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Guy18

Experience With Xcarlink, An External, Direct Mp3

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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.

Happy listening!


'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?

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This information really helped me. I virtually searched the whole internet for information how the connector fits the 2001 or older Mazdas with CN200 and this is the only one info around.

While J-02 CD changer connector is 16 pin and used on most 2001/2002+ Mazdas, it looks incompatible with older CN200.

http://miata.fosketts.net/index.php?title=CN200

http://miata.fosketts.net/index.php?title=J-02

Also if you compare the pinout it's not exactly same. Similiar but not same. That means whichever angle (flip) you connect the cable into it, it does not exactly match. I believe XCarlink uses "double" wires with the signal detector in the chip, which somehow detects what signal it receives (if it's J-02 or CN200) and sets the output iPod/MP3/USB routes accordingly. That means that competitor products (Icelink, Grom Audio, DICE etc...) may not work even when they use the same connector as Xcarlink, in my opinion.

None of these brands' support could tell me for sure if their procut is compatible with CN200, however they say "it should work"

If you say Xcarlink works, that's great for me and many people I guess.

Can you be more specific about how you connected it to CN200 and why is sillicone needed?

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This information really helped me. I virtually searched the whole internet for information how the connector fits the 2001 or older Mazdas with CN200 and this is the only one info around.

While J-02 CD changer connector is 16 pin and used on most 2001/2002+ Mazdas, it looks incompatible with older CN200.

http://miata.fosketts.net/index.php?title=CN200

http://miata.fosketts.net/index.php?title=J-02

Also if you compare the pinout it's not exactly same. Similiar but not same. That means whichever angle (flip) you connect the cable into it, it does not exactly match. I believe XCarlink uses "double" wires with the signal detector in the chip, which somehow detects what signal it receives (if it's J-02 or CN200) and sets the output iPod/MP3/USB routes accordingly. That means that competitor products (Icelink, Grom Audio, DICE etc...) may not work even when they use the same connector as Xcarlink, in my opinion.

None of these brands' support could tell me for sure if their procut is compatible with CN200, however they say "it should work"

If you say Xcarlink works, that's great for me and many people I guess.

Can you be more specific about how you connected it to CN200 and why is sillicone needed?

By a little silicone I jest meant a little blob on the outside of the connector to help hold it in as the XCarLink connector does not click into place into the CN200 connector. I never actually bothered to do this and my connector hasn't fallen out yet.

Guy18

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