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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm building this thread to attempt to consolidate some Bluepower HU information, as well as provide an objective review on the Bluepower unit that I installed into my caR. The thread will take some time to pull together, so consider it a work in process for the time being. My car is at the dealer for the next week, so I can't document much of the unit functionality for a while yet.

Bottom line up front:
I am happy with the purchase and feel that this is the best option for bringing Bluetooth, Nav and iPod into a car that otherwise isn't equipped. The most important performance parameter to me for a radio is sound quality and the BLP-840 does not dissapoint. The installation was straighforward, with the only glitch being that I had to open up a couple of holes in the plastic radio/ccm support structure for the BLP antenna and wiring harness. The unit is feature rich for everything except the radio interface, which I hope will be improved a bit. The Navigation software is very deep with many options at the loss of simple intuitive operation, but this is overcome by just getting used to using it. I'm a gadget guy so I love finding new menus and display settings and such. I would recommend this unit to a friend in a similar situation.

.....oh yeah......the manual and installation instructions were absolutely terrible, not to worry, that is what SS is here for! In all honesty though, I really, really do hope that Bluepower has some time to invest into making a more comprehensive manual. That said, they did make a marked improvement to the installation instructions and wiring diagrams after the initial deliveries.

A list of issues encountered early on and how they were resolved:

1. Lack of dynamic range (flat sound, loss in bass response) - 100% resolved through MCU firmware upgrade, units now shipping have the latest firmware installed.

2. No iPod access through top iPod menu (song/playlist/artist/album/genre) - 100% resolved through iPod firmware upgrade, units now shipping have latest firmware installed.

3. Poor integrated Bluetooth microphone quality (scratchy sounding) - 100% resolved through addition of the supplied external microphone, units now ship with this microphone, whereas mine did not originally.

Second, some pitfalls that have troubled other users:

1. Forgot to remove the CD load mechanism shipping lock screws, wouldn't allow disc to be inserted/played. A new sticker was added to the top case of the unit to provide a better reminder.

2. Failed to load navigation software upon initial startup. Just needed to go into the GPS setup and map to the iGo8.exe file on the SD card. This is a one time thing that may or may not still be required.

3. Failed to find "GPS device", go into GPS Setup and scan the ports. Mine is located and found on port#2 while the default setting was port#1.

4. Subwoofer output only works when 5.1 in the EQ menu is "enabled", I like this setting as a simple means of turning off my sub. There is also independant center channel on/off in that menu (although I don't know why you would ever want it off).

5. Programming the ICELINK for the steering wheel controls can be a little finnicky....make sure the car engine is running while doing this as the voltage levels displayed on the HU for each button were different when I attempted mine both ways. Initially, with the key in the on position they didn't work. It took me three tries to get the values stored and working long term. I cycled the engine and tested them with the engine running and with the key in the "on" position and have had three months of reliable operation.

Third, some areas for functional improvement:

1. Provide real-time equalizer adjustments to the sound output. Currently, the equalizer settings are adjusted then a "save" button is selected to modify the sound being output. This results in an iterative approach to tuning.

2. In the radio mode, there is a shared preset/band row of 5 buttons along the lower portion of the touch screen. The assignment / display of those buttons is toggled by a "preset/band" button. These are either "FM1, FM2, FM3, AM1, AM2" or they show the channels that you have programmed for presets. When a new band is selected, the radio changes channel to the correspondingly positioned button as assigned in the new band, but the buttons don't change to show the new list of channels for that band. So, you end up listening to a typically random station for a moment, then hit the toggle button, then select the channel in that band that you would like. If you want to switch bands again, toggle back to band, select band, the radio channel will change again to the same positioned button/channel for the next band, then toggle again to show channels and select a channel. I believe that this could be improved through firmware update. However, on a day to day basis I only use the steering wheel controls to skip radio stations (on the rarity that I have the radio on); so this really doesn't affect me.

3. In the radio mode, I haven't been able to figure out how to toggle between scanning channels by frequency or by jumping to the next preset. However, I haven't asked Bluepower on this one either.

