Sunday, March 9, 2014

Death of a stereo

Ring Ring. Hi Willy, what I can I help you with? Your stereo is broken? What would you like me to do? Your selling the boat, and you want me to fix it? Okay I guess. What is it doing? Nothing but making a little whirring noise when it has power? You tested the red wire and it has 12 volts? Does the yellow wire have 12 volts also? What do you mean it doesn't have a yellow wire, go and look again.

That's better Willy, and it also has 12 volts? Good job. Does the display light up at all? It's blank? I have some bad news for you Willy. I think your stereo has passed on. 

Yes Willy I know it's only six years old. Remember I helped you install it. No, that's about how long most of them last...if you're very lucky.

Willy, it's kinda like that dog years thing. Every 365 days a marine stereo lives in a boat, 17 years of its life passes by. So your stereo was really 102 years old. Didn't I see it featured on the Smucker's jar last year? I think Willard Scott said "It still loves to play elevator music every day."

Yes Willy I know it's still making some mechanical sounds. That's just the final death rattle you're hearing. Calm down now Willy. It's not that I don't want to come out. It's just not likely I can do anything about it. 

I'll stare at it, push some buttons so it looks like I'm trying to do something. Verify it has power, and maybe give it a solid whack on the side. Speaking of that, give it a good thump right now.

Did that fix it? Nope? Then you have now done everything I could do with it, and you saved yourself the cost of a service call. No Willy the factory can't fix it. They never actually repaired them, just replaced them. This unit has been out of production for many years. Remember that you got such a great deal on it because it had just been discontinued.

Willy, you've got to let it go. No Willy the big power amp isn't the radio's problem either. The display doesn't even light up for gosh sake. It's done Willy. Hope all you want but it's finished. It's not sleeping, it's dead, and it isn't going to come back to life. Start your grieving now and get it over with. That stereo has gone to the farm that's so far away you can never go visit it ever.

What should you do? Go to the store and buy an inexpensive stereo, and install it. If you need some help, give me a buzz. Thank you Willy for the offer, but no I don't want the old broken stereo for parts. Willy, I've already told you several times the LORAN system is long gone. You should get the old antique box off the boat before you list it. Sigh, yes Willy I know it still works, it just doesn't have anything to listen to anymore. You're selling a boat, not a museum Willy.

The photo of the corroded IC was taken by Wikipedia user Binarysequence.
The photo of the melted transistor was taken by Wikipedia user Yoyomin.


  1. It was ever thus, although some gear is surprisingly durable, to the point where if it isn't going to burst into flames, you keep it as a Plan B. I have an Eagle fish finder at the nav station of my 40 year old FG sloop...but I also have a Seafarer sounder that still accurately gives me feet and fathoms in a rickety sort of motorized orange ring of whatever preceded LEDs.

    I also have a Danforth Hi-Tensile 22 pound anchor that likely came with the boat in the early '70s. It's a decent lunch hook.

    You can get away with that sort of thing in fresh water. Salt, or brackish, less so.

  2. :-) I'm sorry. I just had to laugh. Poor Willy, condolences on your loss. .

    I still have a 30+ yr old Pioneer 8-Track hooked to a 30+ yr old 12 volt buoy battery that kicks out some wicked early 80's tunes!

  3. You should be ashamed of yourself, Rick! Persecuting elderly electrons and rusty old iron molecules on a thin, brittle old plastic medium is nothing less than audiogenecide.... Everyone that recorded those is in a rest home by now.

  4. Ah yes Sandy, that's the fate that awaits us all. Sittin' in the ole' Sailor's home debating who was the greatest rock band of all time!


    1. Rick, there is no debate about the greatest rock band of all time, it's Pink Floyd. Hmm maybe also Allman Bros, but it could also be the Grateful Dead, don't forget Santana, or the Doors and... I'm pretty sure Jimmy Cafeteria, and Christopher Cross aren't on any sane persons list. Funny pic Rick, and maybe all too true, all too soon.

  5. I'm in some sort of heretical lift raft: I consider Mr. Buffett's "songs" tedious in the extreme, and "Parrotheads" to be some breed of fat, elderly and usually drunk version of a Deadhead.

    If there's one thing classic rock radio has taught me, it's that you can hear Hotel California too often quite early in life. New stereo or not.


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