Light on clock radio

Tiny
MERRI JANE KING
  • MEMBER
  • 2004 CHRYSLER PT CRUISER
  • TURBO
  • 40,300 MILES
Why is the light on the clock radio sporadic?
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Wednesday, April 12th, 2017 AT 12:36 PM

14 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Depending on the model of the radio, the typical suspect is a bad solder connection. I have repaired hundreds of radios for this problem. On Chrysler radios there are one or three places to look. On Ford radios, there are over eighty places to look, and repeat failures are real common. With the Chrysler radios, once repaired, they are repaired for life.
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Wednesday, April 12th, 2017 AT 4:19 PM
Tiny
MERRI JANE KING
  • MEMBER
There was no work done on the clock radio. The light in the radio is off when I start the car. It comes on when I back out of a parking place, then it goes off and on. This is the original stereo to the car. It works well except the light. I had the multi-functional switch on the steering column replace due to fog light issue, a new fuse inserted. Then the cam sensor harness replaced because it had oil leak. Now what?
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Wednesday, April 12th, 2017 AT 5:15 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
The bad solder connections are inside the radio and have nothing to do with anything else. My specialty was working on 1990's Chrysler radios. You should have the newer-style radio with rounded corners on the face plate. I never had to repair one of those for the intermittent display problem, but I assume they develop the same problem because they use the same circuit boards and manufacturing techniques.

The exception is if you have some type of back-up camera that is used with the much larger radio displays. I do not think those were around yet in 2004. With those, an electrical problem could signal the display to turn off at inappropriate times.
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Wednesday, April 12th, 2017 AT 6:08 PM
Tiny
MERRI JANE KING
  • MEMBER
What is the cause? What is the fix?
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Wednesday, April 12th, 2017 AT 7:09 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Bad solder connections due to automated manufacturing techniques. This was common on TV's too throughout the 1980's and 1990's. Once the connections are re-soldered by hand, they rarely cause a problem again after that.
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Wednesday, April 12th, 2017 AT 7:44 PM
Tiny
JOHNNY G.JR
  • MEMBER
Radio needs to be removed from dashboard, disassembled, and certain connections inside need to be repaired, "re-soldered".
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Wednesday, April 12th, 2017 AT 8:20 PM
Tiny
MERRI JANE KING
  • MEMBER
Could it be that this just needs a new fuse? Because there are no shops where I live that would do this. If I leave it alone would it cause additional trouble? If so, just seems like total replacement would be best.
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Wednesday, April 12th, 2017 AT 9:56 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
This is not a fuse problem. When a fuse blows, it never works again after that. This is most likely bad solder connections, as I've said repeatedly. This is a very common type of repair that is done in tv repair shops, but the industry has put most of them out of business. Even if you can find a tv repair shop, the people there will have little or no experience working on car radios.

Remember, I'm assuming this is bad solder connections based on your description of the symptoms. I've repaired hundreds of Chrysler radios for the dealership I used to work for, then, another two dozen dealers in my state through word-of-mouth advertising. I saved their customers a lot of money because I charged much less than the regular repair shops. I left the dealership in '99, and continued to fix their radios for another eight years. I've worked on a few 2003 and newer models, but none yet for intermittent display. If you pull your radio out, there will be a sticker on the top, with a model and "supplier" number. If you tell me those numbers, I can look at a radio I have to see if it's likely to have the same connection problems.

If you visit the parts department at any Chrysler dealership, they can send your radio in for repair or they can provide you with the name of the shops they use. There are only three in the nation that are authorized for warranty repairs. One is United Radio in Syracuse, NY. Another is Instrument Sales and Service. One of their locations is in Kent, WA. The other is Downtown Radio of Denver. I was a guest of the former owner of Downtown Radio back in 1999. Had a real good time there. I bought hundreds of radio service manuals, and all my replacement parts from them.

There are also smaller shops all over the country that dealers send their out-of-warranty radios to.

One thing to keep in mind is these solder connection problems occur due to automated manufacturing techniques. At the smaller repair shops, the people usually locate those bad connections, then resolder them by hand, just like we do on tvs. Those connections repaired that way will never cause a problem again after that.

At the larger repair companies, they don't have time to diagnose each radio individually. At Downtown Radio, they ship out enough radios each day to fill two small UPS trailers. To keep up, they just replace an entire circuit board, then throw the old one away. Every repaired radio gets a new faceplate too. The problem is the replacement boards were manufactured the same way, so it stands to reason they will develop the same problems in a few years. This is an even bigger problem with Ford radios. I always told dealers I was gong to keep their radios for two weeks to play on my test bench. About 90 percent acted up again within the first week. I have the same three circuit boards those guys replace, but if I were to sell them to someone, I know they will also develop the intermittent display in a few years. The better repair is to find the bad connections and fix them.
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Thursday, April 13th, 2017 AT 7:27 PM
Tiny
MERRI JANE KING
  • MEMBER
Thank you, this does give me some info to share with the Chrysler dealership. Because of where I live, that is where I have to go. Will this issue spread through other areas of my car? Is this an ASAP type of fix? Is it safe to drive until I get it fixed? Because I may have to wait until next month to get this solder issue fixed. Thanks.
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Thursday, April 13th, 2017 AT 9:09 PM
Tiny
JOHNNY G.JR
  • MEMBER
The problem will not spread and will be safe to drive
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Friday, April 14th, 2017 AT 3:01 PM
Tiny
MERRI JANE KING
  • MEMBER
Thank you for your kind assistance.
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Friday, April 14th, 2017 AT 3:21 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
If my diagnosis is correct, this has nothing to do with anything else in the car. As I mentioned previously, this is much more common with Ford radios, and out of frustration, many owners of those vehicles just put up with it. If you have the radio model I'm thinking of, you're going to have the inconvenience of no clock and not knowing which radio station is selected. Sound and other functions won't be affected.
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Friday, April 14th, 2017 AT 6:34 PM
Tiny
MERRI JANE KING
  • MEMBER
I drove today with the LED on the radio off until I left my driveway, then it came on and stayed on. Five hours later still on. Did not turn on the stereo or CD. Next trip if it does this pattern, I will just live with it. Thank you for your patience and advice.
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Friday, April 14th, 2017 AT 7:54 PM
Tiny
KEN
  • ADMIN
Please use 2CarPros anytime, we are here to help and tell a friend.

Best, Ken
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Monday, April 17th, 2017 AT 3:39 PM

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