4. The radio is less sensitive than the factory radio. Likely a result of the adapter that is used, perhaps addition of an FM booster for those who live in the outskirts of town is in order. I've been satisfied with the reception.

****FIXED IN FIRMWARE 6/24/11**** Way to go Bluepower! 5. The volume knob and steering control while in GPS mode only controls the GPS voice guidance volume. This is troublesome when you are in Navi mode on a trip and want to quickly turn down the music, as you have to hit the GPS button along the right side of the screen to revert to your music mode display, adjust volume for music, then revert back to GPS display by hitting GPS again. Thankfully, the channel/track skip fwd/back on the steering wheel still performs as expected when in GPS/Navi mode. So at least you can skip radio channel or tracks without going back to the music mode display.

6. The button backlights only work when the headlights are turned to "on". They will not light up when the headlights are set to "Auto". This has pros and cons about it, but the buttons can be easily wired to be lit up all of the time, if you prefer.

Fourth, some areas for physical improvement (these are a long shot):

1. Background/wallpaper/theme updates, awesome that Bluepower is providing the custom "R" background. In addition, it seems as though this really could/should be something user configurable. Nevertheless, they are taking at least one option on themselves, so kudos for that.

2. Some have indicated that they think the amount of silkscreen detail on the unit fascia labeling buttons is excessive. I agree that this could be toned down a little bit, but I never thought of it until someone else mentioned it.

3. The faceplate match to the CCM is not perfect. Initially, I was dissapointed with the mismatch. I'm over it now, but depending on the lighting it can be more or less pronounced. I don't notice it anymore when sort of glancing around in the caR. The best match of the current face plate on the BLP is to the color of the platic buttons on the CCM. If you look close at the CCM, you will see that buttons are a little darker, a little more black plastic-eee than the CCM face plate.

4. The front USB and AUX inputs should have some little black rubber plugs included to clean-up the face when those are not being used.

5. The SD card slot cover looked in pics like a typical old-school single panel garage door. I figured it slid out of the way just like the POS cupholder lid on the up to 2004 S/V cars. Turns out, it is a rubber flap that bends out of the way. Not a big deal, just less than perfect fitment/flushness when it is engaged.

My initial comments / thoughts about the unit:
http://forums.swedespeed.com/showth...840-BLP-890)&p=1640345&viewfull=1#post1640345

http://forums.swedespeed.com/showth...840-BLP-890)&p=1640776&viewfull=1#post1640776

http://forums.swedespeed.com/showth...840-BLP-890)&p=1640835&viewfull=1#post1640835

http://forums.swedespeed.com/showth...840-BLP-890)&p=1654565&viewfull=1#post1654565

http://forums.swedespeed.com/showth...840-BLP-890)&p=1656501&viewfull=1#post1656501

http://forums.swedespeed.com/showth...840-BLP-890)&p=1654568&viewfull=1#post1654568

http://forums.swedespeed.com/showth...840-BLP-890)&p=1656862&viewfull=1#post1656862

Good basic info from Bluepower, including the link to the manual:
http://forums.swedespeed.com/showth...840-BLP-890)&p=1615553&viewfull=1#post1615553

Bluepower's FAQ on ICELINK installation:
http://bluepower-import.se/Bluepower/FAQ.pdf

Bluepower's post on Reverse Cam and Reverse Sounders:
http://forums.swedespeed.com/showth...840-BLP-890)&p=1656867&viewfull=1#post1656867

An interesting alternative, that I ultimately went away from, that at the group buy price point is even less attractive.

"The Necvox PP-6569 is $650 shipped to US, IMO the only other cleanly integrated "off the shelf" GPS option for these cars. Benefit with Necvox is that you keep your factory stereo, but still need to find a Bluetooth and iPod solution. So; Necvox + BT + iMIV (about $950) or BLP-890 for about the same money......hmmmmm."
 

