Guide To Installing The Ford Usb Music Box
Posted 10 January 2012 - 11:43 PM
What is the Ford USB Music Box?
Read here: http://media.ford.co...rticle_id=35755
A separate website for the product itself is here:http://www.ford-musicbox.eu/
From this site you can download also the user manual. Here's a direct link to that: http://www.ford-musi...anual MBX01.pdf
Price: I bought mine in the Netherlands from an official dealer for 99EUR (see more below). Installation costs were obviously not included. The price quoted for the USB Music Box + installation was ~170EUR.
You are in no way obligated to follow these instructions. Following this manual will require you to disassemble elements from your interior and work with some electrical connections. If you're not confident you can do it - leave it to someone else. Follow this at your own risk (and don't hold me responsible if you mess up ).
The package and what's inside
My package was already opened by the dealer so maybe that's why I got it for 99EUR. Another dealer quoted 130EUR for the unit without installation costs.
Below you can see the package itself, the FINIS number, as well as what it contains.
STEP 1 - Disconnect the battery of your car. Note: Make sure you have your radio code ready.
STEP 2 - Remove the radio cover and the radio itself
STEP 3 - Connect the cables where they belong. It's also shown on the installation sheet. Frankly, they can only be connected one way, so there's little to go wrong.
Once you've connected the cables, just slide in your radio back into the hole for now. Later you'll take it out and properly arrange all the cables, etc. so that it all fits nicely.
I already had an AUX 3.5" stereo jack connected to my radio. If you ask the dealers most will tell that you can only have either one. That's not really true, because the splitter cable delivers the same connections as the radio has originally. So, at the moment I have both connections and both work independently. I didn't try both at the same time, but my guess is that the sound will simply overlap.
STEP 4 - Figure where you want to have the USB connection and the USB box itself
I have a 2005 Focus with a 2008 facelift center console (the one with the extendable armrest). I decided to place my USB cable into the armrest compartment.
I decided to put my USB Box on the side of the glove compartment. It simply didn't fit under the radio.
STEP 5 - Placing the USB Box
To do this you need to remove the glove compartment first. This is fairly easy - just open it, unscrew the screws marked on the image and pull it out.
Once you've removed the glove compartment you can easily reach into the hole where the radio sits from the passenger side. Feed the cable through the side and connect it with the USB Box on the side of the glove compartment.
Now you have several options for mounting the USB Box so it doesn't make noises when you drive or put tension on the cables.
I took the easy option and used a plastic cable tie to hold the USB box (number 2 on the image above) to the cables on the side (number 1 on the image). It's pretty sturdy and isn't going anywhere. Thanks to the cables it doesn't touch any metal/plastic parts, so it can't rattle either.
Another option would be to use double-sided tape to mount the USB Box on the inside area of where number 3 is on the image. I didn't have any such tape at hand so I didn't do that.
Here's my box secured:
STEP 6 - Feed the USB cable to the center console compartment.
That's probably the most fiddly job. You need to remove the side panel of the console (where the feet of the passenger are), remove the gearstick knob, unclick and lift up the handbrake sleeve+plastic, remove the top part of the console itself. Then you feed the cable under the console and into the compartment (the compartment has a hole on the bottom). The supplied USB cable is long enough.
Some photos of the process:
First, remove the handbrake sleeve+plastic. You'll need to unscrew these two screws at the top and then simply pull it up from the side of the screws. The handbrake must be engaged in its uppermost position (pull it all the way up).
Then unclick the leather sleeve of the gearstick knob. You do this by gently lifting it together with the plastic surrounding. Once it's up you simply unscrew the knob from the shift stick.
Then you'll need to pull out the 12V plug and disconnect its cable. Now you can proceed to pulling up the top part of the center console. You pull it up from the back where it ends in a small area. Once the back and the middle are unclicked you can pull it backward (toward the back seat) and lift it up. There's a couple of latches at the front which will unclick as you pull it backward.
You need to end up with something like this:
You can proceed to removing the side panel. That's one screw and three latches. Unscrew the screw and pull the panel outward and to the front of the car. It unclicks very easily.
Click here to see the image
Now you have plenty of room to feed the cable to the back side of the console. I also used a few cable ties along the way to make sure it won't get in the way of the gearstick or the airbag module which is mounted on the floor.
As you run the cable down from the USB Box, give it some spare and tie it with a cable tie against other cables, so that it doesn't pull the USB Box down. This way it won't put any unnecessary tension on the plug of the USB Box itself. These two plugs seemed rather flimsy to me. I think they could have built the box more sturdy, but it should be fine as long as you don't pull/tension the cables too much.
