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Thread: Radio doesn't work after chinese head unit install

  1. #1
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    Radio doesn't work after chinese head unit install

    Installed this head unit in my e39: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1.
    I have dsp. No nav, no cd changer in the back. Just a radio and CD player in the dash. Once i figured out I had to leave the factory radio plugged in, it seems to work fine. Except for the radio.
    I get static (or some kind of white noise) but no signal.
    Is there something nutty about the antenna in a dsp sound system? That cable coming into my factory cd player, it is an actual antenna cable, right. Not some dsp cable? Or is it the dsp cable? Do I have to do something special to get it to provide a radio signal to my new head unit.
    Or could it be something else?

  2. #2
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    The Amazon listing says the unit is for 2002-03. Is that your MY?
    Last edited by edjack; 12-05-2022 at 01:06 AM.


    Ed in San Jose '97 540i 6 speed aspensilber over aubergine leather. Build date 3/97. Golden Gate Chapter BMW CCA Nr 62319.

  3. #3
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    Yes. I'm working on a 2002 525 wagon. Thanks for your reply.

  4. #4
    JimLev's Avatar
    JimLev is offline Artifically Aspirated Moderator
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    Welcome to the forum JT.
    Only 1 review, a 1 out of 5 isn’t too promising.

  5. #5
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    Nope - read the Amazon description- that says it does a dsp function ( as I read it ), not that it works with a dsp car. Return it

  6. #6
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    I'm not an expert on this, but I believe to keep the stock DSP amp working correctly, the best route is to connect the Resler interface and I-Bus app to the android unit. There is a lot of info online if you look around. Or I've also seen some guys move the old radio head unit to the trunk and just connect the I-bus wire, power, and ground to it and it enables the stock DSP amp to work.
    98 540i 6, 525 whp, 120 mph 1/4, V3 Si S/C'er @16 psi, W/A I/C, Water/Meth, Supersprint Headers, HJS Cats, 3" Custom Exhaust, UUC Twin Disc, Wavetrac LSD, GC Coil Overs, Monoball TA, AEM FP, Aeromotive FPR, AEM Failsafe AFR/Boost, Style 65's w/275's, M5 Steering Box, Eibach Sways, M3 Shifter, Evans Coolant, 85 Deg Stat, PWM Fan, 10" Subs, B.A. speakers, Grom Aux/BT, Still Rolling as my DD!

  7. #7
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    If I read the description of the headunit right, it says the headunit itself has DSP built-in, which to me sounds like it digitized the signals and process in the headunit but the output signal to the speakers is analog, if that is the case, it won't work with your stock DSP amplifier which expects analog input.

  8. #8
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    The OEM DSP amp requires a digital input. It then creates a 4 channel analog signal to drive the speakers.

    The Amazon description does not specifically address this. You may need to bypass the amp and drive the speakers directly.
    Last edited by edjack; 12-05-2022 at 05:54 PM.


    Ed in San Jose '97 540i 6 speed aspensilber over aubergine leather. Build date 3/97. Golden Gate Chapter BMW CCA Nr 62319.

  9. #9
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    If you want to keep the DSP amp and speakers, then return your head unit and choose the Dynavin N7 which connects to the DSP amp. The high quality brand units don't connect to the DSP amp, but then if you remove that and the oem speakers and replace with great/excellent quality amplifiers and speakers, you get the potential to have a vastly superior sounding setup without having to spend too much and which could be installed over time as funds allow.

  10. #10
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    I appreciate all you guys responding. But everything seems to work except the radio. Google auto, native music and video apps. Just no AM/FM.
    I did have dsp issues at first.Sound on everything would play for 30 seconds or so then shut off. I've read many posts about that issue and finally found the one that helped me, which is to connect the radio and move it to the glove box. In my case, there was just enough room for me to cram my radio into my double din opening and still get my hu to fit snug, so that what I did. Now everything seems to play fine.
    Except the radio, that is am/fm.
    That's why I wanted to be sure my radio antenna really is a radio antenna and not a dsp cable.
    Maybe things are wigged out because my car has two radios in it: the original one which I recconnected so the sound wouldn't cut off after 30 seconds, and the new one built into the hu. Maybe I should try wiring my radio into the trunk as Philly described.

