Clarion aux input

If your car was manufactured in the late ’90s or later and has a Clarion or McIntosh OEM stereo (many Japanese imports do), this project may allow you to add a proper auxiliary input for your iPod, laptop or anything else.

Eligible head units should have both a round 13-pin DIN socket and square 13-pin CeNet socket on the rear panel of the head unit, similar to that shown on the photo below. You will need to remove your head unit to check this. There is a list of models I have tried this with at the bottom of the page.

Rear panel connectors

Head units only featuring the round 13-pin DIN socket may not work as they probably use the older C-Bus protocol instead of the more modern CeNet. I’m not sure what the exact purpose of the connector on CeNet units is, however it’s certainly useful for this project!

Equipment

  • 13-pin DIN plug
  • 3.5mm stereo plug or similar
  • Toggle or latching on/off push switch
  • Twin-core shielded audio cable

What to do

Solder the connections to the 13-pin DIN plug as shown in the diagram below.Clarion/McIntosh aux input

Connect it to the back of your stereo. Power on the stereo and flip the switch. When it is on the head unit should display ACCS.

Connect the audio plug into a suitable source (e.g. your iPod) and you should hear it playing through the stereo.

One quirk with this design is that the head unit will stay in accessory mode even if you try to change function (CD, radio, etc.) or power it off until you turn off the aux switch. Turning off the ignition will still turn the stereo off in accessory mode.

You may wish to mount the auxiliary switch somewhere convenient on the dashboard. Many cars seem to have blank panels where optional features were not fitted; drilling into these saves damaging your dash and looks a little tidier.

List of stereo models tested

Compatible

  • Most OEM stereos fitted to MY98-MY03 Subaru Legacy
  • Clarion PF-1572I
  • Clarion PF-2143I
  • McIntosh PF-2142I

Incompatible

  • McIntosh MD players

If this mod works for you, please post a comment with the stereo model number to help build a list compatible with this mod!

Update: Removed resistor from circuit as it is not necessary in practice.

51 Responses to Clarion aux input

  1. Pingback: McIntosh PF-2520I-A « My Blog

  2. Gannon says:

    Hi

    Im keen to undertake this but i found conflicting information on another website.
    http://www.instructables.com/id/Add-an-Aux-In-jack-for-Clarion-Stereo-Head-Unit-I/step2/Identifying-the-inputs/

    You said you tested this on several clarion models, including the Clarion PF-2143I? This is the model fitted to my 2001 Outback.

    Do you have the service manual for these units

    Im also going to use a 13pin din plug, but is your pinout looking at the back of the unit, or the front of the plug?

    Many thanks

    • nzlamb says:

      It definitely works. I think whoever wrote the instructable article has been mislead by the C-bus pinout they found. In the case of these Subaru stereos it is not C-bus even though the connector is the same.

      The pout is looking at the back of the stereo, which is the same when working on the solder side of the plug.

      • Gannon says:

        Thanks mate

        I have it half soldered up, i just need to wire in the resistor and switch and i will post up some pictures if you like.

      • Gannon says:

        Hey

        I just thought I’d add that my brother in law has a 2001 B4 that has the McIntosh head unit, and it does not have the round 13pin plug, only the square one, which is normally for the 6 stacker, which he doesn’t have.

        Is it possible to get a square Clarion plug and use it the same way?

      • nzlamb says:

        He must have the MiniDisc version and unfortunately this doesn’t work on it. The best you can do is get an aftermarket unit like the AnyCar or swap the head unit for a tape one.

    • chris says:

      Hello, I have a Clarion DRX6175 head unit, year was 1995. At the rear of the unit there is a 13 pin round Aux input which is for a CD changer. Theres also 4 x audio RCA input jacks available and are unused for front and rear audio inputs. I want to connect my iPod Classic to this head unit. I have connected the iPod with a Y adapter cable running from ipod headphone jack to RCA inputs of head unit and the sound quality is poor or it sounds ‘tinny’ tweeter, metalic sound and this is undesirable. The better way would be through the 13 pin Aux input. Can I ask anyone out there to create a cable for me ? I can pay you. I would welcome your advice. Chris

  3. Gannon says:

    Whoo hooo! I got it working, but i need to find a 1k resistor, im using a resistor substitution wheel at the moment .

