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Old 09-13-2020, 07:07 PM   #1
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Default Head Unit only on with lights

My head unit is a nearly 10 year old Sony unit. It is just starting to have issues. No electrical mods or changes have been done to the truck in at least 5 years when I added the pillar gauges.



It started as it would randomly turn off and sometimes turn off when I turned the lights on the truck off. It has morphed into needing the running lights on to work. It appears to be partially using the parking lights as some level of a turn on signal.



To listen to music I must turn the ignition on then turn the parking lights on and the head unit spring to life!



My harness adapter appears to be fine and unharmed. I did notice that I can sometimes make the speakers cut out by wiggling the adapter harness. I assume there is some connection issue in the adapter harness as well as something failing in the head unit.



Wanted to see what you guy had to say before I rip everything apart.



Any of you had a similar issue?
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Old 09-13-2020, 07:53 PM   #2
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I wouldn't be surprised if it's an issue with the ground. I had a similar problem with mine and was able to fix it by just grounding it directly to the frame of the dash instead of running it back through the harness. The problem never came back afterwards. Someone had stolen the radio out of it many years ago and I soldered in a universal 16-pin harness since the original had been ripped out. I also had a problem with the speakers cutting out when I would drive over bumps...it turned out that one of the pins in the connector was loose, so I bent it back out then very carefully superglued it into place. Not the "right" way to fix it but the problem never came back.

I'd do a voltage drop test first. It has been forever since I looked in the wiring diagram but most of the grounds that are dash-related are underneath the kick panels on the driver and passenger sides. Headlight bulbs work great for load testing circuits.
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Old 09-13-2020, 08:27 PM   #3
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There is no ground in the factory harness, the ground is always made by connecting from the radio to the metal near the radio
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Old 09-13-2020, 09:56 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ahardb0dy View Post
There is no ground in the factory harness, the ground is always made by connecting from the radio to the metal near the radio

See, there lies the problem. I removed the ground I had to the dash frame and it still works. Its getting ground somewhere and I have no idea where or why that ground would be modified by the illumination circuit. Makes zero sense especially since the illumination pin goes high, not to ground.



It was grounded to the same place I have my pillar gauge lights grounded. I can remove that ground with no changes in functionality. Itll stay on and playing music. Ground issues I have had with this unit before. It was always just that the ground came loose. This thing freaking works without a ground! Its getting ground somewhere, just not sure where.



Im pretty sure the speaker issue is just the pins, like SBJ said. That harness is old and has been rattled around a lot.





Im tempted to just update the head unit and use a fresh install kit with new harness and go from there. Basically rip everything out and start fresh. Itll be getting a couple amps and a new sub, hopefully, by about the first of the year.
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Old 09-14-2020, 01:11 AM   #5
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It should be getting ground through the antenna
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Old 09-14-2020, 01:49 AM   #6
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Hmm. Makes sense though strange for an aftermarket unit.
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Old 09-14-2020, 01:57 AM   #7
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That's a really good point, Bama. The antenna usually has it's own ground, and the plugs are pretty much universal. It'd be easy enough to reach around under there and see if it cuts out if you jiggle the antenna wire around.
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Old 09-14-2020, 04:58 AM   #8
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Antenna wire is not the issue. It is not loose in any way. I wiggled it a bunch today. In fact it's basically stuck in the head unit. I'll need pliers to grab it and pull it out.



I could be grounding out through the antenna but that doesn't seem right. This all is a new development. The unit used to not fire up until the harness ground was connected. There is something odd going on. From what I've seen in the past the head unit does not ground through the antenna but I'd have to open it up to confirm that.


Tomorrow after work I might just pull the antenna and see what happens.


Still really odd it seems to be connected to the lights.
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Old 09-15-2020, 03:25 PM   #9
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Per the FSM ( I looked at the 94 manual) it looks like the ground is tied into the ground for the front speakers, the schematic does not show an individual ground coming off the radio.


As far as I know and as I said there is no ground in the OEM side of the harness, I've always ran a separate ground to the metal near the radio,


I would pull the radio and check for power with a test light to the switched and constant power wires, almost sounds like you have the switched power connected to the illumination wire, I understand the radio has been working for along time, but I would check the 2 wires I suggested first, disconnect the illumination wire (Orange) and see what you get.
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Old 09-15-2020, 05:07 PM   #10
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I'll check that as the smoke clears.



The illumination has traditionally worked on this head unit. It auto dims with the signal. Or at least used to! That would make me lean to a wire or head unit issue.



The speaker ground thing would only be used if the head unit supports it. Judging by the wiring pigtail this one does not.



As the smoke goes away I'll keep probing things.
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