Category: Car

Alpine IXA-W404R Head Unit Optional Modules / Accessories

I recently picked up one of these head units very cheap from Facebook Marketplace. It appears to be a very modular unit with many accessories available for it. In fact I’d go as far as to say that many of the functions that it is designed for require optional modules to be purchased…not great from a consumer perspective but it seems to work for Alpine.

When researching this unit, I was unable to find a definitive list of all the compatible modules, so I have put together the following from various sources and I hope it is useful to someone. I have linked to the appropriate page on the Alpine or other suitable websites where possible.


Input Sources


Adapters & Cables


Audio Processing & Amplifiers



The user manual mentions the following but offers no part numbers or further information, I will update the details here if I find anything out.

  • “Vehicle Display Interface Box” – Interface box to output media information to dashboard MFDs, in some cases it can connect to and control in-car systems such as climate control and parking sensors. Also allows steering wheel controls in many cases. Vehicle support includes select BMW, Porsche, VW, Opel, Seat, Skoda and Renault from year approximately 2008 onwards. No mention of any other brands.
  • “Steering Controls Interface” – Same as above.

FIX: Peugeot Planet 2000 WINCAD Error on a Virtual Machine

Hi all, another quick fix. Credit goes to crazycarl over at Peugeot Forums and I am reposting here just to ensure it remains available for the forseeable future.

When running PP2000 inside a virtual machine, as many users do nowadays, you may see the following error on certain computers, depending on the processor that they use:

WINCAD caused a general protection fault in module WIN87EM.DLL at 0001:02C9

In my case, I am using VirtualBox to run my VM, I don’t know if this fix applies to VMWare, or even whether this error occurs on VMWare.

The fix that seems to work for me is:

1. Download “Winfloat.exe” to your VM.
2. Double-click on “Winfloat.exe” to extract files to C: drive.
3. Copy “” to the c:\windows\system32 directory.
4. Open the “autoexec.nt” file (c:\windows\system32\autoexec.nt) with a text editor like Wordpad.
5. Add “lh c:\windows\system32\” to the “autoexec.nt” file.
6. Save the file, and exit.
7. Reboot the Virtual Machine.
8. Done!


A Rant about Modified Cars and their Owners


I’ve been wanting to vent about this for some time but with Christmas almost upon us, seeing one more damn post on Facebook about people not declaring their car mods to their insurance companies really grinds my gears.

I’m a member of a few motoring groups on Facebook, and one that really stands out to me for immature, inappropriate and in several cases down right dangerous behavior is the Corsa C | UK group. Obviously by the type of car, these are popular among the teen and younger/inexperienced drivers or anyone on a budget. There are countless posts bragging about the modifications these people have done to their cars and all the comment threads lead to one thing – that people are happy to openly admit that they have not declared their mods to their insurance company just to save a bit of money.

Don’t get me wrong I like a tastefully modded car, I’m all for it in fact, it makes your car unique, stands out from the crowd and if done right it can look down right awesome. What I’m against though, is these hot headed teenagers who have just passed their test who spend thousands on souping up their motor in all kinds of garish ways while not giving any consideration to how it will affect their car’s safety and handling. It’s like they live in a bubble where they feel it’s OK to openly flout the laws and regulations, ask if things are legal or not (come on, if you feel the need to ask then it’s probably not), to not give a crap how them saving a few pounds on insurance can affect other people around them and it makes them feel like the big guy to boast about their accomplishments on Facebook.

At such a young age they seem oblivious to vehicle safety, constantly pushing their cars beyond their limits, changing suspension here, brakes there and stretched/banded tyres all over the place. Sure some of them might look nice, make your car feel nicer or more sporty to drive and give you buckets of street cred when you’re chatting up underage girls at your local Tesco car park. Some of these mods in themselves are down right dangerous, stretched tyres being my biggest pet peeve of them all. They look hideous, and when you take that corner too fast trying to beat your 0-60 high score that thing is gonna pop right off the rims and send you flying into who knows what is along side you.

If you want to drive a race car, do it on a track, not public roads.

