How to connect the radio in the car yourself


Everyone wants to have good music in the car. But what if the standard head unit does not provide the desired comfort? If the car is still under warranty, it is recommended to contact the nearest authorized service to find out how to install a new radio into it. And if nothing limits the car owner, then he can choose the best audio system for the car and mount it on his own. It is easy to connect the car radio correctly. It usually has a standardized ISO connector. But even if it’s not, there are a few easy ways to add new music to your car.

Where is the radio installed?

Installing a car radio with your own hands begins with finding a place to place it. The task is greatly simplified if in the car already have an audio system, mounted by the manufacturer, and the size of the new one corresponds to the existing one. Then the car owner only needs to carefully pull out the old device and install a freshly purchased one in its place.

Car radio installation

If the radio is installed in a car that was previously was not equipped with a sound system, you will need to correctly determine its location. Usually, an ashtray, a block for storing various small things, and sometimes a retractable cup holder are placed in the desired compartment. The accessory will need to be removed and only then installed in the resulting niche a new car radio.

The third case, which is considered standard − placing a smaller audio system, for example, 1 din car radios into the device compartment in a 2 din enclosure. When buying a new system, the owner of the car should take care of the question of how to close the empty space. It can be a utilitarian plug or a convenient accessory in the form of a compartment for storing small items.

The most difficult thing is to connect the car radio in the car where you want accommodate a 2 din device with the provided 1 din bay. Here you will need the help of qualified craftsmen. Almost always, the clearance of the required size in the dashboard is cut out manually. In this case, you need to know exactly the placement of functional units behind the panel so that the radio has enough installation depth. Without special knowledge, it is not recommended to start such work.

Car radio installation

How the car radio is connected to the power

Almost all modern car radios use the so-called ISO, aka the euro connector, to connect.. It is conditionally divided into two parts. At the first, the pinout allows you to switch the power supply system. The second is to connect an audio system, from 2 speakers to 5.1 format.

Some car radios have one, non-separable euro plug. Others have two parts. However, if the standard pinout of the car radio connectors is used, there will be no connection problems. Unfortunately, not all manufacturers offer the ISO connector format in their devices. There are unique combs and non-standard pinouts. If the connectors do not match, the car owner has two switching options.

Radio connection


When choosing a new audio system in a store, it is recommended to immediately clarify whether it has an ISO connector. As practice shows, there are a wide variety of types of car radio connectors. One group has three separable parts instead of two. There is a so-called extended set of contact groups through which the retractable antenna is controlled, the brightness of the backlight changes depending on the speed of the car, and much more. Still others may simply have a non-standard connector size.

Advice! If the car radio model you like does not have an ISO connector, you should immediately buy an adapter for it. There are many such solutions on the market. Therefore, choosing one that allows you to pair between the ISO and the connector available on the radio will not cause difficulties.

The design of the adapter may be different. For example, a chip, a molded plastic case with contact groups on both sides. Or two female connectorsinterconnected by short cables. In this case, you need to make sure that their cross section is at least 2 square meters. mm for audio connections and 3.5 — 4 sq. mm for the power section.

Radio connection

Twisted or soldered

The direct connection of wires can be optimized to the limit. That is, cut off the ISO connector from the side of the car and mounted on the radio. After that, the formed ends of the cables are cleaned, and the copper cores are twisted together.

Advice! It is recommended to solder such connections. Simple twisting from vibration, oxidation processes, dirt accumulation will quickly fail, which will force you to remove the radio and do the connection work again.

So to speak, collective farming a direct connection is necessary according to the colors of the wires. There are standard cable markings:

  • red — interrupt key, secondary power;
  • yellow — the main power circuit of the amplification, conversion circuits;
  • black — zero, common contact, aka mass;
  • blue with a white stripe — power input of the antenna unit and its amplification circuit.

Important! The designation of wires by color according to their functional purpose is necessarily given in the documentation for a specific car radio model. In addition to the power section above, there is also an audio channel switching unit.

High-end radios offer separate antenna extension control outputs for switching external modules (for example, amplifiers or a subwoofer), and controlling the brightness of the display. Modern devices have contact group MUTEwhich is responsible for muting the sound to receive a call on a smartphone, if such functionality is implemented by a separate block.

How to install a car radio in the dashboard

Transitional frames are offered with the radio — they are installed in the dashboard compartment. After that, the main body of the car radio is mounted on them. Installing frames is quite simple:

  • using a suitable tool, the tabs of the latches are bent;
  • the frame is recessed into the installation niche;
  • by pressing, they achieve the snapping of the latches and the correct location of the frame in the niche.

The algorithm of actions may differ and depends on the design of the mounting cup of the radio. For example, some frames provide for fastening to the dashboard with bolts, others have an additional fixing point. Having installed a special bar at the bottom of the mounting compartment, the pocket is screwed to it with a horizontal bolt. The documentation for the radio has all the instructions necessary for the car owner.

