MP3 player "input" for car stereo.

Picture of MP3 player
This instructable was inspired by so thank you "aka_bigred" who was the original author. This mod will allow you to add an MP3 player input jack to your car stereo.

This is made for a Stereo with a CD player WITHOUT an AUX option.

Caution. I take no responsibility if this messes up your Cd player, your MP3 player or worse. This mod is not perfect but it works for my purposes. To you nay sayers keep it to yourself.

This mod requires you to take apart and reassemble your cars cd player if you don't feel comfortable doing it then don't

The items I used in the mod are:
Pioneer DEH-3400 (Make Year 2002)
30 Gig IPOD video
Old pair of headphones
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Step 1: Stereo Removal

Remove the car stereo. I did not take pictures because everyone has a different stereo.

Step 2: Disassemble

Picture of Disassemble
Now that you have your stereo apart it might look something like this. On the left side is the main unit. The right side is the cd player itself and this is what we will focus on from now on.

Step 3: Find the "input"

Picture of Find the "input"
Depending on the model of Stereo that you have you should have a "ribbon wire" that connects cd player to the main unit. Where the Ribbon connected to the cd player is where you want to look. The image attached is up close.

If you look closely you can see to the right of where the ribbon is attached it says on the board "ROUT" , "LOUT" and "AGND" These are the three connections that we need to make.

I can't say if it is like this for every cd player but it works for mine. This idea here is we are tricking the CD player into thinking that is it playing a CD.
teejer4 years ago
Tried this a couple weeks ago on my '02 Focus and its standard issue p/n 1S4F-18C838-BA   AM-FM-CD (sgl disc) ........and IT WORKED GREAT.  Thanks for a complete, very well written guide.  Added a couple pix to show location of R and L Out and Grd terminals on this board. 
2010 01 20th 035a.jpg2010 01 20th 035b.jpg
mikeklepacz (author)  teejer3 years ago
Awesome, I am glad that it worked out for you. I am thinking of doing in it a Honda CRV next.
so i took my stereo out yesterday and did this but instead of connecting the cable to the cd player and using a silent cd i just hooked it to my radio tuner. it was just on the bottom of the main board. there were right and left outs and two grounds. it works really well. when an ipod or my laptop is plugged in it just takes over the radio. then if you want to listen to the radio unplug the ipod or laptop or whatever you have. i had a problem with a high pitched electric whine but only sometimes so i fixed this by messing with the audio settings bringing the high down to 0.

Hi ! I tried this way, however, my cd player does not work, I mean, it is not reading CDs. There is a way to input directly even it is not playing a CD ? =(

Dread_Neck2 months ago
I still use my cd player, could I wire it through the tape player instead?
loakay5 months ago


loakay5 months ago

Started trying to do this hack on the stereo in a 2004 Infiniti G35. After removing it from the very frustratingly designed dashboard, I have realized I am completely lost. Could anyone spare some time to let me know where to go from here? I suppose this is a lot to ask for, but a helping hand would be much appreciated. Thx

kgwolf5 months ago

i installed this in my sister's '04 Pontiac Grand Prix, and it partially works. when I plug the AUX cable into my mp3 player, it recognizes that "headphones" have been plugged in. but, when I plug the other end into the input, the mp3 player believes the headphones have been unplugged. however, if I plug into the mp3 player, start playing a song, then plug into the input, it plays. once the track ends though, the mp3 player acts as though the headphones have been unplugged again, and I have to unplug from the input, start playing a song again, and then plug back in. of course, it then only works for 1 song, and then repeat the process. any thoughts?

seba16854 years ago
I've tried this with my 2001 Chevy Cavalier (original 2001 factory radio) and it distorted the sound coming from my ipod. Not like guitar distortion, more like bad audio quality that would be very jumpy in volume (you had to turn the car volume up all the way to be able to hear anything). I don't think it has anything to do with my soldering or the cables i used because i tried this twice with 2 different cables. any suggestions? note: images are of my first attempt. after soldering i covered in liquid electrical tape, then silicone sealant
teejer seba16854 years ago
You probably already checked this, but, I'd 1. get a ohmmeter & verify that that the Ground wire(s) you soldered to the board goes to the sleeve (ground) portion of the mini-plug. See picture in for details on which parts of the mini plug are L , R and Ground (3, 2, & 1 resp). I think you could swap the L & R wires and be OK, but the Ground's gotta be right. 2. If that doesn't work, then I'd see if there was any other L, R & Grd connections on the board closer to the multi pin connector. Can't really see from your pix if there are traces in the board directly from the multi pin connector to your L, R & Grd solder points, but there should be. 3 Finally get a magnifying glass and check all solder points for solder balls that could short out.. Good luck.
seba1685 teejer4 years ago
teejer, what can you make of this? as you can see, i tried soldering where it says LCH, RCH and AGND. where else on this board could i try soldering? the other picture shows you the kind of cable i'm using. the exposed copper wire is wound together and attached to GROUND, the wire inside the red cover is going to the RIGHT CHANNEL, the wire inside the white is going to the LEFT CHANNEL. Am i doing that correctly?

