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How To: Adding Aux Input To Factory Radio 1996-07

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Ok, I tried some stuff in case anyone is listening... I cut the protocol wires and extended them around to the front of the cd player so I could connect and disconnect them at will while the car is running and power is on. These are pins 13 and 14 in the wiring harness. They are twisted, and at first I was concerned it was some sort of twisted pair interference checksum or something like in standard cat5, but the whole thing seems to simple for that to be the case. They're probably twisted together for ease of locating them. Remember, this test is with a head unit without the climate control. These wires also communicate climate control data, so I wouldn't attempt this if you have one. I was able to do a little testing and here's what I found out:

  1. it doesn't matter if one or both A and B are disconnected. The same stuff happens. so if you are going to attempt this, it would be easier to just put a switch on one of the wires, doesn't matter which one, both is not necessary. A might be send, B might be receive, who knows, but they're both required for any communication at all. Originally I thought maybe different info was transmitted on the different wires, but that's not the case.
  2. when starting the car without the wires connected, nothing illuminates on the display, not even the clock, and the head unit does not continue what you were playing, cd or radio, if you left it on previously.
  3. if the wires were disconnected when you started the car, and then you reconnect them while the car is running, the display comes on and your head unit resumes whatever was playing previously... radio or cd, whatever was playing as if you just started the car.
  4. When disconnected after having been connected already, the display stays illuminated but "freezes" and no display data is updated including the clock, which makes sense given the previous behavior.
  5. while disconnected, the volume works, but the volume level information does not update on the display.
  6. while disconnected, pressing the volume button to power on/off the radio does not work.
  7. while disconnected, none of the audio control buttons (including radio preset buttons) work EXCEPT for the eject cd. The eject button ejects the cd, but the audio from the rcu stays on, allowing you to play your ipod tunes without a cd in the drive. I didn't try it, but most likely you can also put a cd in at this moment as well.
  8. once reconnected after doing the above, the rcu is told there is no cd in the drive and audio switches back to the radio and all the display data is updated as usual including the clock, which updates to the correct time, and the whole system functions normally.
  9. while disconnected, The rear defrost button works (it uses a different wire in the harness to communicate) and all other knobs and pulleys for the ac/heat as well since they have their own wires for communication.

In conclusion, this rigging fixes my problem where my cd player only half works and ejects cds screwing with my audio bliss on my way to work. It should help anyone who's cd player doesn't work at all because the rcu switches to cd audio the moment a cd is pulled into the slot for reading, even if it ultimately cannot read the cd. At that moment, you can just flip the switch so it can't go back to radio and continue listening to your tunes from your mp3 player.

I hope this helps some other poor bastard with a broken in-dash cd player who just wants to listen to some mp3s in their car.

mike

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These wires are for ACP communication, based on differential signalling in the RS485 style. Both wires are required for the data to flow, one positive and one inverted to eliminate noise from corrupting the signal.

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These wires are for ACP communication, based on differential signalling in the RS485 style. Both wires are required for the data to flow, one positive and one inverted to eliminate noise from corrupting the signal.

Does this mean they have to stay twisted as much as possible?

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Ok, if it has to be twisted, then it can't be that important, but i did twist it as much as I could. I'm waiting on a dpst from ebay so I can turn both wires on and off a little easier... in the meantime I put a light switch on one of the wires and it works great! It looks horrid and actually pretty funny with a light switch sitting in my center console with wires from under the dash hooked up to it. It's still easier (and safer) than trying to touch two bare wires together while I'm driving so I can turn my volume down.

I noticed most controls work fine while it's turned off UNTIL the cd player fails and tries to send a message out through those cables i have turned off. That's when everything freezes on the display and most of the buttons stop working. It must be waiting for an ACK message and never receives it causing it to just sit and wait resending the message over and over again with no response. All the while my music still plays fine over the speakers. I made the whole thing reversible using deans connectors so I can hook everything back up the way it was if need be. I'll take pictures of everything and post them here for a reference and then I'll promise to stop blabbing about this.

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Well, I got it all finalized. I can't figure out how to get pictures into a post, so I guess there won't be any pictures. I have a headphone jack and now a switch that can turn communication on and off between the head unit and the RCU. When my CD player is acting up and not reading CDs very well, I just switch to CD and then turn off the communication between the two using the switch and I can keep playing my tunes.

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Another option I was exploring, but never finished (since my Taurus' are gone) is to take the electronics apart and see if I could come up with a schematic for the audio chip and tie directly in to that, so I wouldn't need to use the CD/tape player to trigger the RCU.

