Tech Article Title Author Date
Installation & Review: ICE-Link for iPod David Tepper 2005

Disclaimer: This article is for information purposes only. Use at your own risk.

After several months of waiting, I finally got my hands on Dension USA's ICE-Link v1.1 iPod interface for my 2001 Audi A4 1.8T Avant. I must say that my dealings with Dension USA were less than efficient. After numerous unreturned phone calls and emails, I finally got my order in. Several times, I attempted to place an order, but they were out of stock. When I finally got the order in they shipped it using the wrong FedEx method and it ended up costing me an extra $35 (which they have agreed to reimburse me). After all that trouble, the product was well worth the wait and inconvenience. Hopefully, Dension USA will improve their inventory management system (or lack thereof) and hone their order processing and fullfillment skills.

For a look at my old installation, go here.

Now for my ICE-Link Installation:

Contents of the kit for a 2001 Audi A4. Includes: Cradle, wiring to reach back to the CD Changer in my trunk, control module, and adapter for smaller capacity iPods (10/15/20 GB):

The cradle:

With my ipod:

Panavise Indash Mounting Bracket ( I opted to use my Panavise Bracket from my previous iPod/Phone setup, since it's made of metal. The one from Proclip is made of plastic apparently, so since I'm going to need to hold both the phone and iPod, I think the metal bracket will work better over time:

Customized Panavise Zig-Zag plate. originally this was a much "squarer" shaped plate which I trimmed down with a band saw. This way, the passenger's knee has more leg room, especially good for taller passengers. The trimming also allow me to angle the whole setup toward me without scratching the head unit. Note that I had to drill four new holes in the mounting bracket for the new ICELink cradle bracket. I was under the impression that the new cradle would adhere to the AMPS hole pattern, which is a universal hole pattern for cell phone mounting kits:

Here is the custom zig-zag plate on the panavise indash mount with the Nokia mounting plate installed:

Here is the new ICELink mounting disc. Dension USA only shipped me four screws that seem to be intended to drill into plastic. Since my mount is metal, I had to go to the hardware store and purchase these new nuts and bolts for $0.50 cents:

With the ICELink mounting disc installed:

Here you can see how the ICELink cradle fits into the rounded mounting disc:

On the bottom of the mounting disc, there is a set screw to tighten the cradle down onto the disc. Thankfully, Dension USA included an allen key for this set screw (good for those without any tools):

Here is my iPod in the new cradle:

Now for the wire routing. It is recommended that you make all the connections and test everything before hiding the wires and everything else inside your car. I did this, and luckily everything worked, so I was able to continue. Here I'm removing my rear bench seat. Simply pull up on the front of each side of the seat bench and it will pop out of two "sockets". Then slide the whole bench forward and then out the door on either side. Lay the seat some place safe and clean:

Now open up the storage/CD Changer compartment in the left side of your trunk/cargo area (for those Avant owners like me). Locate the Audi Proprietary CD Changer input port. It should be wrapped up in tape. If you already have a CD Changer, you'll have to disconnect it and/or remove it:

Close up of the CDC Port:

Here, I have connected the ICELink control module:

Here is the socket for another length of ICELink's wiring:

I mounted the ICELink control module outside of the CDC mounting box, so I'll have more room for other stuff back there, like car wax, tools, etc. I used heavy duty double sided tape to affix it here and I ran the wire in through the back:

Next, I plugged in the next length of ICELink wiring:

Now, to run the wire out of the cargo area, I removed the front tie down hooks with a phillips screwdriver:

This allowed me to completely remove the spare tire cover, so I could easily run the wire:

In this picture, you can see where I ran the wire from the CDC compartment into the bottom of the cargo area:

Next, I connected the main (longest) length of ICELink wiring:

And used electric tape to secure and protect the connection:

I then carefully stuffed the wire and connection harness into the side of the cargo area (out of sight):

Here is where the ICELink wire comes out of the cargo area and into the back seat area (note that the seat has been removed -- see above):

In this picture, I wrapped a peice of neoprene around the wires because the edge of the seat support is kind of sharp and I don't want it to cut into the wires. Note that the second wire is just power for my mini-fridge that I keep in my back seat, so disregard it for the purpose of this write-up:

Here is the only place in the car where I couldn't figure out a better way to hide the ICELink cable. I thought about running it underneath the carpet, but it was REALLY hot down there (probably from the exhaust pipes underneath) and I didn't want to risk melting the cable, so I just left it out in the rear right passenger's foot well:

The ICELink cable then comes up from under the seat and I stuffed it up into the side of the center console. In this shot, I'm just showing the early process of stuffing the cable up there:

I then removed this bolt so that I could carefully shove the cable up there along the entire length of the center console:

Next I connected this modular adapter from the ICELink kit:

Then I tucked it up behind the radio/climate control console and secured it with zip ties:

Then I tucked the narrow gauge ICELink wire into my existing phone kit conduit:

Here is a picture of my cargo area with the ICELink cable stealthily hidden away:

I am amazed at how much better the sound throughput is with the ICELink compared to what I had with the Blitzsafe Adapter setup. The iPod integration with the head unit, ignition, and radio mute is really slick. When I turn on the car, the iPod automatically begins playing. If I switch to radio or the in-dash CD player, the iPod pauses and then eventually powers down. When I turn off the car, the iPod turns off too. My *only* concern with this setup is that I'll be tempted to leave the iPod there in the cradle when I'm not in the car and it could attract attention from thieves. I imagine I'll continue the habit of either hiding the iPod or putting a baseball cap over it when I'm parked for a short amount of time. One of the greatest creature comforts is that I don't have to connect any cables to the iPod like I did with my old setup. It also charges the iPod while in the ICELink cradle, so I never have to worry about plugging it in or running out of battery life.