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OK -

I've been getting millions of questions regarding exactly how I got an aftermarket head unit (HU) to work with the EX factory speaker wiring, amplifier, subwoofer, and AUX jack.

This post will attempt to answer these questions once and for all. I will not go into wire by wire detail - you should be able to figure that stuff out based on other posts below that relate to wiring and also with the help of your aftermarket head unit manual and some basic line testing hardware. If you can't figure the wiring out then you probably shouldn't be attempting this yourself. Print out this post and all related posts and bring them to a qualified car audio installer.

You can find reputable installers here:
http://www.mobiletoys.com/partners/carsound/store_loc.asp

Element general wiring post:
http://www.elementownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3065

Aux Jack wiring post:
http://www.elementownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7310

OK - Now that we have that stuff out of the way - on to the specifics...

First - to do this right you'll need a head unit that has a few features.

1. Since you'll be using the factory amp there is no need to buy a head unit that also has an amp. However if you...

  • a. buy a non-powered HU that has RCA pre-outs instead of line level then you need to use 2 RCA to Line level adapters shown below (figure 2) one for the front speakers and one for the rear speakers.



    b. buy a powered HU then you'll need 1 PAC sound system interface shown below (figure 1).
2. Non-fading subwoofer control and subwoofer RCA pre-outs. This is so you can control the factory subwoofer gain from the head unit instead of only with the volume which can be difficult to integrate properly. If your head unit only has line level subwoofer wires then youll need an RCA to line level adapter shown below (figure 2) to integrate the sub.

3. Wiring and source button AUX input. This cannot be the jack type that is mounted on the front of some HU's it must provide wiring on the back of the unit. This is so the AUX dash jack can be wired up to the new head unit and an AUX button can be pressed selecting that source.

4. A dash install kit. Shown below (figure 3). This allows a single din radio to be installed in the double din opening of the Element dash. The extra din opening will be filled by a nice looking pocket.

OK - now that you understand the parts you need, here's a bit of info on how it goes together...

  • 1. Connect one end of the PAC OEM-1 to the line level leads on the aftermarket HU and the other side of the OEM-1 to the factory wiring.

    2. Connect the subwoofer RCA leads to the aftermarket HU RCA pre-outs.

    3. Connect the amp remote turn on lead to the factory amp.

    4. Connect the AUX wiring to the HU.

    5. Connect the power and antenna leads to the new head unit. Note: the Element has a POWERED antenna - don't forget to give it juice too!

    6. Test and adjust PAC line levels if necessary these are the small pot knobs that can be adjusted with a small screwdriver in case you're wondering. Turn these levels down so when you turn the HU volume up, you are not clipping the factory amp. This is less of a concern with non-powered HU's.

    7. Install the aftermarket HU in the dash kit and then install the whole unit into the dash. Replace trim bezels and you are done.
Pics in next post below!
 

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Figure 1 - PAC OEM-1 Factory Sound System Interface:



Figure 2 - PAC RCA to Line Level Adapter:



Figure 3 - Metra Dash Kit for Honda Element:



Eventually some company will start producting a custom integration harness for the Element but until that time these techniques and universal adapters are pretty much the only way to go.

Don't let your installer tell you this can't be done!
 

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EMass:

Thanks again for the great advice. This really helps out. As you and I have already talked about, my installer and 2 others (all big name brand shops) have said, "nope, can't be done". I agree with what you said that they probably are just too lazy to do something that does not have a pre-made harness. Also, in retro, they probaly just want to sell me a new head unit, amp, sub, etc. and then try and charge me for an install. Armed with your info I went to a local small shop, talked to them about my idea and showed them the info you gave. They feel it should be no problem and are looking forward to getting their hands on an E. This shop has done some work for me (lowering springs, exhausts, indiglo gauges, etc.) in the past, so I know they're not amatuers and they stand behind their work. I'll keep you updated. If it falls through, I may be paying you a visit in August when I come up to Boston for a Red Sox/Yankees game.....

