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      04-01-2009, 03:16 PM   #1
erock77
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European chip for the Radio?

I've tried posting this question in a few other forums with limited success. Hopefully, I can get better results here:

How can I get my American radio to receive all european radio channels in Germany?

I have an American spec, 2008 335CI Cabrio in Germany with a stock BMW American Radio. As European radio signals use all the frequencies, and not just the odd ones like in the US, I only get a fraction of the radio stations and none of the traffic information while I'm cruising the autobahn here. Does anyone know if there is a chip I can buy/upgrade to that will allow me to receive European radio stations? Or do i need a whole new radio? Thanks for the help/advise.
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      04-01-2009, 03:40 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by erock77 View Post
I've tried posting this question in a few other forums with limited success. Hopefully, I can get better results here:

How can I get my American radio to receive all european radio channels in Germany?

I have an American spec, 2008 335CI Cabrio in Germany with a stock BMW American Radio. As European radio signals use all the frequencies, and not just the odd ones like in the US, I only get a fraction of the radio stations and none of the traffic information while I'm cruising the autobahn here. Does anyone know if there is a chip I can buy/upgrade to that will allow me to receive European radio stations? Or do i need a whole new radio? Thanks for the help/advise.
Talk to E90M3CDFR, he might be able to help with getting all the stations. Still, you should be getting most of them already (at least I did).

As far as traffic info (RTTI) goes, US spec vehicles are currently unable to receive traffic info in Germany. Again, E90M3CDFR has been the biggest proponent to get this changed through BMWNA and BMW AG, but it is not possible at this time.

Enjoy Ansbach (haha), I just left there 30 days ago!
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      04-03-2009, 01:45 PM   #3
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By way of an update: so far no joy. I'm not giving up on these issues yet (not my nature) but I've gone up all the way to the BMW AG board with a bunch of issues including RTTI, the radio, BMW Assist and more. Got a disappointing and unhelpful response back from the head of BMW sales. Even before that, though BMW came back with an offer to to me replace my US-spec car with a European one (on account of the fact that they explicitly and in writing indicated that all of these items would work here). When I said we would be interested in doing that (even though its more expensive, I would be able to option it out differently), BMW then took back that offer when they realized they would have to pay the French VAT, since it would be effectively a re-purchase from us (we are tax exempt, BMW isn't). So instead they offered to reimburse me for the cost of BMW assist only, which is fine. But as I told them, they could keep the money if they would just "connect" me (pun intended) with someone with actual knowledge of their systems who could explain why they don't work (and I could in turn explain my ideas about how it could be made to work). That conversation is all I'm asking for, but I can't get them to see that. I have more than enough background in comms to have figured out that there are possibilities here that BMW is not looking into.

Solutions to the FM radio and RTTI may still be possible because as has been conclusively established, others have had RTTI and the full FM radio working fine in Europe before.

Even BMW dealers in Europe who should be interested in solving these issues because of their large(r) US-spec clientele don't seem to give a ----. I had an email exchange with one of the sales guys at Pentagon Car Sales who first told me that they had an M3 owner who had RTTI working, and then they did a software update and it stopped. When I asked him for more info, he came back with a lame reply that look, these cars are not designed to work here and just live with it! Well, heck, if it worked on one, and they changed the software and it stopped working, then its clearly something that can be fixed. And you would think their operation should be motivated to find a solution, since they sell almost exclusively US-spec in Europe to military and diplomats.

I've also tried explaining to BMW that this is going to be a bigger issue for BMW because they keep making more of these systems US vs rest of the world...and there are more and more US-spec owners because of the military folks buying these cars (military sales were up something like 50 percent over the last 1-2 years). At some point, BMW is going to make some part of their electronics package so integrated with the car (maybe the servicing?) that if you can't "connect" to the BMW system in your country, you won't be able to register the car to make it work in that market.

Anyway, I am staying on this and welcome any and all input on these issues, esp from others who have success with their cars (regardless of what model/year/it may be).

