Car audio question: Do I really need this $70 wiring harness?

Dec 26, 2000
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Last edited:
Apr 8, 2001
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#2
Was going to try and help, but the first link gives a redirect then halts my mobile browser.
 
Aug 30, 2000
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Apparently something to do with how the switched accessory power is supplied to the receiver. I guess in your vehicle the CAN bus provides the switched signal. It also provides a dimmer signal and "retained accessory power".

From what the "Hands on Research" tab says, the harness will make your install easier but theoretically you can go tap power bus yourself under the dash at the fuse box. Not sure about the dimmer signal and "retained accessory power" signals though.
 

kornphlake

Golden Member
Dec 30, 2003
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While you don't "need" the harness, it certainly makes things a lot easier. My guess is that the cheap harness from Amazon doesn't have the right size/shape plug to connect to the factory harness in your vehicle. If you're going to use a harness, you need the right one.

If you choose not to use a harness you'll need to figure out where to get constant 12v, switched 12v and ground, and pull new speaker wire or splice into the factory wiring. Honestly aside from the hassle and the non-factory appearance, running your own wiring is probably the best way to do an installation, if done correctly you'll have a straight shot to the battery for both power and ground which keeps noise and hum to a minimum.
 
Dec 26, 2000
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#5
Apparently something to do with how the switched accessory power is supplied to the receiver. I guess in your vehicle the CAN bus provides the switched signal. It also provides a dimmer signal and "retained accessory power".

From what the "Hands on Research" tab says, the harness will make your install easier but theoretically you can go tap power bus yourself under the dash at the fuse box. Not sure about the dimmer signal and "retained accessory power" signals though.
I have no idea what any of that means. I'm pretty retarded in this area. :(
 

bobdole369

Diamond Member
Dec 15, 2004
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SHort answer - YES you need this $70 component. It need not cost $70

Heres one for $40
http://www.amazon.com/Axxess-XSVI-65.../dp/B000K4YOL2

In any event, you have 3 power wires in a standard car stereo:

Power (switched with the ignition +12V)
Ground (0V)
Accessory (or memory) constant 12V

For some reason, I can't be bothered to figure out why, Dodge made the radio such that the Accessory wire is not in the normal spot. THus some kind souls found constant 12V in the CANbus wiring.
 
Aug 30, 2000
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#7
Actually, my guess is they are using the CAN bus to trigger a relay of some sort. There's no way that you can pull power from the CAN bus.
 

VulgarDisplay

Diamond Member
Apr 3, 2009
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Many dodges have a factory amplifier installed and you can either bypass it by connect a ton of wires yourself, or you can just get this wiring harness and bypass. I'd get the wiring harness...

If you're looking for 12v in most cars that turns on when the car comes on just hook a wire to your cigarette lighter.
 

kornphlake

Golden Member
Dec 30, 2003
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Isn't Crutchfield supposed to give you a harness for free when you order a deck and speakers from them? That's the only reason I've ever bought from them, their prices are on the high side, but the free installation goodies make their prices average or better.

Edit: It looks like that harness is too expensive to give away, I put in the details on my vehicle and the harness came up as included in the free installation kit, switching to a '05 Dakota the kit includes everything but the harness, lame.

It's not that hard to find the connections you need if you've got a haynes manual with a schematic and know how to operate a DMM. If you plan on installing an after market amp you're going to be running new wire anyway so it's not really that big a deal. I'd probably save the $$ and do the install without the harness, you can buy a lot of wire and connectors for $40, even more for $70.
 
Last edited:
Dec 26, 2000
11,533
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#10
SHort answer - YES you need this $70 component. It need not cost $70

Heres one for $40
http://www.amazon.com/Axxess-XSVI-65.../dp/B000K4YOL2

In any event, you have 3 power wires in a standard car stereo:

Power (switched with the ignition +12V)
Ground (0V)
Accessory (or memory) constant 12V

For some reason, I can't be bothered to figure out why, Dodge made the radio such that the Accessory wire is not in the normal spot. THus some kind souls found constant 12V in the CANbus wiring.
Ok so I need that in addition to any cd/mp3 deck I buy, correct? What else do I need? Do I need an additional wiring harness, obviously a mounting kit for the dash. Anything else?
 
