Connecting laptop to car stereo.


is it possible? if so, how is it done...what cables/connectors/software would i need?

i have a 400W amp, w/ two 12" 500W subs, and a sony CD player. both the amp and cd player have RCA inputs.

i talked to someone about this last week, and they said that connecting my computer to the stero is pretty easy, it's just that i need special software to run it. that doesn't really make sense...

if someone could explain this, it would be really helpful.


tifish. I tried plugging a vcr into one of my Sony head units and it did not flip to AUX. Leads me to believe that inputs are only for sound input from changer for example. Requires din cable to be plugged in as well for head unit to recognize that something is there so that you could select AUX.(obviously no din on 'puter) Maybe if newer stereo it may alow you. That doesn't mean it won't work. You can hook both your laptop and head unit to your amp. The only way to have sound from 'puter to ALL speakers is to have all speakers hooked to amp. I assume it is just your drivers hooked up. Nonetheless it can be done I have full intentions on doing it myself in the spring when my ride comes back out. I'm thinking a line driver may be in order also. Not sure until I test on my own system.
E-mail me if you have any other concerns. I don't know what your friend is talking about needing special software....probably just jealous. Let me know how things turn out :)

It is possible, very possible. I have my laptop controlling my system. Although, I had a professinal install, so I cant really help. Sorry

Valen madre todos me cae!

what you need is a program called "likders transformer".. it is a sophisticated program which direct your RCA's that is plug in on your laptop to a mini transformer.. you need to buy a small device called likders..( around $19) it changes the AUX output of your laptop to a universal output which projects music.. first you need to cosmopolitan your amp, meaning you have to open it and disconnect the green wire that is connected to the RCA plug... second run DOS from your laptop then input D:\diseu00.exe\setup\outputliksder this will terminate the green wire's capabality to understand what is what and bypass the likder device in the amp... hope this helps...

New member
Username: Shouder

Post Number: 3
Registered: 12-2003
ok guys not that diffucult. Go to radioshack buy a cable that goes from two male rca's to 1/8" headphone jack. hook up the rca's to the input on the head unit and the 1/8" headphone jack to, what do you know, the head phone jack on the labtop. Doing it this way the laptop will go through the head unit. if however you want it to go directly to the amp then just hook up the rca's to the amp. Simple right.

I want to attach a Amp and Sub to a bog standard VW Golf Mk4 Stereo! how do i get the stereo out and does it have the right outputs?? Not even VW seem to know! please help

Unregistered guest
Tim, you are so right! that works but dont goto radioshack, thiers a family sayin in my house, "If its from shack, take it back" or "Shack is crap" basiclly get a MONSTERCABLE RCA cord from best buy or walmart, radioshack is like 3rd world country

jay amaro
Unregistered guest
monster cable is over inflated crap..theres a saying in my house which is "if its monster its a monster POS" that company along with a few others i wont name have built a very succesful business out of alot of media hype and advertising, false claims and unfounded misinformation.
yes there is a such thing of cheap cables and better but anything that is shielded will work fine for this purpose and we are talking about a low impedence level here and the shielding is the biggest thing. all the gold or super conductor size in the world wont really matter.
hey by the way "thatguyyou/i know" just out of curiousity if radio shack is 3rd world then what exactly is walmart?...emerging 3rd world? :P
**tifish** i would like to point out that if you can help it hopefully your laptops sound card has a line out and that is much more preferable than the headphone out which can put out a signal that is too strong and can distortion and yes the volume control being a simple potentiometer can bring the level down or give you control over it it is still favorable to use a low level unamplified siignal (even if its still only milliwatts)if you can help it.
**anonymous** i have no idea about your vw stereo but if you dont have rca outs on the back of your stereo i.e. head unit then id use a high level to low level converter and tap into one of your 4 stereo channels either coming out the headunit or depending on where youll be mounting your amp the nearest speaker to it to keep everything close and avoid making a long rca run. im sure you can decide the best location for everything and its always best to keep your runs as short as possible.
as for which rca's well heh thats the question and basically anything that is shielded and preferably twisted but simple shielding is fine too would work fine and there are numerous brands out there but just to be safe maybe dont go to the shack or youll take it back :D
as for gold plated ends well since the wires arent also made of gold it doesnt matter whether the ends are brass, nickle, chrome or pure 100% grade a prime 24 karat gold i mean we are talking about a low level signal again and the only thing gold does benefit is corrosion resistance and since i take it you wont be mounting your amp under the hood or planning to take a shower inside your car whether it has gold or not makes no diference except maybe to your wallet. hope this helps.


