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Old 26th December 2014, 02:58   #1
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Default DIY: Apple Airplay in my Honda Civic

Problem :

1. 07 civic V came only with an aux input and a 6 cd changer. This meant I had to keep writing new cds every now and then and trust me this is 2014 and writing songs to cds sounds really ridiculous to me!

2. Frequent plug in and plug out of aux cable resulted in damaged/ineffective aux cables. I almost end up buying a new aux cable every month.

3. I do not like the cheap plastic bluetooth fm modules. They are useless. Totally!

4. I don't have the budget to get new head unit with all bells n whistles. I wanted to keep the stock audio the way it is but wanted to stream music wirelessly to the stock audio.

Solution :

AIRPLAY

For the benefit of those who do not know about Airplay, It is apple's take at streaming lossless audio.

My initial plan was to install my apple tv in my car but the major problem with it is that it only comes with HDMI out and digital audio out. Currently there are no head units in the country that accept HDMI input neither did I have the money to get from the states. So I zeroed on an apple airport express 2nd gen. Besides being a router, airport express also supports airplay (audio only). It also comes with an aux output for playing airplay audio. This was perfect for my project.

Since the airport express was not designed to be used in cars, It comes with an inbuilt ac-dc converter which converts 220V AC current into 3.3V DC. Cars run on 12V so to step-down the 12V to 3.3V, I sourced a DC-DC converter.

To power the DC-DC converter, I decided to use a standard USB cable since that's widely available.

After sourcing all the required hardware and tools, The installation started.

Required tools and hardware :

1. Apple airport express.
2. DC-DC stepdown converter.
3. USB cable.
4. Mobile repair KIT.
5. Soldering gun.
6. Pliers.
7. Soldering paste and lead.
8. multi-meter.

DIY: Apple Airplay in my Honda Civic-img_0517.jpg

Installation :

Flip the airport express upside down and remove the back cover by using a flat head screwdriver. Removing the rear cover is tricky and tough. It's tight!

DIY: Apple Airplay in my Honda Civic-img_0518.jpg

Remove All 6 screws holding the logic board and the AC-DC converter in place.

Remove the logic board by lifting it from the corner opposite to the wan/lan ports using a plastic removal tool or the flat head screwdriver.

DIY: Apple Airplay in my Honda Civic-img_0521.jpg

Remove the AC-DC converter.

Grab the DC-DC stepdown converter and make yourself familiar with which end is the input and which end is the output.

Grab the USB cable and strip open one end. This will reveal 4 wires. Usually blue, green red and black. In my case it was red, black, white and green. Ignore the green and white cables. Red is usually the positive terminal ad black is the ground/negative terminal.

Solder the negative and positive cables to the DC-DC module's input points.

DIY: Apple Airplay in my Honda Civic-img_0520.jpg

Connect the USB cable to a power source (Laptop usb port, mobile usb charger etc..)

Using the multi meter, check if the output points are getting power. If they do, Using the adjuster knob(In my DC-Dc module, it's the golden color screw located above the blue color block), set the output voltage to 3.3V. (Airport express runs on 3.3V)

DIY: Apple Airplay in my Honda Civic-img_0519.jpg

place the logic board back in place and screw it back to the base.

Now connect 2 wires and solder them to the output points. Connect the Positive cable from the output point to the left terminal on the logic board (towards the WAN port). Connect the negative cable to the right terminal on the logic board.

Positive terminal marked with red arrow. Negative terminal marked with grey arrow.
DIY: Apple Airplay in my Honda Civic-img_0522.jpg

Using a double side tape, Stick the DC-DC converter securely in the are where the AC-Dc converter used to be located.

Plug the USB cable to the power source and the airport express should power on.

DIY: Apple Airplay in my Honda Civic-img_0523.jpg

When you turn on the airport express for the first time, you need to configure it to make sure it works the way it should. Since it is also an accesspoint and we only need it to work for airplay and not as a traditional router, you need to disable the router from settings tab in the utility app available in the app store for IOS devices.

In case you use an apple device that also uses cellular data, you need to make some changes in the wifi settings to make the iphone/ipad use the access point for airplay and regular cellular data for internet connectivity.

Go to Settings>Wi-Fi>i

Copy the IP address from the DHCP tab-> Click on static->Enter the copied IP address->Enter subnet mask as 255.255.0.0>Leave the rest as blank and go back to the main screen. This will remove the wifi logo that appears beside the carrier logo but the Settings>Wifi screen will show that the phone is connected to the airport express. Voila! you're done.

All you have to do now is take the airport express to your car, plug the airport express to the USB power source, wait for the airport express to boot, connect the airport express AUX port to the car's AUX in port and play music wirelessly from your Apple devices.

DIY: Apple Airplay in my Honda Civic-img_0524.jpg

DIY: Apple Airplay in my Honda Civic-img_0525.jpg



It was a really quick DIY with no helping hands so could not click a lot of pictures.

Some FYI details :

This conversion is completely reversible.
This device can be plugged into any car. All you need is a usb power source.
Airport express costs $99
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Old 26th December 2014, 09:31   #2
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Default re: DIY: Apple Airplay in my Honda Civic

Nice work!