Dec 26, 2000
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Isn't Crutchfield supposed to give you a harness for free when you order a deck and speakers from them? That's the only reason I've ever bought from them, their prices are on the high side, but the free installation goodies make their prices average or better.

Edit: It looks like that harness is too expensive to give away, I put in the details on my vehicle and the harness came up as included in the free installation kit, switching to a '05 Dakota the kit includes everything but the harness, lame.

It's not that hard to find the connections you need if you've got a haynes manual with a schematic and know how to operate a DMM. If you plan on installing an after market amp you're going to be running new wire anyway so it's not really that big a deal. I'd probably save the $$ and do the install without the harness, you can buy a lot of wire and connectors for $40, even more for $70.
I do not have a haynes manual nor do I know what a DMM is to operate it. And I don't plan on installing an amp, just want a cd deck that does not skip, or refuses to change tracks, which the factory one has started to do off and on.

It's likely I won't be installing it either, I'll cash in a favor from one of my buddies who I've helped with other stuff.
 

kornphlake

Golden Member
Dec 30, 2003
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#12
In that case it's probably worth buying the harness. If all you're going to do is replace the deck then the harness and a mounting kit are about all you'll need, you may need an antenna adapter depending on what the factory connector looks like. You'll need some butt splices for connecting the harness to the deck's pigtail, or solder and heat shrink as a substitute. Some zip ties and electrical tape might make the job look a little more professional.
 
Feb 22, 2007
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#13
Actually, my guess is they are using the CAN bus to trigger a relay of some sort. There's no way that you can pull power from the CAN bus.
It is so they can trace power usage in the car. It is similar to how usb works in that the device has to announce itself to the host and then go through a short talk of what the device is, why it is using CAN and what it expects from the host. Usually they tie in radios so the system can power them down or put them to sleep without triggering the anti theft. Also for things like mute when a cell phone call is made, etc.

And yeah they usually are powered by a relay but now the relays are being found inside the radio . The manufacturers are putting the burden of power control on the radio makers.
 
Feb 22, 2007
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I do not have a haynes manual nor do I know what a DMM is to operate it. And I don't plan on installing an amp, just want a cd deck that does not skip, or refuses to change tracks, which the factory one has started to do off and on.


Have you called a local junk or scrap yard to find out what a used radio would cost ? Often you can get them cheap on something like a 2005. Then you can just remove yours and insert the new one.

I just did a search for a 2005 dodge dakota radio with cd on this site that searches real time online across the country and there are plenty of them listed for 40-$100 for the whole radio
http://www.partshotlines.com
 
Dec 26, 2000
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#15
Have you called a local junk or scrap yard to find out what a used radio would cost ? Often you can get them cheap on something like a 2005. Then you can just remove yours and insert the new one.

I just did a search for a 2005 dodge dakota radio with cd on this site that searches real time online across the country and there are plenty of them listed for 40-$100 for the whole radio
http://www.partshotlines.com
Well if I'm going to replace the stereo I want to do it with one that'll play mp3s too. Get rid of the crummy FM transmitter for the mp3 players. Otherwise that'd be a fine idea.
 
Sep 22, 2018
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#16
I used a bypass to install a Pioneer 4200NEX in my 2005 Dodge Magnum. I documented it as a video and it's on YouTube.

On YouTube it's called:
Installing a Stereo, USB Ports, and a Backup Camera in a 2005 Dodge Magnum.

https://youtu.be/hb80b_33Dpo
 
Jun 19, 2006
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#17
I went into my CD player and put a swipe switch between the CD audio and FM tuner inside my car stereo and put an input plug outside so I could plug in my music player.
 
