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Old 11-19-2009, 04:12 PM   #1
Haberdasher
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Confused about antenna issues with aftermarket HU

I'm getting ready to install an aftermarket headunit and am confused about how to deal with the factory antenna. I know I need an adapter, that much I'm clear on. But from reading several threads on here there seems to be a few different opinions on how to deal with the antenna amp.

As I understand it, there's a remote wire in the wiring harness that goes back to the antenna amp from the stock headunit so that the amp gets turned on when the headunit is on. Is that correct? In order to get the stock antenna to work with my aftermarket headunit I need to attach my new headunit's remote wire to the wiring harness's antenna amp remote wire (in addition to my audio system accessories and amps), correct?

Thanks for helping me get straightened out.

-Dave
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Old 11-19-2009, 10:30 PM   #2
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Its easiest to just buy a used antenna amplifier from a 2003+ from a junkyard etc. I bought one for about $100.
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Old 11-19-2009, 11:43 PM   #3
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I didn't follow that. How does getting another antenna amp help me?
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Old 11-19-2009, 11:45 PM   #4
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I didn't follow that. How does getting another antenna amp help me?
new antenna amplifier is powered by itself, w/o radio. see:

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=396343
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Old 11-20-2009, 12:16 AM   #5
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wait...what? i thought all we needed was an adapter to make everything work?
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Old 11-20-2009, 01:35 AM   #6
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i could have sworn i responded to this post a little while ago... wonder where that response went or if it didn't get posted.

anyways, i think your confusing sna77 with your talk about a antenna adapter, what i think you're referring to is that the new head unit you'll be putting in needs to be able to tell the stock amp (since that's what it appears you'll be using) to turn on. that wire is a small white wire leading into the stock amp that is usually just referred to as the remote turn-on wire. it sends out a low current signal to tell the amp to turn on whenever you turn on your radio. you should be able to easily attach the remote turn-on lead from the new head unit to the remote turn-on wire that is in the oem head unit's harness. harness adapters for our cars can be purchased easily on ebay or at EAS to aid with your install.

i'm not sure if you've taken this into considering, but the trick with installing an aftermarket head unit in our cars is that the aftermarket head unit is sending out what is called an 'unbalanced' signal, and the stock amp only accepts 'balanced-differential' signals. you'll either need to have a cool head unit that sends out a balanced signal, install an aftermarket amp, or you'll need to use a line output converter (LOC). if you use a LOC, you'd take better advantage of the balanced signal (which is better at avoiding any noise from entering the lines) if you install the LOC behind the head unit, rather than right before the amp in the trunk.

hope that helps clear things up.
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Old 11-20-2009, 02:18 AM   #7
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Are you referring to the audio amp? I'm not referring to the audio amp; I'm not going to be using the stock audio amp.

This thread is about the antenna amp that is installed in the C pillar, component 'N8' in the Bentley wiring diagrams. The diagram does show 2 wires going to the stock headunit but does not indicate what kind of signal/current/voltage is on them and the wire colors are not referenced in the diagrams so I can't tell the apart.

sna77 is not confused, and his suggestion of getting an antenna amp from a 2003+ car is interesting. Though, if one of those 2 wires for the antenna amp is a remote turn-on wire and all I have to do is connect it to my new headunit's remote turn-on lead, then I'd rather save myself the $100 and do that. Anyone know if that's possible/works?
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Old 11-20-2009, 12:43 PM   #8
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sorry i was off on that one, i haven't had to deal with that thus far. good to be notified about that though--i could be in need of that here soon when i install an hd radio tuner for the carputer i'm building.

sounds like sna77's solution would definitely be the way to go, as it would give you possibly better reception too. i suppose if no one knows if your idea of hooking the remote turn-on to the stock antenna amplifier works, you could always try it out and if you fry the antenna amp you won't be out any more money than if you had just dropped the $100 in the first place...
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Old 11-21-2009, 08:05 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Haberdasher View Post
I'm getting ready to install an aftermarket headunit and am confused about how to deal with the factory antenna. I know I need an adapter, that much I'm clear on. But from reading several threads on here there seems to be a few different opinions on how to deal with the antenna amp.

As I understand it, there's a remote wire in the wiring harness that goes back to the antenna amp from the stock headunit so that the amp gets turned on when the headunit is on. Is that correct? In order to get the stock antenna to work with my aftermarket headunit I need to attach my new headunit's remote wire to the wiring harness's antenna amp remote wire (in addition to my audio system accessories and amps), correct?

