MP3 Input





Introduction: MP3 Input

Learn how to make a MP3 input on Ford OEM radio, for only $5.00 or less.

Step 1: First Find a Schematic for Your Paticular Radio.

The radio I have is a notorious Ford Taurus OEM radio. Because of it's shape and because the radio is actually in the trunk, it makes it difficult to find any cheap solution. We spent too much money buying a Ipod FM transmitter. It didn't like it. {LAME} The sound sucked, volume was too low. Too much static.

The first thing is to remove your radio from the car. In my case, there are two holes on each side of the radio. You have to put a stiff wire, like a coat hanger in the two holes on one side, push hard to release. Then release the other side. There is no good way to get a hold of the radio. I just stuck my fingers in the cassette opening and pulled.

This is the hardest part of the whole project.

Then I made a simple drawing of the wires on the car side of the plug going into the radio. (Sorry for the fuzzy pics I didn't have my good camera.)

Step 2: Taking It Apart.

You will need a torx bit to take this thing apart. They are fairly cheap at hobby stores. If you don't have them maybe one of your friends will. Friends are great aren't they. I think there are six or seven of them. Then the screws, I think there are five of these.

Next there is a screw with a 3/16th head you have to remove. Twist this switch and it comes right out. Then pull off this metal cover.

Step 3: Step3

Take off all three knobs. Then lift off the plastic cover. Be careful because there is still a ribbon cable attached. You will have to finagle it over the aluminum heat sink. The heat sink is the silver tall piece of metal. There are two more torx screws to get out the tape deck. Pull it out , it comes out easy. Almost there!!! On top of the circiut board there are three black plastic heads holding the boards together. All you do is take a pair of needle nose pliers and pinch them together and pull the boards apart.

Step 4: Finding the Solder Point.

Take a look at the wiring diagram and find your speaker + and - solder points for the cassette player.

Take a pair of headphones and cut them close to the earbud end. Any old pair will work.
I had these just lying around. Just strip it back, take the wire ends and solder one to the positive and one to the negative on the back of the circuit board.

Step 5: Do It All in Reverse.

Thats it !!!!! Put it all back together. Put the plugs in the back of the radio when you install it back in the dash.
Plug in your Ipod,or other Mp3 player, CD player, or anything else with a headphone jack.
Pop in a tape. I used an old weight loss tape. You won't be able to hear the tape unless you turn the volume way down. I suggest turning up you Ipod no more than 2/3 of the way, and then use your car stereo to do everything else.
You can adjust your volume, fader, balance, bass, treble on the radio itself. If you want to go back to your radio all you have to do is leave the tape in and push the FM button. It's that simple.



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    If you have a spare tape that you don't want just pull all the tape out so just the spools turn freely. The tape is just to activate the motor inside.

    Hi i did this mod exactly as you said but now im just getting the tape playing and my ipod/phone playing over the tape. I can hear both equaly. How do i eliminate the sound from the tape. Can i buy a blank cassette tape and if so will it actually play or will my tape deck just spit it out like it does with tape adapters.

    My taurus spits out even regular tapes, how would i fix that? Is there a way to trick my tape player to thinking there is a tape without putting one in it?

    1 reply

    When I put the tape in It just thought it was a real tape.

    Have you figured out if this can be done on a car with a cd player? I have a 2003 Taurus SES with a cd player. I haven't been able to find its exact radio wiring diagram.

    1 reply

    I haven't tried to copy this using a CD player but I have seen articles where other people are using the solder points on a CD player. I would say yes it should work just fine. I took the model number off the radio and did a search for the wiring. Isn't the internet great everything you can think of at your finger tips.

    would be a lot cheaper and less hassle to use one of these

    Hey Nightshade
    thanks for a great article!

    Quick question - is that the +ve solder point your pointing too in the fifth photo here.
    I also have a ford taurus, so I can copy directly if it is.

    1 reply

    Yes it's the Ford Taurus. You should be able to copy it no problem.

    Thanks for all the comments.


    I have found all the + and - hookups are you hooking both the left and right plug or on just one side. Because you have a right and left for the cassette hookup?

    3 replies

    Both left and right. With the headset cord you have both left and right.

    When you cut the headphone cord you will have both right and left side wires. I soldered them both in. Thank you for looking and commenting.

    hey man great instructable:) and also may i add 10/10 for product back up support.Your still here 2yrs after you 1st posted giving out help and support! Now that commendable commitment. Obviously one of lifes good guys eh?

    Hey i just wanna thank you for giving me a solution to my football radio. i've been using a 5 dollar "iWorld" transmitter (which actually outperformed a $30 Belkin) and have used that as a direct comparison. While the cassette mod isn't as loud, it is extremely clear AND i dont have to deal with a lot of wires and hog the cigarrette lighter. my wire goes through a drilled hole in the hideaway ash tray/lighter in my 97. now to just find a reasonable amp that takes 4 channels in and puts out 4+sub....

    Very nice. I just soldered to the wires on the connector, but it sounds a bit quiet and not as sharp and clear as I'd like, did you go on the other side of an amplifier or something when you soldered to the contacts? Also, I ran my cable behind the stereo (I call it the potadio due to it's shape), and ran the cable out with the ash tray/cigarette lighter. I don't smoke, so I just put my ipod in the ash try. this means when you get out of the car you can just slide the tray assembly closed with the ipod in it, nice and neat! Thanks for providing the impetus for this project.

    2 replies

    Thank you for your comments. You might try turning up the volume on your Ipod. Not so its blaring , then use your dash controls. I like the Potadio name. :)

    That's why I was curious, I've got the volume cranked, and it's not that loud (much louder, approx 12db, from the tape adapter).

    Great guide.  I was wondering if instead of playing a tape in the deck could you rip out all the magnetic tape from a cassette and use that instead?

    1 reply

    Thank you for your comment. I'm sure it would, it just needs to engage the motor for the tape. Your just tricking it into thinking there is a ordinary tape in there. It will then switch all the audio functions to work with the tape audio.

    Great work, but 1 question, Do you think it's possible to do this with a cd player?