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Japanese import FM tuner conversion | My Blog

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Japanese import FM tuner conversion


28 MARCH 2010 36 COMMENTS (HTTP://NZLAMB.WORDPRESS.COM/2010/03/28/JAPANESE-IMPORT-FM-TUNERCONVERSION/#COMMENTS) This post describes how to modify a McIntosh PF-2142I (often but incorrectly referred to as PF-21421) JDM car radio to natively tune from 87.5-108MHz as used in most countries around the world. This model of radio is fitted as standard equipment in many JDM Subaru Legacy and Outback cars manufactured between 1998 and 2003. Most Japanese domestic market import car radios are designed to tune from 76-90MHz which means they will not work natively in any other country. You can of course buy a so-called band expander but these usually result in nasty RF harmonics, poor reception and reduced sound quality. They also still restrict you to a 14MHz segment of the 20MHz public FM band and dont display the correct frequency on the radio. This modification allows the radio to tune local station and display the correct frequency without the need for a band expander! Update: Ive also added a more generic guide here (http://nzlamb.wordpress.com/2010/07/02/a-guide-tohacking-japanese-car-radios/). The information here certainly applies to virtually any Clarion or McIntosh JDM radio using a Clarion 80-2082AT tuner module. Ive also successfully applied this to the Clarion PF-1572I and PF-2143I as well. Most minidisc players are designed specifically for the JDM only and cannot be modified. This modification works because Clarion (and other manufacturers) often produce a base head unit design for the international market. The FM band it can tune is simply set by using a specific tuner module and setting the right jumpers to match. While Im sure Im not the first person to have figured this out, I dare say its the first time someone had decided to publish this information freely on the internet!

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(http://nzlamb.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/before_modification.jpg)

What you need:


#0 Philips screwdriver Small flat blade screwdriver Fine tipped, temperature controlled soldering iron File solder Desoldering tool Desoldering wick Small side cutters 4x Sanyo SVC203 varicaps (available from Farnell (http://www.farnell.com) and other suppliers) Suitable plug to connect power, etc to the stereo Experience with SMD soldering If you are modding a McIntosh like this one you will also need a suitable amplifier for bench testing as the stereo does not have one inside it. Any type will do; simply use pins 1 and 3 for audio and 6 for ground on the 13-pin audio output connector.

Disassembly
Remove the top screw and pry the top cover off using flat screwdriver in each of the four slots. Do the same for the bottom cover. Remove the volume and fader knobs followed by front panel. It is attached via two black clips on each side. Use a small flat screwdriver to push these inwards and carefully slide the panel off. Try to do this evenly to avoid damaging the connectors.
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Japanese import FM tuner conversion | My Blog

(http://nzlamb.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/front-panel-clips.jpg) Disconnect the ribbon cable from the front then remove the four screws holding the CD player module in. These are the top two screws on each side of the unit. Lift the CD player out from the top.

screws.jpg)

(http://nzlamb.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/cd-player-

Remove the screw from the each side of the lower rear panel. Leave the panel in place for now.

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panel2.jpg)

(http://nzlamb.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/rear-

Remove the remaining two screws on each side of the unit. The outer sides and upper rear panel should now lift off the base in one piece. Undo the four screws holding the cassette desk in and carefully lift it out.

(http://nzlamb.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/cassette-

deck.jpg) (http://nzlamb.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/cassette-removed.jpg)

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Japanese import FM tuner conversion | My Blog

Modifications
Locate the area selection jumpers. Move the jumper shown in the photo to select area 2 (NZ and most other countries). Move the jumper to the right instead instead to select area 1 (North America). The rest of the modification is the same regardless of area.

(http://nzlamb.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/jumper-

before.jpg) (http://nzlamb.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/jumper-after.jpg) Desolder and remove the metal bracket that runs across the middle of the PCB. Desolder and remove the tuner module. This is quite difficult and time consuming! You may need to loosen the volume pot in order to get the tuner out. Replace the four varicaps on the tuner PCB with SVC203 types. The original varicaps usually bear the marking V4 or F0.

