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Yeah saw the same one on ebay. Thats my backup plan. Was planning on testing the broken radio with the eeprom programmer tomorrow. New radio wont be here for a few days, so I'll get some practice in and like you said confidence. I'm pretty experienced with hardware integration and electrical engineering, but Ive never programmed a chip that was already in place. So this will be a cool new thing to learn. Thanks again for all the info!
 

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I wonder if you could just swap out the prom chips? Way too simple I suspect. Interesting topic here. Thanks for taking the time to post it!
 

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Discussion Starter #23 (Edited)
Swapping the actual chip was my original plan, but it's a surface mount chip soldered in place, and is a pretty small chip as well. With decent soldering skills and equipment, it's probably not too tough. I did surface mount board repair for the USAF and an early PC manufacturer in my younger days, but my eyes and hands are a bit older now, and surface mount components have gotten smaller and smaller. I'd suggest using a hot-air desoldering tool, easier to heat up all the leads at once to remove it.

But writing the chip is safer and faster.
 

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Discussion Starter #24
I'm pretty experienced with hardware integration and electrical engineering, but Ive never programmed a chip that was already in place.
One thing to watch out for: Pin 7 on the chip is a "write protect" line. If pin 7 is held high, the chip cannot be programmed. Some versions of the radio have it wired so that the write protect is connected to the Vcc (power) to the chip thru a pull-up resistor network. It is a tiny surface mount component with 4 leads. In cases where the write-protect blocks programming, removing that resistor network allows the chip to programmed. Alternatively, people have successfully turned off the write-protect line by desoldering and lifting pin 7 off the circuit board.

I was prepared to handle this, but I decided to try writing without messing with the resistor, and it worked fine. After writing the new vin, I closed the eeprom app, reopened it, and re-read the chip to verify it did indeed take the new vin.

Supposedly newer radios with nav don't have the write protect enabled if the board itself isn't powered up.
 

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Discussion Starter #25
Thanks for the info and links. I actually ordered a different RPO coded radio. Its looks identical except without navigation. I will give it a shot and post results. If it doeant work, i will buy a matching rpo coded radio and try again. Anything before giving GMC money to fix a car that Im still making payments on.
One additional thought here: I had two possible options when re-writing the chip in the replacement radio:
1) read the contents of the original chip, save it to a file, and re-write the new chip with the entire contents from the original radio
2) read the contents of the replacement radio chip, change only the 16 digits of the vin, and re-write that to the new chip.

If the radios were an exact match, I'd try option 1, but since they are not, there might be some other values in the chip data that are not compatible between the old and new radio, so I'd definitely go with option 2. This way the chip contents of the new radio stay the same as they were except the vin.
 

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DenverGp - nice work! Love to see these kinds of workarounds that save people money!

Maybe this should be a “sticky” at the top of the forum?

Kind of sad, too, that your radio unit failed so soon. Maybe just one component on that board taking the whole thing down - but which one? In 2009 I bought a 48” Panasonic plasma “Viera” TV brand new. It was replacing my 27” JVC “CRT” TV which was already 14 years old and still working fine. Five years in, in 2014, the TV suddenly failed to turn on one day (it was flashing a red light on the front panel ... the famous “10 blinks of death”). I searched online and found this electronics whiz named “NorCal” who was apparently fixing these Panasonic plasmas. He said to open the TV up and spray these two, very tiny sub-boards the size of a fingernail - one at a time - with an upside down can of compressed air (to freeze them), and then power the TV back ON again each time. The frozen one that made the TV work again was the one that had a bad *very tiny* surface-mount capacitor that had to be replaced!

And when I say *very tiny*, I mean I could barely *see* this capacitor, it was so small! Turned the TV on its short edge against the wall (to orient this very tiny sub-board horizontally), stabilized my elbows, then using a low-powered soldering iron and a tiny pick, cracked this microscopic capacitor off the “fingernail” board!

Turned the TV on and it was working again.

Five years later now - TV still works fine! Even though I bought the replacement, I never replaced the capacitor because - like you mentioned - no way could I re-solder those two points without bridging them! Way too small and my hands wouldn’t be steady enough.