Jan 11, 2019
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#18
Many dodges have a factory amplifier installed and you can either bypass it by connect a ton of wires yourself, or you can just get this wiring harness and bypass. I'd get the wiring harness...

If you're looking for 12v in most cars that turns on when the car comes on just hook a wire to your cigarette lighter.
This is an old thread, but I am responding because I just ran into this because I recently purchased an old 2006 Dakota. I can speak to my circumstance and I am not making any assumptions on my particular circumstance. Mine did not have an amp. I had the default low-end factory stereo, it had a CD player, AM/FM, and a line in jack on the front. The line in jack was busted off (common complaint) and the volume control had become erratic and would not work (also a common complaint). So I installed my new head unit with just the chrysler/dodge wiring harness adapter and the antenna adapter - each are available online for about $6 for a total of $12. I paid double that because I bought at the local O'Reilly's auto parts, and these are likely available at Autozone or possibly Walmart (not intending to pick any place or advertise, just supplying information where I got my parts). I will pay a little extra for the convenience of getting it locally rather than waiting for it.

Here is what happened. I wired the adapter to the stereo harness by soldering and using shrink wrap (the right way). I hooked it up and nothing. I traced it to there was no accessory power as stated here. I downloaded a wiring diagram from online and it confirmed this. I spliced into the Accessory/Cigarette lighter power wire and ran that to the Accessory power input into my stereo. That was the issue keeping it from working. So I didn't need that box at all. You can get the accessory power from the cigarette lighter. There is plenty enough power there too, not like a lot of current is required. The stereo has it's own fuse in the back of it too. So it is a clean and viable solution, better than getting an elaborate box and connecting all the wires associated with that (much more complex and expensive). A box is NOT required for the basic system! Save your money, save time, and take my word (and VulgarDisplay's sage advice). There is no problem with the stock wiring adapter - this dodge wiring harness does not have an accessory power on it - so the adapter connects to a spot that does not have a wire on it. It is not wired to another spot on the factory plug, there isn't one on the factory plug. I could not find anywhere online that spelled this out except for here, and it appears no one has taken the advice (everyone is saying the box is required when it isn't).

I cannot speak if that box or a separate box is required for steering wheel controls or any additional functionality. Mine is a stripped down vehicle with no audio controls on on the steering wheel. I don't have an infinity or alpine factory system that has an amp. I don't know about the illumination control - that may not do anything without the module (it is bright and does not dim with the other lights). On my particular unit I put a double din inside the dash of a "din and a half" dodge radio, so I had to do some additional hacking to get it to fit (on the front bezel and removing and inside shelf inside the dash). No one makes an inexpensive kit for these units because a double-din officially will not fit. But I will have a very basic carplay and android auto functionality now, and won't need to add any $40-70 boxes. So my old dodge can have similar functionality to my newer cars - GPS, handsfree phone, messaging, and soon a backup camera. Once more, when they update the software on the phone I get added and improved functionality. If I get a nicer phone things work better and faster too. My maps don't need updating, and if I need to be rerouted I can be in near real time. I will put on a backup camera too just as soon as I figure out how to best run the wire from the back license to the reverse lights and head unit. I bought the branded camera for $25 locally even though I could have gotten one from online for under $10 because I didn't want to wait for it to arrive as well, and could see this was a little nicer than the cheapest ones online as well.

So, VulgarDisplay was right on the money - most of you could probably do without the adapter. And if you only wanted a single din unit you could get a front mounting dash bezel and not have to worry about carving the stock one up. There are a lot of assumptions in the thread that this adapter box is required - and it likely is not. Mine works fine without it. Now if you want the CAN bus to turn it all on and off, or you have an amp, you may need it. But you don't need it for accessory power. Also, you may need an adapter for the steering wheel controls - but that may be a second adapter and mine didn't have those. I had to do this on my other vehicles.
 

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