Hello seba 1685, I have a 2001 cavalier as well and was wondering if you had any luck with your project and could tell me how to do it. Thanks!

teejer seba16853 years ago
Seba1685, hopefully you got it to work, but if not, it really looks like you have the right solder points on the board and the right wires from the 3.5mm jack. It's probably a stretch, but my board and mikeklepacz's both said R OUT and L OUT instead of R CH and L CH, so maybe there's more solder points on the other side of the of the board (slim, but worth a look). Beyond that, again I'd just make sure you're not shorted out anywhere in the jack / wires or on the board. Good luck. FYI, mine's still sounding great after more than a year.
seba1685 teejer4 years ago
teejer, what can you make of this? as you can see, i tried soldering where it says LCH, RCH and AGND. where else on this board could i try soldering? the other picture shows you the kind of cable i'm using. the exposed copper wire is wound together and attached to GROUND, the wire inside the red cover is going to the RIGHT CHANNEL, the wire inside the white is going to the LEFT CHANNEL. Am i doing that correctly?
guayomin12 months ago
I just did it for a Kenwood kdc-307 car stereo that I bought second hand for 25 Euro. It works like a charm, Thanks so much for this instructable that saves huge amounts of money and draws a lot of smiles!! It wasnt very difficult to locate the soldering poitnts, in this case they were indicated as LCH and RCH and the gorund as AGND.
dcovey11 year ago
awesome post. took some free headphones from a flight I took, took apart my pioneer, found the exact markings, and bam. 3 solder points and 30 minutes and I was driving my classic beetle with its top down and listening to Pandora from my iPhone.
nboulton2 years ago
Thanks so much for taking the time to post this hack - very nicely laid out. I have gotten as far as taking apart my pioneer DEH-1550 car stereo and I can see the labels ROUT, LOUT and AGND, but the exact location of their respective connection points is still ambiguous. If you could spare a moment, I would really appreciate some guidance. I have attached a picture to show you what I'm faced with. Do you think my equivalent connection points are "R", "L" and the point between these two (shown just to the right of the ribbon connector in my image). Thanks.
photo uploader didn't seem to work for me in the previous message. Try again....
mikeklepacz (author)  nboulton2 years ago
I would say yes, I would solder it, just a tack though and see if you can get it to work before you solder it completely and seal the connection. Get it soldered then put it together and see if it has a signal.

That is what I did because at the time I was really shooting in the dark.

I am pumped that people are still getting use out of this instructable. My stereo still works. After all of these years the cd player stopped ejecting the cd, so the only thing that works is my MP3 connection.

Sweet deal. Great words of encouragement. I had to work out a way to ground the headphone wires without picking up any signal noise as there was no obvious agnd connection. After trial and error I got there in the end. Road tripping through NZ at the moment and this had made our clapped out banger a much more enjoyable ride. Thanks again for the post.
Hey nboulton, which pin did you end up using as your ground? I've got my Pioneer DEH-1500 open now and it looks like we've got the same pin layout. Any advice?
Hi there, not 100% sure but it was either GND1 or GND2. In fact I'm pretty sure I used GND2 as it is furthest from any other pins so easier to solder to. Good luck!
Well I started by connecting the ground to the pin between the L and R pins, like you originally thought... and it's working well so far! Great sound quality. In fact, with the DEH-1500 there is no need to burn a silent disc; whenever an auxiliary source is connected, the new signal takes over so the audio from the CD is not heard at all. Pretty nifty! Thanks for the quick response though, if I run into any trouble with the mysterious pin between L and R, I'll try out one of the GNDs.
You have a far steady hand than I do then!

