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How to fit a head unit from scratch in a Mini


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#1 Madmax

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Posted 08 August 2005 - 06:15 PM

Right guys, a few people have been asking about how to fit a stereo in a Mini without there being any previous wiring etc. So i went out and did it in my own car, and heres what you have to do:

1st Step

Keep battery connected and get associated tools ready. The tools you'll need are a voltmeter, some crimp connections (bullet connectors, one ring terminal, and a few female spade connectors are required), some pliers or crimping tools and the head unit itself. If you havent already got one you will need an aerial if you want to listen to the radio, speakers to hear the thing and some speaker cable. If you want to create a remote feed for an amplifer then you need some thin guage cable and more connectors. Tie wraps are very usefull for keeping everything neat too...

2nd Step

Using voltmeter, set setting on meter to '20', this will let the meter read in normal '0.00v' on the display. Find a suitable earth, i use the door handle screws as they are all earthed through the door to the bodyshell. Then get a glamorous assistant to either hold the black probe to the door or to fiddle about on the other end at the fusebox. Now, with the voltmeter earthed, find a connection on the fuse box that is NOT being used. Mini fuse boxes have 2 connections on each main terminal for the use of two ancillaries on one fuse. And with the assistant/you turning the ignition to the second or first stage, you'll soon find the right terminal you want. Then grab some wire, anything around 10-15amp wire will do just fine, and a spade connector, and crimp it up and connect it to the fusebox terminal you've just identified. Run the leftover cable through the bulkhead into the cabin and leave it be for the time being. You have now created the switched live which allows the radio to switch on with the cars ignition and stops it from having a permanent power feed.

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3rd Step

Now you have a switched live, you need a permanent live. This permanent live allows the head unit to keep all of its user created settings, like radio presets and equalizer settings. I myself used the starter solenoid as my permanent feed, as it is permanently connected to the battery. As can be seen in the picture below, i have used a spade terminal to crimp onto some more cable and i have used one of the redundant male spade terminals on the solenoid. It is in this wire that you really need to use an in-line fuse (ampage depending on the unit), which are easily available from any motor factors. Now do the same as the switched live and run it through the bulkhead and through your radio slot in the dash, in my case in the middle, but some people may have the plastic under dash rail mounted slot.

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4th Step

This next step is to create the earth, which i connected with a ring terminal to one of the protruding bolts that i use to hold on my VIN plate. There are many places to mount your earth, as there are so many screws and bolts that are in the mini bulkhead. Its entirely up to you where it goes, but it must have a perfect earth to the bodyshell, otherwise you'll only end up having problems later on. Its best to test the bolt for earthing first with the audio function on a voltmeter, which beeps when you have an earth. Then do the same as the other steps and run the cable through the opening you have for the stereo.

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5th Step

In this step we now create the nessescary connections to wire up a standard ISO car wiring loom. With both the lives in perfect working order and the earth earthed all we need to do now is attatch female bullet connectors to the ends of these wires. The blue terminals are the best to use with the current that will be running in them. The switched live needs to be connected to the RED wire from the back of the connector, using a male ended bullet on the ISO wiring. The red wire is the switched live on a standard ISO block. The red colour is the international standard colour for switched lives on car radios. Now you have your switched you need to wire up the permanent live by doing exactly the same but using the YELLOW wire coming from the ISO block. Lastly do the same with the BLACK earth on the block to the earth you have made behind the dash. You will now have everything you need to get your stereo up and running! The way i have done it means that your radio will only work when the ignition is moved to the 2nd stage position, the stage at which your oil pressure light and ignition light should come on.
Lastly, you need to route the car aerial through the bulkhead through the radio housing/slot, this is the back wire in the picture.

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If you want to connect up a remote line for an amplifier (the line that allows the amp to turn on with the radio working off the switched live) then all you need to is splice a bullet connection into the blue line on your ISO or radio loom (in this case a Sony one) and route the wire with the speaker wires.

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6th Step

This is where we connect up the speakers, this is the most simple job in the world. I cant remember the colours of the top of my head at the moment so i'll correct this bit tomorrow morning. But its simply negative to negative, positive to positive. Just like a home stereo system. Again i've used bullet connectors so the connections are easily removed if nessescary. See pic below:

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Then its just a case of mounting up the speakers and routing the cables as seen below. The speaker cable in this case is oxygen free 17AWG home hi-fi high quality cable.

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The speakers in this case are Focal 6x9's and they are crystal clear even under a Sony head unit...

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And here's the finished article, a 'classic' Sony MP40 4x50W output MP3 player, wired up and ready to go, enjoy folks...

Posted Image

Edited by Madmax, 09 April 2011 - 07:15 PM.


#2 mini_kev

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Posted 21 September 2005 - 08:56 AM

wow!!!, thats just helped me so much, cheers mate.

#3 crocstarr

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Posted 07 January 2006 - 07:46 PM

is it me, or have the pics disappeared???

looking to fit my wiring and unit tomorrow.

#4 Pooky

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Posted 07 January 2006 - 10:08 PM

I think they remove pics from old posts to save band width or something :smartass:

#5 dying2live06

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Posted 10 December 2006 - 01:41 AM

well can they get them back as they will be useful !!!

