CD / radio problem

When I started my car today I went to use the CD player as usual but noticed it was in the radio function, pressing the button to revert it back to CD didn’t work. There was no error message and I hadn’t selected radio when I last used the car, in fact I never ever use the radio. I switched it off waited for the aerial to retract then switched it back on and the button then worked so I selected CD but none of the other buttons 1 -6 would work or the ‘toggle’ switch that allows you to change track. The first disc loaded and began to play but only about 5 seconds of the first track before jumping to the second track, again for 5 seconds then onto track 3, this continued with each track. I switched it off and on restarting I could then switch from disc 1 to disc 2 by pressing No 2 button but that also skipped every 5 seconds or so. The toggle switch used for changing tracks would not work. None of the buttons on the head unit respond unless I switch off /on and then it is only the one time until I switch off /on again and then I get the 5 second skipping. I unplugged the lead to the unit in the boot and it was nice and clean. Any suggestions ? Do you think the problem is in the head unit or with the changer in the boot ?

Casso, if the head unit in your 1993 is like the one originally fitted to my 1994:

my guess is the Scan function, initiated by pressing in on the volume knob, is stuck in the on, or scan, position. Have you tried teasing that volume knob in and out to see if perhaps it is stuck? If so, it may benefit from a cleaning with DeoxIT or similar electrical cleaner.


I immediately thought they might be a scan function. As to the other problems, my ~20 year old Mercedes (Becker?) radio sometimes, not very often, does its own thing and after a day or two it is back to normal. I would just wait and see if it keeps happening, if it does it is probably age related and may or may not be fixable with a good cleaning. But it’s possible that all the other switches are simply disabled during ‚scan‘.

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HI Mike My head unit is indeed the same one as you have posted. Thanks for the quick reply, what you have suggested certainly makes sense and gives me something to investigate. Despite me owning this car since 2011 and the CD player being used almost every time I drive it I always assumed that scan function related to the radio and was used for finding stations with the strongest signal so I’ve never used it for changing tracks on the CD ! I’ll go out later and have a twiddle with the scan to see if I can resolve it, fingers crossed it might just be stuck or dirty like you suggest. I’ll let you know how I can get on, Cheers.

OK, I had to check the documentation since I swapped out my original head unit for a Kenwood unit (with Bluetooth, hands-free phone) several years ago, and my memory is - well, let’s just say not infallible. The scan function does work for previewing the first eight seconds of each CD track:

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So I’ve just been out on the driveway ‘messing’ with the CD head unit. I worked the scan button in and out several times then switched it on. It’s still the same, I noticed the scan button works for the first few seconds after turning on and the tracks jump as they are supposed to with each press but as soon as the aerial is fully extended it stops working along with all the other buttons and the tracks continue to skip. It’s like there’s a small window of 8 - 10 seconds after switching on when it all works fine then all the buttons cease to function and the skipping starts. I think my next move will be to remove the head unit, open it up and give everything inside a good clean and a visual inspection.
If the worse comes to the worse and I have to source another head unit ( I only want an identical one ) do you know whether the security code is part of the unit or part of my cars own security system ? In other words if I find an identical unit will I need the new code or will it just work in my car using the same code as the original ?

The security code for the head unit is incorporated within the head unit, and is not part of the car’s security system. Ideally, a seller of a second-hand unit will have the code. Jaguar dealers used to be able to provide the code based on the unit’s serial number, but that might not be the case now. There is a procedure for modifying the head unit to work with a default code; hopefully it won’t come to that for you. I have not done this, but here is a link to the how-to:

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That info is very much appreciated Mike, if I do end up having to replace the head unit I’ll try my best to obtain one with it’s code. I’m always of the mind that almost anything can be repaired so I’ve not given up hope yet of sorting out my own unit, I’ll keep you informed of how it goes. Cheers.

As an aside, I have the same deck in my XJ40 as Casso and have a Kenwood in my motorhome, which from the sound of it may be similar - or maybe the same as yours, Mike.
While the Jag unit doesn’t have the same amount of functionality as the Kenwood, I find it way less annoying as the Kenwood always goes into Demo mode as soon as it powers up and so far I haven’t figured out a way to turn that function off.

Larry, my Kenwood is a KDC-X599. Mine powers up in demo mode if power has been removed i.e the battery disconnected. Would this be the case with your motorhome?

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It might be, as I have a main shutoff and when I park up I do switch off all power from the starting battery systems and that is where the radio power is connected …I believe it does that even if I stop for lunch though and just turn off the ignition and remove the key. Will check next time I’m out there.
Cheers Mike

Ah, memories…albeit a bit unrelated…my first car was a 1964 Volkswagen Beetle with a 6 volt electrical system and the original AM-only radio. I swapped the radio out for a 12 volt AM/FM/cassette tape unit and installed a 6 to 12 volt inverter. All was well until the first time I tried to eject a cassette tape. The mechanism would push the tape (mostly) upward but not enough to allow the tape to be pushed out the loading slot. Somehow (this was 50+ years ago, so some details are a bit fuzzy) I determined, or guessed, there wasn’t enough oomph being supplied by the inverter. My brother was into motorcycles and had a spare 12 volt battery. I wired that battery in parallel between the inverter and the head unit with a toggle switch under the dash so I could turn on the extra oomph when I needed to eject a tape. Worked like a champ and I didn’t have to charge or fool with the battery in the five years I owned the car. Anyway, Larry, as to your motorhome with the Kenwood, could you employ something like a battery tender - or a motorcycle or lawn tractor battery - to feed the Kenwood when the main batteries are disconnected?

Nah, I’ll just put up with the issue …thanks for the tip though!

Casso, did you get this sorted?

Not quite there yet Mike. Strange things are happening, I used the car over the weekend and the skipping from track to track had stopped so at least I could play a disc from start to finish, however none of the other controls on the head unit would function ( apart from the volume / balance / bass / treble which all work fine ) so I couldn’t change disc using the 1 - 6 buttons, and the scan is not working either. I still need to pull the unit from the car but haven’t got the enthusiasm to do it at the moment, I’m searching for a like for like replacement so I’ve got one to hand if I can’t repair the existing one so I don’t have to repeat it all over again. Cheers.

Makes sense. It sounds as though you need an exorcist! I spotted a listing on US eBay by this fellow, who is in the UK. I have no affiliation etc. but it might be worth contacting him (for a spare or repair, not an exorcism!).

Here is a link to contact him:

daniel8511 on eBay

You will have to copy the link and paste into your browser.

Cheers Mike, I’ve now checked that guy and stored him in 'my favourite sellers ’ I’ll keep you informed.

have you considered the idea of replacing the cd changer with a SD card reader with Alpine interface? i use it instead of the original cd changer, it work very well and now i have access to hundred of tracks that i can select from the original radio.

Thank you for the suggestion Andreal, I did consider this a while back, I know a few members on here have already done this and are very happy with the result, at the moment I’m fairly confidant the actual CD changer is working ok, the problem seems to be with the head unit so if I did use a SD card reader I would still have the same problem. I intend removing the unit for an inspection but the rain has been almost incessant for the last week. Cheers.

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Hey, Casso. Since the CD changer is in the boot, have you already reseated the connector from the head unit? Perhaps it’s just a matter of poor connection on the control lines. Cheers!