I'm looking for a cable that will both charge and play audio in my car for my iPhone 3G.
September 10, 2008 7:23 AM   Subscribe

I want to plug my iPhone 3G into my car stereo using the data port, not the headphone jack. I would also like it to charge the device.

I have a cable installed right now that works for my standard iPod. This cable will play the music through my car stereo but will not charge the device. I have a Pioneer head unit (don't have the model number available right now).
posted by DrDreidel to Technology (8 answers total)
Crutchfield is your friend, but you will need to know the model. If it's not a current the model, the folks on the help line will be able to help find what you need.
posted by pupdog at 7:46 AM on September 10, 2008

Best answer: IIRC, Apple removed the firewire bits from the iPhone 3g, which is what a TON of 3rd party products used to charge all the i* devices. the 3G can only charge via USB power, which your car isn't providing! What you need is something to convert the firewire-style power (which you car is providing) to USB-style power (which your iphone needs).


That's what you're looking for, but (obviously) it's not for sale yet. There may be something else available to do the same thing elsewhere, but that's the general idea.
posted by frankdrebin at 7:47 AM on September 10, 2008

Ah, sorry, for some reason I missed the link for the cable you have. Do you mean that it currently powers your iPod but not your iPhone, or doesn't power either? Not every car stereo manufacturer has offered power as an option, but if it's just the iPhone, than yes, something like frankdrebin linked is what you need.
posted by pupdog at 8:07 AM on September 10, 2008

Response by poster: Yes, it currently powers my iPod, but not iPhone. I think frankdrebin nailed it, I had no idea that they switched from firewire to USB charging. That product from cablejive looks like it's exactlly what I need.
posted by DrDreidel at 8:15 AM on September 10, 2008

Stay away from Pioneer decks*. I have a Pioneer DEH_PB6900 (I think that's the model). Works fine to charge and play my ipod nano - but NOT my 1st gen iphone. It charges, but won't play. Calling Pioneer, it was immediately clear that it's a large problem, as they had a script to read and the agent seemed have a vibe that said "oh no, not another customer with the same damn problem that I can't do anything about so I'm going to get yelled at again".

I don't know what model you have, but perhaps Pioneer has a different cable or a firmware update for your particular deck. Try giving them a call, maybe you'll be luckier than I was.

Don't buy a replacement deck, IRL or online without testing it first. Testing it yourself. Take your phone and a USB-to-iPod cable and visit all the car stereo dealers in your town. Find the decks you like and ask to plug your phone in. If they won't accommodate your request, don't give them your business.

When testing with your phone, you'll be looking for three things:
  1. Does it charge your phone?
  2. Can it play music from your phone?
  3. Is the interface okay, or is it crap? A crap interface is pretty common and will make sure that you'll swear and regret your purchase every time you try to use it.
FYI, I think that a deck that has a USB interface for iPods/iPhones is a bonus, because then you can plug in your own USB-to-iPod cable and therefore always have one available in the car. I've found this to be a good place to have a backup cable.

Please come back and let us know which model you went with, if you ended up replacing your deck.

*I loved my Pioneer deck until I got an iPhone. It has a great tuner, works well with CDs, iPods and auxiliary (3.5mm) inputs. It's just crap with the iPhone and Pioneer isn't interested in releasing any firmware updates to resolve the issue.
posted by terpia at 10:28 AM on September 10, 2008

I don't think you'll be able to play music the way you want. Apple removed disk mode from the iphone/ipod-touch, which is how most of the head-decks I've seen use the data cable to play music. There are some hacks to emulate the functionality, but I don't know if any of them will work with a hardware device like your car stereo.
posted by nomisxid at 10:31 AM on September 10, 2008

I have to completely disagree with what has been said about Pioneer head units. I currently have the Pioneer DEH-P7000BT and it charges both my iPod Classic and my iPhone 3G, as well as functioning as a handsfree device for the iphone - auto pairing, address book import, etc... The only downside I can find with the ipod integration is that it is not possible to pause the ipod wihtout digging through a menu. Aside from that, it works quite well.
posted by namewithoutwords at 6:19 PM on September 10, 2008


You completely disagree with my statements about my Pioneer deck's inability to function with iphones? You also disagree with my suggestion to contact Pioneer directly?

Possibly you have an objection to my starred sentence suggesting that you're best off staying away from Pioneer units after a unit that claimed to have iphone support ended up not actually having it - in a thread where the OP is having problem getting an iphone to work with a pioneer deck?

I'm happy that your deck works, and I hope the OP finds a solution.
posted by terpia at 1:53 PM on September 11, 2008

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