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2003 SL500 Steering wheel audio control

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SL-Class (R230) 2003 -- 2012: Discussion on the SL500, SL550, SL600

2003 SL500 Steering wheel audio control

 
Old 03-28-2014, 10:57 PM
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2003 SL500 Steering wheel audio control

Hey Everyone, anyone know which wires are the CanBus steering wheel / radio control wires. I'm installing the PAC controllers.
Thanks
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Old 03-29-2014, 01:36 AM
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At the audio gateway. Located behind the drivers seat on the side of the car. Remove the trim, and you'll see a box with a couple of antenna connectors and a plug. The plug has 4 wires if I recall, 2 of which are the CAN-bus connectors. Brown w/stripe is CAN-hi; plain brown is CAN-low.

I installed my steering wheel control module off these connectors and it worked perfectly the first time. Ran the wire up through the center console area. Note: you only need remove the rear armrest cover (2 screws). No need at all to remove the main center console (with the 2 storage areas). You can easily fish a tape (or coat hanger) under this console to pull the wires. Saves tons of time not removing this bit of the interior.
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Old 03-29-2014, 11:32 AM
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On a U.S. car the CAN-B connector mentioned in the previous post is behind the passenger seat. Also, the striped wire is usually the CAN-Hi wire, but according to M-B this is not always the case -- so you can measure voltages and get it right the first time or simply take a trial and error approach.
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Old 04-02-2014, 08:07 PM
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Thanks Diablo & Rod. Unfortunately Im gonna need a little more guidance. Im attaching 3 pics. Driver & passenger side & center area behind the seats. Photo 1 is Passenger side. 2 is center & 3 is driver side.
Thanks again
Attached Thumbnails 2003 SL500 Steering wheel audio control-photo-1.jpg   2003 SL500 Steering wheel audio control-photo-2.jpg   2003 SL500 Steering wheel audio control-photo-3.jpg  
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Old 04-02-2014, 08:47 PM
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I suppose you are trying to identify the connector for CAN-B. I circled the connector in red on your first picture.
Attached Thumbnails 2003 SL500 Steering wheel audio control-can-connector.jpg  
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Old 04-02-2014, 10:15 PM
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A slight word of caution here. *some* CAN-bus intercept devices (such as the SMARTOP module) require that you find the correct sub-bus on the CAN-B network. I don't know if this is the case with the PAC control module. I wired my steering wheel control interface into the CAN-bus input on the Audio Gateway (AGW, not shown in your pics; its the big box behind the drivers seat when you remove the trim between the door and rear glovebox). The CAN-bus on the plug into the AGW contains the outputs from the steering wheel control and worked great.

This may- or may-not matter on the PAC module. If it doesn't matter, you can easily connect into any of the CAN-B plugs at the junction circled in the post, above. If for whatever reason it doesn't work, I would suspect that you do need to intercept the correct subnet for CAN-B coming from the steering wheel control module.

Again, I'm not trying to scare you. Simply documenting exactly what worked for me, and worked well. I know this is a bit complex. Wiring into the general CAN-B junction shown above may very well work just fine.

EDIT: I looked closely at your picture #3. It looks like someone has already removed the Audio Gateway (along with maybe the CD changer?). There's at least 2 bare MOST optical plugs in that photo, suggesting someone already stripped out much of the audio gear. If that's the case, and you do need to find the plug from the AGW that contain the CAN-B inputs, let us know. Somewhere, I've got an old pic of that plug that identifies the correct wires.

Last edited by diablo2112; 04-02-2014 at 10:20 PM.
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Old 04-02-2014, 10:44 PM
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I don't believe there is a sub-bus on corsair's car. There definitely is no MOST bus or Audio Gateway control module, as those were not introduced until June '04.
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Old 04-03-2014, 10:58 AM
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I have totally gutted the COMMAND, CD changer & amp. Installing Pioneer Z120BT. I do not have MOST as this is 1st gen R230 2003.

ROD: attached is a close up of what I believe you are talking about.