Car manufacturers invest millions if not billions of pounds into research & development, design, testing, analysing flaws/faults, more testing and the safety aspects of all cars. Not to mention they have got billions more £££’s to spare in the unlikely event that their product fails they can pay compensation where it’s due, and also analyse what went wrong and correct it or do a recall if necessary to prevent the same fate happening to others. If one acne-clad goon decides to buy and install new suspension or brakes on their car costing £30 from a dodgy Chinese eBay seller, by following a 2 minute YouTube tutorial, then cannot afford the premium if they were to declare it on their insurance policy then they should not be allowed on the road. Insurance is there for a reason, it’s expensive for a reason, because you are asking your car to behave in a way it was not designed to, using parts that have not had the same budget spent on safety testing, because you’re only 17 and decide to turn your bog standard cheap-to-run matchbox into a hot hatch with little to no driving or mechanical experience and you then become even more of a danger to other road users than you previously were. You’re ruining it for us responsible drivers who abide by the law.

Thankfully, I don’t personally know anyone who has died from a road traffic accident although I do know some people who have come very close to it. Insurance is not a laughing matter, the simple solution is to know what you’re getting into, do your research on how it will affect your insurance premiums, if you can afford to go ahead then at least have an experienced mechanic fit the parts for you. Declare your mods to the insurer and pay any increases necessary, after all, you did research all this beforehand, right?

If you fail to declare modifications to your car, the best case is you WILL get caught, have a few points put on your license for driving without insurance (after all, you are NOT insured if mods are undeclared, it’s not worth the paper it’s written on in this case). Worst case scenario, you kill someone (God forbid a child), you’re standing there in court being charged with manslaughter and going in the slammer for a few years along with an unlimited fine, you look up and see the tears on the face of the family who you’ve taken a life away from, a “sorry” won’t cut it here kiddo. Your pretty young face (and backside) won’t last seconds in prison.

You’re an adult now, it’s time to start acting your age rather than your shoe size. Take responsibility. Drive sensibly in public places at all times. Disclose EVERYTHING about your car to the insurer. Pay the premium. If you can’t afford it, get off the dole, get a job and earn the privilege to drive the car you want. Nothing in this life is free nor will it ever be, if you want privileges such as driving a modified car you’re gonna have to earn it, ‘fam’.

Don’t put innocent people’s lives at risk, it’s not worth it.

(Note: The image above is from a The Times news article, currently awaiting permission for use. Should the copyright holder wish it to be removed please do get in touch via the comments section below).

Peugeot 406 Project Update / Tracker Installation

Today I also found some time to fit my Ruptela FM-Eco3 tracker to the car at the same time as my GPS repeater (explained in this previous post).

I decided I wanted the tracker mounted as far away from the head unit as possible because I was getting some interference from the GPRS communications which could be heard when listening to the radio. For this reason I thought I’d have a look behind the instrument cluster as a suitable location because all required connections are within easy reach, I’ll detail the process below.

To gain access to the instrument cluster area, first start by looking along the upper edge just above the speedo and rev counter and along that edge you will find 3 torx screws which all need to be removed. Once those are out the way, you can start to pry the plastic surround off from this area. My most effective method was to start by the two blower vents in the centre console and carefully using a flat bladed screwdriver just pry the plastic trim upwards slightly until that end clicks out of place, then work your way around the edge of it to the other side until all edges are unclipped. You may find it useful to pry the top edge downwards where you removed the torx screws as the screw holes are slightly recessed into the upper dash and will need prying out. If all goes to plan, the blower vents will come out already attached to the trim, if not, give those a good pull too and they will unclip from the dash. I found it easier to put the blower vents back into the plastic trim for safekeeping and also to aid reassembly later on.

