Belkin TuneBase Direct dismantled!

dekoded

Active Member
I purchased the Belkin Tunebase Direct whilst on a shopping trip in Manchester a few months ago.

I've since discovered that it didn't really do what I wanted and was unstable when fitted in my car.

I really like the 'docking' feature of the mounting cradle, and the fact that it's adjustable and allows an iPhone to be inserted even with a case on, however I really wanted to be able to both charge and access the line-out at the same time, something that I'm unable to find in any iPhone cradle, except maybe the TomTom model which is due out soon but very pricey.

I now use a slightly modified screen mount to give me better GPS reception whilst using CoPilot, although as I don't really like having items stuck on my windscreen I only use it when I really need to.

I much prefer to have my iPhone mounted within easy reach whilst driving so I thought I'd try hacking the Tunebase to allow me to both charge my iPhone AND have access to the line-out audio from the dock connecter as I find it a pain to have to keep connecting 2 seperate cables which then look a mess and get in the way.

I have managed to strip down my Tunebase with some trial and error, so I thought I'd post some images to help others who either want to do something similar or just enjoy looking at perfectly working equipment being ripped apart!

(photos taken with my iPhone 3gs and transferred to my Macbook using WifiPhoto app)
Belkin Tunebase Direct - Folder Shared from Box.net - Free Online File Storage

I'm now hoping to find a suitable cable or cheap dock to modify which will allow me to replace the existing connector and and route a charging/audio out cable through the hole in the cradle, I can then add a new mounting to attach it to my car.

Does anyone know of a combined charging/audio out cable? basically a dock connecter fitting on one end which then has two wires coming out of it, one a usb connector for charging and one that has a 3.5mm headphone plug on the end to allow me to connect it to my AUX input on my car stereo.

Why aren't these cables easily available? I hope this type of connector hasn't been disallowed by Apple.

EDIT: Just purchased one of these off ebay, I hope I can modify it for my needs!
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=180411016837&ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT
 
Last edited:

bluegecko7

Active Member
i'm looking todo something similar. i've got an iPod classic 120gb and an iPhone 3GS. i've been using a Belkin Tunebase (an older model than yours i think) until my car stereo died last week. i've since bought one with a line-in connector but i'm still looking for a good mount and i'd prefer a way of playing and charging thru the dock connector.

the Tunebase kinda works with the iPhone but it takes a while (saying incombatible accessory connected or something - asking whether to switch to airplane mode or not, but it works whether you say yes or no) however it will not charge the iPhone.

so now i've started using the line-in on my new stereo and also found this Belkin Auto Kit for iPod with Dock Connector: Amazon.co.uk: Electronics & Photo
works fine on iPod but it does exactly the same on the iPhone (airplane mode thing).
kinda annoying cos they are the exact same connector.

so long story short lemme know if you do this successfully and how easy it is todo.
i'm also looking for a decent mount to go preferably on one of the vents in the car (and allow easy access to plug in a dock cable to the bottom).
 

jelgie

Standard Member
Dekoded: I work for Belkin and was trying to understand better why TuneBase didn't meet your needs (i.e., for future developments). You said that you needed access to your line out. Can you tell me what you were using it for? Am wondering if this is something we can / should resolve in a future TuneBase.

Thanks for your help,
Jamie from Belkin
 

dekoded

Active Member
Dekoded: I work for Belkin and was trying to understand better why TuneBase didn't meet your needs (i.e., for future developments). You said that you needed access to your line out. Can you tell me what you were using it for? Am wondering if this is something we can / should resolve in a future TuneBase.

Thanks for your help,
Jamie from Belkin

It's great to see a company taking interest in the customers needs!

I initially assumed that I could access the line out audio from the connector on the plug in charger, however I then discovered that the superb 'docking' feature and ease of use provided by the design of the bracket/cradle was somewhat compromised by having to then plug another connector into my headphone socket of my iPhone.

I also found the bracket to be too unstable in my car ( VW Passat ) and the extra usb charging connector was blocked as it rested against the ashtray/centre console.

What I really like about the TuneBase Direct is that it's very quick to insert my iphone into the bracket/cradle and also allows me to keep my iPhone case fitted ( griffin reveal or any other slim case ).

So what I would really want to see is a micro usb charging connector and a headphone 3.5mm socket below the dock connector which would allow me to route the cables to my own cigarette lighter USB adapter and AUX input on my car stereo ( a micro USB to USB cable and a 3.5mm headphone 'patch' cable with right angled ends should be included! )

I would also like to see a different mounting option, prefer a balljoint type fitting that could be attached to either windscreen or dashboard, maybe offer the charging 'stalk' as an optional method of mounting and charging which could fit to the rear of the bracket?

The best example I've seen is the TomTom bracket, if you could make something like that but without the GPS and sell it for around £30 - £40 it would be great.

I have removed the stalk and dock connector from my Tunebase and I'm in the process of adding a balljoint fixing to the rear of the bracket and adding the PocketDock to replace the original connector.

I also think it would be a great idea to sell the 'ball' of the balljoint bracket so that they can be attached to dashboard switch blanking plates, many cars have blanked switch holes which are unused and are intended for optional extra switches.

I adapted a cheap bracket by sticking the ball part onto one of the blanking plates as it meant I didn't have to damage my dashboard to mount my bracket and a new plate can be purchased from the dealer if I remove the bracket or sell the car.

Hope this helps.
 

jelgie

Standard Member
Perfect. I get it. Working on one of the two, but the other option is interesting. Let me think through it with my team. Really appreciate your feedback!
 

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