In this tutorial I will explain all the steps to extract your RCD 210 (will also work for RCD 310) car radio system in order to plug a AUX-IN cable so that you can listen to the tracks of your iPhone/Android Phone over your audio system via a 3.5 Cinch plug (Jack 3.5 mm). Many new Volkswagen cars (Polo V, Golf VI) have the pre-installed car stereo RCD 210.

This radio system has according to the official Volkswagen car catalog no possibilities to have a connection with an AUX-In cable. The documentation states that you need the really expensive MEDIA-IN VW cable to enable this or to choose a more expensive car radio model. That’s absolutely false ;-) Here are the explanations!

Disclaimer: The steps presented on this page need good DIY skills in order not to damage your car radio frame and the plastic frames of the center console. I’m not responsible if you damage your car radio, scratch your frame or even corrupt your electronic system. This tutorial was only written for a DIY purpose and may not replace the official steps done by a professional.  If you are afraid of screwdrivers, wires and clips please stop here and let a friend or a professional realize these operations for you.

Note: You won’t need to unplug your car radio from the battery, but if you plan to do it or accidentally unplug the Quadlock you will need the car’s radio anti-theft activation code (4 digit code) to turn your radio on again. You will find this code in the car radio’s documentation you got from the garage.

The RCD 210 is in reality a Technisat (yeap I didn’t even know that Technisat also builds car radio systems) one. If you go on the Technisat webpage :

http://www.carcommunications.de/?modul=produkte&seite=1

you will notice that the full description of the car stereo mentions the fact that the AUX-In is an inbuilt feacture. Under the section “Schnittstelle“ you will read the mention “AUX (wenn freigeschaltet)” which means “if activated”.

Ok so I had to figure out how to activate this option. Unfortunately you won’t find any simple way to activate the AUX-IN. The AUX-IN input activation can only be made by a VW garage through the special VW ODB-2 diagnostic plug (over the VAS 5051B station). Depending on your garage and the skills of the electrician this operation might cost you a max of 80€ (!) Yes, I really had the feeling they did it for the first time. The whole operation should only take 15 minutes in total; in my case it took almost an  hour for them for this activation operation and to find out how the stuff works on the new Polo V!. Of course if you have a friend working for a garage, he can easily activate the AUX-IN over the VW ODB-2 diagnostic interface (see Step3). And if he/you really don’t know where to start please check erWin, the official Volkswagen electronic version of all VW maintenance manuals and instruction books  https://erwin.volkswagen.de/erwin/showHome.do. You also have the possibility to use a AUX-IN Simulator (not tested – please read section 3).

The electrician has to block the CD-Charger input and activate the correct AUX entry in the car stereo. It takes about 10 minutes for him (if he did it before) to activate. Don’t believe those who tell you that they will need more time or telling you it’s not possible: it’s officially written in the VW internal documentation that the RCD 210 AUX IN can be activated ;-)

 

Step 1: Extracting the car stereo / plastic cover removal

Update July 2013

Paolo from Genoa – Italy was kind enough to share his experience concerning the plastic cover removal. The “credit card” method suggested in the next part didn’t work for his Polo. He found that it is just necessary to pull the frame towards the driver, and that the best place to start is from the bottom and not the top.
Once released the bottom, one proceeds (carefully) with the two sides, and the frame can be extracted.

The clip in the frame. Notice the direction of the clip. Photo credit: Paolo

 

Here are the position of the clips on the frame

Here are the position of the clips on the frame. Photo credit: Paolo

The reason why the “credit card” method didn’t work resides in the form of the clips, that just retain the frame but cannot be opened by inserting anything between the frame and the dashboard.

Here are two YouTube videos showing the procedure of the frame’s extraction

 

 

Alternative aka the “credit card” method

This is the most difficult part of the tutorial. To extract the car stereo I’ve used some plastic cards (SIM holders, plastic coupons or old phone cards). You must carefully put them into the small gap between the car stereo and the outer frame. The guys at Volkswagen (I got this information from erWin) will take a removal Wedge (#3409) in order to unclips the whole frame. I prefer the DIY method: with a little training you can detach the frame within 10 minutes, but depending on the strength of the clips you will really need to be careful.

The arrows show where to place your tool in order to reach the clips. Please don’t use any screwdrivers because you would scratch the frame and if you make a bad manipulation even the car radio itself.

I recommend you to start at the top where the buttons for the warning and the airbag lights are. It will be easier because you will be able to unclip the two. Now put carefully the other cards in the small holes and slowly press on the (marked on the picture) clips. The frame should “jump” out of its position. Repeat this several times till all the frame comes out.

Front view of the car radio with the plastic frame removed. Notice the placement of the clips. The three on the buttons are not very strong, so be careful when you unclips them.

Be very careful because depending on the quality of your plastic cards you may damage (ok, ok it’s not really damaging) but you will notice small traces around the frame.

If you have carefully extracted the frame you should have following setup:

Theses screws can be easily removed with a Torx-Screwdriver (10)

Now the rest is pretty straight forward: take a Torx (T10) screwdriver and open the four screws: hurray you have extracted your car radio ;-)

The extracted car radio.

Here I’ve completely removed the car radio in order to check the input at the back of it.

