RP4 Steering wheel controls

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RP4 Steering wheel controls

Postby dps1982 - June 13th, 2020, 12:52 pm

I recently replaced the factory head unit on my 2012 Escape Hybrid with a Sony XAV-AX100 and used the PAC RP4-FD11 interface and harness. Most things are working with the exception of some of the steering wheel controls. The track, volume, and media buttons work as expected but the voice, phone, and OK buttons do not. According to the instructions I need to cut cables:



https://www.customsounds.com/uploads/do ... 0c0290.pdf

Has anyone done this? I’m disappointed that I need to cut the factory cables since I bought the whole point of buying an interface like this is to avoid cutting cables. I’m also afraid to mess with the factory wiring in the car.

Do I actually need to cut these cables? Or can o use T tap connectors instead?

Thanks!
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Re: RP4 Steering wheel controls

Postby bluto - June 13th, 2020, 2:36 pm

The voice, phone and ok buttons are for sync. They go to the sync module on a separate pair of wires than the other 5 buttons that go straight to the back of the radio. Is your sync module disconnected? If so you can just tap those two wires instead of cutting them.
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Re: RP4 Steering wheel controls

Postby dps1982 - June 13th, 2020, 3:07 pm

Thanks for the info.

I didn’t take out or disconnect the SYNC module. I don’t even know where it is. I think I need to remove it because I’ve noticed that my phone is still connecting to SYNC via Bluetooth even though the head unit has been removed.

Where is it located? None of the instructions or videos I’ve seen so far mention it.
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Re: RP4 Steering wheel controls

Postby bluto - June 14th, 2020, 12:28 am

I believe it is somewhere inside the center console near the front. A picture of the module is in the 6th picture down in the thread below. If you have already replaced the radio, you should also be able to unplug the sync module without any side effects.

https://www.escape-city.com/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=24734
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Re: RP4 Steering wheel controls

Postby dps1982 - June 14th, 2020, 8:52 am

Thanks. I found it yesterday and disconnected it. It was very difficult to access. I wasn’t able to do remove the left side wall of the center console so I was accessing it from above. I disconnected the 2 cables (the second one was very challenging). I wouldn’t remove it from that angle.

Now I need to figure out how to access the pins from the steering wheel. Any thoughts on that? I found this manual for installing the sync module into a 2008 Mariner. Page 5 shows the pin diagram but I don’t think it shows what each pin does.

Also, the USB cable should prove useful to repurpose the USB port on the dashboard to connect to my Sony aftermarket unit. I ordered a female mini USB to male USB A adapter. Hopefully that will work. I’ll report back on that.
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Re: RP4 Steering wheel controls

Postby bluto - June 14th, 2020, 10:47 pm

If you read through the thread I linked to on adding sync there is info on adding the media buttons to the steering wheel. You don't need to worry about that since you already have the media buttons :) But note the pictures where the wires are added to the connector that plugs into the clock spring on the steering column... I would start there probing the wires on that connector with a multi-meter. If you find the right two wires connected to the buttons, the meter will show a different resistance value for each button (phone, voice, or ok) pressed. Just stay away from the yellow wire with green stripe, since that is the airbag. Once you identify the two wires for the sync buttons you can tap them at the steering column or trace them down to the sync module and tap them there.
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Re: RP4 Steering wheel controls

Postby dps1982 - July 9th, 2020, 6:10 pm

Thanks, bluto. Although I am now at my wits' end with this thing.

Currently all of my steering wheel controls are entirely non-functional and I don't know how to get them back. Is it possible to program the RP4 too many times?

At first I couldn't get the extra buttons to work. I wired up the 2 wires as per the instructions (the white/violet and blue/orange wires were in pins 5 and 15, not 4 and 6 as in the photos). I didn't cut the wires but I tapped them since I didn't think it was necessary to cut them with my SYNC module disconnected. After several attempts at wiring them I got some activity from some of those 3 buttons, but it wasn't consistent.

I then realized that I have a Sony radio, which supports a voice button, but the RP4 doesn't have a voice button option in its list of buttons for Sony radios. I tried switching the presets to other brands like Kenwood and Pioneer, which seemed to allow me to program them, but my Sony radio had issues learning these buttons properly.

So I switched back to Sony and at some point ran my battery down so I gave up for the day and disconnected the 2 extra wires.

Today I came back to it again today and tried programming and calibrating it a few times. Now it doesn't respond to any button presses.

Any thoughts on how to resolve this? Is there an alternative product that's more reliable? How about the Metra products?

Thanks for any thoughts you might have.
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Re: RP4 Steering wheel controls

Postby bluto - July 11th, 2020, 11:55 pm

You can always verify that the buttons on steering wheel are working properly by connecting a multi-meter to the wires. The resistance should go down and be stable when you press and hold a button. And the resistance value should be different for each button. You might want to consider splicing the wires instead of using taps. I used taps on mine and had a problem after a few months. The two added wires coming from the steering wheel were connected with taps to the harness going to the stock radio. When the tap connection started failing, the buttons started acting wonky. A few times a particular button press was registered as a different button by the radio. It cleared up once I removed the taps and spliced the wires instead.
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Re: RP4 Steering wheel controls

Postby dps1982 - July 12th, 2020, 8:41 am

Thanks. The media controls are somehow working again. Not sure what I did other than remove and reconnect the head unit.

The SYNC controls currently aren’t registering at all with the RP4.

When you say you spliced and didn’t tap the wires, are you saying that you had to cut/sever the cables on the steering wheel end? I was trying to avoid making irreversible changes to the car but if that’s the only way to make it work then I guess I’ll have to do that.

I’ll also take your advice and try out a multimeter.


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Re: RP4 Steering wheel controls

Postby bluto - July 12th, 2020, 11:04 pm

I did not have any steering wheel controls or sync when I started out. I swapped steering wheels and added 4 wires to the clockspring connector on the steering column. I had to run these to the stock radio and the sync module. The radio harness was pinned with the two wires for the steering wheel buttons but they dead-ended at the next connector downstream in the dash. So I thought just tapping these wires instead of cutting them was a good play. But once the taps started causing problems I just pulled the radio again and spliced them. If you don't want to cut the two wires, you could skin off some insulation and solder the wire to it. Then just put tape over it. The original wire is still connected so all you have to do is cut off the wire that joins it and put a little more tape on if you want to ever remove your stereo and go back to stock. I normally don't like cutting wires either but a few wiring mods on a 10+ year old vehicle isn't hurting the resale value ;)
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