Using the R55/R56 satellite antenna - North American Motoring


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Using the R55/R56 satellite antenna

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Old 07-31-2008, 09:26 PM
anima anima is offline
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Using the R55/R56 satellite antenna

My car didn't have Sirius radio installed when I bought it ($650 ouch!), but I bought a refurbished Sirius Starmate4 for $29 and activated it on my wife's account for only $6.99 a month - saving me about $600. Cheap at half the price. :D

The Starmate comes with the standard Sirius magnetic antenna, but no matter how I tried there is just no good way of getting that thing onto the top of a Clubman that is aesthetically pleasing (at least in my mind). Here's the standard magnetic antenna:


Fortunately the good folks here at NAM came to the rescue. It seems that the newer models R55 Clubman and the R56 come pre-wired for Sirius - that is, you can tap into the satellite radio connection in the car's antenna - it's there even if you don't have the Sirius radio modules installed in the car. Cool...... :D So I ordered a special cable to allow me to connect my radio to the car's antenna.

I ordered the cable from www.cdint.com for $28. Here's what it looks like:


The satellite antenna connector is located under the passenger seat (of all places). If you slide the seat all the way forward, it exposes a plastic cover over the under-seat cables (early R56's may not have the cover - just carpet which you may have to cut). If you unscrew the two back screws on the plate, you can lift it up enough to get your hand underneath to the connector:

the red arrows point to the screws you need to remove. Here's the purple plastic connector to the satellite antenna:


I threaded the cable under the seat and attached it to the connector ( I had to lay on the back seat from the left side of the car and look under the lifted plastic plate upside-down), here it is connected:
.

I then brought the cable out about midway down the seat and pushed it up under the edge of the console and ran it all the way up under the edge to the point where I could stuff the extra cable up under the dash and bring the end out in the little cubby hole under the climate controls.
the blue arrow points to where the cable is stuffed up under the center console and the red arrow to where the excess cable is stuffed up under the dash;

Easy as pie. One word of caution, DO NOT START YOUR CAR WHILE MESSING AROUND UNDER THE SEATS AND DO NOT MESS AROUND WITH THE BIG YELLOW CONNECTOR. if you, do you can inadvertently set off the airbag warning light and the only way to turn it off again is to take it back in to the dealership to have it turned off. In fact, to be on the safe side just leave the keys in the house until you are done.

Here is my Sirius set up, I am using the lighter plug for power right now (still deciding on a better permanent power source) and I am just keeping the radio loose in the cubby with the ipod.


I am transmitting to the FM band and I have to say that both the satellite reception and the FM transmission seem better now using the car's default antenna.

This DOES NOT allow you to control the radio with the car's system, you have to buy MINI's overpriced solution to do that. It only allows you to tap into the antenna system for better reception on the portable radio. I control my radio with the little remote it came with. :-)

Jeff
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Old 07-31-2008, 11:24 PM
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Big Jim Swade Big Jim Swade is offline
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Good info, I'll have to look into this to see if my Siruis Kenwood H2E will work with the antenne jack. Currently I have my antenne on the dash and it cuts out a lot, but the sound is very good using the just the fm output.
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Old 08-01-2008, 12:13 PM
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I went ahead and ordered the 10' cable from CD International and am planning on running it to the rear 12v. plug in the back of my Clubman S. This way my Kenwood Sirius H2E will be mostly out of sight and I'll be able to change the channels using the remote. I'll post some pictures when I have it all installed.
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Old 08-01-2008, 12:58 PM
tim781996 tim781996 is offline
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What about seeing the display?
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Old 08-01-2008, 01:15 PM
tim781996 tim781996 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anima View Post
Here is my Sirius set up, I am using the lighter plug for power right now (still deciding on a better permanent power source) and I am just keeping the radio loose in the cubby with the ipod.


I am transmitting to the FM band and I have to say that both the satellite reception and the FM transmission seem better now using the car's default antenna.

