VW Headunits

From PhatHack Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Installing the Phatbox in a VW Touareg


The Phatbox is not readily available in Australia, and most users have bought theirs from overseas sources. I bought my Phatbox from a VW dealer in the US, and as my Touareg wasn't fitted with the CD changer cable, I bought that from Germany. I have a 2005 R5TDI model Touareg with the non-navigation, or standard, radio which VW refers to as the Radio delta. Here's what it looks like showing the radio as having recognised the Phatbox as a CD changer.

RadioDelta small.jpg


In the Touareg, the CD stacker is usually fitted in the right-hand rear side section of the luggage compartment. On advice from some other Touareg owners, I decided to install the Phatbox in the left-hand rear side of the luggage compartment. In this space, there is a plastic housing for the first aid kit fitted to Eurpoean models. I attached some aluminium flat bar to the back of the Phatbox and attached the bar to the plastic housing. A little black paint, and it looks like it is supposed to be there. I borrowed the radio removal tools, removed the radio and connected the CD changer cable. I ran the cable through the back of the dashboard and then behind the plastic trim to the luggage compartment.

I'll make a point here. It is critical that for the Phatbox to work correctly, the earth/ground fly lead must be connected securely to a good earth. Not all places behind the dashboard are attached to a good earth. I used a multimeter to find a good earth and connected the fly lead to it. For those technically inclined, and a little more courageous than me, a good ground can be found on the radio wiring loom. Some Phatbox installers have bared part of the ground wire in this loom and soldered the fly lead to it. Further, in all the installation documentation I read, it was made plain that there was to be a 75 mm (3 inch for non-metric people) clearance for the Phatbox cable where it connects to the Phatbox.

In the end, it was the easiest car wiring run I've ever undertaken, no drilling, no cutting, nothing. Here's a photo showing the installed Phatbox.

Phatbox small.jpg

Modifications to the CD Changer Cable to get the Phatbox to Work

This Wiki page had its genesis in a thread in the Phathack forum that started because a VW headunit wouldn't recognised the Phatbox. The problems sounded like those experienced by other Australian Phatbox installers and this page tries to set out what I've learned to get my Phatbox to work. I'll now describe the mods I had to make to get the CD Changer Cable to work the Phatbox. I was fortunate that I had advice from other Touareg owners who had made all the mistakes before.

It seems that all CD Changer cables are not the same. Some have different coloured conductors, different thickness conductors, and different pin configurations. I know that in some cases to get the Phatbox to work, up to four pins had to be swapped around. I only had to swap two. The Touareg CD Changer cable has a 12 pin plug at the radio end and another 12 pin plug at the CD Changer end which attaches to the Phatbox cable. In my case, to make the necessary pin changes, it was easier to open the radio end plug. Be aware that the plugs at each end of the CD Changer cable are numbered differently. The radio end plug is numbered sequentially, while the Changer/Phatbox end is numbered alternately. Here's a picture of the CD Changer cable and a quick and dirty image I made of the pin numbers on each end of the CD Changer cable.

CDStackerClable.jpg Phatbox Connectors smaller.jpg

Now the important bit. To get the Phatbox to work, the CD Changer cable must have the pins at each end connected as shown in the attached image. Use a multimeter or continuity tester to check the assignments.

CD Stacker cable pin connections.jpg

Phatbox Bootup

While waiting for the CD Changer cable to arrive, I started loading songs on the DMS. I also updated the firmeware. I don't know if updating the firmware was a problem, but when I attached the Phatbox to the cable in the car, the Phatbox appeared dead. I followed the instructions supplied with the Phatbox, and checked my cable mods without success. I was lucky that I was being helped to do the install by another Touareg owner. He had a nav radio and a CD Changer, but no Phatbox. Anyway, we thought what the hell, and connected my Phatbox in place of his CD Changer. The Phatbox booted up within about 30 seconds and started to play. I reinstalled the Phatbox in my Touareg, and it's never stopped since. I can only surmise that my radio wasn't setup for a CD Changer and both it and the Phatbox were confused.


As with all of these things, the foregoing worked for me and you should use the information with caution and at your own risk. Nevertheless, I hope it's of use not only to Touareg owners, but others as well. Happy to take PMs at the Phathack forum. Username bobzed57.