#6 Matt

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Posted 22 December 2006 - 12:30 PM

1st Step

Keep the cars battery connected and get associated tools ready. The tools you'll need are a voltmeter, some crimp connections (bullet connectors, one ring terminal, and a few female spade connectors are required), some pliers or crimping tools and the head unit itself. If you havent already got one you will need an aerial if you want to listen to the radio, speakers to hear the thing and some speaker cable. If you want to create a remote feed for an amplifer then you need some thin guage cable and more connectors. Tie wraps are very usefull for keeping everything neat too...


you want to try and steer away from keeping everything together if your fitting an amp to be honest..

when fitting an amp you should run remote feed and power down one side of the car and run phono cables and speaker wires down the other.. to prevent electrical interference so tie wrapping the 2 together are a bad move!

Sorry to dis your post ;):o :crazy:

#7 adcyork

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Posted 27 December 2006 - 01:34 AM

so where are the pics?

#8 TimS

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Posted 03 January 2007 - 05:05 PM

1st Step

Keep the cars battery connected and get associated tools ready. The tools you'll need are a voltmeter, some crimp connections (bullet connectors, one ring terminal, and a few female spade connectors are required), some pliers or crimping tools and the head unit itself. If you havent already got one you will need an aerial if you want to listen to the radio, speakers to hear the thing and some speaker cable. If you want to create a remote feed for an amplifer then you need some thin guage cable and more connectors. Tie wraps are very usefull for keeping everything neat too...


you want to try and steer away from keeping everything together if your fitting an amp to be honest..

when fitting an amp you should run remote feed and power down one side of the car and run phono cables and speaker wires down the other.. to prevent electrical interference so tie wrapping the 2 together are a bad move!

Sorry to dis your post :ghost::dozing: :w00t:


Keeping power wires grouped is fine, it's the phonos which suffer from Eddies currents produced sometimes, but not all, by the power cables.

#9 Rusty The Clubman

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Posted 01 May 2007 - 07:01 PM

i agree i really could do with the pictures to help me on my electrical fire mission

#10 M44K TS

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Posted 01 July 2007 - 05:26 PM

can i add one thing?

Step 2 - set the multimeter to '20'

make sure it's DC and not AC otherwise you'll get no voltave reading at all.

DC = _ and not ~
...

othr than that, spot on guide

Edited by M44K TS, 01 July 2007 - 05:27 PM.


#11 mini_toaster

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Posted 10 July 2007 - 11:22 PM

i was checking this guide and where theres a picture to see

all it says it "user posted image"

#12 jmetal88

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Posted 14 July 2007 - 09:51 PM

When I put in my stereo I just jammed the power wire against the heater/blower unit switch contact and the ground wire against a couple of the switch light contacts above the heater/blower unit. It worked pretty well for me, although now I've added a USB port to charge my MP3 player by, and I can't run the MP3 player through the stereo while it's charging or I get a high-pitched whine through my speakers... I'm thinking maybe I should try to find a better grounding point. The power point still seems fine to me.

#13 yorkshirechris

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Posted 14 July 2007 - 09:58 PM

A quick question, I didn't fit the stereo in my car or speakers but whoever has, run the speaker wire quiet badly out of the back of the head unit, across the back of the pedals wrapped around the bottom of the steering column (!!) down the edge of the carpet, along the side of the seat, over the crossmember, under the back seat and up to the speakers on the shelf... ditto on the passenger side

I changed the drivers side imediately from the back it comes along, over the cross member, across the front of the seat and into the centre unit that way.

But it still looks ugly, anyone got any ideas on where to run the cable so it is secure, safe and unnoticable?

#14 redhotmini

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Posted 14 July 2007 - 09:59 PM

you'll definately need a decent earthing point, and a decent power source!

i just took one of the screws out that hold the heater in place (bit fiddly as its right under the dash rail), fixed a ring terminal to the earth wire, and slid it over the screw i removed. after i done that, i screwed the screw back in its place, making sure that it was making good contact. (hope you get what i mean, ive had a few cans tonight)

i then took a power feed from the fuse box, use a multimeter or a 12 volt bulb and some wire, to check to see which terminal on the fuse box is 'switched live' and 'constant live'. connect the memory wire to the 'constant live', and the other power lead to the switched live.
Then you have a stereo that switches off with the ignition, and keeps all the settings!

#15 jmetal88

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Posted 14 July 2007 - 10:02 PM

you'll definately need a decent earthing point, and a decent power source!

i just took one of the screws out that hold the heater in place (bit fiddly as its right under the dash rail), fixed a ring terminal to the earth wire, and slid it over the screw i removed. after i done that, i screwed the screw back in its place, making sure that it was making good contact. (hope you get what i mean, ive had a few cans tonight)

i then took a power feed from the fuse box, use a multimeter or a 12 volt bulb and some wire, to check to see which terminal on the fuse box is 'switched live' and 'constant live'. connect the memory wire to the 'constant live', and the other power lead to the switched live.
Then you have a stereo that switches off with the ignition, and keeps all the settings!


I'm using a Durabrand cassette player, it's all mechanical tuning, so I don't need the constant live. >_<




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