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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
<link removed per forum policy:as long as places to purchase are not part of this discussion the discussion may remain>

CoSTAR manufactures and sells BlueSTAR, a bluetooth conversion kit for cars equiped with OnSTAR, but not Bluetooth. I am not in any way related to CoSTAR, I am purely a consumer. I recieved no compensation for my write-up. I tell it like it is.

The model I installed was: BlueSTAR PnP GMLAN Complete Kit

So, let's start off with some of the basic questions..

<EDIT: Effective 4/21/2009, BlueSTAR HAS gotten the Steering Wheel Controls to Work!>

1. Do the steering wheel buttons work? As of 4/21/2009, YES THEY DO!!!
2. Does OnStar still work? Uh....NO. I had to unplug the onstar box, d'uh. I personally do not like onstar, and had never registered with them when I bought my car last week.
3. Does XM still work? Yes, it's a seperate box, so it works just fine.
4. Does it mute the stereo when you place a call, or recieve a call? YES!
5. Does it utilize the existing car stereo speakers and mic? YES!
6. Does it show Caller ID on the DIC or Stereo? No, it only displays "VOICE" (not BlueSTAR, as some others have seen)
7. If the stereo is loud, is the call loud when you answer? No, the stereo volume is for the stereo. The volume for the Voice is controlled the same way, but is independant, so that once you get hte volume where you like, it will stay there.

A little bit on the operation.

To place a call: press the phone button on the Mirror (or dial the number on your phone). I have voice recognition on my Blackberry, so I used that. When done with the call, I press the blue Onstar on the Mirror.

To recieve a call: press the blue onstar button, and talk away. to end, press the blue Onstar button.

Okay...so, there has to be some negatives, right? Yes, there are.

For Onstar lovers, Onstar is gone. (I am not an Onstar lover, so no biggie)
Calls coming in do not display Caller ID (Not a show stopper for me)
When answering a call, there is a 1-2 sec delay before the connection is made. (Slightly annoying)
When hanging up, there is a 2-7 sec delay before the stereo returns. (random)

The good?
It works, and it Sounds GREAT!

So, being that I had a Parrot c3200 in my last car, how would I compare it? The sound quality is better than the Parrot according to the people I talked to today. The slight delays (pickup and hangup) are not present with the Parrot though.

Would I buy it again? As much as I use the phone...in a heartbeat.

remember, this is the first BlueSTAR in a G8, and the product itself (GMLAN version) is brand new to the market. Currently, the G8 does not show on there list of compatible cars, but hopefully we will change that soon.

Finally....CoStar BlueSTAR Installation instructions:

**WARNING** This item includes a board with exposed circuitry (green board with computer chips on it). Static electricity can and will damage this piece if you are not careful. If you do not own a proper grounding strap kit, then ground yourself the 'ol fashioned way by touching a bare piece of metal on the car BEFORE touching the green board. This will equal your charge with that of the car, and prevent a staic electric discharge to the electronics (touch a bare screw under the rear deck by the OnStar box)

First, let's see what we get in the box: (Left to Right)
Plastic Protective covering, Motorola HF850 Bluetooth Module, Double-sided tape and zipties (Front), and the CoStar interface board.



The CoStar interface board has a series of pins on one side that corespond to a set of plugs on the Motorola module.



Slide the pins snugly into the Motorola module.



On the back side, you will notice some exposed circuitry.



Place the CoSTAR protective covering over the exposed circuitry, lining up the holes, and slide the zipties through the holes.



On the other side, go ahead and route the ziptie through the bottom holes on the Motorola module (this will help secure the Motorola and the Interface together).



Tighten up the zipties, and clip the excess off



Now locate the OnStar box in the trunk of your G8.



The OnStar box is held up by 2 clips, one of the left and one on the right. Push both clips in and the Onstar box will come down.




Now, looking at the back of the OnStar box, you will see 4 cables. While I decided to disconnect the Onstar system, I chose not to completely remove it. To install BlueSTAR, you just need to disconnect the 2 white wires on the right, and put the OnStar module back up where it was before.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
You could remove the module if you wanted to. I tried to use the plastic case from around the OnStar module to mount the BlueSTAR, but the cables were too short, and it didn't fit right. At least I don't have to store the OnStar box in my garage.



So after I mounted my OnStar module back up, I plugged in the BlueSTAR module.



