K1200LT Ibus radio interface module.

K1200LT Ibus radio interface module.


Radio emulation interface for the BMW K1200LT.





Allows the use of modern radio head units retaining the original controls.






The BMW K1200LT Ibus interface. Allows the fitting of a modern car stereo head unit, retaining full control of the original 'bike controls and display. Currently compatible with Alpine, Pioneer, Sony and Kenwood but others to come shortly.


What it can do:

It pretends to be the original radio and allows the original controls to function as they did with the original radio. It works by converting the Ibus data flowing around the 'bike's sytems into an IR signal to operate an aftermarket head unit. The IR LED lives just in front of the radio where it can see the sensor.  It is compatible with most Alpine IR head units, Pioneer and Sony resistive radios, Kenwood IR (next update) and others. If you have a radio not in the database, let me know what you have and it can be easily added. Any radio with an IR control can be compatible, especially if you have a control and can loan it to me for an hour!  Tested with Alpine CD-173BT (USA) CDE-193BT, CDE-205DAB and Pioneer DEH-8700DAB. The Kenwood IR library and the Sony RM-X211 remote library have just been completed. The Sony library has been tested with an MEX-N7300BD.

It can control other devices. There is an open collector output that can be configured to control whatever you wish (relays etc required for heavy loads) including the PTT for a communications radio. You choose which original button is used to operate it. I use the SC/RP button for PTT as an example. A socket is now being provided on the look to attach an optional relay.

It writes to the original display. Because there is no physical connection from the new radio to the Ibus, there is a limit to what can be displayed. The interface makes intelligent assumptions though and tracks the use of the "source" button, displaying the currently selected source. The latest update has added band switching display too. It can't follow dynamic operations like radio scanning or station idents etc though of course because there is no real time data transmitted from the radio.

It allows customisation. You may prefer a different control mapping to the original BMW system. If so, the interface can be supplied with your preferred mapping, or you can ask for a modified software version and upload it yourself.

Hands free ' phone. With the microphone fitted into your helmet, you can use the hands free capabilities of your chosen head unit. The interface allows one of the stingray buttons to operate the "Voice control" in your 'phone, so that you can make calls if you have to, as well as receive them on the move.

Installation.  Very simple to install with only three connections required. Ground, 12V Ign and Ibus, all available in the radio housing. There is a small IR LED to put in view of the radio and that is it! (Resistive radios have a 3.5mm plug for the back of the radio). The module is slim enough to fit on top of the new radio and if you plug in an optional mini USB cable, can be updated with the latest software without having to dismantle everything.

Upgrades.  Many upgrades are planned for the near future, including compatibility with more radios and speed dependant volume control. These software updates will be supplied free of charge for owners to update the interface.

Design. The design is based around an Arduino Nano deliberately to allow end users to update the software as required. It also means that anyone software literate can modify the software as desired. I provide a simple upgrade method for users on this website, no IT experience required. If you can use the internet to view this page, you can do the upgrade!


A little background information...


The original radio fitted to the K1200LT is a BMW Professional 2000 head unit with controls on the handlebars and on the "stingray" in front of the rider. There are no controls at all on the radio.

The display for the radio on earlier motorcycles is in the stingray and is one line of text. The later motorcycles after 2004 moved the display to the instrument panel and besides the one line of text, there are icons for "Traffic Info" etc.

The radio communicates with the display and controls by a single wire that is connected between them. That wire sends and receives digital data using a protocol known as Ibus, which makes life very difficult should the owner want to update the radio to a different type, as aftermarket units don't speak "Ibus"!  Some people have bought car interfaces thinking that they will work, others buy something called an SWC (whatever that is) and find that nothing actually works with the K1200LT, especially "Plug and Play".


BMW_radio_emulatorThe answer to the problem is an interface that receives the Ibus signals and converts them into something that your chosen head unit can understand. The image here is a prototype of a device to do just that. It is designed to work with an Alpine head unit, testing having been done with an Alpine CDE-193BT, a CDE-205DAB and a CD-173BT for the USA market. However it will work with all Alpine head units, resistive interface radios like the Pioneer and Sony, Kenwood IR and others. If your radio is not on the list, it can be added with a little information from you about your radio. If you have an IR remote control for it, so much the better as I can upgrade the software simply by borrowing your remote control for an hour!

The  IR interface works just like a hand held infra red remote control would. When it receives an Ibus command, it looks up the Alpine command to issue and sends it to the radio via a single Infra Red LED discreetly placed in front of the radio.  The interface allows the user to decide how the factory BMW controls should work and which commands they should map to. It also has a user configurable output, this can be used for PTT on a two way radio, light switching or anything else you might want to control via a relay, all from the original BMW control that you prefer.




IMG_4779Here is the later "Stingray" control unit. The buttons have been assigned to various Alpine commands as can be seen. This was the prototype setup and changes have been made to the layout as the road testing has been done, to make it more user friendly.  The owner is free to customise the controls as they see fit however. It can also be changed at any time, by connection to a computer and updating the software.  This interface has the PTT switch connected to the Amateur Radio tranceiver in the image.



The interface can be fitted on top of the radio in the stingray, or any other dry place convenient to connecting up. I have mine in the side case as the photo shows, fed by the original CD changer cable.

Just a few connections are required, 12V ignition controlled power, Ground and Ibus all found in the radio housing loom. There is a Ground and Signal output for the Infra Red LED which is fitted in front of the radio.

The interface is supplied with a multicolour ribbon connection cable and a discreet Infra Red LED that can be stuck anywhere in the radio housing that allows it to see the radio's sensor.

You get full personal service to help with installation queries, customisation and upgrades, even video calling options for that personal touch if required!  The warranty is 12 months from date of delivery. Software upgrades are free of charge, as is the help to connect it to your computer and upload the new software.  One free customisation is offered, so if you prefer a different mapping to standard, or you change your mind, it will cost you nothing.


Further development work is ongoing. The next upgrades planned are compatibility with less common radio head units, plus speed controlled volume.


An installation service is available in our workshops for those uncomfortable with working on the 'bike's electronic systems. We can also receive your stingray assembly and update that ready for you to re-install.


Please get in touch to ask for further information or to order one, see the webshop link or search Ebay for "G6FGO ibus radio converter".  Email enquiries welcome on interface @  (take out the spaces).  or ring me on +44 1452 311031

Installation notes for the K1200LT Ibus Radio interface.

Installation notes for the K1200LT Ibus Radio interface.

Installation notes for the Mark II G6FGO K1200LT Ibus Radio interface.