio: Parrot BT Install - Mercedes Benz SLK Forum

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#1 Old 01-13-2014
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DIY Audio: Parrot BT Install

Continuing the theme of breaking out the various projects from my bigger build (DIY Audio: Stealth Install). The next portion of the project entails my installing a complete Bluetooth kit with display and remote. I could have utilized the Bluetooth kit made by Pioneer that works specifically for my headunit that I am using, but at $180 and with inferior features (in my opinion) I wanted something separate from the audio system and I just happened to have the Parrot system which was purchased a couple years ago for my wife’s car and never used.



For this project I will be integrating a display and the controller into the interior of my SLK320 in a way that offers a more stock looking appearance versus just sticking it anywhere. The system has a small display which allows one to keep track of contacts, access the phones menu and see who is calling when calls come in. The MKi9100 also has additional features which we will not be using (iPod connectivity, BT audio streaming).



The first thing I needed to do was hook up the system and get things working.

To test things out I initially wire things up through the OEM harness and run the BT kit through the OEM speakers. For some reason it didn’t work right and only played through one side of the car. I didn’t take much lot of time to figure out why, but recall reading some post from others when installing in similar cars that when done this way I only got sound from the Pioneer from one side. The BT kit worked on the right side, but the Pioneer was only playing on the left.

Since I was not going to configure things this was, I didn’t try and trouble-shoot it, but for anyone who uses one of these and suffers the same results, do a google search. I suspect this is a more common problem than not.
If I am not using the traditional wiring scheme of the Parrot kit, which takes the speaker level output from the source unit and passes it through the Parrots little blue box to the cars speakers, what am I using?


Eventually I will be moving to a completely active audio system with separate amplifiers, I needed to wire up a dedicated speaker to the Parrot. Since I had already made plans for 3-way separate components in the door and kicks and I moved to looking for an alternative. It just so happens that Mercedes provided me with this alternative in the way of a single speaker hidden behind the right-hand side kick panel.


This speaker is part of the cars built-in SOS and telemetric system and is used as the speaker on which you communicate with the SOS operator, or technician from Mercedes; sort of a Mercedes version of OnStar.

After wiring the output from the Parrot to this speaker I test everything and it works flawlessly. I next move to mounting of the display and the remote control.

Display Panel Fabrication





In the R170 SLK there is an ill located cup holder at the top of the dash. For most owners like myself it barely gets used for multiply reasons. Besides being awkward and unsightly, its location makes it hard to see out the front windshield if you and a passenger have anything more than a bottle of water, and mine I think has never held more than that on the trip home from buying it.


Due to my not needing this space, it will serve as the location that I chose to mount the display for the Parrot. Taking the original pocket out of the car, I proceed to remove the trim piece which serves as the cover from the compartment.


I wrap it in masking tape and aluminum foil and next lay down a fairly thick coat of fiberglass resin to make a mold of the trim piece. After letting the mold cure and dry, I remove the original trim piece and place it away for safe keeping. I next sand and smooth out the area which will serve as the mold and then placed some non-stick aluminum foil down inside the mold, then I simple pour in some resin, lay a couple of pieces of fiberglass mat and let it try. When I remove the form, I am an almost exact replica of the factory piece.







The hard part is the sanding and smoothing of this replicated piece. I spent the better part of a day trying to make it perfectly smooth, then I went in and cut the opening to hold my display and went back and started sanding and smoothing all over again.


The final product (for now), still needs some refinement. But since I do not have my factory matched leather/vinyl at this point I will need to recover it and will made some fitment adjustments at that time. It could still sit a little more flush in the dash, but for the time being it serves its purpose and looks ok.


Now that we are up and running with our new source unit and BT kit, we can take a break. Over the next few months we will be working to enhance both the audio system and the appearance of the car as well. My intent is to revisit this panel and make it fit a little better and more flush, but since I will have to remove it in order to recover it once I get my factor matched vinyl that can wait for another day.
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#2 Old 01-13-2014
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#3 Old 01-15-2014
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I finally got around to reworking the panel. I didn't remold it, I just added some additional material here, removed some more there to make it fit a little more flush to the surrounding panel. I also sank the display a little better.



Below you can see my simply mounting solution. Since I removed the tray (for now) I mocked up a board which slides into the cavity and once everything is covered in vinyl will hold all in place.





Here is it with the display fitted and awaiting proper material to cover it. I am not sure how good of a match it will be until I get it in my hand, but the samples at least looked to have a "very similar" pattern to that of the dash, which is the look I am going for.



I will post more once it is covered and finished.
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#4 Old 03-26-2014
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Stealth Audio:
On my 2001 SLK 230, I recently snuck over to the Stereo Store and had them stealthy install an Alpine stereo with BT. The installation cost $75. I did not get additional speakers - just reused the ones I had. The system sounds really great, and the Bluetooth microphone works well, too, mounted on the windshield post where the sun visor hits it. The Alpine has a feature for you to access your 50 most used phone numbers, and that works pretty well - better than the Android attempt at talk to the unit.
The installers did not take apart the entire car to do the install, and that was pretty sneaky of them. I do, however, have the entire OEM radio, telephone, tape, CD player with the trunk-mounted 6 disk changer, that I would sell for a reasonable cost to the best offer -- email me at f[email protected] All of them work just fine except, of course, for the phone - Verizon won't support analog phones any more - drat.
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#5 Old 03-26-2014
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you might want to start a new post in 2 places.
one in the slk parts for sale and the other as a new member introduce yourself

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#6 Old 09-27-2014
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I'm about to revisit this install due to a pending revamp of my whole system. If anyone is interested in purchasing the drink holder cover which is modified to fit the display of a Parrot MKl9100 Bluetooth system let me know. Eventually I will do a post in the for sale section since I will be listing multiply parts. I will also update this thread when I start the redesign and choose a location to move this display.




Above is the final product installed. I covered it to match the dash using leather/vinyl off of an extra set of door panels I have, so it is the same material that are on our doors and the dash. It is a modified OEM face plate so it mounts to the factory cup-holder and it is 100% functional (the cup-holder). You do have to make a small cut in the back side of your cup holder to facilitate getting the wiring through, but it is not visible.


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#7 Old 09-27-2014
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You did a wonderful job and it looks super nice, however the location is very bad for a convertible... In direct sunlight (open top) you can't read the display; polarized sunglasses make it impossible to read in sunshine. I played with different locations under driving conditions with the top down in order to find the least negative compromise. (Photo)
Also I used the vicinity of your location to place my phone. I built a custom phone holder which also charges my Note3 wireless; what it does, is charging the phone as soon as I place it in my holder. The Super Amoled display is extremely bright even in direct sunlight, but will eat up the battery faster; if charged while display is on, the battery will not drain. The cool thing about this design is that you don't have to plug in any wire to your phone.
The location is great for navigation as well as all other multimedia needs (Spotify, Tunein radio…). You can also dial from your phone’s phone-book with ease since the display is visible …
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