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Stereo volume fault - Repair or replace?

Discussion in 'A3/S3 Forum (8L Chassis)' started by mark_sarah, May 3, 2010.

  1. mark_sarah
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    mark_sarah Limp mode!

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    I recently bought an S3, and was informed before purchase that the stereo was faulty..

    The stereo works fine except the volume. If you touch the volume up or down, it just goes to full blast!
    I've been told this is a common fault, but is there a fix available for it?

    Otherwise has anyone got a factory fitting CD for sale? As i want to keep it original.
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  2. fran-s3
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    fran-s3 Active Member

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    No it has to be replaced from what I've read on here.
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  3. Lenny Benford
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    Lenny Benford snowed under

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    Yes mate it can be fixed, i took mine to a local car radio shop i think it was £40 to sort it. I wanted to keep the dash stock looking so i got it fixed
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  4. Welly
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    Welly VX220 SC Driver :)

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  5. fran-s3
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    fran-s3 Active Member

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    I stand corrected then! Sorry
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  6. Welly
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    Welly VX220 SC Driver :)

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    LOL, it's a problem with the actual chip they used, and the way that the software was programmed. The chip used is an old type of EEPROM ( Electrically Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory) chip which only has a limited write cycle (meaning that it only has a finite amount of times it can be written to before it breaks down and doesn't work any more). This write cycle is approx 10,000 writes or more.

    Then the dingbats at Blaupunkt programmed it a bit wrong.

    The EEPROM chip in question is designed to store the volume level when the stereo is turned off, so that when you turn it back on, it comes back to the same volume. Simples. This way, it only gets used infrequently, and the limited write cycle never becomes an issue, as turning the thing of 10,000 times will take a while.

    Instead of doing this, what Blaupunkt did was program the system so that EVERY movement of the volume knob meant that the chip was flashed and reprogrammed. That means every single movement. If you turn the volume up 10 notches - 10 flash and rewrites. Think about how many times a week you adjust the volume, et voila, there is the problem.

    What they should of done there was write the software to save this data to the stereo's RAM which has an infinitive write cycle, and then store the final volume in the EEPROM chip when the system was turned off.

    As you can imagine, the life cycle of the chip in an average A3/S3 was about 3-5 years before the chips started to break down. In Audi Concert head units that haven't been fixed up with a new chip and software, its not if you have this problem. But when.

    Well done Blaupunkt. :applaus:

    Not.
    Last edited: May 4, 2010
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  7. fran-s3
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    fran-s3 Active Member

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    Wow great explanation their Welly. So the chip itself can obviously be replaced for another 10,000 adjusts? (not that I have the OEM stereo just curious)
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  8. Welly
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    Welly VX220 SC Driver :)

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    They put a new chip in and then flash the stereo with updated - non ***** - software to rectify the problem AFAIK.
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  9. A3ANDYF
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    A3ANDYF Member

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    My one is doing the same. I think i will end up putting in my own stereo though.
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  10. titch tdi
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    titch tdi New Member

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    mine started this morning so i think a new headunit is needed thanks for the explanation welly.
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  11. A3Tom
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    A3Tom Smell my finger.

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    cool, looks like I can get mine sorted then :)

    To be fair mine only does it when its cold....random!!. When the cars warm its spot on...very odd.
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  12. Welly
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    Welly VX220 SC Driver :)

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    Not random at all mate, these EEPROM chips work by passing electrons through a gate made of oxide gas.

    That is how they become programmed, and then reprogrammed. What happens when it is programmed and re programmed over periods of time, is that the gas breaks down and the electrons can't pass the gate any more. That is why we have the problem with the stereos.

    However, when they are in the early stages of failure, heat can cause the electrons that are stuck/sticking to free and pass as they should resulting in the working state when warm, and the FUBAR state when cold.

    Some 'stereo repair shops' take the Audi Concert Stereos to bits, heat the chip to a high temp with a heat gun and refit. This results in them working again - however the fix is short term.
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  13. mary_q
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    mary_q Member

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  14. mary_q
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    mary_q Member

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    Ok finally got through, there saying 140gbp including postage back to me and vat included.