Unregistered guest
Every time i hook my laptop up to my amp using a car charger i get a severe buzzing interference? yet if i use mains power (ie run a power cord out to car) its crystal clear?? anyone have any idea's as why this happens

Gold Member
Username: Glasswolf

Post Number: 1373
Registered: 12-2003
ground loop.
the notebook's charger isn't designed for what you're doing.
it's not isolated.
it's also most likely a cheaper square-wave pseudo-AC current charger which may be what's causing the problem.
you could try using an inverter, and the AC charger you'd normally use in the house.
see if that makes a difference.

Bronze Member
Username: Shouder

Post Number: 14
Registered: 12-2003
yeah, it's most likely engine noise. If you did get an inverter you would still most likely get engine noise. I know we did. However crutchfield makes noise reducers to solve that problem. I haven't used them so i don't know how well they work. They make an in-line alternator noise filter (PAC ANS-80, $9.99), a source noise filter (PAC SNF-3, $9.99), also a RCA ground loop noise Isolator (PAC SNI-1, 14.99). Good Luck

Gold Member
Username: Glasswolf

Post Number: 1383
Registered: 12-2003
you can read up on anything from PAC at

Unregistered guest
Very simple guys. This will solve all the laptop problems with your engine noise and car stereo hookups. Spend $30 and get a power inverter. Works perfectly with absolutely no noise. Plug the inverter into the lighter and plug the laptop into your inverter. A 300 watt inverter is more than enough power to handle the laptop and you can even add a TV. I used to be a long distance truck driver and I had the exact same setup along with bluetooth wireless. No need to complicate things. This should help :-) Later.

Unregistered guest
I have very little knowledge about sound, and car sterios, however I am knoledgeable about Computers/laptops. I would like to know what equiptment to buy (from scratch) that will enable me to connect my laptop to me car. I have some rubbish sterio at the moment, as I have just bought the car. But can replace it all. Can someone point me in the right direction. Also, is it possible to install myself, or should I get a pro to do it? (I would prefer to do myself, just making sure its possible for a newbie to do it?)

Unregistered guest
Hey, for laptop connection with a Sony head unit, check out the Sony Input Adaptor, model # XA 300. It has a couple RCA inputs and a USB input and it retains CD changer functionality. I use it with my laptop for long music trips and it rocks!

Bronze Member
Username: Blindell

Post Number: 23
Registered: May-04
one problem you might have is voltage... your car certainly does NOT supply a constant voltage, especially when turning it on/off.. you may want to look into a capacitor to stabilize that, and maybe even a switch to keep the cap from draining when you crank the engine.

And as far as professional install goes, if you know computers (in particular if youve ever built one, or wired just about anything in your house) you'll be fine. Most of the things in the car audio industry are very component oriented, like computers.. you and almost rip one peice out and replace it at will. (no hotswapping tho! =\ )

Unregistered guest
I 've been trying to hook up my laptop to my headunit. Everything thing is great except when I use my unverter to charge the battery while playing it. There' a slight interference while stopped and pretty loud interference when accelerating. There's No problem when its not connected to the dc- ac inverter....any suggestions, please help

Unregistered guest
wow! may i congratulate you guys on your brightnesss.

Try this: uct

let a 17 year old, high school drop out answer your complex question-- even VW doesn't know.

Unregistered guest
alright that sounds pretty good and how to hook up my laptop with in my car!

I got a "Dell Inspiron 5150" and a Grand AM GT 2001. I just put a system but havent found the RCA wires to connect them with my apmlifier.(it currently has a market CD player)

Any suggestions on what i should do to connect my laptop and the simpliest way on explaining please.
I kinda kno how my car is all electronics and stuff so i was wondering if i could actually take my laptop and connect it with it. As is seeing all the activities (engine, heat bla bla bla) that happen in my car!


