PA11-NIS iPod interface in my G35

I have a Monster iCarPlay Wireless 200 FM transmitter that I was using to play my iPod in my car. It is a pretty cleverly designed thing, tunable to any frequency. So you don’t have to try to find eight preset frequencies and hope they’ll cover everywhere you ever want to go. As far as that goes, it was a nice FM transmitter. But it had misfeature that really made me hate it with a passion: whenever my music reached a quiet section, the damn thing would turn itself off. And I would get slammed by the biggest blast of noise an otherwise-unoccupied FM channel can provide.

If you listen exclusively to full-on assault speed-metal, that’s probably fine. But my music has dynamic range. It happened to me all the time, and I really hated it.

I did some extensive research to find options to interface the iPod directly to the factory stereo in my 2006 Infiniti G35 (6MT Coupe). I found a good option in the PA11-NIS from USA Spec.

PA11-NIS installs behind the dashboard somewhere. It appears to the factory radio to be an external CD changer. The steering wheel audio controls work with it. It will charge the iPod, too.

It’s not compatible with the factory Satellite Radio receiver option, but I don’t have satellite, and I don’t really want it, so that’s not a problem.

I ordered my unit from their dealer in Toronto, iPodForAutos.ca and, since I was going to be in Toronto that day anyway, went to pick it up.

A couple days later, before I got to installing it, I happened to look at the USA Spec web-site again, and noticed something I had not noticed before in all my research: in addition to being incompatible with the optional satellite receiver, it was also incompatible with Bluetooth.

What did they mean by “Bluetooth”? Surely they didn’t mean the Bluetooth hands-free phone system? That would be a showstopper for me… I need my handsfree!

I emailed USA Spec, and they confirmed… indeed it is incompatible. They said the factory Bluetooth system occupied the same connector that the PA11-NIS would use.

That didn’t really make sense to me… wouldn’t that mean that the factory Bluetooth was also incompatible with the factory satellite option? I never heard anything about that.

Wanting to investigate further, I downloaded the relevant chapters of the 2006 G35 Coupe service manual, and pored over the wiring diagrams. I couldn’t find anything that would appear to be incompatible. The Bluetooth interface (located in the trunk) connects to the head-unit on connector M39. The optional satellite interface (also in the trunk) would come in on connector M90. As far as I could see, no signals required by the Bluetooth interface were on connector M90 at all.

As far as I could tell, the only reason connector M90 was plugged in at all was because the factory pre-wires a harness for the satellite receiver. But at the other end of that harness, in the trunk, there’s just a dangling connector, not plugged into anything.

To test this theory, I opened up the dashboard today, and unplugged connector M90. I then hooked the battery back up (always disconnect the battery before messing with the electrical stuff), and tested things out. The Bluetooth interface still worked perfectly. It does not appear to depend on connector M90 at all. Everything else I tested also worked perfectly.

So, I then connected the PA11-NIS module to the head-unit. Powered back up, connected my iPod, and tried it out. A flawless result! The iPod worked, steering-wheel controls worked, Bluetooth worked, navigation system worked. I tried making phone calls, both ways. No problems. The iPod even pauses when an incoming call comes, just like the in-dash CD player does.

So, then I started thinking how to make the installation permanent. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to do anything really fancy with mounting the iPod. Not yet, anyway (though I have ideas…) For now, I’d be happy to just have the cable coming out somewhere, and let the iPod sit loose on the center console.

PA11-NIS installedThe PA11-NIS itself I secured in a small open area below the radio unit, in behind the ashtray. I was able to affix it to a bit of plastic bracket using two of the self-drilling screws that came with it. I can get to the PA11-NIS again if I have to by just removing the one trim piece around the shifter.

For the cable, what I came up with was running the cable out through the ashtray. I don’t smoke, so that’s not a problem. I just don’t have anywhere to put gum-wrappers anymore. I wanted to be able to push the cable back inside the dash and close the lid, for a stock appearance. What I did was run the cable through the little hole on top of the ashtray where the light was. To be able to open and close the ashtray, I had to remove a metal heat-shield from the top of the ashtray so the cable could move around without interference. But it just came off with a couple screws, so that’s an easily-reversible change. That left the light bulb dangling on its wires, so I just secured it somewhere with a bit of electrical tape. I didn’t want to bulb to get hot and melt something, so I cut one of the wires to it (that can be fixed easily enough too.)