    For anyone else in my boat it's worth noting that the details on the link below are incorrect. They won't send you out a working stereo first, you actually have to send yours in and they keep it for 7-10 days then post it back to you. The work is guaranteed for 2 years though...

    http://www.bba-reman.com/catalogue/DetailedProduct.aspx?DetailedProduct=1895

    I'm still mulling it over... 140 all in sounds expensive, but a replacement HU of this type on ebay is apx 80 gbp and then who's to say that won't have the same fault in a few weeks? So maybe this is the best bet?

    I also need to have something fitted so I can plug my ipod in, has anybody got any idea's where I can get this part from for cheap'ish?
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  15. Welly
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    Welly VX220 SC Driver :)

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    Spend the money, get it repaired PROPERLY, and then drive around and sit back enjoying your controllable volume, knowing you have 2 years guarantee.

    Buy a second hand one at your peril, it will always be in the back of your mind wondering when it's going to break....

    Worth the extra £60 IMO....
    #15
  16. NHN
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    NHN Modmetractor

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    Stafford Audi usually sell new/refurbs on ebay for £99, I wouldnt spend £140 on repair tbh, sell with fault & buy another thats what I did & still got some fair money on faulty one.
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  17. mark_sarah
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    mark_sarah Limp mode!

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    Update to learn from..

    I decided to put my Kenwood masked stereo in which to be honest looked no where near as tidy as the standard unit, but it died a miserable death last week, so i purchased a standard replacement off ebay.

    AUDI CONCERT RADIO CASSETTE FITS 98 + VERY GOOD ORDER on eBay (end time 12-Sep-10 18:39:29 BST)

    The listing stated the volume was in full working order! It lasted one day, now i have one volume level, which is full volume.
    I have contacted the seller, but had no response as yet. Would'nt be surprised if they heated the chip to boost some life into it.

    Wish i had got my original unit repaired now......................
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  18. mark_sarah
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    mark_sarah Limp mode!

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    Has anyone sourced a reasonably priced technician, that can replace the faulty eprom chip..?

    I've obviously used the search function before anyone suggests it LOl, £140 is still a lot of money just for a fix..
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  19. Welly
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    Welly VX220 SC Driver :)

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  20. mark_sarah
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    mark_sarah Limp mode!

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    Cheers welly.

    Anyone tried these?
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  21. Welly
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    Welly VX220 SC Driver :)

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    Not here mate I'm afraid. Been trying to find the dosh to actually get mine done and was planning to use them to no avail. Other, more important stuff keeps breaking! lol
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  22. Swornd
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    Swornd Member

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    Mine has always done this but I have a fix that works for a few months on mine! When it happens, turn off the stereo, then take the keys out of the ignition. Now switch the stereo back on before you put the keys back in, then put the keys in and turn the ignition, then try the volume! This works for mine every single time it has happened, I went weeks with it being knackered before I figured this out. Can't say for sure if this will work for everyone but I went weeks with having it dodge and this is always a immediate fix. You can also do a order to break it I found out but I guess that isn't much use.
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  23. Welly
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    Welly VX220 SC Driver :)

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    The problem being that it happened every single time I use the stereo now mate. It will only get worse once it's started....
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  24. Swornd
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    Swornd Member

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    That's what mine was like, I couldn't adjust it off full volume for weeks but doing that order solves it for me every time.
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  25. Welly
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    Welly VX220 SC Driver :)

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    I shall give it a go....
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  26. Swornd
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    Swornd Member

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    Good luck! Hope it solves it for you.
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  27. mark_sarah
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    mark_sarah Limp mode!

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    How do i find out if this unit will fit my 2000 model S3: 8L0 035 186 G

    It was originally fitted in a TT
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  28. arch-stanton
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    arch-stanton Member

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    Don't know how this works- nor do I really care to know.. but it works!! cheers :yes:
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  29. leighlo
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    leighlo Audi Newbie...

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    Mine's the same mate - it only fails when it's cold.

    Within 10 minutes of being in the car in the morning, it works fine... but for the first 10 minutes (when there's still frost on the side windows!) it will only go to silence, or full blast.
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  30. Welly
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    Welly VX220 SC Driver :)

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    It's one of those problems that only gets worse with time mate I'm afraid. These head units in standard form are simply rubbish. Epic, epic fail on Blaupunkt's side.

    It's a shame the issues are only being realised now after all this time.

    Happens to them all eventually.
    #30

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