    Just one question… why does it need the 1k resistor?
    Will it damage something if i connect it straight to the switch?

  4. Gannon says:

    Finished


    I also found this in Russan, but i cant translate it http://www.subarudriver.ru/thread-2195243.htm

    It appears to be a factory in dash GPS and video player, and im guessing its the reason for this C-Net plug on the back of the headunit.

    • nzlamb says:

      Sure is, they are very common in NZ too. That TV tuner has its own aux input under the seat. The CeNET port can also be used for CD changers and iPod adapters on these stereos.

      • Gannon says:

        The square C-Net port is being used by the 6 stacker under the seat in my Outback premium.
        It would be really cool if i also had the phone port like in your other blog

  5. amir911 says:

    hi nzlamb please help me i have clarion head unit with ce net .can i connect aux?

    • nzlamb says:

      In a word, no, although its possible to use an intermediary device like a CD changer or EA1251 with an iPod, make a blank audio track and solder a cable to the audio input.

      • Mark says:

        Hi I have a squre plug on my rear clarion only. I recently purchased a 6 stacker and it has round plugs both ends . Can you buy round to square leads if so where . Also I have 4 RCA jacks and was wondering if I could run two into one for my I pod. I also have a top mounted DVD player currently hooked up. Works on aux only

      • nzlamb says:

        Unfortunately C-Bus (round connector) and CeNET (square connector) devices are totally incompatible and I’m not aware of any adapters out there.

        I’m not sure about the RCA jacks though, are you able to describe this in more detail?

        Regarding the DVD player I assume this is the Subaru OEM DVD/GPS/VICS unit? Sounds like it anyway; the MD head unit came with a DVD version of the satnav (MY01-03); the older tape one had a CD-based satnav unit (MY98-00). If you do have this unit you can feed an aux input into the factory TV tuner under the driver’s seat. Use the external video input; it has a proprietary connector but you can solder the left and right inputs directly onto the board. You then need to set up the satnav unit to VTR mode rather than TV; press the mode button (under OFF) on the left hand side to change to TV. After that one of the buttons on the left displays a menu where you navigate to the last option using the joystick and select VTR.

        I originally did this in my car and it worked great. The only drawback is that the TV mode can’t be selected while driving; the car has to be stationary. The park brake trick doesn’t work here either as the satnav unit gets the vehicle speed data from both GPS and the TCM (transmission computer).

  6. Jesus says:

    This website http://www.venturemp3.com sell an interface working with Clarion C-Bus 13 pins. Have a USB and SD card input. Hooked up to cd changer input, works as cd changer.
    You can install in Subaru. Plays fine 😉

  7. Rod P says:

    Thanks for this excellent write-up. It works perfectly on my 2000 model Liberty, with a clarion PF-2353I head unit. I’m thinking of changing the input method to a SPDT 3.5mm switched socket, so that it switches to ACCS when I plug it in.

    • Michael says:

      Hey RodP,
      Could you share how you intend to wire the SPDT 3.5mm socket and a link to where someone might get one?

      Im new to this stuff but had thought those “5 pin” 3.5 mm jacks were “normally closed” and became open on plug insertion – which is the opposite of what is needed here??

      Michael

      • RodP says:

        Hi Michael,

        You are correct in that most 3.5mm switched sockets usually have ‘normally closed’ contacts, which open to mute the sound to the speakers (I’m guessing). This is known as ‘single throw’ switching. A single pole, single throw switch would be described as SPST. I’m going to use a ‘double throw’ switched socket, where the contacts open one set and close another, and these contacts will take the place of the switch between pins 6 and 9. I am somewhat short of time at the moment so I’ll keep you posted. just Google 3.5mm SPDT or 3.5mm DPDT and you should get some hits. I’ll be buying my socket from Wagner Electronics in Ashfield, Sydney.

  8. Gannon says:

    Hey I’m back.
    I just bought an original Sanyo F-2757A radio for my 1985 Subaru Leone RX and it also has a 13pin round DIN socket on the back.

    Im gonna take it apart and see what pins go where. Imagine if I can hook my MP3 player and a switch and use it like the Clarion one.

  9. Gannon says:

    Pins 2,4,5,6,8,9,10 and 13 are soldered down, with 2 and 4 heading in the same direction and passing identical components, so possibly the L and R signal. I wonder what would happen if I plugged in my aux cable?