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Thanks so much for taking the time to review this, especially since there is so much scattered information on it. I have a question about the sound quality. I believe you previously had a HU-850 installed. How does the sound quaintly compare to the original unit? Also, how is the bass with your subwoofer turned off? Thanks again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
have a question about the sound quality. I believe you previously had a HU-850 installed. How does the sound quaintly compare to the original unit? Also, how is the bass with your subwoofer turned off? Thanks again.
Sound quality is on par with the HU-850. The preamp levels from the BLP are probably higher voltage than the preamp levels from the HU-850, as the overall volume at max is much louder with the BLP. I'm always more concerned about quality vs. quantity, so the added scream at max volume isn't a huge benefit for me. Bass response is full and also very good from the BLP. The BLP has many more bass related adjustments than the HU-850, so tuning possibilities are broader.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
These were pics of my swap out of my old BLP for a newer production run model. The removal of the HU-850 or the like is very similar; nevertheless, the images should go a long way to giving those interested an idea what is involved.

Disconnect battery:

Turn key to position II:

Pull parking brake, shift into "D", lift up rearmost edge of shifter surround:



Release shifter panel clips:







Remove two torx screws:


Pull the radio/ccm assembly towards you:


Towel to prevent scratches:

Rotate towards you:


Picture of wiring harness:

RCA to DIN adapter:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Fronts are grey, rears are black wires on the RCA to DIN adapter:

GPS antenna connection, I mounted the GPS antenna under the center speaker grill with 3 minute epoxy, the center speaker grill just prys up (carefully to not damage the dashboard!)

Main wiring harness connector to BLP (black).

TV antenna connection (gold) (useless in USA, but I wanted a fully featured unit), antenna connection (black):

Rear view camera and subwoofer connections, the RCAs were run through the center console, under the carpet above the driveshaft hump, under the rear seat into the trunk compartment.

Terrible picture, but this is the direction upward from the HU opening around the HVAC ducts to the back of the center speaker grill, for running the GPS antenna wire:

GPS antenna is of course not visible through the grill:

I connected the Aux video input and the front camera input to another RCA that I fished through the center console and then wrapped up into a coil under the drivers seat. My plan for those are CarPC input and potentially a front parking camera.

ICELINK Connection, have to excuse the masking tape....this was a temporary install at that point:

Climate control module connector, 12v outlet connectors:

Remove three torx screws along the top edge of the assembly, once out of the vehicle:

Remove four torx screws from the back that hold in the CCM:

The silver surround comes free by strategically releasing these PITA clips:




Once the silver surround is free, the CCM will easily slide out by releasing the large catches on the back:


Four more PITA clips to remove the factory HU, pleasantly suprised to see that the BLP only uses two of these and the three torx screws across the top instead:

Of course, your pen cup wasn't cannibalized to have a boost gauge grafted in.....at least not likely....

Radio should now pull from of the plastic housing:

Make connections for ICELINK per the wiring diagram:

I had to remove material from the housing in three areas, one for the antenna in the middle, one for the wiring harness bundle in the upper corner, one for the GPS antenna in the middle. The upper corner might not have been necessary, but the antenna holes definitely need to be drilled for access. I would recommend that Bluepower include a drill template for this in the future......

Put it all back together:

Some shots to show the color (mis)match:





Re-install in reverse order.......
 

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Wow this looks like a full weekend job for me atleast my schedule is 4 days on then 4 days off so ill have lots of time and wont be rushed :D
 

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How long would you estimate that it took for the install? Also, did you have to remove all the seats and carpet from one side for the trunk camera?
 

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Great write up, thanks for posting. 04's should be a little bit easier as there is pen holder that cover the torx screws that just prys out with a bone tool so we should not have to mess with the shifter
 

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Ok, here's something that's REALLY nitpicking(from a graphic designer's view), but seeing that BluePower is looking to improve the "OEM" look by providing the R backgrounds and open to suggestions. Here's what bothers me on the screenprinting. As you may have noticed, Volvo does not use the VOLVOBROAD font in anything other than their marketing material. For interior dash elements it uses a much cleaner and simplistic font that is less narrow and much easier to read. It's similar to the Sony Ericsson font called Digital Sans or Sony Etch font.

