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Picture of MP3 input
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Learn how to make a MP3 input on Ford OEM radio, for only $5.00 or less.
 
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Step 1: First find a schematic for your paticular radio.

Picture of first find a schematic for your paticular radio.
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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.

Picture of Taking it apart.
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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.
akoroluk2 years ago
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.
Nightshade (author)  akoroluk2 years ago
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.
dcouch3 years ago
would be a lot cheaper and less hassle to use one of these

http://www.amazon.com/Universal-Audio-Cassette-Adapter-Black/dp/B001F9DJOO/ref=pd_sbs_auto_2
djsinistral3 years ago
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.
Cheers!
Ray
Nightshade (author)  djsinistral3 years ago
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?
Nightshade (author)  trainman91113 years ago
Both left and right. With the headset cord you have both left and right.
Nightshade (author)  trainman91113 years ago
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?
chucktaurus3 years ago
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....
0.775volts3 years ago
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.
Nightshade (author)  0.775volts3 years ago
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?
Nightshade (author)  Ironflamingo4 years ago
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.


joseductive4 years ago
Great work, but 1 question, Do you think it's possible to do this with a cd player?
Nightshade (author)  joseductive4 years ago
Yea I would think so but I haven't tried so I 'm not sure. Let me know if you do it.
Awesome! I have that same round sucky stereo, and want to do this. I have a CD player instead of a tape, should it work the same? Just search for the diagram of my CD player model number? Thanks for the great idea!!!!
wmstockman5 years ago
Hi Nightshade great instructable, just wish I'd seen it before I spent that ton of money at the electronics store to install an aftermarket system in my 99 Ford to do the same thing. Oh well, live and learn. Good job, keep'em up.
Nightshade (author)  wmstockman5 years ago
Thanks for your comment.
I don't understand this instructable. You solder your output wires from your MP3 player to the output of your tape player, correct? I always thought you had to soldier them before the tape player so the amplifier can amplify your mp3 player's sound? Michel Portugal
Nightshade (author)  silver912targa6 years ago
I am not sure. Maybe with a Fords wiring that's the way it is. I know their + & - on the speakers are a little different than normal, or at least it used to be different. All I am sure of is it works the way I put it together. Thanks for the comment.
pzell9296 years ago
where did you get this wiring diagram? my radio has a CD changer input that I'm trying to use instead of the cassette, so mine is a little different than yours. Did you find this diagram online somewhere?
Nightshade (author)  pzell9296 years ago
On the black casing that covers the cassette player was the radio model number. I just did a search for that model number and found it.
richms6 years ago
Is that some form of nixie clock in the vice in your first picture? Also, This is the exact reason that I steered my mother to getting one car over another, one had a custom molded stereo, the other a standard din sized one - sorry Suzuki, you lost a sale because of this. Laser failure after the car warranty is up is too common to get a proprietary head deck in a car
Nightshade (author)  richms6 years ago
Yes it's a IN-18 nixie tube clock. I am working on some thing to mount it in. I saw a Instructable for casting aluminum. Thinking about glass tube with aluminum endcaps and feet. Thanks for the comment.
i have the same one! but i just use a tape deck line in thingy http://eshop.macsales.com/images/Items/caradapter.jpg
it works great. it's super loud and crystal clear. but this is was cooler. nice instructable.
Nightshade (author)  garrettmikesmith6 years ago
Thank you for the positive comments
Nightshade (author) 6 years ago
That works great if you have a CD player.
chuckr446 years ago
Neat idea. But I just burn a few audio CD's and play them in my CD player in my car.
GitarGr86 years ago
cool instructable! instead of having a wire sticking out of your stereo, you could instead wire to an audio jack on the faceplate that you then plug your player into. would probably look much cleaner, especially to any prospective buyers of your car in the future
Nightshade (author) 6 years ago
Thanks this is my first.
Wow, smart! Really really smart. Nice job, I can see your feet in the last picture. :P
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