This was as far as I needed to go to find a suitable spot. I chose to mount the tracker just above the right-hand blower vent tube, the tracker itself is only about 4″ by 2.5″ by 3/4″ so it would sit nicely on top of the pipe and I ran a cable/zip tie around it to keep it from rattling around. Before you do that though you will need to get the wires ready. For the GPS antenna, I had lost my original antenna for the tracker and I may have left it on my old car when that was scrapped so I decided to tab into the antenna from the GPS repeater from my last post. I had to purchase a “SMA ‘T’ Splitter” and a “1.5m SMA male to male cable” to do the job, both of which came to about £4 on ebay so very cheap. I hooked up the T splitter to the repeater cable above the interior light and ran the cable down inside the pillar to where my tracker will be mounted, as luck would have it the cable was once again the perfect length for this at 1.5 meters. That’s your antenna connection sorted. With my FM-Eco3 tracker, it had a small wiring loom with 8 cables coming from it. The ones we are interested in are the black, red and yellow. You can crimp a ring terminal on the black and put that onto one of the many 10mm bolts that you will find in that area of the dash for your negative connection. The red wire, you will need to find a permanently live connection, in my case I used a multimeter to probe each of the fuse slots to see which are live when the ignition is off and then used some male and female spade connections and suitable size wire to plug into the fuse holder and extend it out of the board so I could tap into the wire without losing use of whichever device is on that fuse, you should also have a 3amp inline fuse on the tracker wiring loom to protect that as well in case it ever malfunctions. The yellow wire in my case was configured to indicate when the ignition/engine is off or on, you can choose whether or not to use this in the Ruptela configuration software. If you look on the left side of the fuse board you will see a large plug with two thick wires going into a plug, a yellow one and an orange one. The yellow one becomes live when the ignition is in the first position and the orange one is live when it is on the second position, I chose to tap into the orange one so the tracker would indicate it’s online when the ignition is at the seond position. Here I carefully used a Stanley knife to remove a small amount of insulation from this wire and solder the yellow tracker wire onto it, then wrap it up well in insulation tape for safety reasons, also, don’t forget the inline 3 amp fuse on the yellow wire too! The connections for many other vehicle trackers will be the same and these instructions can also be applied to those but do read the manual first to make sure.

Then you just need to reassemble the plastic trim by slotting it back in place and pushing along all the edges to make sure it’s completely clipped in. You may need to adjust the right-hand air vent pipe to get it to slot in properly, I found it easy to remove the plastic blanking plate from the end of the dashboard (where the door shuts) and put my hand in there to position it correctly. Then put back the three torx screws along the top edge and you’re done!

Peugeot 406 Project Update / GPS Repeater Installation

Today I got a bit of free time (a rare occurrence these days) to work on my car and get some bits fitted.

Those of you with various Peugeot cars will no doubt have noticed that your sat nav rarely works or is inaccurate when navigating, you may wrongly believe your sat nav is at fault like I originally did but after trying various others and having similar issues I started searching online. It turns out that Peugeot use a metallic film on the windscreens of some of their vehicles, this is to help keep your car cooler on hot days and stop it turning into an oven. This unfortunately seems to almost completely block out the GPS signal to any sat nav, and also my tracking device.

To resolve this issue, I purchased a GPS Repeater which was relatively inexpensive from Amazon which was quick and simple to fit and works wonders, as you may notice from my glowing review on the product page. When installing this, it should be noted that the external antenna part should be mounted as far away as possible from the internal part, with a large car such as the Peugeot this was easy to achieve.

I started by mounting the external antenna to the rear of the car on the roof. I initially wanted to mount it in the centre of the roof near the radio aerial to get the best possible reception but I ran into issues where closing the boot door would trap and damage the cable so in the end I decided to mount it on the right sight, right next to the roof rail mount and then ran the cable about 3 inches along the gutter and down through the rubber grommet where the rear door cables enter the interior, this keeps it all water tight so you won’t get rain water running down into the car. From here, you can then pull the pillar covers off they are just held on with metal clips and run the cable all the way to the front of the car tucked up inside the roof space. Pulling the pillars off to do this enables you to slightly pull down the roof liner and makes it easier to tuck the cable up there. I then routed the cable towards the interior light unit at the front and using the double sided sticky pads included with the repeater I found the most convenient place to mount the repeater was between the temperature sensor (the part with the slots on it) and the reading light and then tucked the wires up into the roof space again. To access this part and run the wires where I did, you will need to remove the main interior light from the fitting and unscrew the two torx screws that hold the whole unit to the ceiling. The rest is pretty simple, your GPS aerial cable coming from the back of the car screws together to the connector of the repeater that you have just mounted at the front, and the USB cable can be routed to a convenient location for power which for me, was down inside the front right pillar to my Anker 5 Port Charger on top of the dash next to the wing mirror, the power cable for my GPS booster was exactly the right length for this arrangement but you may need to purchase an extension if your power source is further away.

There we have it! The GPS repeater is now installed and functional and I can confirm with a TomTom, my Sony Xperia Z2 phone, and Samsung Note 10 tablet that all are now picking up a strong GPS signal when in the car. You can download this app from the Google Play store to test this for yourself if you have an Android phone. The figure you are interested in within that app is “Fix/Sats” and as long as the number is over 6 when you’re parked in an open space then you’re good to go.

Let me know in the comments if you have any questions, I will try to update this post with some pictures if I get a moment another time 🙂