Stepping down now...
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      04-15-2009, 10:14 AM   #4
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hello all, i drive an 2008 335xi and RTTI does not work in The Netherlands but as soon as i cross the border with Germany, it works flawlessly. I expect this has to do with the frequency of traffic info, may it is on even decimals in Germany (like in the US) and on odd decimals in The Netherlands. Not sure.
All these cars can be made into 'european delivery program' hence i am sure the radio is indeed world frequency, no doubt about it. Having said that, i have not found a way to tune to odd decimal frequencies
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      04-20-2009, 10:12 AM   #5
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It seems for ED, they program US Specs to EU locale, and back when they ship it to the US. So it is possible. I will ask my dealer soon (when I finally get out of work before the dealer closes...


http://www.m3post.com/forums/showpos...4&postcount=16

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      05-01-2009, 01:23 PM   #6
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I found a dealer that is going to try to set the radio to EU settings. He told me that it is possible. He needs to ask AG for the encrypted key to reset the radio to EU settings. He is not able to switch it himself. Hopefully AG is willing to cooperate with the dealer. Keep you posted.

PS: he is going to check for a KMH Speedo as well.
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      05-20-2009, 02:28 AM   #7
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Bummer...

The dealer realized after 2 days work, he is not able to change to EU settings. The dealer told me that AG is changing radios (hardware) for US cars that have ED upon delivery. Then change to US radio in upon shipping to the US dealer.

AG is willing to swap me US radio for EU radio for a 1,000 EUR extra.
I think it's a rip off, but I am considering to take it.

FYI,
Other changes the dealer is working on:
- KMH-Speedo and Rev
- Fog light switch (rear fog button only)
- LCI idrive knob and panel
- EU Mirrors

I guess it's going to be a fine bill...
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      06-06-2009, 12:43 PM   #8
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2nd radio

After many hours I decided not the change the radio... Here is why. My local dealer got full cooperation from BMW AG I was told.

It seems that the original radio is needed for any programming on the car. All software updates go through the Navi-radio. A EU-settings radio is possible, however cannot be used for programming by the dealer. So, you would need to keep the original US radio for programming and have an extra EU radio for the radio itself.

Swapping the radios would cost approx 1,000 EUR, an extra radio would cost me 2,200 EUR.
Also, everytime you bring the car for service, the dealer would need to swap the EU radio for the US radio before servicing. Then any software updates would need to through the EU radio in a EU specs car before swapped into your US Specs car.

Basically, it is possible the have a EU specs radio in your US Specs car, but you would need to keep an extra radio (the original) for servicing, and you future servicing cost would increase... I found that quite an hassle, so I passed on that.

Now just hope that someone would find a software fix for this issue...

Let me know if any questions!
A.
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      06-06-2009, 11:34 PM   #9
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Thanks for updating us on this issue. It's unfortunate that this requires a hardware swap rather than a software update. Given the cost and inconvenience, I think I'll pass.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Atny286 View Post
After many hours I decided not the change the radio... Here is why. My local dealer got full cooperation from BMW AG I was told.

It seems that the original radio is needed for any programming on the car. All software updates go through the Navi-radio. A EU-settings radio is possible, however cannot be used for programming by the dealer. So, you would need to keep the original US radio for programming and have an extra EU radio for the radio itself.

Swapping the radios would cost approx 1,000 EUR, an extra radio would cost me 2,200 EUR.
Also, everytime you bring the car for service, the dealer would need to swap the EU radio for the US radio before servicing. Then any software updates would need to through the EU radio in a EU specs car before swapped into your US Specs car.

Basically, it is possible the have a EU specs radio in your US Specs car, but you would need to keep an extra radio (the original) for servicing, and you future servicing cost would increase... I found that quite an hassle, so I passed on that.

Now just hope that someone would find a software fix for this issue...

Let me know if any questions!
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      06-07-2009, 11:18 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Atny286 View Post

Now just hope that someone would find a software fix for this issue...

Let me know if any questions!
A.
I'm impressed with all the mods you went through to get spec'ed European (referring also to the other thread you wrote in).

There is no doubt in my mind that there is a software fix for most of the issues we of the US-spec crowd have found in using the cars in Europe. But BMW AG is not going to help us.

I've raised the issue within BMW AG as high as I can reasonably expect to go (members of the BMW AG board, head of diplomatic/military sales). I hope that they have looked at this issue carefully in telling me that the issues are technically impossible to fix (although I am not sure of that and suspect there is little interest at that level).

