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Old 12-24-2019, 05:47 PM   #1
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Clarion Junk(ed) !!

I have never been a fan of the Clarion M502 multi-function single knob - it is a terrible implementation. I finally had enough and decided it was time for it to go! (If you want it just pay shipping!)

I replaced the unit with a Pioneer DMH-1500NEX. It was fairly straight forward, and though others have posted their install of similar units, I thought I would share the details.

I bought the Pioneer online from Crutchfield. Their web site has excellent search filters that allow you to narrow the many choices to exactly what you need. One of the key filters for me was to have a rear auxiliary input since that is how sound from the TV plays over the stereo (for both TV and blu ray movies). It also has an optional wireless remote. I also bought a universal double din mounting kit from Amazon ($20). The cage and the plastic surround were a perfect fit for the Pioneer unit.

https://www.crutchfield.com/p_130DM1500/Pioneer-DMH-1500NEX.html?skipvs=T

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00V312RVK/ref=ya_aw_od_pi?ie=UTF8&psc=1


Installation

First I removed the Clarion and labeled all the wires to help with install of the new unit. While it looked a rat’s nest at first look, it wasn’t bad once I sorted the wires. There is a power group, a speaker group, and then assorted other cables. The power and speaker wires were attached to the Clarion connector bundle with crimp connectors so these wires had to be clipped and later reattached to the Pioneer connector bundle.
POWER: there were three “power” wires - power, ground, and an unknown blue/white. The Pioneer wiring diagram listed it as a “control signal” for when ACC in a car is turned on. Since the AS had a blue/white wire, and it was connected to the Clarion blue/white, I connected it to the new Pioneer blue/white and crossed my fingers. Seems to work fine.
SPEAKERS: these wires were color coded pairs and each +/- pair was taped together so it was straight forward. I clipped the wires one at a time and labeled the pairs based on which speaker stopped playing.
SUBWOOFER - existing RCA connectors plug into the new unit.
REVERSE & SAFETY - being a car radio the Pioneer has a reverse feature to activate car backup cameras, and a parking brake safety feature that keeps you from using certain features while driving. Both these are bypassed by grounding these wires along with the unit ground wire.
RADIO ANTENNA - existing antenna cable plugs into the new unit.
PHONE MIC - existing phone mic cable connector did not fit the new unit. The Pioneer came with a mic cable so I had to route the new wire through the overhead.
USB - existing USB was hard wired to the Clarion; the Pioneer came with a USB cable which I used.
AUX - existing cable from tv has L&R RCA connectors. I used a double RCA to single 3.5mm audio adapter to fit the Pioneer Aux connection.
Next I cutout the cabinet to fit the new double din radio. I measured twice (at least) and covered the cabinet face with painter’s tape so I didn't scratch the laminate with the jig saw and to help reduce the chance of laminate tear out whilst cutting. I marked the outline on the tape with a sharp knife then cutout the cabinet face with a jig saw and fine laminate blade. I marked and cut exactly on the mounting bracket mark so the cage would fit tightly and the cutout would not be visible with the radio surround installed. After a little filing with a shoe rasp I got a nice tight fit.
I installed the new cage and attached it to the cabinet. The Clarion cage simply slid into the opening and was not attached to anything. I'm surprised the radio didn’t work it’s way out over time. I glued a wood “thickness shim” to the cabinet frame on one side of the cage to provide a more solid mount and then attached the cage to the shim with flat head screws.
Next was to attach the wires to the new Pioneer connector bundle with crimp connectors. The detective work and labeling in the first step made this step straight forward using the Pioneer wiring diagram and color codes.
(Optional Step) I knew I had now tackled the most challenging parts of the install, so I celebrated by cracking open a cold Blue Moon since I figured the rest was easy enough I could do it even judgement impaired. Ha!
Lastly, attach the mounting brackets to the sides of the Pioneer unit, adjusting them fore and aft until it protrudes from the cabinet the proper amount for the face plate. Then plug in the connectors and slide the new unit in place! Finito! A simple, intuitive user interface!

Down the road I may upgrade the Clarion speakers, but that’s an easy one-for-one swap and the sound quality has never been a big gripe. I’m happy enough having fairly easily and cheaply solved my biggest audio / video gripe!

Have fun and be SAFE!
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Old 12-24-2019, 07:29 PM   #2
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Very nice. I did the same with a pioneer App Radio. Definitely recommend you upgrade those speakers and the sub too
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Old 12-27-2019, 10:06 PM   #3
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Nice upgrade!
We also installed Wulraats recommended Polk speakers.
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Old 12-27-2019, 10:07 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by wulfraat View Post
Very nice. I did the same with a pioneer App Radio. Definitely recommend you upgrade those speakers and the sub too
What is that sub you are using?
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Old 12-27-2019, 10:34 PM   #5
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Clarion Junk(ed) !!

It’s a cheap $130 or so pioneer 10” powered sub. Drop in replacement. Big difference.
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Old 12-28-2019, 05:29 AM   #6
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Good install.

My FC26 Clarion system and speakers seem to be installed where it was convenient, not where it was human factored engineered to be. You sit at the dinette, one of the speakers is over your head, negating any stereo effect. You cannot use the laser remote unless you get up and point it at the head unit, facing away from you. Yes, these are first-world problems, but I'd love a sound engineer or home stereo expert could analyze an Airstream interior and figure out how to improve the sound design.
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Old 01-02-2020, 11:31 PM   #7
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Nice work! I’m doing this tomorrow/today with the 4500. Did you just kill all the safety wires (revere, speed, parking brake) to the ground?

Thanks!
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Old 01-03-2020, 08:45 AM   #8
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Nice work! I’m doing this tomorrow/today with the 4500. Did you just kill all the safety wires (revere, speed, parking brake) to the ground?

Thanks!
Yup. Park brake and reverse grounded with radio power ground. So far all functions work.
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Old 02-10-2020, 06:43 PM   #9
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mpsgolf - Thanks for posting this. I totally agree that the user interface with the Clarion M502 multi-function knob is horrible.

Just a few questions about the installation of the MVH-1400NEX and the wiring. It looks like you connected both Red and Yellow to the Airstream 12V (i.e. the constant 12V supply and 12V when the ignition is turned on).

I'm asking because when I store my trailer for several months at a time I disconnect the house batteries to preserve battery charge (i.e. eliminate all phantom loads). And then when I'm using the trailer I'm typically not connected to shore power and reliant on the solar panels to charge the battery and want to limit loads on the battery.

With your wiring scheme what happens when you restore battery power? Does the MVH-1400NEX power-up like it would if I turned the ignition key in a car? Or does it require me to power it up to use it? If it powers up when the battery power is restored I'm thinking maybe I should install an on/off switch in the red wire to simulate the car ignition switch.

Any insights appreciated.
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Old 02-11-2020, 07:15 AM   #10
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cjs998

I did the install during a mid winter break in the cold then took my batteries out - so I don’t know how it will react come spring.
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