Radio lights going out

Discuss any problems, warranty, repair, or replacement issues you are having with your Vibe & Matrix

Radio lights going out

Postby rleo » Tue May 27, 2008 11:30 am

My just purchased 2006 Vibe base has a factory radio (I assume).
One of the lights that back-lights the radio display was out when I bought the car (18000 miles on it). A second display light has now failed. I cannot read the display during the day. The radio works fine. Anyone know how to replace the lights? Is it covered by the warranty?
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Re: Radio lights going out (rleo)

Postby ToolGuy » Tue May 27, 2008 8:53 pm

If it is the GM factory radio then I am 99% sure it is covered under the warranty even if it is the bulb. Most of the GM radios now do not have socketed light bulbs like years ago, seems all/most are not soldered to a circuit board. I have not have mine apart but I have on another GM car of mine and have heard this from others. I would drive it in and talk to the service dept before just dropping the car off, that way they can tell you yes or no.
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Re: Radio lights going out (rleo)

Postby Mojo72 » Mon Jun 02, 2008 7:24 am

I have the same situation w/ a 2004 Vibe that I purchased back in Jan08 from a private seller. I knew about the radio backlight problem when I bought the car, but the price was too good for the radio to be a deal breaker. The car just tipped over 71K miles so I'm thinking the warranty has timed out, but I guess you never know until you ask. I know that I don't want to pay for a new radio.
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Re: Radio lights going out (Mojo72)

Postby Raven » Mon Jun 02, 2008 8:35 am

It's a very common issue on these cars. My '06 went out just out of warranty. At 18,000+ miles you should definately be covered.
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Re: Radio lights going out (Raven)

Postby Mojo72 » Mon Jun 02, 2008 9:03 am

So it looks like the only way to solve the backlight problem is to replace the entire radio or learn to live with it. Correct? I could look into a used radio from a salvage yard, but I could never be sure if what I'm buying is good until I power it up in the dash.
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Re: Radio lights going out (ToolGuy)

Postby joatmon » Mon Jun 02, 2008 9:07 am

All the bulbs in the factory radios are soldered in place.

If the car is still under warranty, the radio should be also. A dealer will replace the radio, and send your original one back, so if you go to get it replaced under warranty, be sure to eject the CD or you may never see it again.

If you are out of warranty, there are usually some low cost units on ebay. Swapping a radio is pretty easy, it is covered in a number of other threads, but it's basically pull off the trim piece, disconnect the wires on it, then the radio is held in place with four 10mm screws, pull it out, and disconnect the wires off the back (and a wire tie from one of the brackets)

If you decide you want to replace the lights inside by yourself instead of replacing the whole radio, then first you have to pull the radio out. Once you have the radio out of the car, move to a good work area where you won't lose any screws or other parts.

The first step to disassembling the radio is to pull the two rotary knobs off. Just grab and pull.



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Re: Radio lights going out (joatmon)

Postby joatmon » Mon Jun 02, 2008 9:08 am

Next you have to pry off the bottom cover. There are four places where you have to budge the cover over a bump. The one on the side closest to the front can be harder because of the mounting bracket.



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Re: Radio lights going out (joatmon)

Postby joatmon » Mon Jun 02, 2008 9:10 am

I have a CD/Cassette unit from a Matrix, you probably don't, so for you this step doesn't apply, but for me, I had to remove four screws to move the cassette deck out of the way.

I've taken apart a Vibe cd unit (no tape deck, and the rest applies


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Re: Radio lights going out (joatmon)

Postby joatmon » Mon Jun 02, 2008 9:11 am

There are two wire bundles that connect the face plate to the motherboard. Remove these two by gently pulling up the wires to remove the connectors from the motherboard.

The connectors are different sizes, so you can't get them crossed when you put it back together. You can see in the picture that there are two holes in the chassis front, one wire bundle comes through each hole. When you put it back together, it will be obvious which goes through which

(since mine is a CD/tape, there are other wires in there, but for the Vibe's 1CD unit, there are just the two marked wire bundles)


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Re: Radio lights going out (joatmon)

Postby joatmon » Mon Jun 02, 2008 9:13 am

The face plate is attached to the main chassis by eight clips, Two on each side. To separate the faceplate from the chassis, you have to gently pry one a little while pulling the face plate gently, then move on to the next tab, work your way around as you inch the tabs over the bumps, sooner (or later) you'll get all 8 freed up at the same time and can pull the face plate off

You definitely want to be careful prying the tabs, you do not want to break them. Just lift them a little, while pulling on the face plate. I guess you might be able to use eight toothpicks or some such thing, wedge one under each clip, but I didn't do that



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Re: Radio lights going out (joatmon)

Postby joatmon » Mon Jun 02, 2008 9:15 am

The face plate is a plastic cover and a circuit board. There are five small screws on the back of the circuit board that hold the two parts together.

