Child put coins in stereo and after removing them my radio both am and FM only has static

Tiny
JESSICA JOHNSON
  • MEMBER
  • 2005 CHEVROLET MALIBU
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 180,000 MILES
So my daughter put some pennies and a quarter in my CD slot and they fell into my radio and blew my fuse. This has happened to me before in another car so I knew and took the radio out and removed the coins and replaced the fuse. My CD player is working fine and my radio is on but every single station is only static. I cannot hear any other noise or even a little bit of music only static and when I hit seek it just continues to seek until I stop it. Before the coins it worked fine. Please help! As of right now my whole dash is taken apart because for some reason Chevrolet decided that for someone to get to their radio in this car they had to take apart the entire dash! I would like to fix the problem before I put it back together so I do not have to do that again! Thank you
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Friday, October 14th, 2016 AT 2:11 AM

8 Replies

Tiny
HMAC300
  • EXPERT
You may have to enter a code for your radio to work or it may need to be reprogrammed. If you have an owners manual look there or try the last four digits of VIN number otherwise contact Chevrolet.
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Friday, October 14th, 2016 AT 7:18 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
(Hi HMAC300)!

Time for a new daughter, ... Ahh, ... I mean radio! The first thing to consider is there are multiple fuses for the radio because the engineers have built the Body Computer into it so people cannot replace it with an aftermarket radio. One of the functions the radio does now is to provide the "click" sound for the turn signals. Since the CD player is working, we know the audio section is okay. If you do not hear the turn signal click, suspect another blown fuse. Unfortunately the fuses relate to so many things, they are not labeled for simple circuits anymore. They are labeled for computers, so it is better to just check each fuse under the hood and inside the car.

Every spade-type fuse has two tiny holes on top to provide test points. Use a test light to test for voltage at each test point. Turn the ignition switch on, then probe each fuse. If you find 12 volts on both test points, that fuse is good. If you find zero volts on both points, that circuit is turned off and is not related to the problem. You are looking for any fuse that has 12 volts on one test point and 0 volts on the other one. Don't worry about the larger cartridge fuses. Those are checked visually, but they protect numerous circuits that already have their own individual fuses. If a cartridge fuse is blown, you will have a lot more problems than just the radio.

The next thing to consider is if an antenna connector was left unplugged. Unlike home radios, car radios require a very good antenna for them to pick up stations. In rare instances it might pick up a very strong local FM station with no antenna, but on AM, you should hear the characteristic loud buzz from the interference caused by power lines. If you hear that buzz, the AM section should be working. The FM always feeds its signal into the second half of the AM section, so if the AM is not working, you wont get FM reception either. If you only hear light, steady static with the volume turned up high on AM, that part has an internal problem.

There should be multiple antenna plugs for your radio. One is for the standard AM / FM antenna, and another one is for the OnStar system, and yet another one if the radio is equipped for satellite radio. I don't know if the new antenna plug style is standardized like they were up through the 1980's, but at least one design I have worked on had a very thin wire in the center of the radio's jack, and it is real easy for that to get bent over if care is not taken when connecting that plug. Look closely at that jack to see if that wire is bent over. You might need a magnifying glass for that. If the wire is bent or broken off, you can expect to not receive any stations, and that AM buzz I mentioned will be weak or non-existent.

The radio I worked on for the broken pin was damaged in a crash. I tried to swipe the antenna connector from a different radio, but due to the design, I had it badly damaged before I ever got it fully-removed. Instead, I manufactured a wire that the antenna could be plugged into, and somehow it worked fine.

Problems in the AM and FM sections caused by coins are not common because those circuits run at very low power. There is not much to become damaged by a short circuit. I do not know what was involved in getting the coins out, but some radios have face plates and other circuit boards that plug into each other with rows of pins that are very susceptible to damage when putting them back together. It is real easy for one pin to miss its hole and get bent over. I will never admit that I have done that on at least a dozen occasions. Most of the time the fix is just to take everything apart again, straighten the pin, and put it back together.

Thinking about it, my vote for best suspect is the pin bent over in the antenna connector. After that, my guess is you will need to have the radio repaired. Unfortunately, that is going to be a dealer-only item. They have radio service manuals and parts all locked up so almost all repairs must be done by one of their two authorized service centers. Typically they will just send the dealer a different radio, then the dealer has to program it to your car. Also, the Body Computer in the radio is the master computer that tells all the other computers on the car when to wake up, so some of those may need to be reprogrammed too.
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Friday, October 14th, 2016 AT 4:44 PM
Tiny
RENEE
  • ADMIN
Thank you CARADIODOC. Awesome answer to a frustrating situation (I raised two boys and I know about those things first hand).

