What Is an ISO Connector?

By Michael Matisz

ISO connectors plug in a car stereo.
i Car interior image by mashe from Fotolia.com

International Organization for Standardization (ISO) connectors are very common in car stereos, bluetooth hubs and after-market compact disc (CD) players for cars. These connectors are part of the wiring harness and make a stereo, bluetooth hub or CD player device work properly. Various kinds of ISO connectors exist, with different connectors used for different cars. Each kind of audio device may have a specific wiring pack that needs to be purchased.

What Does an ISO Connector Do?

An ISO connector is the plug that connects an audio device to a car. It consists of two side-by-side, eight-pin connectors that control the power, remote if applicable, ground and all of the speakers within the automobile. Without this component, the audio device wouldn't work. The connector isn't sold with an audio device because different cars have different wiring harnesses.

Where Can I Buy an ISO Connector?

Finding an ISO connector isn't difficult as long as you know the make and model of your car and the audio device you wish to install in the car. Online and offline retailers carry ISO connectors. A good place to start is an electronics store, though most car audio stores carry ISO connector kits.

How Much Are Wiring Harnesses?

The cost for the wiring of an after-market audio device is roughly $10 through online stores. Bricks-and-mortar stores sell them for about $10 to $20. (All prices are for January 2011.) Some stores offer installation services for an additional amount. For more advanced wiring, you may purchase wiring kits for your car steering wheel's control panel to enable an audio device's options that are in addition to volume and channel. Those kits cost up to $50.

How Do I Install an ISO Connector?

An audio device's installation directions should be included with its packaging materials, and the directions will cover ISO connector installation. A wiring harness has its own set of directions, including a list of required tools. Instructions should include a diagram showing how to line up the wiring correctly. Most companies offer a service line to call if you have questions.