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'04 CTS
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Discussion Starter #1
I received my BlueSTAR yesterday, and I'm planning to install tomorrow. It appears the closest documented installs in here are for the '07 and '08 CTS, with the OnStar unit of one model year on the sidewall of the trunk and the other underneath the rear deck. Can anyone confirm where its located on the '04?

Thanks!
 

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'04 CTS
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Discussion Starter #3
Interesting, thanks! I thought for sure it was going to be near the rear speakers. You just saved me from ripping apart my interior, thank you. Of course, now I'm concerned about how well the bluetooth module is going work with my phone from all the way back there. Hmm, I wonder if I can unseat the wiring and move it forward. Hopefully I'll post some pics tomorrow.
 

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03 CTS 3.2L (Sold) / 09 CBR 600rr /2014 GMC Sierra
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Wait...what is bluestar?
Does this replace the onstar and connect to your phone with bluetooth? Can you use the car speakers and steering control buttons????
That's what I am looking for....I don't know if it exists,
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Wait...what is bluestar?
Does this replace the onstar and connect to your phone with bluetooth? Can you use the car speakers and steering control buttons????
That's what I am looking for....I don't know if it exists,
You wanna see it? Aren't you near Crosswicks or Hamilton? I'm going to my buddy's kid's little league game in Hamilton at 1pm. I thought that's where you are, but I could be wrong. I will watch this thread for your reply.
 

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Yes!
I'm in burlington gettin gas right now and then goin 2 a bike and custom car show in oakville
Email me yer #
[email protected]
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Okay, now I know why no one else has documented this install -- because its "stupid easy".

Time: About a week to study it, and 12 minutes to execute
Tools required: Opposable thumbs. Seriously.

First review these excellent instructions for accessing the OnStar unit in the right side of the trunk

http://www.cadillacfaq.com/faq/answers/onstardisable/index.html

I was worried when I read the part about losing "voice navigation". For the past week or so, I understood that I would lose my voice commands, which was also confirmed by Chris. You will also lose the voice memo function. I don't know why I tortured myself learning and mastering all of the voice commands available, knowing full well the function was going away shortly.

Then, at the last minute, I panicked and thought I was going to lose the turn-by-turn instructions from the navigation, which would be a deal-killer. Don't worry, you won't lose the voice prompting. It could be a matter of the fact that only the two lower white plugs are moved from the OnStar to the BlueSTAR. Since the linked page details how to hide from OnStar's Big Brother functions, it would make sense that something related to the GPS navigation would have to be disconnected. Not true when using BlueSTAR.

Going back to the page, don't let the second picture down fool you. Its a "split screen" shot of the rear wall looking both to the right and the left. You cannot look in any one direction and find a part of your trunk that looks like that :)

Remove the cargo net, unscrew the cap holding down the spare tire cover and remove the spare tire cover. Next, there are six thumb-turnable screws to remove: four against the very rear of the car on the both sides of the rear opening, and two more only on the passenger side of the car. Lift up the black plastic piece that runs across the rear of the trunk space. It is held in by metal clips and will sound like you broke something as it comes out, but you didn't. It just pops out.

Carefully pull the liner away from the right wall and push it towards the center of the car under the rear speaker. Work it around the screws sticking up, but don't yank it so hard that you deform it. Locate the OnStar unit mounted to the wall, and identify the two bottom-most wires with white headers. Remove them by pinching clips that are hidden on the side of the headers facing the wall. Just like unplugging two huge phone line plugs. Next, I attached the two headers and wire sets to the BlueSTAR (they only fit one way), and rested it on the carpet. KEEP IT AWAY FROM METAL, and there's a LOT of exposed metal back there to avoid!

Then I went to the driver's seat, paired it with my phone, and started making calls. I called my cellphone voicemail a few times, left a few messages for myself, and then played them back. I even received a call while right in the middle of testing, and used the phone for 15 minutes without issues. The caller said they did hear an occasional echo and thought someone else was in the car with me. In addition, the start of all of the voicemails I left for myself include the beep from the voicemail system telling me to start leaving a message.

