The only radio we listen to in the Miata is from RadioParadise.com. OK, occasionally on a Saturday morning I’ll tune to an NPR station to catch some classic Click & Clack, but 99.9% is an MP3 ripped from an internet stream and burned to a CD. Ten of those CDs sit inside a cartridge housed inside a Sony Disc Changer that is tucked into one corner of the trunk. It has been that way for the 9–1/2 years the Emperor has been in the family. This same changer even predates the Emperor for a couple years prior it sat inside the spare tire of the trunk of our previous Miata With No Name.
Recently this unit has been randomly powering off leaving nothing but static emanating from the speakers. I’ve checked all the connections and they all seem sound, wiggling any of them (especially the power cable to the changer) will not make it hiccup, once or twice a ride it will cut out for anywhere from a few seconds to around a minute. Annoying to say the least. Last week I decided to do something about it.
I ordered a GROM AUX-IN Adapter that that allows the use of an iPod and plugs into the back of the Miata’s head unit where the OEM Mazda disc changer would have went. We happen to have a 4Gig Nano that only gets used one or twice a year when Donna and I fly in an airplane, the rest of time it sits in a charger waiting patiently, this will give it reason to get excited for each new day.
The adapter arrived in the mailbox on Monday, so naturally the rest of the day was spent ripping out the Sony Disc Changer, reclaiming 5% of the Miata’s tiny trunk space. Then I needed to remove the OEM radio to get at the connector on the back. Using instructions found in the Miata.net Garage I made my removal tools from a coat hanger, but no amount of pushing/pulling/squeezing/ wiggling would get it to come out. After 20 minutes, a couple of cuts, several bruises and a blood blister on my left index finger I gave up. I guess I might have to breakdown and buy 2 sets of the official removal tools. I had disconnected the battery to take out the CD Changer, so I hooked it back up and set the time on the clock and even loaded a couple of the local radio stations as presets.
Tuesday morning when I got in the car to drive it to work the radio didn’t come on! Pushed the power button and it just bounced back at me, no click. The display didn’t even light up with the clock. There wasn’t any faceplate illumination either. Didn’t have time to do any troubleshooting, so we took the Sonata to work.
At work I called a couple auto parts stores to see if they had any of the removal tools and struck out. Then I tried a local car audio place and the guy there said just bring in the car and I’ll pop it out for you. After work I went there and lickity split he had the unit loose. Amazing what the proper tool for the proper job will do. I thanked him and came home. The radio fuse was fine. I pulled the head unit out and disconnected the harness. Got out my trusty Radio Shack Multimeter and with with the pin out diagram for connecter (thanks again m.net garage) checked for 12 volts. Unfortunately I had the correct voltage at the correct pins. I say unfortunately because that meant the radio was dead.
Hooked the radio back up, slid it back into the dash, buttoned it up so the interior looks good and wishfully tried the power button again (still didn’t work.) Now comes decision time, try and locate a very scarce used Miata Bose head unit keeping AUX-IN box or return the AUX-IN box and just buy a new aftermarket head unit with the iPod function already built in. Until a decision is made it’ll be kind of quiet in the Emperor’s cockpit.
The sound of silence will not be as hard to get used to as it will be to not see the time on the radio display…