  10. Ivo says:

    Is that going to work on Clarion PU-9990A made for Peugeot ? It is from late 1997, and the 13 PIN connector looks the same.

  11. mukesh meena says:

    kenwood dpx6020 audio input wire

  12. Rajeev says:

    i have ADDZEST dmx960z dual din car stereo wrth Ce Net 13 square pin , can anyone tel me how can i give input for this ,, pls help me ,, rajeev4s6raj@gmail.com

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  15. David says:

    Hi nzlamb. I have a Subaru bh legacy with the satnav display. The car has an aftermarket Sony head unit.

    I really want to get rid of the “blue screen” and have it show the continuous HVAC info. Any idea how I can do this?

    • nzlamb says:

      First make sure it has the CD or DVD in it (press the little recessed button on the left hand side and the display will slide out slightly). That said, I’m pretty sure those units need the CeNET bus connected in order to operate at all. So with that the best I can suggest is either replace the head unit with a factory one or rip out the satnav altogether and replace it with the regular HVAC unit. The latter is a big job but I’ve done it myself and posted the details on the Club Sub forums.

      • David cassidy says:

        Thanks mate, unfortunately I don’t have the DVD either. So even with that, it requires a headunit with cenet to operate?

      • nzlamb says:

        Yes I just fired one up that I’ve got on the bench and it definitely needs a CeNET head unit to do anything. Without that it just displays a warning on the screen. Normally the button just below the OFF button changes mode between map, HVAC and TV.

  16. Tom says:

    Hi, thanks for the great tips. Will this work on the Clarion PF 23531 on ’02 Ltd OBW? – this is the double DIN Clarion, CD and Cassette. I think its a called a Type C stereo in the manual. There is a photo here http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/42-australia-new-zealand/34577-cassette-player-outback-2000-a-2.html

    This must have a square shaped CeNet plug, because it is already in use, connected to a Clarion 6CD changer under the passenger seat.

    Also, will this adaptor cable on Ebay work for the Ipod? http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/ECLIPSE-13-PIN-DIN-TO-AUX-CABLE-CORD-FOR-MP3-iPC-106-iPOD-IPOD-IPHONE-/130758389885?pt=AU_Car_Parts_Accessories&hash=item1e71ceb07d

    • nzlamb says:

      Yes it works great with those particular Clarion units, provided it has the round socket on the back. I originally tested this on a JDM version (PF-2143I) of the same stereo. Also note Rod P’s comment above – he’s confirmed it works with your exact model.

      • Tom says:

        Thanks, but do you have any thoughts on that cable? I’m just hoping to only disassemble my dash once, so I’d like to have everything ready before I start.

      • nzlamb says:

        I honestly don’t think that one will work. It would be risky unless you had a spare unit to try it on first so I don’t recommend it in this case.

  17. Tom says:

    hi, so I took the radio apart today and found that after all that work I didn’t have the round socket, only the square one that my 6 Stacker plugs into. I have a Clarion PF 23531 on ’02 Ltd OBW, so perhaps not all models come with the same plug configuration.

    Incidently, while I was having a look I saw another plug on the opposite end of the rear of the stereo that was also round but was already occurpied by some thick black wires – is this the aerial?

  18. Paul says:

    very nice…clean audio…did the sub gain already so now dont need to upgrade car stereo… jacked in iphone 3 g …good stuff nzlamb…didnt have 13 pin plug so I soldered wires directly to board!
    thanks alot man!

  19. miura says:

    Hi, nzlamb. From Japan, thank you for the best tips to add AUX for a stereo installed my old forester. It works perfectly although the unit has 8pin and 13pin DIN socket, a bit different. I spotted a possibility of hacking 13pin DIN you show here and tried the same pin assignment. Now I’m very satisfied with the wonderful result that I can plug and play my retired iphone stuff with no drawback in audio quality without buying a new model.


    The model unit is a genuine subaru stereo, 86201SA010, FM/AM CD player made in Japan about ten years ago, but the real manufacture is unknown. I bet it might be made by Clarion affiliated group. I’m not sure if you have seen it before in the South. I report you the fact to share with others just in case when you see the model in Japanese import cars.

  20. Simon says:

    Hi

    I have the Clarion PF-2169I which has the 13 pin plug for the CD changer. So I built the cable as designed but unfortunately I cooked my head unit!! Not to sure where I went wrong. Any suggestions?

