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Author *Topic: Factory RDS radios - what's what?  (Read 10390 times)
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kthelen
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« on: June 23, 2011, 08:37:39 AM »

So it was always my understanding that all GM factory RDS radios had two things in common: one, they required a Class 2 or other data bus connection to even turn on; and two, they would lock if the BCM didn't respond with the same VIN that was programmed (or if it didn't respond at all).

But then I see this:

RDS - Radio Data System


The guy appears to be bench testing that tuner with nothing but 12VDC and an antenna/speaker. It would seem to indicate that there are some RDS radios out there which are content to work without a data bus connection - which would mean that, physical dimensions permitting, they could be installed in just about anything.

Does anyone here know if this is true? And if so, which years/models came with this elusive beast?


--Keith
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« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2011, 01:40:12 PM »

what exactly is "RDS"?
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« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2011, 02:26:08 PM »

"Radio Data System" - an optional (but commonly used) subcarrier service on FM stations, used to transmit data for properly equipped radios. It can do lots of things, but the most obvious one is displaying the station's calls or slogan (the "PS") along with "now playing" type data (usually in the "RT" on newer radios, or as part of a "scrolling PS").

If you've ever seen a car stereo showing the song title/artist on an FM station, you've seen RDS in action. Up until a few years ago, GM put the RDS logo on capable radios; now they don't seem to (my grandma bought an '06 Impala a couple years ago... it does RDS but isn't labelled as such).

EDIT: Not to get too video-happy, but here's an example I recorded a while back:

KCIZ-FM - Playing with RDS
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« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2011, 04:59:51 AM »

Yeah, RDS radios are cool. I NEVER listen to the radio so the feature would be useless for me. Actually, not one vehicle I own even has an FM antenna.
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« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2011, 06:17:22 AM »

My radio doesn't even play cds!!! Sd card and usb only
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« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2011, 10:13:51 AM »

^^ I have one of those in my box truck.
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« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2011, 06:37:12 AM »

Is it a pioneer with the little corner of the faceplate that comes off,  and has blootooth... Ummm does video (on like a 2" screen) lol
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« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2011, 10:57:40 AM »

So it was always my understanding that all GM factory RDS radios had two things in common: one, they required a Class 2 or other data bus connection to even turn on; and two, they would lock if the BCM didn't respond with the same VIN that was programmed (or if it didn't respond at all).

But then I see this:

RDS - Radio Data System

The guy appears to be bench testing that tuner with nothing but 12VDC and an antenna/speaker. It would seem to indicate that there are some RDS radios out there which are content to work without a data bus connection - which would mean that, physical dimensions permitting, they could be installed in just about anything.

Does anyone here know if this is true? And if so, which years/models came with this elusive beast?


--Keith


Ok, here's the story on RDS radios in GM vehicles:  All RDS ETR head units were designed with both a data buss input and power on by ignition input. Some of the Delphi/Delco units (such as those found in Oldsmobiles and even some Buicks) were designed to be powered on by the 12 volt ignition input, however, use the Class 2 Data Buss input for such thing as speed controlled volume, steering wheel controls, etc., much like older E&C Data Buss units.  In fact, in most of these units, you can even still use the E&C data buss and wire it into the Class 2 input.  Other units that are found in Pontiacs, Chevy's, and GMC must use the data buss only to turn on and have the ignition power on in internally disabled.  Now, some newer RDS units that use the GMLAN protocol were all designed with the ignition on 12 volt input enabled.  Especially the Saturn units that were not made by Delphi, but, were rather made by Panasonic.  In fact, I have one of the newer (2005/2006) Saturn ION/VUE RDS MP3 units in my 89 Cutlass Supreme as well.

I hope this helps you.

Starflare5.
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« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2011, 05:12:02 PM »

That's the straightest version I've heard from anyone, anywhere. Thanks a LOT!

One question, though: what about anti-theft? It was my understanding that many, if not all, of these radios would "lock" if they couldn't communicate with the BCM, or if there was a VIN mismatch between itself and the BCM.

This was something I read some time ago regarding Delco/Delphi RDS tuners "locking". Seems that guy had to go through considerable pains to get around it. Is "locking" only an issue on certain models, certain configurations (i.e., owner had to enable it), or all of them?
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« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2011, 10:36:52 AM »

That's the straightest version I've heard from anyone, anywhere. Thanks a LOT!

