My custom iPod car dock

Almost two years ago now, I installed a DLO Homedock deluxe in my Jeep Liberty. This dock was designed for home use only, but I thought it could be the perfect dock for car integration. It would power on/off with the ignition, remember where you last left off listening or viewing, keep the iPod charged, hide-away nicely, operate remotely, and work well with my already installed 6.5″ widescreen LCD display.

DLO Homedock

DLO Homedock

Here is a list of the items I thought I would need for the install:

  • iPod video 30GB ($200)
  • Composite A/V Cables (~$10)
  • Infrared remote repeater/extender (~$40)
  • AC/DC power inverter and wiring (~$30)
  • 8″ x 10″ plexiglass (~$8)
  • Black non-slip cabinet liner (~$10)
  • Brackets, screws, double sided tape, A/V couplers (~$10)
  • Tools
DLO User Interface

My windshield mounted display

I decided to install the dock in the center armrest console where it would be easily accessible for the driver and passenger while remaining hidden. First, to power the dock I used a 200 watt power inverter, cut the cigarette adapter off the end of the cord and wired & grounded the inverter straight to the fuse box. The sunroof is only powered when the car is actually running, so I chose to wire the inverter to that fuse.

For the controls I used the included remote. Since the dock would be in the armrest where it would be unable to receive the remote signal I had to use an Infrared remote extender kit. The IR extender was also designed for home use and AC powered, so I plugged both the receiver and transmitter units into the inverter as well.

I attached the dock underneath plexiglass with a hole cut out for the dock connector. I cut out the bottom side of the plastic container in the armrest because there were slots for CD’s. The plexiglass was used as a new bottom for the container. I used cabinet liner from Lowe’s to cover the top of the plexiglass and stuck the DLO sticker included with the dock onto the liner.

The connections to my current car audio/video setup were quite simple. My LCD had a composite video input and my in-dash receiver had 2 composite audio inputs. I had to tear up a lot of the car for the wiring, but it is an American car and most everything snaps easily in and out of place to run and hide the wires.

Dock installed in armrest

Dock installed in armrest

After using the setup for some time there are some issues I have encountered. The DLO homedock has a nice interface very similar to the iPod UI. It is great to use a large screen to navigate through your iPod collection and see the album art. However, the remote control is buggy and almost unusable at times. Sometimes it is unresponsive and takes many key presses before it moves, sometimes it does something completely different or even moves backwards through the menus. But, I would have to imagine that DLO has since fixed these issues in their latest homedocks. Also, when you start your car it will not automatically begin playing, but you only need to press Play and it will pick right up where you left off. Finally, the album art is small and is too slow and buggy to load while playing music. However, I have not yet found a better way to watch iPod movies and music videos on the road, than using this type of setup. It will also work with the iPhone, but will playback music only (no video) and will not charge the phone while it’s plugged in.

All things considered, it turned out to be a clean and successful install that I’m proud of.

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  1. Posted November 7, 2009 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    Very interesting. Got to try this for mine. thanks for sharing

  2. Posted March 19, 2010 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    Well Done! I Like it!

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