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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 2003 with the 7-speaker audio system and it's dandy for my needs ... except that this stereo does not play MP3 CDs. Grrr.

It's a single CD with an AUX port.

I have a couple of local sources for element stereos, from 2006, 2007, and 2008 vintages. I'm limiting myself to finding a single CD with AUX with MP3/WMA Honda Element Factory headunit, but don't know which should (should not) be compatible with my factory system. I'm no stranger to aftermarket stereos, but I'd like to do a "plug-n-play" swap; no splicing and crap.

What vintages should I watch out for? Anyone have what I need and want to sell it to me? Local wreckers have 'em for $75 (I couldn't believe how cheap) but I don't know which one to grab.

My installed radio:
2TWO (faceplate code)

One out of a 2007 is:
39101-SCV-A310-M1
28W2 (on faceplate)
Has aux / CD and XM - I don't need XM but don't care if it's present

2005 Element donor:
39101-SCV-A110-M1
2TW3 (faceplate)
Looks identical to mine ... but with MP3 option.

(I bet this is discussed somewhere ... but I TRIED to search the forunm every way I could ... searching "MP3" in the search bar produced nothing DESPITE the fact that I could SEE threads with MP3 in the title ... strange. Sorry if this is a common q)
 

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Welcome, Frood.

FWIW, the specs for the 2005 EX stereo, separate from the entry on the Aux port, include "MP3/Windows Media Audio (WMA) Playback Capability"; 2003 and 2004 don't. The 2005 EX stereo was the first year with XM. I know there's a separate plug for the XM but don't know if the rest of the harness is compatible with 2003-04.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
How do you tell if a stereo has an internal amp?

Having looked at a lot of pictures I can see that they look to all use pretty much the same harnesses (ex XM radio).

I have the EX with 7 spkr and separate amp. Thus, I want to be sure that I get a radio without an amp. A lot of the part yards around here just don't record if it was a DX or EX.

Can you tell if an Element OEM radio has an amp or not:
By looking just at the radio numbers?
By looking at the radio itself?

Thanks a ton for any input. =)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Yes, a 2007 stereo fits a 2003 Element with some important points

I replaced the CD stero on my 2003 Element EX (external amp) with a 2007 MP3/WMA CD Element EX (external amp). It works, but you do need to do the following to make it plug-n-play:

1) I needed to get a round plug male (legacy antenna connection) used on my 2003 to rectangular gray plug (with little blue wire) adapter to get the antenna to connect into the 2007 radio. The blue wire controls something I don't have ... so I just put a wire nut on it and taped it back on itself:

http://www.installer.com/item/display_item.php?it=40-HD20
(Like this one ... only I bought mine for $5.95 with free S&H on ebay)
2) the radio faceplate shape is slightly different, and I bought a 2007 radio trim surround to make it a clean fit. *the 2007 trim fits the same as the 2003 trim piece but is a matte black surround (not silver like the 2003) and the radio cutout shape matches the 2007 radio shape. I bought it at Bill Kay Honda for around $22.

3) Because XM is controlled by an external box, you don't get XM unless you have that external box. (obvious, but worth mentioning)

4) I used tape on the end of a screwdriver blade to pop off the radio bezel. OMG, it's simple. From the LENGTHY writeups about doing it, I thought it was going to be really challenging. Nope.

That's it. So, now I have a factory 2007 stero that plays MP3's and reads the Artist/Album/Song info. The random is actually ... random. Wild. =)

Hopefully this will help someone.
Chris
 

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I replaced the CD stero on my 2003 Element EX (external amp) with a 2007 MP3/WMA CD Element EX (external amp). It works, but you do need to do the following to make it plug-n-play:

1) I needed to get a round plug male (legacy antenna connection) used on my 2003 to rectangular gray plug (with little blue wire) adapter to get the antenna to connect into the 2007 radio. The blue wire controls something I don't have ... so I just put a wire nut on it and taped it back on itself:

http://www.installer.com/item/display_item.php?it=40-HD20
(Like this one ... only I bought mine for $5.95 with free S&H on ebay)
2) the radio faceplate shape is slightly different, and I bought a 2007 radio trim surround to make it a clean fit. *the 2007 trim fits the same as the 2003 trim piece but is a matte black surround (not silver like the 2003) and the radio cutout shape matches the 2007 radio shape. I bought it at Bill Kay Honda for around $22.