Ashtray with heatshieldAshtray, heatshield removedPA11-NIS installed

The hardest part of this whole thing was disassembling the dashboard. Even with the detailed Infiniti service manual, it’s still a bitch. The shift-knob is supposed to just unscrew, but they use some kind of crazy-ass tenacious thread-locker adhesive on it. You have to take precautions to prevent the shaft from twisting while you struggle to turn that bastard, otherwise you might screw up the shift linkage. And then removing the various trim pieces without damaging them or tearing open an artery is always a challenge.

But, at the end of the day, I now have a nice sounding iPod in my car, and everything works perfectly. The sound is pretty clean. I can hear a tiny bit of a whine in the silence between tracks, which appears to be correlated to engine RPM. But actually, it sounds a bit like a turbocharger spooling up and down with the RPMs, so that’s pretty cool.

I don’t know what USA Spec is smoking when they say it’s incompatible with Bluetooth. I guess they have a better product there than even they realize.

25 Responses to “PA11-NIS iPod interface in my G35”


  • I applaud your do-it-yourself’ness, and congrats on getting it all to work. Obviously the wiring part isn’t too draining on my EEE-enabled brain, but I have no desire to argue with trim, faceplates, mounting brackets and the like. So I went the lazy man’s route. Johanna bought me a pioneer stereo for my car. (I had an impending birthday or something and I’m notoriously hard to buy for – so she was keen on my suggesting it.) The cost of the installation (for me) was well worth it.

    The added advantages of the new stereo were a few – it’s smaller (so now I have a tiny bit of extra storage on the dash) it takes a stereo line-in for generic sound devices, it has an ipod connector and it plays MP3 (data) CDs. It’s that last part that has been so nice. I don’t have an ipod (although Johanna does) but I do have a small mp3 player – hence wanting the line-in. But the CD player now takes CD-RW’s, so for long trips I simply burn an RW and then I have full abilities to control it – same as you would an ipod. (And if Johanna’s with me, we also have her ipod.) I also had them run the cables (line in, and ipod connector) to inside the center console, so everything’s neat and hidden, even when all possible devices are connected.

    The only thing *I* lost was I don’t like how the stereo dims with the headlights on. The old (huge, clunky) stereo dimmed properly with the dash lights. The new one has one step – down a *tiny* bit when the lights are on, and bright otherwise. Apparently that’s an incompatibility with how Toyota dims their radios versus other vendors. Only really a factor when you’re in absolute dark (say country road.) But annoying. Fortunately, the faceplate flips down to let you eject/insert CDs – so you can do that while it’s playing and it all goes dark… but I miss my schnazzy dimmer. 🙂

  • Infiniti/Nissan has a habit of making it extremely difficult to install 3rd party DIN-standard radios. Everything they do is so non-standard.

    You can get DIN mounting kits for the G35, I think, but it really requires a pretty extensive surgery, cutting and removing a lot of plastic.

    Also, the Infiniti radio is pretty tightly integrated with the Bluetooth and Navigation systems. I’m not sure if any 3rd party radio would work the same way. Bluetooth and Navigation both send their own audio to the radio, and an override signal, so they can pump their sound out the speakers at any time.

    The PA11-NIS, by the way, also provides an additional AUX input. If it’s enabled (by a dip-switch), then I would select CD 6 to access it.

  • Piper,
    I have a 2003 coupe with the bose system, I am thinking about installing the PA11-NIS. Do you still have functionality of the CD changer?

    Did you come up with a place to put the ipod rather than just letting it hang loose?