Thanks for helping me get straightened out.

-Dave
Ok don't read anything these guys just posted. (Sorry guys )

Pretty much... you're spot on with what you said. The factory Antenna amp needs 2 things... a power source to power it up as well as a headunit connection.

The headunit connection is made with an antenna adapter as mentioned, the power source you solder the "power antenna" wire from your new headunit to the white antenna wire on the factory BMW harness which will provide power to the antenna amp whenever the radio is switched on.

Hope this helps.

-Calvin

ps: sna77 - the 2003+ antenna amp is not self powered... you still need a +12V source when the radio is on.
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Old 06-07-2010, 02:09 AM   #10
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ps: sna77 - the 2003+ antenna amp is not self powered... you still need a +12V source when the radio is on.
Sorry to resurrect this, but I got more confused over the weekend. I pulled the stock head unit out over the weekend and noticed that the antenna power lead is actually a small coax-like cable. So splicing it into the new head unit's remote power lead isn't going to work. So I've decided to try the newer model antenna amp route.

I read up here about making the swap: http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=396343

But flightz71's last comment got me confused. If the newer antenna amp is self powered, but doesn't have any connection other than antenna input/output, how does it get power? Is there power on the main antenna lead supplied from the head unit? Is power being routed through the antenna aerial?

Thanks,
-Dave
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Old 06-07-2010, 06:11 AM   #11
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Is there power on the main antenna lead
Bingo]
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supplied from the head unit?
Nope. Read my post on page 4 of the antenna amp thread for the full details.
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Old 06-07-2010, 12:10 PM   #12
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Thanks Arty, I was confused as well, but I think I understand based on what you have posted. For those of us with 2002+ (newer amp styles), the diversity _function_ is self contained in the antenna amp in the back pillar of the car, as long as _you supply 12V to the antenna amp_ through your 1 antenna cable going to your aftermarket headunit.

Therefore, having a 2002 that I've put my Dynavin aftermarket headunit into, the bad reception I have is likely to be caused by not having the antenna cable amped, so I bought this "scosche vwa4b" adapter and will give it a shot.
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Old 06-07-2010, 04:52 PM   #13
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Nope. Read my post on page 4 of the antenna amp thread for the full details.
Awesome, I think I'm getting close to understanding

So what I need for my '01 with aftermarket HU is this guy:

http://www.amazon.com/Metra-European.../dp/B0002BES6Y

Then wire the blue lead on it to the ACC wire from the harness. Then get a 02+ antenna amp that has the matching mhz to my current one.

Is that it?
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Old 06-07-2010, 09:18 PM   #14
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Awesome, I think I'm getting close to understanding

So what I need for my '01 with aftermarket HU is this guy:

http://www.amazon.com/Metra-European.../dp/B0002BES6Y

Then wire the blue lead on it to the ACC wire from the harness. Then get a 02+ antenna amp that has the matching mhz to my current one.

Is that it?
I have that same antenna and never have any problems. Works great
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Old 06-08-2010, 02:45 AM   #15
Arty
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Awesome, I think I'm getting close to understanding

So what I need for my '01 with aftermarket HU is this guy:

http://www.amazon.com/Metra-European.../dp/B0002BES6Y

Then wire the blue lead on it to the ACC wire from the harness. Then get a 02+ antenna amp that has the matching mhz to my current one.

Is that it?
Basically yes.

A couple of modifications are, if you have a Blue/white wire coming out of the HU, you can use that, as it is the raise/lower signal for the electric FM antenna. By using that instead of ACC or the blue "AMPON" wire, the FM amp will be turned off when the radio is off, reducing any radio bleed, useful on the Dynavin. It's not essential though.

Consider buying a new FM cable run, and a mini-UHF to FM allowing you to fit the Metra part in the rear of the car, in the C pillar. There is more space there and I think ACC is available on the the wire connector to the amp (check the WDS.) This will aid you when sliding in the radio, as it it really (really) tight in the dash, again not essential.

Yanks are ~315MHz, EU is 433MHz for the alarm. The alarm frequency is on the sticky label so it should be easy to get the right one.
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Old 01-29-2012, 12:31 PM   #16
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Hello, I'm about to connect the same antenna blue power wire. Where did you end up connecting it too? ACC? And did you splice into the red wire on the Dynavin harness?

Thanks
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