Question about Alpine CDA-9885 CD Player

7 Answers

Lights cause squeal and memory gets lost each time turned off

I have an Alpine CDA 9885 installed in a 2004 Mercedes C-280.  When I turn the headlights on, I get a loud squeal that increases with acceleration.  Also, the presets won't hold their set stations and each time I turn it on, I have to turn the volume down since it goes to the preset volume of 12 which is very loud.  Lastly, is there any way to have the radio turn on when I turn the car on?  At present, I have to turn it back on, and advance to my Ipod setting each time.

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  • rjhumphries Dec 27, 2008

    Please explain a ground loop. As to the antenna cable, its not rusty at all. As to the presets stations, no they do not stay in memory. I think the grounding might be part of the problem but not the memory problem. I am guessing its not keeping power when the engine is turned off but I am a novice at this.

  • rjhumphries Dec 27, 2008

    I guess a solution that is to take it to a repair shop is not what I was looking for.

  • rjhumphries Dec 27, 2008

    The problem is not the alternator cable. The squeal is coming thru the speakers, it increases with acceleration, that is it gets louder.

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7 Answers

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Check all of the following:

1) Ground connections for your stereo + amps
2) The RCA cables that run from stereo to amp must not run next to the power wire, if it does, get some really expensive monster cables
3) check for bad wires.

If nothing then

You might be getting alternator noise, therefore, change your ground setup and get an inline filter.

Posted on Dec 29, 2008

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1st the memory, are u sure that the keep alive memory has a non switched 12 volt power source, it must be hot at all times or the memory will be erased every time u turn the ignition off, so the radio will have 2 12 volt power sources, one for the memory that is always on and one for the radio tuner/amp/deck which is switched, the other issue is noise, does the radio have a good ground to the sheet metal of the car it may be hooked up but not making a good connection, this will cause noise in the speakers, this is called spurious radiation and it comes from any electrical source in the car, Alt, heater fan motor, ignition system and so on, u need to use a Ohm meter to verify a good ground that has no more than 2-3 Ohms of resistance when the ground to the radio is checked to the chassis of the car, anymore and u have a poor ground and will get noise, if this is ok u can install a Radio frequency filter on the switched power to the radio, these are very cheap and available from any electronic store like Radio Shack.

Posted on Dec 29, 2008

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It is not properly wired. When it was installed it was installed using the ignition power lead. That is why your presets and volume are when being kept. I had the same problem with mine. I am not sure what the installer did wrong but a friend fixed it for me.

He said that basically its like being disconnected and then reinstalled into another vehicle .. brand new install . brand new setup .. all presets get lost

Posted on Dec 27, 2008

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Hi and welcome to FixYa,

Initially, there should be 2 kinds of B+ lines going to the Alpine CDA 9885:

  • yellow - connected to an always on B+12 such as the + battery terminal. Since always on, this is responsible for keeping the memory/presets;
  • red - connected to the ACC terminal of the ignition switch. It will only have +12 when the key is switched to ACC or IGN/ON.
Your other post "loud squeal that increases with acceleration" could very well refer to alternator whine. A workaround is to instal DC filters composed of an inductor and capacitors on both the yellow and red wires. The correct procedure though would be to check the general wiring/electrical system with particular attention to the charging line to the battery.

Good luck and Thank you for using FixYa.

Posted on Dec 27, 2008

  • Louie  Role
    Louie Role Dec 29, 2008

    There is a way to verify if the alternator is causing the whining sound or not:


    • temporarily remove the main terminal connection of the alternator;

    • temporarily cover said wire/connector from the alternator's main terminal with electrical tape;

    • start the engine, for the moment, the battery indicator will lit. This is to be expected;

    • power on the Alpine CDA 9885;

    • if there is still the whining sound, then it is not the alternator;

    • if it is gone, you have just confirmed that it is caused by the alternator.
    Cheers.


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Make sure your alternator cable is tight....it sounds like when you turn on the lights, it's causing a drain on your system causing the alternator belt to squeal and enough of a drain that the radio loses the electric signal long enough to lose it's memory. Also make sure your battery cables are tight and corrosion free.

Posted on Dec 27, 2008

  • Kevin Shafer
    Kevin Shafer Dec 27, 2008

    Sorry I misunderstood :c)

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You will have to make this automatic setting done at any local repair center by connecting the external wire to the battery and control module.