Satisfied, I went back to close it up. I am *not* comfortable with how much metal is exposed back there, under the liner. Plus, with the very flat shape of the space, I'm not sure how the kit is supposed to be mounted back there. So, until I find a better solution, I went totally ghetto and stuck the assembled kit back in its shipping box and tucked the whole thing into the space above the OnStar unit. It fits perfectly, and isolates the unit from all the exposed metal in the area.

I put everything back together and it all looks as good as new back there. No bulge from the shipping box sticking out in the sidewall liner or anything. Totally clean install. Next, some pics, and some usability comments.
 

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Okay, now I know why no one else has documented this install -- because its "stupid easy".

Time: About a week to study it, and 12 minutes to execute
Tools required: Opposable thumbs. Seriously.
So you are saying a monkey can do this? It's stupid easy and the only tools that are needed are opposable thumbs? :)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
And now for some usability feedback.

It is not perfect. I did not experience any static, interference, or digital "choppiness" that one would expect when a Bluetooth connection is stretched to its limit. The bluetooth connection held strong with my phone sitting in the forward cup holder and the driver's door pocket. No issues there. That being said, I made a couple dozen calls to my own cellphone voicemail and my office voicemail. I recorded messages over normal roads and some slightly bumpy roads. Did not try highways or with the windows down. You can barely hear the strut or sway bar mount rattling in the background, but its there.

About every tenth call, the phone would start up in bluetooth mode and the bluestar would never pick up. Also, about every tenth call I would hear the very first word of my voicemail system prompts. Otherwise, the system would go beyond "You have no messages. Main menu. To send a message..." before the BlueSTAR would kick in and the first words I would hear are "press 2". Sometimes it would even go beyond that into "to check receipt of a message" before I would hear "press 3" as the first words. A little long of a wait. Luckily (I suppose), my work number transfers through two phone numbers before ringing my cell, so callers will hear hold music during that time. Its my friends that will have to get used to the wait before speaking. My favorite part is that when listening to my voicemail's main menu, the last option is to press * to hang up... which is exactly what the blue OnStar button on the mirror now does! Its a nice reminder of how the buttons were remapped on the mirror.

I also used m.npr.org for several test calls (did you know you can browse NPR stories and press a button to call a number to hear the audio version of the story?) and never once did the audio get choppy or drop out. On just one occasion out of about 20 test calls I made, the BlueSTAR just dropped right out of OnStar mode and allowed my music to resume! The bluetooth side didn't drop because my phone was still in the call. Weird.

As far as the steering wheel "talking face" button, it is basically useless now. It still gives the chimes asking for a command, but every command is no longer recognized. I wonder if Chris would be able to license something like IBM's ViaVoice to restore the voice command functionality. Also, the stereo system's main volume control manages the volumes of calls, but its weird, because there's actually a minimum volume that's still fairly loud. So calls can either be pretty loud or *really loud*. I haven't used the red button to adjust the BlueSTAR volume. If it gets on my nerves, I will sit down and figure out where to set the volume so that transitioning between music and calls won't be too jarring. Don't forget the navigation voice in there, too. Its a three battle.

For now, I'm not sure if I trust this enough for business calls. I design next-generation IT infrastructures for IBM's clients, and I can't have calls dropping when I'm speaking with someone who just spent half a million dollars for my time. If it drops out of OnStar mode frequently (like once a week), its going back. Waiting 3-8 seconds before hearing a caller is disrupting but survivable. If I call everyone on a number that makes me "press 1 to locate them" as opposed to calling their cellphones, then it will mask the connection delay on outbound calls. If everyone calls me on a number that makes me "press 1 to accept the call", then that, too, will mask the delay. Its only live, person-to-person calls that will have an uncomfortable delay getting under way.

I have about 55 days left to try it, and at least I know where the shipping box is :)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
So you are saying a monkey can do this? It's stupid easy and the only tools that are needed are opposable thumbs? :)
OMG I can't believe I even spent two seconds worrying about this. If you can turn 2-inch diameter nobs and connect and disconnect phone lines, you are *done*.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Oh, I also tried to switch my FlyCast streaming player over to the BlueSTAR, but no can do. I know its not A2DP, but FlyCast plays just fine in my old school Motorola 350 (very much not stereo) bluetooth ear clip. Probably the first one they ever made. I can't believe it accepts streaming audio. Anyway, can't even back door streaming audio to the BlueSTAR, no matter what.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I forgot to mention earlier that, unlike a common complaint about the Parrot kit, this kit does not interrupt the audio whenever a text message arrives. Also, I tested the voice dialing capabilities on my Bold this morning thinking I could get some of the key voice commands back. Nope. The voice dialing app picks up the BlueSTAR no problem, but the quality of the audio presented to the phone is just too poor for good command recognition. For my first test I tried "call voice mail" a dozen times before I noticed that "Voice Mail" is hard coded in by AT&T and is not actually an entry in my address book. Oops!

