I have installed an Alpine CDE-171RM dashboard on my car. Since it features an usb port, I was wondering if I could just plug a bluetooth usb dongle, or something similar, to have bluetooth audio streaming.

Is it possible? My common sense would say no, since Alpine sells a bluetooth enabled dashboard identical to mine for 100$ more.

However, who knows? :)

  • My first inclination would be yes. Easiest way to find out is to find another person you know with one and try it out. If the Dongle is made to just pass audio, then why not? Worth a shot. Commented Jan 29, 2014 at 19:54
  • 2
    I think it would depend on the dongle - the dashboard is probably designed to only read from a USB mass storage device, so if you could get a dongle that pretended to be one, it might work. As Paulster2 says, the easiest way is to try it!
    – Nick C
    Commented Jan 30, 2014 at 11:19

3 Answers 3


I wouldn't count on it. As Nick C said, you'd need one that acts like a USB storage device, which means that you'd have to specifically buy one. Regular bluetooth adapters simply act as a bluetooth antenna, and don't have the bluetooth software stack loaded onto their internal circuits. But you do get fancier ones, which cost more. Alternatively, you could have a bluetooth system installed on the Auxiliary port of the unit, but then you might as well just go trade it for the bluetooth-enabled model. It will work out much cheaper that way.

Get one of these things and just load all your songs on there.

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Otherwise, if that's not an option, get a quote for someone to install an SPDIF cable so that you can plug it straight into your phone/device.enter image description here

  • Not an option, sadly. I use Spotify for my music! Anyway, thanks! I feared it wouldn't be so easy... Commented Jan 31, 2014 at 8:36
  • I updated my answer. Commented Jan 31, 2014 at 8:45
  • I ended up using a cable, as suggested. Thank you very much! Commented Apr 30, 2014 at 13:07
  • my pleasure, man. Commented Apr 30, 2014 at 13:36

This one works perfectly. I use this on my Ford Focus


  • Do you mind explaining the link? Answers should be able to live without relying on external sources. Commented Feb 20, 2017 at 19:14
  • @Balduran I also got one that works however with an annoying delay! like 10-20 seconds. Can you say if this one has the same issue?
    – Saba Ahang
    Commented Nov 16, 2018 at 8:38


Most generic bluetooth dongles require drivers to work on different systems. A windows computer, for example, would have drivers to work with this type of software. Often they're provided on a disc with the hardware. A car stereo, however, doesn't not usually support software installation.

The best option would be a dongle like the image below. The most simple setup would be to plug it into a 3.5mm AUX jack on the front of the stereo (assuming you have one) and also into the USB port. The USB port would only provide power, and the 3.5 TRS would carry the audio signal. You could still use a wireless connection between your phone and stereo this way.

Additionally, if you want something that looks a little more elegant, most head units provide ports on the back of the device where you can input a signal. You might need a 3.5mm -> RCA adapter depending on what sort of plugs your head unit has. Then, you could attach a 12v -> 5v step down to the bluetooth unit for power, and hide everything away behind the dash. You might want to have the dongle somewhere that's occasionally accessible like inside the glovebox, for pairing.

I have a similar setup in my car and it works really well. You should be able to pickup both items for about $20 or less.

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