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Car has blown 3 radios, please help!

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Hi, I have lost my partner in crime, companion or as I call it, my daily drug which keeps me somewhat sane. I am referring to my car radio. This is a factory standard cassette radio single DIN which is connected to a single DIN cd player in a VW Golf GT TDI 130 PD 2002.

I cant remember for sure when I first noticed my radio was dead but it was within the last month and the only thing I can recall doing fairly recent beforehand was reconnecting my phone to my old Nokia handsfree kit which came already installed when I bought the car, and reminding myself to try and make use of it as it was fairly good. I hadn't used the handsfree kit more than 3 or 4 times altogether since I have this car as had planned on installing a different system, but that never happened yet.

Anyway I am not sure if the radio just quit working after that or if it worked for a short while after that and then gave up. The handsfree kit never gave any bother any time I used it, it was just very loud sometimes. The handsfree kit works of the radio speakers so its connected to it. So around this time I have noticed the radio is not working. I have checked the following;

1# Checked all the fuses at the drivers door side dash panel and all good.

2# Removed the radio and checked the actual radio fuse in the rear of the

radio and it is good

3#Have tested for 12V at the radios power supply connector and have 12V on 2 wires with ignition off-not sure why theres 2 with 12V there

4# Have tested all other wires/terminals in that same plug for power out of curiosity and found a lighter wire with 12V with ignition on and 3V with ignition off

5# Tested for ground/earth at the same connector and it was good

6# Checked for damaged wiring around the radio slot in the dash and all looked good.

7# Checked wiring under bonnet and all seems good.

8# Scanned for codes and just the usual codes been thrown up which I have had for ages not radio related to my knowledge. But one strange thing is I can no longer communicate with my radio using the relatively cheap VAG Scan tool. I used to be able to get a code from it related to the antenna. I presume I would be able to access it again if my radio was not dead.

9# Have tried 2 more aftermarket cd players, which powered up but both only lasted for a few seconds. One showed a message PROTECT on the screen before it gave up, the other had a problem previously with a jammed cd drive which left it constantly running. ***P.S Neither of the 3 radios have blown any of the fuses***

10# Tried bench testing the 3 radios straight of the battery by connecting what I believe to be the positive and negative terminals at the rear of radio to the battery terminals. Still nothing, no light or nothing on screen. Still no fuses are blown

In the past I had seen this standard radio show the SAFE message on the screen after disconnecting the battery terminals while doing other jobs but only the first time I got a code from the dealers to get it working again, every other time it comes back to life by itself if given a few mins.

So my heads really confused here, I was expecting something simple but I feel this is gonna drive me insane!! Can someone please please help me figure this out, any of your thoughts, advice or help is greatly appreciated and sorry for the long post


Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
Cassette? That was 30 years ago.
I betcha the handsfree kit is shorting the outputs of the radio. A very old radio output to a speaker was the signal wire and the ground wire. A modern radio has each speaker wire powered from its own amplifier for almost double the voltage which makes almost 4 times as much power. The hands free kit might be shorting the "ground" speaker wire to ground but it is not allowed to be grounded.

Connect the handsfree kit to only one speaker wire and the car's ground, not the other speaker wire.
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