Here is the very detail guide on retrofit BMW E90 NBT into factory CIC by a Canadian BMW expert.
2006 E90 330i
For equipment relevant to the retrofit, my car was equipped with CCC /w voice control, telematics, Logic 7, heated seats, and ALU satin trim. Your car may be different and may require parts suitable for your equipment package.
You ar at your risk. I am NOT responsible if you buy parts that do not fit your car or if you damage your car in the process.
Acronyms and Definitions
CCC – Car Communications Computer iDrive Generation 1: dino era to ~2008
CIC – Car Information Computer iDrive Generation 2: ~2009-2012
NBT – Next Best Thing (aka CIC-High) iDrive Generation 3: ~2012+
K-CAN1/2 – Car Area Network communications protocol
MOST – ring topology fiber optic communications protocol
ALU – aluminum (referring to my aluminum interior trim)
ECU – electronic control unit
TCU – telematics control unit for telematics and BT (TCU also stands for transmission control unit, but were not working on the transmission here)
TRSVC – control unit for rear and side view cameras
quadlock – main square wiring harness on the HU
kombi – instrument cluster
fzd – front courtesy light
eBay NBT kits:
NBT HU (I have HW:07 with internal gyro, although any HW version will work with the emulator I got, including HW:21)
NBT CID (must be 8.8″ from a F20, F25 or F30)
iDrive Controller (see below)
NBT kits on eBay typically include either the F-series standard controller or the touch controller. These run on the newer K-CAN2 protocol, have different mounting points, and have slightly different dimensions than the CIC iDrive controller.
CIC controllers use a separate frame (the black trim you see in pictures)
F-Series controllers have a built in frame
F-series controllers are NOT plug and play on my emulator and will require moving the two iDrive controller CAN wires from before the emulator to after the emulator. They also require your own ingenuity to mount and, at least on mine, a few mm needs to be shaved off from the CIC controller opening in the ALU trim. It’s about 2 mm longer.
My CCC controller with haptic feedback would not register scrolling. You can try your luck with a CCC controller without haptic feedback but you’d be missing the best part of the newer controllers – the shortcuts!
Needless to say, I used a CIC controller and saved the headache. Touch can always be a later project. There are many CIC controllers available on eBay with different part numbers. Not sure what the differences are but they should all work.
If you’re going the touch controller route, it also requires the touch ECU, which is specific to your language.
Whichever route you go, here are some handy part numbers:
CIC Controller Frame 51169170917 (only for <2011 CIC controllers)
Touch ECU English 65829320275 (not confirmed)
E-series cars use K-CAN (100kbps) while F-series cars use ENET K-CAN2 (500kbps). The emulator does nav activation and video-in-motion, but more importantly, acts as a CAN bridge to adapt the communications between protocols. There is no way to use NBT in an E-series without an emulator that does CAN bridging. An F-series activation emulator will not be sufficient.
OEM components coming from CCC (not needed if you have CIC):
CIC HU Front Panel 6 Button+AM/FM+Mode 65129270248 (More info later)
OR Euro CIC HU Front Panel 8 Buttons 65129270250 (not available in NA)
CIC HU Front Panel Knob 65129114289 (CIC front panel came with the knob)
CIC Dash Cover 51459120979 (This has heated seats cutout. Find a different part if you don’t need the cutout.)
E90 LCI Center Console Trim ALU Satin (for CIC controller. Different PN for diff finish.) 51169145143
5x MQS Pins (for eNet) 61131393703
5x OBD2 Pins (for eNet) (No part number since I was given these. Ask at BMW parts counter.)
OEM components coming from either CCC or CIC:
4-6x MQS Pins (for microphone rewiring) 61131393703
Bluetooth Arial Cable 61120137616 (this is from an X5)
Aux/USB center console socket (4 pin version) 84109237653 (you’ll have this if you have USB already. There’s some 6 pin versions but not sure what they’re used for.)
USB cable 61119129360
CAT5 network cable (I used these wires for eNet and microphone rewiring, although any wire would work.)
My car already had AUX so no new AUX wiring to HU was required.
(NBT does not officially have a glovebox USB akin to CIC’s, but one can be hooked up if desired to USB2
OBD2 pins on the bottom and MQS pins on the top
OEM components to remove TCU (since BT is built in to NBT):
If you have a TCU, MULF or Combox, you’ll need to remove it.
MOST Termination Loop 61136917541
MOST Termination Plug 61136917978 (I didn’t need this but other modules might have a combined MOST plug with 4 conductors. Buy it anyways. It’s a few dollars.)
(Optionally you can also disconnect the MOST connection from the MOST junction under the rear seats, but this just seemed easier.)