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I'm having a bit of trouble releasing the wires from the harness. I have tried the tip of my box cutter, a thin nail, a paper clip... Maybe I'm not doing it right? Any guidance on releasing the wire would be appreciated. A video would be all the more helpful.

I really dont want to start getting frustrated with it and breaking the harness entirely.

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I'm having a bit of trouble releasing the wires from the harness. I have tried the tip of my box cutter, a thin nail, a paper clip... Maybe I'm not doing it right? Any guidance on releasing the wire would be appreciated. A video would be all the more helpful.

I really dont want to start getting frustrated with it and breaking the harness entirely.

The picture is all you need. Insert a pointed tool, such as a scribe or pick, and push up on the tab. When the tab is "up", push the connector back through the housing.

IMAG0393-1.jpg

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new here had my taurus for a year and a half an been looking to to get a new radio since fond this page 3 days ago and did the mod today ( only cost my 4 bucks i work at radio shack so had alot of discounts on parts ). the mod works great followed all the insturtions and it play music great dont even need a tape in my radio ( tape is broke and thinks theres always a tape in there and can still use my cd player). took me and my friend (he knows how to soider) about a 1:30 of work ( was missing tools i thought i had ) but got it to work with ever thing u have listed.

post-2408-0-63875300-1366608233_thumb.jppost-2408-0-22228400-1366608235_thumb.jppost-2408-0-11161600-1366608236_thumb.jppost-2408-0-63113500-1366608237_thumb.jppost-2408-0-33952300-1366608238_thumb.jppost-2408-0-88569800-1366608238_thumb.jppost-2408-0-25239300-1366608239_thumb.jppost-2408-0-50152300-1366608239_thumb.jppost-2408-0-45805900-1366608274_thumb.jppost-2408-0-14808900-1366608275_thumb.jppost-2408-0-57507000-1366608275_thumb.jp

Edited by sho23

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This is a great mod.  I just completed it on my wife's Taurus and it works great - loud audio, great quality, no fuss!  The car has the CD player but not the tape player.  I wanted to share a few things I did differently:

 

1.) Instead of removing the wires from the harness, I cut the wires and spliced into them using crimp butt connectors (original wire + new wire twisted together in one end, other side of the original wire in the other end).  These provide very reliable connections as long as your crimp tool is any good (I used an Irwin 8-inch crimp tool, model #2078309).  Note: if you want to cut the wires a decent distance from the harness, you will find that they are located inside a metal foil.  This foil is grounded and prevents interference on the audio lines that would otherwise come from the power lines located right next to the audio lines.  To keep the interference shield in place, after making my connections I wrapped everything back up in aluminum foil.  If you don't put the shield back in place, you will hear a whine noise that changes pitch depending on how fast your car is revving.

2.) Instead of an audio jack connector, I just cut into an audio extension cable.  This allowed me to have the wires I needed without having to solder anything to the connector.  It also is great because the audio extension cable is shielded so it can help prevent interference.

3.) Since the original wires were left in place, I can still use my CD player.  If I plug in my MP3 player, it overpowers the CD so that I hear the MP3 player instead.  However, just to make sure that I'm not interfering with the MP3 player's signal, I created a 'silent audio CD' by burning 60 tracks that are 1 minute long and have no noise (see http://duramecho.com/Misc/SilentCd/).  Whenever I want to listen to my MP3 player, I put the silent CD into the CD player.  This technique is usually used when people add AUX input to cars with CD changers because they can keep the silent CD in one of the changer's slots and easily switch to that CD.

4.) Finally, I purchased a 12v to USB device (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0042B9U8Q/ref=oh_details_o06_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1) and an iPod audio+sync cable (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003L13BNI/ref=oh_details_o02_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1) so that I can listen to my iPod and have it charge at the same time.

 

Thanks again for the write-up.  Very detailed and helpful!

  • Thanks 1

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Great write up! It inspired me to try it and add a bluetooth reciever and a double throw switch so I can still use my CD player. Sorry I don't have any pictures, I was in a hurry to finish it. I may have to go back and take some...

 

It took me about a day of work, spread out over 3 weeks. I spent around $50, much of which was wire/solder/random parts.

 

The bluetooth receiver came from here ($20):

http://www.parts-express.com/bluetooth-audio-receiver-board-v21-edr-12-vdc--320-351

 

I also purchased an in line noise cancelling device ($10):

http://www.parts-express.com/ground-loop-isolator--265-012

 

And the four-pole double-throw toggle switch came from Frys, I can't remember the cost. The switch required some soldering, which was a pain because the tabs are very small. I used the same snap connectors suggested above. An old AV cable provided the RCA jack ends to match the noise canceller.