  21. Hi, I have a clarion OEM unit PN-4048L. It has tv tuner and navigation and I was looking for where to connect AUX IN.( has a button labeled TV/AUX) I took it out and found an 8 pin square white connector with pin outs labeled on the board : A-BUS R+, A-BUS R-, A-BUS L+, A-BUS L-, Audio Ground, M-CAN +, M-CAN -. Can this A-BUS terminals act as AUX in or they carry audio bus digital traffic? model of tv-tuner in the boot is cy-tn0402a(has a similar connector but is not in use). Your help will be much appreciated.

  22. Luc says:

    If you ONLY ever wanted to use the AUX function could you connect pin 6 and 9 together without a switch?

    • nzlamb says:

      Absolutely, as you suggest that puts it permanently into aux mode.

      • Luc says:

        Do you have labeling for the rest of the pinout? I would like to also charge my iphone and provide the aux sound from an iphone proprietary connection.

  23. jimr says:

    This worked great for me! My CD player would not play. I removed the CD player, and then opened the top. I disconnected the connecters from the circuit board in attached to the DIN cable. I traced the pins using a multimeter and snipped the appropriate wires, audio and switch ones. Then I soldered a 3.5 mm plug with 36″ leads to the audio wires and taped them off. I then used a section of speaker wire to wire the switch leads. Next I ran both cables out the back, and fit the top back on, leaving the CD player dead, but acting in a new life.
    I wired a toggle switch onto the end of the speaker wires and re-installed the unit! Worked first time!. The toggle switch toggles between the receiver unit and the ipod 3.5mm jack. Thanks so much for this. Now I have decent tunes!.

  24. Sam says:

    HI nzlamb, I have the tv tuner under the seat and tried the method on clubsub to get an aux input but my stereo does not go into accessory mode. It stays in AUX and I don’t get any sound. Should it automatically change to accessory mode if I have wired it correctly?

    • nzlamb says:

      Hi Sam. The AUX and ACCS modes are the same; the earlier (tape) models show ACCS and the later (MiniDisc) models show AUX. It’s functionally the same though. If you go via the TV tuner you need to use the satnav unit to switch to AUX (as it sounds like you have done). There are a couple of different connectors on the TV tuner so it might be that it’s going via the wrong one. It should be the connector on the right if you hold the tuner so you are facing the front panel.

  25. Andy says:

    I have done this to a 1993 Legacy. My setup is more complex, I have a stock CD player that uses the 13 pin connector, and I have grafted an AUX input to its wiring.

    I have a 3 pole switch that in the CD position leaves wiring standard. In the AUX position, it closes pins 6 & 9 and switches left and right audio from the CD player to the aux input socket I have mounted below the radio.

    Works a treat! Now I’ve got stock Radio, Tape, CD Player and an AUX input in a setup that looks genuine 1993!

  26. Brad says:

    I did this mod to a Clarion PF-1509A and it worked like a charm.The PF-1509A is a Cassette deck and only has the round 13 pin din for Cd player option.When you switch into Cd mode it says Cd on the display.The Stereo is out of 2000 Subaru Forester.A big thanks to the original poster good work man

  27. kew says:

    I’ve known about this for years, but only got around to doing it yesterday because the “pretend cassette” I’d been using finally died. I have an Outback, MY2001, with the stock double height CD/cassette/radio. I used a tiny USB endoscope to look at the back of the head unit to make sure there was a 13 pin socket (there was) before I tore it all apart.

    Found I have a Clarion PF-2353i which has both the square and round sockets. Looks exactly like the one Tom linked to above from the front. I couldn’t find a 13 pin DIN plug locally and didn’t want to wait for one to come from o/s, so I used PCB mount terminal headers (they both have 0.1″ pitch) with fitted perfectly in the round socket. This is an example:

    The switching and audio wires were soldered to the pins and brought to a toggle switch and 3.5mm socket I mounted in one of the spare switch locations on the dash. Very pleased with the arrangement, thanks for writing it up, Jeremy. I should have done this conversion years ago!

  28. Tony says:

    Worked for me! Had the same head unit as the guy who posted pictures further up. Connected it to a TRRS PCB and it worked through AUX and a bluetooth adapter.

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