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