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Old 03-21-2004, 11:49 PM   #1
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Default Another Compass/DIC problem

After reading the Techinfo section pertaining to the compass & DIC problems, I'm wishing I had the next generation Bonneville. It seems lake a common and easily corrected problem. But nooooooo, I have to have a different issue. Here'* the scoop:

Neither the compass nor the DIC display works. The DIC seems to function correctly as it beeps aprox 10 seconds after the ignition is turned on or if a door is opened. Just no display. I fiddled around with it this morning and was able to get the displays to come on intermittently but not stay on. I took the instrument cluster inside to get a more thorough look and here are my findings:


It looks to me that this trace is interrupted. I temporarily connected it but nothing happened. Then I grabbed the multimeter to test continuity and nothing seemed out of the ordinary. The only thing else I could think of was a discovery on the compass PCB itself. There are two transistors that are connected with screws to the back plate (a heat sink is all that I can think it'* for). These screws have nylon locking nuts on them. The strange thing is that there is no way the nuts could have been tightened down without "backing up " the screws. The screw heads are well inside the plate. This leads me to believe that the transistors were mounted to the rear plate and then soldered to the board:


The solder joints do not look like they came from a machine. This is tomorrows project. I'll de-solder the transistors to remove the rear plate and inspect further. If any one else has dug this deep for a solution I'd like to know of your experience.
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Old 03-22-2004, 01:31 AM   #2
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Randman, you can solder a bridge across that trace, but there may be some risk, considering you don't know what smoked it in the place. If your'e considering a wrecker cluster in the future, it may be worth it.

As far as the transistors are concerned, a cold-solder joint could be a likely problem. You may just want to reflow the joint, rather than removing the transistors. Good luck!
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Old 03-22-2004, 08:20 PM   #3
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Well, I resoldered the suspisious transistors today but NOTHIN'. Still doesn't work. My eyes have nearly crossed looking at the wire diagrams but I'm still a little confused. According to the diagrams, there is a connector (C200) where many of the wires for the instrument cluster, compass and DIC connect. The "official" location of this connector is
Quote:
Connector C200: Behind Center Of Instrument Panel
The connector directly behind and in the center of the cluster is C1 from what I can ascertain from the diagrams. Could this mean center of dash? Has anyone run across this elusive C200 connector?

UPDATE: I finally found the damn thing. It'* above the gas & brake pedals. In the picture it looks like a bird'* nest or a collander full of spaghetti. This ought to be fun.
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Old 03-24-2004, 10:08 PM   #4
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Things did not go well today. I checked all connections from cluster to DIC module. The only think I could get is a very faint display for about 2 seconds. I fear that the problem is in the module itself. Due to it'* rather difficult to reach location, I don't think this will be changed any time soon. Bummer, too. It'* one of the things I like best about the car (cool factor).

Looking more on the bright side, maybe I be able to squeeze in a 6" of 6.5" LCD monitor in place of the DIC and a smaller one to replace the compass for a rear view camera. That would surely increase the cool factor. Hmmmm...Maybe the carbon fiber look too?
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Old 03-25-2004, 12:17 AM   #5
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Did you try the guidance in this Techinfo article, such as taking apart the connectors and putting them back together? You can also send your cluster to be rebuilt, too.

http://www.bonnevilleclub.com/techinfo/?article=56
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Old 03-25-2004, 09:23 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fuddyduddy121
Did you try the guidance in this Techinfo article, such as taking apart the connectors and putting them back together? You can also send your cluster to be rebuilt, too.
Yea, Fuddy, I tried that first. Paraphrasing the instructions to fit my generation cluster. I hesitate to have the cluster repaired because I don't think the problem is there. That open trace you see in the first pic...It doesn't do anything; doesn't go anywhere. It seems that the problem lies in the module. I.m thinking display drivers because the compass & DIC function but there is no display.

I'll need to do more research on VFDs (the type of displays here). I'll need to test the signals coming into the cluster. There has to be a simple reason that both displays will be on, off or dim simultaneously. The wires on the diagram coming into the DIC are labled: Clock Data Strobe
The ones going into the compass are: Clock Data

Is this strobe wire shared between the two displays? Do all VFDs use a strobe input? How are the wires tested for input?
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Old 03-25-2004, 02:19 PM   #7
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That'* how vacuum-tube displays become dimmer. Instead of decreasing the voltage, they actually flicker the signal on and off very rapidly, and that produces the effect of the display becoming dimmer.

This is the place that repairs GM instrument clusters...

http://www.unitedradio.com/

As far as wiring questions, the best place to look is the factory service manual at www.helmINC.com. I would guess the display drivers are integrated into the cluster, and have inputs from both the parking lamps "on" and the voltage level for the incadescent bulbs.
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Old 03-27-2004, 12:37 PM   #8
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Does anyone have a working compass & DIC display and a multimeter that is willing to help me troubleshoot? This will require the removal of the dash pad and cluster.

I've tested the wires coming into the DIC display and I'n getting pulses from the Clock, Data and Strobe wires. I don't seem to be getting anything out of the compass module though.

If anyone is willing to do a little work to help, please send me a PM with the times you'll be alailable and a number for me to call.

Thanks.
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Old 04-07-2004, 07:49 PM   #9
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W! It seems like your really getting indepth w/this! I sure wish I could help you--but just reading your post I'm lost!
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Old 04-07-2004, 09:50 PM   #10
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Quote:
W! It seems like your really getting indepth w/this! I sure wish I could help you--but just reading your post I'm lost!
Don't be lost. Remember our deal and I'll guide you through the whole thing. The idea here is to make some electrical tests on your car and compare them with mine. I think there is a snowball'* chance in hell in getting schematics from the manufacturer so we have to make it up as we go. Also, I found a guy who is a mechanic at Pep Boys with a 90 SSE. When I asked him if his compass and DIC worked he replied "yes". I explained the problem and he agreed to become a part of the solution as well.
I began to read the posts in this section from end to begining today and found many posts regarding these malfunctions. I'm certain that there is not one solution to correct the problems that many of us have as symptoms vary. If we can develop a method of testing, both you and I may be able enjoy the features that our cars are supposed to have and we can give some direction to others as to where the problem lies.
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