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Old 04-14-2008, 03:31 AM   #1
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Default Voodoo Radio

The radio in our 1997 Bonneville SE seems to have a mind of its own.
It has not been working properly for the past year or two, and about 99% of the time its completely dead. None of the lights behind the buttons work, the clock is dead, etc etc.

The radio randomly decides to work, and it seems like its usually when we hit a bump or something, but I'm not so sure about that.

I have no idea what could be causing it. I took the radio out and checked the connector, and everything seems to be fine (nothing seems to be loose or pulled out of it).
However, the antenna is currently disassembled, maybe there is some sort of shorting issue? Also, is it possible that maybe one of the wires leading to the radio may be shorting or broken somewhere along the line?

Can I possibly measure the wires (for ohms, i think?) of the power connector on back to see if anything is broken?
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Old 04-14-2008, 09:32 AM   #2
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No, your antenna input will only kill the signal. It won't effect "power." With it being completely dead, there are 3 choices: Loss of +12V, loss of Ground, internal problem in Radio.
It'* going to take at least a volt-ohm meter. If you are lucky, maybe just a test light to see if you have power at the radio connector (with it unplugged) and also a good ground (this would take an ohm-meter.

If you just want to do some low tech checks, I would recommend:
  • 1. Take off you kick panels on each side and clean and re-secure the grounds. Look for some black wires mounted to the metal with sheet metal screws. Actually take them off, polish them up and snug them down good. On my 93, the one on the driver side is up high, near the EM brake.
    2. Take the radio out and unhook the connector. Clean both sets of pins w/something like carb cleaner and replug.
    3. If you have a test light, with the key in ACC position, check the various pins on the harness side of the above cable to see if you have power on any of the pins.
I don't have schematic here to be more defined. Check those and you can eliminate the 2 most obvious problems (or not)
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Old 04-14-2008, 01:44 PM   #3
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OK great thanks! I'll try to get some of those done this weekend.

Is it possible to short out something with the test lamp, or can i just connect any two pins?
Also, is there something for ground in the antenna? I found an earlier thread where someone had very similar problems, and people were saying that it could be the antenna?
http://www.bonnevilleclub.com/forum/...c.php?p=929601
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Old 04-14-2008, 03:40 PM   #4
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On the test light, hook the clip to chassis ground, something that you are sure is grounded. Then, with key in ACC, touch to one pin at a time. Just don't touch 2 at the same time (with probe).

If you have a power antenna, there is a separate ground braid.

But if you are not getting any indication on the front of the radio (LEDs, text, etc.), I cannot see where the antenna could cause any of that. BTW, electronics, including radios, was my "career" before my present one. Check that if you want, though.
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Old 04-21-2008, 08:57 PM   #5
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thanks for your help so far!

i finally got some time to work on the car today.

I was mistaken earlier when I said that the whole radio unit is dead. All the LEDs work, but the display is blank, and messing around with the radio buttons does not turn on the radio or anything.
Also found out that the antenna was already in, and the ground from the antenna was connected, but the power was not. I plugged the power in, but it made no difference.

So it looks like there is power going to the unit, but for some reason just the radio part is dead. Is it still worth doing all the steps you mentioned (kick panels, cleaning connections, test light)? Or at this point should I be trying different things?

Every junkyard nearby wanted $100+ for a radio, so I'd rather buy a new aftermarket one. But, I obviously want to make sure its just the radio unit thats dead.
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Old 04-21-2008, 09:33 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sgupt
All the LEDs work, but the display is blank, and messing around with the radio buttons does not turn on the radio or anything.
...
So it looks like there is power going to the unit, but for some reason just the radio part is dead. Is it still worth doing all the steps you mentioned (kick panels, cleaning connections, test light)? Or at this point should I be trying different things?
I'm not sure what you mean with the first sentence above (LEDs work, but display is blank). Are the LEDs some place other than the display? Anyway to get a picture?
Don't be insulted, but have you checked the fuses, etc?
Also not sure about having to make those other checks yet. It sounds like you have some sort of power somewhere (LEDs light up) and that is what those checks were for.
-Lastly, is it possible that there is an anti-theft feature in the radio that could be defeating it?
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Old 04-21-2008, 11:35 PM   #7
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sorry, what I meant by LEDs were all the lights that are behind the buttons and the equalizer and whatnot. I hope that makes sense?

My dad said he replaced the radio fuse a while back, so if he did, it didn't make any noticeable difference.

I think there is an anti-theft feature, but I have no idea how to know if its 'tripped'. the theftlock light doesn't seem to be doing anything out of the ordinary.

EDIT: here is a stock picture of the radio, and i circled the areas (that i can remember off the top of my head) where there are lights. all those lights are lit, but the LCD display is not lit.
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Old 04-22-2008, 09:52 AM   #8
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That helps. Thanks.
Will it play a CD?
Have you tried just turning it on and scanning for a channel?
The reason I ask ....
There is a lamp behind the display, in a socket. There have been problems with either a defective socket where the solder connection has broken loose, causing the lamp to loose connection. Also problems with the lamp BULB burning out. The bulb can be purchased at corvetteradios.com (ac delco site). If you do not have anybody there to fix it, there is also a place online that will make the socket repair, if this is what you find, for $40. This radio also has a know problem with the volume jumping up and down. Costs lots more for that fix.
"Let the light shine!"
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Old 04-22-2008, 02:32 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 93RedSled-SSE
That helps. Thanks.
Will it play a CD?
Have you tried just turning it on and scanning for a channel?
The reason I ask ....
Yep I've tried both to no avail. Nothing seems to work.
I just tried a CD again, and it doesn't even get drawn in. I hit the CD play button, turned the volume up down, turned on radio, scanned, etc. Nothing produces any sound or shows anything in the display.

Quote:
There is a lamp behind the display, in a socket. There have been problems with either a defective socket where the solder connection has broken loose, causing the lamp to loose connection. Also problems with the lamp BULB burning out. The bulb can be purchased at corvetteradios.com (ac delco site). If you do not have anybody there to fix it, there is also a place online that will make the socket repair, if this is what you find, for $40. This radio also has a know problem with the volume jumping up and down. Costs lots more for that fix.
"Let the light shine!"
Yeah, I'm guessing that can be ruled out now :( Maybe the backlight is loose or burned out, but that wouldn't break the radio and CD player (I think :P)

I'm leaning more and more towards the radio itself to be defective.
Do you have any idea if one of the power wires that go to the unit is only for the radio? maybe that single wire is loose or broken?
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Old 04-22-2008, 03:16 PM   #10
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That was going to be my next shot, before pointing towards the radio itself.
I do not have a wiring diagram for your year, but chances are the wire color codes carry over.
  • If so, the yellow wire on the rear connector is the acc/run 12v.
    1.If you have a volt meter or test light, I would check all of them for +12 volts WITH ignition on or in ACC. and note which ones DO have power. Make sure your meter or test light has a good ground, like one of the studs on the inside of the firewall or body.
    2. Then turn the ignition OFF, open door to kill the "retained acc. power" feature
    3. Check the wires that had power in step 1.
    4. If any of them LOST power, that is your main acc/run power input.
That would mean you DO have switched power coming in and would mean that it IS most likely the radio.
If none of them lose power in OFF, then NONE of them are acc./run power in and it is something like wiring or a fuse and likely NOT the radio.
Hope that makes sense.
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