What are KEY1 KEY2 and KEY-GND for on an Android Headunit?

KEY1 and KEY2 wires are often found on an Android Headunit loom with little or no explanation of where to connect them to or what they are for.

We have the answers to:

Do you need to connect KEY1&KEY2?
Will the android headunit work if you don’t connect KEY1 or KEY2 wires?
What is are the KEY wires for?
What is KYE wire marked on the wiring loom for?
Where do you connect KEY1 on the android headunit?

Older vehicles

KEY1, KEY2 and GND are the control lines for old style Steering Wheel Controls (SWC). The old style SWC are analogue and appear in very old cars. Cars are no longer made with that system fitted. But, the KEY1 KEY2 analogue has become a standard for manufacturers to use when making connections to an Android Headunit. The KEY1 KEY2 is truly universal and not tied to a particular vehicle manufacturer.

Modern vehicles

If you have a modern vehicle with factory fitted SWC, a ‘Connects2‘ style adaptor is required to convert the factory fitted digital system to the universal ‘KEY1, KEY2, GND’ system. Instructions are supplied with the Connects2 showing which way to connect the KEY1 KEY2 wires.

Not using an SWC (no KEY1,KEY2 connection)

If you don’t want to use any SWC: Just insulate each of the 3 wires (KEY1,KEY2 and KEY-GND) and tuck them out of the way behind the android headunit. Don’t cut them off! You may decide to add SWC at a later date and having the wires intact will make a future connection much easier to complete.

Aftermarket SWC install

If you have purchased an aftermarket SWC for use with your android headunit then the connection is very simple.

This is our step-by-step KEY1 KEY2 guide for you.

Time needed: 10 minutes.

If your SWC has TWO wires (eg. Red and Black)

  1. Identify KEY 1 wire on the Android headunit

    It is usually marked KEY1, DVD, KYE1

  2. Join using a crimp or solder

    Join KEY1 of the Android Headunit to the the RED of the SWC
    check and insulate the join

  3. Identify the SWC KEY-GND wire on the Android Headunit

    Join KEY-GND of the Android Headunit to the BLACK of the SWC
    check and insulate the join

  4. Identify KEY 2 wire on the Android Headunit

    Do not join this wire.
    Insulate it

    If your SWC has 3 wires (KEY1 and GND), the third wire is KEY2

  5. Your connections are complete

    Test the SWC by accessing the KEY learning app on your android headunit to assign SWC button presses to headunit functions.

  6. It doesn’t work?

    Go through the steps again, but use KEY2 connection on the android headunit in place of KEY1. Some need KEY1 connection and other require KEY2 connections.

Android Headunit Tip

Typos are common with Chinese instructions and you can see KYE1 in place of KEY1 or KYE2 for KEY2 for an android headunit wire. They mean the same KYE=KEY. You may also see DVD1, DVD2 or just DVD wire, these are also names for KEY1 and KEY2

Success with KEY1

Hopefully now you have correctly connected up KEY1 and sometimes KEY2 to your android headunit. This can be tested with the steering wheel control, remote control, or SWC app or settings menu. You next step is to see if it now necessary to configure each of the remote control buttons to a setting on your android headunit. Common features are volume up and volume down on the android headunit mapped to two prominent buttons on the stalk. Often the chosen controls for volume are marked VOL+ and VOL- but they could just be + and -. The great thing about the SWC pairing with KEY1 is that you can map whichever button on the SWC to whichever option you want on the android headunit giving you a high level of flexibility to control your sounds.

A long press

A long press is often all that is needed to kick start the KEY1/KEY2 pairing in the app. If the the configuration is not obvious to map the buttons, try a long press on the icon for the feature you want to map in the app and follow the prompts.

No App?

If you don’t have an SWC app, your KEY1/KEY2 work will be wasted. Help is at hand for owners of later processor android headunits and that comes in the form of an aftermarket SWC app.

You can find the SWC app on the playstore here. If you find the App helpful for your SWC/KEY1 setup please leave rabbity417 a review on the playstore for their hard work. Not all android headuits will be compatible so please don’t complain about that on the SWC review as it is not a fault of the APP.

Joying KEY Connector

If you have a Joying android headunit with the KEY connector, there are some very Joying specific instructions on how to connect these cables. Joying KEY connection is also very dependent on the vehicle that the Joying is being installed into. If you need Joying KEY information, then check our JOYING KEY article for information on how those small black connectors work.

Other wires in the same series

Wires in the speaker connections series

An android-headunits.com staff blogger. I am a multi-skilled dogs-body and I also make the coffee ☕

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  1. I have a 8227L_DEMO and the input to KEY1 is looking for 0-1K Ohms. My 2001 Chrysler Prowler SW Buttons are from 0-1.85K. I used a 2.2K resistor in parallel to get the buttons to input 0-1K Ohms. Now I can program them as desired.

    • Thank you Tom. I am sure your clever use of the parallel resistor to get the correct resistance the head unit needs will inspire others to try the same.

  2. I have aphinix audio PX6 12.1 head unit in a 2013 ram I was thinking of sending my directions out to Langley to the NSA head office to see if they can decript my directions.

    My SWC has a cam box with 4 wires red, black and 2 gray. for the life of me i can not get the unit to read the swc. Help me marshmello you are my only help


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