No Head Unit alternative – Bluetooth only
Subject to you personal needs and preferences you may want to consider the following.
I tend to drive with the roof off pretty much 95% of the time, CD’s are redundant in my world and the radio is pointless, therefore I’ve tended to use the Bluetooth or the USB in on my head unit and played music from my iPhone.
I recently decided that the head unit is providing very little and was a space I’d like to use to put in some 52mm gauges (oil temp, pressure) – so could I get rid of the head unit but retain the option to play music?
I therefore looked around for a small 12v car amp, with RCA input and a Bluetooth unit all which could be mounted out of sight to allow me to play MP3 direct from my phone. I found a nice Bluetooth unit made by Xcarlink on eBay, there were advertising this;
But this is what I got, far more than I expected ie it has a really neat control pad (the xcarlink unit is at the bottom of the picture), other items are the Kinter 12v MA-150 AMP Mini USB Hi-Fi Digital Stereo Amplifier and a USB extension which I plan to use to add a USB port to the car as well (it’ll be a charge point only not an input into the amp) ;
The Kinter had a nice bundled connectors, on the left had end there’s the two connectors clip in 1) 12V power, power on trigger for the ignition and earth. Pick these up from the stereo loom. The other connector are two outputs (left and right) to connect to the existing loom speaker wiring.
On the right is the RCA input for the Xcarlink Bluetooth, this needs to be powered and earthed, I just picked up the same power on ignition that I used for the amp. I kept wiring simple and ran the control pad behind the dash, took off the control binnacle cover (indicator / wiper stalk surround) and fed the wire over the steering column and out the other side, see below.
The Amp sits nicely on the ledge inside the dash and I secured it with heavy duty velcro so it can be easily removed. I did think about removing the coin tray and feeding it under there and sticking the pad on the sill which comes nicely to hand for the control – maybe another day.
It works very well, with on / off, volume +/-, pause, skip forward / back all from the control pad as well as voice activation from to play curtain music from the iPhone 7 or when plugged into power on the iPhone 6.
Now I have music and can add 3 dials where the head unit went.