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Old 09-03-2009, 06:41 PM   #1
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Default Radio display too dim to see sometimes

I have a 96 SE...I replaced the AM/FM Cassette radio w/graphic equalizer with a Factory AM/ FM CD player w/graphic equalizer. Not sure if it''* from a 96 Bonne or another year or model but it is a Pontiac radio and looks exactly the same except for the CD) I got the radio at a junkyard. I didn't know it was one that they had taken back from someone else..but I got it for $10. It plays fine..but after 2-3 weeks or so I noticed that the display would randomly start to flash all kinds of crazy gibberish. So I opened it up (thought I would be able to take the display from the old Cassette unit..but it turns out that they use different pins on the board) So I ended up re-soldereing the legs for the big IC that controls the display. No more giberish.

Now I am noticing that at times radio display is so dim that I can't see it. This seems to happen 1st thing in the morning..when it'* not completely light out, I usually drive into the west...so a lot of sunlight isn't hitting the sensor on the dash. FYI I usually don't ever turn the headlights on...I Let them come on automaticly and I usually leave the fog lamps switch on too. Later in the day all is well with the display..display is bright. When the raido is dim, it seems like no real problem with the rest of the dashboard lights it'* only the radio display that seems to blank out completely..I have tried adjusting the dimmer switch on the headlight/twilight sentinel control, turning the headlights on and off, and turning the adjustment for the sentinel it'* self all the way up and down..but nothing seems to snap it out of the dim.

Not sure that the problem is in the radio or the dimming/daylight sensors etc. I have no idea where to look Any ideas?.

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Old 10-16-2009, 12:35 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spit View Post
I have a 96 SE... It plays fine..but after 2-3 weeks or so I noticed that the display would randomly start to flash all kinds of crazy gibberish.

Not sure that the problem is in the radio or the dimming/daylight sensors etc. I have no idea where to look Any ideas?.

Spit
OK. It could be the sensors. It could be your headlight switch, which has the twilight circuit in it, and in some cars they continually cook/short.

Since you screwed around with the internals of the radio, the probability that i have the fix goes down considerably. But I'm going to answer it anyway, as if you hadn't.

If your radio display starts sending you messages in alien script, or it goes on sometimes, and off other sometimes, If it gets light or dark..... Any problem in the display has about a 95 out of 100 probability solution..... it'* the bulb.

The bulb is not only a bulb, but also a circuit connection with info for the display. I always keep a supply of 3 or 4 of them in reserve. I have never had a stock radio dysfunction, except the bulb.

You might want to try this. It takes all of 15-20 minutes to pull the cover and radio, fix it and put it back. Take the front cover off. you will see the bulb in its sacred shroud. Twist out the bulb. Not just the glass. The bulb is clipped in and the clip is part of the circuit and bulb. It'* a 1/4 turn and and out. Spray it and its connection on the board with electronics cleaner and replace it with a twist back. And try it. You may get lucky. Other wise you'll have to replace it with another.

I don't know if anybody supplies them anymore. I get mine at my fav u-pull-it boneyard.

Please note, when you take the front plate off of the radio there are a plethora of pins which are kind of tender. When you remount the face take time to make sure you carefully align it. In the past if anybody replaced a bulb and immediately had another problem with the radio, it was because they bent a pin replacing the faceplate.

Hope that works, it almost always does.

charlie

edit: i just noticed this was Sept not Oct, but it'* a common problem with a simple solution. So I'll leave it.
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Old 10-06-2010, 11:51 PM   #3
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CharlieMax I'm at it again with the radio...I've got a used junkyard radio form a 2000 Gran Am...works fine but no display..shine a flashlight on the display it is working. pull the radio and test the bulb it is bad...but it sure seems to me that the bulb holder is soldered on to the board...I see no way that it can twist off...once I unsolder it maybe..Is it possible that Delco started to solder the holders in place?

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