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.