For those who fancy a cheaper alternative with a built-in micro USB interface, here’s something from AliExpress that does it in under Rs. 2000 shipped to your doorstep through DHL:

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PS: Snaps from the Aliexpress link.

EDIT:

Manufacturer link - Airmusic NW11

Innards and more - Open WRT Forum

Last edited by Gannu_1 : 26th December 2014 at 09:45.
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Old 26th December 2014, 18:36   #3
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Default Re: DIY: Apple Airplay in my Honda Civic

This is very cool, right now I use a 3rd Party head unit so its not such a big deal. Taking apart a brand new Airport Express must be quite something though.

You can use the Airport utility on iOS to configure it, don't need a computer or anything. But if its an open access point and your friends find out then it might become an issue
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Old 26th December 2014, 18:51   #4
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Default Re: DIY: Apple Airplay in my Honda Civic

Using a setup where I have a combination of Airplay and BT enabled speakers across the house, My two paisa on this is the real intended use of Airplay is the ability to flip audio between zones within the house..
You could have potentially achieved this with a lot less headache and a lot cheaper (possibly minor fidelity loss) with something like this - http://www.amazon.in/Logitech-Wirele.../dp/B004VM1T5S
Just sayin!
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Old 26th December 2014, 21:25   #5
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Default Re: DIY: Apple Airplay in my Honda Civic

I use the Kinivo BT kit for both music and hands free talking. Pretty good product.

http://www.amazon.in/Kinivo-BTC450-B...eywords=kinivo
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Old 26th December 2014, 22:23   #6
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Default Re: DIY: Apple Airplay in my Honda Civic

I agree there are cheaper alternatives but after getting used to apple devices for a really long time, I dint want to move to anything apart from apple. Hence the airport express.
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Old 30th December 2014, 13:48   #7
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Default Re: DIY: Apple Airplay in my Honda Civic

Hi kingofmyworld,

Thanks for the insight on DIY. You sure a took a risk by tweaking the Apple Airport Express. Anyways a job well done..!!!
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Old 2nd January 2015, 18:59   #8
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Default Re: DIY: Apple Airplay in my Honda Civic

I have recently done something similar for my Skoda yeti which does not come with bluetooth or even a USB Input. The lone Aux Input is tucked away in the cubbyhole under the driver armrest. I bought this:

http://airenabler.qnology.com/

1) Plugged the power via mini USB into dual USB power port mounted in cig. lighter.
2) Plugged the Aux output to the Aux Input jack located in the handrest cubby hole.
3) Kept the airenabler nicely tucked in the cubbyhole.

Total time taken to do the above was obviously not more than a couple of minutes and I had got the Yeti airplay enabled. Works like a charm and I still have the option of using an external headphone DAC with the airenabler, instead of its onboard DAC.
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Old 2nd January 2015, 22:29   #9
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Default Re: DIY: Apple Airplay in my Honda Civic

I read this thread and then queitly went on Amazon and ordered myself a kinivo , which was delivered within 24 hours . Plugged it in my ertiga . Now living a happy life .
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Old 4th January 2015, 17:07   #10
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Default Re: DIY: Apple Airplay in my Honda Civic

Quote:
Originally Posted by gautamkhadse View Post
I read this thread and then queitly went on Amazon and ordered myself a kinivo , which was delivered within 24 hours . Plugged it in my ertiga . Now living a happy life .
Can this be fixed on to a OEM head unit of Corolla, it doesn't have AUX or USB.
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Old 5th January 2015, 07:18   #11
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Default Re: DIY: Apple Airplay in my Honda Civic

Quote:
Originally Posted by zulfi hansi View Post
Can this be fixed on to a OEM head unit of Corolla, it doesn't have AUX or USB.
Kinivo needs a AUX , it feeds the audio signal it receives , via the 3.5 mm AUX jack .
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Old 16th January 2015, 04:03   #12
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Default Re: DIY: Apple Airplay in my Honda Civic

Awesome DIY project, and that Airplay Logo certainly is head turner for technofreaks passing by your car.

you forgot to mention price of DC DC Converter, looks like the popular one on eBay
those who want to make one on own can use LM317 based circuits easily.

I've been lost for quite sometime from D.I.Y projects but will try to complete a few in this month and post back.

Thanks for inspiring me with such good details and pics.
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Old 20th January 2015, 14:57   #13
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Default Re: DIY: Apple Airplay in my Honda Civic

Quote:
Originally Posted by gautamkhadse View Post
I read this thread and then queitly went on Amazon and ordered myself a kinivo , which was delivered within 24 hours . Plugged it in my ertiga . Now living a happy life .
Gautam, how's sound & call quality on this device?
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Old 20th January 2015, 18:25   #14
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Default Re: DIY: Apple Airplay in my Honda Civic

Quote:
Originally Posted by mobix View Post
Gautam, how's sound & call quality on this device?
The sound quality is just amazing . The only issue being , when you're not playing music , theres a faint hissss or buzz sound that you keep hearing , iff your music system is at a high volume .

The other issue was , the system needs to be kept in AUX all the time if you intend to use it as a bluetooth device for your phone .

Other than that , the product is fantastic .
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