Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Starmate Replay ST2 DC adaptor failure

The day the music died...

I listened to Stern on the way to work this morning and then when I went out again to listen on my lunch break, my Starmate wouldn't power up. I use the DC adaptor which I plug in and unplug each time I take the unit in and out of my truck, and this time it just didn't work. After moving the adaptor around in the cigarette lighter jack the tuner would periodically power up and would sometimes stay powered up as long as I kept pushing the adaptor into the plug, but once I released it power was lost. I tried all three of my power jacks, all with the same result.

I actually had to listen to regular FM freakin' radio during lunch.

The humanity!

I don't know how widespread this is or might be, but I was surprised at this failure less than five months after purchasing the unit. There is no way short of breakage to open the plug to check for a fuse, so I stopped by Radio Shack after work and picked up a new "Universal Adaptaplug DC Power Cord," part number 270-1594, for $13.46 including tax. It's definitely nicer than the SIRIUS-supplied power cord, and fairly cheap, but it would've been nice to not have to purchase it at all. I've had my cell phone car charger for 4 years with no problems.

By the way, the staff at Radio Shack was extremely helpful. I brought in my tuner and power cord and they opened up a new Starmate Replay accessory bag to check the manual for the power requirement, opened up the power cord I ended up buying, figured out which polarity was correct (the "outside" of the plug should be the negative part, the "tip" is inside and positive) and even tried it out to make sure it worked. Did you know that Radio Shack actually has cigarette lighter sockets right in the store to try this stuff out? I didn't.

The cool thing about the new adaptor is that it has an on/off switch (I can now leave the plug in the cig jack), a replaceable fuse, a light to show when power is flowing, and it includes 4 plug adaptors ("Adaptaplugs") for different sizes of power jacks. The plug adaptors can even be rotated 180 degrees on the wire to change polarity.

FYI, the Starmate Replay's power requirements according to the manual are 9-16 volts, Negative Ground, DC. Anyone else have a similar experience with a SIRIUS or XM tuner using the factory-supplied cigarette lighter power cord?

Related posts: Chevy S10 install; SIRIUS activation; SIRIUS rebate received; SIRIUS billing; SIRIUS impressions; Howard 100 audio spam


Eric said...
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Eric said...

Hey now!

The same thing happened to me only THREE months into my Starmate. I actually fixed the adapter, though. At first it looks like the fuse is inaccessible, but the silver top actually SCREWS off. Once off, you can replace the fuse. However, when I did this, the threads stripped out and I was no longer able to tighly close the fuse lid. My neighbor suggested using thread sealant tape usually used to make a threaded seal water-tight. It worked like a charm.


Kevin said...

Son of a ...

it *does* screw off! However, my fuse appears intact -- the wire is not broken. I suppose it could be broken at either end. The wire is at an angle, but I don't know whether that's normal or not. I tapped the fuse around a bit and the wire doesn't move.

No point in replacing the fuse now -- the new adaptor is better anyway. Plus, the cognitive dissonance is deafening.

Eric said...

*ANY* adapter has to be better than the one provided with the Starmate. For my other car, I used my radar detector adapter and it worked fine. I didn't check the voltages either -- I closed my eyes and tried it. I'm glad it didn't blow up.


Anonymous said...

Same exact thing happened to me yesterday. I bought a new "Vector" Car DC power adapter today. Wasn't sure about the polarity. Figured my vehichle was negative ground, so I guessed positive polarity. Seems to work fine.

Eric said...

FYI - My login for the Sirus website to stream music doesn't work anymore. I just sent in an e-mail asking why. Does your's still work?

Kevin said...

Eric: I have not yet used the streaming feature on the SIRIUS web site, so I don't know whether mine works or not.