Those of waiting to iPod your Saab will still have to wait a little longer, but the AudioTroll from Granite Embedded is getting closer by the day.
If you haven’t come accross this yet, the AudioTroll is a device being designed and manufactured in the US by a private developer (Carl) that will allow iPod connectivity and control for your Saab 9-5 (up to 2005) or your 1st generation Saab 9-3 (1998-2002).
The development and manufacturing story has been a long one with a couple of delays thrown in as the device is perfected prior to manufacture. There’s a thread about the device over at Saab Central and it’s a good place to keep an eye on things. I’m in semi-regular communication with Carl as well, so as soon as manufacture begins you can rest assured I’ll be letting everyone know.
Interestingly, the SC thread featured this entry from Carl, in which he’s posted an excerpt from the installation instructions. So as you can see, it’s all heading in the forward direction.
Visit the home of the AudioTroll: Granite-Embedded Systems
Installation :: Saab 9-5
Step 1: Removing the radio
Locate a set of DIN keys, these will be essential to removing the radio. Insert one DIN key into the vertical holes on the face of the radio, repeat for the opposing side. Once the keys have clicked in, and are not able to move further, gently pry outward on the tools as you extract the radio from the fascia panel. Set the radio aside. With a flat-head screwdriver, gently pry inwards on the sides of the radio cage to release the clips from the fascia panel. Carefully pull the cage out of the fascia panel. Unclip the 26-pin male connector and antenna lead from the rear of the cage. Place the cage aside. Press the climate control unit out from the rear and disconnect the harness. Place the climate control unit aside.
Step 2: Installing the AudioTroll
The Chassis Harness Adapter is designed to be a bridge between the Saab’s dashboard wiring harness and the radio, providing the adequate connections to the AudioTroll. Press the female connector of the harness adapter over the 26-pin male connector from the dashboard harness, Carefully remove the AudioTroll from its static protection bag and connect the DB-9 connector from the harness adapter to the AudioTroll unit. Now is probably a good time to figure out where you want your iPod to sit when it is in the vehicle. The recommended installation location in a Saab 9-5 is in the center console beneath the armrest. You may choose any location that you wish, but instructions for installation in the center console are as follows.
Step 3: Running the interface cable through the console
Remove the ashtray (or cubby depending on the year) by gently prying upwards on the bottom with a screwdriver and then release the boot or gently pull off the indicator plate surround from the respective transmission control lever. There will be screws behind where the ashtray/cubby came out, T25 or T30… pop the seat heater/fan switches out, disconnect the electrical connections on that panel and gently pull up on the end closest to the rear of the car. The panel will pop out. Exercising great caution, remove the panel and set it aside. Remove any screws in the top of the console to gain clearance, and pry out the window switch pack and coin box. The DIN end of the interface cable can be fished through under the top of the console next to the shifter and up through to the radio area. The iPod end of the cable can be fished through in the same manner in the vicinity of the window switchpack. Once the iPod end is through, pull it down towards the bottom of the center armrest bin and with the rubber mat removed in said bin, pull the iPod end of the cable through. Pull a reasonable amount of cable into the storage bin, but make sure you have enough to reach the control box in the dash. Gently tuck the remainder of the cable up and under the plastic top of the console and it will neatly fall into the center console. Replace the screws, window switches, coin box, shifter surround panel and ashtray.
Step 4: Putting it all together
Once the interface cable has been run to its respective location, connect the DIN connector (the round one that says B E L K I N on it) to the AudioTroll. Gently press the new assembly downward and out of the way of the radio’s and climate control unit’s space.
The locking tabs on the harness adapter’s male connector MUST be removed!
Damage will result if tabs are not removed.
Before refitting the cage into the fascia, refit the antenna lead, slide the radio into the cage and position the assembly near the opening in the fascia. Insert the male connector from the harness adapter into the back of the radio unit. Slide radio unit back into the dashboard.
Below is a demo video showing a pre-production unit in action and how the controls function