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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

MP3 Imput for my 2004 Subaru

MP3 Imput for my 2004 Subaru

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*NOTE* If you have a stereo that is not of this make, or is not labeled, try looking along the fm board pins. (where the small up and down board meets the large side to side circuit board. If you can find two traces that go to two identical capacitors (would not have polarity, so polymer film, or ceramic or mostly anything but electrolytic caps), these would be the left and right channels of your stereo's FM board. This is what I have modified below. If you need help identifying this send me some high resolution pics to jordan@electronicsjunk (dot) com.

Every now and again I would wish for a new radio for our beloved Subaru. Not that the radio is bad or anything, its fully functional if you neglect the fact that it as no auxiliary input. It is however not the best radio either. It is a Clarion model that I have also seen in early 200's Mazda's. I started looking at new head units online and in stores for something with AUX input (mostly all of them), but couldn't justify spending $100+ on one just for the sake of sound. Sure I could burn a lot of CD's for that price, but I'm getting sick of how crappy CD-R's are these days. They simply do not stand  up to wear like their store bought counterparts.

There are various pages on the internet that talk about using the left and right audio channels coming from the cd mechanism to insert your mp3 audio. The problem with this is that you need a CD-R recorded with tracks that have no noise. This tricks the cd player into thinking it is playing the cd when you are really using your mp3 player. To me this just seems ... well I dunno... annoying?! I decided to take the head unit apart and see what I could find. What I found was the most labeled PCB one could hope for! I decided to make a connection between the fm tuner and the amplifier circuit. I cut the traces so that the radio would not play at the same time as the mp3 player.

Subaru 2004 impreza outback sport radioSubaru             impreza outback mp3 player

To my astonishment it worked perfectly, I didn't even need to add resistors or caps ( there are two there) and it is just about the same volume as the radio stations. I excitedly dug through some old parts bins to find a headphone jack. I ended up finding one (after 30 mins of digging) that had a dual throw, allowing it to switch two connections when the headphones are plugged in or out. Everything was going very smoothly with this project!


Good info!:) I'm using one of those Cassette Audio Input Adapters in my (I guess it's considered really Old Now!) Kenwood Radio with built in Cassette Player. It works just fine, except I have to use the Bass Boost on my Sony Disk Man (remember those?) to get enough Bass for the Double Kick Drums in my Heavy Metal CD's. But, you can hear the Cassette head turning when the Volume is down. Of course, I never have the Volume Down!;) Especially, not since this Radio is in my 1976 Chevy Blazer, that has Very Noisy Mud Tires, (Lots of Road Noise). I also have a 400 watt, Jensen 4 channel Amp to Bring up the Volume a bit. The Old Jensen's sound really Sweet to me!:) So, Ya, I would love to add an Audio Input to my Radio too. I have been doing that kind of thing, since I was a kid in the 60's. Back then, you could just trace the paths on the PCB's and in the Wiring and figure out where to put your Input Jack. But now, the Newer and Smaller Electronics are much harder to trace the signal paths on.  Thanks for the great How To!:)


Car Radio audio input hacking
Aux-in Hacking an ’04 Subaru Radio - Hack a Day
MP3 Imput for my 2004 Subaru
Adding an input to an old head unit - Hack a Day
More car audio input hacking - Hack a Day
Vintage car audio gets MP3 input - Hack a Day SD/MMC/USB/MP3 Wireless In Car FM Transmitter with Remote (Black): Electronics


jordanda said...

Hey Don,
Just wanted to thank you for linking to my article. I've been stuck on your site ever since. :)

I read somewhere on your site that you like setting up Linux machines, I was wondering what Linux/Linux variant you like?

Loving it,

Don's Deals Blog said...

Hey Jordan,

You're welcome for the link. I hope it brings you a little bit more traffic. You did a great write up on the radio. Thanks for sharing your work. My favorite Linux Distros are number one Fedora, I've been running it as my main os since Fedora 5 and am now running Fedora 14. I like Debian too. I ran Etch-n-a-half for 2 years. I have tried out probably 50 others too. I use to burn them all on CD-DVD, but now I mostly just run the new ones in VirtualBox and see what I think of them. I love reading and posting about tech stuff:) Let me know when you do another project...