3) Because XM is controlled by an external box, you don't get XM unless you have that external box. (obvious, but worth mentioning)

4) I used tape on the end of a screwdriver blade to pop off the radio bezel. OMG, it's simple. From the LENGTHY writeups about doing it, I thought it was going to be really challenging. Nope.

That's it. So, now I have a factory 2007 stero that plays MP3's and reads the Artist/Album/Song info. The random is actually ... random. Wild. =)

Hopefully this will help someone.
Chris
Nice write up. Just an FYI, the blue wire on the ANT is power for the XM ant.
And since you dont have XM, no worries. Also, someone somewhere posted
that if you do not connect the XM harness, that it will skip that input when
you scroll through your inputs with the mode button. As far as taking off
the bezel, I used blue or masking tape. You put it at the bottom and just
just give it a tug. Saves the plastic from getting scratched accidentally
by the screwdriver. I have pics in this post here:
http://www.elementownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?t=56199
 

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Radio swap

Hey folks, I installed an '07 radio in my '05 to get artist/title display and it doesn't show it! Shouldn't it, at least occasionally??? What say you, frood?
 

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Radio compatibility

I pressed that button and nothing happens, at all! Does title/artist only apply to XM radio and not at all with FM? Having that feature was one of the reasons I got this 2007 unit. It looks more modern too. I don't have XM capability in my E. Am I missing some ideas here? Please advise.
 

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I pressed that button and nothing happens, at all! Does title/artist only apply to XM radio and not at all with FM? Having that feature was one of the reasons I got this 2007 unit. It looks more modern too. I don't have XM capability in my E. Am I missing some ideas here? Please advise.
The radio needs to have RDS capability to display song title and artist names. And that only works with FM not AM stations.
 

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Radio Broadcast Data System aka RDS

While listening to FM radio in your car or on your portable FM receiver, you have probably noticed that the FM station’s frequency is not the only information displayed on your monitor. In fact, nowadays, most FM stations transmit additional data that provide a variety of features that are of great use to radio listeners. Information such as the FM station’s name, call sign (i.e., CBFX-FM), song title, name of artist, and even the local traffic and weather information can now be transmitted and displayed on a compatible receiver.
 

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Title/artist

Based on previous posts, I bought this '07 unit with the understanding that I would see title/artist, at least most of the time. I think I wasted my time and money now. Don't all the top end E units from '07 inwards supposed to have this feature? I am baffled...
 

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Compatibility

Well, I just went out again and tried using that "display" button. Nothing happens. Can someone with an'07 and up radio read their manual and tell me what that button is for, or when/how to use it? Thanks!
 

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Display button

I just looked up that button on the net. I think I need XM radio to see title/artist! What a drag!! Darn it, what a let-down...
 

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XM addition.

Can someone tell me what I physically need to get XM radio function. Do I just need the XM antenna, or what else? Another module as well?
 

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Can someone tell me what I physically need to get XM radio function. Do I just need the XM antenna, or what else? Another module as well?
Antenna,wiring harnesses and xm module.

The XM module needs to be from a Canadian vehicle. XM Canada will not allow you to use a unit that did not have a canadian serial number.
 

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Module

I have seen some modules on eBay, pretty cheap(about $35). If, and I know if, it was a CDN unit, where does this module bolt on to, etc? No room to piggy-back on head unit...
 

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XM

Wow! Thanks for cluing me in! Lots of work to do, even after mounting the module; Looks like one or two harnesses and more wiring to special antenna, or special Hmm.. Methinks I may forgo all this. I was originally just hoping just for artist/title function. I need XM for that, don't I? Link was very informative by the way, very clear.
 
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