A few years ago I read that you can add a switch to the power antenna circuit to control whether or not the antenna goes up and down when the factory stereo is turned on. I was working on my aftermarket power antenna because the mount was loose and figured that particular day would be a good day to add the manual control switch.
You’ll need the following…
- Wire stripper/Cutter/Crimper (18ga)
- 7mm socket w/extension or screwdriver-handle-type-adapter
- Flathead screwdriver
- Lighter/Heat gun (if using heat-shrink tubing)
- One 12V automotive switch rated at least 15A @ 12VDC (if lighted, you’ll need to add a ground wire)
- 4 to 6 feet of 18ga wire
- 2 feet of black 16ga wire (if using lighted switch)
- Crimp connectors for 18ga wire – 2 butt connectors, 2 female spade connectors
- Crimp connectors for 16ga wire (if using lighted switch) – 1 quick splice, 1 female spade connector
- Electrical tape or heat-shrink tubing
- Wire loom (optional – 1/4″ to 1/2″ depending on personal preference)
There are three wires going into the factory power antenna:
- 12V constant power (+)
- 12V signal power (+)
- Ground (-)
On the antenna-side, orange is 12V constant (+), green is 12V signal (+), and black is ground (-).
The orange and black wires are unimportant – what we are concerned with is the green wire (12V signal power). There is always power (orange), and ground (black) to the antenna, so what does the green wire do? Well, that green wire turns into the 18 gauge pink wire on the largest connector on the back of the headunit. When the headunit is turned on, it sends 12V power through that pink[green] wire into the antenna. The antenna senses 12V power on the green[pink] wire and uses 12V power from the orange wire to raise the antenna. When you shut off the headunit, it removes the 12V power from the pink/green wire, thus the antenna stops sensing 12V power at the green/pink wire so it uses power from the orange wire to lower the antenna (just like how it raises).
By installing a switch enabling/disabling the flow of power on the pink/green wire, you can control whether or not the antenna will receive the 12V power to raise up when the headunit is turned on. If you cut power to the pink/green wire using the switch when the headunit is on, the antenna will simply lower like normal into the down position.
If instead you install a switch on the pink/green, and instead of connecting one end to the pink wire at the headunit, you use an always-on 12V power source (cigarette lighter 12V), you can control whether the antenna is up or down, regardless of the car being on or off. I didn’t wire it this way, but theoretically you could do it.
- Start by removing the headunit to expose the area behind it. You can do this by pulling the radio bezel outward and off, then unscrewing the three 7mm bolts holding it in.
- Disconnect the headunit plugs that are clipped in, and set the headunit aside.
- Look at the largest connector on the headunit. You will see the 18ga pink wire that controls the antenna. Separate that wire from the rest of the wires and cut it, leaving a few inches on both ends so you can still hold it to crimp any connectors on & cut off & redo if necessary (you don’t want to cut).
- Crimp one butt connector on each end of the factory pink wire. On the other side of the butt connectors, crimp a length of wire from each connector and run it behind the headunit to where your switch will be (I used roughly 2 feet each).
- Crimp two female spade connectors (the kind that slide onto the switch connections securely) onto each of the two wires you just ran.
- If you want to mount it under/in the console, you’ll have to remove at least the upper console.
- The upper console is held in by the shift knob (automatics need a flathead screwdriver to pry the retaining staple out, manuals just untwist) and two 7mm bolts under the change holder inside the pocket in the center console. Lift the rear of the upper console and slide it upwards and backwards. If an automatic, you’ll want to set the E-brake and put the car into gear (D or 2 usually works) to allow the upper console to be lifted out. There are things plugged into the upper console: the shift selector light (automatic trans – just untwist counter-clockwise), ashtray light (I think? on a manual), and the cigarette lighter (squeeze and pull to remove).
- If you want to add a lighted switch, now is an easy time to add a ground by quick-splicing a black wire w/spade connector on one end to the black wire on the cigarette lighter connector. Connect the switch to the wires, and if it’s a lighted switch don’t connect power to the ground! Wrap your wires up in the wire loom, hide/mount your switch, tuck the wires-in-loom away securely so it won’t move, and reassemble. Test and enjoy!
Here is a pic of the messy wiring behind the headunit. The red arrows point to the pink wire that I cut/spliced. I ran the two lengths of 18ga wire behind the headunit and under the center console to be connected to a switch. The green arrows point to my iPod interface box that has just been hanging there without any problems (Google search for iPod2car).
The red arrows below point to the switch and the switch wiring. I spliced in a ground to the wiring in case I change the switch to one with an LED, and wrapped the three wires in a plastic cable protector sheath or two. It’s long enough to reach under the console lid, or to any other potential mounting spot. Right now the switch is wedged between the center console and the carpeting, and is easily accessible yet not easily seen. The excess wiring is wedged securely under the center console. The ends of the wires have crimp connectors covered with heatshrink tubing that simply slide onto any 12v automotive toggle switch.