 

Power for the bluetooth receiver came from the ICP accessory power wire, Black/Pink (96-05, Haynes manual). The ground for the receiver went to a grounding bolt conveniently located behind the ICP about a foot back into the compartment on the lower right (That was partly sarcastic, it's actually a little hard to reach).

 

I mounted the toggle switch below the steering wheel and to the right on a protruding metal plate that holds the trim piece on. there was just enough room to drill a 1/4" hole for the switch. It's easy to reach while driving, but pretty much invisible unless somebody decides to stick their head down there...

 

It's great because I set my phone to automatically pair with the bluetooth receiver and play music. The only thing I wish I could figure out is how to route a microphone into the unit so I can run phone calls through it too, but I don't think the bluetooth receiver I got has that capability.

 

I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, so thanks for the inspiration and technical direction!

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Thinking about doing this, since Radio Shack has gone out of business, where could I get the jack? Without ordering it. Already checked Wal-Mart. No luck.

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Amazon or eBay or an electronics website like new egg or tiger direct.

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LOL already did just that, gonna hook it up this weekend.

Edited by Bobo1997
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Mouser Electronics and Digi-Key are where I usually turn for the things that used to come from Radio Shack (and much more).

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I found an easier solution. There are many connectors for these radios but for my 2002 Taurus SES with radio and amp in the trunk, the connector signals are as follows.

DB/WH (dark blue/white) = Cassette R+
GY = Cassette R-
BN/LG (brown/lite green) = Cassette Left +
WH/PNK = Cassette Left -

On the wiring harness, attach your 3.5mm wires as follows
Connect red from the 3.5 to R+
Connect black from the 3.5 to Left +
Connect ground from the 3.5 to R- & L- (solder all three together)

Cover all connections with heat shrink and when u have it all working, tape over it with aluminum tape to serve as a shield against engine noise.

Select cd and insert a working cd into the cd player. The cd will play at the same time as the MP3 source so how do you quiet the CD so the MP3 plays by itself?
Simple, record a cd with silence. In other words, burn a cd that contain one 60 min song of silence in audio cd format.
How do you create 60 minutes of silence?
I used my Logitech camera to create an WMV file, 60 minutes long. I used an video program to separate the video track from the audio track and retain only the audio track. I converted the audio track to mp3 and then used Nero to burn an "audio cd" containing 60 minutes of silence.

I tried to attach the silent audio track for those who do not have the software to perform these conversions but this website limits uploads to 1mg.

Use whatever software you own to burn an "audio  cd" containing a silent song and it will work. The cd will play "silence" and the MP3 player will overpower it.

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The issues that I see with this "mod" are two:

1. The output wires from the original ICP are balanced (no ground), but every one here ties the (-) wires together to the ground to make them single-ended (for the jack). That's not correct. I need to find a proper balanced-single ended converter and I will post it here.

2. The TAPE-IN switch can be "activated" inside the actual unit, so the switching can be done by pressing the "TAPE" button on the ICP. I will make a post how to soon.

Edited by SoNic

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Hello, I know this is a very old post but I just attempted it in my 1999 ford taurus. My tape deck reader is broken I believe, only the front mechanism spins inside the reader when a tape is inserted. Tapes spit out after about 5 seconds, and while the car is trying to read the tape it plays the audio from my phone just fine. As soon as the tape spits out, it goes back to radio. In the write up you said you can switch to either CD or Tape and the aux will play. The CD reader still works as normal and plays CDs. How can I get my the aux to play when I am on the CD changer? Or can I somehow trick my car into thinking a cassette is inserted. I have no idea what to do. Thank you!

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On 7/20/2020 at 10:36 PM, Dylan said:

Hello, I know this is a very old post but I just attempted it in my 1999 ford taurus. My tape deck reader is broken I believe, only the front mechanism spins inside the reader when a tape is inserted. Tapes spit out after about 5 seconds, and while the car is trying to read the tape it plays the audio from my phone just fine. As soon as the tape spits out, it goes back to radio. In the write up you said you can switch to either CD or Tape and the aux will play. The CD reader still works as normal and plays CDs. How can I get my the aux to play when I am on the CD changer? Or can I somehow trick my car into thinking a cassette is inserted. I have no idea what to do. Thank you!

 

It shouldn't matter whether you are using the tape or CD because they both use pins 9, 10, 19, and 20 for output from the ICP to the RCU. Did you disconnect the wires from the ICP or leave them attached and just spliced in? They need to be removed from the ICP so the audio from the ICP is not going to the RCU.

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