Anyway, here's a brief example i put together of labels used on the BLP HU unit.

 

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I would hope that Bluepower could integrate some of these tips into the current "R" release.

Afterall, they did ask for suggestions, so I hope that they will implement them into the stereos before they ship , even if it causes some slight delay.

Its obvious that there is some serious interest in these units and to get it right would be a home run.
 

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I would hope that Bluepower could integrate some of these tips into the current "R" release.

Afterall, they did ask for suggestions, so I hope that they will implement them into the stereos before they ship , even if it causes some slight delay.

Its obvious that there is some serious interest in these units and to get it right would be a home run.
+1
 

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Good catch, DevolvR. I knew that the fonts looked off, somehow, but I didn't realize that it was because the marketing font had been used.

Unfortunately, of course, screenprinting can't be changed with a simple firmware update. Hopefully BP will notice that people are noticing this, and correct it in future production runs...
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
How long would you estimate that it took for the install? Also, did you have to remove all the seats and carpet from one side for the trunk camera?
i've had the stereo console out a few times before so it goes pretty quick. i'd say give yourself a 2 hour window for the job and you should be fine. if you're running the additional wires for a sub or rear view camera, add another hour. If you are installing the rear view camera (and modifying it like I did to fit) then add another 1.5 hours. Only the center console and rear seat bottom cushion and side bolster have to come out to run the wires to the trunk. in fact, I didn't completely remove the console, just loosened it up enough to get the wires thru.

I used VADIS for instructions on how to remove the console and the rear seat pieces.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Ok, here's something that's REALLY nitpicking(from a graphic designer's view), but seeing that BluePower is looking to improve the "OEM" look by providing the R backgrounds and open to suggestions. Here's what bothers me on the screenprinting. As you may have noticed, Volvo does not use the VOLVOBROAD font in anything other than their marketing material. For interior dash elements it uses a much cleaner and simplistic font that is less narrow and much easier to read. It's similar to the Sony Ericsson font called Digital Sans or Sony Etch font.

Anyway, here's a brief example i put together of labels used on the BLP HU unit.

I don't think that this is nit-picky at all. i noticed the different font right away.

I inquired about faceplate mods and was told that the min. order qty for this part makes upgrades rather cost prohibitive. Presumably, they will eventually need more and could upgrade at that point. I'll direct Bluepower this way to see what they say.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I would hope that Bluepower could integrate some of these tips into the current "R" release.

Afterall, they did ask for suggestions, so I hope that they will implement them into the stereos before they ship , even if it causes some slight delay.

Its obvious that there is some serious interest in these units and to get it right would be a home run.
I believe that the units that are being purchased in group buy are coming from stock, so the buttons and faceplate on those are likely a done deal. However, future runs of production might be able to be improved if retooling costs aren't excessive......

Personally, I'd be more than happy to disassemble the unit a few months down the road to swap faceplate and buttons (note that some of the text that DevolvR sampled was from the source buttons along the right side of the display unit).
 

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GREAT catch on "Marketing Font" ... never would have called that out but its so obvious now lol
 

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Just a question to clarify iPod integration; I have the Volvo iPod adapter that plugs into the back of the HU-850, will that input function with the Bluepower unit or do you have to use their interface and re-run that into the center console armrest storage area?
 

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Thanks for the great info! Is it true that when the headlights are in "auto" (a useful feature) the backlight illumination won't work?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Just a question to clarify iPod integration; I have the Volvo iPod adapter that plugs into the back of the HU-850, will that input function with the Bluepower unit or do you have to use their interface and re-run that into the center console armrest storage area?
Rerun the new wire into the center console, not a bad job.....maybe 30 minutes extra. More time though (maybe another 30 - 40mins) if you want to remove the factory one from the console as it goes under the carpet at the driveshaft hump and under the back seat bottom cushion.
 
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