Location of AM signal booster? - Land Rover Forums : Land Rover and Range Rover Forum
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 06-24-2016, 05:17 AM Thread Starter
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Location of AM signal booster?

The AM radio on my 2009 LR2 has been silent since last week. The display for AM is fine, but the scanner feature will not stop at a station, which indicates that the radio is not getting any signal from the antenna or booster. FM works wonderfully. I have the Tech package, with the GPS in dash, and the Alpine 14 speaker stereo.

I've read all over the 'net about this issue, and I've seen various suggestions as to where the AM booster might be, and what antenna(s) is/are used for AM, and I do see that this varies according to options: NAV or no NAV, Tech package or not, etc.. And some have suggested that the AM booster is in the rear right pillar.

So I took off the rear pillar covers, both cargo side covers, the high brake light cover, and dropped down the headliner at the back, to eyeball the bottom of the shark fin antenna on my roof. I only found one booster: As seen in the picture, I have the white plastic antenna booster under the brake high light cover. The place for the other booster, to its right, as seen in the image I found... the red one... is not there. Nor are any of the wires going to it. So on this version, that booster is not used.

I disconnected my white booster while the FM radio was playing, and there was no change in signal. I connected a long wire to the RF wire, presumably going to the radio, while the AM radio was tuned to a strong local station... but there was no signal, no static, nothing. So I am still not sure if this is the AM booster used. I will be testing the current to this booster, but haven't done this yet. Does anyone here think THAT is my AM booster?

If not, where is my AM booster? And where then is my FM booster? I searched every nook and cranny with all those covers off. One more thing: There are RF wires coming off the shark fin antenna, but I lost where they are headed... I'm not certain that one of them goes to my remaining white booster or not. But also, I've read that on my version, that sharkfin may or may not have AM and/or FM and/or is just a GPS receiver. I also suspected it could be a cell phone repeater antenna, as I have the call feature through the car's audio system... but I dunno.

Edited to add: My right rear window antenna, which appears to be a dipole (FM?) has a double wire snapped on it. But the single antenna in the left rear window has no wire to it... just the snap. It is unused on my truck... and I found no wire under the headliner above it.

Any ideas? Thanks much, in advance.
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 06-24-2016, 01:10 PM Thread Starter
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Today I checked the green w/purple stripe wire going to the one, white, booster I have (in the rear hatch, shown in the pic above). It showed 10.7 volts positive. It had power when the radio was on, whether or not I was on the AM or the FM setting.

I reasoned that this could be the AM booster:

1) Since FM was not affected when I disconnected it
2) Or the only other way it is no the AM booster, would be if it were installed but not used because of other options. I don't think that likely.

So on the premise it is the AM booster, I tested the power to it as I said, then took it out and opened it up. I reflowed all the major solder joints, in case there were any cold joints. There is no corrosion inside, or any visible problems with it. I reinstalled it, and my AM radio is still dead.

So either there is still a malfunction with this unit (if it is the AM booster after all), or there is another problem with the wire from the booster to the radio. Maybe it simply got unplugged? Or maybe the RF cable is pinched and broken somewhere? I doubt it. But I'm going to look behind the radio, and make sure the wire has not just jiggled out of the back or something. If all the wires look fine, I may have to buy another unit, and try that.

Meanwhile if any sees this, and can identify it as the AM booster... or not... I'd of course still be interested. Thanks, Rich.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 06-28-2016, 06:45 AM Thread Starter
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I have some answers, for one, and also, my AM radio is now working. I purchased a workshop manual, which has the identification and location of all the units in question, and this probably helped solve this:

1) On my truck (2009 LR2 with Tech package and Nav), the AM and FM signal booster is one unit, in both a non-diversity and diversity system*, and is located under the headliner, just above the right rear window, roughly centered to the window. It has two RF connections, and a snap-on connection to the antenna(s) on that window.

2) The unit in the rear hatch, the one to the left, under the cover for changing the high brake light bulb, which I have (and which is white on my car), is the "Twin FM antenna for diversity tuning"*.

3) The unit my car does not have, but which I've seen on other pics (including the one I posted in my OP), and which is on the right, under the cover for changing the high brake light bulb, is/would be the "VICS/TMC antenna amp". This is for a system that some countries have, which you can look up... I won't get into it here. But I don't need it, and it does not relate to AM or FM radio.

Then, what is important to know, is that these AM/FM and FM antenna boosters send that boosted signal to (of all things) the DVD unit for the Nav system, under the front right seat. The path of the AM signal is from the antenna (that snap connector), to the booster (under the headliner), to the DVD unit (under the right seat)... where it is somehow processed, and then sent to the radio unit in the dash.

What I did: Most electronic problems are connections, contacts, bad solder joints, while failed components are in my experience the last problem seen. So I started by taking down the headliner enough to "eyeball' the AM booster. Everything looked connected. Then I reached in, and jiggled the connectors... all of them. They seemed tight. Then I went under the seat, and jiggled and tested all the wires and connectors there... I did not yet identify the ones from the booster, it is a rat's nest, and I put it off for later.

I didn't check the AM radio because I didn't do anything... I thought. But the next day, on a hopeful whim, I tried it: And it worked perfectly! Later, there was some break-up... not static, I don't think, but some break up. This seemed to be more apparent on a rough road... then, it went away.

Conclusion: There is a bad connection or ground somewhere from the AM booster to the DVD unit. Maybe a pinched, or internally broken lead. Maybe a slightly corroded or tarnished connection. Maybe a bad ground, where a unit is not making good contact with ground. In any case, my jiggling and messing around got it going... So I am going to take down the headliner, take out the booster, and use contact cleaner on all contacts. Then I will check the grounds. I will do the same for the DVD unit. But basically, I think the problem is solved.

* Diversity tuning is a system which has more than one antenna source, and then automatically switches to the source with the strongest signal.
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