-Scott
 

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EMass, your information has been invaluable. I bought my E just two weeks ago and have been scouring boards for details on adding aftermarket stuff. I'm to the point where I want to install a new HU w/ DVD and Nav and the information from this post as well as one you put up describing the wiring has been so helpful. Because of this I want to say Thank You. I've always been a lurker and not one to post, but after reading your posts, I just had to register so I could send you this note.

Please keep up the excellent work. I know there are many others out there just like me who feel the same way about you. Thanks again.
 

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Thanks Alot EMass, I just printed these up to give to the installer tomorrow, Hopefully all goes well.
 

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Just wanted to post a follow up on this subject. I've successfully installed my own headunit using the items (though not exactly the same brand) that Emass posted. I'm able to control my subwoofer just fine. On the back of the Honda HU, there are three connectors, one for the speakers, one for the AUX port, and the smallest one consists of 3 wires for the subwoofer. The Red/Blue wire is the sub postive (+) and the Red/White is the sub negative (-). All I did was plug my Subwoofer RCA jacks to the line converter, then tied the two + wires together and connect it to the Red/Blue wire. I did the same thing for the - wires and all seems to be working out well.
 

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The subwoofer input on the stock amp, is it a mono or stereo input? I am curious because the guy who installed my new HU set it up as a mono input and I know the sub is actually dual voice coil.
 

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ShaneS said:
The subuwoofer input on the stock amp, is it a mono or stereo input. I am curious cebause the guy who installed my new HU set it up as a mono input and I know the sub is actuallu dual voice coil.
The Subwoofer input on the stock amp is Mono.
 

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I noticed that there is a third wire in the subwoofer harness, this is a pink wire, is this one just left alone? I noticed this today while wireing up my AUX jack.


jman1234 said:
Just wanted to post a follow up on this subject. I've successfully installed my own headunit using the items (though not exactly the same brand) that Emass posted. I'm able to control my subwoofer just fine. On the back of the Honda HU, there are three connectors, one for the speakers, one for the AUX port, and the smallest one consists of 3 wires for the subwoofer. The Red/Blue wire is the sub postive (+) and the Red/White is the sub negative (-). All I did was plug my Subwoofer RCA jacks to the line converter, then tied the two + wires together and connect it to the Red/Blue wire. I did the same thing for the - wires and all seems to be working out well.
 

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Note that the message board shows "trimmed" URLs (with "..." in the middle") to prevent them from line wrapping. If you copy and paste the "trimmed" URLs, the resulting URLs will be broken. Clicking on the links in the original message where the URLs were originally posted works though. And once you navigate to the site you can grab the URL from the address bar.

I'm not a big fan of the feature that shows the trimmed URLs because it means that copying the message text outside of the bboard means you don't get the right URLs.

-brendan
 

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Oops: apologies to pdub - erased this message by mistake. He's looking for additional information on adapting 3rd party head units into an EX - brendan
 

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Thanks for the info... it's all made me decide that there is no way I'm going to do this thing myself. :grin:

Does anyone have a suggestion for a retailer to go to get something like this done and/or how to approach a retailer on asking for something like this.

I went to Circuit City and tried to explain what I wanted, and the guy tried to prove to me that my stock HU would not come with an external aux input... That just shows what the professionals know!

Any who, once again, and help is much appreciated.

Thanks,
pdub
 

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Can someone fix the path to the images? I dont think E-Mass has been around in a while, plus his service provider has changed names. For those of you interested in this, here are the pictures:











My suggestion to someone is this - SAVE THESE PICTURES.
 

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hey guys.. just had the AVN2454 installed in my car. Did any of you have issues with the AUX port after you tapped into it?

My installer used the diagram from EMass' thread but I hear some hissing noise and a lot of distortion whenever I use the AUX port.

Any help or suggestion from you guys would be appreciated.
 

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eMass said:
First - to do this right you'll need a head unit that has a few features.