Remove the five screws, but when you go to separate the two, have the face plate down, or else all the buttons will fall out of the face plate.



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Re: Radio lights going out (joatmon)

Postby joatmon » Mon Jun 02, 2008 9:16 am

This shows the front of the circuit board with the cover removed. You can see all the lights for each of the buttons, but the LCD backlights are still hidden behind the LCD.

(On mine a couple of the little white bulbs along the bottom row are burned out, but I'm not sure what bulb to put in there.)



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Re: Radio lights going out (joatmon)

Postby joatmon » Mon Jun 02, 2008 9:17 am

To get to the LCD backlight bulbs, you have to remove the LCD. In the previous picture you can see a metal housing around the LCD, it has six tabs that fit through the circuit board and are bent to lock them in place.

In order to remove the LCD to access the backlight bulbs, you have to straighten the six tabs as best as possible. They have to be straight enough to slide through the small slots int he circuit board.

Once you have the tabs bent straight, you have to pry the LCD and metal cover off, pulling these six metal tabs through the circuit board, so the better you can straighten them, the easier it will be. I used a pair of needle nose pliers.

This pic shows the back of the circuit board small with a red box on it, and below that is a larger view of the area in the red box, with the six tabs indicated



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Re: Radio lights going out (joatmon)

Postby joatmon » Mon Jun 02, 2008 9:19 am

After you get those six tabs straight, then gently pry the LCD up and off from the front. Do it in little steps, working around.

This pic shows the front of the circuit board, after the LCD has been removed. There are three bulbs, each soldered to the circuit board. The bulbs themselves are clear glass, but each has a tiny white rubber condom over it. Mine has a small amount of heat discoloration on the circuit board around the bulbs.


-=-=--=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Now, the question is what bulb to use to replace them with. I do not know. There is another thread here that says to use a 12V 100mA bulb. The only place near me to get a solder-in bulb like that is radioshack, and they have a 12V bulb about the same size, but it's specs make me think it would not be bright enough.

I did a lot of looking, and so far what I think would be the best match for what is in there is an 8640 bulb. (do a google shopping search for 8640 bulb) I thought about ordering some. I also thought about ordering some 2162 bulbs, which are rated at 10,000 hours.

In the end what I did was go to the local auto parts store and bought two two packs of "74" bulbs. They are a wedge base bulb, but there is enough metal wire in the wedge base to bend it to fit the holes for the stock bulbs. These 74 bulbs are "T 1 3/4" size, a bit bigger than the bulbs I took out, but still fit ok. They were too big to fit the little white rubber bulb condoms on. (I think the 8640 bulbs are the right size, perhaps T1 1/4, the 2162's are the larger T1 3/4 size)

So without embarrassing myself by posting pics of amateur soldering, I'll just say that you can unsolder the failed bulb, and solder in the replacement. You might consider, if one failed, how long till the next one fails. I replaced all three. Then it is a matter of putting it back together, which is
- push the LCD and metal cover back on
- holding it tightly against the circuit board, re-bend the six tabs to lock it in place
- re-attach the circuit board to the front plastic cover with all the buttons by replacing the five screws
- feed the wires through the chassis, and click the face plate back onto the chassis, engaging all eight tabs
- re-attach the two wire bundles to the main board
- if you had a tape unit, screw it back in place
- snap the bottom cover back on
- push the knobs back on the front. They are keyed, so line them up
- reinstall the radio in the car




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Re: Radio lights going out (joatmon)

Postby moongdss » Mon Jun 02, 2008 9:31 am

Have I mentioned before just how rad the GenVibers are?


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Re: Radio lights going out (joatmon)

Postby Mojo72 » Mon Jun 02, 2008 9:33 am

Thanks for the great step by step pictures and directions. I'm not used to working on circuit boards so my next question concerns the actual replacement of the LCD bulbs. Do I cut off the burned out bulb(s) and solder the replacement(s) on?
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Re: Radio lights going out (Mojo72)

Postby joatmon » Mon Jun 02, 2008 10:08 am

You could do it either way. I unsoldered the bulbs and soldered new ones into the circuit board, but you could cut the glass off the old bulbs, leaving enough wire to tack solder the new bulbs in place.