NBT CID Display Cable 70CM+ (from the emulator seller)
There is no OEM NBT display cable that I’m aware of that’s long enough to use in an E90. Your other option is to purchase an OEM F30 cable and extend it yourself. It has 4 shielded conductors plus two power lines.
(NBT F30 CID Display Cable 61129261850)
2x #8×3/8″ tapping screws (for CIC faceplate mounting – home depot sku 887480010213)
2x #6 washers (for CIC faceplate mounting – home depot sku 887480024517)
Backup Camera (optional)
Since my NBT emulator emulates the TRSVC unit, I can use any el-cheapo eBay backup camera. I purchased an E90 rear CCD camera that replaces the trunk handle for ~$50 oneBay. NBT takes standard NTSC composite video. Everyone should do this when you retrofit NBT!
The NBT emulator I purchased does not support dynamic parking lines. Neo also has another unit that will superimpose the parking lines based on steering wheel angle. I wish I knew he offered this when I made my purchase!
Trim removal tools (ebay)
Dremel with cutoff wheel
heat shrink tubing
torx screwdriver bits
random common tools
Posi-Taps and Posi-Locks (for those who want to avoid soldering. available on amazon)
0.5A fast blow fuse and inline holder (for rear view camera)
Coding Hardware and Software:
INPA K+DCAN USB Cable (comes with pin7&8 switch, do not need to solder pins 7&8)
Laptop running 32bit windows (use vmware if necessary)
eSys + PSdZDATA (and token and/or patched esys jar files)
NCS Expert + datan (to decode any removed modules)
I’m not going to cover everything. Instructions to remove specific parts can be found all over the internet. All you need to do is google “bmw e90 remove [part]”. I’ll only cover areas that are not well documented or I had trouble doing as others suggested.
Most of the pins, including the quadlock, are standard MQS pins. The exception is the OBD2 port, which uses different pins. See eNet section for pictures.
Remove existing HU
This has been well documented with the CIC retrofit threads.
Wire eNet if coming from CCC
CIC equipped cars are already prewired with eNet wiring. CCC cars need 5 new wires.
On my car, pin 29 on the quadlock was already occupied by a positive fan power line for the CCC unit. This won’t be needed since we’re taking out CCC. In it’s place, you can wire up ETH_A.
Match up the wires from the quadlock to the OBD2 using these two pinouts diagrams.
Wires can be pulled under the carpeting in the driver footwell. Remove the driver foot panel and the panel covering the obd2 port. 3 torxs screws on the foot panel. 2 philips screws on the obd2 cover. Careful with the MOST diagnostics port connected to the foot panel. As always, treat fiber optic cables with the utmost respect! Do not bend them any more than absolutely necessary!
Wire microphone from courtesy lights to quadlock
Remove FZD (courtesy lights) by taking out the two sun visors. You can get your hand between the headliner to release the two clips right above the circular lights. I tried using the screwdriver prying method others talk about online to no avail.
Pull wire down, making sure the wire in the A-piller is where the existing wires are bundled and not in front of the curtain airbag. Wires went behind the square metal bar used to hold he glovebox in place. If wiring is above, below or in front, I would expect trouble reinstalling the glovebox.
Microphone and quadlock both use MQS pins. Mine had two conductors although some may have three.
Wire BT antenna from driver footwell to HU
Remove driver side foot panel. It’s three torx screws. BT module is the little black box towards the left mounted on the backside of the panel. You’ll need to shave off one of theflanges on the NBT Bluetooth connector to fit the BT cable. Look carefully and you’ll know which one needs to go. No modifications necessary on the BT aerial end.
Wire USB from center console to HU
Remove rear air vent by pulling the back or using a trim tool. Pull air vent back as far as possible by releasing the retention clips on the sides. Stick your hand between to push out the aux faceplate strait up and out. This was a real punisher with lots of pain.
Take out the gear shifter by pulling strait up. Pull up the black plastic frame surrounding the gear shifter by grabbing the edge through the faux leather. Take out the centerconsole trim by grabbing through the gear shifter hole and pulling strait up hard. Pull the new USB wire to the HU.
Note: USB cable needs to be rotated 180 degrees. You can do that by shaving the connector and cutting off the clip on one side.
Wire backup camera from trunk lid to HU
Instructions are all over the internet for installing it on your trunk. Pull the composite video cable up to the quadlock and plug in the two MQS pins.
To get wiring past the backseat to the cabin, remove the seat cushion by pulling it strait up near the corners. You can pull this wire without taking out all the trim on the right side of the car. Simply slip it under the black plastic edging. Here, you’ll be up to the glovebox.
Inner wire on the composite cable is the positive.