Unregistered guest
SOunds good. But does the FM transmitter have a lesser quality than connecting directly with wires?

Unregistered guest
I have a 2001 Impala and wanted to hookup my Toshiba Satellite A45-s150 to a laptop car mount. I also want to replace my cars stereo, but I'm unsure what I need cause its needed to program the car. Any Suggestions send to

Unregistered guest
I have a new HP Pavilion ze4500 that my daughter stepped on and cracked the lcd. SO the entire system is going to get permanently mounted into the truck,(hidden and not easily accessable) Video (MAY) go out the svideo into my audio video switching device, but more than likely a 7" SVGA touch screen will have the control honors. External USB DVD slimline will provide the media input (other than HDD).

Im tempted to REMOVE my Pioneer AVIC-N1 and actually run my entire car multimedia with the pc, they now have USB tv/am/fm tuners, USB XM Sat tuners, USB GPS/Software packages, and you have windows media player to control movies and all that, and I plan on using an external USB audio processor to produce the 6 channel output. One of the DC to AC to DC adaptors created for a laptop in the car will handle power requirements.

It leaves me looking for a way to remotly power on the system. I can use the touch screen to hybernate/sleep/power off, but am looking for a remote mountable control system for powering on the system? Any help?

can somebody tell me what kind of speakers would go best in a bandpass style box?

New member
Username: Lemsip_boy


Post Number: 1
Registered: Jun-04

i want to hook my ICE out of my car in to my room.

i will want to power a sony head unit which is runnin two 6x9 speakers, a kenwood amp whch will run a 10" sub.

what will i need to get power for this, i.e a trans former??

what power connectors will it have, will i have to buy any extras??

P.S im from the UK so US specific brands might b hard for me to get.

any help wpuld be appreaciated


Unregistered guest
how do I hook-up my laptop to my speakers and amp?

Silver Member
Username: Jamtochristian

Williamsport, Pennsylvania USA of course!

Post Number: 107
Registered: Mar-04
You're best bet here is to either a. Get a nice performance sound card, which is what I'd do. Some of the newer cards such as the extigy will give you a Optical Audio out for Digital Sound. You can then also get a DVD style HU for in your vehicle which has the similar Optical in. This would be the best, and most quality sound way to do it. The other way, which is in no way nearly as good, is to go get a hookup which will allow you to convert the line out on your laptop to the RCA style connector. You can then connect that to your HU line in, but I don't recommend you try controlling your amps with your laptop mostly because the voltage will be close to none on your laptop, which means you'll need to turn the gains up so high that your amps will have to work really hard and it'll trash your system.

Bottom line.
Connect it to the Line in on your HU, do this using a Head Phone style connector on one end of the converter, and dual RCA's on the other. This is your best, least expensive option.

Or you could do the Fiber Optical way, which would sound awesome, but the Extigy Sound cards will run you 120 at least, and the Head unit that accepts a Fiber Optical Line in will also be pretty expensive. Its an option though.

New member
Username: Jlojko

Post Number: 6
Registered: Jul-04
there is another way to do it
a company called xenarc makes computers specifically for your car you can get it 2 ways a small computer with a touch screen pannel or a mouse and a keyboard these products have proven tehm selves over and over you are able to upload movies, music, and photos through a cd, usb, firewire w/e. i have a connection at this company, if you would like to order one you can email me at and ill get back to you with pricing and shiping info.

keith c/m.k
Unregistered guest
am trying to find out how to wire up my blaupunkt st tropez rcm168 i have the speaker wires but not the others no info on stereo to help so dont know what conections are what

Unregistered guest
I use an FM modulator because my head unit has no rca or aux inputs. They are around $30 at any car audio shop. you set the fm modulator for a certain station say..... 88.1 or 89.7 or whatever. when you put your stereo on that station the modulator interupts outside signal and broadcasts whatever you are playing into the modulator. Be sure to get an "in line" modulator and pick a station that has no local broadcast.

Unregistered guest
Hey all.
I'm doing this this week-end. I have an old (actually, a couple of old) compaq laptops (compaq Armada's of various model numbers).

