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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Even before my 2003 Insight arrived, I got a Blaupunct "New Orleans" mini-disk player/radio for it. Bolstered by the descriptions on this site of other people replacing the radio, I was impressed at how easy it was to remove the old one:

Two screws under the glove compartment drop it free. This reveals two screws that hold the plastic housing around and below the radio. Once those screws are removed, just tug on the housing and the 8 or so spring clips pop loose and the housing is easily removed. The radio has a bracket on each side, each of which has two screws holding it in. Remove these four screws and the radio easily drops down and out.

It took longer to get the stuck gang-plug loose from the back of the radio than it took to remove all of the stuff to get to it.

My first problem was that the mounting collar that came with the new radio was useless. It is designed with punch-out tabs that are supposed to lodge themselves between the surfaces above and below the radio. Well, there are no surfaces below the radio, and nothing particularly useful above it. The brackets on the old radio are not compatible with the new mounting collar, since they both need to occupy the same space to the sides of the radio.

It was fairly obvious that the old brackets needed to be attached to the new radio. Good news: The new radio had holes in exactly the right place. Bad news: The holes were undersized and not threaded. The screws were not self-tapping and they would not self-tap, even with rather emphatic encouragement.

Off to Crutchfield, where I got no help. Off to Sears where I got great help. It was like dealing with one of those magical guys at an old-fashioned hardware store. He found the right tap to make threads in the holes for this screw.

Tapping new threads into the right side was a piece of cake. On the left side, the tap hit a heat sink before finishing cutting full thread diameter, but I managed to get the threads deep enough to get the screws started enough to jam them the rest of the way. Unlike the tap, the screws were not long enough to hit the heat sink. One screw stripped, acting more like an alignment pin than a tight screw, but three screws and one pin will hold the radio in place quite nicely. :oops:

So, after reassembing everything, I discovered that the radio was completely dead. No signs of life. Not so much as a flicker on the LED screen. I checked continuity on everything and assumed that maybe I miswired the harness or had a semi-cold joint that would pass continuity testing, but somehow fail to provide what the radio needed. That, or I figured the radio had been damaged.

I called Crutchfield to ask if anyone in the store could test my harness or the radio. The tech support guy suggested instead that I look at fuse #16 under the hood. These guys are amazing.

So, I said that it can't be a fuse because when I reinstalled the original radio, it worked fine. He replied with one of those Little Known Facts:

The standard radio is powered by a single fuse marked "ACC/radio", while third party radios use that fuse AND a second fuse marked "Backup ACC". For some reason Honda doesn't connect this second fuse. When I looked, the fuse was actually in place, but apparently not pressed in tightly enough to make a connection. I removed and reinstalled the fuse several times until I realized that the socket sits higher on this fuse than on the ones around it, so it looks uninstalled even when it is installed.

So, anyway, I pulled the original radio again, put in the new one and it works fine. It has an insane number of features accessible by an interface that only an engineer could love, with lots of totally useless graphic displays and really undesirable features indicated only by indecypherable three letter acronyms.

You know. Spend fifteen minutes getting the station presets like you want them, fighting the auto-scan feature to get it to let you tune in a station that you know the numbers to, but the radio would rather find one with a stronger signal, then you press the wrong button and it starts scanning and and ignores any other buttons you push while it is setting all the stations from scratch to the clearest 6 stations available. Then you spend another fifteen minutes figuring out that the presets you originally created are still there, but you have to push the unexplained "Next" button three times to get to them.

I'm sure it is nice to drive into a new town, press this autoscan thing and have it automatically find these best six stations in its temporary cache of scanned presets, but if the interface were designed for regular human beings who use radios, things would be different. I'm sure the owner's manual was clearer in the original German. I feel quite certain that very few people in New Orleans could make any sense of it, despite the name of the unit.

Also, I look forward to the day when the automatic station type feature allows me to not have to specify "Classical, Information, Jazz, Rock, Classics, Culture" or "News" and instead allow me to just specify "Not Country". As it is, it is easier to listen to all the stations, deciding to stop on one of the many types of music or words I like to listen to on the radio than it is for me to change the type a bunch of times, just so I don't have to listen to the "country" stations, especially since I can recognize most of them after about half a second.

Add that there is a limit to how deeply I will dig into this obtuse interface for the radio when my main interest in the unit is for its mini-disk player. I can stick four mini-disks in the same shirt pocket that is already holding my Palm Tungsten-T and handle them without worrying about scratching them. I could go on a long time about their versatility. It's such a cool medium. The world is as clueless about mini-disks as it is about the Honda Insight.

15 Posts
Thanks for the post, Will; It helped me to get out my broken radio. I had taken the two screws off, but was afraid to apply any more force, so I was stuck. After I read your article, I gave it a bit more tugging and the job was completed. I put some silicone grease on the spring clips before remounting the panel to make it easier to get out the next time.

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