What is AUX in a car and how to use it

Using the AUX connector in your car

Among the many connectors that provide music equipment, the AUX jack can be considered one of the most universal, at least until the first roles of digital multimedia devices. AUX marking can be found on almost all kinds of audio playback devices: TVs, stereos, CD/DVD players, car stereos. In older generations of equipment you can also find the marking CD-IN, which is the obsolete name of the connector of this type. But among experts it is often referred to as “line input”.

Let’s look at the features of this type of connector in relation to the car audio equipment.

What is AUX in the car

What is AUX Out?

The name itself is an abbreviation for Auxiliary port, which translates as “additional socket, port”. It is equipped with music equipment for the purpose of connecting additional sound sources. The main requirement is that the connected devices must operate with a voltage of 0.5-1V: this is the range supported by most audio equipment equipped with a line input. The signal applied to the connector must have the same rating.

The Auxiliary port is usually connected directly to an audio amplifier, so its main use is to amplify the power of audio devices that have relatively weak speakers. Examples include MP3 players, many of which have no audio device at all and work exclusively with headphones.

Modern mobile gadgets also cannot boast of high-quality sound reproduction, so it is better to connect digital media files directly to the car stereo system.

The only “but” is that all these devices (smartphones, iPads, tablets, players) are not equipped with similar sockets (AUX output) or cables allowing such connection. It means that to use AUX on your car radio you’ll need to stock up on special adapters, good thing you can buy them at any radio parts store.

For your car radio to recognize a connected digital device, you must use either the menu or a standard switch. Setting the sound level consists in setting the signal power level to a minimum value before connecting the additional device.

To connect old analog equipment (the most obvious example is a cassette recorder), you do not need to do any manipulation at all, just have a suitable cable.

Thus, answering the question, what is AUX output in the car, we can say that it is one of the most common ways to integrate sound generating and audio reproducing equipment, which serves as a built-in car stereo or multimedia center.

Using this jack, you can listen to your favorite music collections in excellent quality as well as any other audio files (for example, foreign language courses, lectures, audiobooks).

The presence of “AUX” input in your car radio has long been a de-facto standard, which both well-known companies and non-producers are trying to adhere to.

We have already mentioned that to connect an additional device to the amplifier and speakers of the car radio through the line input jack you need an adapter, which is a cable with a standard 3.5 mm Minijack plug on one side and a pair of “cinch” connectors on the other side.

However, this is not the only way to make the connection: there is a Bluetooth adapter, through which you can connect to your car multimedia system gadgets that work via bluetooth.

Finally, you can make an adapter yourself, but this is an option suitable for those who are familiar with the soldering iron. To do this, you need to find two plugs and a cord (the latter, like the mini-jack plug, can be taken from non-working headphones).

Each of the plugs has three wires, the red and green wires go to the sound channels (right and left), the third is the base. We solder the base to the metal base of the tulip, and the wires responsible for the audio signal transmission – to the pins of the connectors. It remains only to isolate the connections and check the functionality, pre-checking all the contacts.

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AUX output in the car

Although AUX-Bluetooth adapter requires the device to be connected to be able to work with this wireless protocol, it is obviously more preferable than the wired connection. It is a small device, comparable in size to a common USB stick and is inserted into the 3.5mm AUX jack on your car multimedia system. The advantages of using this option are:

  • No extra wires, allowing gadgets to be used both in the back seat and even outside the car;
  • the initiation of additional devices is carried out by pressing a single button: no settings, the adapter takes care of everything;
  • another big plus, what you need the AUX input in the car, working on a wireless protocol – the ability to simultaneously connect multiple devices (eg, smartphone and navigator);
  • The adapter is already equipped with a good codec that is able to improve the quality of the played sound;
  • You can control the device with the buttons as well as with the voice or by remote control.

The only disadvantage of the adapter is the need to recharge it, because the AUX plug is not adapted for this purpose, unlike USB.

Advantages and disadvantages of having an AUX jack

In its configuration this jack is absolutely no different from the TRS/TRRS jack used to connect headphones. But in this case the signal goes not to the connected device, but in the opposite direction – to the car radio.

So, the presence of this input on your car radio (it’s usually located on the main panel) allows you to use the amplifier and the speakers of multimedia system for sound reproduction from low-powered gadgets, which speakers are not different either by power or sound quality.