Posted on Dec 26, 2008

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You have a ground loop. Typically develops on older vehicles through rusted cables on antennas. Unplug your antenna at the back of the radio and re-try. The radio may be installed improperly as well. Do your stations hold their memory?

Posted on Dec 26, 2008

  • 6 more comments 
  • blueextc3221
    blueextc3221 Dec 28, 2008

    if the antenna adapter wasnt taped off behing the radio, it could be forming a chassis ground where your alternator whine is being induced into the system. Chances are that if the idiot that installed your +12V constant to a switched source, ne didnt tape off the antenna adapter either.

  • blueextc3221
    blueextc3221 Dec 28, 2008

    it doesnt need repair, you need to find a 1/2 way decent installer that will guarantee his installation.

  • blueextc3221
    blueextc3221 Dec 29, 2008

    Noise Problem Troubleshooting: Whining noise


    If you have a whining noise in your system that varies in pitch with the RPM of the engine (and disappears when the engine is off), then you are experiencing alternator whine.

    The alternator on your car produces Alternating Current (AC), but then converts it to Direct Current (DC) by means of a bank of diodes known as a rectifier bridge. The noise that you hear from the alternator is known as "ripple", and is caused by some of the alternating current slipping past the diodes. It can be picked up by components either over the power supply, over the signal path, directly through the case of a component, and through control or output leads.

    Some of the major causes of ripple being produced by the alternator are:

    Ground Loop - A difference in ground voltage between the Head Unit and the Amplifier.


    • Extend the Head Unit's ground wire to the Amp ground location. Ground everything in the audio system (equilizers, crossovers, etc) to a single point near the Amplifier to eliminate the ground loop.

    Defective Diodes in the Alternator - The diodes in the alternator could be defective. This can be caused by:


    • Heat
    • Overcharging
    • Jump-Starting
    • Foreign Material


  • blueextc3221
    blueextc3221 Dec 29, 2008

    The Battery Itself - The battery can cause problems if it is:


    • weak.
    • overcharged.
    • undercharged.
    • dirty.
    • not making a good ground connection to the vehicle chassis.
    Excessive Accessories - If there are many accessories connected to the battery and / or the charging system, any one of these accessories could very easily cause the alternator to overwork itself and cause the diodes in the alternator to produce more ripple than usual. Some common causes are:

    • Dirty headlight bulb connectors
    • Clogged wiper assemblies
    • Poor electric window systems
    • Defective Alarm Systems
    • Accessory Lighting (such as neon and fog / driving lights)



    One main point to note on the alternator
    - It's production of alternating current is three-phase, meaning that it is produced in three separate cycles. If one of the cycles were to be completely blown out, the alternator would still be able to produce current, it just has to work harder to keep production at the same level. Having to work harder also means that it increases it's noise production as well.
    If you have reason to believe that any of the above may be causing you to have a faulty charging system, then a quick method of checking would be to pull a known noise-free car alongside the suspect vehicle. Then, with the known-good vehicle's engine running, connect a jumper cable between the positive posts of the two batteries and the other cable between the alternator brackets of the two cars. Do not start the suspect vehicle, just operate its stereo system. Does it still have whine? If not, the car may very well have a faulty charging system.
    If it does still have whine, then it is time to figure out where the noise is getting into the system. The majority of alternator whine problems can be traced to bad signal grounds. If unplugging the RCA cables makes the noise go away, then the problem is that the noise is entering over the signal path. A single grounding point for both the left and right signal grounds is the most important aspect of a noise-free signal path. The reason that we want only one grounding point is that if you only have one ground point, a ground loop cannot exist.