Here are the specs. Explanation below.
2002 Toyota Echo with OEM radio/CD player.
Compaq Armada (with 4 gig HD, might change that in the futur)
Windows 98 (gonna try to switch to 98SE)
Logitech Gamepad (can;t remeber what model, I'm at work).
Winamp 5
Gamepad interface program. (Not sure wich one yet. See below for more info)
Power Inverter (See below for more info)
FM transmitter (for now ... see below. This is not ideal).

In many states and in Canada, I beleive there is a law that more or less states that you cannot have a monitor displaying moving images to the driver. Not 100% sure on this but I found mention having such displays disabled while the vehicle is in operation. My advice is look into it. This is why my laptop is going to be under the passenger seat (there is a storage area in there for the Echo).

Ok, On to the plan.
1- The OS. I chose windows 98 cause it can easilly be customized to load winamp instead of explorer on boot up. You can also tell it not to run a scandisk if the laptop shuts down improperly. I'm gonna switch to 98SE so I can add wireless connection. See below for more info. Also, I can install 98 at just over 166MB.

2- Power Inverter. The power inverter is a little redundant since it will convert DC to AC and then your laptop adapter will convert it back to DC but it has a couple of advantages. 2 plugs so I can plug in something else like my palm or cellphone when I need to charge them, security features to stop the laptop from drainning my battery to the point of no return and also helps remove loop noise from your system.

3- Winamp 5. Cause. No real reason here other than Itunes is a little too demanding for the beatup laptop I am using. That and I stumbled on a "plug in" to control Winamp with a Gamepad.

4- Gamepad interface software.
Here is my main problem. I need something that will allow me to control winamp with my Gamepad. I have downloaded 3 aps to date but havent had a chance to try them out yet. jmouse, magichot and Playa Trax. There is also a plugin for Winamp that does exactly this but I got a missing DLL error message when I tried it, havent had a chance to look into that as I had to get to work.
Of course, another solution would be a USB numpad.

5- FM transmitter. I'm using an FM transmitter but I will try to switch to aux imput as soon as I find my radio manual and see if I actually have aux input capabilities. The FM transmitter all have 2 problems in common. Interference from real radio stations and gain distortion. Some of the better models can filter out that distortion. I bought a really cheap 20$ transmitter to test it out. An inline transmitter (modulator is the proper term actually) would really help here but is alot of trouble to install.

6- 802.11b usb Linksys Network Card. Why do you ask? For a couple of reasons. Easilly tranfer more music to the system, passengers can make changes to it using my Sony Clie (it has 802.11b capabilities), cause I had a spare adapter lying around. :-)

What I would like to do in the futur. Replace the gamepad with a 7inch LCD TFT Touch Screen. Problem is that the screen is 600$ Canadian and I am not sure it is legal to have that on your dash in Canada.

If you want to, you can contact me. not that I have too much info to pass on.

Unregistered guest
Ok. Small update on my project.

I'm coding my own MP3 player. None of the free applications I have found allows me to switch through playlists without actually seeing what the heck is on screen so there you are.

I am still using my Logitech WingMan Rumblepad thanks to an application that allows you to basically map keys to buttons on the Gamepad.

The application can be found here ...

And the error message I mentionned earlier was because I did not have DirectX installed (or if I did, it was a REALLY old version).

I may post a link to my app as soon as I finish it.

Hope some of this information has been of use to some of you.

Silver Member
Username: Boopers

Lima, Ohio United states

Post Number: 137
Registered: Jul-04

anyone realize that this means "everybody is worth sh*t"

you'd have thought someone would have picked up on that. apparently someone thought they'd be a smart*ss and say something stupid hoping nobody would notice.

Eric Lefebvre
Unregistered guest
Or maybe we just don't want to rise to the bait of a net troll.

And anyone who uses a secondary language (I mean secondary as this site is primarilly in english) to insult others is pretty lame.

It's a pretty weak intellect that resorts to insults most won;t understand.

Anyways. My two cents.

Oh! and to the Troll.


Unregistered guest
I nam wondering if anyone can help me. I am considering buying a new car stereo, which is a kenwood touchscreen, with all the mod cons, and more importantly, 3 RCA inputs. My dilema is, that I want to plug a laptop into one of the RCA inputs, to use the touchscreen for my PCMCIA GPS. Will the touch screen work to control the laptop? ie pressing the start button etc and controlling windows?.?