BMW AG has offered a buy-back deal by BMW to take my US-spec car back (with a deduction for use of course) and a discount on another diplomatic price M3 in European spec. They are doing this because when I ordered my car and asked about the functioning of the equipment, I was told by BMW AG (in emails) that everything would work...

I'm tempted to do the buy-back and purchase of the Euro-spec M3 because in addition to the issues we've noted here, its getting to be a pain to service the car in France (as opposed to being in Germany where the dealers near US bases have a lot of experience with US-spec cars). I don't know if I'll end up going this route because BMW has not figured out if it can buy the car back duty-free (if they can't someone would have to pay the 35-40 percent duty that would become due...and I'm not paying that on top of the extra, steep cost, of a Euro-spec car).

So, for now, it looks like if you are thinking of buying a US-spec car for outside the US, you should be aware that any of the telematics options, the internet, the BMW Assist, the navigation traffic info and even the proper tuning of the FM radio will not work.

TIP1: If you are one of the lucky few with a pre-2009 BMW that has RTTI functioning, be very careful when having the car serviced by BMW that the software updates don't disable that function. TIP2: Also, if you don't order the navigation/iDrive option, and you have the regular radio, you may be able to switch the FM portion to European specs using the service mode.
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      06-08-2009, 01:17 PM   #11
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My dealer told me that they could service almost everything on the car, if your dealer is willing to service.

Now they have changed the software to Dutch/EU version (all warnings are in Dutch now) to update Dutch software. Not sure if I like this Dutch version, as some words are easier in English for me... and my EU DVD (copied) is not working anymore.

Basically you could change to EU specs for 5-6K EUR. This might be better than trading in your US Specs. Only thing is then the double radio issue which can lead to increased servicing cost, but not expected more than 1 hour labor per service.

Good luck on finding this software fix for the radio.

PS: in Holland I can receive the 2 best stations as they have odd frequencies... so it's not too bad...

Request: Does anyone have a copied EU Navi Professional DVD and is it working? Mine no longer since the Dutch Software update...
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      06-08-2009, 02:22 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atny286 View Post
Now they have changed the software to Dutch/EU version (all warnings are in Dutch now) to update Dutch software. Not sure if I like this Dutch version, as some words are easier in English for me... and my EU DVD (copied) is not working anymore.
.....
Basically you could change to EU specs for 5-6K EUR. This might be better than trading in your US Specs. Only thing is then the double radio issue which can lead to increased servicing cost, but not expected more than 1 hour labor per service.
....
Request: Does anyone have a copied EU Navi Professional DVD and is it working? Mine no longer since the Dutch Software update...
Very interesting. So the dealer overwrote the software for your M3 with the Dutch/EU version and everything works fine with no hardware changes (except for you DVD map)? Does the audio system and the rest of iDrive work fine?

I'll be curious to see how the navi works once you have the new DVD loaded...maybe your traffic info will work then.

You might also want to try accessing the service menu for iDrive to see whether it has any additional settings with the EU software.

Thanks again for the updates!
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      06-29-2009, 03:51 PM   #13
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Modified my US-spec 2009 M3 in the Netherlands as well before exporting it to the UK (where I temporarily live for my job). Modified indicators, added rear fog light with switch and added (separate) alarm. Navigation was also reinstalled with European language pack (English UK, Dutch, German) and all works well; all my maps are still working and even the voice control system switches to Dutch and back.
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      07-04-2009, 04:02 AM   #14
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I used a copied DVD. Now I have an original one. The Navi is working again, however still voice command. I do have an Navi Pro DVD that came out of an E60 though...

PS: I am assuming your radio only hits odd frequencies, rather than all frequencies, right?

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Modified my US-spec 2009 M3 in the Netherlands as well before exporting it to the UK (where I temporarily live for my job). Modified indicators, added rear fog light with switch and added (separate) alarm. Navigation was also reinstalled with European language pack (English UK, Dutch, German) and all works well; all my maps are still working and even the voice control system switches to Dutch and back.
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      07-05-2009, 02:00 PM   #15
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semi-solution for EUR 100?

