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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 01-14-2007
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electical question

Having problems with my stereo, but I think its more to do with the electrical system. I turn it on, it plays out of one side at a low volume then slowly the volume gets higher. Eventually, 5 or 10 minutes, the volume suddenly decreases to almost inaudible. If I switch it off and on at the panel a few times, it will come back on, but not always. Sometimes it comes back on with both channels. I notice that my vhf only plays out of one channel too. Could it be a short? Wiggled a bunch of wires, but nothing changed. I am not much with boat electronics, so go easy on the lingo please, "like i'm a five year old".
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Would help if we knew more about the setup. What kind of stereo? What kind of speakers? Does the VHF use the same speakers as the stereo? Do the stereo and VHF use the same panel breaker?

What you've asked is like calling up the doctor and saying over the phone, "Hey doc, it hurts when I do this, what should I do?" and then raising your arm over your head and waving it around. He can't see it..and yet you expect him to be able to figure out what is going on. Not gonna happen.

Have you checked the basics... make sure your batteries are up to spec...and are providing 12.7 volts or so? Are the batteries fully charged?? Have you tried connecting the power directly to the batteries and seeing if the panel switch is bad?

If you don't own a volt-ohm meter or own one and don't know how to use it—learn. It will save you a lot of time, aggravation and expense in the long run.
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I was hoping it might be an obvious problem to someone with electrical expertise. The stereo is a Jensen CD5100. The speakers are Bose. The vhf and stereo share the speakers, two in the cabin(bose), one smaller one at the panel next to the vhf, and two that match the panel one, in the cockpit. They do not share a breaker. There is a switch next to the vhf that allows the speakers to be switched between cabin, cockpit, and all. The DC meter says full charge, but I have not run a meter to the wires for the stereo etc.
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Sounds like the switch for the speakers may have gone bad. Does the switch also allow you to select what audio source you're using or are both live all the time? Have you tried wiring the speakers directly to the stereo or VHF??? BTW, most VHF units are monaural, and if connected to a stereo headset, will often only give one channel, normally the left, for audio.

When you say the DC meter says full charge... what voltage is it reading? or is it an idiot-guage with the red, yellow and green bands?
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The DC meter has readings, don't remember the numbers exactly. Good to know about the vhf, I did not know that. The switch is just for the speakers and does not control the units. So, cabin only, both, or cockpit only. Units are controlled individually from the unit itself. Could the radio breaker also be bad? How would I check that? I will run the stereo speakers directly this week.
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The other problem that you could have is that you have the VHF and the stereo both connected to the same set of speakers. It is possible that the output of one (the VHF) has damaged the circuitry in the other (the stereo).

Generally, it isn't all that good an idea to have the outputs of two devices in parallel unless some provision is taken to protect them from one another.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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There is some sort of device behind the panel, can't remember what its called, 2x2 box. It struck me as being a surge protector and was labeled similar. Thanks for the input, SD, lots to look at.
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SD...you are right. You can't do that to the output transistors of a car stereo!!
Lostboy...I'm thinking its time for a new head unit and get a dedicated speaker for your VHF radio. It is definitely NOT a wiring problem or short if you are hearing something out of each speaker.
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So, separate speakers for each unit. Sounds like the safest bet, especially down the road, with my limited electrical skills. Plus, I am getting a new head unit with rear auxiliary inputs for the ipod.
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lost...don't forget the vhf is mono so you only need one speaker for it!
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