Renee
Admin
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Saturday, October 15th, 2016 AT 6:32 PM
Tiny
JESSICA JOHNSON
  • MEMBER
Thanks for the replys and CARADIODOC I checked all the fuses in all 3 of my fuse boxes and they are all good. I check the antenna cord too and it looks normal. My cd player will work for a song or half a song and then it cuts off and the screen shows its on radio and all I hear is static and it doesnt have to be turned all the way up either. Am and fm both have the same amount of static but today as I was driving all of the sudden I can hear one station come in and out! When it came in really good I could still hear a slight static in the backround. It was just that one station. Also the screen will say alt freq on and when I try to turn it off it eventually turns itself back on again. Maybe to try and help find a station? Oh and also when I took the radio out to get the coins out I just took off the outer cover and opened it just enough so that the coins could fall out, I didnt take anything apart or touch anything on tje inside of the radio and I didnt put anything inside it either so I dont think I did any damage. The radio didnt get worse after I removed the coins. So im stumped! I dont think this particular car has the computer in the radio as there is alot of videos online on how to replace the radio for my car and my blinkers still make that clicking sound you were talking about. I was thinking maybe I could go to a junkyard and get a factory radio out of another car and put it in mine, what do u think? Thanks for your help!
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Monday, October 17th, 2016 AT 8:39 AM
Tiny
JESSICA JOHNSON
  • MEMBER
Ok so I went ahead and went to the junkyard because I figured it wouldnt hurt to try and man am I glad I did! It took almost half a day and alot of troubleshooting but I finally have a working radio and cd player! Here is what I figured out! I took apart the old radio and there was a big burned area on the circut board so I asume that was the problem! So next I got a factory radio just like mine from the junkyard and put it in my car. But it didnt work and showed a "locked" message on the screen. I utubed how to unlock a radio in my car and found that the easiest and cheapest way is to remove the security chip on the circut board but all the videos were for a different kind of 2005 malibu. The classic and I have the maxx which has a different radio! So I looked at the circut board and there was only two chips that looked similar to the ones they removed in the video and since the junkyard had two cars with the radio I needed I figured if the first one didnt work I would just start over with the second one since it had to be one or the other! Luckily I guessed right the first time and was able to remove the chip and unlock the radio. BUT there was no sound on the radio at all! Ok so that radio was broken :(. But I took it back and went and got the second radio from the junkyard and took out the security chip and turned it on :). The cd player was broken :( so I went back to my original radio that my daughter put coins in and took out the cd player slot thingy very carefully and put it in the second new radio and finally everything works! Yay I saved almost $300 on a new radio and a device that would allow me to keep some features that came with my factory radio and I am quite proud of myself! I will post a pic of the burnt area I found on the circuit board and one of the security chip I had to remove to unlock the new radio! In the pictures my finger is pointing to the burnt area and to the very small black chip that I removed. I hope this helps someone in the future because I couldnt find anything to help with my particular car! Oh and I also got a minor injury while trying to take apart the radio. The tool I was using to pry it open slipped and I cut open my finger but it was worth it!
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Monday, October 17th, 2016 AT 2:29 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Congratulations. You did more than I could have done. Don't throw the old radio away. I can fix burned copper traces and cut away the carbon, as long as no proprietary components are damaged. I also have to be able to solder to the copper at some point that isn't hidden.

Did you totally unsolder that chip and remove it, or just cut a few of its leads?
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Monday, October 17th, 2016 AT 5:04 PM
Tiny
JESSICA JOHNSON
  • MEMBER
Thank you! I am quite proud of myself :) I completely removed the security chip, I just popped it off with a flat head screw driver. As for the old radio, I deffinatley wont throw it away if it can be fixed! In the malibu maxx there are features that come with the radio that tell u when to change your oil or if u are low on power steering fluid, and other things. If you want to put in an aftermarket radio you need to buy a $225 device just so you can keep those features! I personally enjoy having those features so I am so glad I was able to fix this problem and it only cost me $35! I was thinking about making a utube video about how to unlock this particular radio since there isnt one already.
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Monday, October 17th, 2016 AT 9:40 PM
Tiny
KEN
  • ADMIN
You should make the video and post the link here so it will help others. :)

Best, Ken
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Monday, October 17th, 2016 AT 10:41 PM

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