If you’re like many car audio enthusiasts, you may be looking for ways to improve not only the sound of your system but also its look.
One way to do that is by connecting an illumination wire to your car stereo. But where do you connect it? Let’s find out.
Generally, the car radio illumination wire should be connected to the orange wire from the dashboard. However, if the car stereo has a standard DIN size harness and the vehicle has a dimming feature, the illumination wire will connect automatically through the correct pin in the harness.
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Tip: If your car does not have a dimming feature, you can connect the illumination wire to the cigarette lighter.
This will turn on the illumination whenever the key is in the accessory position, and to adjust it when you do not need the dimmed screen, you have to add a switch.
In this article, I will detail what illumination wire is, its purpose in car radios, and how to connect it properly. I’ll also explain what to do if your car stereo doesn’t have an illumination wire in the harness.
What Is the Illumination Wire?
The illumination wire is the orange wire in a car stereo’s harness, responsible for adjusting the light on the car radio front panel.
When the headlights are turned on, the wire transfers a signal to the stereo to turn on its illumination so that the buttons and knobs are visible in the dark. At the same time, the radio’s screen gets darker to avoid light glare.
How to Connect the Illumination Wire?
In most cases, the illumination wire should be connected to the orange wire from the dashboard.
If the car stereo has a standard DIN size harness and the vehicle has a dimming feature, the illumination wire will connect automatically through the correct pin in the harness.
Some radios do not have an illumination wire in the harness. In that case, you can connect the stereo using a standard harness, but the illumination wire from the vehicle will not be connected.
What Happens if You Don’t Connect the Illumination Wire to the Car Stereo?
If you don’t connect the illumination wire to the car stereo, the buttons and knobs on the front panel will not be illuminated. This can make it difficult to see the controls in low light conditions.
Also, the radio’s display will not be dimmed when the headlights are turned on. This can cause light glare and make it difficult to drive a car.
How Do You Know if Your Car Radio Has an Illumination Wire?
If the radio has an illumination wire, it will be listed in the product specs. Otherwise, you can check the wiring diagram with the radio or look for an illumination kit compatible with your car radio.
If your car stereo doesn’t have illumination wires and you want to add them, you can do so by wiring them to the cigarette lighter power wire. This will turn the illumination whenever the key is in the accessory position.
To adjust the illumination, you can add a switch to the wire. The switch will allow you to turn the lighting on and off independently of the car’s headlights.
How to Tell if the Illumination Wire Is Not Working?
If the illumination wire is not working, the buttons and knobs on the front panel will not be illuminated when you turn the headlights on.
This can make it difficult to see the controls in low light conditions, and the radio’s display will not be dimmed.
When this happens, there may be an issue with one of the below:
#1. The illumination wire is not connected to the car stereo.
#2. The illumination wire is not connected to a power source.
#3. The illumination wire is damaged.
#4. The headlight switch is damaged.
#5. A fuse of the headlights is blown.
If you’re troubleshooting the illumination wire, check all of these potential issues.
The illumination wire is a critical component in many car stereos. It lets the user see the controls in low light conditions and dims the radio’s display when the headlights are turned on.
The illumination wire from the radio should be connected to the headlight switch, which will send the signal to the stereo every time you turn the lights on.
All the current car stereos have this wire but if you’re buying a used one, be sure to check because not all car radios sued to be equipped with illumination wires.