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FActory 1989-1990 Pontiac Firebird CD Player lights

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Old 07-31-2015, 02:31 PM   #1  
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FActory 1989-1990 Pontiac Firebird CD Player lights

I picked up a Factory CD player for my 89, The problem I have is the unit does not light up. The display works, and it dims with the lights on. But when I turn on the lights, the dash lights illuminate but the radio stays dark.

What I have done
I changed all of the bulbs - no luck
I swapped out another Amp and it did not help either.

Any one have any suggestions
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Old 07-31-2015, 03:16 PM   #2  
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Re: FActory 1989-1990 Pontiac Firebird CD Player lights

Sounds like you will have to check to power and ground paths the old school way.

Also sounds like you may be getting it (vert?) ready for a road trip????
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Old 08-02-2015, 09:27 PM   #3  
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Re: FActory 1989-1990 Pontiac Firebird CD Player lights

Naaw, just messing around with it when I get a little time... I have had the car since 2006, and done nothing to it but put 3000 miles on it.
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Old 08-04-2015, 09:32 PM   #4  
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Re: FActory 1989-1990 Pontiac Firebird CD Player lights

John, all I have is the 1992 Firebird service manual at the moment for reference so not sure if the wire colors changed or not. That said, there is a gray wire that runs from the dimmer rheostat that will supply 12+ volt to the dash lights as well as radio lights. So you should check the connector for the radio for a gray wire and see if it has 12+ volts with the dimmer rheostat on bright with the lamps on.

On a separate circuit is a brown wire that does not run through the dimmer rheostat, but instead from the park/headlamp switch, that controls the dimming of the display whenever the lights are on.
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Old 08-05-2015, 08:12 AM   #5  
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Re: FActory 1989-1990 Pontiac Firebird CD Player lights

JT,
Thank you, actually I know the gray wire is working as that also controls the dimming of the display. I have a Cassette player from the same era (with a BOSE amp on the back) that worked perfectly. It has to be something internal,

One thing I noticed when changing the light bulbs is there was a connector on the RH side of the faceplate that appeared to connect to one of the bulbs, BUT the connector has no wires going into those ports. I know as a matter of electronics that if you have an open circuit on one end, but bring the power in from another way it would still work, so I figure there has to be another connection to the bulbs elsewhere.

Oh well, Not like I drive it too much at night, but it would be nice to have it light up.

My first instinct was that the bulbs burnt out, it happens, no big deal, then my second instinct was all of the power comes into the amp, and then is distributed to the different parts of the radio. In reality there are 4 pieces to any GM radio from this generation:
1) Faceplate & Buttons
2) The Mechanism, whether it is a Cassette, CD or delete
3) The Amp
4) you could include the frame as a 4th

The Great thing about this generation of radio, is if you want BOSE, all you need is the amp off of the back and you can plug it in. I converted my 1995 Rivera over to BOSE when I bought it, it worked great, I had to run power and shielded wires to each of the speakers for the amps, but I was able to do it... (DO NOT believe someone that states that it is not possible to install BOSE where there was no BOSE, I did it.

One of the things I learned was What makes a BOSE radio sound good is not just the Amp itself, there is something to do with electronic programming in the faceplate itself. After the conversion the clarity of the sound was better, but the balance of Bass and Treble really did not change.

What really confuses me is on the back side of my radio there are 5 plugs, 4 of which are tied together and plug directly into the amp. There is another that plugs into the bottom that seems to go directly to the faceplate. But that does not appear to do anything, I almost wonder if it had to do with the steering wheel controls for the GTA (that I do not have). The radio works the same with or without it.

I am actually considering converting it over to the BOSE amp, run a few amps off of it and then power my speakers with remote amps for better sound. BUT then I think to myself, in all seriousness, a Convertible is not a great venue for awesome sound... As long as I can hear it at 75mph, then who cares.

John

Last edited by okfoz; 08-05-2015 at 08:31 AM.
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Old 08-05-2015, 10:55 AM   #6  
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Re: FActory 1989-1990 Pontiac Firebird CD Player lights

John, the dimming of the display is on a different circuit from the night lights. The dimming of the display is simply an off/on signal from the brown wire. The night lights are controlled by the rheostat dimmer by the gray wire.

That you have a dimming display does not mean for certain that you also have power to the night lights since they are on a separate circuit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by okfoz View Post
JT,
Thank you, actually I know the gray wire is working as that also controls the dimming of the display. I have a Cassette player from the same era (with a BOSE amp on the back) that worked perfectly. It has to be something internal,

One thing I noticed when changing the light bulbs is there was a connector on the RH side of the faceplate that appeared to connect to one of the bulbs, BUT the connector has no wires going into those ports. I know as a matter of electronics that if you have an open circuit on one end, but bring the power in from another way it would still work, so I figure there has to be another connection to the bulbs elsewhere.

Oh well, Not like I drive it too much at night, but it would be nice to have it light up.

My first instinct was that the bulbs burnt out, it happens, no big deal, then my second instinct was all of the power comes into the amp, and then is distributed to the different parts of the radio. In reality there are 4 pieces to any GM radio from this generation:
1) Faceplate & Buttons
2) The Mechanism, whether it is a Cassette, CD or delete
3) The Amp
4) you could include the frame as a 4th

The Great thing about this generation of radio, is if you want BOSE, all you need is the amp off of the back and you can plug it in. I converted my 1995 Rivera over to BOSE when I bought it, it worked great, I had to run power and shielded wires to each of the speakers for the amps, but I was able to do it... (DO NOT believe someone that states that it is not possible to install BOSE where there was no BOSE, I did it.