I then taped it to the rear shelf, inbetween the old OnStar box and the XM module.



From the back of the car, this is what it looks like.



Once back in the cabin, I depressed the blue OnStar button for 3 seconds. Once the red light lit up, I paired my Blackberry Curve 8830 with the PIN of "0000". The 2 paired with no problem at all. To place a call, I press the "Phone" button. To end a call, or pickup a call, I press the blue OnStar button.



Steering wheel buttons work as well.



Once you are on a call, this is what you see on the DIC and the Stereo:



So...that's all there is to installing it. 15 min's, and no tools required. Simple enough!



Charles

First G8 with BlueSTAR
 

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Amazing! Thanks for the great post and info!!!
I wonder if there is a way to splice in the CoStar to the OnStar and have both... Yes, I want to have my cake and eat it too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Does this work with a 2008 or just a 2009. Right now I'm just buying minutes from onstar, its expensive.
It should work with both 2008 and 2009. The 2009.5 models have factory bluetooth.

My "free" year of OnStar hasn't even started, and I yanked it out. I use my ALLTEL BlackBerry and BlueSTAR, and I don't have to pay anything extra to GM. I average about 2-3 hours a day talktime in the car.

Charles
 

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nah....
After all that discussion and hassle you end up with killed Onstar and buttons on the steering wheel still don’t work. The only reason your volume works is because it’s not Bluetooth related anyhow, it’s just volume on the unit itself.
 

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nah....
After all that discussion and hassle you end up with killed Onstar and buttons on the steering wheel still don’t work. The only reason your volume works is because it’s not Bluetooth related anyhow, it’s just volume on the unit itself.
Dede... I love you man, you got one of the nicest and most original G8s out there and you are on the cutting edge of new products for us, but you are a bit of a negative nancy... don't I rember you saying VIM was not possible either?

This is not the greatest solution. but it looks like it works. The only real issue is that you loose the only OE nav option for a G8 so you will have to buy the nav intigration kit from JHP.... hmmmm....
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
nah....
After all that discussion and hassle you end up with killed Onstar and buttons on the steering wheel still don’t work. The only reason your volume works is because it’s not Bluetooth related anyhow, it’s just volume on the unit itself.
I have no use for Onstar at all...so that leaves me with a quality mic and a car prewired going to waste. I've had a Parrot unit before, I hate "adding" little boxes around my dash.

As far as the Steering wheel controls not working YET...I emailed Chris from CoSTAR, and this was his exact reply 20 min's later:

Chris with CoSTAR said:
Thanks Charles,
That’s a great write up.
I’m a bit surprised that the steering wheel buttons don’t work.
I’ll definitely look into that, and get you updated once we find a fix.

Thanks!

-Chris
I do not feel the 15 mins installing this was a hassle. Maybe an hour or 2 for posting all the pics and details for your pleasure was a hassle, but I'm sure it will help others make an informed decision.

I will keep everybody updated on the steering wheel integration. I think the problem is just that our steering wheel button is slightly different than other models, and system just needs to know the network address of the new buttons.

Charles
 

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Hell even if I did or did not like the unit, WHAT a fantastic post! Thanks for the time doing it. Yes I very much like the Bluestar. GM will never do anything for the nonbluethooth cars, their state of affairs is to save a dime.
 

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Once you have done the initial pairing by holding the OnStar button for 3 seconds, do subsequent pairings happen automatically whenever you start up the car with your phone nearby or do you have to pair manually each time?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Once you have done the initial pairing by holding the OnStar button for 3 seconds, do subsequent pairings happen automatically whenever you start up the car with your phone nearby or do you have to pair manually each time?
I think that depends on your phone. My Blackberry had a checkbox to "Always" connect, so for me, it pairs as soon as I am in range (Assuming the car is on)

Charles
 

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That's a great write up, thanks for taking the time and sharing. Keep us updated on the wheel controls. Once they have the bugs worked out I will probably install.
 

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Excellent write up. Keep us posted on steering wheel controls!
 

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Awesome news! I don't care if the two buttons on the steering wheel work or not. OnStar is GONE!

Excellent write up. Thanks for taking the time to post all of that information.
 

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Yep nice and informative write up. Thanks for all the info.

To call Dede a "bit" of a negative nancy is a BIG understatement.
 
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