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Stock Antenna Down Switch on 850?

Help, Advice and DIY Tutorials on Volvo's extremely popular car line -- Volvo's 1990s "bread and butter" cars -- powered by the ubiquitous and durable Volvo inline 5-cylinder engine.
1992 - 1997 850, 850 R, 850 T5-R, 850 T5, 850 GLT
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Stock Antenna Down Switch on 850?

Postby PCars » 15 Feb 2011, 09:03

I worked as a technician at a Volvo dealership for 5 years. I couldn't for the life of me figure out why they omitted a switch for the antenna on 850 models when it seemed that every other model from those years came with them. I even noticed that '97 and '98 960 and S90s had them and the switches looked identical to the dash switches on the 850. Turns out they do fit and there is something that can be done! After using this site multiple times for my benifit, I feel I should give something back. What follows is the procedure I used to put a stock(Or at least appears that way) Antenna Down Switch in my '96 854 Turbo for about $20 dollars.

The first step is locating a stock switch, if that is important to you. You could simply wire any old switch in between the antenna signal and make it work by mounting it on a spare switch insert on the dash, but I feel like I want a stock look to my vehicle and to impress people when they realize that it didn't come from the factory like that. If you don't care and just want to wire in a switch there is a tutorial on this site that shows how to do it. If you prefer my type of crazy, continue reading.

Find a junkyard in your area. Preferably one that lets you pick your own parts. Locate a '95-'97 960 or a '98 S/V90. The junkyard I went to had 2 and only one still had the switch. To the immediate left of the steering column, you will see a switch on the dash that resembles an antenna(see pics below). Pry it out and remove the connector. Remove panels or whatever you have to and cut the wiring for the switch as far back as you can. You will thank yourself later. You should try to get around a half foot of extra wiring off the connector. At this time check for any 850s and pull off any parts you need too :). Yoink some LED bulbs from those dash switches too. They come in handy and are expensive at the dealership. The switch with the connector and wiring should be pretty cheap.
IMG_20110214_150545.jpg

At this point, I got the wiring diagrams out. I checked the 960/S90 radio wiring and found out that it is more simple than you'd think to wire this thing in. The switch seems to be just a simple single throw type. It interrupts the signal sent to the antenna module telling it to keep the antenna up. It is also wired to the dimmer/rheostat so you can see it in the dark. Four wires, no problem.

Looking at the switch connector, we have a red wire in position 4, a red wire with a black stripe in position 3, a black wire in position 5 and a brown wire with a black stripe in position 2. Looking at the wiring diagram for the 960/S90 we can see that the red and red/black wire control the antenna signal. The brown/black wire is the positive rheostat splice and the black is a ground splice. All of this can be easily patched into the radio harness of an 850. If you notice any differences in wire colors or configurations, please reference the wiring diagram for the vehicle you removed the switch from. This tutorial's wire colors and positions only apply to the vehicle I removed my switch from and Volvo is known for switching things up randomly.

After you have acquired a switch and stock harness and are familiar with how it is wired, you should look for a good place to mount it. Since I didn't get quite enough extra wiring, I am going to wire mine as close to the radio as possible. Even though the 960/S90 had it mounted on the left side of the steering wheel, it might make the most sense to mount it in the dash position second from the right. You may have to reroute some existing switches depending on your options. My vehicle came with TRACS, Info, Sunroof, and heated mirrors. This required removing one blank panel and moving everybody to the left one space.
IMG_20110214_150348.jpg


If you haven't already, remove the radio. This is very easy and is accomplished by pushing in the two tabs on the lower sides of the radio and pulling on them to release the radio from its housing. If you know the code, go ahead and remove all the connectors from the back of the radio. If you don't the code, a phone call to a Volvo dealership parts department will point you in the right direction. After removing the radio, the larger connector with 14 or so wires coming out of it is what your looking for. If you can, pull this harness away from the dash to get more room to attach the switch. There's a clip that's hard to see holding it in place. You're going to want to splice in about an inch away from where it snaps into the clip. Make sure you have enough space to connect everything back up when the switch is installed. Check out this wiring diagram (available on this site).
IMG_20110214_150957.jpg


You can see the BL-W (Blue with white stripe) wire coming out of the radio at position 3A. This should be your signal wire to the antenna module. To test to make sure this is the correct wire for the antenna, plug in just that connector and turn the key to position 1. The radio will flash "CODE" and the antenna will start to extend. Cut that Blue wire with the White stripe where you intend to hook the switch inline. The antenna should be retracting back down once it looses it's signal. Disconnect the radio, remove the key and solder or butt connector the switch in line with the antenna signal wire. The Red wire from the switch should be connected to the Blue/white wire at the radio connector and the Red/Black should be connected to the Blue and White wire leading away from the radio back towards the antenna assembly.
IMG_20110214_152631.jpg


Once you've secured the wires by means of shrink sleeve, electrical tape or some other means, go ahead and plug the connector back into the radio. Turn the key to position one and check that the antenna goes up and down with the switch when the radio is on. Congrats! Now for the fun part.

