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 or what they are for.

We have the answers to the following:

Do you need to connect KEY1&KEY2?
Will the Android headunit work if you don’t connect KEY1 or KEY2 wires?
What are the KEY wires for?
What is the 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 old style Steering Wheel Controls (SWC) control lines. The old-style SWCs are analog and appear in very old cars, and cars are no longer made with that system fitted. But, the KEY1 KEY2 analog has become a standard for manufacturers to use when connecting to an Android Headunit. The KEY1 KEY2 is 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 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: Insulate each of the 3 wires (KEY1, KEY2, and KEY-GND) and tuck them out of the way behind the Android headunit. Please don’t cut them off! You may add SWC later; having the wires intact will make a future connection much easier to complete.

Aftermarket SWC install

The connection is very simple if you have purchased an aftermarket SWC with your Android headunit.

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

Time needed: 10 minutes

If your SWC has TWO wires (e.g., Red and Black)

  1. Identify the 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 RED of the SWC
    check and insulate the joint

  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 joint

  4. Identify the 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 the KEY2 connection on the Android headunit instead of KEY1. Some need KEY1 connections, and others require KEY2 connections.

Android Headunit Tip

Typos are common with Chinese instructions, and you can see KYE1 instead 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, you have correctly connected KEY1 and sometimes KEY2 to your Android headunit. This can be tested with the steering wheel, remote control, SWC app, or settings menu. Your next step is to see if it is necessary to configure each remote control button to a setting on your Android headunit. Common features are volume up and 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 needed to kick-start the KEY1/KEY2 pairing in the App. If 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, which comes as an aftermarket SWC app.

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

Joying KEY Connector

If you have a Joying android headunit with the KEY connector, there are some very Joying-specific instructions on connecting these cables. Joying KEY connection also depends on the vehicle into which the Joying is being installed. If you need Joying KEY information, 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

Marshmallow
Marshmallow
I am an android-headunits.com staff blogger. I have been using Android on my devices for many years and have learned a lot about the features and best hardware to keep up with the latest Android versions. I also make the coffee ☕

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7 COMMENTS

  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

    • Tengo Dacia logan 2016 con canbus funciona mando del volante menos v+ la tienda me dice que conecte key1 donde tengo que conectarlo?hay que desconectar canbus o no un saludo y muchas gracias

  3. Can you connect key-GND from steering wheel to normal GND on head unit, because mine doesn’t have a dedicated Key-GND on head unit side.

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