DIABLO: I did find a brown/red & brown in the harness behind the driver seat that plugged into the factory amp. Pins 9 & 13.

Also attaching the PAC SWI-CAN2 instructions.
Attached Thumbnails 2003 SL500 Steering wheel audio control-photo-1-2-.jpg   2003 SL500 Steering wheel audio control-photo-3-2-.jpg   2003 SL500 Steering wheel audio control-download.jpg  
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Old 04-04-2014, 04:00 AM
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You have found the rear CAN-B connector (X30/16). If your installation kit did not include plugs, you can purchase them from an M-B dealer or online. This link from the smartTOP module installation guide provides details. The CAN high side of the connector is likely the one into which all of the red wires are connected.

Originally Posted by corsair944 View Post
I have totally gutted [the] amp.
This is a dreadful mistake, IMHO. Though it's called an "amplifier", that unit performs an essential function beyond powering the seven channels of audio (Mercedes counts six; clearly there are seven): it also has low-pass, band-bass, and hi-pass filters which have been substituted for conventional crossover networks on the speakers. Further, the output characteristics of the amplifier channels have been customized to the acoustic properties of the R230 interior through digital signal processing. If you discard the amplifier you throw that away.

A few weeks ago I saw here or over at Benzworld that someone had purchased a device which converted conventional analog voltage signals to D2B optical. This allows one to swap-out the COMAND unit for something else while maintaining the customized amplification of the stock amplifier. I looked briefly for the post with the information but failed to find it...
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Old 04-10-2014, 10:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Rod_84 View Post
You have found the rear CAN-B connector (X30/16). If your installation kit did not include plugs, you can purchase them from an M-B dealer or online. This link from the smartTOP module installation guide provides details. The CAN high side of the connector is likely the one into which all of the red wires are connected.

This is a dreadful mistake, IMHO. Though it's called an "amplifier", that unit performs an essential function beyond powering the seven channels of audio (Mercedes counts six; clearly there are seven): it also has low-pass, band-bass, and hi-pass filters which have been substituted for conventional crossover networks on the speakers. Further, the output characteristics of the amplifier channels have been customized to the acoustic properties of the R230 interior through digital signal processing. If you discard the amplifier you throw that away.

A few weeks ago I saw here or over at Benzworld that someone had purchased a device which converted conventional analog voltage signals to D2B optical. This allows one to swap-out the COMAND unit for something else while maintaining the customized amplification of the stock amplifier. I looked briefly for the post with the information but failed to find it...
Is this what your talking about? I saw this before I started this project. Only works with MOST wish I could have used this.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf
MOST-HUR MB.pdf (632.4 KB, 971 views)
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Old 04-10-2014, 11:23 PM
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Originally Posted by corsair944 View Post
Is this what your talking about? I saw this before I started this project. Only works with MOST wish I could have used this.
Yes, that's the module I installed. Works fantastic if you have the MOST bus (2004+ R230s ?).
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Old 06-18-2014, 09:45 AM
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Just out of interest, what PAC controller(s) did you install, and did they control Audio +/- and next song/previous song... or did they also control the phone call/hangup buttons too?

I looked at PAC's website and they say nothing fits the SL. But almost all 2003 MB's use the PAC SWI-RC. They say for CAN bus cars you need to add the SWI-CAN or SWI-CAN2 modules (not sure what the difference is)

So did you install the SWI-RC and one of the SWI-CAN modules together?

just wondering as I'm about to do the same thing. I'm sure these will work, but want to see what models you bought so I can verify they'll work
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Old 06-19-2014, 09:47 AM
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I gave up
I'll try to figure it out sometime
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Old 11-30-2016, 10:40 PM
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Custom Stereo Woes.

