Installation/Operating Instructions for AAR Stereo Conversions

Radios for old cars

NOTICE:  As of June 1, 2013, we no longer sell, service, or support any product made by Antique Automobile Radio of Palm Harbor, Florida.

However in response to the continuing stream of inquiries and trouble calls, we have re-posted the wiring legends and user instructions for the products we have carried in the past.  We suggest you print this page and keep it in your glove compartment for a reference.

If you are having service issues with any AAR conversion, please contact AAR directly at 1-800-933-4926.

Alternately, we offer an upgrade to the new Aurora FMR-1 receiver.  Yes, there is a price because we have to purchase and install the hardware, but it is a discount from the original conversion price.  Please contact us for details.

The following applies to version 8.2 and 9 PCB's.  For older versions see below.  Note:  bear in mind their current products may differ, therefore we cannot be responsible for accuracy.


RED:  +12 volts power, connect to Ignition switch.
ORANGE:  SWITCHED Power Output, for accessories or for power antenna.
GREEN (some vehicles):  Separate wire for dial lamp.  Connect to dash lights.
METAL CASE:  Ground return.
NOTES:  Some radios may have retained the original power connector.  Such models may not have a red or green wire.  Radios configured for something other than 12 volts negative ground may have a separate fused power wire.


BLUE/PURPLE:  Left speakers, BLUE is high side.
GRAY/WHITE:  Right speakers, GRAY is high side.
NOTES:  Most radios have two sets of each.  Use the YELLOW sleeved wires for front speakers, GREEN sleeved wires for the rear speakers.  If only two speakers are used, use the YELLOW sleeves.  If only a single speaker is used, use the GRAY/WHITE with YELLOW sleeve.  Some conversions by other dealers may have some of these wires missing, if configured for two or even one speaker.  BE CAREFUL!!  These PCB's lack protection and are easily damaged by reverse voltage, overvoltage, speaker wire shorts, or other miswiring.  Triple-check all wiring connections before applying power!

BROWN WIRE (Option):  Most radios switch input mode automatically, but in a few cases this is disabled.  If so, a BROWN wire is used for this.  Grounding this wire through a switch will select input mode.  NOTE:  Don’t forget to switch back when accessory is turned off, or you will not hear the radio!


BALANCE AND FADER:  Unless the original radio has a compatible balance and fader control, you must use the "ALT" method.  With radio in FM mode, move the tuning dial all the way to the low end (balance) or high end (fader).  Wait ten seconds for the radio station to come back on.  When it does, adjust the TONE control for balance or fade.  NOTE:  Original default is balance in the center, fader to the front.  If four speakers are connected, fader must be adjusted to enable rear speakers.  Also, if a single speaker is used, adjust balance to the right and radio will be forced to mono.

INPUT MODE:  With the exception of the brown wire option, the input is VOX controlled.  Turn the device on and when it starts to play, the radio will switch.  If it does not switch or if the radio switches back on, turn the volume up on the accessory.

We've received word that some of the newest PCB's use varying methods for input.  If in doubt, talk to AAR.

AM/FM SWITCHING:  Power off then immediately back on to switch to AM.  If power is interrupted for more than a couple seconds, mode goes back to FM.

TUNING:  Radio mutes when not on a station.  If you hear nothing, check to ensure you're tuned in, or check your antenna.  In AM, you may have to rock the dial back and forth to get it to land on the station.  This is normal for these.  Also, when you first power-up, a signal seeker radio may engage for a split second.  This is also normal.  Move the dial back to get your station.

LED INDICATOR:  We rarely installed the LED, as it involves modifying the original appearance of the radio.  However other dealers may have indeed done this.  If you have an LED, it will glow green for FM, Yellow for stereo, and red for AM.  It is off for input mode; however some older versions may constantly flash between green, yellow, and red as input mode is used.  It will flash green and yellow when in balance or fader mode.

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    How to tell which version you may have, if in doubt::

    Versions 8 and 9 have a white 12 pin connector, 2 rows of 6 pins each.

    Versions 7.0 and 7.1 have a 12 pin connector, 3 rows of 4 pins each.

    Versions 6.0, 5.0, 4.2, 4.0, and 3.0 have a 10 pin connector, and a few also have an additional 4 pin connector.


    Variations between versions:

    All of the above instructions apply to version 8.2 and later. They apply to older versions, with the following variations:

    Version 8.0, 8.1 (both rare): Built for a very short time in late 2005, only a few were made. Identical to the 8.2 except for input mode switching. To enable input mode, accessory must use the orange wire for 12 volts power. When current draw is sensed on the orange wire, radio switches to input mode.

    Versions 7.0 (rare) and 7.1 were introduced about January/February 2004. Almost all are 7.1. Instructions are identical except for the input mode. Inputs at this time were designed for use with an optional CD changer that is no longer available. These inputs may be used for other devices such as iPods or satellite radios, however an external switch is required. When 12 volts is applied to the brown wire, radio is switched to input mode. NOTE that this is DIFFERENT from the current 8.2 version's optional brown wire. On version 7.1 and earlier, a SPST switch can be used to connect the brown and orange wires together to enable input mode.

    Versions 6.0 and earlier: Version 6.0 was introduced in early 2000; conversions built before this are 5.0, 4.2, 4.0, or 3.0. These are rated at 22 watts RMS per speaker, with most designed for two speakers. (Versions 1 and 2 were mostly experimental, with only 12 watts rating, with very few reaching the field; not covered here.) Wiring is as follows:

    Black wire: Most of these DO NOT have a black wire. If your stereo has a black wire, read below.

    Brown wire: Switching for input mode. Connect as per Version 7.

    Red wire: 12 volts power input. If designed for 6 volts and/or positive ground, there will be a separate wire for power.

    Orange wire: 12 volts OUTPUT, for power antenna or accessory.

    Yellow wire (wonderbar radios only): Foot pedal for wonderbar. Temporarily grounding this wire activates the signal seek.

    Green wire (some radios): Power to dial lamp.

    Blue/Purple: Left Speaker, blue is high side.

    Gray/White: Right speaker, gray is high side.

    There was an extra cost option which allowed for four speakers, 88 watts. This had an additional four pin connector for wiring of two more speakers. Blue/purple is left channel, gray/white is right. Use main connector wires for front speakers, aux connector wires for rear.

    Balance and fader(if applicable) are located on the back of the radio, unless original radio had provisions.

    IF YOUR RADIO HAS A BLACK WIRE: All newer conversions, as with nearly all newer car stereos, have bridged amps which require two wires for each speaker. Older car radios have single-ended wiring, where the negative side of the speaker is connected to chassis ground. Some of the older 4-speaker stereo conversions also use this arrangement, and you can tell by the presence of the black wire. If you have one of these, speaker connections are as follows:

    Blue: Left Front. Purple: Left Rear. Gray: Right Front. White: Right rear. Black: Common ground for all four speakers.