Anyway - maybe a similar situation with these radios: just some tiny surface-mount capacitor (or other singular component) that needs to be removed (or replaced)...but which one, right?

Once again - kudos to DenverGp!
 

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So Colt, removing the capacitor made the TV operate ? Makes one wonder why they put it on in the first place. Maybe they needed to introduce an additional failure mode to reach their corporate un-reliability targets. LOL
 

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Bad Caps. . . . type that in on Google.
You'll find everything from TVs to refrigerator control boards that have been plagued by them. Especially back in the 2000 to 2010 time frame. With the advent of SMD, capacitors, transistors, resistors, etc all got smaller and smaller.

With caps, they can only get so small for a given value and voltage rating. My opinion is that they had gotten so small that there was little or no safety margin for the operating parameters of voltage, heat from other nearby components, etc.
To be fair, even older audio/video equipment can and do have the old standard sized caps go bad, but they are more easily found and replaced.
Years ago, a capacitor value was selected and if the operating voltage was, say 10 volts, they would put in a 16V or even 25V capacitor. That was a huge safety margin.
Now.. . not so much, although operating voltages have gotten lower. Still, the diminutive size of something like a SMC capacitor or resistor does not leave much margin for potential failure.


Good work and posting @DenverGp !
PS. . . fellow USAF electronics tech here also. Now old and still do a bit of repair, but not like even 10 years ago.
 

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Discussion Starter #29
I suspect the radio would be harder to diagnose than the TV because the radio does so much communication with other parts of the vehicle that getting it running by itself on the bench would be difficult. There are 2 large multi-pin connectors on the radio, plus 4 or 5 additional smaller connectors. I did look closely looking to see if I could spot any "bad" components or bad solder joints. Nothing jumped out, so without powering it up and tracing with an oscope, I wouldn't even have a guess as to where to start.
 

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Discussion Starter #30
Kind of sad, too, that your radio unit failed so soon.

My wife said the same thing to the service manager at the dealership. He said "well, things just fail, I've got half a dozen dead microwave ovens that broke after a couple years"... to which my wife replied "well, those microwave ovens didn't cost $30,000"... he shut up after that.
 

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So Colt, removing the capacitor made the TV operate ? Makes one wonder why they put it on in the first place. Maybe they needed to introduce an additional failure mode to reach their corporate un-reliability targets. LOL
I was thinking it was a signal filter of some kind that was “good to have”, but not absolutely necessary. People were proactively replacing the capacitors on *both* fingernail-sized boards (MC201 and MC301), but being a “leave well enough alone” kind of guy, I never touched the MC301 fingernail board, and it’s never failed on me. But if it wasn’t for that NorCal guy, that $1300 plasma TV would’ve only lasted 5 years ... a terrible metric, by my standards. I like my TVs to last 222,222 hours, BTW...
 
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That plasma TV may still be working. . . but how much power does it use?
From specs online, it seems to show 350 to 387watts . . .
My 2015 50" 4K UHD uses 150 watts max and usually about 122 watts for me where I have the LED brightness set.
Newer LCD/LED back lighted TVs use much less power so how much does it cost to continue to operate? Probably at least $50 to $60 a year with only 4 hours use per day and 300 days a year being conservative.

Not to mention the heat generated which plasma TVs were known for. Ok in winter months, but not so much in humid, hot summer and running air conditioning.

A new 50" TV with excellent black level , contrast and color can be bought for $400 to $600 and use less power and with more brightness than a plasma.


https://www.displayspecifications.com/en/model-power-consumption/a686c9
 

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Jaytee2014:

Absolutely - you’re right! I bought the plasma initially because the pixels allegedly switched faster than LCDs at the time, making them less susceptible (immune?) to “ghosting” (or residual images) that supposedly were more likely while watching sports on TV (or anything where images were moving quickly on the screen). I didn’t want to watch a *single* Patriots, Red Sox, Celtics, or Bruins game and have to live with this image issue.

