Connect MP3 Player to In-dash Connectors
April 22, 2012 7:45 AM   Subscribe

Is there a way to connect an MP3 player directly into the connectors inside the dashboard of my 2002 Hyundai Accent without having to install a radio?

Someone broke into the car, pried open the panel and took the radio. Inside I see two white connectors: a two-pin connector and a six-pin connector. I'm pretty sure the 2-pin connects to the speakers. Can't find info on the 6-pin connector. I assume it supplies power.
posted by jmf2525 to Grab Bag (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Your MP3 player doesn't have a power amplifier. It can't drive speakers.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 7:55 AM on April 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

The simple answer is no, not without another component (the car radio, for example).

The problem is, even if you could connect the mp3 player to the car speakers, you won't have anything amplifying the output to drive the speakers. It won't make any sound. The battery power of the mp3 player won't be near enough. The device that takes your car's battery power and translates that to your speakers is... the car radio. Car stereos have their wattage output listed on the specs - that's what its built-in amplifier is rated to handle, speaker-wise.

If the cost of a stock replacement looks too pricey or you want to shop for other features, you can check out a retailer like Crutchfield ( that has tools on their site to search for your vehicle and display compatible units. I've found units that way and just bought them locally after verifying they'd work.
posted by empyrean at 7:58 AM on April 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

You would need an amplifier, which I assume was one of the functions of your old stereo. Also, considering that your old stereo probably played in stereo (separate L-R channels), and probably had a front-back fader control, it's impossible for that to have gone through two contacts. The six-pin connector is probably a common ground, an active lead for each of the four quadrants of your car, and the last lead probably is for the antenna or something.

So you would need to find a technical manual for your old stereo, and also buy an amplifier that works on a car's voltage. In short, buy a cheap car stereo.
posted by supercres at 7:59 AM on April 22, 2012

You'll probably need an amplifier, which is often built into the dashboard radio ("head unit") which you no longer have. You could get a standalone amp pretty cheaply from Amazon or other distributors.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:04 AM on April 22, 2012

I think it is much more likely that the 2 pin output is the power (feed and earth), and the 6 pin is for the speakers unless you have a single speaker mono set up in a relatively new car, which is phenomenally unlikely. You shouldn't proceed at all without some sort of wiring diagram or you risk blowing speakers up.

As mentioned, you'd need an amplifier anyway, so what you want to do isn't possible and it is much more sensible and likely cost effective to buy a head unit with an aux out or some other means to plug in the MP3 player. The direction you're going is likely to be more hassle and cost for an inferior solution.
posted by Brockles at 8:19 AM on April 22, 2012

If you buy a standalone amp, you'll need to manually wire it up to the two connectors you're seeing there [by cutting and splicing wires]. The amp will probably only have RCA inputs, so you'll need a cable to adapt those RCA inputs to the out put of your MP3 player.

On preview, I was just about to say what Brockles said. Buy a cheap head unit with AUX in. buy the adapter cables that will allow you to plug right into those connectors in your dash. This one would do the job. You can add all the installation stuff for $15. Done.

I have no financial interest in Crutchfield.
posted by chazlarson at 8:25 AM on April 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

As others have pointed out, you need a head unit to drive the speakers. You might try calling around some junkyards, they'll have plenty of radios. Might even have a Hyundai radio with MP3 support that would plug right in.
posted by Marky at 9:29 AM on April 22, 2012

Here's another approach.
posted by box at 9:32 AM on April 22, 2012

A cheap option via Amazon. The required wiring. Might still look kinda fancy depending on where you park it, though it has a detachable faceplate. I've installed Duals in my last few cars, and they work fine.
posted by chazlarson at 11:12 AM on April 22, 2012

Something like this might work... Pyle PLIPA2 iPod amplifier.
posted by No Shmoobles at 5:06 PM on April 23, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks all for the feedback. I'd prefer leaving the gaping hole in my dash to discourage another breakin. I'm inclined to install a small amp like the ones mentioned above. Are there minumum power requirements to power the existing four speakers?
posted by jmf2525 at 6:43 PM on April 29, 2012

Based on a little looking, I think you're going to be limited more by finding a four-channel amp than by the available wattage. If you're as cheap and non-picky as I am, something like this might work. More generally, I think any four-channel amp you find will have sufficient power to drive four car speakers. I think my current Dual is 50 watts per channel, and it gets plenty loud for me.
posted by chazlarson at 7:57 PM on April 30, 2012

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