Looking around for an external CD changer for my second 626, I found the changer, the cable and information generally unavailable. Glad I snapped up my first one. I love the old Mazda OEM radios. No flashy glitz looking out of place and very convenient to use.
In the process of research, I came across to XCARLINK, an external, direct MP3 player for the Mazda and others which also offers a 3.5mm stereo input jack, they also offer an iPod version. See xcarlink.com/mp3.html (link dead new link added by admin to waybackmachine: http://web.archive.org/web/20081120022616/http://www.xcarlink.com/mp3.html )However, I came across no references of anyone's user experience in a 626. I went ahead and bought one on Ebay from seller doumama_cn2 for about $140 including shipping. Communications with them was excellent and it arrived in only a few days from Hong Kong. I explained to them it was a Mazda 99 626 with a "4M31" Bose am/fm/cd radio with an external CN200 connector such as that shown at http://miata.fosketts.net/index.php?title=...a_Audio_Pinouts. The unit I received is marked Mazda "Premacy"
I just thought I would let you all know how the XCARLINK worked for me. The cool thing about it is that you control XCARLINK through your stereo's CD controls, just like it were an external CD changer.
It worked great! Rather than installing it in my 1999 626 I actually ended up installing in my 2000 626 with a "4M30" non-Bose am/fm/cd radio. I installed it to the right of the center console for easy access. I pulled out the stereo using nails shoved in the removal holes and a little persuasion. The radio supports 10 disks of 99 songs each as follows as shown on the display 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-A-1-2-3 etc. using the "1/DISK" button I also installed and tested it successfully daisy-chained off its accessory cassette player and also with a "1273" am/fm/casette radio. Based on these findings, I believe the XCARLINK should work with any 1990-2000 Mazda radio with an external CN200 connector such as that shown at http://miata.fosketts.net/index.php?title=...a_Audio_Pinouts and used in 626's, Miata's , etc of the period.
One minor issue is that while the XCARLINK's connector is electrically correct, mechanically it is that of newer Mazda's and does not lock into place. This is not a big deal but there's always the chance it might come loose. This could always be addressed by a little silicone, however.
The limitation of 64K-320Kbps is a bit of a problem as I listen to many old time radio shows which are recorded at 32bps or less. I believe some talking books might do this as well. I also seem to have problems with some songs recorded at 320bps but I need to investigate this further. I found a user friendly program named Wav Mp3 Converter which seems to work well at converting MP3's to whatever rate I need. Most MP3's are 128 bps so this should never be an issue for most users.
'81 626 LX (R.I.P)
'82 626 LX (parts car)
'98 626 LX-V6 (R.I.P.hit and run)
'00 626 LX-V6 (can't live without a 626)
'99 626 LX-V6 (found a creampuff)
?? Why can't Mazda come up with a worthwhile car post 626/Millenia?