But I’ve seen it anyway. It’s rare, but it happens, and I can’t even tell if it’s the TV or the transmission.

So anyway - I bought it, it’s working, I keep it until it stops working AND I’m unable to fix it myself. That’s just what I do. If I get rid of it to save a few bucks on electricity it’d be my luck that the new TV would fail on me - after the warranty expired, of course. LOL!
 

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I have a 2014 equinox since new. Info screen has blanked out 5-10 times total. Turn off engine and back on resets it. Kind of like a computer locking up and you unplug and plug back in. It resets. When my screen was blank even the back up video was gone.
 

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Discussion Starter #36
Yup, some people have issues where it can be "reset" and it'll start working. Others have experienced it completely dying, none of the various methods to reset work (turn car off/on, pull radio fuse out for a while, disconnect neg battery terminal for a while.

There is one other reset method that might work if yours is one that seems to just need an occasional reset. When the radio cuts out, try pressing the Onstar hands-free call button once, wait a few seconds, and the press it again. In some cases (might only be later model years) this will serve as a "reset" to the radio.

Obviously I had tried all the reset methods on mine, was completely dead.
 

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So sorry for the delay in updating you all with my results. I too had a Terrain who's radio shat the bed.
I originally ordered a replacement that didn't exactly match my OEM radio part number. My car is equipped with radio part number:84026051
I hastily ordered a used radio with part number: 84026072.

The RPO codes should be as close as possible. The replacement i bought, although nearly identical in appearance(missing the gps antenna port on back), was way off as far as RPO codes go. I knew the radio wouldnt have navigation, but i never use that anyways. I mostly care about bluetooth and rearview camera.

When the radio arrived i performed the EEPROM reprogramming as outlined earlier in this thread.
I reassembled and tested it in the car. Success! The screen came back to life. However I quickly realized that the audio was not coming on. The bottom circuit board installed in the radio didnt seem to know to turn on the external amplifier.

Ok. So back to the drawing board... i took the radio apart again and cobled together a hybrid of the old and the new radio. I used the bottom circuit board from my broken radio with the upper circuit board from the new radio. Reassembled and re-tested in my car. SUCCESS! The radio greated me with the greatest sounding FM static of my life. I now know that the upper circuit board on my existing radio was the part that crapped-out. I continued testing the back-up camera and that functioned correctly. Then I tested bluetooth. WAIT A MINUTE! WHAT THE CRAP IS THIS!? NO BLUETOOTH?!

After swearing for a few minutes, I regained composure and began looking online for the correct radio. The difference in used pricing between the crappy radio and the oem-matching radio was about 100 dollars more.
In not-giving-a-f*ck mode, i attempted to replace the capacitor looking the most bulged (which wasnt really that malformed) on the upper circuit board. Rebuilt, reassembled, and tested. NOTHING, STILL DEAD.

Bit the bullet and ordered new radio.

Radio arrived.

Flashed EEPROM and re-assembled/installed in car.

Voila! Everything is back to normal and functioning.

Anyways, i am including some pictures to help anyone else having this issue.

Oh yeah, and the stealerships that I called, all told me you cannot replace with a used radio and even of you could, its a minimum of $130 to re-program with no guarantees. So here's to you GM and your ****ty radios.

Huge shout out to this thread and those who helped me!. Especially DenverGP. Hope others can save themselves some headaches.
 

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Discussion Starter #40
Congrats. Interesting that the non-matching radio partially worked. Looks like the eeprom programmer you got is the exact same one I got.


I wonder what the difference between your radio and mine are. Mine was from a 2017 equinox, but all the same RPO codes are listed on the sticker.

And all the model numbers / id numbers on the right side of the sticker are exactly the same as mine, but the main GM part number is different. I'm guessing the difference would come down to the software programmed into the radio.

Also note, if you subscribe to XM/Sirius sat radio, you'll need to have them transfer your account to the new radio (it's got a different XM/Sirius Id number from your old one). Could possibly avoid this step by transferring the small silver box inside the radio that is marked with XM from your old radio to the new one. I suspect that silver box probably has the ID number inside it.
 
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