This guide is so good I didn't feel the need to take pictures or document the process, but I wanted to add some further tips to this guide if you plan to use it:
- Tape up the edges of the centre console around the DVD trim panel. Stupidly, I didn't do this (despite having done it before when retrofitting factory sat nav to my wife's Audi A3) and the bolts attached to the DVD drive have scuffed part of the centre console plus a couple of climate control buttons. Annoying, and all my own fault;
- The author suggests using a magnetic screwdriver which is a good idea, although a pair of pliers can be used to fish out anything dropped deep into the centre console, plus they work well to undo electrical connectors without breaking them;
- I thought the kitchen spatula used in the article was a joke at first (!), but actually, this works as a brilliant trim removal tool! Will use it again;
- Sounds obvious, but test XCarlink before putting everything back together.
I located my XCarlink box in the glovebox. The space above it is open so it's dead easy to run the cable to the back of the stereo. Originally, I wanted to put the box in the centre console but it would need a fairly large, rectanglar hole drilled to pass the connector block through it.
During research I read comments about sound quality during XCarlink playback. It's fine really; I found that the quality is at its best with the treble set to max and the bass about two-thirds. The treble just makes the sound more crisp and overcomes any real shortcomings in MP3 decompression. Rip your sounds at the highest quality of course. There is no volume levelling either, so you may need to use one of those free apps which level out volume levels in music collections.
Finally, I used to work as a software developer and even before ordering XCarlink, spotted an opportunity to write a small desktop app to make arranging the contents of your USB stick or SD card easier. I've got something running which I hope to release via SourceForge next week for others to use. Basically, it opens a window with 6 columns and you can drag/drop your music into it before transferring to USB or SD card. I'll start a new thread here with the details, and will update this thread again later next week when I've spent more time using XCarlink. So far, so good!