1. Since you'll be using the factory amp there is no need to buy a head unit that also has an amp. However if you...
  • a. buy a non-powered HU that has RCA pre-outs instead of line level then you need to use 2 RCA to Line level adapters shown below (figure 2) one for the front speakers and one for the rear speakers.

    b. buy a powered HU then you'll need 1 PAC sound system interface shown below (figure 1).
2. Non-fading subwoofer control and subwoofer RCA pre-outs. This is so you can control the factory subwoofer gain from the head unit instead of only with the volume which can be difficult to integrate properly. If your head unit only has line level subwoofer wires then youll need an RCA to line level adapter shown below (figure 2) to integrate the sub.
I'm wondering, if I'm using a head unit that has an amp (Alpine CDA-9830), then is it still wise to use the factory amp? I'm looking to still use the factory sub, but I'm replacing the door speakers and the tweeters. Could someone recommend the correct solution? Also, if I do need the PAC sound system interface, will the PAC OEM-2 unit that Crutchfield sells work? I can't find the OEM-1 shown in the picture.
 

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i wanted to get some advice before i started my upgrade. i have bought the following:

clarion DXZ655MP headunit
jl audio 6" + tweeters [vr600-csi] front
jl audio 6" [vr600-cxi] rear
jl stealthbox 10" [sb-h-elmnt/10w3v2/bk] sub
jl audio 250/1 amp to power the sub.

would it be best for me to power the front and rear speakers using the elements factory amp [using emass's wiring diagram] or off the headunit [53W x 4]? i have not came a crossed the specs of the factory amp so any help would be appreciated.

thanks in advance,

jay
 

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would it be best for me to power the front and rear speakers using the elements factory amp
After looking at your headunit, I dont see anything about preouts:

http://www.clarion.com/usa/products/source_units/DXZ655MP.html

I see a 6ch RCA Line Level Output, which is a high output. You would want something VERY low if you were going to use your stock amp. In fact, if this headunit doesnt have preouts, you are going to have to use your high-level input on whatever aftermarket amp you purchase, which means more wires to run. Also, this headunit has no sub-out so you wont have any control over the sub volume from the headunit, just the amps/crossovers.

The reason this headunit raises a red flag to me is for one specific reason. The gain on your stock amp is set below 1 volt, and what you would want to ideally do is match that voltage. I believe line-level voltage can get up to 14.4 volts, so that is going to produce lots of distortion if you use the stock amp. I run a high-end Kenwood model that has 5 volt preouts and it pushes my stock sub like its going to blow through the dash. If I were to run my highs through the stock amp as well, the distrtion would be unbearable.

Just wanted to give you a few pointers before you bought anything. To use the stock amp, you are going to want to get a headunit with 3 sets of preouts - one for the sub, one for the front, and one for the rear. And the higher the voltage on the preouts, the better. To use the stock amp to drive your tweets and midrange, the opposite is true (because the gain is set so low and you wouldnt be using the preouts, but the line-level).

So, to recap, you need a headunit with 3 preouts.

If you want to use the stock amp, dont use the line-level outputs. You will get a LOT of distortion. If you plan on running the stock amp to power the highs, just get a headunit with 3 sets of preouts with a voltage of at LEAST 2. 5 is preferrable, but 2 will work.

What I do is run all my highs off my headunit (for now) and run my stock sub off the stock amp. I used to have a good setup until someone stole it, but for now I just run the stock sub and amp with my highs.
 

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sier, thanks for the responce, here is a better description of the headunit

- subwoofer Output:
The DXZ655MP is equipped with a non-fading subwoofer preamp output with an adjustable low pass filter and an independent volume control. You can set the low pass filter to 50Hz, 80Hz or 120Hz, and adjust the subwoofer volume from -6 to +6.

Auxiliary Input: This unit features a rear mounted, stereo RCA auxiliary input on a 4" pigtail. The sensitivity of the input can be set (low, mid, or high) to match the output of the auxiliary source to the other sources. [going to hook this up to the e's aux imput till the cnet ipod interface is released in june.]

Amp Canceller: If you choose to connect the receiver to external amplifiers, you can turn off the built-in amplifier for better sound quality.

i plan on powering the stealthbox sub with the
jl audio 250/1 amp connected to the subwoofer output. you would recommend i run the [vr600-csi] 6" + tweeters off the factory amp and the 6" rears [vr600-cxi] off the headunit. i have already purchased this headunit.

thanks again for your help.

jay
 
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