I think you've probably got a better set up than me - when I plugged the 3.5mm jack into my smart phone to play music, I found that it was causing my phone to shut down. I had to turn off the CD player prior to connecting it to get around this issue. Perhaps by using one of the GNDs I was getting an undesired current through the headphone jack. If you're not having this same issue, then I might consider changing my set up to match yours.

It's a pretty awesome hack isn't it. Full credit to mikeklepacz.
dumpstar3 years ago
What about adding an sd card slot? Or a usb slot?
then you wil need a microprocessor that can read mp3s
inder012 years ago
carkif2 years ago
hi can i get some help please my stereo doesn't have those marks or any that i would think are left and right channels and my camera doesn't focus right so i cant post pictures the stereo is a panasonic CQ1011N any help would be appreciated
edjsage2 years ago
Great instructable! I'm trying to find a way to get it to work for my stock Blaupunkt CD player in my 2003 Ford Focus. I've taken everything apart and I can't seem to make heads or tails of what I'm looking at in regard to R and L OUT. If anyone has any suggestions, I would greatly appreciate it! Thanks!
edjsage edjsage2 years ago
OK. Update: I think I've found a wiring diagram for this board. Would TA+ and FA+ be my L and R audio? There's a good chance I'm just being dumb, but it seems like it's possible as I don't see anything else labeled as L or R (besides LGND and LP). If anyone has some insight I would sure appreciate it! Thanks!
send me the pic to elerepair at gmail dot com
if you didn´t solve it yourself.
Nice, i was wondering something like this.
mikeklepacz (author)  Yerboogieman4 years ago
It was way easier then I could have hoped for. F paying $200 for a new cd player with aux.
$200? Where are you shopping?
mikeklepacz (author)  Yerboogieman4 years ago
By the time you buy a new stereo and then the controller to interface with the IPOD it's around 200 at former circuit city or best buy
or just get an amplifier and do something epic like this... my mp3 player has a radio built in anyway
What controller? There's the cord that plugs into the front of the stereo, that you hook the player into. Then the line outs in the back for the amp for the speakers and subs...
mikeklepacz (author)  Yerboogieman4 years ago
yeah but if you want a good model that controls the mp3 player through the unit you have to pay a lot
Oh, yes, good point.
Go to wal mart got mine for under $80
I have a D model DB1200 am fm receiver and it doesn't have any solder points labeled Rout, lout, or agnd. can someone tell me what I should look for on this stereo?
JasonYMN3 years ago
Thank you so much :) i had a Sony xplod head unit that was missing the face plate and all it could do was play cd's without any control. Thanks to your instructable I was able to add an aux in and get much more functionality out of what i thought was useless head unit.
netizenzero3 years ago
And the deck hacking continues. I just performed this on the factory deck in my 2002 Grand Prix. I had a little trouble at first (things were not labeled well), but I did some hunting around, and found a manual for a Mitsubishi CQ-JB6160 which contains the same CD unit as mine had (E-8746Ca), and figured out the wiring from there. Works like a charm. No static, no drop out, it's great!

Thanks for the idea and the tutorial, but to mikeklepacz, and to whoever originally thought the hack up!
ddepaoli33 years ago
Great tutorial! I've just finish it and works!
In my case on the pcb there are no indications about the channels so I searched for the DAC datasheet and i found the 4 outputs. This can be an hints for the people with my same problem.
NaVoronda3 years ago
Thanks so much for this ible. I knew nothing about electronics but was able to finish in a few hours. It took longer to do the research and find the right places to solder (the circuit board from the factory deck wasn't labeled) than it did to wire the whole thing together.
agamble3 years ago
Mike, it would be badass to record the inside of your car at 70 miles an hour and make a cd of that sound flipped 180 degrees out of phase. Play THAT cd at 70 miles an hour while your i pod is going, and BAM, you've got a ghetto rigged, cheap, noise cancellation cd/aux custom stereo setup!
mikeklepacz (author)  agamble3 years ago
SwampFox893 years ago
So I'm in a pickle here. I want to be 100% sure about what I'm about to melt. the AGND label is to the right of the big white ribbon. It's obviously the point between the two small white strips. Now ROUT and LOUT are two the left of the ribbon. Judging by the white boxes drawn in here, I am assuming that the LOUT pin is the one just above the "UG" label, and the ROUT is just up and to the right of LOUT. Would anyone concur or disagree?