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(http://nzlamb.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/varicaps.jpg) Desolder the tuner shield and remove it. Locate the small black coil shown in the photo and desolder it.

coil.jpg)

(http://nzlamb.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/tuner-

Note that it has three terminals; only two are used. Cut the wire leading to the top of the coil and remove one and a half turns. Solder the wire to the previously unused terminal. Solder the coil back in place. The photo below shows the modified coil installed back into the tuner.

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after.jpg)

(http://nzlamb.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/tuner-coil-

Reattach and solder the shield to the tuner. Install the tuner back onto the main board.

Testing and Adjusting


Im not exactly a radio buff so heres how to adjust the radio the kludgy way without any fancy test instruments! If you are a bit more clued up in this area you might have a better way of doing this. Attach the front panel being careful not to damage the two connectors. It should sit in place without any additional support but be careful not to knock it. Connect power, an amplifier and an antenna to the stereo and confirm that the FM tuner now searches the frequency range you expected. Try auto seeking for an FM station. The tuner should do this quickly but may not lock onto a station by itself at this stage. If it suddenly slows down you need to retune the coil in the tuner as described in the previous section. Remove more winding to shift the reception up the band. If all is well tune manually into a local station and confirm it sounds OK and gets stereo reception. Mark the position of the top coil indicated in the photo. Tune into a known weak station. Slowly adjust the coil until the signal appears to be at its peak. You will probably find this is close to its maximum clockwise position. Be careful not to over tighten it as it is very easy to damage; the moment you feel the slightest change in resistance on the screwdriver you have reached the maximum.

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(http://nzlamb.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/coils.jpg) Now try seeking stations. You may find this works OK for strong stations at the lower end of the band and then gives up. Use a small plastic object to widen the gap of the lower coil marked in the photo. Do this in small increments until the radio seeks properly across the entire band (or as much as possible). Once down, power cycle the radio and confirm it still appears to operate at its peak performance and that the stereo indicator comes on when you tune into a sufficiently strong station. Once you are happy with the radios performance, take a moment to rework the solder joints where the metal chassis components are soldered to the PCB, and also the joins on and around Q408, Q423 and Q424 as these can often crack a little over time. Finally Id recommend checking that all of the features (CD player, controls, backlight, etc) still work as expected before installing it into a car!

modification.jpg)

(http://nzlamb.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/after-

If you install the modified radio into a Japanese import car the reception may not be as good as you would get from a car produced for the local market. This is because the antennas in JDM cars are usually tuned for the 76-90MHz range and often use horizontal polarisation.

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36 Responses to Japanese import FM tuner conversion


Perry says: 15 June 2010 at 00:19 i have on hand a EF-1080I, i not own subaru. if you know can tell me green connector pins layout speakers/power..etc. Thanks so much! Reply nzlamb says: 17 June 2010 at 22:52 See this post. Reply mat says: 1 July 2010 at 18:50 can this conversion make with PF-40251-C..mcintosh with MD slot. Reply nzlamb says: 1 July 2010 at 19:11 No it wont work on most MD models including the PF-4025I. Reply Pingback: A guide to hacking Japanese car radios My Blog Vince says: 3 August 2010 at 05:58
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Do you have a manual for a PF-2142I.