The Dimmer switch controls a large number of lights inside the car and varies voltage by means of a rheostat slide in the switch. All of these lights connected to the dimmer appear to be in a parallel circuit for power and ground. Were going to access that system too, since it can only improve the "stock" nature of this add on. If you do not wish to, you don't have to do this step. It wont effect the switch. You just won't be able to see it in the dark. I feel comfortable enough in my electrical ability so I'll take the plunge. To be absolutely sure we are accessing the right circuit, take your Voltmeter (Key ON, lights on) and check for voltage at Pin 10A(Pink wire) and 11A (Black wire). These appear on the wiring schematic as (Rheo+) and (Rheo-) respectively. With your DVOM hooked up check the voltage with the dimmer lights all the way down and all the way up. You should see the voltage output go from low (3V) to high (11V) depending on your battery's current state of charge.
IMG_20110214_153234.jpg


Now that we're sure we have the right circuit, connect the Brown wire with the Black stripe (Switch side) to the Pink wire(10A). This will form a parallel circuit on the positive side of the rheostat. I would recommend against using Scotch Blocks but if you cant get a butt connector or soldering iron in there, they will probably work fine. Remember to give the harness for the switch enough room to be plugged in. Do the same with the ground side. Connect the Black wire from the switch to the Black wire(11A) from the radio connector. I ended up cutting the wires and using butt connectors. However, I had to go through a few because the size wasn't exactly right and they kept coming loose.
IMG_20110214_155649.jpg


Once every thing is in place, hook up the switch and check that the bulb lights up. Mine didn't. Turns out those bulbs don't survive well out there in the junkyard. Thankfully though I stole a few extra ones and tried a few of those. Of the 4 I ripped off, only one worked. But it did light up with the rest of the switches and looks great. At this point, put everything back together and bask in the glory of a job well done. Your 850 now has the Antenna Down Switch that was standard on some Volvos around that time, but not yours. You have improved upon a minor shortcoming in the design of you vehicle and done so in a "stock" way for about $20 dollars and a few hours of time. No more dreading the car wash. Cheers!
IMG_20110214_155822.jpg
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Re: Stock Antenna Down Switch on 850?

Postby BEJinFbk » 22 Jan 2012, 02:14

Nice mod and write up. To add to it, here's a diagram and some illustration
for the switch as it's originally installed in the '97-'98 960 and S90/V90:
Antenna Down Switch Pinout image.jpg
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Last edited by BEJinFbk on 22 Jan 2012, 03:29, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Stock Antenna Down Switch on 850?

Postby rspi » 22 Jan 2012, 02:53

Well, I'm not as smart as you guys and when I purchased our S70 and 850, I also did not understand why there was no antenna switch. So I also wired in a 960 antenna switch in my 850. I then wired in a fog light switch in our S70 so that switch would match. Here are my instructions, for those of you that do not understand all those diagrams :?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ok, I installed a Volvo switch in the 850 and S70, here's what I did:

I got switches from the Volvo salvage yard in our area. I think I paid $5 for one switch and got the other switch free. If you get the switches out of a car yourself, try to make sure you get the wires from the back of it and get about 4" to 6". I got a official antenna switch out of a 960 (for my 850) and a rear fog switch (for the S70).

It appears that the antenna wire is a different color depending on what radio you have. Most heads use a Blue/White wire while the Premium heads use a Red wire. In either case, the wire is in position #3 on the main head wire connection. Here is a pic:

Image

The connectors have numbers on them, 1, 3, 5, etc. The third wire has a little #3 on it, it's the one that I spliced on both cars.

Also, I did NOT un-plug the head or disconnect the battery. I figured that it would be safe to cut that wire since the car was off and the key was out. Not sure if it is a power wire or a ground wire.

As for the Volvo "official" switches, sorry but some of us just can't resist. We just were not born to leave well enough alone. Call us what you like, just don't try to stop us from pulling that nail out of the tire. The switches have 4 wires. It turns out that 2 wires are for the light function and 2 wires are the control. The light control are wires #'s 2 & 5. On the 960, the light control wires are Brown/Black (#2) and Black (#5). On the 850 & S70, #2 wire is Pink and #5 wire is Black. So, I spliced these wires into the wires on the switch next to the antenna switch I was installing. The other two wires, #3 & #4 I connect to the radio wire to control the antenna.
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Re: Stock Antenna Down Switch on 850?

Postby PCars » 24 Mar 2012, 07:37

Thanks for posting that other wiring diagram. Makes a lot more sense when theres something to reference visually.
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Re: Stock Antenna Down Switch on 850?

Postby BEJinFbk » 24 Mar 2012, 07:53

In the words of Red Green:
"We're All In This Together!"
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Re: Stock Antenna Down Switch on 850?

