Milestone 148.8


After extensive study on the subject, I found out that the “problem” was the external amplifier. The head units have an amplifier built in, it uses a different set of cables if it is to talk to an external amp. I studied the wiring diagrams. I rubbed my hands over themselves, donned my lab coat – I was going to make my own harness.
After trips to Radio Shack, Home Depot, Harbor Freight and Walmart I was ready to begin. I started cutting up my audio cables, sacrificing them to the cause for their connectors. I stripped, I soldered, I crimped. My vision was clear, my execution was more “special needs kid builds television”

After monopolizing the kitchen table for most of the day I was ready to plug in my Franken-cable and try my shiny new stereo. I took all the precautions, disconnected the battery, ran an extra ground wire taped up all the “extra” wires. Everything was connected and I was ready to flip the switch (queue evil laugh), and . . . . nothing. Not even a flicker. Perhaps I blew a fuse? As I lay, knees on the driveway head up against the break pedal, I pulled each fuse and checked it with my flashlight. The neighborhood insects quickly twittered each other and took advantage of my compromised position to have a bite to eat.

Fuses looked OK, let’s try again. Just as I suspected – nothing. I switch to diagnostic mode. I put the old cable in and attach the old radio, to my surprise – nothing. Dash parts are strewn around the car, a rats nest of wire stick out in all directions, tools lay were they were dropped. It was the picture of defeat. I decided to sleep on it, perhaps the electronics elves would visit tonight.

I didn’t sleep well, I was visited by ghosts of projects past and future. The next morning I was back on the driveway before breakfast, I needed to triple check the fuses. Still no joy. In my research I found that grounding issues accounted for a large percentage of the problems other amateurs experienced. I pulled the ground wire from the harness and attached it to a screw anchored in a metal support, reinstalled the Franken-cable and crossed my fingers. Success!! “It’s a liiiiiiight” Sound came out of the speakers and everything. Today was going to be a good day.

My Franken-cable had worked but it needed work, and I thought I could do better. Back to Walmart. I got another one of those harnesses that jump-joywouldn’t work” with my system. Using some of the primo connectors I purchased from Home Depot the day before, I put together a rig that I could be proud of. I had to test it several times along the way just to make sure.

I hooked everything up. Even cut out a perfect round hole and installed a protective rubber grommet to run the USB cable to a little cubby in the dash. I was feeling downright cocky. I made Katie and Linda come out and be impressed by my handy work and the resulting audio extravaganza several times that day. Sarah would return from Las Vegas in a couple of days – I think she liked it. She just left for College Station and took her stereo for it’s inaugural drive.

3 comments to Milestone 148.8

  • Gregory

    Very nice install! The deck looks and sounds great. Sarah did not mention the home made cable.

  • Thom

    Nicely done. I know how these things go. It is always just a little bit harder than it should be, and nothing quite fits exactly as it does in the figure. A lesser man would have thrown in the towel, paid for help, and suffered the chiding from Family Told You So's.

  • Sarahcakes

    Thank you again! Amazing post, but an even better system.