Mercedes wiring question

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Mercedes wiring question

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I installed a Kenwood receiver in my friend's mid-80s Mercedes 190e.  At low volume the unit works fine.  When you crank the receiver up, it powers off like it has a bad ground.  All connections and ground are solid. Is there anything about a Mercedes that requires a different approach to wiring or grounding the unit.  I have been doing installations for close to 40 years and have never seen anything like this.

"Just a world that we all must share.  It's not enough just to stand and stare..."        Pink Floyd   On the Turning Away


All Replies
  • Could be a poor ground, could be a poor connection. Hell, it could be voltage drop. Any amplifier's in the mix as well? Checked/replaced fuses, both on the HU and in the car's panel? They may not be blown, but I've seen issues where the fuse was the issue.

    How did you connect the wires? Crimp connectors, solder, merely twist and tape? How about voltage, have you tested to find if there is or isn't any voltage drop?

    Another possibility is the Hu may be defective. Not uncommon with Kenwood. I know many have had great luck with them, but I and many I know have run into QC issues in which they just don't seem to last. Take a look around, there seems to be more refurbished Kenwood units available on the market than most brands. I myself will NEVER use a kenwood ever again, NONE of their products. and now that JVC and Kenwood have merged, JVC is on the "DO NO USE" list as well, though I wasn't too impressed with the brand before the merger.

    Still, they have respectable specs on paper and look to offer a lot for the money. Just hope you get one made on a Wednesday, as the saying goes.

    Sorry, probably wasn't of much help.  

    I know you say the connections are solid, but I'd still like to know how to made the connections, just to satisfy my curiosity if nothing else.

    Any other testing you have done on your own?

    Crutchfield doesn't list anything specific about the car that may indicate why you are having these issues and truth be told, I've never been around a Mercedes.

  • Wow! I'm not sure if that was an answer to a technical question or an uneducated opinion about Kenwood!! Weigel I have been installing car audio systems probably longer than you have been alive!  The connections are all good and so is the unit.  It is one I owned before replacing it with an equivalent Bluetooth capable player last year.  On the plus side, the wiring diagram you gave me shed some light on the issue.  It appears that the factory wiring for the speakers uses a common ground in conjuction with the fader, so I expect that is where the problem is.  I will run new wiring to the four speakers and  the problem should be solved.

    I can only assume you are an Alpine or Pioneer fan?????  The Kenwood Escelon CD player and digital to analog converters blow those two crappy brands out of the water.  Since you are younger and probably listen to low-fi formats (MP3 and/or Bluetooth streaming), those lousier sounding units probably will work fine for you.  I have a few Kenwoods that are close to 20 years old that still work great.

    "Just a world that we all must share.  It's not enough just to stand and stare..."        Pink Floyd   On the Turning Away


  • You got lucky with those "few Kenwoods". JVC and Kenwood amps, headunits, and speakers are junk compared to Pioneer. Seriously. Their speakers and amps especially are 'fleamarket-ish'. Mind you, Pioneer speakers and amps aren't my top choice of gear for anything I would drive, but they are much better than Kenwood or JVC. Pioneer headunits are famously reliable. Matter of fact, this is the first time on these forums I have seen anyone bragging on Kenwood gear. Kenwood and JVC used to make good home amplifiers, that's about it. I sold my old Kenwood hybrid home amp. I still have a good JVC home amp.

    GLH Geeked

  • No offense taken, just relaying "my" experience with the brand. I've just not had much luck with Kenwood, nor have a handful of school mates back in the early 2000's. And  look around, there really are more refurbished Kenwood products readily available on the market than most brands.  That in itself tells "me" that Kenwood's QC still isn't up to par.

    And yes, I would choose Pioneer or Alpine over kenwood, have done so many times.

    first HU I got that I truly loved was an Alpine CDA-9815, then a CDA-9833 (since the blue of the 9815 really clashed with my red interior, not to mention is harder on the eyes).

    HU I'm currently using is an alpine as well, a CDA-117, which I'm not too happy with, due to the BANKING system Alpine has, the dated remote, and high pitch tone of the biolite display when active (my hyperacusis seems to really pick up on that particular frequency). I do use MP3's, only because the unit doesn't support lossless formats on USB. My entire CD collection has been converted to 320kbps MP3. Near impossible for "me" to tell a difference between CD and 320kbps with the car in ACC, surely impossible for most with the vehicle running and driving down the road. Got a Pioneer 80PRS waiting to be installed in my next car though, so I'll have to re-rip all my CD's to lossless WAV, there goes a few weeks of my life. LOL

    And for being a Kenwood fan, you can't spell the Excelon line correctly. If Kenwood has done right by you, awesome, I'm done with the brand myself. Would love to see a Kenwood that could hold it's ground against a Pioneer DEH-80PRS or Pioneer DEX-P99RS. Hasn't been one yet and with the way aftermarket HU's are becoming a thing of the past, it'll never happen. Stereo's are becoming too integrated into cars these days, so stand alone DSPs are taking over. Nothing like 8+ channels with their own T/A and EQ. Pioneer hasn't a stand alone DSP and neither does Kenwood. The Alpine PXA-H800 isn't the "best" stand alone DSP on the market, but it's quite capable. Show me anything from Kenwood that measures up against it.

    And to knock on Pioneer, just because, they are famous for the Pico fuse blowing.

    Anyways, glad the schematics were of help. Don't think I've messed with anything that used a floating ground. Love to hear if running new wire works out of not. Best of luck.

  • Weigel the only reason you have had trouble with Kenwood is that you probably have your head up your ***, and do not know anything about car installation.  Trust me, the D to A converter in the Excelon line kicks the  *** out of Alpine and Pioneer.  In fact, I was recommended a Pioneer by Crutchfield.  The unit had below-par sound quality, and when I contacted Crutchfield to return it, the person that helped me was shocked that the advisor recommened the Pioneer over the Kenwood.  You sound like a young person that needs to spend some serious time with audio before expressing stupid opinons. You remind me of Trump!!

    "Just a world that we all must share.  It's not enough just to stand and stare..."        Pink Floyd   On the Turning Away


  • You are more than welcome to your own opinion. Glad to hear you know far more than myself.

    Sure, I'll let you have it, Kenwood units sound so much better than any other brand, for the couple of days they actually work.

  • Now you know why my other 2 replies on old posts where he seemed to like Pioneer over Kenwood.

    GLH Geeked

  • And that's his right, if he's had good luck with Kenwwod, good for him.

    His claim that the Kenwood unit sounds better than the Pioneer is subjective, everyone has their own unique hearing and preferences.  The claim that the DAC is better, well,  I can't confirm nor deny. I have no idea what brand DAC each manufacturer uses. It may be that Kenwood uses a superior brand/quality DAC, but if it's true, it's a shame the other components of their units aren't of the same quality.

    One would have to find out what brand DAC is used by each before being able to make any solid claims. As it stands, for all I know, the Pioneer that was recommended may have has a 16-bit DAC and then Kenwood a 24bit DAC.

    My claim that Kenwood hasn't a HU that has the processing abilities to rival that of the 80PRS and 99RS are based on fact. The Pioneers have seperate L/R channel EQ, which is a real game changer. Still, their DSP is sub-par when compared to stand alone DSPs, which are quickly becoming the new thing.

  • Agreed.

    GLH Geeked