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Discuss sub and speaker setups, GPS navigation, XM radio, and anything else related to car audio and electronics.

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Old 06-01-2006, 02:41 PM   #1
celsdogg
 
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Name: celsdogg
Title: never gonna happen
Status: Offline
Join Date: May 2005
Location: MD
Rate My Car: 131 / 340
Your Ride: BMW E30, Subaru BE, Cannondale M400
E30 Stock Headunit/Stereo to Aftermarket

This is for those without a lot of car electronics experience, and they want to take out the stock BMW tape deck headunit out and put in an aftermarket stereo. when came time for me to do it, i could only find tidbits, and procedures from going from one aftermarket thing to another. hopefully, this will help those out there like me. Many thanks to Dudesky too, without his help, I would have never got that damn thing working.

Two things make this difficult for the novice, central grounding of the speakers, and the stock amp. the stock amp is located in the trunk, on the left wall right in front of the power antenna. pull down the trunk side and you will see it, but luckily, we wont need to remove it or the antenna, we just need to take it out of the speakers circuit. In my first E30 the amp was garbage, and everytime it hit a bump, the sound crackled. Yup, it was the amp, because the headunit worked fine in my grandmother-in-laws Mercedes, and when the amp was taken outta circuit it sounded fine.

I tried to use the amp with the new headunit in my second E30, but it sounded like shit. so forget about it. also, this is how it was for my E30 (and my last one as well), but of course I have to say that your wiring may vary! Also, be sure to disconnect the negative terminal of your battery prior to any electrical work.

Headunit:

First we need to figure out what we need and have in the dash. For most aftermarket headunits (mine was an Aiwa, now I have an Alpine ) the color code is:

General wires:
Black - Ground
Blue - Auto Antenna
Blue/White - Amp Remote on (wont mention this again, if you need this then you shouldnt be reading this! Tape this off and forget about it)
Yellow - Constant Power
Red - Switched/Ignition Power

Speakers wires:

Grey - Positive Front Right
Grey/black - Negative Front Right

White - Positive Front Left
White/black - Negative Front Left

Purple - Positive Rear Right
Purple/black - Negative Rear Right

Green - Positive Rear Left
Green/Black - Negative Rear Left

Your aftermarket wiring harness may vary

so we need to take those and connect them to the wires that are coming from in the dash. In there it is a mess of wires that seem to loop retardedly. dont worry about how they are wired, we are going to undo all that anyway. There are some extra wires that come out of the headunit, 1 pair is not used, the other i dont know what its for (perhaps amp remote on, didnt need it). you basically need only the wires that are used in your new harness. Before you connect them though, follow the procedure below for finding the correct negative wire.

General Wires:
Purple/White - Switched/Ignition power - connect to Red on aftermarket harness
Brown/Black - Ground - connect to Black
Red/Green - Constant Power - Connect to Yellow
White - Power Antenna - Connect to Blue
Grey/Red - Dont know, tape it off and forget about it.

Speakers Wires:

This is where it can be a little tricky. The right side speakers (front and back) have the same wire color for negative, Blue/Brown. The left is the same way, Yellow/Brown. Ill tell ya how i figured it out in a minute.


Yellow/Red - Positive Left Front
Yellow/Brown - Negative Left Front

Blue/red - Positive Right Front
Blue/Brown - Negative Right Front

Yellow/Black - Positive Left Rear
Yellow/Brown - Negative Left Rear

Blue/Black - Positive Right Rear
Blue/Brown - Negative Right Rear

As you will notice, Red is the front speakers, black is the rear speakers (speaking about the secondary wire colors), and brown is negative, while Yellow/Brown is the left, and Blue/Brown is the right. So it makes a bit of sense there.

Picture of the stock headunit wiring:




Sorry, forgot to take pics of the wiring I did in the dash.

Important - To find the proper negative lines for each of the respective speakers I used a 9V battery and a 12V light bulb, like the ones used in your tail lights. Go to the trunk where the amp is and find the wire bundle that has twisted wire pairs that match the wires from the dash. You will also see other wire pairs there; we will discuss those in a second. Those are the wires going from the speakers to the amp.

Cut into one of the twisted wire pairs that match one of the pairs of wires from the dash. Attach the 9V battery here (and make sure nothing is attached at the other end, and the bare wires are exposed, but not touching anything). Then go to the dash, attach the positive wire to the light and then try the negative wires. Once you find the correct one, you can instantly assume that the other wire that is the same color is the opposite speaker, in this case, the opposites are front and rear. Do the same for the other side of the car (if you did the left, then do the right, or vice versa). When you find what the correct wires are, twist those bad boys together, then connect everything to your new aftermarket wiring harness.

The next thing to do is to cut into the lines that go from the amp to the speakers and match them up to the lines that come from the dash to the amp, the lines you just cut into. also be sure to properly tape off all the wires that come from the amp. There will also be other single wires there, dont touch em. The speaker wired pair colors are below. These pairs should be twisted together.

Grey/Red - Positive Left Front
Grey/Purple - Negative Left Front

Grey/White - Positive Right Front
Grey/Brown - Negative Right Front

Black/Red - Positive Left Rear
Black/Purple - Negative Left Rear

Black/White - Positive Right Rear
Black/Brown - Negative Right Rear

Again, these wires follow a general code for left vs right, and front vs rear. But who cares anyway?

