HOW-TO: Add An Auxilary Jack To Your Car

Auxilary Car Jack

Hello readers and welcome to another HOW-TO article. I originally was planning on doing the CVS Disposable Camcorder Hack, but it’s only 90% done. To answer questions of can it be reused?: Yes, it can. But if you want to see it in action, I’ll have it out and working at the first ever Hackaday meetup on Thursday. Come on out and see how it’s done or if you can’t make it, I’ll have it up next Tuesday for you guys.

But now we’re talkin’ audio. Sweet crisp sounding liquid music

104 thoughts on “HOW-TO: Add An Auxilary Jack To Your Car


    btw xaos,unless i missed something,that thread doesnt have any new info on how to hack the camcorder either,just old news (yeah,usb cable is possible,but since writing hardware level linux drivers is beyond most of us,and no one has found a pre-made compatible driver,it’s not much use yet) but thanks for trying i guess.

  2. my car’s aftermarket stereo didn’t have an aux input, but it did have a cd changer input that i wasn’t using. from krutchfield, i bought a cd-changer to RCA cord (for my particular stereo type), and plugged that into an RCA to 7mm (mini-jack) to my ipod. works perfect.

  3. What the heck are you telling people here?
    Your option buy a $150 head unit or tear your existing head unit apart!
    For around $30 you could simply buy an fm modulator that mounts in-line to your antena, and has an on/off switch. When its on it cuts the antena off and your i-pod is the only thing broadcasting. Audiovox makes one model FMM-100, but there are literally dozens of different brands.

  4. Some cars (including my Mini) have a package you can buy from the dealer (cost me $40 CAD) that you can install yourself. Basically consists of the connection, an adapter that just plugs right into the back of the head unit, and a face plate for the jack. Was about a 10 minute install all said and done, investigate with your dealer if you have this option. This probably applies for all BMWs.

  5. Some cars (including my Mini) have a package you can buy from the dealer (cost me $40 CAD) that you can install yourself.

    I’m speccing out a MINI, and added this option – but requested the dealer NOT to install it. They wanted $100.00 to drill 3 holes. Must be some pretty impressive holes!

  6. When I read this article the first time around, I was inspired to attempt something similar for myself. I remembered that I had this beast collecting dust at home.

    I’ve gathered most of the materials I’ll need, but it’s been raining so much here in Tampa the last couple of weekends that I don’t get much opportunity.

    Something I would like to see (or maybe attempt myself) is to try to convert a Sony head unit remote into a steering wheel remote, such as some factory cars come with.

  7. FM Transmitters can be problematic; not necessarily in terms of audio quality, but signal quality. For example mine won’t work in downtown San Francisco at all. I suppose that could just be a function of where my car antena is located, but the end result is that it doesn’t completely work for me (and ostensibly others)

  8. pedro:

    someone emailed me asking to explain more about figuring out the pin-out assignments. this is the best method i came up with:

    “i know it’s confusing, because it’s not a very clear-cut method. It mainly involves poking around until you hear something. You could try finding color codes for your car/stereo online, and then you could skip this whole process. In case you can’t, I’ll try to be more descriptive here:

    The CD Player or Changer is connected to the head unit with several wires. 4 of these carry audio signals. These are the ones we need to find. The others do various things, including letting the head unit know that a CD is playing. If the head unit doesn’t recieve these messages, it won’t play the audio coming from these connections.

    Because of this, you have to have the CD player or changer connected at first. Then start playing a CD. At this point, you can disconnect the harness (that’s the wire connector coming from the CD player or changer to the head unit). Now take a different audio source, such as an ipod, and connect a spare headphone cord to it. Have the headphone cord cut and the left and right wires seperated. The cord will have a positive and negitive wire for each side. Just using one of the positive wires, connect it to the pins in the back of your head unit where the CD player was connected. Try out different ones until you hear something. You’ll hear it out of either the left or right speakers only, and that will tell you which input is left and which is right. It will probably not sound good this way, since you’re only connecting the positive of one channel, and not the negative. It should sound fine in the end when everything is connected.