I think that soldering the bulbs into the circuit board is stronger mechanically but the bulbs are pretty light. If you cut the wires off and tack solder the new bulbs in place, then at some point later you find that one of them has broken loose, you can resolder them easily enough, or maybe then try to solder them directly into the boards. But if you don't have the right tools and booger up the circuit board , then you're kinda screwed. So if you feel more comfortable leaving the wires and sodlering bulbs to them, then go for it.

In the pic above showing the bulbs, it also shows the back of the LCD mount, which has three rectangular holes, one for each bulb. However you attach the bulbs, they have to fit in those holes

Also, if you are careful, after you've soldered on the new bulbs, but before you screw the circuit board back on to the plastic faceplate, you can connect up the two wire bundles to the mother board, plug it back in to the car, and turn it on to verify that the new lights light up. Just be careful not to short anything out.

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Postby zionzr2 » Mon Jun 02, 2008 9:14 pm

Awesome write-up Joatmon!!

I just added this to the great Maint. How-To Index!

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Re: (zionzr2)

Postby Mojo72 » Wed Jun 04, 2008 2:15 am

Thanks for the fantastic explanations and schematics that even Stevie Wonder could figure out. I'm going to look around e-bay for a used radio and see what I come up with before launching into major surgery. Thanks again!!
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Re: Radio lights going out (Mojo72)

Postby djpondo » Sun Jun 15, 2008 9:25 pm

I recently had radio lights go out on two GM vehicles. I found the best solution at corvetteradios.com. They sell complete bulb kits for many non-corvette radios. The kits are about $20 to $30 - depending on the model and number of bulbs. All bulbs must be replaced at the same time. They have step-by-step instructions on their website. If you're uncomfortable doing the repairs yourself, they will do the repairs for you - for less than $100. DJ
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Re: Radio lights going out (joatmon)

Postby Digger » Fri Nov 21, 2008 5:42 am

Sweet
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Re: Radio lights going out (Digger)

Postby Digger » Sat Nov 22, 2008 2:36 am

Just finished the repair. Worked great thanks
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Re: Radio lights going out (Digger)

Postby Corn1849 » Wed Jan 07, 2009 2:53 pm

Quote, originally posted by Digger »
Just finished the repair. Worked great thanks
Digger:
Were did you find replacement bulbs?
What were they?
Thanx
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Re: Radio lights going out (Corn1849)

Postby cerulean » Wed Jan 07, 2009 10:43 pm

Quote, originally posted by Corn1849 »

Were did you find replacement bulbs?
What were they?

I used the "74" bulbs referenced above. Autozone had them on diplay rack. At Napa, they sell them "loose" and you have to ask at the counter.

Bob

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Re: Radio lights going out (Corn1849)

Postby Digger » Thu Jan 08, 2009 11:14 am

I used the 74 bulb from Advanced auto parts. I used one bulb smaller bulbs from radio shack in the center position. I had both . My plan was to change the smaller one if too dim or the two bigger ones if too bright. the bigger 74 bulb is the one to go with. the smaller bulb is too dim but not bad. If I ever need to replace one of the other bulbs I will switch the smaller bulb to a 74. the job was only about an hour. ( First half of a boring pro football game )
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Re: Radio lights going out (Digger)

Postby Corn1849 » Sat Jan 10, 2009 1:50 pm

Thank you Joatmon for your posts.
I just installed new "74" bulbs.
Your instructions were quite helpful.
Cheers!
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Fixed mine now

Postby HighMileVibe » Wed Apr 29, 2009 11:03 am

Perfect, exactly what I was looking for.
_______________________

Just fixed mine. ONE good tip: when you remove the faceplate from the circuit board, keep the faceplate DOWN and LIFT the circuit board off. This will keep all of the buttons in place on the faceplate. No big deal to replace them but just makes it easier in the reassembly.
--------------
I used the type 73 bulb from advanced auto. They are 1.1 watt vs. 1.4 watt of the 74. There was also an in between 37, I think, that was 1.3w. Anyway, the 73 is plenty bright and the 1.1 watt should last a little longer and not get as hot. I did not like the brown heat spots on the white of the reflective board that the other bulbs caused.
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I did come across something that may work very well on eBay. A dome light replacement built of LED's. It is about 15mm x 30 mm and is prewired for 12V. It should fit perfectly behind the display, not generate any heat and last as long as the car. I just could not see sending my money to china - all these LED kits seem to come from China.