Thus, connect the following wires in the trunk:

Grey/red and yellow/red
Grey/Purple and Yellow/Brown

Grey/White and Blue/red
Grey/Brown and Blue/Brown

Black/Red and Yellow/Black
Black/Purple and Yellow/Brown

Black/White and Blue/Black
Black/Brown and Blue Brown

After I finished in the trunk:


And thats it. After making everything nice and neat, crank that new Headunit. I used 3M Splice connectors for all wire splicing, then wrapped wire bundles with electrical tape. what you use is up to you. In all actuality the color of the wires does not matter, just as long as you get the correct current going to the right speaker, but i kept all color codes as I *believe* they were supposed to be for simplicity sake.

Also some helpful tips that helped me, courtesy of Dudesky:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dudesky
First of all, it doesn't matter if the wires are on the wrong terminals as long as you maintain that scheme on all the speakers. For instance, if front left is wired correctly and front right isn't, the sound will be out of phase. In this case, what is happening is that one side is pushing the cone out at the same time the other side is pulling the cone in; the opposing actions cancel each other out, resulting in loss of sound output, mostly apparent in bass notes. However, if they're both wired incorrectly in the same fashion, then it is the same as having them wired correctly.

Having said this, here's a few things you can do:

1) Look for a red mark near one of the terminals on the speaker itself; this usually indicates the positive leg. Or in many cases, the terminal bracket has (+) and (-) stamped on it.

2) If the speaker terminals differ in size, the larger is almost always the positive leg.

3) If neither condition is present, then observe the stock harness plug's orientation, and use that to maintain consistency through out the system.

4) If you don't have the speakers exposed, hopefully you can see through the speaker grille and see the cone itself. Connect a battery to the wires corrsponding to each speaker, at the dashboard. Observe the cone motion. If the cone moves forward, then you have the battery's (+) on the (+) wire. If it moves backward, then you have the battery's (+) on the (-) wire.
Good Luck with your install, and if you have any questions, you can PM me, but honestly, you could probably get a lot more help by asking everyone here at UB.C!

PS - I have a stock BMW Headunit for sale, wiring harnesses included

The finished product:

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Last edited by celsdogg; 03-23-2007 at 11:25 AM..
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Old 06-01-2006, 03:14 PM   #2
Dudesky

Name: Dudesky
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Nice You've just gained a few hp by taking out that factory amp . . use it as a doorstop
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Old 09-25-2007, 03:34 AM   #3
kalmoth

Name: kalmoth
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The "don't know" wire in the second image from the top is most likely the dash light dimmer. Some stereos have an option of connecting to it, so the intensity of their illumination can be varied.

The head unit shown in the picture clashes horribly with the dignified austerity of the classic E30 cockpit. Does anyone know of any modern aftermarket units that do not cater to the bling-bling crowd? Specifically, something with a SD card connector and a USB port? I went both to a local audio store and to crutchfield.com - those horrible blue lights... They're everywhere...
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Old 09-25-2007, 08:28 AM   #4
celsdogg
 
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Name: celsdogg
Title: never gonna happen
Status: Offline
Join Date: May 2005
Location: MD
Rate My Car: 131 / 340
Your Ride: BMW E30, Subaru BE, Cannondale M400
^^^ i know what you mean about it not matching. the head unit pictured was bought by my wife when i was deployed. i have since replaced it with a alpine unit, but it only looks moderately better. the only way to make it look decent would be to find an all black hu, which is next to impossible IMHO.
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Old 09-25-2007, 08:33 AM   #5
elsabor67
 
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Location: Germany ('Till 2010)
Rate My Car: 35 / 340
Your Ride: 1989 325i (U.S. Specs)
Quote:
Originally Posted by kalmoth
Does anyone know of any modern aftermarket units that do not cater to the bling-bling crowd? Specifically, something with a SD card connector and a USB port? I went both to a local audio store and to crutchfield.com - those horrible blue lights... They're everywhere...

Would you like fries with that too? J.K.

On a serious note, on the horrible blue lights, alot of companies are implementing that now so head units displays are more readable in the daylight. They are also more flashy looking than before to try and get the upper hand on their competition. You might have a hard time trying to find a company that "won't cater" to that kind of crowd. Now one with an SD Card slot I have not seen, but do know that Kenwood and JVC have come out with head units that have usb ports on them to where you can connect a memory stick or external drive to them.
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Old 09-25-2007, 09:53 AM   #6
RSF5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by celsdogg
^^^ i know what you mean about it not matching. the head unit pictured was bought by my wife when i was deployed. i have since replaced it with a alpine unit, but it only looks moderately better. the only way to make it look decent would be to find an all black hu, which is next to impossible IMHO.
True dat. If only a company made good quality head units that where not very flashy and could be customized to blend with your dash.
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Old 09-25-2007, 03:31 PM   #7
denyo77
 
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Location: Germany
Rate My Car: 198 / 340
Your Ride: 1988 325i Touring
hey celsdogg, nice features on your bimmer, looks like she's fully loaded, huh? I've noticed big OBC, power windows, A/C....
nice
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Old 09-25-2007, 04:35 PM   #8
celsdogg
 
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Name: celsdogg
Title: never gonna happen
Status: Offline
Join Date: May 2005
Location: MD
Rate My Car: 131 / 340
Your Ride: BMW E30, Subaru BE, Cannondale M400
yeah, its decent, but i think those things were standard here in the states. i dont really have an OBC, its just date and time. my first e30 had a power roof, this one is a crank, but i dont mind
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