At the end you should have something like this:
Click here to see the image
And here comes the bonus - when the radio is ON the blue LED from the USB cable goes ON as well, whether you have something plugged in or not. This means that now you have a nice light in your center console compartment:
Click here to see the image
I quite like the way the box works. It's simple and quick. Could have used a few fancier features, but now at least I don't have to turn on and off my MP3 player all the time. It doesn't need to be re-charged as other portable players, etc. etc.
My main complaint is about the fact that it doesn't really have a stop button. If you play MP3s off the box itself and then decide to switch to the radio (AM/FM button) the USB stick still indicates that a data transfer is being made. Not a big fuss but it's a waste - why read when nobody's listening... Perhaps this will be fixed with a software/hardware update later on or in future versions. My box is software version 1.0 and hardware version 1.0.
Another thing they could have done is make it read the MP3 tags and display them on the radio screen (ie. name of song, artist, etc.). That doesn't bother me much, however, since I usually hit play, enjoy the music and drive. Also, I know all the songs I have in my library... But still, for that price they could have tried harder.
Hope this has been helpful and it gives you a better idea of what this product offers and what it takes to install it yourself (and save a good 70EUR).
Posted 11 January 2012 - 11:28 PM
Posted 12 January 2012 - 04:47 AM
Posted 12 January 2012 - 04:22 PM
Shame about the ipod.iphone connectivity tho,
Posted 13 January 2012 - 03:12 PM
Had I known of this USB socket earlier I would have done just that. For now I'll enjoy the extra LED inside my center console.
Posted 13 January 2012 - 08:30 PM
Posted 14 January 2012 - 10:34 AM
Posted 14 January 2012 - 01:57 PM
Posted 18 January 2012 - 06:35 PM
It just comes up as a "cable assembly" on my dealers microcat, however they have said if its wrong they won't charge me the handling fee...
Just awaiting its delivery! They had no idea of availability at the time i ordered it, so its just sit and wait!
Posted 19 January 2012 - 04:59 PM
Posted 20 January 2012 - 04:52 AM
If you're listening to music off the USB Box and then switch to the FM radio the USB Box keeps playing the music. So when you switch back you won't be at where you left it off... Other than turning the radio OFF entirely there's no way to 'pause'. The MODE button on the steering column remote could easily have been utilized as 'play'/'pause' when pressed quickly, imho.
It's useful to know that the USB box does not truly support hot-plug. If your radio is ON when you plug in a USB drive and switch to AUX it won't work (or at least not at all times). You need to turn the radio OFF and back ON to get it to work. Also, if you're listening to the AUX then change the source to RADIO and turn the engine off, the next time you start your car and switch to AUX it won't work either.
Basically, you always need to have the radio on AUX when it's switched OFF to get the USB Box to properly recognize your USB drive next time you start it.
Given the price they could have tried harder, but it still remains a good alternative to aftermarket radios or pricier versions of the Ford units which have native USB support. Either way, none of the aforementioned items has bothered me or my wife. Since I installed the kit in the beginning of the month the only FM radio we've listened to has been the traffic announcements. I also noticed that the quality of the sound is much greater than this through the AUX cable.
Posted 20 January 2012 - 10:22 AM
I have been suggested an alternative for USB Music Box - Parrot 9100. This is HF with USB mp3 player. As far as I know it uses AUX to play the music, mp3 tags are displayed on parrot display. The price is highter - possible to get for abt 115 quid, but you get 2 in 1.
Posted 20 January 2012 - 05:25 PM
I already have BTHF in my stereo, so i wouldnt need that.
Posted 20 January 2012 - 11:23 PM
The more I read about USB Box the less I like it....
Yes, unfortunately few aftermarket kits are very good and certainly none is perfect. For me the biggest plus with the USB Music Box was that it's totally hidden. At first when I read through the manual I also was put off a bit by the limitations but to be honest - apart from scrolling from one song to another and adjusting the volume I haven't done anything else in the past month that I've had the unit in my car. Displaying the MP3 tags would have been very nice but what to do...
A while back I almost bought the Parrot 9100 but I came across some negative reviews online and all the separate pieces of the kit were too much for me.
Speaking of what they might be coming out with soon... http://www.ford-musi...roducts&group=1
I see MBX02 and MBX03 - I can imagine higher prices for the features missing in the current MBX01. I certainly don't see myself upgrading to any of them unless they offer a deal for buying in my old one for the price I paid (which is very unlikely).
Anyway, I hope that Dave gets his installed soon so he can also give some feedback on the everyday use. I'll shut up for now.
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