One of the things I learned was What makes a BOSE radio sound good is not just the Amp itself, there is something to do with electronic programming in the faceplate itself. After the conversion the clarity of the sound was better, but the balance of Bass and Treble really did not change.

What really confuses me is on the back side of my radio there are 5 plugs, 4 of which are tied together and plug directly into the amp. There is another that plugs into the bottom that seems to go directly to the faceplate. But that does not appear to do anything, I almost wonder if it had to do with the steering wheel controls for the GTA (that I do not have). The radio works the same with or without it.

I am actually considering converting it over to the BOSE amp, run a few amps off of it and then power my speakers with remote amps for better sound. BUT then I think to myself, in all seriousness, a Convertible is not a great venue for awesome sound... As long as I can hear it at 75mph, then who cares.

John
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Old 05-04-2018, 03:36 PM   #7  
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Re: FActory 1989-1990 Pontiac Firebird CD Player lights

While I'm sure that you guys have forgotten all about this thread,... I found it on a search years later and with any luck what I write today someone else might be able to use if/when they find this thread in the future.

Quote:
What really confuses me is on the back side of my radio there are 5 plugs, 4 of which are tied together and plug directly into the amp. There is another that plugs into the bottom that seems to go directly to the faceplate. But that does not appear to do anything, I almost wonder if it had to do with the steering wheel controls for the GTA (that I do not have). The radio works the same with or without it.
Yup,... You probably just needed to splice the 'right' plug in place. For several years in the early nineties GM used that 4th plug to control things like SWC and back-lighting. This was true for the later 89+ style 21 PIN radios as well as the 21 pin "CDM' type radios. Still needed to use the normal 21 PIN plugs,..... but had to add 1 more wire & plug to control the back lighting. Here is a pic:



All the radios in this picture require that extra plug for proper back lighting. It's a 7 PIN plug and the GREY DIM wire is located in the 4th terminal. ( middle of the plug ) I've yet to see this plug required in a Chevy, but I have found Radios from Pontiac, Buick and Oldsmobile that require this plug/wire i n order for the Radio back lighting to work.

Just cut the GREY wire ( or splice into GREY ) at the existing radio harness and splice the original GREY wire to this plug,.... then you're G-T-G !

P.S. This is NOT the same plug as the GTA SWC radio;
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Old 05-10-2018, 08:45 AM   #8  
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Re: FActory 1989-1990 Pontiac Firebird CD Player lights

I think my radio does have that extra connector... but I think so does my car... It has been almost 3 years, so now I will have to look. Memory goes when you get old.
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Old 05-16-2018, 10:53 AM   #9  
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Re: FActory 1989-1990 Pontiac Firebird CD Player lights

I just looked the other day, the car has the extra connector, but it is only a red and black wire. thanks
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Old 05-19-2018, 02:41 PM   #10  
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Re: FActory 1989-1990 Pontiac Firebird CD Player lights

Whelp.. thanks for the help, but apparenlty not my issue.. I had an extra plug laying around so I took and pulled the gray wire from it and inserted the metal contact into the center plug, wired it to the gray wire with no luck.. hmm, back to the drawing board I guess...
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Old 05-20-2018, 12:02 PM   #11  
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Re: FActory 1989-1990 Pontiac Firebird CD Player lights

OK,............Time to get the ball across the GOAL line here !!!!!


The thing I remembered about this special head-unit backlighting was the need for the Grey Wire. But radios that require the 'extra' plug for backlighting always seem to have at least 3 wires: Grey, Black, and Green. The radio plugs on my testing connector/adapter are wired as completely as possible & because of this I didn't even think about this detail when I first wrote into this thread the other day.

last night I left my testing adapter intact and also used the "4th" plug from another harness in 1 of these radios. ( I wanted to probe 1 wire at a time and didn't want to cut my testing harness ) The regular 21 PIN testing harness plugs were plugged in normally and the radio worked as you describe in your first post here. I then used the additional 4th plug to probe just the grey wire and got no backlighting. BUT; when I ALSO probed the Black ground wire:

BANG !




I can't see any PIN ID on the 7-PIN plug.

Black = Far end of the plug closest to the locking tab.
Grey = 4th(middle) PIN
Green = Data ? Far end farthest from the locking PIN.


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Old 05-21-2018, 12:46 PM   #12  
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Re: FActory 1989-1990 Pontiac Firebird CD Player lights

ok, my car has the extra plug, but there seems to be some differences.
1) I think my plug is a 5 wire plug, not a 7... but it does plug into the port.
2) There is a RED wire where your GREEN wire is,
3) The Black wire appears to be correct.
4) I jumped the Gray (dash lights) to the center of the plug,
5) I have no clue where to get the green (data wire) from...

If you have a 7 wire, and mine is only 5, I might have the wire in the wrong port... The center of your plug would be like this:
1) Black
2) ---
3) ---
4) Gray
5) ---
6) ---
7) Green

If mine is only 5 then mine would be like this
1) Black
2) ---
3) Gray
4) ---
5) Red


I will have to take a picture of it.

John

Last edited by okfoz; 05-21-2018 at 12:50 PM.
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