Author Topic: How to fit an aftermarket amplifier to a standard head unit  (Read 10895 times)

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Offline karlos

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Fitting aftermarket amplifier to a stock head unit with no RCA outputs...

To start with your going to need a "Speaker line to RCA converter" a quick search of that on eBay shows 29 products ranging in price for £6.49 delivered to about £27. I spent just over £10 for my one however I ended up getting it from the local car shop. Regardless of which one they all look the same and do the same job.


As you notice mine has 6 wires coming out. Left Speaker +/- Right Speaker +/- and then two brown earth's. the brown earth's I've just doubled over and taped since they're just for changing the signal going through and weren't needed.


The tools I used were:
Snips.
Knife.
Insulation Tape.
Multifunction Screwdriver.
Soldering Iron with Solder.


Right so the first thing your going to want to do is remove the trip which runs across the dash above the head-unit/glove-box. in order to do this I used the knife blade on the driver's side to lever the clip outwards, once that clip has released you can get your hand round the back. theres another two clips to get out then the whole panel slides to the right and comes straight off. This will then reveal Two nuts which hold the head-unit in place, with a Phillips (cross-head) on top of you can use a 10mm socket if you prefer.



Once you've removed the two screw and put them in a safe place grab the head unit by the gap at the top between your front panel and the LCD screen above as shown and pull the entire unit straight out. it will weight quite a bit but will slide straight out with very little trouble. to remove the aerial wire just pull straight out, and for the wiring harness there is a clip which you need to push in to release.


Once your head-unit is removed and your wiring harness is free, use your knife to cut away any of the plastic that may be covering your wires. Once you can see the wires there are 5 wires you want to concentrate on, in my car a 2004 Mazda 3 saloon, these are:

Yellow - Ignition live -for your amplifiers remote turn on wire.
Grey - Rear Left Speaker Negative
White - Rear Left Speaker Positive
Grey/white - Rear Right Speaker Negative
White/Purple Rear Right Speaker Positive


In order to bear the plastic from the wires i use my snips to carefully pull the plastic back a bit, however if your worried about cutting the wire completely i would recommend either using your knife to gently cut it back or using some Wire Crimps. Once you've revealed the copper wires on both the end of the wires from your Converter and the wires in your head-unit harness you need to wrap the wires from the converter around the harness wires to give a tight hold on each other. then using your soldering iron dab a bit of solder onto each of the connections to secure it. Finally cover all the connections with insulation tape ensuring that you haven't missing any coppers that could short out. Another way you can connect the wires is via Scotch-Locks instead of soldering. The joint wont be as secure and wont give as clear a signal but is an easy alternative if your abit novice with a soldering iron.



Once this is all insulated, tape around the entire harness from the plug to where you've made the connection, making a neat job so that the head-unit will fit back in again and find a place to hide your converter. On my car, there is a big hole right at the back of the open area which was the right size for me to slot my converter into as shown. Before pushing your converter away simply push the two RCA cables into the two terminals on the other side of the unit and push it out of the way so as not to obstruct the head-unit.




Finally reinstall the head unit by doing the reversal of removing it, gently slide the unit back into position, reattach the two screws holding it into place at the top then slide the trim panel in from right to left then push all 3 clips back down until the panel is flush to the dash again.

As for wiring in my amplifier for the RCA/remote turn on wire i ran it out of the head unit compartment down towards the driver footwell, pushed above to plastic trim on the bottom of the dash to keep them away from the pedals, then ran down the drivers kick panel and underneath the sill panels, here you can either pull them off since only held on with clips or you can just push the wire under the panel whilst leaving it in place, ones as easy as the other. Then the wires are run under the rear seat and out into the boot compartment. For the power feed I ran this down the passenger side so that theres no interferance between the wires. to get it through the firewall I removed the glove-box to reveal a grommet which leads directly into the engine bay right next to the battery. Job Done.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2011, 12:26:32 AM by karlos »
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Offline Samp!

