In this article, I will show you how to listen to radio without draining your car battery. It is a really easy process and only takes a few minutes!
The first part of this installation just involves splicing the power wires that come from your stock radio into the wire going to your fuse box. Doing so will divert power directly from your battery when in operation instead of having to draw it from the cigarette lighter in use. This in turn will help you avoid draining the life out of your car’s starter battery while using it! What we want to create here is essentially an “extension cord” for our audio system, by adding wiring between our new source (the CD player) and amplifier or stereo head unit.
You can find your radio’s power terminals (or accessory post) by both tracing the wires back to them or popping off the radio and checking for them on your car’s circuit board. What you should be looking for is what looks like a third row of pins; I’m not sure if every vehicle has these, but they are generally located under where the stock head unit goes, so popping it out might help you locate them more easily.
The important thing about this step is to make sure that regardless of whether or not you use my suggested method here you do NOT ground both sides of your power wire. Doing so will almost certainly kill the battery in your car unless maybe it is an old one without much life left in it. I don’t want anybody to get hurt, so if you are not sure what you’re doing then please do some internet research or call a professional for some help!
When it comes to splicing the power wire into your cigarette lighter, I recommend that you cut the end off of the wire going directly to your lighter, and solder it back onto itself. Doing this will make sure that no matter whether your car’s accessory switch is on or off, power still gets routed to your amp or stereo system. If you are not comfortable with soldering wires together, then there are other alternatives for you such as crimp connectors which can be found at any store that offers tools and wiring accessories.
Now, all we have left to do is find a good ground location. This part can be really simple and you can even use the bolt that holds your car battery in place if it is not rusted out and badly corroded! Also, make sure to peel back any carpet or anything covering up your metal body panels as this will help with grounding; the radio station will play better, too!
What you want to do is connect one side of a switch to this fuse slot and then run a wire from the other end of the switch to either of your radio’s power terminals (if it has two). An easy way to mount the switch in line with everything else is simply put it between where your new wiring harness meets with the existing loom coming out of your dashboard; this will make reaching it really easy while also keeping it hidden!
There are many different switches that can be used for this purpose but I recommend something which activates when pushed into its housing instead of spring-loaded like the ones that are normally used indoor locks. The reason for this is so you don’t accidentally leave the radio on by accident, draining your battery without an audible reminder. Also, before I forget to mention it… make sure that wherever you mount your switch is EASY TO REACH!