One question, though: what about anti-theft? It was my understanding that many, if not all, of these radios would "lock" if they couldn't communicate with the BCM, or if there was a VIN mismatch between itself and the BCM.

This was something I read some time ago regarding Delco/Delphi RDS tuners "locking". Seems that guy had to go through considerable pains to get around it. Is "locking" only an issue on certain models, certain configurations (i.e., owner had to enable it), or all of them?


You're very welcome kthelen,

The head units designed with the 12V ignition on enabled actually had the VIN number locking feature bypassed, however, could still be locked similar to the way that most of the older Delphi/Delco units could, by entering a code (owner enabled).  The Oldsmobile (units like the one in the video) and the Saturn/Panasonic head units have the code locking owner enabled feature, however, in most cases, it's never enabled.

Rule of thumb: If it can power on by the 12V ignition wire, chances are that it can be locked by entering a code only.  If it powers on by data buss only, chances are that it uses the VIN locking feature.

By the way, where was this where you read someone had gotten around it?

I hope this helps.

Starflare5.
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« Reply #10 on: July 15, 2011, 11:05:53 AM »

The word "This" in my previous post was a link to http://www.automotiveforums.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=899623

Guess I could have made that a bit clearer wink
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« Reply #11 on: July 15, 2011, 11:39:29 AM »

The word "This" in my previous post was a link to http://www.automotiveforums.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=899623

Guess I could have made that a bit clearer wink


Thank you for that.  Great post.  It looks like if you disengage that pin on that EEprom, that you re-enable the head unit's 12V ignition on feature.  That's very good to know actually and thank you soo much.  

If this step is done, then the better matching units can be placed in many other vehicles.  I always knew there was a way to bypass it, but, Delphi would never tell me of course.

Thank you again,

Starflare5.
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« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2012, 09:51:42 PM »

Time to bring this thread back from the dead!

After picking up an '03 Silverado with a base AM/FM stereo a few weeks ago, the need for figuring out these RDS radios became more pressing. Gotta have my creature comforts, after all lol

I grabbed the first two clean units I could find at the local junkyards (no small task, since they all seem to have at least one preset button worn off). One was a "proper" Chevy-style AM/FM/CD from an '03 Impala, the other was the "magical" Oldsmobile unit (mentioned earlier) from an '01 Alero.

Having tinkered with both, I can now safely say:

1) The EEPROM disable trick works. Unmodified, the radio immediately displays the word "LOCKED" and won't function when installed in the truck; no 12V power-on either. After modification, 12V power-on works and the radio is unlocked.

2) There's nothing "magical" about the Oldsmobile units. Other than different faceplate and knob configurations, my Olds and Chevy units were the same farking thing on the inside.

3) Not all Oldsmobile units had 12V power-on enabled from the factory - mine didn't. Likewise, it also locked after talking to the truck's BCM. The good news, though, is that the EEPROM modification worked on it just the same.

But it hasn't all been cupcakes and rainbows. That thread I linked to had some complainers whining about the presets (only - not the clock setting, etc) being lost after turning off the ignition. Both my units suffered from this issue. I've heard people blame it on certain models/years being different, but I think it may be because of inconsistencies in how people are doing this modification.

See, you're supposed to just remove pin 8 of the specified EEPROM. But like several others before me, I ended up using the brute-force method and simply removed the EEPROM altogether (all I had was a Weller gun with a tip fatter than the chip in question). I strongly suspect that my ugly hack may be the source of the problem.

Since I can get another unit for a mere $22, I think another trip to the junkyard - and a smaller soldering iron - is in order next. The units I have now work great, but resetting my presets every time I hop in is getting old already. (Plus, it's not like the first two will be wasted... I can always find ways of putting them to use wink )

I'll let you know what happens...


--Keith
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« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2012, 11:15:37 PM »

Hey there,

                     I cannnot believe that I haven't logged into this site for soo long.  Here's the thing and some new findings and information and a HUGE correction to my previous post.  Here is an article I have posted onto another site and it is totally the clear cut truth:

New findings!!!