Postby Swegoth » 19 Jul 2013, 14:59

Hi!
I´m not sure I get it all. Mr. rspi writes that on his S70 the light controls wires are #2 pink and #5 black.
Where should these wires be connected to? Which cut cable or/and which radio connection position?

Mr. PCars writes: "Pin 10A(Pink wire) and 11A (Black wire). These appear on the wiring schematic as (Rheo+) and (Rheo-)"
I understand it that the light controls wires #2 pink and #5 black should connected to those wires, but on my C70 -98 i don´t have Rheo- on position 11A.

Hopefully someone understand my problem.
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Re: Stock Antenna Down Switch on 850?

Postby rspi » 19 Jul 2013, 18:45

I simply spliced my light wires into the light wires in the adjacent switch.
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Re: Stock Antenna Down Switch on 850?

Postby cn90 » 19 Jul 2013, 18:55

I find that the antenna for the most parts is useless in the fully extended position, not to mention that kids, car wash places (admittedly I only go the "touchless" car wash places).

Anyway, this is what I do:
- Turn off the radio, so the antenna goes down.
- Open the trunk and disconnect the antenna power supply (the connector itself).

Done is 2 min. Antenna will never go up again. AM/FM reception is still the same, i.e., good reception.
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Re: Stock Antenna Down Switch on 850?

Postby Swegoth » 19 Jul 2013, 20:38

I understand that part with the switch, but I didn´t understand where the cables are being attach to the harness going into the car, from the radio.
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Re: Stock Antenna Down Switch on 850?

Postby erikv11 » 28 Jul 2013, 04:53

cn90 wrote:...
Anyway, this is what I do:
- Turn off the radio, so the antenna goes down.
- Open the trunk and disconnect the antenna power supply (the connector itself).

Done is 2 min. Antenna will never go up again. AM/FM reception is still the same, i.e., good reception.

Just a report: I tried this, with high hopes. But without the antenna up, the radio gets only 1 or 2 FM stations and zero AM stations. Likely this trick works if you live in a metro area and only tune to stations with a nearby, strong signal, but not in other situations where the antenna is essential.

I can't recommend it, had to hook the antenna back up. Considering a dedicated switch now ...
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Re: Stock Antenna Down Switch on 850?

Postby rspi » 28 Jul 2013, 15:00

'95 855 T-5R, Panther - 22/28 mpg
'98 S70 GLT, Lil' Red
--------------------
Volvo's of past: '87 740 GLE, '79 262C Bertone, '78 264, '95 960, '97 960, '98 S90, '98 S70 GLT, '95 850 T-5R Yellow
ABS Light? - Volvo Repair Videos
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Re: Stock Antenna Down Switch on 850?

Postby PCars » 28 Jul 2013, 23:32

Swegoth wrote:Hi!
I´m not sure I get it all. Mr. rspi writes that on his S70 the light controls wires are #2 pink and #5 black.
Where should these wires be connected to? Which cut cable or/and which radio connection position?

Mr. PCars writes: "Pin 10A(Pink wire) and 11A (Black wire). These appear on the wiring schematic as (Rheo+) and (Rheo-)"
I understand it that the light controls wires #2 pink and #5 black should connected to those wires, but on my C70 -98 i don´t have Rheo- on position 11A.

Hopefully someone understand my problem.


We understand your problem but unfortunately the wiring diagrams that were on here are now gone. We used to be able to look up the wiring diagram for someones car and direct them to exactly where the wire is, what color, pin number on the connector. I am very disappointed that Volvo Car Corporation VCCS Brand Protection department requested those diagrams be taken down but can see why they would want to protect that information. Fortunately, I purchased one of these a few years ago off one of Volvo's websites (can't recall which one) for about $50.
IMG_20130728_155350_577.jpg


I was all excited and was thinking about getting other models and telling everyone on here about it but they really did not have that many other offerings. Most of the other models and years were unavailable. If you can find one of those OEM wiring diagrams for your car on EBAY or someplace, get it! The days of easy reference to those diagrams on this site are sadly over.

Hopefully, someone has a '98 C70 and can point you in the right direction on your (Rheo -) problem. If I remember correctly, a C70 has the tan(S70) switches in its interior. Robbing a switch from an S90 might not be the right color. I hope you are successful. That other tutorial that rspi mentioned will probably be your best bet. I can't say I would be be happy with 'RadioShack aesthetics' in my 850 but I should probably remind myself that the car is almost 20 years old and some things don't need to be more complicated than they should be.
-Cheers
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Re: Stock Antenna Down Switch on 850?

Postby BEJinFbk » 29 Jul 2013, 00:40

"RHEO -" is just a ground for the little
light in the switch. Nothing special.
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Re: Stock Antenna Down Switch on 850?

Postby rspi » 29 Jul 2013, 13:43

In our S70 I used a fog light switch from a donor car then took the antenna symbol from the 960 antenna switch and all looks perfect.
'95 855 T-5R, Panther - 22/28 mpg
'98 S70 GLT, Lil' Red
--------------------
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