    That’s pretty much it. When you find you hear something, it sould be easy to check the wire harness and see what color that wire is. There probably is another wire that’s the same color, except one of them will have a black line on it. This will be different for every car, but I think that’s pretty conventional. The plain one will be positive, and the one with the black line will be negative.

    Hope this helps.


  9. Couldn’t you just tease us a little with the camera hack? Does it work on all the CVS camcorders? I’ve heard there are two different kinds of proccessor in them.

  10. Color Photo! no no. We did already see this and it seems alot of the featured hacks are coming from lazy afternoon (lazy links) days, which is kinda dissapointing. Here is your promise hack-a-day “hack a day serves up a fresh hack each day, every day from around the web and a special how-to hack each week.” Make them fresh again! this batch is getting a little stale. =(

  11. klokop , I’m working on this at the moment, its trickyer for the Golfs as there is not standalone audio input. I’m planning on hi-jacking the audio lines form the CD-Changer to the Radio. I’m just waiting for my CD-changer to radio extenbion cable to arrive, don’t want to hack the original cable!

  12. i created an aux connection w/ my ipod and 2001 bmw using the cd changer. so much for bmw proclaiming only 2002 and newer models would allow an ipod connection! my dealership was floored when i showed them my masterpiece. i used to use a FM trans before that and it was HELL. nothing, NOTHING, beats a direct connection.

  13. I have a ’98 Jeep that DOESN’T have a cd changer or aux input. Can I still mod a line-in plug or is FM transmitter or Tape adapter my only options? Is the FM transmitter through the antenna line thing spoken about above better sound quality than buying an iPod and FM transmitter accessory? Geez why don’t vehicles come with inputs and expansion card slots standard (and as 1 and 2din standard radios – mine is 1.5din wtf?)

  14. I have the aux jacks but can’t get my cd player to “head” to switch over to something other than radio and cd i have a pioneer premier it is “XM ready” any way there is this one blue thing next to the aux ports that maybe need to get asignal? m,aybe? i don’t know, i think my stereo was stolen out of someones car because it was a $100 with “installation” and i was “used” and my russian friend said someone owed him and had “paid” him with a stereo

  15. hi,

    i have a ’98 pathfinder w/ the bose system. It doesn’t have a direct AUX jack that is in the front of the unit, but there is a ‘CD Changer’ button. So I am assuming that there is something in the back, that will allow a secondary device to be attached.

    Does anyone know of any adapter that will connect to the CD Changer input and allow me to play my iPod?

    Thanks, D

  16. For those of you non-DIY folks that don’t want to seek out pin assignments, building your own interfaces, and the like, there are two companies that specialize in auxiliary input interfaces for stock head units. Precision Interface Electronics – or PIE – has aux input adapters for Audi/VW, Chrysler brands (Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep), Ford brands (Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Volvo), GM brands (not listing them all), and Honda/Acura. Blitzsafe has them for all of the above, as well as higher end vehicles like BMW and Mercedes.

    PIE also has actual iPod interfaces for Audi/VW and Honda/Acura, where you can use the CD changer controls of your stock stereo to control the iPod itself, in addition to provide a direct audio connection.

    Neither PIE nor Blitzsafe sells directly, but both are available through a number of online retailers.

  17. I have rca-out on the back of the CD player. I used an rca to minijack converter and plugged it into my iPod and the sound only comes out the back two speakers. Any ideas on what’s wrong?

  18. Steve same thing for me i tried playing my ipod throught the rca preouts and it would play in the back speakers. In my case the back speakers are running through an amp and it would play over the cd i was playing at the time… it sounded pretty crazy. After i put in my head unit i seem to recall there being an aftermarket $40 rca out>rca out + rca in adaptor for xm made by pioneer. I’m going to go to best buy today and check on it since my itrip sux. Anyone know if the SAAB way of soddering right onto the board will work on any other radio?

  19. Checked out best buy on my lunch break… i freaking hate those cocky douchebag car stereo guys. They just assume people know nothing about car audio and think if they say “yo dude you want to make it bump?” will solve all the problems. Anyway i’m not going into the many ways best buy employee’s are lacking… i found the part i was looking for but it was out of stock. It’s an RCA Out to RCA In converter. Now i just have to wait for the truck to come and then to see if my head unit can handle it.

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