    Chris

  • Piper, when you connected this PA11-NIS Ipod interface, did you lose your internal CD changer because I want to install this but I still need my CD player. thanks buddy
    rod

  • Chris: I still haven’t pursued my ideas for mounting the iPod in a nice way. No time. I’m still just running the cable out through the ashtray, and leave the iPod sitting loose in the center console cup-holder.

    rodd187: The internal CD changer still works. Press the “CD” button to toggle between the internal changer and the iPod.

  • Piper- thanks for your write-up. I hadnt realized a product like the PA11 even existed.

    I have an Infiniti 2007 G35X with a CD changer in the trunk. Some owners are removing the CD changer (just don’t need it) which of course will leave a nice spare ‘connector’ – perfect to connect a spare iPod!

    It there anyway to use the PA11 product and connect it to the spare connector used for the CD changer??? Even if the connectors are compatible, is the wiring?? Ie can one cut the connectors off the G and the PA11 and splice the wiring together??

  • I believe it would be possible to install the PA11-NIS and iPod in the trunk, as long as your car is prewired for the satellite radio option.

    According to the wiring diagram I downloaded, every signal in the M90 connector at the head unit (which the PA11-NIS plugs into) comes out (in a different order) on the B124 satellite connector in the trunk.

    I don’t know exactly what the signals are (the manual doesn’t name them), but here’s the way they map from M90 to B124:

    M90 pin B124 pin
    33 21
    34 22
    35 23
    36 24
    37 25
    42 30
    41 29
    38 26
    40 28

    The connectors themselves look like this (though I don’t know whether these diagrams show the male or female connector.)

    M90 (head-unit satellite connector):

    44 42 XX XX XX XX 36 34
    43 41 40 39 38 37 35 33

    B124 (trunk satellite connector):

    36 34 32 XX XX XX XX 26 24 22
    35 33 31 30 29 28 27 25 23 21

    It would still be a challenging job, I think, and not without a certain element of risk.

    If you install the iPod in the trunk, you’ll probably want to configure the PA11-NIS for “Playlist Mode”. That mode disables the iPod’s own user-interface, which you won’t be able to access anyway. Instead, you would configure up to 6 playlists which you would access with your preset 1-6 buttons on the head-end.

    I don’t really know how things would interact with a factory CD changer in the trunk too. Don’t know how that’s wired up. Does the factory changer replace the satellite receiver, or can you have both at once?

    Nissan actually does have an iPod integration kit available now for other models, but I believe it can be adapted to the G35. I saw a web-site about it somewhere, but I can’t find it now. But I believe it is effectively Playlist Mode only, and I really prefer the Direct Mode for navigating my songs from the iPod itself. I’m quite happy with the PA11-NIS.

  • Piper
    Thanks for a nice writeup and digging in to find out the real facts….maybe you can help me with my 2005 G35x Sedan? It has the Bose stereo with in-dash 6 disc cd changer, and I want to add my ipod and a sat radio (the car is pre-wired for sat, but it’s not installed). I want everything hard wired, and I’ve been looking at the USA Spec PA11-NIS adaptor, as they claim you can connect both an ipod and sat radio.

    But a tech a Crutchfield told me it wouldn’t work because I don’t have a button labelled “CD/CHG”. There are four buttons on the radio, “CD” “RADIO” “PTY CAT” “DISP” across the top of the radio. Switching between the CDs is done with the six numbered radio pre-set buttons at the bottom.

    Is the Crutchfield tech correct? If so, is there another adaptor that might work? I’ve written USA Spec, but it’s been 2 weeks and they have not replied.

    Thanks again, any comments you have would be appreciated.

    Kevin

  • That’s a cool setup.

  • Piper,
    I’ve got a 2003 G35 sedan with factory navigation and my cd player just went out and I was looking at installing the PA 11 NIS. I was looking on USA SPEC website and it states its compatible with 04 and newer models of G35 and doesn’t state anything for 2003. Do they still work with 2003 g35’s? Also, do you know if I will loose my factory navigation?

    Thanks!

