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Old 10-24-2006, 01:12 PM   #1
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Default Removed radio, electrical system goes to Hades!

Hereí* a little story for you Ė I didnít know whether to post it in electrical or general, so Iíll just post and let the mods determine the appropriate forum. Read on:

I pulled the radio out of the car last night (93 SSE) because Iím going to install one out of a newer Bonneville. Thatí* how I left the car last night, no radio no trim panel. My daughter decides she needs to drive momí* car to school today so she goes and starts the car. Comes back a minute later and says the carí* making a funny clicking sound. Sure enough, turn the ignition on and the relay for the automatic headlights is clicking like a machine gun. So Iím thinking maybe the radio has to be installed for the electrical system to work properly Ė Iíve seen stranger things. Ití* installed. Turn on the ignition and the relay still clicks and the display on the radio is deliriously whacked. So I turned off the automatic lights and the relay quits a-clickiní. Thinking maybe I hosed the relay somehow and maybe thereí* a short and ití* causing problems, I figure Iíd better try the headlight switch. Pull it out, the lights come onÖand the radio antenna goes up! What theÖ? Turn lights off, antenna goes down, turn lights on, antenna goes upÖIím thinking Iím scwewed. Iím laughing my a$$ off and crying the blues at the same time. Ah, I think, maybe Iíve cornfused the ECM. So I yank the positive lead on the battery and let Ďer sit for an hour or so. After time goes by I install the battery lead and turn on the ignition. Lookiní good. Enable the autolights and the relay still clicks. Operating the headlight switch with the autolights disabled produces same result as before Ė lights go on, antenna goes up. And I discover, as a bonus, you donít even need to have the key in the ignition to do this. Once again Iím simultaneously laughing and soiling my britches knowing Iím in store for a nightmare of spark chasing.

At this point I decided I needed some wisdom from the gods at BC. So as Iím sitting here beginning to type my woes unto you, I think ďYou know, I didnít connect the antenna to the radio.Ē. All other connections were made, but not the antenna. No way that could possibly affect the electrical system. No freakiní way. But I decided to go ahead and plug the antenna into the back of the radio anyway. Stupid car is now working fine. Lights work, radio is no longer functified, antenna is under control. HowÖthe heckÖcan the freakiní ANTENNA coax POSSIBLY affect the light switch!? Ya got me.

Anyway, thanks for helping me solve my problem. Iím certain your collective brains felt a disturbance in the Force and subconsciously told me to connect my antenna. Even though the problem is solved, I thought Iíd post my ordeal here for future reference. Maybe this is something already known, I was too lazy to do a search Ė not that Iíd know what to search on!

Did I mention my car is white?
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Old 10-24-2006, 02:15 PM   #2
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Ummmmmmmmmm, OK

By the way, unless they changed it, the antennae lead is a major ground point for the dash.
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Old 10-24-2006, 02:23 PM   #3
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Sounds like a short some where. Have you checked the fuses? I've heard of blown fuses making other accessories go nutty because they somehow get partially grounded elsewhere then. Also, disconnect the antenna in the trunk. Do the lights still go whacky?
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Old 10-24-2006, 03:01 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MOS95B
By the way, unless they changed it, the antennae lead is a major ground point for the dash.
Now THAT would explain all my problems. The logic escapes me, why they'd use the antenna coax as a main chassis ground for the dash instead of a ground strap. I kind of suspected something like that when connecting the antenna solved my woes, but I thought "Nah, that'* ludicrous.".

I'm filing this little tidbit of information away for future reference: Car won't work right without radio. lol
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Old 10-28-2006, 12:37 AM   #5
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Years ago I had a similar situation, except in reverse. I was installing an aftermarket receiver (well before "headunit") it would blow the taillight fuse, and then cause a popping sound in the speakers, whether or not the thing was turned on. Running a separate ground solved the problem. Guess it caused a ground loop, somehow.
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Old 10-30-2006, 01:38 PM   #6
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Stan...lol

IIRC the 93 radio controls dimming to ECC and a couple other things. My first thought is something got pinched or rubbed and grounding you out.
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Old 10-31-2006, 11:40 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Archon
...Running a separate ground solved the problem....
Archon:
Where did you install the separate ground?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BillBoost37
...My first thought is something got pinched or rubbed and grounding you out.
Boosty:
My first thought was "I'm screwed."
My second thought was "Maybe the radio has some component that controls lighting".
My third thought, after reinstalling the radio (sans antenna), was "I'm REALLY screwed".
My final thought, after reconnecting the system ground by inserting the antenna wire into the radio, was "I need to kill something. Anything."
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Old 10-31-2006, 12:05 PM   #8
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I found a good ground on that particular vehicle over by the emergency brake release handle.
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Old 10-31-2006, 02:51 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Archon
I found a good ground on that particular vehicle over by the emergency brake release handle.
Cool. I'm going to go back in the lab right now and make a good ground wire, then go find a good place to connect it.
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