Here you can distinguish the Quadlock (big squared connector) and the small antenna cable (white). Please note that if you have disconnected the Quadlock from the car radio you will need the anti-theft activation code when you turn your radio on.

Step 2: Installing the cables

Once you have extracted carefully the radio block, you will need to open the Quadlock that has 4 blocks. The block 3 is the one we need to take in account.

Now check the schema on the top of the car radio. You will notice this:

This schema is sticked on the top of the extracted car radio and shows which pins are corresponding to which function or wire. In our case we are interested into the AUX block and the AF-R, AF-L and COM pins.

The schema tells you to connect the pins 1-2 and 7 with the cable of the 3.5mm jack plug.  It’s pretty easy to understand and to deduce where the cables should be placed. You can now carefully build your own cable by placing the three pins on the corresponding position.

Pin 1: Red (AF-R)
Pin 2: Ground (COM)
Pin 7: Black (AF-L)

Now you have two options: solder your own cable directly onto the pins with three wires (i wouldn’t really recommend this option, but it’s feasible with a a small 2×6 pin adapter). You can then buy this cable at Conrad.de: http://www.conrad.de/ce/de/product/710318/ and solder the whole thing. You will then (with the Quadlock connected) need to place the 2×6 pin adapter on the AUX-CDExt part (left block).

If you are lazy (or don’t have time and have some fear to do something wrong) to build your own cable, you can buy one on this webpage: www.adapter-universe.net. The service is really good and you will get your cable really quickly. Please note that you also have a second solution by using a so-called AUX-In simulator (see step 3 of this tutorial)

Cable sold by Adapter-Universe.net. It has a white removable block that should be removed if you want to connect it on the RCD 210 without having to unplug the Quadlock (see next picture).

 

You must remove the white block in order to plug it correctly and without having to disconnect the Quadlock.

Now you can put the cable along the big Quadlock cable. You can push the cable till it comes out on the bottom of the central console.

After having pushed the cable inside the middle console you will notice that it will be trapped between the right plastic cover and the passenger’s carpet. There’s a small gap between the carpet and this plastic part.

View of the cable from the side.

Take a screwdriver and remove the cover.

You can use a wire puller to simplify the whole task. It’s pretty easy: tie the audio cable to the wire puller and push it through the central console. It will then (with a little luck ;-) ) go out through the hole you’ve opened.

And after a few minutes you will now have the audio cable nicely placed under the central console.

Step 3: Activating the AUX-IN Interface

Method 1: The VW way (tested ;-) )

According to the documentation you will need the VAS 5051B ODB2 Vehicle Diagnostic Volkswagen maintenance station to realize this step. If you have good skills and access to the VAG-Com software (you will need to Google a little bit ;-) ) you might be able to realize this activation at home, but I cannot guarantee the result. I would highly advise you to drive to the next official Volkswagen garage in order to realize this step and to activate the AUX-In interface of the RCD 210. Ask

Once you have told your Volkswagen electrician to activate (about 15 minutes) the AUX input you will notice that the AUX and the radio system will produce a noisy sound (beeps …) Don’t be scared: while trying to solve the problem I’ve figured out that when the electrician closed his Bluetooth connection to the ODB-2 Interface, the noises are going away and the AUX-IN is really activated. It was a strange problem that cost me long minutes (and money :-( )
Now you can connect your  Android Phone/ iPhone or a 3.5 Cinch connector directly with your RCD 210 and listen to your music cool isn’t it?

Method 2: The AUX-IN simulator (not tested)

This is another method, that I’ve found later (after having the AUX-IN activated by VW) so I cannot tell you if it really works. The trick here is to simulate a CD-Charger over a small platine. This platine will then fake a CD-Charger and instead sending signals of the non-existing CD-Charger it will take the input of the audio cable (3.5 mm Klinkenstecker on the picture). This solution might be interesting if you don’t have the possibility to go to a VW Garage and if you are looking for a cheap solution (about 30 Euros).

Image source : Adapter-Universe.net
http://www.ebay.de/itm/Interface-Simulator-AUX-Adapter-VW-AUDI-usw-iPod-usw-/110665072066?pt=Kabel_Stecker&hash=item19c426fdc2

Here is the link for this AUX-IN simulator :

http://www.ebay.de/itm/Interface-Simulator-AUX-Adapter-VW-AUDI-usw-iPod-usw-/110665072066?pt=Kabel_Stecker&hash=item19c426fdc2

Update (February 2013):

Blog reader Niket sent me an interesting update to activate the AUX-Simulator

1. Keep the main car unit (RCD210) switched OFF.
2. Run music player of your portable device (iPod,phone etc) and play song.
3. Connect AUX cable to your player.
4. NOW switch ON the car unit (RCD210) with NO CD in it.
5. It will search for CD then jumps to CDC (it fakes it as a 6 CD changer)
i found the first CD running (timer) and plays music from your portable device.

Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed reading this tutorial and hopefully  you can now activate and install the AUX IN audio cable for your car radio. You’re now ready to hit the streets with your new system   If you have any technical questions concerning one part of this tutorial, feel free to leave a comment. This tutorial was especially written for Polo V owners so some steps might differ if you have another car: if you have pictures of your installation don’t hesitate to contact me or leave a comment with your pictures.

 

Photo credits: Paolo