If I can tag in this picture, that would be awesome.
pioneer circuit.jpg
As a tip for people with the same car, i would take pictures on how to get the stereo out. You will get more views.
mikeklepacz (author)  Yerboogieman3 years ago
While I appreciate the tip my car is from 1984 and the player is from 2003. So it is really all basic.
mikeklepacz (author)  Yerboogieman4 years ago
It is all totally custom. This is a stereo from 2002 in a 1984 caprice. All custom mount brackets and such
I agree. Absolutely no point in having pictures of removal. Great guide, I will be using it.
lockon734 years ago
 Awesome, i was looking for this. I just got one question, before taking apart my cd player XP.  If id like to lisent to a normal CD  instead of the mp3 would it work?
mikeklepacz (author)  lockon733 years ago
It would work.
I have a problem.

I added a 3.5 jack connector which will switch between radio / line in. ( I don't have CD and wouldnt want the hassle of a blank CD anyway)

The jack wires connect to input pins on the sound chip TEA6320

The problem I have is the AUX is not the same loudness at radio. If i turn up my mp3 player it distorts.

I read I need to put 4.7k resistors in the L & R aux in, but testing with 1.5k and 10k proved it didnt work.

Any ideas how I can get the aux louder and avoid the distortion?

Thanks in advance.
sssssbooom4 years ago
Any Idea what Error -10 means? I have a Pioneer super tuner III D I opened it up and there were no markings on any where so I closed it back up and now it reads ERROR - 10. And it wont take any cds :( hopefully I can get it fixed.
are you still looking for help on you error -10? what that means is you have connected two soldering points
I figured it out, I put the ribbon cable in upside down. Pioneer puts their pull tabs on the under side of the ribbon cable. I hate when stupid stuff like that happens lol.
 Just incase you were unaware, the letters stand for Right OUT, Left OUT, and A Ground (there are usually many ground connections throughout any piece of electronic equipment)
adilee4 years ago
Is there no way instead of connecting it to the cd, why not to theradios audio output and just have a switch to toggle from radio andipod.

mikeklepacz (author)  adilee4 years ago
 for my particular unit, the radio audio is not as good of qualityas the cd audio settings. that is why i didn't go through the radio.with other units I am sure it would be more of an option. Also. I neverhave troubles with the player skipping. I was just making note that itis possible. 
Thanks for getting back to me about this, my only concern is that i gotalot bass of from my 2X 1000W sub and that skip will not soundgood...anyway i was wondering if you could help me with trying the radiomethod. Dnt wanna waste ur time but i dnt knw what to look for on thecircuit board, then after that its just a matter ofreconnecting...rite!!! Thanks Dude
------4 years ago
Thanks! I knew there had to be someway of doing this. I have wanted to do this for a couple of years now. As for the music skip. Does your cd players not have the repeat function? You could just keep listening to the same song over and over(Blank song). Or does it skip because of the song change?
mikeklepacz (author)  ------4 years ago
It skips because of the cd going from track 15 to track one. its the only time it happens. just make full "silent" cd and make it to where there are no time gaps in between songs. it should be fine then. but then again im sure it depends in the maker of the original unit
DanAdamKOF4 years ago
Ahh, I was wondering how this would come together, then you pull out the silent CD. I was thinking cutting the traces and wiring them to a switch, but really this is easier and accomplishes the same thing. Clever.
mikeklepacz (author)  DanAdamKOF4 years ago
Yeah I got the idea from aka_bigred and just modified it for my needs. There are a few cons though. When the cd is "over" and it goes back to track one my music stops until the cd player starts "playing" again. But for free I can totally live with that.
Sorry to flood you, but

Does this "upside down" method work for you? If it does, there shouldn't be a pause :)
mikeklepacz (author)  DanAdamKOF4 years ago
I don't know and I don't mind the pause really. I just didn't know if I would risj sound quality if I soldered to the tuner unit so I soldered mine to the CD player audio out connection on the play itself.
Yeah I figured that would be the case. Hm, I wonder if it's possible to perhaps spoof the TOC in the CD to trick the player into thinking it's a 99:99:99 long track or something like that... if it works, that would be pretty nifty.

Anyway, you could partially remedy this by rewinding to the beginning of the CD, as long as you're not driving for longer than the length of the CD you won't encounter a skip. I'm sure you've thought of that though.

Here's another idea I was toying with:

I was thinking that I'd disassemble the CD Changer to the bare minimum components required to make it run, just to identify itself to the headunit, and then do the hack as above, but thinking about it, and reading the posting, I think a CD has to actually be running... so this wouldn't work as a simple plug-and-play input like I was thinking.