What next? (Internal components of Car Audio Unit)

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by Scubacamper, Jan 29, 2015.

  1. Scubacamper

    Thread Starter New Member

    Sep 4, 2014
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    I have a factory car audio head unit that is having electrical trouble.

    I would without question replace it with an aftermarket, but the way the geniuses at Nissan designed the vehicle, they did so in a way that made it impossible to do so.

    A new radio is upwards of $900 so that is definitely out of the question.

    Here is the rub:

    Head unit has 1 button on it: An eject button for the CD player (single disc).
    The rest of the buttons are elsewhere - on a control panel atop the center console, linked to the head unit by way of a pigtail wiring setup.

    When I have the fuse in, the head unit will turn on and play whatever the last setting was (example, if the radio was tuned to a certain fx, it will play that fx. I can push a CD into the player and it will operate normally - begin playing the CD). The only problem is, there is absolutely no way to control any aspect of the radio's operation. Therefore, the volume is set far too high for comfort, making it necessary for me to simply remove the fuse.

    I have re-flowed the board on the radio once, using a heat gun - no change.

    Do any of you wiz's have any suggestions where I should start as far as repairing/replacing a component?

    Also - sending the unit in for repair is about $300-$450 - no thanks. :)


    Thank you all for any help you can offer!
     
    achandran likes this.
  2. mcgyvr

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 15, 2009
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    what?
    You have no volume control or something?
    I really don't understand the problem unless you are saying that the remote controls are not working.. If such I would be looking at the wiring for them.

    Aftermarket radios are always available including kits for mounting/fascia replacement,wiring harness,etc.. and rarely does one need to spend $900+.. Maybe to replace the factory unit with an identical OEM one.
     
  3. Scubacamper

    Thread Starter New Member

    Sep 4, 2014
    12
    1
    I've been doing car audio installs for several years and this is the first vehicle I've ever seen that in no way allows an aftermarket install. (2004 Nissan Quest - look it up! Horrible design flaw)

    Not just volume - total control of the head unit is not available. This is not your typical radio - the controls aren't just on the front as most are - they're in another place via wiring.

    I've checked the wiring and it's all got continuity... :/
     
  4. mcgyvr

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 15, 2009
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  5. Scubacamper

    Thread Starter New Member

    Sep 4, 2014
    12
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    Sorry about that - I couldn't figure out how to find that posting - I looked and looked (apparently not very well!)
     
  6. ian field

    Distinguished Member

    Oct 27, 2012
    4,415
    783
    Re-heating the board with a heat gun, but without applying new flux will probably do more harm than good.

    If the solder is RoHS compliant, its notorious for this kind of fault - without fresh flux; heating up and cooling down will only accelerate any joints that aren't quite there yet.
     
  7. mcgyvr

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 15, 2009
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    google
    "nissan quest site:allaboutcircuits.com" ;)
     
  8. bwilliams60

    Active Member

    Nov 18, 2012
    722
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    Is this the unit where the player is halfway down a half-moon shaped console and there is a pocket below the unit? The radio controls are all sitting up on top of the console? Have you checked the control unit on top for issues. As said earlier, a lot of problems with these radios is poor solder connections. I have had a few where SMD components are falling off the board and resoldering everything fixed it. Possibility exists. Maybe the problem isn't in the head asemmbly. I'm also pretty sure there is aftermarket unit for this vehicle but may be expensive because of console design.
     
  9. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    I'd say, "Thanks for warning me about Nissans", but they probably aren't the only ones that use lots of microprocessors to force high priced repairs.
     
  10. Scubacamper

    Thread Starter New Member

    Sep 4, 2014
    12
    1
    Yes - this is that (infamous) one! :) I was just thinking about that this week - if everything INSIDE the unit seems to be working, I wonder if it's the actual control board on top?

    I guess I know what's next for me.... :)

    Thanks gents for all the tips
     
  11. debe

    Well-Known Member

    Sep 21, 2010
    946
    184
    Here in Australia the Ford Falcon BA model & on models has the radio built in to a central module. This if removed from the vehicle actualy completely disables the vehicle as a a part of the vehicle security system. If the radio is actualy stolen you need to find a replacement. When its fitted the vechicle needs to be transported to a Ford dealership to program the replacement radio to the vehicle. The same problems occur if you need a new Instrument panel or engine ECU, all marketed as anti theft feature. Welcome to the smart vehicle world.
     
  12. bwilliams60

    Active Member

    Nov 18, 2012
    722
    88
    This is just the beginning. Wait until you see what is coming in these vehicles. It is mindblowing the amount of electronics involved. I just had my students completely disassemble a Lexus SUV for its electrical system and I was amazed at the amount of wiring and modules involved in this unit. What scares me is the shortage of technicians and the fact that the majority of them still struggle with regular electrical problems let alone multiplexed systems and complex module integration in just about every system on the vehicle. Glad I'm on this side of the fence because I wouldn't want to pay to have someone guess and replace at my expense. Not painting them all with the same brush, but you have to look for and stick with the good technicians. It's going to be interesting.
     
    debe likes this.
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