Monday, January 31, 2011

How to Install an Auxiliary Input (aPAC-NIS1) In a 2005 Nissan Altima

After installing my home speaker system last year, I decided that my 2005 Nissan Altima, called Silverman, needed an auxiliary input. I was tired of using my GPS' FM transmitter to listen to MP3s through my car's speakers and burning CDs is just sooooo passe. As a black belt master Googler, I scoured the web and bought an aPAC-NIS1 Aux Input.

There's just one problem...I've never stolen a car radio before. In this case, I'd just be modifying my radio, but how's it done? Turns out, all you need is a Phillips screwdriver, a willingness to bend dashboard molding, and the realization that the product's instruction writers should be fired. My chop shop resume is just beginning.

The aux input instructions in the package and online were awful. The writing (much like this blog!) was unintelligible so I got help from an engineer with advanced degrees. It's not that hard for Pacific Accessory Corporation (PAC) (or Pac-Audio) to hire a technical writer. Email me and I'll help.

One box, lots of wires, and the world's greatest fat-fingered hand model.

For one, please include a chart that tells me which DIP switches should be up instead of having me call your support line. Using a combination of Nissan forums searches, radio wiring diagrams, competitor instructions, and finally trial and error, Silverman now plays music, GPS directions, and cell phone chatter through its speakers, accepting any device with a headphone jack.

To help the greater good and fill a void in the Internet, allow me to help those in need of better instructions. Aux input inputters of the world, who are installing the same product in a 2005 Nissan Altima with a 6-CD Bose radio, let me guide you as we overcome aPAC-NIS1's disastrous instructions.

Sure, I could've paid $50 for someone to install it, but where's the fun in that when I got to be frustrated installing this device for several hours over two days. With some luck, it'll take you about an hour. Merchants selling the product offer instructions that contradict each other so while one method may be better, safer, and faster than mine, this one worked for me. In other words, it's completely your fault for following these and short-circuiting your car.

Step 1 - Disconnect the negative terminal from the car battery. As cool as it is to have your hair stick up from electricity, the rest of your nervous system won't like it much, along with your heart. My battery terminal was tough to remove so be ready for some elbow grease. We held the wire away from any metal with the wrench's rubber handle. Electricity likes metals so keep'em away like the two hormone-fueled teenagers they are.

Step 2 - look at your dash one last time and say a prayer. It's time to go in. Make sure your door is open in case you have to be hauled out of the car and let someone know what you're up to. Note that this device only works on an Altima radio with a satellite ("SAT") button.

Step 3 - pull the HVAC molding down and away from the dash. Do this gently. You'll need to bend the molding just enough to get your fingers behind it. Wow, this hand model actually has two beautiful hands!

Step 4 - remove the four screws holding the HVAC controls with a screwdriver. Unscrew the screws slowly and be sure you catch them as they come out. I kept them in my door pocket.

Step 5 - pull off HVAC controls by pulling the unit out from the bottom and then down. What glorious wiring to behold.

Step 6 - gently lift the molding for the vents from just below the radio controls. This is held in place by four clips so you will have to carefully pop it off of the clips. This can be very fickle so take your time. You may have to wiggle it and use a flat tool to pry it off.

Step 7 - remove the four screws that hold the radio in place. These are difficult to catch and not lose when they come out. I used my finger to keep the screw in place, but it didn't always work as I lost one of them into the abyss known as my car's innards.

Step 8 - Pull the radio out. You're almost halfway done. Well not really, just one-third.

Step 9 - look at the pretty wire colors one final time before adding even more complications.

Step 10 - disconnect the connection on the far left of the radio and the connection second from the right (when looking from above). These connections can be difficult to remove and may require a tool to push the little knob down and away to unlatch the plastic molding from the radio. As tempting as it is, do not pull the connections using their wires. A second set of hands is really handy here (ha!).

In addition to incomplete dashboard removal instructions, the instructions that came with the device and those on the web offered zero help in knowing which connections to remove from the radio. That's why I'm writing this very long blog entry that may not help anyone.