Hey guys,
 
I know this an old thread, but, I thought I'd let you know of another option I have found if you still want a factory audio system with RDS in an older vehicle. I decided to do this myself in order to have my radio control my factory compatible CD changer instead of using an FM modulator. First of all, you can actually make a newer Delco/Delphi head unit work without class 2 data buss and/or without programming by unlocking, or, technically "jailbreaking" the unit. All newer Delco/Delphi newer head units with a "Band" button and/or the multi-disc symbol are both CD changer and/or XM radio compatible which can give you a few more options. They are also all pretty backwards compatible with a few exceptions.

How to make the head unit work is rather simple. As described in a link I previously posted, You can de-solder pin 8 on the security chip marked 9355093, however, I have dug deeper than that and thought I'd share with all of you my findings. First of all, I recommend simply removing the chip completely. After you de-solder pin 8, the head unit becomes automatically compatible with every GM class 2 vehicle out there, and, in some casses, even E&C and non data bus vehicles, and, there is basically no point to leaving the chip in otherwise. This chip is also what causes a GM tech 2 scan tool to free and restrict certain features of the radio as well such as XM and others. If you're wanting a head unit that is going to be compatible with all vehicles, and, will power on via 12 volt ignition, you want a Delco/Delphi unit made prior to 2004 with a date code sticker on the top panel, and, no Delphi part number on the side sticker. Inside the head unit, you will find the security chip located close to a front corner of the main board. For example; On a Chevrolet head unit, the chip should be located on the underside of the board toward the front inside opposite the audio adjustment knob. On Pontiac head units, you'll find it in the same corner toward the front opposite the Traf, Prog/Type, and HR/MN buttons. Before removing the chip, remove the faceplate, front metal panel, and, if applicable, the cassette drive for easy access to the chip.
 
Class 2 head units made from 2004 to around 2006 and some newer, have the date code and a Delphi part number on the side panel. These units are designed to power on by data bus only and will not power on by 12 volt ignition power. These units also have the chip directly in the middle underside of the main board.
 
For either type, I recommend removing the chip instead of taking it to a dealer for programming where as in some cases, programming may cause features to be restricted such as a CD changer or XM radio tuner.
 
Precautionary note: On vehicles older than 1995 with an early E&C data buss, I do not recommend connecting it to the unit due to it will prevent the unit from accessing any external add-ons or devices, however, will help it to retain it's preset and audio settings if it is connected. On vehicles made 1995 or newer with E&C 1.5 and/or Class 2, connecting the unit to the data buss
should not cause any issues. Also, remember, in this case, "Calibrate" and/or "Cal Error" is a good thing.
 
Some head units may have a memory loss issue with presets, last function used, and EQ position when they are not connected to a data buss.

Remember, all newer units have a delayed power off sequence even when RAP is not involved. This is residual power leaving the capacitors of the unit, and, if you have an amp connected, it is normal to hear a bass pop from the speakers a few seconds after you have turned off the unit or vehicle.
 
The part numbers of at least the MP3 head units compatible with all vehicles Class 2 or not (12 volt ignition) are;
 10348717 (Chevrolet Head Unit)
 10348716 (Pontiac Head Unit)
 15216905 Series 1 (Chevrolet/GMC Truck head unit)
 

For newer vehcles with E&C 1.5 or class 2:
 
15216905 Series 2 (Chevrolet/GMC Truck head unit)
 28016697 (Pontiac Head Unit)
 
Please take note that this can apply to almost all Delco/Delphi class 2 head units. Just to let you all know, I have the Pontiac unit in my CS, however, it has the memory issues.
 
I hope this helps.
 
Starflare5.
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« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2012, 12:15:03 AM »

Have you been able to narrow down what might be the cause of the memory issue? That's my main annoyance right now. Since I know neither what causes it nor which models are/n't affected, I'm just stabbing in the dark.

I see you mention the memory issue is supposed to be isolated to installs where there's no connection to a compatible data bus. But I've witnessed the issue in my truck, on both units, with the data bus connected. All the bus-controlled features are working (chimes, speed-compensated volume, etc) so I know the connection is good and the related systems are compatible.

After doing some re-reading, it seems the complaints are all coming from people with the non-MP3 units - or at least I didn't see anyone with an MP3-capable unit complaining of memory issues. Again, wild guess...?

The one other mystery that remains (in my mind, anyways) is what was done differently on those few units that left the factory with 12V ignition power-on enabled and anti-theft disabled. If it's all in software, then there's really nothing to be done. But if it's in hardware, there might be a cleaner solution to be had. I'm no EE, though, so there's zero chance of me getting to the bottom of it myself.
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