This is the main advantage of the AUX socket. Buying just one cable at your local audio equipment store, you will be able to connect a wide range of portable devices in your car via AUX.

The need to purchase an adapter can be called the main disadvantage of this input, but you get the opportunity to amplify the sound many times. As for the quality, it is knowingly higher than in standard headphones (we are not talking about professional models – they are very expensive and not suitable for household purposes). But here we need to make a little reservation. The point is that most mobile gadgets, including the iPhone, iPad, smartphones and tablets are originally designed to work with headphones – in this case the sound signal comes to the playback device in the same form in which it is stored on the digital media, that is, without distortion. Line input is an intermediate link, so here and further along the loop there may be minor distortions typical of analog devices. But, again, compared to the sound quality in headphones – it’s heaven and earth, besides, enjoy quality music will be able to all passengers in the car.

Features of AUX input in the car

As a rule, manufacturers place this jack or on the car radio (on the front panel of the device), or in a niche located near the cigarette lighter and designed to accommodate a number of connectors for connecting external devices.

Some cars have a rubber cover over the jack to prevent contamination and moisture on the plug contacts, but you can find the AUX input by the corresponding inscription over the connector.

If your car radio has no aux, you can connect it to the car by yourself – there is nothing difficult, but only if you have good skills with a soldering iron and know how to read a schematic at least at the primary level. If you are far from it, but you really want to modify the music center – it is better to contact the professionals.

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Before you begin, you should find an electrical schematic of your car radio receiver on the Internet – this is usually the main pitfall, because you can’t find this information in free public domain. In this case you should ask around on specialized forums, they will not refuse you, although they may ask for a nominal fee for help. Note that without such a scheme, it makes no sense to take up the work.

To equip your radio with AUX input was as convenient as possible, it is better to do it at home, at your desk, for which it must be removed – it is done by pressing one button (some models may have two latches, placed on different sides of the device).

Aux in your car stereo with your own hands

You will need the following list of tools:

  • screwdrivers (with flat and Phillips tips);
  • pliers;
  • duct tape;
  • a soldering iron with accessories (acid, solder)
  • long enough acoustic wire;
  • heat shrink tubing;
  • a universal audio jack of the “tulip” type (so that you can connect to the radio via AUX phone or other audio playback device).

To get access to the radio circuit, you’ll have to disassemble the car radio – remove the housing cover, if necessary – dismantle the cassette or disc player.

The work itself is carried out in the following order:

  • look for the pins on the radio board, which are responsible for grounding and input channels. Usually sound channels are marked with the first letter of their names (right channel is R, left channel is L). The standard designation of the ground pin is GND;
  • Carefully examine the location of the contacts on the radio module board (we are interested in the inscriptions LCH and RCH), at the same time making sure that there are no charred tracks or blown capacitors on the printed circuit board;
  • use a multimeter to test the cable for continuity. The ideal is to use a coaxial wire taken from a standard jack – it comes with three shielded strands. It would be better if these wires were color-coded – it will be much easier for you to navigate when connecting them. We will need a cable about 40 centimeters long;
  • Start soldering the cable to the connectors on the board. Use a small, low-power soldering iron with a thin and sharp tip. To ensure the highest accuracy of soldering, it is advisable to use a special magnifying glass. Dark color duct tape is needed for the backing (as a contrast);
  • Having soldered the right/left channels, move on to the ground wire – it can be connected either to the GND terminal or soldered directly to the body of the radio module;
  • All soldered wires must be insulated using heat shrink tubing. The wires themselves must be led outside the car radio by finding a hole with an appropriate diameter. If there is no hole, you will need to drill the housing of the car radio;
  • Some older models of VCRs with a cassette player are equipped with special connectors (usually three-pin) on the back side of the volume control, designed for connecting a CD changer to the device. If they are free, you can connect a line (AUX) input to these jacks. This method is also convenient because when an external signal comes in through this jack, the cassette recorder, if it was on, will automatically turn off.

To check the functionality of the connected jack, simply turn on your car radio in any prescribed mode (listening to a CD, cassette or even radio) and then stick a 3.5 mm plug into the jack, coming from the included external device. In this case, if everything was done correctly, the sound source will change.

