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The IDA-X300 has a USB jack on the back of the unit. You can plug an iPod USB cable (just like you use to connect the iPod to the computer) into this jack, or you can attach a USB thumb drive loaded with music files.
It is not compatible with generic MP3 players other than the iPod, but you can buy an adaptor (KCA-121B Ai-NET/RCA) which will let you connect axillary inputs like MP3 player, DVD players, etc.
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I have a similar problem. The original Alpine USB cable fell apart on me and I began receiving an error message. "No, biggie," I thought. "I have plenty of iPod USB cables." But I get an error message with each one, as well as an error message with every iPod I've tried. Apparently the IDA-X100 will only read iPods if you use an original Alpine USB cable.
All you can really do is use a CD Player cleaner *one that uses fluid* run it thru a couple times and try a disc again. Clean your CD's with liquid car polish an a microfibre towel, it works wonders for new and old CD's. If it still skips, It needs to be pulled for repair. They just replace the transport, usually runs between 100-150 depending on the service center. Hope this helps.
Sorry to say my friend, but the problem is with the Archose. I recently installed a Soundstream unit for a customer of mine, and he had an Archos aswell. The Archose will go in to slave mode, and act as a removeable mass media storage, but that's as far as it will go. Other mass storage units will work fine, you can even use a regular old usb thumb drive, but not the Archose.
The cord might likely the problem. The iDA-X100 will only recognize iPods if you use an original Alpine USB cord. Using any other cable won't work. I had this problem when my Alpine cable fell apart and stopped working. I thought any other cable would work, but that's not the case.
You connected your blue alpine wire (power antenna) to your blue wire (amplifier remote on) on the BMW harness adapter. You need to undo this, amputate your blue alpine wire (because your E36 has no power antenna) and connect the alpine blue wire with white stripe (remote power) to your blue wire on the harness adapter.
When you switch source from the radio, alpine is shutting off your amplifier through the connected power antenna wire. Since you're not listening to the radio anymore, it sees no reason why it should give it power.