Classics Monthly - - Our Cars -

Back in 2001 when our X-Type was new, iPods and smart­phones weren’t so com­mon and few cars of­fered a fac­tory-fit aux-in socket.

For many cars adapters are avail­able but in the case of the X-Type the de­sign of the unit and the car’s Ford-based elec­tri­cal ar­chi­tec­ture makes this im­pos­si­ble.

Back in the day Jaguar could have sold you Au­dio Con­nec­tiv­ity Mo­d­ule (ac­tu­ally a re­branded Den­sion Gate­way), but these are no longer avail­able new and rare and costly sec­ond-hand. You can of course fit an af­ter­mar­ket au­dio unit with a suit­able blank­ing plate but not many look right in the Jaguar. You can also use a ba­sic cas­sette tape adapter which feeds an ex­ter­nal source in via the tape heads but the sound qual­ity varies from medi­ocre to aw­ful.

So where does that leave you? Well if you have the ba­sic cas­sette unit in your X-Type then the clever folk in the Jaguar fo­rums have worked out that you can in­ter­cept the sig­nal from the tapedeck and feed your own au­dio source directly into the am­pli­fier with­out us­ing ana­logue adapters. With a dummy cas­sette in the slot to trig­ger the unit into ‘tape’ mode, you can then play your own de­vice through the unit. It’s some­thing of a down and dirty hack but to our sur­prise it works very well and has the ad­van­tage of cost­ing peanuts. Oh, and what’s more if you’re par­tic­u­larly at­tached to those mix tapes then the cas­sette deck can still be used as nor­mal. Here’s what’s in­volved.

1 The au­dio unit comes out as one with the heater con­trols after re­mov­ing the ash­tray and trim around the haz­ard light switch to re­veal the four se­cur­ing screws.

2 Out of the car, the unit can be sep­a­rated from the heater con­trols.

3 The top of the ra­dio can be prised off and the tapedeck is lifted away from the main board after re­mov­ing the four se­cur­ing screws. The tapedeck con­nects to the main cir­cuit board via a multi-pin con­nec­tor and it’s here we can in­ter­cept the sig­nal to the am­pli­fier.

4 The sol­der points are tiny so it’s fid­dly work and we used a mag­ni­fy­ing loupe to get it right. Count­ing from the left where there’s a help­ful ‘1’ marked, the pins we need are: 3 (ground), 4 (left chan­nel) and 5 (right chan­nel). We used a sim­ple au­dio ex­ten­sion ca­ble with a 3.5 mm (head­phone) socket on the end and cut off the plug we didn’t need.

5 To make the unit switch to tape mode, we needed a dummy casette. An or­di­nary tape cas­ing won’t work as the auto-re­verse sens­ing in the tape drive needs both spin­dles to turn, but a cas­sette in­put adapter has the right in­ter­nal gears to act like an end­less cas­sette. We bought a cheap one and sim­ply dis­carded the elec­tronic parts.

6 It works! With the dummy tape in the slot, se­lect­ing tape mode al­lows you to plug any ex­ter­nal source into the new in­put socket and it plays through the fac­tory stereo. To­tal cost? Under a fiver.

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