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How to fit an aftermarket amplifier to a standard head unit
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2011, 08:47:25 PM »
very nice walk through, seems like you know your stuff when it comes to electrics.
USED TO HAVE: MAZDA 3 1.6 SPORT NAV IN ALUMINUM WITH EIBACH SPRINGS AND CUSTOM CORKSPORT SRI INTAKE

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Offline karlos

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How to fit an aftermarket amplifier to a standard head unit
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2011, 08:49:34 PM »
Yeah i'm a towbar fitter by trade, so I also do the auto electric side of it all aswell, hope the walk through helps you guys anyway
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Offline imullett1

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How to fit an aftermarket amplifier to a standard head unit
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2011, 10:53:52 PM »
brilliant walk through! should def be a sticky!

Offline Samp!

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How to fit an aftermarket amplifier to a standard head unit
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2011, 11:14:51 PM »
brilliant walk through! should def be a sticky!


+1
USED TO HAVE: MAZDA 3 1.6 SPORT NAV IN ALUMINUM WITH EIBACH SPRINGS AND CUSTOM CORKSPORT SRI INTAKE

NOW HAVE: 1. MX5 MK1 1.8 IN BRITISH RACING GREEN LOTS OF MODS
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Offline Willpower

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How to fit an aftermarket amplifier to a standard head unit
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2011, 11:54:25 PM »
Very good walkthrough I have only a couple of concerns.

1) Where did you mount the amp and how did you run the cables to the head unit.
2) I would suggest that clamp connectors would be a preferable method of linking wires.

You have automotive electrical experience,some people are adept at soldering. Others are just hopeless.
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Offline karlos

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How to fit an aftermarket amplifier to a standard head unit
« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2011, 12:06:13 AM »
my amplifier is sitting on the back of the subwoofer box between it and my rear seat, the wires are ran under the rear seat, then where the sill's are they just pull off with i believe 5 clips holding them down, to get it over my pedals and up to the head-unit i fed the wiring up above the plastic panel under the dash and then it comes up through a gap behind the head-unit. for the power feed i ran it exactly the same way along the passenger side, but to get it through the firewall i removed the glove-box to reveal a grommet which enters the engine bay right next to the battery.

As for the scotch-lock idea for connecting the wires I wouldn't recommend this for speaker signal wire and it won't give a clear signal through the connection, whereas you get a guaranteed connection with soldering.

thanks for the support imullett1 and samp  ;D
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Offline gamgam1990

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Re: How to fit an aftermarket amplifier to a standard head unit
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2012, 01:07:49 PM »
hi just a quck question,
i've got a 56plate mazda3 ts, will the remote cable still attach to the yellow cable or will it be different for my car?
final question, when attaching it to the yellow cable would i be a permanent live or only work when ignition is on?

if you could get back to me as i'd like to install my sub and amp on saturday.....

thanks :)
 

Offline karlos

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Re: How to fit an aftermarket amplifier to a standard head unit
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2012, 04:52:36 PM »
Sorry I didn't get back to you in time, it should still be that yellow wire I don't believe they've changed and that wire only becomes live when your ignition is on and the radio is turned on. Karl.
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Offline ifne

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Re: How to fit an aftermarket amplifier to a standard head unit
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2012, 01:47:31 PM »
hi, please could you tell me what i have done wrong,

i have done the same

but i have a hummmmm noise when at idle, you can hear the engine,
i have put a rca suppressor inline in the boot,

any ideas?

Offline FleX

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Re: How to fit an aftermarket amplifier to a standard head unit
« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2013, 12:39:10 PM »
hi, please could you tell me what i have done wrong,

i have done the same

but i have a hummmmm noise when at idle, you can hear the engine,
i have put a rca suppressor inline in the boot,

any ideas?

This is what the ground wire from the rca converter is for, wire this to ground......

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Re: How to fit an aftermarket amplifier to a standard head unit
« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2013, 12:39:10 PM »