3 Things to Do When Your Radio Does Not Have Illumination Wire

While trying to adjust the lights of your car radio one day, you realize that it does not have an illumination wire. This can cause quite a bit of trouble as it may affect your night vision and make it harder to see the display in a low light environment. 

So, what can you do when your radio does not have illumination wire?

If your radio does not have an illumination wire, try to manually adjust the display’s brightness. If that is not feasible, you can get an aftermarket adapter to connect the radio’s power wire to the car’s headlights. Lastly, you can replace your car radio entirely with a new one with built-in illumination wires.

These are only a small glimpse of the entire solution. You’ll get more in-depth knowledge of it in this article. 

What to Do When Illumination Wire is Not Present in Your Car Radio?

You may wonder what is the purpose of illumination wire on a car radio. Well, it’s more important than you can think. 

Having an illumination wire is an essential part of any car radio system. It provides an automatic way to adjust the brightness of the display based on the ambient light conditions in the car and when you turn on the headlights.

But sometimes due to cost-cutting and compatibility issues, this wire may be absent in some cars. In that case, you may have to work around it or replace it entirely. 

Solution 1: Manually Adjust the Display Brightness

The first thing you can do when your radio does not have an illumination wire is to manually adjust its brightness. Manually adjusting the radio display can help to set it at your preferred brightness. 

Here’s how you can adjust the radio display brightness:

Step 1: Locate the Brightness Settings

Access the settings menu of your car radio and look for the brightness or display settings. The location of the brightness display settings can be different for different cars. So, make sure to consult the user manual of your specific car radio. 

Unlike finding how far cb radio will transmit per watt, locating the brightness settings is easier. So, don’t fret about it too much.

Locate the Brightness Settings
Source: autoguide.com

Step 2: Adjust the Brightness

Once you’ve located the brightness settings, you will see options for switching the brightness from very low to very high. Depending on your car radio’s make and model, you may be able to adjust the brightness using a knob, button, or touchscreen interface. 

Some car radios may have a dedicated button or knob for adjusting the display brightness. While others may require navigating through the settings menu to find the option.

Step 3: Test the Brightness

After adjusting the brightness, test it out in various lighting conditions. This is to ensure that the display is comfortable for you to view while driving.

Keep in mind that manually adjusting the brightness may not provide an optimal solution. It is because it requires constant attention. Moreover, it may not adjust automatically based on changing lighting conditions. 

So, only use this feature when you’re in a pinch. 

Solution 2: Connect the Radio’s Power Wire with a Constant Circuit

Another thing that you can do when you don’t have an illumination wire is to connect the power wire of your car’s radio with a constant or accessory circuit. The most common type would be to connect to the headlights of the car or the cigarette lighter. 

To connect both wires you would need to get an aftermarket adapter. The adapter connects to the power wire of the car radio and provides an additional wire for the illumination circuit.

When the adapter is properly installed and connected to the car’s lighting system, it can sense when the headlights are turned on and off. This allows the adapter to adjust the display brightness of the car radio accordingly.  Dimming the display when the headlights are on and brightening it when the headlights are off.

By using an aftermarket adapter, you can achieve the same benefits as having an illumination wire built into your car radio. The adapter ensures that the display is easy to read and not too bright.

Additionally, the installation of the adapter is generally straightforward and can be done by most car enthusiasts. So, it’s not as difficult as fixing the problems of uniden bearcat 980. 

Here’s how you can connect the radio’s power wire to the car’s lighting system:

Step 1: Disconnect the Battery 

Start by disconnecting the car battery before starting the installation process. This is to avoid any electrical shock or damage to the car radio or adapter during the process. 

Step 2: Remove the Radio

The radio is typically located in the center console or dashboard of the car. Locate the trim panel that surrounds the radio and use trim removal tools to gently pry it away from the dashboard.

Once the trim panel is removed, you may see screws or bolts holding the radio in place. Use the appropriate screwdriver or pliers to remove any screws or bolts.

Now, once the screws or bolts are removed, gently pull the radio out of the dashboard to expose the wiring harness at the back of the radio. Carefully unplug the wiring harness by pressing the release tabs or squeezing the clips on the sides of the harness.

If your car has a traditional antenna, there will be a cable connecting the antenna to the back of the radio. Gently pull the cable to remove it from the radio. Once the wiring harness and antenna are disconnected, you should be able to remove the radio from the dashboard completely. 

Step 3: Locate the Power Wire and Connect the Adapter

After you’re done removing the radio, locate the power wire. The power wire for the car radio will be the red wire on the wiring harness. Use a wire stripper to strip about 1/4 inch of insulation from the end of the wire.

You can find a variety of aftermarket adapters that are specifically designed to provide illumination wire support for car radios that don’t have one. Look for an adapter that is compatible with your car radio’s make and model.

Locate the Power Wire and Connect the Adapter
Source: Youtube.com

Then take the adapter and locate the wire that connects to the power wire of the car radio. Connect this wire to the exposed end of the car radio’s power wire. Failing to do so can lead to problems similar to the yaesu ft-920 issues.

Step 4: Connect the Illumination Wire and Test the Connection

After that take the adapter’s illumination wire and connect it to a circuit that is controlled by the car’s headlights. Typically, this circuit can be found in the car’s wiring harness or fuse box. Check the adapter’s instructions for more information on locating the circuit.

Connect the Illumination Wire
Source: crutchfield.ca

Once the connections are made, turn on the car headlights and test the car radio display. The display should dim when the headlights are turned on and brighten up when the headlights are turned off. Adjust the brightness settings as needed.

Step 5: Reinstall the Radio and Reconnect the Battery

Once the connection is tested, reinstall the car radio back into the dashboard. Finally, reconnect the car battery and test the car radio to ensure that it is working correctly.

Solution 3: Replace Existing Car Radio with a New One

If nothing else works for you then try replacing the entire existing radio with a new one. Get a radio that has illumination wires specifically. That way, you don’t have to deal with the process of working around a radio without an illumination wire. 

You can easily get an aftermarket radio and wire it to your car. The detailed process of this has been described in this video by EaziDIY –

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Is It Possible To Use An Illumination Dimmer In Place Of An Illumination Wire?

Yes, an illumination dimmer can be used instead of an illumination wire. An illumination dimmer is a circuit that controls the brightness of the display on your car radio or other devices. It is often used in combination with an illumination wire to allow the display to dim when the car headlights are turned on.

What Color Is The Illumination Wire On The Car Radio?

The color of the illumination wire in a car radio can vary depending on the make and model of the radio. However, the most common colors for the illumination wire are orange, orange with a white stripe, or sometimes gray.

Is It Possible To Use A Car Radio That Does Not Come With An Illumination Wire?

Yes, it is possible to use a car radio that does not come with an illumination wire. However, the display on the radio may not dim automatically when the car’s headlights are turned on, which could be distracting or even dangerous while driving at night.

Final Verdict

That will be all on radio does not have illumination wire. I hope you got to know everything regarding working a way around an illumination wire. 

Additionally, it is always recommended to consult the user manual of your car radio or seek professional help to ensure that the connections are made correctly and safely.

Until next time!


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