I tried half a dozen other real names in my address book, and it never worked once. I tried entries with people's names and those with just business names. None worked. I looked to see if my phone supported voice tagging the entries, but no luck there either. I was perfectly willing to record audio samples of me saying the names of each of the people I would call the most from the car, but my phone doesn't support it. Oh well. I still make heavy use of the speed dial buttons.
 

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When you installed the bluestar I'm assuming you just unplugged the onstar module, anything else you had to do first?
I looked at it last summer and I remember seeing a headphone jack plug,
Do you think if we (I also have a bold..best phone ever) just plugged it directly into the phone it would work?
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
I only disconnected the bottom two wire bundles from the OnStar. The page I linked to initially showed the bottom three being disconnected, but the BlueSTAR only uses the bottom two. I don't recall seeing a headphone jack plug on the BlueSTAR, and I had the kit sitting next to my laptop for a day and a half. What you were looking at last summer must have been some early prototypes. I'm actually considering *also* doing the Parrot kit and pairing that with a bluetooth iPod. If not the Parrot, I also started looking at Blackberry's own native Bluetooth music interface. The thought of having to turn on the RIM device every time I get in the car does not bode well, however. Plus, separating out the music from the phone features means that I will give up on live streaming audio from my phone (FlyCast, Pandora, Moodio, and all the HD Radio content). Its hard to believe that a $10 tape adapter and tape player actually gives me better flexibility.

See this page for adding bluetooth to an older iPod

http://www.instructables.com/id/Add-INTERNAL-Bluetooth-Capability-To-Your-iPod/

I may resort to adding aux in with the generic Pac Audio in-line FM modulator, but while not as bad as an FM transmitter, its a far (FAR!) cry from a digital input. I'm really on the fence here. I often wish someone would come out with a drop-in replacement of the XM module with an HD Radio tuner, *or* a low-power PC running CAJUN, or something like that. I'm also really into Android, and think that it will come to car stereos soon. Maybe a replacement visor with an embedded touch screen frontending an Android-based entertainment system is in order, who knows. At least with a full-blown PC running CAJUN or Android, I can replace the original OnStar antenna with one for 802.11. Good for downloading podcasts, but won't help for live streaming.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Just an update. The BlueSTAR did a great job on a critical hour-long conference call today. On major interstates, country roads, and in between. Did something different today in that my call wasn't complete, so I switched to the handset mid call. I had to switch reactivate the handset a few times because the BlueSTAR kept grabbing the phone again. Went back to the car, turned it back on, and activated the bluetooth, again mid-call. Drove for half an hour, took a couple more calls. Got off the phone, parked, and grabbed some lunch somewhere. I went to leave, and...

the alarm went off. Loudly.

I tried unlocking the car over and over and nothing worked. I finally jumped out of the car, closed the driver's door, locked the car and unlocked it, and that did it. I understand the whole causation vs correlation thing, but the first time I manually switched off the bluetooth mid-call (and also the first time I switched on the bluetooth mid-call) was also the first time the alarm has ever gone off. I have to wonder if something weird happens when the BlueSTAR grabs the phone after the car has been turned off and/or the I manually switch off or on the bluetooth mid-call while the car is turned on.

Ugh, I hope it doesn't go off tomorrow, I have to leave at 6:15am!
 

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i would personally never put this in my car cause i have absolutely no use for it, but your story definitely confirms why i wouldnt put one in my car...thanks for the laugh
 

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Discussion Starter #20
i would personally never put this in my car cause i have absolutely no use for it, but your story definitely confirms why i wouldnt put one in my car...thanks for the laugh
HTH, I guess. Everything was fine today, but again, I didn't switch the bluetooth on or off during a call. There are a number of us who need this functionality, need to comply with state laws, and want a clean look while doing it. It actually serves a very important function.
 
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