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Thread: Input the head unit into the computer

  1. #1
    Constant Bitrate
    Join Date
    Aug 1999

    Post Input the head unit into the computer

    I have an interesting idea that I am sure someone has thought of or is doing. I have an older Eclipse ECD-413 that I just can't part with. Anyways, it is a pre-out only head unit.... and I was thinking 'Hey, why not input the headunit into the mp3puter that way I can shut it off and enjoy my mp3puter and not have to buy a new headunit with aux inputs!'
    So... what is everyones experiences with doing this method? I would imagine I could map keys to a mixer control for the line-in side of the soundcard (AWE64) OR go with an external pre-amplifier from the out of the box and leave both source's cranked (IE one of the PPI models or something else).

    Any insight or knowledge on this matter would be most appreciated. Wish Eclipse still made a model stereo like the good ole 413!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2000


    Yes, it's a great idea. Since I don't go in for monster stereo systems, I'd much rather have a simple box like a CD changer that just responds to my cheap factory-fit head unit.

    Not surprisingly, you're not the only one to think of it - there was a suggestion just a couple of weeks ago on this board, and it seems to come up regularly on

    Despite this, no-one actually seems to have succeeded. There was a posting on Usenet a while back from someone who'd interfaced his head unit, but it was an unusually simple one (an early alpine, I think). In most cases, there's a reasonably complicated serial control protocol that goes on down the changer cable, and the manufacturers like to protect their captive market (especially with factory-fitted units) and keep the details to themselves.

    However, there is some hope : there are several companies that make interface units to adapt between different changer manufacturers, and although the one I talked to wasn't interested in making a generic mp3 interface that would suit me, someone else might. Maybe there's a changer interface that's really simple, like the alpine mentioned above, and you could get a converter to adapt your head to that protocol.

    Secondly, although it needs some specialist equipment, it's not impossible to decode the controls. The manufacturers of those converters must have done it, and now there's an incentive for the rest of us to do it, too. I know nothing about the eclipse equipment you have, but I'm having a moderate amount of success cracking Clarion's C-bus : I've got it thinking there's a changer connected, and it will flip tracks on demand. Just a little more to implement and I might get the audio on !

    So don't give up - dive in with 'scope, logic analyser and microcontroller and tell us all what you find .

  3. #3
    Constant Bitrate
    Join Date
    Aug 1999


    Well, the ECD-413 head unit was the stuff a few years back. It has been a very reliable head unit but no inputs (actually if I had the external DSP unit I could do inputs through that).

    The only concern I have with this is the mixer response of the computer. More than likely I will be listening to the mp3 player 80% of the time and radio/headunit 20%.

    Another idea was to just put the factory head unit back in and step it down with a highlevel to rca output converter then input that into the computer. Basically gives me my AM/FM, doesn't attract break-ins, and would be alot easier to remove if and when I trade the car in.

    I am still shooting for a 5" lcd for all of this as well so I may go with the later and sell the Eclipse to cover the LCD (the player is already running now into the tape adaptor of my factory unit).

    And again... I could always pickup a PEQ-114 preamp from PPI and just use that!

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