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Thread: Good alternative to Audi Bluetooth for those with OnStar

  1. #1
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    Good alternative to Audi Bluetooth for those with OnStar

    Just wanted to share my success story 'converting' my defunct OnStar function in my RS 6 to Bluetooth. I considered going with the Audi BT setup (esp. when I had my RNS-E) but not having a MFSW with a convenient button to access the phone (place/answer calls) was a downside. I know I could just click the answer button on my phone, but to me the draw of having a BT setup in the car is leaving the phone in you pocket and never needing to fiddle with it.

    I came across this post Convert OnStar to Bluetooth, reached out to Keith and worked out the details which involved simply pulling the OnStar 'button board' in the overhead console and shipping it to him to modify. He shipped back the board, the Costar module and everything needed to install.

    Pulling the OnStar module was a PITA without a doubt. It's in the passenger footwell which is easier to access than others that are under the passenger seat but still a bit of wrestling. There are 3 nuts that hold the module in so once it's exposed it's easy to remove but the carpet is the bear of the job. There are 11 wires that need to be moved from the Audi harness over to the two Costar plugs, the instructions detail how to do that, very straightforward. There is also a GPS antenna connection that goes to the old OnStar module, so when I get another RNS-E, I'll have an easy spot to extend the GPS antenna in the shark fin.

    Once the Costar unit was plugged in, turned on the ignition, went to bluetooth settings in my iPhone, synced up and everything works beautifully. Incoming calls mute the music and rings through the speakers as expected, press the white OnStar button and you answer. You can access voice dial (and of course SIRI if you have a 4S) via the white button, issue voice commands etc. The LED is fully functional and lets you know the status (synced, on a call, pairing/discoverable, etc). Voice quality is great and people I've talked to say it sounds clear. The unit has a USB port for tweaking the settings as well.

    It now supports A2DP streaming for music (requires Line IN on the head unit) but a nice bonus there and something the Audi unit can't do.

  2. #2
    Registered User ben916's Avatar
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    there is only one thing missing, Kevin...... photos
    SOLD - 03 RS6 Avus (905355)
    Current - 03 Toyota Tacoma 4x4 double cab - the YETI, lifted, winched, snorkeled, lockered, skidded, geared

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    I was thinking only one thing missing, Kevin...... A how-to complete with schematics!

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    Registered User Aronis's Avatar
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    Excellent idea.

    How much did it cost?

    I've been using a Blue Ant S4 which works great.

    Mike

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    I have to admit, in my haste to dig in and have some mod'in fun, I didn't take many pictures... just a couple of the plug itself so Keith could update his documentation. I have mapped out the Audi wiring switch as well, that will undoubtedly make it into his documentation. The good news is that it was only wire color differences from the VW application, the "move pin 18 to pin 8" instructions applied perfectly. FWIW, it was pretty standard fare as far as getting to it: remove the glove box, pop the side kick panel off (2 screws) to be able to 'peal' the carpet back and expose the box. It is basically at the very top of the foot well, if you pull the carpet back even a little bit the silver box you see is it. Three nuts at the left, bottom and right edges of it and it comes free. The worst part of the mod: My 6 year old keeps asking me to hit the "siri" button so he can ask her silly questions.

    I'm not sure if Keith will want me to post his total price here, but Costar charges $279 for the box for GM PNP and his cost is a small amount more than that and he of course mods the board as well as supplying the costar box (you pay him the full amount). You might be able to find the audi BT box in that price range, but I still think in our cars not having that MFSW (not that I want one) makes that box a little less convenient.

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    Cool BlueSTAR Audi A2DP

    If Interested email me at keith at keithbloom dot com and I'll forward installation and capabilities details directly. Cost is $319, and that includes USPS priority mail return shipping of your modified button controller and the BlueSTAR Audi A2DP module (also specially modified). More complete experiences are available for you to review on VWVortex Phaeton forum. 30+ installations and counting.

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    Wife: "You're pulling the glovebox again?"

    Me: "Kevin made me do it."

    Sounds like a neat mod.
    Daytona/Ebony/Carbon/SEE/RNS-E/19X9 Speedline "Peelers"

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    I am in. This is the mod that I have been waiting for.
    2003 Daytona/Silver RS6

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    This is interesting. Keith good work. I'll likely reach out to you as I just purchased OEM BT module to go with my RNS-E and working on a MF steering wheel retrofit in order to solve the button (or lack of) issue. This is much cleaner and easier.

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    Completely worthwhile mod to say the least. I had a couple calls this morning during the commute and it beat the heck out of having a headset stuck in my ear.

    It probably goes without saying, but having the head unit coded for Phone but not having the telematics module in the car does cause a code to be thrown. That one doesn't bother me nearly as much as my 17125. Of course, that ends this week, dropped her off at the surgeons this morning for a little ACE TC joy.

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    I would think there would be a way for VAGCOM to say no telematics and add a phone. Either way as long as it isn't a check engine I am fine with that. My radio throws a memory code for no apparent reason as well.
    2003 Daytona/Silver RS6

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by NSU RS6 View Post
    Wife: "You're pulling the glovebox again?"

    Me: "Kevin made me do it."

    Sounds like a neat mod.
    What can I say... but you know, the defense on this one is that it really is a nice safety enhancement!

  13. #13
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    If I just pair HFP do the navigation sounds come out of the stereo or do I need A2DP paired? I know our navigation is so awesome that I don't need to use my phone but just in case sometimes I use my phone for navigation.
    2003 Daytona/Silver RS6

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    The A2DP function on the unit is actually through a line out headphone jack. The phone portion on the BT side is just mono so they pipe off the streaming part to use on a Line In for stereo.

    The nav sounds (and audio in general for that matter... FM, XM/Sirius etc) will be muted with an incoming or outgoing call. Call ends, and the music source comes back.

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    Just got done installing mine. It works pretty well so far but I haven't really heard what it sounds like on the other end. My dad says the quality is ok but "scratchy." I didn't have to repeat much though and he doesn't hear very well so it must be ok.
    2003 Daytona/Silver RS6

  16. #16
    Registered User ben916's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chung View Post
    Just got done installing mine. It works pretty well so far but I haven't really heard what it sounds like on the other end. My dad says the quality is ok but "scratchy." I didn't have to repeat much though and he doesn't hear very well so it must be ok.
    call me, for a free test
    SOLD - 03 RS6 Avus (905355)
    Current - 03 Toyota Tacoma 4x4 double cab - the YETI, lifted, winched, snorkeled, lockered, skidded, geared

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    I will give you a buzz tomorrow. When we get beer.
    2003 Daytona/Silver RS6

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    FWIW, through the USB port on the unit and software from Costar, there are quite a few things about the audio levels that can be tweaked. I've not dinked with it yet but probably will once I get my car back. I'm thinking about ditching XM radio for an aux input device and use the BT Audio streaming line out port on it.

    Manual with Software Description

    Ringtone App Notes

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