Dashboard installation

Other options for connecting the device to the power system

The standard method of switching an ISO car radio with a connector or through an adapter is not suitable for all consumers. Some connection options allow you to increase the safety of using the device and solve specific problems associated with the peculiarity of the on-board electrical network.

Direct to battery

Lovers of loud sound and rich bass are installed in the car additional amplifiers and active subwoofers. This technique consumes very large currents. As a result, the contact pads in the ISO connector cannot provide its conductivity. They heat up, which can cause various dangerous consequences: from the banal burnout of the contacts and the melting of the plastic housing of the connector to the formation of short circuits on the on-board network.

Advice! If you need an intensive power take-off from the on-board system, it is recommended to connect the car radio directly to the battery.

This is done in the following way.

  1. Wires with a cross section of at least 3.5-4 sq. mm are laid to the battery area. Their route should be away from hot or moving parts in the engine compartment.
  2. Cables are led into the area of ​​the receiving panel through the existing opening of the housing. At the end of the work, it is sealed. In the absence of special compositions, this can be done with hot melt adhesive.
  3. The ends of the wires are wrapped around the terminals (if the battery design allows). They are placed under the main clamps on the battery terminals. The black wire is connected to the negative terminal, the red wire to the positive. For good contact, the commutation point should be treated with WD-40.
  4. The black cable from the battery is connected to the corresponding wire of the radio.

How to connect a car radio

The red positive cable needs some additional work. Installed first fuse block. Its operation current should not be less than 10A. Loud sound lovers can calculate the optimal value for the power of the speaker system used. The fuse serves as a secondary short-circuit protection, complementing measures in car radios, amplifiers and subwoofers. To the second contact of the installed unit, two radio wires are switched at once — yellow and red.

Important! This car radio wiring diagram is fully effective and safe to use without additions, if the model supports the full power interruption mode. If there is no such device option, it will discharge the on-board battery, even if the car is parked with the ignition off.

With interruption via ignition switch

The method of switching to the ignition switch terminal allows you to completely eliminate parasitic power take-off or minimize the rate of discharge of the car’s on-board battery to the radio during the parking period. Switching takes place as follows:

  • the car radio is connected to the battery;
  • using a multimeter, examine the ignition switch and determine one of the terminals on which there is voltage at the first position of the turn (“Ignition on” mode);
  • the yellow wire instead of the safety block is switched to the found terminal.

With this switching scheme, the car radio in a parked car with the ignition completely turned off will either de-energized or severely limited in functionality. Modern models will have a clock, it will be possible to remove the tray with a CD. Food consumption in general will be minimal.

Connection wires

Using the commit button

You can completely eliminate parasitic power consumption in parking mode when connecting the car radio to the battery using the lock button. When it is on, the audio system works. The easiest way to implement such a scheme is to install a two-pin switch into a break in the red wire of the radio.

The button can be installed in a convenient place on the dashboard or dashboard. Especially if the manufacturer has provided points for placing such switches. To exclude sudden voltage surges on the radio, amplifiers, subwoofer, turn on or off groups of devices — the button is combined with a fairly simple relay circuit.

How to connect sound emitters

All speakers designed for use in automobiles are marked on the terminals with polarity marks. Their connection is made as follows:

  • negative terminals of the car radio, cables marked with a black stripe are switched to the corresponding negative terminals of the speakers;
  • the positive contacts of the loudspeakers are switched according to the pinout.

You can find out which pairs of wires you need to connect the front and rear left-right speakers to, according to the complete documentation of the car radio.

It is important to observe the correct polarity when connecting loudspeakers. If it is violated, the dynamics will begin to act in antiphase. The sound becomes flat and unexpressed.

How to connect a rear view camera

Many modern radio models equipped with displays. This is a great opportunity to increase the convenience and safety of driving. If the device supports this function, it is possible to connect a rear view camera to the car radio. To do this is quite simple.

  1. The camera is installed in the bumper, spoiler, on the trunk.
  2. The negative contact of the camera (black wire) is switched to ground, the machine body. To do this, you can use, for example, a bolt screwed into a hole drilled for this.
  3. The positive output of the camera is switched to the video input contact of the car radio.

To connect the camera, you will have to spend enough a long wire route through the entire interior of the car. However, you should first read its instruction manual. Perhaps the manufacturer has provided for the future installation of the camera, and the standard on-board wiring already has the appropriate routes.

To models of radio tape recorders offering a circular view, it is easy connect 2 cameras or more. In this case, the device will have multiple video inputs. At least one of them will be designed to connect a rear view camera. At the same time, a control input is provided for it for automatic activation when the machine is moving in reverse.

As a conclusion

The only thing you should not show when installing a car radio in the dashboard is haste. By carefully studying the documentation for the model, the stickers on its body, the available connectors, the places or compartments provided by the manufacturer, you can avoid many errors and negative consequences.

This is not only an unaesthetic appearance, a damaged dashboard, but also more serious disadvantages in the form of bad contacts, improper switching, potential sources of short circuits and other dangers. Careful study of reference materials, markings and instructions is the key to the successful completion of work and the excellent sound of a brand new radio in a car.


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