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Do you have a manual for a PF-2142I. I would really appreciate it. Thank you. Reply nzlamb says: 6 August 2010 at 08:26 Sorry no I dont have one, but I sure wish I did! Reply Cameron says: 25 November 2010 at 11:04 It seems the varicap replacement isnt needed if you have F0 varicaps, Ive ordered my SVC203s, but Im sitting here listening to 99.0 FM, without changing them clear as day. Reply nzlamb says: 25 November 2010 at 18:08 Yes it does work fine with the original varicaps but you will likely find you wont be able to reliably tune the entire 87.5-108MHz range due to the limited capacitance range of the originals. Try tuning into stations towards each end of the band and see what happens. Reply Cameron says: 26 November 2010 at 10:09 I can reliably tune 100.6, and 88.6, the two most extreme end stations that can be received around here The only problem I have is unreliable seeking from around 95.0 upwards, but that may be to do with the coil that had to be stretched? Joshua Collins says: 7 August 2012 at 02:59 hello have you ever tryed changing a panasonic cq-tx5500d to recive from 87.5-108MHz as used in the UK? what contry are you located in? thanks nzlamb says: 26 November 2010 at 18:04 Thats awesome! You might find it tapers off at 104 or so but thats pretty decent as it stands. And yes, stretching that coil should cure the seeking problem. Reply jesse says: 20 July 2011 at 12:00 i have on hand a PF-1242I, i not own subaru. if you know can tell me green connector pins layout speakers/power..etc. Thanks so much! Reply
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Saab93 says: 2 January 2012 at 01:45 Hi ! What analog can be user as EF-1080I ? May be other model Clarion ampfilier ? Reply Pingback: Addzest DRX9255 Tuner - DIYMA.com - Scientific Car Audio - Truth in Sound Quality joe says: 13 April 2012 at 03:01 will this work on jvc car stereo Reply Jos Fabio Lou says: 20 July 2012 at 06:22 Hi, can you help me, can you describe what is the right jumper for North America? and if you have the diagram of this radio? Reply Francis Otieno says: 22 October 2012 at 22:47 Am in kenya and the so called fm expander are so irritating. Mine is a toyota ISIS. what do i do? Reply Danny says: 18 November 2012 at 13:50 Do you know where to buy the scv303 varicap in Australia or the net. I have been looking but have had no luck so far. I have done everything discribed but am waiting to find a suitable varicap. Reply Danny says: 18 November 2012 at 13:51 Svc203* Reply nzlamb says: 3 December 2012 at 18:27 Looks like Element14 no longer stock them. Mouser and Digikey do but the minimum order quantity is 3000 parts. If I find something Ill post it. Reply Matthew says: 9 February 2013 at 09:44 Hey I just bought a 2000 Subaru outback with a mcintosh pf-2142i headunit and a ef-1080i amp 11/15

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Japanese import FM tuner conversion | My Blog

