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Radio shutting down when starting the engine (2000 Response)


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So I have a 2000 Response LX with the Monsoon engine. Midway through this summer, the radio started randomly shutting down when starting the engine. Usually it would be fine for the first couple starts and would then die every time after that until the next day. The radio switch stays on and I can see the LED display on the radio but it's turning the radio to standby mode and I have to manually hit the power button on the radio face to turn it back on.  The radio does maintain all the saved settings. 

 

I think all of this started when I killed the battery by leaving the radio on for a couple days but it could be coincidence. The battery was several years old and it took a bit of work to revive it but it continued to work for a couple more months and then I decided to replace it for fear of getting stranded. I thought a new battery would fix the radio issue but it didn't. Next I pulled out the multimeter and noticed that the voltage going to the radio switch would drop to 10v when cranking but the battery wouldn't drop that far. I thought for sure the wiring was just old and decided to run a dedicated power wire from the battery to the radio switch. This did nothing. Replaced the radio and still have the same issue. I do have a subwoofer in the mix with a separate amplifier but I'm not sure if that would be killing the radio or not. 

 

Short of the starter drawing too much power or the radio switch going out, I'm running out of ideas and don't want to keep throwing parts at the problem. Any thoughts?

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2 hours ago, jfw432 said:

the starter drawing too much power

I would start by cleaning all of the battery connections, plus those at the starter, alternator, and engine grounds (generally behind the heads).

As for the starter drawing too much power, they do build up carbon that wears off the brushes.  The carbon packs itself into the gaps in the commutator, increasing the current draw and reducing the starter's torque.  You can remove the starter and give it a bath fairly easily if you are interested in an hour of DIY bliss.

 

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Good call on the cleaning. I replaced the battery terminals with the battery but overlooked the electrical connections on the engine side. They could be nasty for all I know. I'll check it out tomorrow. 

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20 hours ago, jfw432 said:

Next I pulled out the multimeter and noticed that the voltage going to the radio switch would drop to 10v when cranking but the battery wouldn't drop that far. I thought for sure the wiring was just old and decided to run a dedicated power wire from the battery to the radio switch. This did nothing.

Some boats have a basic head unit with power coming straight from the switch; other have a "remote on" line that turns the head unit and/or amps on with simple voltage signal from the stereo switch.  If your stereo switch is a remote on switch to power the head unit/amp on, then yeah your new wire wouldn't accomplish anything new since 10 volts is well above the on/off threshold to keep it on.  So if you have that setup, then look at the power wire and its connections going from the battery directly to the stereo/amp power inputs as a culprit.

 

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5 hours ago, formulaben said:

Some boats have a basic head unit with power coming straight from the switch; other have a "remote on" line that turns the head unit and/or amps on with simple voltage signal from the stereo switch.  If your stereo switch is a remote on switch to power the head unit/amp on, then yeah your new wire wouldn't accomplish anything new since 10 volts is well above the on/off threshold to keep it on.  So if you have that setup, then look at the power wire and its connections going from the battery directly to the stereo/amp power inputs as a culprit.

 

Hmmm... maybe that's it. This switch has 4 wires going to it. I found the power in and power out. I assumed the other two were grounds or carry through grounds but it was odd and I was more focused on finding the power lead then figure out the extra wires. 

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This is a generic diagram, but you'll get the idea.  On mine, the speaker wires come from the amps, but the 12v switched comes from the stereo switch, and the 12v constant is always there, direct from the master switch (or battery), and also keeps memory for basic head units.  If you have this, then that is where you should be checking voltage.

wiring-harness-color-guide.png

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I have a 99 VLX and if your switch is like mine, it will have 4 wires; power in, power out, ground and LED. The radio switch will either power your HU remote-on line, or main power depending on how the Amp installer did the wiring and the model of the HU.

Maybe you have an extra +B bus that the Amp installer put in? Maybe your amp is pulling power because its on the same bus with your HU and key start wire? 

Both of my HU power wires are white with blue stripe. One leads from the dash switch, and the other is (I think) off the helm +B bus. The switch LED wire is solid blue and the black wire is ground. If its like mine, the white/blue stripe wire exiting from your switch could be its primary power or remote power. In mine it's remote.

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13 hours ago, formulaben said:

This is a generic diagram, but you'll get the idea.  On mine, the speaker wires come from the amps, but the 12v switched comes from the stereo switch, and the 12v constant is always there, direct from the master switch (or battery), and also keeps memory for basic head units.  If you have this, then that is where you should be checking voltage.

wiring-harness-color-guide.png

Went outside and checked and sure enough... the 12v constant is the one that drops to 9v when cranking. I think I always assumed the 12v constant was a small wire that just helped keep memory but looking at wire sizes, that is clearly the main power wire. I may just pull my new lead from the battery from the switch and connect it to the 12v constant. It's hot and I just got finished washing the boat so I'll give it a little bit before going back outside to try that. 

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It would be easy to change your wire, but why not address the problem by cleaning all of the connections under the dash, at the motor, and at the battery?  That way you aren't just putting a bandage over it.  

A good cleaning means you get to avoid a lot of other potential problems as well for quite a while.

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All of the engine side connections are super clean. I pulled the fuse panel down and connected a lead bypassing the radio fuse and it did fix the problem. That's not my permanent solution but it does track down where the problem starts. Maybe it's the feed wire, contacts, or maybe it's the fuse itself. Not sure but at least I have the root cause isolated to a smaller area. It's just tough sitting out in the sun inside a hot boat troubleshooting for more than 10-15 minutes at a time. 

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Well I traced the purple and orange wire that powers the fuse panel under the throttle assembly and unfortunately, it disappears under the floor and probably goes back to the ECU or main battery cables in the engine bay. I say "probably" because I had no intention of following it further and trying to replace that wire. It's hot all of the time so I just ran a 14 ga wire directly from the battery to the fuse panel and now the fuse panel is still hot all of the time with less resistance and a shorter wire. Ultimately, this has fixed the problem and I appreciate everyone's help. 

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