  11. #11
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    The DSP amp shuts off after 30 secs when it doesn't get a signal from the OEM HU.

    Your new HU may not be supplying power to the antenna module in the left C-pillar.


    Ed in San Jose '97 540i 6 speed aspensilber over aubergine leather. Build date 3/97. Golden Gate Chapter BMW CCA Nr 62319.

  12. #12
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    Yeah, check out diversity antenna on the E46 forum. Basically you add a wire from your blue wire (remote turn on) to the diversity.
    98 540i 6, 525 whp, 120 mph 1/4, V3 Si S/C'er @16 psi, W/A I/C, Water/Meth, Supersprint Headers, HJS Cats, 3" Custom Exhaust, UUC Twin Disc, Wavetrac LSD, GC Coil Overs, Monoball TA, AEM FP, Aeromotive FPR, AEM Failsafe AFR/Boost, Style 65's w/275's, M5 Steering Box, Eibach Sways, M3 Shifter, Evans Coolant, 85 Deg Stat, PWM Fan, 10" Subs, B.A. speakers, Grom Aux/BT, Still Rolling as my DD!

  13. #13
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    Hi JT and welcome!

    This was a common issue with the older Dynavin units. No or very poor AM/FM signal. You either forget about having radio at all, or you get one of these adapters:
    https://www.amazon.com/Metra-40-EU56...007D6GGZC?th=1

    Basically, the E39 antenna is powered, so if you switch HU you need to account for that and feed it 12v. Not sure if this could fry your unit if not designed properly. What should be receiving power is the antenna amplifier, not the HU.

    You may also need to get another adapter depending on what antenna plug type your car has. It varies across E39s of different years.
    Last edited by crdiscoverer; 12-06-2022 at 11:48 AM.
    Resident Third World Country Advisor

  14. #14
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    Alright. Sounds like have have to figure out a way to power the antenna. Or get an aftermarket antenna. I'll report back.

  15. #15
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    Had the same problem with my Alpine until I realized I needed to power the antenna amp in the c-pillar. Did so but signal was weak. Could only get stereo sound on one radio channel, rest came in as mono. Fiddled around with it for a bit until I managed to FU the amp. On the other hand, radio is like 50% commercials where I live except for a Jazz station that lives on donations. I just accepted that I had no radio, no biggie for me. I can add a Sirius module to the Alpine but Im good with Spotify I didnt reuse anything from the old DSP system. Even ran new speaker wires. Very happy with the install. Got a 12 Sub in the trunk which I never had before and it makes a huge difference to the audio experience.
    Last edited by kallekula; 12-07-2022 at 10:34 AM.

  16. #16
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    So, kallekula, how did you get power to your antenna amp?

  17. #17
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    I used the “remote on” cable already installed as “trigger” and got the power through a relay connected to the fusebox in the trunk. Fused ofc. When i managed to ruin the amp that stuff was disconnected and i was using a power probe tool.
    EDIT: A more elegant solution would have been to use the “antenna on” wire without a relay but i was in no mood to run any new wires. The antenna amp would then only be powered on when you actually listen to the radio. Might have worked without a relay using the remote on but I’m not sure if it can provide enough amperage.
    Last edited by kallekula; 12-09-2022 at 10:29 AM.

  18. #18
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    Thought I'd post an update. I bought an aftermarket antenna and adapter just to confirm it was an antenna issue. And even with the aftermarket antenna, still nothing on the radio. So before I jump into figuring out how to power the bmw antenna, which I gather is considerably more complicated than just figuring out which wire comes from the ignition switch and jumping it to whatever wire goes to the antenna, I'm gonna wait and hear what the vendor has to say about it. They've actually been pretty responsive in communicating though amazon message center. Meanwhile, I bought this for my e46. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    I figured all I really need is android auto and a radio, and this is something I can switch out with my Jeep. Wish I'd seen it before I'd got the thing I got for my e39. Obviously, keeping the factory look is a pretty low priority for me.

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