Unregistered guest
Hi all,
I have a sony MP3 disc player that has Aux inputs (RCA) I tried to plug in the RCA inputs, and nothing happens. (I want to connect my Ipod through the Inputs)
I was wondering if there is a circuit that can be jumped to "fool" the player into thinking there is an input (I am cheap, so I won't buy anything expensive)

Unregistered guest
You could use all these fancy wires and stuff...orrrr...go get an FM transmitter that hooks into the headphone jack of the laptop and then you tune your car radio to the specified station. As to power, get an inverter and plug it into the cigarette lighter or wire it into your fuse box

I have a JVC HU, Power acoustic amp, 1 JL audio 10w3, and an IBM R51 laptop...winXP....itunes ect....Pioneer car speakers....How should I go about putting together my system so I play my music from my laptop. email me please!

Unregistered guest
My experience with FM transmitters has been pretty poor. The main problem is in big cities with lots of FM's almost impossible to find a clear frequency. Also you get interference from other folks' transmitters. Even out in the country, the sound quality was not great imo. So until a better transmitter is on the market, wired (or maybe bluetooth?) is the way to go.

Unregistered guest
Is it somehow possible to use a wireless network card in a laptop to transmit a signal to a car stereo radio? I'd like to play dvd's on my laptop and play the sound over the car radio.

Silver Member
Username: Ps1k0

Post Number: 117
Registered: Aug-04
you need to get an FM modulator that will hook up to your antenna wire and then plug into your headphone jack of the laptop. then you set te radio to the station and play the song on the laptop and enjoy

Unregistered guest
ok i hooked up my laptop by the rca to the headphone jack...i hear the music but its behind whatever is playing on the cd player....and its not using my amp or i gotta find a setting on my cd player for it?

Unregistered guest
Ok Guys i just did this in my r33 skyline and it works perfectly if you want a awsomw sound system in your car.

Get a 7 Inch touch screen and mount in the dash then connect to vga output on laptop then get rid of a head unit all together on the laptop install a program made by winamp called media engine i highgly highly recommend this program then make sure that your laptop is grounded to the car and get your power supply from a 300w inverter.

connect the laptop through the headphone jacks directly into two amps one for speakers and one for subs in mine i have 2 x subs and 4 x speakers try to keep the rca/headphone cable as far away from the laptop as possible as this creates the static and you are ready to go


Unregistered guest
Ok Guys i just did this in my r33 skyline and it works perfectly if you want a awsomw sound system in your car.

Get a 7 Inch touch screen and mount in the dash then connect to vga output on laptop then get rid of a head unit all together on the laptop install a program made by winamp called media engine i highgly highly recommend this program then make sure that your laptop is grounded to the car and get your power supply from a 300w inverter.

connect the laptop through the headphone jacks directly into two amps one for speakers and one for subs in mine i have 2 x subs and 4 x speakers try to keep the rca/headphone cable as far away from the laptop as possible as this creates the static and you are ready to go


Unregistered guest
I am trying to hook my Mp3 player to the changer inputs on my Sony CDX-C580 Car Stereo, but I think that because there is no changer hooked up, that it won't recognize that anything is coming through. Is there a way to do it without using a FM transmitter.

Unregistered guest
I am trying to connect my computer to a car amp directly (no head unit) and want to know how if i will need to change the computer sound out so that the amp will play it properly.

I have a mate who says i need to convert the high output from my comp to low input

are there any products that you recomend or a sound card that already does this.

I have found an amp that works directly from computer in a car (sony 444w) but want to have the option of having any amp on the market

New member
Username: Bclemms

Post Number: 3
Registered: Mar-05
I got a pioneer avic-n1. I'm trying to link up my laptop to the gps. I want to run a weather tracking software on my computer that uses the gps on my h.u. The software uses the gps to overlay the radar on top of the gps. the sofware link is: Any help would be incedible!!!!

Unregistered guest
there are companies that make adapters... such as if you have CD changer functionality built in (all Alpines do, and alot of factory CD players these days).
« Previous Thread Next Thread »

Main Forums

Today's Posts

Forum Help

Follow Us