This DOES NOT allow you to control the radio with the car's system, you have to buy MINI's overpriced solution to do that. It only allows you to tap into the antenna system for better reception on the portable radio. I control my radio with the little remote it came with. :-)

Jeff
Hey Jeff,
A few notes/suggestions for you or for others considering installing Sirius XM Radio:
  • Feel free to take out the passenger seat to run the SMB cable extension under the carpet and under the console, but like Jeff said, leave the keys in the house so that you don't mess up your airbag
  • Kuda mounts are great for mounting your satellite radio. You can have your radio within arms reach and your eyes closer to the road when you fiddle with the stations. Remotes are nice, but some like the one that comes with the Starmate2 are very hard to handle. Maybe it's because I have long thumbs.
  • Using the built-in FM transmitter may be convenient, but you can get a lot of static & interference if you travel outside of your home area. The preferred method is to use the AUX. in port. You can run the wire neatly behind the Kuda mount, behind the panel on the right side of the center cosole, and have it come out right behind the cover that's in that little cubby.
  • Get that mini add-a-fuse adapter and an extra cigarette lighter adapter for your power.
There's lots of good info in this thread on the antenna extension: https://www.northamericanmotoring.co...d.php?t=122686
Go to this thread for info on ordering the power adapter and which fuse to use: https://www.northamericanmotoring.co...d.php?t=111280
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Old 08-01-2008, 01:52 PM
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I only have a few channels I listen to, so I won't have to see the display. Just press one of the pre-set favorites on the remote. I'd also be using the signal from the FM side of my Sirius radio. I've found it sounds just as good as using the aux. imput.
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Old 08-05-2008, 09:01 PM
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Just a followup to my previus post.
The 10' cable ran to the back of my car is not working with my Kenwood H2E radio. Either my radio isn't compatible with the cable, or the 10' isn't correct with the combo. I don't know, but the signal cuts out way more than my magnite antenna that came with the radio.....
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Old 08-05-2008, 10:46 PM
anima anima is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tim781996 View Post
Hey Jeff,
A few notes/suggestions for you or for others considering installing Sirius XM Radio:
  • Using the built-in FM transmitter may be convenient, but you can get a lot of static & interference if you travel outside of your home area. The preferred method is to use the AUX. in port. You can run the wire neatly behind the Kuda mount, behind the panel on the right side of the center cosole, and have it come out right behind the cover that's in that little cubby.
Yes, but that is what the ipod is plugged into and that thing is a pain in the rear to re-connect, especially while driving.

Jeff
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Old 08-06-2008, 07:47 AM
tim781996 tim781996 is offline
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Oh... right. I gave up on using an ipod almost immediately after I attempted to use it. I use a USB stick instead and I leave the ipod at home. XM is my primary music source though.
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Old 08-20-2008, 12:19 PM
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Tim, how did you solve the "always on problem" using the add-a-fuse? I can't seem to find the right connection (F10, F11, F22 etc...)

Thanks, Chris.
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Old 08-21-2008, 09:41 AM
tim781996 tim781996 is offline
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According to lancing74 in another thread:
Quote:
A fuse like F21 (the radio fuse) maybe what you want. It turns on when you unlock the doors or after the first push without the ignition on. It stays on though for 30 minutes after you remove the key, like when you can still play the radio
I have the necessary hardware, but I haven't gotten around to installing it yet because I have some home heating projects that are taking priority... gotta prepare for winter!
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Old 08-21-2008, 10:37 AM
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I mounted a XM Sportscaster with a remote in the same place. Real nice fit and color matches both the dash and lights.
I also used 2 90 degree turns on the Aux cable to help hide the wire. Nice fit, very clean. The 90's you can get at Ratshack for a few $.
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Old 08-22-2008, 11:13 AM
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Someone mentioned frying their Garmin GPS by not noticing that the CigPlug dropped voltage from 12V down to 5V.

