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Old 07-14-2002, 06:51 PM   #1
Lee

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What kind of changer will work with my factory head unit?

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3.25 What kind of changer will work with my factory head unit? [PO]
Many factory head units these days have the ability to control a remotely mounted cd changer. Generally, the head will have a button labelled "CD" to switch sources to the external changer. In this mode either the radio preset buttons and/or the tuner up/down buttons will control which CD and/or track is playing. Check your car's manual to make sure your head can control a changer and how the buttons work.

Once you know your head can control a changer, you wonder "What kind of changer will work with my factory head unit?" Of course, the one the dealer wants to sell you will work. However, the dealer makes lots of money selling you a changer, and there are often other after-market solutions, usually involving an adapter cable and a name-brand changer. The dealer will tell you that their solution is better and that's why it costs so much more (often more than twice as much as an aftermarket solution).

The car manufacturers are constantly changing the interfaces between their heads and changers, in an effort to get you to buy their solution. However, the after-market is constantly reverse-engineering the interfaces and providing alternative solutions for the cost-conscious consumer.

Two companies that make such adapters are Precision Interface Electronics (or PIE, http://www.pie.net) and Peripheral Interface Components (http://www.stinger-aamp.com/peripheral/s-ind.htm). Check their web sites to see if there's an adapter for your car's factory head. They also list which changer(s) will work with their adapters.

For example, many of Honda's late-model heads were made for them by Alpine, so the OEM changer you'd pay your friendly Honda dealer ~$700 for is essentially the same as Alpine's changers. The only difference is the interface wiring, where they swapped two pins, specifically so you'd have to get it from the dealer. (If you're interested in the details, see http://integra.cyberglobe.net/caraud...grams/DIN.html). The after-market adapters for this head simply swap the pins back, so you can use the regular Alpine changer, which can be bought for ~$300.

Once you know which adapter/changer combo will work, you can get it from your local car audio dealer or favorite mail order place. The advantage of getting it from a local dealer is that they'll be able to install it for you. However, if you have the time and are at all mechanically inclined, you should readily be able to install it yourself.
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