  • blueextc3221
    blueextc3221 Dec 29, 2008

    When any accessory uses the body of the car for ground, other accessories that use the car body for ground can form a common return path. In these cases, some accessories can limit the amount of ground that other accessories can receive. This is commonly known as a ground loop. If the amount of ground return is affected, then the amount of power into the component is affected. In autosound components, this can greatly affect the amount of power output, as well as cause noise.
    The best place to establish a common Signal Ground is at the back of the head unit. Since the head unit has to be at one end of the system, and the amp is at the other end, it is a great place to establish the one-and-only signal ground. This is commonly taken care of automatically through almost all modern head units, by internally making the same reference to ground for both left and right RCA shields. The main goal is to make sure that this ground gets to float all the way to the amp(s), and not get misdirected along the way. The same signal ground seen at the deck must carry down through the rest of the components to the amplifier. If the grounds are different between any two components, ground noise can creep into the system. Most aftermarket autosound component manufacturers help you keep a single signal ground by floating the component's signal ground and allowing all grounds to reference back to the head unit. Sometimes, though, the signal output grounds will be chassis grounded on an individual component. If that component does not use DC-to-DC converters in it's power supply to isolate that ground, their signal outputs will be grounded and noisy. It is usually easier to substitute a more expensive component (with no chassis ground on it's output) than spend an hour trying to trace the whine. If there are several suspect components in line between the head unit and the amp, just take a long RCA cable and run it straight down the middle of the car (over the carpet, seats, etc.) straight to the amp. If the noise goes away, then it's time to check each individual component. One method of finding out which component is responsible is to bypass one component at a time using double female RCA barrel connectors. The barrel connector will float the outer shield of the RCA, preventing a second reference ground and a ground loop. If the noise goes away when you bypass a particular component, then you have found the culprit.

  • blueextc3221
    blueextc3221 Dec 29, 2008

    Induced Noise

    Another cause of noise in the system is induced noise. Induced noise is basically just noise that is radiated into a cable or component. In the above instance of unplugging the RCAs and having the noise disappear, another reason could be that noise is being induced into either one of the components through it's location, or due to being induced into the RCAs directly. To check for induced noise, first just try leaving the head unit hooked up, but move it as far out of the dash as the cables will allow. If the noise suddenly disappears when the unit is out of the dash, but returns when it is placed back into the dash, then something is radiating noise directly into the body of the head unit. If the noise does not disappear when the unit is out of the dash, then try running a different RCA cable straight down the middle of the car into the amp. If the noise then disappears, the noise may be radiating directly into the RCA cable itself. If so, try re-routing the RCA cable in the car so that it runs as far away as possible from the power wire for the amp, any factory computers (such as the Body Control Module or Engine Control Module), heater and A/C fan, factory relays, or anything similar. If you are sure that it is radiated noise, but can't seem to move the cable or component away from it, then you may need to use a noise sniffer. A noise sniffer is simply a cassette Walkman with an extension wired in so that the tape head can be held out basically like a microphone (You could also get similar results with an AM radio, though the results will not be as precise). You would want to turn the volume all the way up, put the headphones on, and "sniff" away at the entire route of the RCA cable. In the case of the head unit, you will especially want to look for any slightly larger gauge ground wires. In a 1985 Ford F-150, for example, there is a ground wire that is routed directly above the radio. If you find the wire(s), you would need to cut it, and solder in a large gauge (8 gauge would be recommended) extension, being sure to re-route it away from the radio. If this does not completely clear it up, then you can shield the radio with some sort of high iron content metal (such as MuMetal). In the case of the RCAs, it's always easier to re-route the cables than to relocate the noisy component.

  • blueextc3221
    blueextc3221 Dec 29, 2008

    Ignition Noise

    If the noise has a ticking associated with it (that varies with the RPM of the engine), then you may be experiencing Ignition Noise. Usually, this would just affect the power wire for the amplifier (and anything else that is tied in with it), and this is typically induced noise as well. Some sources of this are the distributor, ignition coil, plug wires, and plugs. If you have ignition noise, you would want to move your power wire as far as possible from any of these sources. If that doesn't help, then you would want to check all of these components to make sure they are not faulty, and make sure your plug wires are RFI (Radio Frequency Interference) shielded.

  • blueextc3221
    blueextc3221 Dec 29, 2008

    Troubleshooting is an art of knowledge. To eliminate it, you must have experience in knowing what to look for. Ground Loop filters are out there, but they do not work like you (and others here) seem to think. They only filter induced noise from the RCA cables. Noise can be introduced anywhere in the system that power transmission lines come in contact (or close proximity) to one another.



    The memory issue is from your constant and switched wires being improperly terminated. Swap the 2 wires (yellow for red).... that one is EZ. Troubleshooting in my shop is $40/hr. 1/2 hr min. You will not be able to eliminate it on your own as it originates from many different places.



    Hope the info above can assist you in attempting to sniff out the noise.

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