Step 11 - as part of the necessary trial and error, the radio eventually had all of its wires removed. So for your edification, here it is from the back, but don't actually remove all of the wires.

Step 12 - connect the audio cable (3.5 mm cable/RCA), used to input the headphone, to the aux input's blue box. For once, a picture isn't needed, right? Good, because I didn't take one.

Step 13 - connect the aux input's bound of wires to the radio using the only two connections that will fit and match the open radio ports. The connections will snap into place.

Step 14 - run the other end of the aux input's bound of wires down from the radio to behind the cubby that's below the HVAC controls. This is tricky and requires some maneuvering and small fingers. There's a small opening between where the HVAC controls are and the cubby that pops open below. The circled connection disappears behind the cubby in the second picture and may require pulling it down from the cubby too. Ultimately the wire will come out the cubby (see Step 24).

Again, nowhere is it discussed what you should do with the aux input wires so let this be that somewhere it is discussed.

Step 15 - set the aux input's blue box DIP switches to: 1 - down, 2 - up, 3 - up, and 4 - down. I had to call PAC Audio's support line for this. Heaven forbid a chart for all makes and models would be included.

Step 16 - connect the circled connection in picture 1 of step 14 to the aux input's blue box and pull a decent amount of wiring into the cubby. The cubby will store the blue box and your audio input device when used. So convenient!

Step 17 - place the radio back onto its holder in the dash (reverse step 8).

Step 18 - reconnect the battery's negative terminal (reverse step 1); you should hear the radio's CD changer cycle. Some instructions suggested waiting three minutes with the key turned to the "Acc" position before moving to Step 19, but I don't think it matters.

Step 19 - turn the ignition switch to "Acc", turn the radio on, and press the "SAT" button...what do you see on the display? If you see "NO SAT" then that's not good. If you see something like "AUX-01" or "XM CH-001", then it worked! Go ahead and plug an audio device to the aux input to hear something. You may have to turn up the device's volume and the radio's volume. Let's pretend these steps worked so we can move forward.

Step 20 - screw the radio back to the dash harness (reverse step 7). Try to keep all wires down and away from the HVAC system as possible.

Step 21 - place the HVAC vents back into place on the dash (reverse step 6). It should wedge its way back to the original position.

Step 22 - place and screw the HVAC controls back into place (reverse step 5 and then step 4). Good thing you haven't lost the screws, right?

Step 23 - replace the the HVAC molding (reverse step 3). It will snap back into place ever so gently.

Step 24 - take a deep breath, pat yourself on the back, and revel in the awesomeness of your Altima's auxiliary input.  Now I can run my MP3 player through the car's speakers or my MP3/bluetooth-enabled GPS.  Better yet, both can be connected at the same time, just switching input choices to hear one or the other.  Solid!


Anonymous said...

hahahahahaahahah! I LOVE this blog!
you are a very funny person. I laughed the whole time i was reading this.

Thank you for posting this, will be very much needed.

Avish said...

Thanks bro....! for all this information...

B and T Crowd said...


Anytime! I spent tons of time trying to figure this out and thought the least I could do was give back to the internet all that I found.

Elliott said...

Seriously, Thank you. You made something that would have taken hours in the Arizona heat of my garage take only 20 minutes. Thank you.

B and T Crowd said...


Glad the instructions could help!

Anonymous said...

Is your satellite radio activated and does it still work after installation?

Anonymous said...

Bravo sir! Just used your step by step instructions to breeze through my installation. You're a credit to the internet! -JF, Denver

B and T Crowd said...

Thanks anonymous! Every so often I do something that contributes to the well-being of our civilization.

Anonymous said...

This is seriously wonderful, thank god for people like you!!! Without you I wouldn't be able to have done anything!!! A++++++ love the humor too,kept me smiling through the sweating in my garage :)

B and T Crowd said...

Dear Anonymous about the satellite radio...

I don't have satellite radio so I don't know if it'd work. My guess is that it won't be accessible b/c you've changed the input for that button. Anyone else want to chime in?

Anonymous said...

The auxiliary device is now called iSimple NIS1 Aux Input. Followed the instructions on the blog and succeeded in mi first dashboard intervention!