Ingredients:
1 MP3-player with FM reciever (EUR 50)
1 FM transmitter (EUR 30)
1 12V to USB adapter (as you need 2 USB ports or 2 12v ports) - EUR 20
Plugged in and inside the arm rest. Arm rest closed.

I programmed some of my favourite channels into my MP3-player and plugged in the FM-transmitter, set under channel #1 on my radio. It works...

So now I can receive 97.2 on my car radio.

Still not happy:
1. switching channels through my MP3-player is a hassle (so chose to preset the best channel only)
2. no RDS / TI
3. reception in the city good, on the highway poor.

Any other ideas to enhance this process?
- I cannot find anything to increase the FM reception on my MP3-player
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      07-06-2009, 11:23 AM   #16
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Correct and no TMC.
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      07-17-2009, 08:00 AM   #17
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Thanks for the info

I have been trying to make the same solutions you have referred to in order to sell my US Spec 09 335i to a German friend.. I should have bought it without the nav, HD radio, etc.. because of the huge pain to get that stuff working or removed (HD) for sale here.
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      08-01-2009, 03:58 AM   #18
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I'd think someone can make REAL MONEY for making a prog to fix the US radios here in EU....
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      08-08-2009, 02:20 AM   #19
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Everything but the radio

Quote:
Originally Posted by E90M3CDFR View Post
Very interesting. So the dealer overwrote the software for your M3 with the Dutch/EU version and everything works fine with no hardware changes (except for you DVD map)? Does the audio system and the rest of iDrive work fine?

I'll be curious to see how the navi works once you have the new DVD loaded...maybe your traffic info will work then.

You might also want to try accessing the service menu for iDrive to see whether it has any additional settings with the EU software.

Thanks again for the updates!
I can tell you that the traffic info does not work after doing all the steps above, including the latest map data. Everything works as advertised, except the radio still switches with 0,2kHz spacing and I get no traffic info. Any help to get that last part fixed is greatly appreciated. I would be willing to buy a European spec radio if that does it.

Thanks!
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      08-09-2009, 02:13 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gladys View Post
I can tell you that the traffic info does not work after doing all the steps above, including the latest map data. Everything works as advertised, except the radio still switches with 0,2kHz spacing and I get no traffic info. Any help to get that last part fixed is greatly appreciated. I would be willing to buy a European spec radio if that does it.

Thanks!
Please check #8 above. Hardware swap is possible but quite a hassle everytime you need a software update or maintenance.
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      11-20-2009, 04:10 AM   #21
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hi all

i drive a 2008 335xi us model here in EU. When i first picked up the car, everything was working. In Holland, RTTI not working but when i would drive the car across the border into Germany, RTTI worked. After my first dealer visit, this was no longer the case and i have not been able to get it back working since.

The frequency issue was never resolved. However, i have met a ecu specialist who fixes these issues. he recently converted an x5 to receive all european frequencies. I'll continue to wok with him and see what we can do.

I'm surprised we have not yet found anyone in germany with allt he US military - there should be dealers who are converting these cars and servicing them?
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      11-20-2009, 11:31 AM   #22
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hi all

i drive a 2008 335xi us model here in EU. When i first picked up the car, everything was working. In Holland, RTTI not working but when i would drive the car across the border into Germany, RTTI worked. After my first dealer visit, this was no longer the case and i have not been able to get it back working since.

The frequency issue was never resolved. However, i have met a ecu specialist who fixes these issues. he recently converted an x5 to receive all european frequencies. I'll continue to wok with him and see what we can do.

I'm surprised we have not yet found anyone in germany with allt he US military - there should be dealers who are converting these cars and servicing them?
BMW insists that the new radios/nav on US-spec cars no longer convert to EU-freqs or receive RTTI. So much so that they ended up giving me back the cost of the navigation and BMW assist--BMW AG in Munich told me before I bought the car that all would work fine. Someone recently suggested to me that it may be necessary to get the navigation maps updated (mine came from the factory with a "Testmap" version. It is on my list of things to do. It is too bad that RTTI doesn't work here in France esp because the road network is really well wired up for traffic info.

If your contact does manage to get something worked out with a E9X, please share as there are a number of folks interested in this little problem.
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