View Full Version : Radio/Electronics Repair

02-16-2005, 09:17 PM
Are there any fellow MC owners that know the ins and outs of a head unit? I'm completely disgusted w/ Clarion and the crap the produce and support. My 'marine' amp went out 6 weeks ago because of humidity/condensation, and now my 'marine' radio won't pick up AM/FM signals (the CD still plays). Both are just under 2 yrs old. I guess this 'harsh' marine environment in Dallas Tx is just more than the conformally coated FPOS's could handle. What a joke.

The guy at Clarion warranty in California was a true business man -- yep, send it on in, we'll fix it for the modest fee of $115 + parts. And he didn't care that both of my Clarion 'marine' devices failed. Business as usual.

So, I bit my tongue and said thanks, but no in hopes that I can find a cheaper way to repair the radio. The amp simply needed a good bath -- I'm hopeful that's what will fix the radio as well.

So, if you're in the know, and are willing to help a poor, unlucky [email protected] out, I'd be willing to fund you some cases of your favorite beer! :)

I realize things go wrong, and as much help as I've gotten from the people here and my dealer, I'll don't think I'll ever own another MC. I hope my experience is the exception to the rule, but my previous boat and my friends' boats haven't had 1/10th the trouble I've had w/ mine. I think part of it is that I've got a pre-production model, and part of it is just a poor selection of components. I'm tired of sinking time and big bucks into a 2 year old boat for things that should be mtc free. </rant>

02-16-2005, 09:41 PM
I bought a Clarion head unit about 2 seasons ago and it did the same exact thing at the end of this season. It has been nothing but trouble. I pulled it out and through it in the trash. I haven't decided what I'm going to replace it with. And yes, it was a Marine Clarion unit.

02-16-2005, 10:32 PM
The guy that fixed my amp told me straight up that the 'conformal coating' and all that crap is a bunch of marketing.

The Earmark salesman gave me a HUGE speech about how marine units were sealed, protected from water, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. This guy was a complete JA.

I'm sorry and I'm glad -- I'm sorry it happened to you too, but I'm glad I'm not the only one!

Pioneer has a unit out that looks pretty decent -- the 3700MP -- wired remote, MP3 capability, and only $150 + $75 for the remote. I'm just not sure if it will fit in the X.

The Fosgate 9220 looked like a heck of a deal, but I've heard they are no longer making them. What a shame.

02-16-2005, 10:53 PM
Talleyho; Which model? Sometimes there are bad units and sometimes bad models. Just Googling Clarian Marine Radio Problems and similar phrases, most comments found were happy users. If we could identify a common problem may be easy solution. Model # helps in searches like that.

I would get a number to call into Clarian (maybe customer service), explain your story to the highest person that will talk with you and tell them satisfaction is a new radio (call 9-5 M-F so the managers are there). However I bet the warranty is out making it less than 50/50 chance, and I see another post from you which is my second recommendation, for couple of hundred buy another radio and move on.

There are a lot on Ebay and even with BriEOD's horror story with a Clarian radio this should be a good item to buy on Ebay. http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=39757&item=5751091632&rd=1

02-17-2005, 12:01 AM
Talleyho- Have you tried substituting another antenna? If that doesn't do it, then I would try to get some action.

I have sold/installed/owned a lot of Clarions and had very few problems with them. Why not call around and see if a car audio shop that does repairs has any suggestions or tips. If you pull it out, try twisting the chassis while it's turned on. If the radio starts playing, it's probably a bad solder joint or connector. This can happen in any brand, but it's a lot less common than inthe past.

Good luck with this.

02-17-2005, 07:02 AM
Talleyho- Have you tried substituting another antenna? If that doesn't do it, then I would try to get some action.

I have sold/installed/owned a lot of Clarions and had very few problems with them. Why not call around and see if a car audio shop that does repairs has any suggestions or tips. If you pull it out, try twisting the chassis while it's turned on. If the radio starts playing, it's probably a bad solder joint or connector. This can happen in any brand, but it's a lot less common than inthe past.

Good luck with this.

I second Jimn's recommendation on the new antienna. When I replaced my tape player with a NON-marine head unit, I had almost non-existant radio reception. Went out & bought the longest cheap-style (non-retract'able) car antienna I could find & layed it under my bow. Works like a charm. I have since zippy-tied it into place on the side where the wire looms are.

I have a wireless remote with my new head-unit. Absolutely love it. It works great when cruising around, or sitting on the swim platform having a few "adult" beverages.

02-17-2005, 08:06 AM
Just buy a cheap cd player not marine because the damn things are going to break any way so you should save your money and get a cheap one.

02-17-2005, 09:45 AM
Short answer is, I'd agree w/ jayderwin and say get something new and inexpensive. As long as it has preamp outs for your amp, you're good to go.
I've always had good luck w/ SOny and Kenwood head units. My boat currently has a Pioneer deck in it and I'm guessing it's 5 or 6 yrs old by the design. It seems to be holding up well. I know the previous owner did not take very meticulous care of the boat and I have swamped the front end several times in the last yr, getting the dash area soaked. The stereo is holding up well.