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To work with mobile gadgets was as convenient as possible, you can mount a device to fix a smartphone, tablet or portable player, since the niche on the center console is often filled with other small things. In stores of consumer electronics you can find special metal or plastic brackets (specialized, designed for a particular model of phone, or universal), which can be attached directly near the radio, screwing or gluing them to the torpedo.

Let’s consider the peculiarities of connecting to the car radio different audio reproducing gadgets, characterized by the presence of other types of connectors. Usually in these cases an adapter is used that allows you to connect most modern mobile devices to the car stereo using a USB connector.

In particular, for many fans of high-quality sound will be interesting information, how to connect a USB flash drive to the AUX jack in the car. Note that many other gadgets are equipped with USB outputs, in which the use of headphones may not be provided. Therefore, such smartphones are connected to the radio via aux in the same way as a flash drive – with an adapter.

USB AUX jack

However, experts do not recommend the use of direct Chinese adapters, which are sold at any computer accessories store. The fact is that these two connectors use a different principle of formation and transmission of sound, and so that the quality of the digital audio signal when passing through the AUX connector is not impaired, the adapters usually include an additional converter. Cheap Chinese adapters either do not have this converter at all or it is assembled from low-quality components.

So it is better to spend money on a brand-name device and be able to listen in excellent sound to any MP3-player that uses a flash drive as an external drive.

An even better solution will be the purchase of a universal adapter, equipped with connectors of both types – jack and USB. Sometimes such cables are even included with some smartphone models, but it’s not difficult to find such an accessory and any store specializing in the sale of consumer audio equipment.

Connecting your phone to the AUX jack in your car, you’ll be able to play any music files in excellent quality, significantly extending the functionality of your car stereo or multimedia center. From now on, listening to radio stations can only be used as a way to listen to the news, but even here you will have an alternative solution – a smartphone with its voice news channels broadcast within the social networks.

So having an AUX jack is an absolute boon. But we do not recommend searching for music while driving a car – it’s dangerous, and in many countries, using a cell phone while driving and even against the law. In Russia, such a violation is also provided for a considerable fine – 1500 rubles. So, the best option – is to use a flash drive with its own collection of music tracks.

AUX in your car radio and how to connect it

It’s nice to be in your favorite car with a breeze and music. The air conditioner is responsible for the breeze. And your favorite music?

On the radio – advertising. On the CD not all songs to your liking and you have to be distracted by switching. The answer is simple! You need to use the AUX input and listen to tracks from your own playlist or through the Internet.

What is AUX and what is it for

AUX is a line input. Is a jack is an integral part of many modern multimedia systems. It serves to connect external sound sources (smartphone, tablet, player and others).

Externally, AUX in your car looks like a round hole with a metal edge. AUX input is marked with a corresponding abbreviation on the car radio panel and is a small round hole with a diameter of 3.5 millimeters. The same AUX out hole connects external speakers to a desktop computer.

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Photo 1

The plug that connects the jack to the connected device is similar to the one you might see on a headphone cord. It is impossible to imagine a modern car without a built-in jack.

Advantages and disadvantages of having a jack in the car

  • Linear audio input significantly expands the capabilities of the car stereo.
  • Allows you to listen to a wide range of content: from audio files from the device memory to Internet radio stations.
  • You can connect any external device: player, phone, laptop etc. to the input.
  • There is no need to replace the built-in stereo.
  • The quality of sound broadcasted from your phone or tablet device is not inferior to the quality of any other media;
  • Allows you to listen to audio from an external media in improved quality.

The main disadvantage is the need to purchase adapters for the AUX input and devices of various types. This often results in interference to the driver in the form of cords in the area where the car controls are located.

Photo 1

Installing the AUX in

AUX in is not a mandatory attribute of the dashboard of all makes and models of cars. Neither are the stereos built into these cars. AUX in is not a complicated device. You can install it at any service station. And if you have technical skills on your own. For this you will need:

  • wire length of 40-50 cm. – 3 pcs.
  • AUX connector with socket.

Photo 3

  1. One end of each wire is soldered to the stereo output channel of the player.
  2. The opposite ends go outside.
  3. An AUX jack with three pins is attached to the wires.
  4. A place for the connector is prepared on the dashboard or on the car radio.
  5. The AUX jack is installed at the prepared place.