I got a switched positive lead from pin 13 from the quadlock using a posi-tap on the plug and play harness. This is a radio_on trigger line with a 0.5A current load. Although the camera consumes <100mW, make sure to add a 0.5A inline fast blow fuse to protect the head unit. Ground can come from most nuts and bolts in the trunk. Use a multimeter to test for power.
Retrofit NBT LCD to CCC/CIC monitor frame
Get the CCC or CIC screen out. See CIC retrofit threads if needed. It’s only held in by two torx screws at the top.
Take off the back plastic cover from the NBT CD screen by releasing the clips. The LCD is attached to the front glass by double sided foam adhesives. You’ll need to break the bond with brute force. Grab the LCD and pull directly out as hard as you can. You’ll break the outer glass in the process. After it breaks, just keep pulling until you get the screen out. The inner frame will take the stress off the LCD panel and you won’t damage the LCD in the process.
Next, cut off the lower edge and metal hooks with a dermal.
The NBT LCD had a thinner bezel than my CCC screen. Shave or dremel out anything that prevents the LCD from sitting flush in the frame, namely the two edges where the wings are different. Remember to use masking tape and paper/bag/something to seal the LCD opening in the CCC frame to prevent shavings from entering the area while you’re trimming the edges.
Take a look at the screen in the frame to feel out the “center” position for the LCD screen. Cut and stick 3M double-sided foam adhesives to the LCD frame. Stick. Done. You’ll only have one shot. Get it right! If you want to go crazy, dremel out everything that’s preventing the back plate from clipping back together.
Install NBT head unit in dashboard
I used a plug and play wiring harness instead of tapping and cutting the original wires. This was by far the most painful part of the installation. It took me 4 hours and a lot of scrapes. At the end, I had to remove the radio/climate frame and put all unnecessary stuff to the empty space on the right. I also needed a zip tie to hold up the bundle of wires to clear the USB, BT, and video connectors.
I haven’t made new mounting points to screw in the HU yet. It should require drilling two holes and moving the metal clips that the screw threads catch on to.
Note: If you have Logic 7 and going for the plug and play wiring harness, you’ll need to transfer the fiber optic lines from the original quadlock to the new quadlock. Be gentle with the fiber optic cables.
Remove redundant parts (TCU, MULF, Combox)
My TCU was in the trunk under the removable bottom panel. I didn’t take any pictures in the process but it’s pretty simple. Just unplug everything, plug the MOST line in to the MOST terminator and wrap everything up with foam to prevent rattles. This took me at most five minutes.
Install new CIC front panel and dash cover
Cut upper pins. Cut clips. Shorten guides and screw in front panel.
You’ll need your emulator provider to do the coding or provide instructions. The coding to get it working at a bare minimum level is beyond me and probably specific to the emulator’s implementation.
I did some coding myself with e-sys. There’s no DHCP server handing out IP addresses to the NBT. Connect via gateway URL using default IP: port 169.254.199.99:6801 with windows Ethernet IP set to 169.254.199.100 and gateway 255.255.0.0. I had to make my own VO file before e-sys would code successfully.
I should have needed to remove TCU VO to prevent SOS error. However, for some reason, mine didn’t throw an error on the kombi so I didn’t do this step.
Open Issues with Coding/Firmware
I’m sure most of these can be corrected with coding.
- [FIXED with firmware update] North America 2015-1 NEXT maps don’t map addresses correctly in my area. NA 2014-2 seems better.
- RDS-TMC traffic not working
- [Fixed with coding] Can’t seem to remove BMW Assist menu items (probably some coding issue)
Observations about NBT in E-series
[FIXED with firmware update] Reads but cannot play MP3s from USB. Oddly, can copy to hard drive and play without issues.
[FIXED with firmware update] Navigation arrival time wrong. Makes the nav unit just about useless.
Emulator supports video in motion.
Sports display units do not stick. Will need to change to HP & lbs/ft each power cycle.
CIC front panel backlights are lit when I enter the car. Apparently this is to match cars with FRM2 and FRM3’s welcome lights that turn backlights on on unlock.
US CIC faceplate with 6 buttons, AM/FM and Mode buttons. 1-6 are touch sensitive, and AM/FM and Mode act as shortcut 7&8. Coding to 6button_us only disables AM/FM. Fix, buy euro faceplate?
[FIXED with firmware update] Service required menu shows two blanks for sparkplug and microfilter. Apparently these fields were removed from F-series vehicles. Can be coded out of kombi on E-series to remove the blanks.
[Done] Drill new holes in dash bracket to secure NBT head unit.
[Done] Clean up rear view camera wiring.
[Done] Reinstall dash trim.
NBT is great! Best thing you can do for your car if you’re looking for something refreshed from CCC or CIC. Not much more I can say asides from the system being absolutely wonderful to use! It has all the bells and whistlers of any modern media system.