My wife and I purchased a used car a few months back, and one of the known problems was that the radio had a busted auxiliary audio port. I thought about trying to replace the port, but since I wanted to install a rearview license plate camera anyway, I decided to replace the whole radio.
I made the mistake of purchasing a Boss BV7320, which has a whole slew of features, including an LCD screen, a DVD/CD player, an SD card slot, and front and back USB ports. But the main feature I was looking for was being able to play podcasts and music from my iPod. Since this product claimed to be "iPod compatible," I decided it was worth a shot since it was less than $100 bucks.
Turns out the USB ports only charge the iPod, and what I thought was a front auxiliary audio port is actually an a/v port. This is great if I wanted to plug my old VCR into my dash board, or watch my 1990s vacation videos from my cam corder on my car radio's LCD screen, but other that, I can't figure out why a car radio needs an a/v port? And when I plugged a standard audio plug into the a/v, audio only plays out one side of the car.
After searching more than a dozen stores, and too many websites to count, my research would seem to indicate that there is no such thing as an a/v to auxiliary audio cable.
So here's how I made my own.
• Soldering iron
• Wire cutters
• Hot glue gun
• a/v to RCA cable
• silver stereo plug
• shoe lace
• heat shrink wire insulator
Step 1: Alternatives?
Theoretically this should have worked. But all it did was switch the signal I was getting from the driver's side to the passenger side - still no stereo! Plus I had more than a dozen feet of cable hanging from my dash board - Not exactly elegant!
I did find that I could listen to podcasts and MP3 if I copied them onto a USB memory stick or SD car, but this wasn't exactly a convenient solution.
Step 2: What's the Difference Between "a/v" and "aux"?
While a 3.5mm stereo plug will fit into an a/v port, it won't make all the necessary contacts, and the result will not be stereo output.
Step 3: Prepare A/v Cable
Pull the yellow RCA plug and attached cable down to the base of the a/v plug and cut the cable (as close to the plug as possible). Then cut off the red and white plugs.
Step 4: Lace Cable
Now lace the cable through a shoelace.
This process is a time consuming and annoying one, but I found from previous projects that lacing a plain wire or cable really adds wuite a bit of flare to the final product.
Once the lace is in place, heat the frayed edges with a lighter to clean them up a bit if necessary.
Step 5: Heatshrink A/v End
Step 6: Prepare Wires
If you are using a retro-style metal 3.5mm stereo plug, like I used, now is the time to insert the barrel and spring over the tip of the cable.
Expose the wires from the tip of the shoelace and spring.
Unwrap the copper wires from what were the red and white plugs, and wrap them together to create a third wire. Insert a small piece of heatshrink over this new third wire.
Step 7: Attach Plug
Before you attach the plug, make sure to slide the barrel of the plug onto the cable, to tighten later.
It's very important that the wires don't touch each other, or you will have a short in your cable. Once the wires are soldered, this is a good time to test your cable. If it works, congratulations, and heat up the hot glue gun to celebrate.
While the hot glue gun is not required, I find the helps to strengthen the plug and the connections of the wires.