02-17-2005, 01:42 PM
I don't think the antenna is the problem here. I don't even get static. The only reason I found out about the FM being jacked up is b/c the FM modulator for my changer wasn't working. It was a new changer, and the existing CD player still worked, so the only thing busted is the only thing I need at this point! (Hi Murphy, I'm Jason) And when I tune the radio, it makes it to 102.9, then jumps to 88.7. And if I go backwards, it stops about 105.x and then to 88.7. It is definately jacked up.

Unfortunately, a wireless remote won't do me any good -- the head unit is buried in the glove box. And, I hate myself for this, the Clarion remote actually looks and functions beautifully where it is -- in easy reach from with your hand on the throttle.

I'm really leaning toward the Pioneer 3700 MP3 player. The remote may be a challenge, but its one of only a few HUs with a wired remote.

I found a Sony I liked, but the damn remote is $150! That's the same price as the radio! I may try to go back to Clarion repair and talk to someone else. They guy wouldn't even give me his name, so I knew I was pretty much screwed right off the bat.

Kenwood has a nice RF remote -- but they want $200 for that. Apparently I'm in the wrong business - the business to be in is audio equipment -- produce technically trivial products, and charge ridiculous prices for them.

I pulled the unit out last night -- if Clarion blows me off again, it'll be time to crack it open and see whats inside.

02-17-2005, 02:39 PM
Like I said before, turn it on and tweak the chassis. It may come on, even briefly. If it does, you have something to work with.

Never let someone in any form of customer service hang up without getting their name. If they don't want to give it to you, demand to go higher up the food chain.

Call a MC dealer and ask who they call regarding audio service issues. It's not the same as end-users, but you may need an account #.

You're aware that Clarion Marine audio has a two year warranty, right?

02-17-2005, 03:13 PM
Jim is right on the two year marine warranty. Your boat dealer should be handling this for you not you doing the leg work. Talk nicely with you dealer, if this doesn't work I would send a formal complant to Mastercraft and outline who and when you talked with them. Hopefully you should have it handled by the dealer.

02-17-2005, 05:32 PM
Interesting -- I thought the paperwork said it had a one year warranty. DAMN! I wonder if I can get my $130 back for my amp!? (It was repaired by a Clarion Authorized Repair).

Thanks for pointing out the non-obvious. I'm still in the ball game for a month w/ a 2 yr warranty. Looks like I own Jim a case of beer!

My dealer is the ONLY reason I'm not the #1 MC protester -- they have taken very good care of me. However, he said that Mark (MacLemore?) said the radio would have to go back to Clarion for repair anyway. Perhaps they were not aware of the 2 year warranty either.

02-17-2005, 08:40 PM
That must be some case of beer for $130.00, eh? I would call Clarion and talk to them about the warranty status. I googled Clarion Marine Audio and looked for an actual Clarion company site. On the home page, it shows the warranty. They may refund the cost if you fax a copy of the boat contract. You'd need that for the head unit's warranty, anyway.

Good to see that Mark is still there. He a good guy. They know what the waranty is, he may not have had the purchase info in front of him.

02-17-2005, 09:28 PM
All the boat manufactures ship their radios back to the manufacture or their repair center. Usally a remanufactured radio is shipped back.

02-17-2005, 09:31 PM
I called Clarion when I got home, and it looks like they are going to fix the head unit. I got the same 'business man' this time. He was still a *****. He wouldn't even discuss getting a refund of the amp repair - he said I'd have to go thru Mastercraft!

Once I get it fixed, and back in my hands, I might push for it. I don't want them to jack my HU up b/c I'm pushing for a $130 refund.

I wonder if ProFlowers would deliver a case of beer for me. :) That just saved me $115 at least!

At least I feel better now... maybe it'll work out. Thanks all. And if anyone has found a good HU w/ a wired remote, please let me know. I need to be ready when/if this one flops again.

03-02-2005, 11:16 AM
Well - no love -- it seems the courteous Marine dept at Clarion says the Marine radios only have a 1 year warranty. And I was also told that if there is 'liquid' damage, that it isn't covered anyway.

So - anyone know how I can find out from the horses mouth if there is a 2yr warranty on Clarion Marine? The unit is a M5675. The ONLY reason I am even considering the $115 charge is b/c of the wired remote issue - I can't find a cheaper replacement.

In my experience w/ dealing with them, I had had the WORST possible treatment from their customer service dept. Outside of this radio, I will never intentionally buy a Clarion product, or Clarion anything.

Looks like the XMD series is the two year warranty guys. My old slim 5675 only has a 1 year warranty. And the JA at Clarion said water damange isn't covered!? What a joke.