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Hi there, If this model has a detachable faceplate, Remove the faceplate and clean down the contacts with metho and a cotton bud. Over time usually corrosion and dirt etc builds up on these terminals making them loose cotact when you touch the faceplate. This is the most commonly known problem alpine units. Other common problems is the power supply failing /amplifier. Hope this helps you out Cheers Steve
My only other hypothesis is that, similar to my wife's Kenwood deck that has the MASK motorized faceplate, the flex cable that connects the moving faceplate portion to the main unit has started to crack and lose connection. After a few years of moving back and forth, folding and unfolding, this seems to be a pretty common thing. I was able to replace the flex cable on my wife's deck, but only because I stumbled across detailed instructions (with pictures!) and I got lucky with the replacement cable being in stock at a local repair shop. Your mileage may vary :)
Some flip face stereos use a tiny micro switch to tell the onboard computer when the face is down or up and sometimes it uses the same switch for both positions sensing. It could be this switch is not working properly (dirty contacts, broken, bad wire, mis-aligned, etc.) and that is causing the problem. Good luck.
Wire braid out to the faceplate has got a parcially broken wire on it. Sony referes to it as a flexible circuit board. Part can be purchased from sony directly, an on a one to 10 scale to replace about a five.But it does involve taking your radio apart. So if you are handy at electronics. you can look it over. If you have doubts let a professional do it.