How to connect to the AUX input

To connect to AUX you need a cable for your car radio. One end of it ends with a plug corresponding to the line input, and the other end must fit the device which is designed for connection. When making contact between the aux in on the radio and the device, from which the data will be transmitted, aux is automatically turned on The main thing is that it is suitable for the connector of the connected device. This adapter is used to transfer data from the external media to the audio system. Sometimes this cable is part of the set of any device. If necessary, it can be purchased as a separate independent accessory.

Photo 4

The main ways of connecting audio transmitting devices to the aux input in the car are described below.

Standard minijack 3.5mm cable

Is a legacy of the evolution of the telephone plug, which was used as a binder in the first telephone exchanges. The size of the first generation was 6.35mm. From the middle of the last century to the present day the most popular size is 3.5 mm for various types of equipment. It is called the minijack.

Photo 5

The minijack is designed in TRS format. If you do not go into a detailed terminology, deciphering and translation, it means three contacts providing transmission of high quality stereo sound.

Today, thanks to the historical standardization of equipment, the mini-jack is used in almost all audio equipment. The AUX port is just one of the common uses.

AUX USB Adapter

It is a cable with a mini jack plug on one end for connection to an AUX output and a USB connector on the other. It serves to connect devices with a USB output to the audio system as an external audio media. For example, a laptop. This allows you to listen to audio files stored on it if your car radio can read mp3 format. The presence of files with other extensions in the memory can cause complications during decoding and slow down the process.

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Photo 6

Such adapters can be differentiated only by the cord length. For comfortable use in the car it is better to buy a model with a short cable, not more than 12 cm.

Bluetooth adapter

A modern gadget that establishes wireless communication between different types of devices. The most technologically advanced models provide a stable data exchange at a distance of 50-60 meters with high speed in the range from 3 to 24 Mbit/s, depending on the model.

Photo 8

The distinctive advantages of bluetooth adapter:

  • low cost;
  • ease and safety of use;
  • ergonomics.

A wide range of uses for the bluetooth adapter:

  • audio transmission;
  • Connecting the player to different types of audio playback devices;
  • Wireless bluetooth network organization.

The list of abilities of this multifunctional device is not exhausted by the listed items.

It is important that if the output plug of the bluetooth adapter is a mini-jack, then the gadget can be connected to the aux input. This allows you not only to listen to audio tracks from the memory of your smartphone or the Internet, but also to conduct telephone conversations in a “hands-free” format. In this case, the voice of the interlocutor will be output to the car’s audio system.

How to connect a USB memory stick to AUX

The main condition for connecting a flash drive to AUX is the presence of power and audio output. Therefore, the adapter “USB jack – mini-jack” will not work. You will need a special adapter, sometimes called a CD changer. The same device can read SDs-cards of cell phones. It supports a Bluetooth phone headset.

Photo 9

The design of the adapter includes a housing with several connectors. It connects to AUX via a mini-jack connector. On the other side, you can connect a USB flash drive. In this case, the car radio recognizes it as a CD-disk.

In order to play the tracks from a USB storage device it is necessary to create a folder on the boombox where the files will be loaded.

Problems when using AUX

It can be difficult to connect an external device to the car audio system via the AUX line input:

  1. The car radio does not recognize audio files. This is possible if they are played from the folder of the connected device, which contains files with a different extension (text, video, etc.).
  2. The sound is played back in a lower quality than the original. To solve this problem, you should try to use a different adapter. Interference can be caused by mechanical damage to the cable, plug or jack. Or the boombox is unable to amplify the information being fed to it.
  3. The gadget and the system are not communicating for other reasons. Solution: install an app like SoundAbout on your device.
  4. The device is invisible via bluetooth adapter. You need to check in the settings the item “Accessible to all”. It must be enabled.
  5. The contact is not made through the USB adapter. If it is not a matter of mechanical damage, then in the connected device, in the tab “Settings” you need to activate the item “Data transfer”.

Features of AUX in the car

In expensive prestigious models of cars, it is brought out on the panel and even equipped with a kind of plug or cover to protect the audio input from dirt, moisture and dust, which can affect its performance. AUX is enough to satisfy the need to listen to any content. The head unit, as an independent type of equipment becomes unnecessary. You can connect your smartphone to the audio system and listen to whatever you like from the Internet.

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