Install a Honda CD Player


I have been waiting to play CD’s in the 1997 Miata since bringing it home this summer. On the other hand, I did not want to spend much money on a new CD player that would spend its life in a convertible. Furthermore, whenever solution I came up with would need to look as inconspicuous as possible, or close to factory. I started looking at 1-DIN size aftermarket CD players (CDP) that were meant to look like factory units – Crutchfield, for instance has a Sony for $159. that’s a lot to pay for factory look, especially when you consider that it would still be through the FM radio, somewhat distorting the original sound.

I came across a Honda CD player from 1997 Civic. The standard Honda head unit is just a tuner with controls for either a cassette player or CD. While the head unit is nicely mounted in the center of the dashboard, the CDP is mounted just over the floor in front of the shifter, to the dismay of many Honda owners. Anyway, it is just a player, no controls except for a single eject button. Realizing that it was a stretch, it would be really neat if the existing Mazda oem AM/FM/cassette head unit would integrate with the Honda CDP.


Researching this board and others, some information was available. It was already documented that the existing head unit could be spoofed into accepting an external source by applying 12V into pin 11, through a 1kohm resistor (as a safety precaution, but probably not necessary). This became the backup plan, for use with a portable CDP.

Surprisingly, the backup plan was not needed. The Honda unit will integrate with the Mazda head unit with only one quirk. More later. Below is a representation of the Mazda head unit CDP connection, as if looking directly at the back of the unit.

Mazda HU CDP interface connector

HU CDP Connector.jpg

Facing the connector from the Honda CDP we see the following pinout:

Honda CDP Pinout.jpg

Notice any similarities? I found it easier to just cut the wire and follow the color code.

Yellow - BATT+

Thick red- ACC+

Brown- Bus & Bus gnd (coax)

Thin Red- Rt+ & common shield (in gray cover)

Thin white Lt+ & common shield (in gray cover)

Black GND

Essentially, connecting HU pins 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 to the corresponding matches on the Honda cable works just fine, with one exception. As wired, I placed a 147 ohm resistor in the connection from bus to bus, as a safety precaution just in case. Works fine, so I haven’t bothered to remove it.

Also, I cut off half of the cable from the Honda CDP, leaving 8” or so, which I soldered either directly to the HU connector, or to thin individual wires and to the HU circuit board where the connector mounts. If you solder directly, make sure your radios are already mounted in the removable dash panel.


I moved the head unit to the lower bay, to give the CD player more room from the shifter. The CD player fits snugly left to right but will leave a small gap above – about 3/8 of an inch. I put a one-quarter inch spacer (a broken pencil) between the body of the radio and CD player, and then taped everything with duct tape. Nothing rattles, slides, or shakes.


Works Great. One quirk. When a CD is first inserted, and then the Aux button is pressed, the player spins the disc and the HU reads “1- 1”. Then it sits. You have to press the “1/disc” button a couple of times, display will read “2- 1”, “3- 1,” etc. then reset to “1- 1” and the player starts. It only has to be done the first time a new CD is inserted or the car is started. Sound quality is clean and lively, signal is even with the tuner. Random function from the HU functions, but disc insertion will not power up the HU. HU receives disc loaded and no disc information. Only drawback is the Honda CDP does not like burned CDs, but it was free!

Finished Product.jpg