  • I have and 07 coupe with in dash 6 disc. I dont know much about this but I want a 3.5mm jack to either plug my ipod or my zune into. Any suggestions on how to go about doing this or where to go to buy the stuff?

    thanks

  • Does anyone know of a good site that shows the step-by-step instructions for the dash removal of an ’06 G35 coupe ? I ordered the PA11-NIS, now I need to install it. Thanks!

  • Here’s one: http://g35driver.com/forums/audio-video-electronics-diy/90507-diy-06-hu-removall.html

    He seems to be leaving the gearshift knob on, just swiveling the trim piece out of the way. That’s probably a good idea. The knob is a right bloody bastard to remove. It’s supposed to just unscrew, but they secure it with space-shuttle-grade threadlocker. I wrapped mine with a sheet of hard rubber before putting the pliers to it, but it still got a small dent in it.

    If you do try to remove the knob, be sure to use some vicegrips or something to put opposing torque on the shaft below the knob, or you’ll bugger up the shift linkage.

    If you Google hard enough, you may be able to find the actual factory service manual. A lot of FSMs are finding their way online these days. It’s not quite legal, but on the other hand, I feel that the full FSM should be included by law with every car sold. (http://www.freedom-to-tinker.com)

  • piper –

    Thanks so much for the link. Those instructions worked like a charm! Luckily, I have a AT, so the shifter nob was never a problem. The module fits great in that little dead space below the radio. Thanks again.

  • Hi Piper,

    I pick up my ’06 G35X sedan tomorrow and I am looking for iPod options. Your site has been very informative I think this is exactly what I was looking for. I can’t wait to start tinkering.

    V

  • Hi Piper.
    I have a 2005 Nissan Pathfinder with the Bose 6 CD in dash changer.
    If I install the PA11 NIS will my CD changer still work? And will my factory radio/CD controls on the dash and steering wheel operate the iPod?

    Maybe I missed this above, but does the PA11 NIS also charge the iPod?

    Thanks.

  • Scott:
    In my G35, it does everything you asked for. The CD/CHG button will toggle between the in-dash changer and the iPod. Steering wheel controls work, and it charges the iPod.

    There are constant variations between models and years or cars, though. You’ll have to research whether it will work on the 2005 Pathfinder.

    Weird, I just Googled PA11-NIS to find the manufacturer’s page, and my site comes up before theirs! It’s USA Spec. Their compatibility table lists Pathfinder up to 2001. Why it stops there, I don’t know. But they make the thing, they should know. On the other hand, they’re still claiming it’s incompatible with the factory BLuetooth in the G35, but it works fine for me. So, maybe they don’t know…

  • I have a 2006 G35X Sedan. The stock Radio did not have SAT or CH. I only have CD, Radio, SSV and Disp. Would this adapter work. I have an IPhone 3G and love to have it connect to my stock radio.

    Please help

    Doug

  • hey does anybody know if the PA11-niss works with the sat on a 2004 G35?????? help

  • I would like to install the Ipod interface in my 2005 Maxima and later on the handsfree Bluetooth, does anyone know where in the Toronto area I can get it installed?

    Cheers!

  • In any gadgets with music I prefer using the ones with fm transmitters, because it is always good to hear brand new hit musics not only from the ones you have downloaded but also you will not be bored to hear the same thing again shuffling from your gadgets.

  • I’m installing a Pacific Accessory Corporation AAI-NIS2 in my 2006 G35 to play an iPod and am fighting with the center console to get at the radio. Is there a website out there to download Infiniti service manuals that doesn’t charge an arm and a leg?

  • I found this in my Firefox bookmarks:

    http://g35driver.com/forums/audio-video-electronics-diy/90507-diy-06-hu-removall.html

    I think the most surprising bit in there is the need to remove the trim around the clock on the top of the dashboard.

    To completely remove the center console, you’ll need to unscrew the shift knob (if it’s a manual). Getting it off is serious bitch, as I wrote in the original posting. You may be able to get by without actually completely removing the console, just rotate it around the stick shift to get it out of your way.

  • May have to do it that way. Try getting the shift knob off today and was afraid I’d mess up the linkage if I twisted any harder.

  • Piper – The link helps greatly. Many thanks!

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