Originally Posted by corsair944 View Post
I gave up
I'll try to figure it out sometime
When I bought my 2004 SL500 it had an aftermarket replacement which the owner advertised as much better than the Bose/ Command system. I was skeptical about this as the install was not perfect. It did sound great though. An 850watt amp and focal speakers throughout fed from an Eclipse Head Unit with 7" touchscreen (which Mercedes has avoided). Ipod /DVD/GPS/ Bluetooth/ and XM sat radio.. No voice activation though. Now shortly after the original installation Eclipse/Fujitsu got out of the business in the US so there is no more support of Nav updates. Google has taken care of that and the existing NAV is fine for most purposes with a nice display of the upcoming street names. In any case - factory NAV is even more outdated.

Problem with almost any Benz is that you have to replace the amplifier in order to get away from the command system. After several purchases and attempts I have given up on the steering wheel controls - SWC- as well as the backup camera. Too scary to work in those tight quarters with airbag warnings.

Certainly the BT and ipod cable was the most worthwhile improvement. It gave me a use for my 160GB iPod, which can also play OK videos. I miss the CD changer but that has gotten passe in the last couple years. In fact the built in XM is pretty superfluous when I can stream sirius off my iphone BT, along with Google Maps and Waze for the voice as needed. The NAV is still pretty good.

A plus of all this previous work is that the radios can easily be replaced now. Newer Android Head Units with Mercedes Command Unit looks and WiFi built in are available and look the way to go for me.
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Old 07-10-2018, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by diablo2112 View Post
At the audio gateway. Located behind the drivers seat on the side of the car. Remove the trim, and you'll see a box with a couple of antenna connectors and a plug. The plug has 4 wires if I recall, 2 of which are the CAN-bus connectors. Brown w/stripe is CAN-hi; plain brown is CAN-low.

I installed my steering wheel control module off these connectors and it worked perfectly the first time. Ran the wire up through the center console area. Note: you only need remove the rear armrest cover (2 screws). No need at all to remove the main center console (with the 2 storage areas). You can easily fish a tape (or coat hanger) under this console to pull the wires. Saves tons of time not removing this bit of the interior.
Hi Diablo - I need to safely remove the upholstery trim panel to access the audio Gateway in my 2004 SL500. This is a big panel behind the drivers seat with no visible screws. It would be great if I can mount a Wifi Mirror Box in the space by the Audio Gateway. Do I need to remove the alloy cover on top of the door piller to free this panel? I have put off the SWC /AXXESS installation for years because I did not want to damage the interior. If all I gain is radio volume control it is not worth it for me to risk. However, if the SWC module provides full steering wheel controls for phone and station tuning/ source selection it would be worth the effort.

I currently have an Eclipse Bluetooth Double DIN with ipod, XM,and JLAudio Marine Amp. It works fine but space has gotten very cramped and I may pull the XM or iPod adapter bits to fit the SWC Module. The original professional installer threw away the cupholders since they were in the way. That still bothers me!

Thanks for any info on removing that trim panel.







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Old 11-02-2018, 12:08 AM
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Update on outcome of SL500 side trim removal

Originally Posted by gotglasses View Post
Hi Diablo - I need to safely remove the upholstery trim panel to access the audio Gateway in my 2004 SL500. This is a big panel behind the drivers seat with no visible screws. It would be great if I can mount a Wifi Mirror Box in the space by the Audio Gateway. Do I need to remove the alloy cover on top of the door piller to free this panel? I have put off the SWC /AXXESS installation for years because I did not want to damage the interior. If all I gain is radio volume control it is not worth it for me to risk. However, if the SWC module provides full steering wheel controls for phone and station tuning/ source selection it would be worth the effort.

I currently have an Eclipse Bluetooth Double DIN with ipod, XM,and JLAudio Marine Amp. It works fine but space has gotten very cramped and I may pull the XM or iPod adapter bits to fit the SWC Module. The original professional installer threw away the cupholders since they were in the way. That still bothers me!

Thanks for any info on removing that trim panel.
This website was a big help - covered trim removals with great photos and descriptions www.mercupgrades.com. Covers many models . Seems to be a UK site so you have to be careful what side of the car they are talking about as the drivers side. Check it out. .
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