My SkyFi Auto Kit is similar, drops Voltage from 12V to 6V so use caution not to bypass that plug!
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Old 08-22-2008, 01:24 PM
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Yes, the XM Xpress RC is the same way. You need to get one of these: http://www.partsexpress.com/pe/showd...number=265-570 (female outlet) to connect to the add-a-fuse, and leave the original wire that came with your device intact.
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Old 08-23-2008, 07:50 PM
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Did this today, my first mod on the Mini (got is last weekend). Thanks to everyone who posted I was able to simply snake the antenna cable through the slit in the carpet without removing the seat. All systems go! Next up is the "automatic" sport button!
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Old 08-24-2008, 09:24 AM
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I just received my Mini yesterday and today I am adding some basic accessories.
I have the SKYFI3 and it is working through the AUX connector.
My problem is there is no cover or access for the cable on the passenger side when seat is moved forward.
There is a "silt" for the seat cabling and darn little room to fish around that slit.
Is this the correct side for the SAT cable and do I need to "cut" the silt wider to access?
Thanks for any help.
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Old 08-24-2008, 10:17 AM
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That's the correct location, no need to cut the carpet further. Slide the passenger seat all the way back and use a flashlight to peer inside the slit (I pulled my car into the garage for better lighting). The SAT cable has a plastic purple cap and was easy to fish out using a coat hanger.
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Old 08-24-2008, 12:27 PM
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Got it! I saw the black connector and the Antenna was just under the lip.
Connected using the SMB cable recommended in another thread and work great.
Now to next project.
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Old 08-26-2008, 10:50 AM
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Antenna does not seem to work well with XM

I hooked up my XM radio to the built in antenna and my reception is not so good. All connections are good but I get better reception if I plug into an XM antenna. Anyone else have an issue using XM and the integrated antenna? I am out in the country so I am not near any repeaters.
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Old 08-26-2008, 01:56 PM
tim781996 tim781996 is offline
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Did you get your antenna extension from CDINT? There's a lot of talk about the XM reception in this thread: https://www.northamericanmotoring.co...d.php?t=122686. Personally, my reception is better. I have the Xpress RC, and I too am not near any repeaters.
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Old 08-27-2008, 12:14 PM
thomastrain thomastrain is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tim781996 View Post
Did you get your antenna extension from CDINT? There's a lot of talk about the XM reception in this thread: https://www.northamericanmotoring.co...d.php?t=122686. Personally, my reception is better. I have the Xpress RC, and I too am not near any repeaters.
Yes I bought the CDINT cable described at the top of this thread. I only get 1 bar or no signal using an INNO2.
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Old 08-28-2008, 07:15 AM
tim781996 tim781996 is offline
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Hmm... maybe it just doesn't work well with that particular radio. No ideas.
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Old 08-29-2008, 03:33 AM
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C D International SB9SBJ-174LN-5 Connector Cable

Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Jim Swade View Post
Just a followup to my previus post.
The 10' cable ran to the back of my car is not working with my Kenwood H2E radio. Either my radio isn't compatible with the cable, or the 10' isn't correct with the combo. I don't know, but the signal cuts out way more than my magnite antenna that came with the radio.....
Quote:
Originally Posted by thomastrain View Post
I hooked up my XM radio to the built in antenna and my reception is not so good. All connections are good but I get better reception if I plug into an XM antenna. Anyone else have an issue using XM and the integrated antenna? I am out in the country so I am not near any repeaters.
Quote:
Originally Posted by tim781996 View Post
Did you get your antenna extension from CDINT? There's a lot of talk about the XM reception in this thread: https://www.northamericanmotoring.co...d.php?t=122686. Personally, my reception is better. I have the Xpress RC, and I too am not near any repeaters.
I had first just connected my 2003 Delphi SkyFi "Auto Kit" directly to my MINI's Fakra connector under passenger seat and performance was excellent, but location was not, the two bars seen here were parked in front of my metal garage door and metal roof, where magnetic antenna would have zero bars:



Adding the very high quality CD Int Cable allowed a better location for the SkyFi but now reception of seven of the music channels 1-74 and all of the channels above 76 were poor to un-usable.

Enabling *2-0-7-XM* Diagnostic revealed that I was only receiving Sat 2, but with Magnetic Antenna I usually only get Sat1 but good reception on all channels.