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Postby manco_out_west » Sun Dec 13, 2009 6:51 am

I just used Sylvania 2721 bulbs. They say 6.5V 9.8W on the package but I noticed the bulb says 12/1.2 Does that mean 1.2W on a 12V system? I hope they last. They work great right now. Thanks for the step by step my wife loves her stereo again.

Let me know if you think the bulbs wont last. They barely fit, so I wouldn't recommend them, as they barely fit inside of the lcd screen area.

Thanks again.

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Re: (manco_out_west)

Postby msuphil » Tue Jan 05, 2010 5:27 am

I just did this; wasn't too bad. I used the 2162 they seem to be about the right brightness maybe slightly brighter. It's hard to compare as I was black so long.
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Re: #74 Bulbs

Postby Lava red'04 » Sun Jan 10, 2010 8:53 pm

I had two of the three bulbs go out and replaced them with the #74 bulbs and now none of them work. I'm used to working with electronics and am pretty handy with a soldering iron, so I don't think it's a case of bad workmanship. The bulbs at http://www.corvetteradios.com are $20 + $3 shipping. I spent $11 and 1.5 hours of wasted time and now get to do it all over again. I suggest spending the extra $12 and get the correct bulbs.
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Re: #74 Bulbs (Lava red'04)

Postby msuphil » Sun Jan 10, 2010 9:06 pm

I got the 2162 via http://shop.willyselectronics.com $0.45 a pop but you need a $10 minimum; I needed a solder iron so it wasn't a big deal for me to ge to $10.
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Re: #74 Bulbs (msuphil)

Postby woodyg » Mon Feb 22, 2010 8:14 pm

I am going to the store now to get these. I am confused about what color to get. do i get the clear ones or are they red...thanks in advance
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Re: #74 Bulbs (woodyg)

Postby deter » Sun Mar 28, 2010 9:28 am

I've done this before on my girlfriend's Grand Prix. Her car took one bulb for the display. I used a 12v 60mA bulb from Radio Shack. They come two to a package...

My vibe had two bulbs out. I replaced all three with these radio shack bulbs.

Pic of final:


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Re: #74 Bulbs (deter)

Postby deter » Sun Mar 28, 2010 9:33 am

pic of package the bulbs came in

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Re: #74 Bulbs (deter)

Postby shaeet » Fri Apr 23, 2010 4:58 am

bump for an awesome thread..going to buy the radio shack bulbs a mentioned above. They are 1.79 per 2 pack and stocked at the stores regularly. Only 1 of my 3 bulbs is out but i'm gonna replace them all on my radio, its annoying not being able to see the first 2 digits of the time of day lol

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Re: #74 Bulbs (shaeet)

Postby shaeet » Sun Apr 25, 2010 1:08 pm

bump again..completed the fix. Just cut the two wires going to the old bulbs & threaded the wires from the radio shack bulbs into the white bulb covers to keep them from sliding off (the radio shack bulbs are smaller diameter by quite a bit).

Heres a pic of how it looks now! not sure if its brigher or darker but the dimmer does let you adjust it with the lights on.



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Re: #74 Bulbs (shaeet)

Postby lil red wagon » Sat May 15, 2010 3:34 am

Just did this fix yesterday, went fairly smoothly (though im not the greatest with a soldering iron). Anyone know what may be causing this problem with the display now?

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Re: #74 Bulbs (lil red wagon)

Postby joatmon » Sun May 16, 2010 6:21 am

Quote, originally posted by lil red wagon »
Just did this fix yesterday, went fairly smoothly
(though im not the greatest with a soldering iron). Anyone know what
may be causing this problem with the display now?

Maybe try reseating the LCD module against the circuit card?

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Re: #74 Bulbs (joatmon)

Postby lil red wagon » Sun May 16, 2010 8:37 am

Quote, originally posted by joatmon »

Maybe try reseating the LCD module against the circuit card?

Yeah, think I'll try that tomorrow. Still, mine has been black for so long, I'm just happy with what I've go now...

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Re: #74 Bulbs (lil red wagon)

Postby Dino » Sun May 30, 2010 9:21 am

This site is great. My left and right bulb went out a couple of days ago, and I thought that I was out of luck. I actually like the stock radio. Now I know how to fix it, though some consensus on which bulb to use would be nice. Thanks in advance for the great instructions.
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Re: #74 Bulbs (Dino)

Postby JerryinKC » Thu Jun 10, 2010 4:26 am

I just completed this fix on the radio in my 2006 Vibe. It went exactly as described - took me a couple of hours but I was very careful (and took lunch).

