How to Add an Auxiliary Jack for an MP3 Player to a VW Beta Car Radio

If you have an MP3 Player and want to listen to it in your VW car you can always use a cassette adapter, but with a little basic electronic know-how you can create an auxiliary input to listen to your MP3s directly with no loss of audio quality.

Steps

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    Remove the radio using two VW Beta radio removal keys. You can hack together these keys by starting with two PC expansion port covers and stripping the metal from them until they fit in the radio release holes in the radio and CD Player.
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    Test the cables to find which are the left and right audio channels.
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    Identify and examine and pull out the extension cable.
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    Select a switch to wire into the extension cable that will allow you to flick it one way to get audio from the CD player and the other to get audio from the MP3 player.
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    A DPDT switch allows you to connect two input wires and switch between them for the output from the switch. Wire the switch to the left and right audio.
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    Measure where on the extension cable you will put the switch. Putting it about halfway down the cable should allow you to mount the switch in the car dash.
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    Notice how the wires are protected by shielding to avoid interference from the car engine.
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    Don't cut the shielding as that will prevent it from functioning. Tease the wires out of the shielding until you see the grey and white audio wires you want.
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    The white and grey wires are also shielded, so make sure you strip back the wire a bit and reconnect the white wire shielding on one side to the white wire shielding on the other side. Do the same with same with the grey wire shielding. This will ensure you maintain the best signal down the wires.
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    Solder the wires to the switch.
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    Locate the correct headphone jack. You can cannibalize a set of headphones or buy one in Radio Shack. Solder the wires from the headphone jack to the other side of the switch.
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    Go out to the car and plug it all in to check if it works.
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    Thread the new cable through the dash. You can use one of the spare button bays in the car for the switch, if you wish.
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    Weave the auxiliary jack out the side of the dash to the driver's side foot well; this wire then tucks neatly into the ridge between the two floor panels, leaving you with an aux input lead sitting by your cigarette lighter.
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    Connect the CD player jack into one end of the extension cable and plug the other end into the Radio.
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    Re-jig the wiring behind the radio so it will all fit, then taping up the wires by the switch and you will have yourself a fully working auxiliary input.

Tips

  • For this to work, you need to put a CD into the CD player, hit play on the CD and then flip the switch. The input the radio thinks is the CD input is now coming from your MP3 Player.
  • Any MP3 player (iPod, Zen etc.) that has a standard 3.5mm headphone jack — the normal small Walkman-type headphone jack — will now work with your VW radio.

Warnings

  • Make sure you connect up all the shielding around the audio cables, to maintain audio quality.
  • This may well invalidate your vehicle warranty.

Article Info

Categories: Portable Media Players