VW FSE - some Secrets Unveiled
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What is the VW FSE?
The Volkswagen FreiSprech Einrichtung (Hands-Free Installation) is the factory-fitted handsfree system fitted to almost every new VW from around 2006 onwards.
It is designed as a modular system where the mobile phone cradle can be unclicked and exchanged for other cradles.
However it is also designed that you can only use cradles sold by VW, and the cradles are only available for some popular phones.
I have an HTC Tytn II phone, and there was no cradle available from VW.
I was using my HTC Tytn II sitting loose in the car, with a cigarette lighter charger cable, and no use of the external VW roof antenna. I had a VW Nokia 6233 cradle installed (my wife had a Nokia 6233) and both phones coupled via Bluetooth to the cars hands-free kit. Note that from 2008 the Passat 3C (and other VWs) only use Bluetooth for the hands-free system, so if you have a cradle with the Info and Service buttons - required to initiate the Bluetooth pairing - you can use any phone that supports the Bluetooth headset profile with the VW FSE.
The VW FSE cradle provides the following functions for the phone:
- Holds the phone safely, in a good visible location, within easy reach
- Charges the phone when the igniton is on
- Couples the phone to the vehicles roof antenna
- Provides the Info and Service buttons - required to initiate Bluetooth pairing
I was sick of having my phone lying loose in thec ar, and having wires dangling around - I wanted to use the FSE exactly as it was intended to be used...
My Challange: Find a way to make my HTC phone fit a VW Cradle
I discovered that the Bury UNI System 8 hands-free car kit is almost identical to the VW FSE system. The base mount is almost 100% identical, the electrical connector is the same, and the cradles are almost 100% identical. In fact, there is only a small physical keying that stops the Bury cradle connecting right into the VW base mount. It is clear that Bury are the OEM manufacturer for the VW system.
And upon looking at the list of Take&Talk cradles available, I saw that Bury have a suitable cradle for my HTC Tytn II.
Here's a picture of the Bury Take&Talk cradle with the HTC Tytn II fitted:
Here's a picture of a VW Nokia cradle:
Observe the Bury logo on the Bury cradle, and observe the Info and Service buttons on the VW cradle. They are the same size and shape! No coincidence...
In fact, my assumptions were proved correct when I laid a Bury HTC cradle side by side with my VW Nokia cradle. Have a look at the following pictures:
So to cut a long story short here's what I did:
- Bought a used Bury Take&Talk cradle from eBay
- Modiffy the cradle physical keying with a Dremmel to make it physically fit the VW base holder
- Sacrificed and dissected my VW Nokia 6234 cradle and drew the circuit diagram
- Fitted the VW Info and Service buttons to the Bury cradle - simple unclick from the VW cradle, click into the Bury cradle
- Fitted the VW main board to the Bury cradle - exactly the same size and shape, fits perfect
- Wired the Info and Service Buttons as well as Bury HTC USB port connector to the VW main board. This required a bit of studying of the circuit diagram and modifying of the USB connector board on the HTC
- Reassemble and test
- Voila! A 100% working HTC Tytn II cradle in a VW
What are the immediate advantages of using the HTC Tytn II in the cradle?
You can do this too! If Bury have a cradle to fit your phone, you too can make it work. A couple of prerequisites are required:
- Clean, tidy interior with no cables or phones lying loose
- Easy to see the phone for eg using with nav systems
- Phone uses external vehicle roof antenna for better phone reception and transmission
- Phone is charged when the ignition is on
- Info and Service buttons still present - required for bluetooth pairing. Illumination of buttons works as usual
- Looks smart!
- The Bury cradle must have the space for the Info and Service buttons, otherwise you won't be able to intitate Bluetooth pairing (or you could fit some Bluetooth pairing buttons somewhere else in the car)
- The Bury cradle should provide the same charging voltage for your phone. Compare phone chargers e.g.: Nokia charges at 5V, HTC as well - therefore I could use the same charging source. Tip: almost every Nokia charges from a 5V source, so using a Nokia VW cradle unit as the sacrificial supplier of the electronics and button board for a cradle of a phone that uses USB (5V) as a charging source is a good idea.
This page last updated 10 January 2008