Hey I just bought a 2000 Subaru outback with a mcintosh pf-2142i headunit and a ef-1080i amp aswell as the four door speakers and the sub. Im taking it all out and replacing it but Im confused. If the 13 pin DIN conector was the output to the amp what was the other rectangle connector for? And to wire the new head unit directly do the speakers which wires would I have to connect it to, The ones under the seat or in the dash? Also there is a conector in front of the right hand door below the fuse box is that to do with it aswell? Matt. Reply nzlamb says: 9 February 2013 at 15:54 The rectangle connector is CeNET for connecting to a CD Stacker or TV tuner (both were factory options). You can also buy interfaces to connect iPods, auxiliary inputs and even Bluetooth to the factory head unit via this connector. To wire in a new head unit you will need to connect the speakers via the plug under the seat. You can use the old head unit to amp cable to pull new speaker wires under the carpet. Reply Matthew says: 9 February 2013 at 17:07 Still a lot tile unsure sorry. So the speakers that are in place now run directly to the white conector under the seat? And the rectangle one I was talking about is identical to the one under the seat and came from the back of the head unit. But what confused me was that when I tested it there was continuity between the corresponding pins on the two identical connectors (under the seat and in the dash) and I dont see why the output of the amp would be connected back to the head unit. Thanks for your help! Matt. nzlamb says: 9 February 2013 at 17:45 Its possible that the connectors under the seat and for the head unit are wired together, but not according to the service manual. There is no amp in the head unit; the speakers should be directly connected to the amp under the seat. The speaker wires still exist in the dash wiring (easier for Subaru to use a common harness) but are not normally connected at the door plugs. In any case the pinout of each connector is quite different despite the fact they use the same type of plug. Id suggest buying a Subaru adapter for your head unit to save cutting the harness and see what happens when its connected. If the speakers work then theres nothing to worry about. If the speakers dont go then you will need to run some wires under the seat from the head unit yourself, or change the door speaker wires over to the standard harness at each door connector. Matthew says:
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9 February 2013 at 22:29 Turns out the continuity was only between power pins. now I have put both my subs in the boot and four new speakers in the doors. Tomorrow Im going to run speaker wire accross and down the side of the seat to join the conector. I couldnt seem to pull the exsisting cable under the carpet and I have other cables for the subs running that way so it seems easier. Thanks again for your help your pin out diagrams of the amp were very helpful and I probably couldnt have done it without you. Cheers Matt. jala says: 3 May 2013 at 03:36 Hi, modifications done without varicaps (hard to find from stores) radio can scan entire 87.5108MHz range but i cant find any stations? what i done wrong? Reply nzlamb says: 3 May 2013 at 11:40 Measure the VT pin; you will likely notice that its stuck at around 8v which means its unable to tune across the band and is stuck on a single frequency. The display simply shows what frequency the microcontroller is instructing the PPL chip to tune to. If the PLL cant do as asked due to the LC side of it being way off the mark it will simply give up and the radio will sit at the extreme end of whatever range its currently tuned to. You can partially fix this by modifying the coil but the radio will never be able to cover the entire 87.5-108MHz band with the original varicaps fitted as they dont have a wide enough capacitance range. Reply harold996tt says: 8 June 2013 at 02:15 Hi NZLamb, Great site. Have just picked up this head unit and the associated amp from eBay (Japanese domestic dismantled) and intend on installing it in my Australian 1990 MX5 (I want the retro look on the cheap and these look so perfectly retro). I gather that the connectors are non standard on the head unit and amplifier (Subaru specific). As the connectors were all cut off the amp and the head unit, do you happen to know where I can source these from readily? If you have any contacts that I could purchase them off it would be most appreciated. Much thanks in advance. Reply harold996tt says: 8 June 2013 at 04:55 Apologies, I meant output for the amp. Reply nzlamb says:
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8 June 2013 at 19:54 Yes they are Subaru specific. They are quite commonly available from wrecking yards (at least in NZ). If you cant find an amp plug just use a head unit one and ensure you follow the correct pinout. Worst case I might be able to track something down locally. Reply tonysworkstuff says: 22 July 2013 at 16:32 Hi there, excellent info, thanks! My 2142 (in a 2000 B4) has trouble with the front panel buttons not always working & the display showing hieroglyphics, otherwise it still sounds fine. Off the top of your head do you know how its connected to the PCB? I dont have a spare on hand & just want to be prepared when I pull it out to have a go a fixing or replacing it. Cheers. Reply John says: 1 January 2014 at 14:19 Hi Nz lamb Great write up on hacking these head units. unfortunately I dont have the skills, knowledge or equipment to tackle this job, even though Id really like my head unit to be able to do what your does. Would u consider having a crack at my one for some cash? Cheers Reply nzlamb says: 10 January 2014 at 17:13 Hi John, what type of stereo do you have? The varicaps I used for replacements dont seem to be available any more. I could probably look into something similar though. The job itself takes a few hours as it involves pretty much tearing the stereo right down. Reply john says: 11 January 2014 at 08:22 gidday Ive got the Macintosh stereo from a 05 Lecagy wagon(Japanses domestic model) Im pretty sure its the newer one of the same model mentioned you modified in your hack article. Id be able to remove the stereo from the car no problem, just from there actually modifying the electronics id have no idea. Thats a buyer about the parts not being available. Im quite surprised there isnt a market for a service like this, seems to me in NZ with so many import vehicles coming to every year it would be a commonly requested service. nzlamb says: 11 January 2014 at 08:27
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Those later units are much easier to modify no replacement parts (such as varicaps) are

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Those later units are much easier to modify no replacement parts (such as varicaps) are needed. Theres just a couple of coils to tweak and a jumper to change. I did modify one but didnt get photos I may have an opportunity soon to modify another so Ill post a how-to guide.

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