I got the XM CH001 signal on my first try, but then unplugged something and got stuck for an hour with the NO SAT legend. I unplugged and replugged everything in different order several times, until finally getting the XM CH001 again. Whew!

Getting the harness into the cubby was also quite difficult, the hole is REALLY small and the maneuver very tight indeed.

Thanks for the post, you did contribute something for humanity's betterment!

Arturo (Mexico City)

Anonymous said...

Wow, just gotta say Great Job! Helped me out a lot!

B and T Crowd said...

Thanks Anonymous! This page averages about 25 visitors/day so it's helping a few folks :)

Anonymous said...

Hey B and T
Thanks a ton for this post.
Just wondering what you thought of the audio quality. Any pops or hissing? I heard from some other sites that the audio quality isn't quite a good as it could be?

Anonymous said...

Looks like the aPAC-NIS1 is discontinued but replaced by the ISNI531. $129.95 seems a bit high for this, but what can I say... Where do you have the jack wire that connects to your ipod? I have seen some kits to add the 3.5 mm jack to your dash, but do you just keep the wire hanging below your a/c controls?

Makani said...

You completely made my day with your funny writing and EXCELLENT instructions! I had to tear apart the dash and figure out why my professionally installed system stopped working. You saved me from self-'lectricution AND your dip switch set up was the answer. The 6 hour trip to Disneyland tomorrow will be much improved with access to our fav tunes returned! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Anonymous said...

Excellent description... I love the details and photos you have given... Thank you

Anonymous said...

What a fantastic guide! I didn't even open the manufacturer instructions! Thank you sooooo much

Anonymous said...

My stereo doesn't have the sat bottom . But what else can I do to install an aux input..?

Anonymous said...

I got mine put in and everything and it all works but there is just one thing i dont like. The sound doesnt come out balanced from the speakers. How could i even out sound? when i change the setting on the radio to balance the sound it makes it quite.

B and T Crowd said...

I didn't run into any sound balancing issues with my install. Perhaps you played with the radio's speaker settings beforehand? I'd check to see that your numbers are all level by cycling through the radio's settings display.

Mort said...

Hey B and T,
Years later and yes your post is still extremely useful! I don't think I would have ever attempted this without your blog but now I am a very happy and proud driver of a 2005 nissan altima. As an update for anyone else who will be attempting this, I ended up using the iSimple ISNI531 which I bought from amazon for $77 and it worked like a charm. There are no switches on the box so you don't have to worry about which switch is up or down! It also also comes with 2 headphone cables which is neat. I stashed one in the glove compartment and I ran the other underneath the armrest. Very convenient and slick look! The sound is about 5 volumes lower out of 31, not bad at all! Thanks again, highly appreciate your effort in putting this blog up.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Hello all,

I did the install as well following the instructions which besides being full of wit and humor, were also very helpful and descriptive. Everything works fine, i found that the volume is not lower or if it is,it is not due to the aux but to the volume of the recorded audio file.

One problem though is that the sound cuts out. When the wire is moved sometimes the left sometimes the right set of speaker go silent, sometimes both. Wondering if you know anything about this and how to fix it. I thought it may be due to not plugging something correctly, but let me be clear: it works fine, and i literary move my phone from the cup holder to the middle console and the sound cuts out...

help would be greatly appreciated.

David Sant said...

You have another very happy reader. It works great. The details and pictures probably saved my hours of time and tons of frustration. Thank you!!!!!

Efrain Hernandez said...

Do you need to purchase anything to do this?

Anonymous said...

My 06 Altima has non Bose factory installed unit with no SAT button. Before I buy the AUX input I"m trying to determine if it will work for that set up. Do you know if it will?

Anonymous said...

I got this kit before realizing that my radio does not support satellite option as well. Opened up everything, pulled the radio out. Instead of 4 ports on the back there are only 2. The big one is identical and works as seen on TV. The small one is not compatible with this kit. A little different shape of the socket. I assume non-SAT radio doesn't have this connection. I will have to open it again to see if there is an extra wiring hanging somewhere inside to install the SAT radio.

anthony said...

thank you sir