That CD Int Cable had a familiar look to it, my 12 year old portable GPS (Apollo Precedus fron II Morrow-UPSAT-Garmin) had a nearly identical cable; same gold connectors and a thinner grey cable, so I connected it.

It had an even looser connection to the under seat Fakra and a tighter connection to the SkyFi, but it gave perfect reception from Sat 1 & 2.

I really wanted to use the CD Int (better looking black cable) but three installation attempts resulted in same reception results. The CD Int cable does work with the old Precedus, so all was not lost.

Had I not seen the CD Int Cable, it would never have occurred to me that my ancient Precedus external antenna cable could be used for this purpose. I am now using that old six foot cable and getting strong signal from XM Satellites 1 & 2 and ALL of the channels, so the MINI's built-in Sirius Antenna provides excellent XM Service.

I am not even a great fan of XM Radio; it is WxWorx XM Weather Service that hooks me on XM (and for the "Family $6.99" deal, I can add the XM Radio Service) and the 67 music channels that DID work on the CD Int Cable did work well and the anomoly that I observed on the other 100+ Channels likely only happens with 'certain model' XM Radios. I only recall three other reports of problem with the CD Int Cable, the two above and VelvetFoot's "Roady" on the other thread linked above, so assume it works perfectly for most.

*details on entering 2 0 7 XM Diagnostic Mode {HERE} and {HERE}.

Last edited by pilotart; 08-29-2008 at 04:57 AM.
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Old 08-30-2008, 02:29 PM
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A follow up to my Sirius install. Today when I tried to adjust the side mirrors they wouldn't work. I moved the sirius fuse from F32 to F21 and used 10 amp fuses in the Add-a Fuse and everything seems to work fine. I'm gonna check to make sure the Sirius shuts off as I think F21 is about a 30 minute delayed shut-down.
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Old 08-31-2008, 01:28 PM
thomastrain thomastrain is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pilotart View Post
I had first just connected my 2003 Delphi SkyFi "Auto Kit" directly to my MINI's Fakra connector under passenger seat and performance was excellent, but location was not, the two bars seen here were parked in front of my metal garage door and metal roof, where magnetic antenna would have zero bars:



Adding the very high quality CD Int Cable allowed a better location for the SkyFi but now reception of seven of the music channels 1-74 and all of the channels above 76 were poor to un-usable.

Enabling *2-0-7-XM* Diagnostic revealed that I was only receiving Sat 2, but with Magnetic Antenna I usually only get Sat1 but good reception on all channels.

That CD Int Cable had a familiar look to it, my 12 year old portable GPS (Apollo Precedus fron II Morrow-UPSAT-Garmin) had a nearly identical cable; same gold connectors and a thinner grey cable, so I connected it.

It had an even looser connection to the under seat Fakra and a tighter connection to the SkyFi, but it gave perfect reception from Sat 1 & 2.

I really wanted to use the CD Int (better looking black cable) but three installation attempts resulted in same reception results. The CD Int cable does work with the old Precedus, so all was not lost.

Had I not seen the CD Int Cable, it would never have occurred to me that my ancient Precedus external antenna cable could be used for this purpose. I am now using that old six foot cable and getting strong signal from XM Satellites 1 & 2 and ALL of the channels, so the MINI's built-in Sirius Antenna provides excellent XM Service.

I am not even a great fan of XM Radio; it is WxWorx XM Weather Service that hooks me on XM (and for the "Family $6.99" deal, I can add the XM Radio Service) and the 67 music channels that DID work on the CD Int Cable did work well and the anomoly that I observed on the other 100+ Channels likely only happens with 'certain model' XM Radios. I only recall three other reports of problem with the CD Int Cable, the two above and VelvetFoot's "Roady" on the other thread linked above, so assume it works perfectly for most.

*details on entering 2 0 7 XM Diagnostic Mode {HERE} and {HERE}.
I tried a friend's INNO2 and got same poor reception. I put a Sirius Sportster 5 on the internal antenna and it works perfectly so the issue seems to be with the XM INNO2.
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