PodEmu is Android application that allows you to connect your Android device to iPod docking station or your car audio system. PodEmu supports both AiR (Advanced) and Simple modes so you can control your Android music app directly from docking station or from your cars steering wheel. PodEmu uses serial protocol to communicate with iPod docking station so it will work only with "old" 30-pin iPod connectors. Lightning interface is not supported.

XDA Developers discussion for this app is here

PodEmu in action:

PodEmu in action



PodEmu with cable not connected PodEmu with bluetooth connected and connection with the car established PodEmu with Apple Music
PodEmu with Apple Music PodEmu with Amazon Music PodEmu Settings (screen 1)
PodEmu Settings (screen 2) PodEmu Settings (screen 3) PodEmu Settings (screen 4)


Supported Music Application List

PodEmu will support any music application out of the box if this application properly declares notification in notification/status bar. The table below summarizes the behavior of the applications with which PodMode was tested.

Additionally, please remember, that in order support track/album/artist/playlist/genre navigation fully PodEmu need to have this information provided. Unfortunately there is no way to retreive this information through the notification bar. In the best case PodEmu is only able to gather information about currently played track, total playlist size and current track position. Therefore PodEmu is trying to mimic the rest of the information for the docking station to be able to operate. Please also note, that each docking station behaves differently and therefore final behaviour will be also different. Feel free to provide feedback with your experience on XDA thread or raise an issue through GitHub issue tracker.

Application Support for basic control (play/pause, prev, next) Provides metadata information Additional information
Google Play Music yes yes fully works
Spotify yes yes Metadata does not contain ListSize and ListPosition information. Default list is generated with ListSize=11. Additionally, Spotify delays notifications after you scroll the song forward or backward, so playback position maynot be updated in your car instantly.
TIDAL yes yes ListSize and ListPosition not provided, so generic playlist with size 11 is generated. Scrolling seems to be updated immediately.
PowerAmp yes yes All notes are the same as for Spotify
Apple Music yes yes Stable with PodEmu, instant status updates
Amazon Prime Music yes yes Artworks are not downloaded. The rest works properly.
YouTube yes yes YouTube does not notify when the track is paused.

If you don't see your favourite app in the table above, don't worry, most probably it will still work with PodEmu.

ListSize and ListPosition information is very important to be able to see the total amount of songs in the playlist from the docking station and to be able to select random song from list and jump to it. Whenever this information is missing PodEmu will not know how many songs are in the the current playlist and will not support "jump to" command. In such case you will see one album, that contains 11 songs. Also remember, that even if ListSize information is provided, PodEmu don't know track names "a priori". Therefore, first time you browse them from docking station, you will see titles like "Track XYZ" for all of them. However, once the song is played, it's title is remembered at given position. This list is flushed when total count of song is changed or application is restarted.

How it works

To work properly PodEmu requires to be connected to your car using two separate channels:

Audio is transmitted through "calssic" analog lines. For metadata serial interface is used. PodEmu will not work with usb/lightning cable, because with such cables all information (including audio) is transmitted digitally and PodEmu is not able to interpret it (plus due to Android architecture it might not be possible to properly recognize the external device and talk to it).

Both channels mentioned above could be connected directly using wires, or bluetooth modules. Below you can find multiple options available to connect your Android device with iPod 30-pins interface.

Audio channel can be connected directly, by wires, or with use of BT module that supports A2DP profile, for example XS3868, RN52, BK8000L.

Data channel could be connected by wires. In this case you will need any USB-to-serial interface like FT232R, FT231X, FT311D, FT312D, PL2303, CP2102, CP2105, CP2108 or CP2110. Alternatively, you can also connect it with any BT module that supports SPP profile (except BLE devices which are too slow). For BT you can use modules like HC05, HC06, RN52.

Obviously you will also need to power all the modules up. There are multiple ways to do it. Below is an example of wiring diagram for XS3868 and HC05 modules that are powered up by LM2596, but you can use any power suply that can provide appropreate voltage and current.

Note for all diagrams below: R1/D1 elements are only required for those cars/docking stations where car or docking station expects the pin 18 to be pulled up to 3.3V by iPod. Otherwise it will not recognize iPod connection. R1 is required to limit the current and D1 is added to protect the dongle (could be ommitted to be honest). If you are not sure if you car needs it, it is safe to start without R1/D1 and if car does not recognize connection, then just add it.

Connection diagram: Wired

This is the simplest and the most reliable version of connection.

Supported serial interfaces:

PodEmu was tested with FT312D, PL2303, FT232R, CP2102. Other chips should also work (as claimed by driver developer), but were never tested with PodEmu.

Connection diagram: Bluetooth with HC-05 and XS3868

Bluetooth setup was tested with HC-05 as serial interface device and XS3868 to stream audio. Connection diagram that was used is the following:

Before start using HC-05 it need to be configured properly. To do this you need to issue the following commands:

AT+NAME=PodEmuSPP - to change module name. Instead of PodEmuSPP you can use whatever you like.
AT+UART=57600,1,0 - to change baud rate. This command is mandatory for PodEmu to work correctly.

Instead of using HC-05 and XS3868 you can use any other BT modules that provide SPP and A2DP profiles. SPP is a profile for serial communication. A2DP is a BT profile used for audio connection.

Important notes:

Connection diagram: Bluetooth with RN52 (basic)

Setup with RN-52 module is shown below. The big advantage of this module is that it supports both audio and serial profiles, so you don't need to pair your phone with 2 bluetooth modules. Disadvantage is high price (~25 USD).

Note: if you use SparkFun breakout board as depictured above, for some reason they didn't made the pad for AudioGND pin, so you'll need to solder to pin 39 of the module (AGND). This is 6th pin from the topmost right side on the picture above. Luckily there is thick copper area below "SPK_L-" that you can use.

There is minor issue with such connection. Due to the fact that RN-52 is using differential output and we are using only audio positive lines, there are electrical spikes few seconds after audio goes mute. It can be heard as single "clicks" few seconds after going on mute.

Before using RN-52 module you need to program it. It is done by connection GPIO9 pin to ground. Then you can connect module to you computer to standard COM port using UART_TX and UART_RX and program it. Commands you will need:

su,04 - set baud rate 57600
sd,06 - enable only A2DP and SPP discovery profiles
sk,06 - enable only A2DP and SPP connection profiles
sn,PodEmu - set device name to RN52-PodEmu
ss,0F - set default gain level to maximum

Connection diagram: Bluetooth with RN52 (advanced)

For those who has pcb production skills I recommend to use this schematics. In comparison to previous RN-52 schematics, this implementation uses TPA6112 audio amplifier with differential input. Using this amplifier eliminates "single clicks on mute" issue described in previous section.

Note: Don't forget to setup RN-52 module as described in previous section.

My personal implementation of this dongle looks like this:

EasyEDA project files: https://easyeda.com/e-lab/podemu-module

Reporting issues and requesting enhancements

Please use "Issues" tab on GitHub to report a problem or request an enhancement. You can also report a problem directly from application. For this, just enable "Enable debug collecting" option in settings, then reproduce the issue, and then use option "Send debug to developer". This will send debug file with all logs from application. Don't worry, it will not collect your personal data. However, while sending, please don't forget to describe the problem you are encounting - otherwise your email will be ignored.