I didn't want to take chances with off-spec bulbs so I ordered the 2162 bulbs from Bulbtown.

http://www.bulbtown.com/2162_M...2.htm

As of this writing the bulbs are US $.70 each with free shipping. I ordered 5 bulbs so I could replace all 3 and screw up a couple times (which I usually do but didn't this time).

These bulbs are very precisely the same size so I very carefully rolled back the little white "condoms" and put them on the new bulbs. The wires are thinner but that makes it easier to position them. I used a 140 watt soldering gun with no problem.

One area of caution. When you remove the mounting screws that hold the radio in there is a possibility you might drop a screw down into the bowels of the instrument panel. I had a neat idea to take a little square of paper towel, fold it double thick, and place it over the 10mm socket. Then I wrapped a little rubber band around it to hold it in place. When you press this onto the lower left and right screws the paper towel will compress and hold them into the socket long enough for you to pull them out.

I continue to be amazed at what you can find on the Internet. I put up with a half-black screen on my radio for months and just on a whim one day did a Google search for "Vibe radio lights" and came across this thread. Ordered the lights, took some time, and got it done - total cost about $11 and a couple of hours. Just amazing!

And thanks again for the time and effort for joatmon who originally posted this technique. Very detailed with good pictures. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Jerry in KC

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Postby rmate13 » Wed May 18, 2011 11:19 am

I did this fix using these steps 2 years ago and it came out fine (2/3 worked which was good enough). Just recently all my lights went out so I bought some sylvania 73 bulbs and attempted to do the fix again. Put the stereo back in and everything worked for about 2 minutes then black. Any ideas? Is there a fuse?
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Re: (rmate13)

Postby KITT222 » Wed May 18, 2011 12:12 pm

If it were a fuse than it wouldn't have worked for that two minutes. Maybe a short somewhere?
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Postby rmate13 » Sun Jun 12, 2011 3:08 am

I was unable to locate short - went to walmart and bought a nice sony, the vibe adapter kit and the vibe wiring kit all for about $100. The installation was easy - easier then soldering in new bulbs anyway. Works fine and has a little plastic shelf to make up for the oversized face that the factory model had.
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Postby lovemyraffe » Sat Jun 25, 2011 11:57 pm

2 of the 3 lights on my radio are extremely dim at startup then brighten up as the car warms up. I'll be changing these in the near future and hope that it fixes it.

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Postby Digger » Mon Aug 29, 2011 5:17 am

I need to do this for the second time or get a new radio.
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Re: Radio lights going out (joatmon)

Postby TraverseCityMI » Tue Sep 06, 2011 10:28 am

Thank you for the step by step instructions. Your explanations and posted pictures made tearing apart the radio a lot of fun. It was really not hard to do. My biggest problem was using the soldering iron and electrical solder. It did not look real pretty but it worked. Getting the old bulbs out took a little time. The "74" bulbs work extremely well. I replaced all three bulbs. Thanks again for your help. Without your step by step instructions I don't think I would have tackled a job like this. It really was quite easy.
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Postby mdpinmich » Sat Dec 31, 2011 3:38 am

Used the 12v 60mA bulbs from Radio Shack. Looks great. I cut the old bulbs off right when the wire leave the glass. The old wire is much stronger than the wires on the new bulbs. Made is real easy to locate the new bulbs in the same location as the old.

I did create a small jig to hold the bulbs while soldering. A piece of cardboard with 2 parallel toothpicks(used 1 toothpick broken in 2). The 2 glued toothpicks were gapped so that they created a craddle for the bulb so that I could keep the bulb steady and the leads level. I put the bulb between the toothpicks, set the craddle and bulb on the circuit board, put it where the leads were touching the old wires, and soldered without a problem.

Thanks for providing the info. Made this radio fix very easy.

2005 AWD VIBE
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Postby bluneon » Sat Feb 25, 2012 10:10 am

is there a radio security code to be concerned with during removal?
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Re: (bluneon)

Postby joatmon » Sat Feb 25, 2012 10:36 am

Quote, originally posted by bluneon »
is there a radio security code to be concerned with during removal?

if this is for your 2006, then no, there is no security code. The flashing red led is just pretending to be some sort of theft deterrent.
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