I have had some people ask me about reprogramming the VIN number in the radio, so I thought I would write a how to guide that explains how to disassemble the radio so that the chip can be reprogrammed.
For more information on upgrading to My Link, see this thread.
Here is a thread on how I created the My Link wire harness to upgrade from the green screen
This is for the standard My Link radio. The navigation radio that is used in the Cruze is similar, but you will notice a couple minor differences.
NOTE: The electronics inside the radio are sensitive to static electricity. If you decide to do this project, it is important to take some precautions to avoid frying the electronics. It’s actually very simple, and here are a few helpful hints that should be good enough.
- Don’t wear wool or other materials that attract static electricity.
- Avoid rubbing yourself against the carpet flooring or fabric/nylon chairs while working on the radio.
- Work on a hard solid surface (i.e. not on the carpet floor or your bed)
- - When handling the PC boards, hold them by their edges and try not to touch any of the contacts or components on the boards.
- Ground yourself by touching something that is connected to a ground, such as the bare metal side of your desktop computer case while it is plugged into the wall but turned off. Re-ground yourself every time you move away from your desk and before each time that you touch any of the PC boards. If you are concerned, you can also purchase an anti-static wrist strap online that is designed to keep you grounded.
- Don’t set the PC boards down on anything that can conduct static, such as fabric, carpet or plastic.
Do this project at your own risk. There is always risk anytime you disassemble modern electronics, and I am not responsible for any damage caused by taking apart the radio.
Tools needed to dismantle radio:
- Small Phillips Screwdriver.
- Regular Phillips Screwdriver.
- Regular flat blade screw driver.
I will be referring to the sides of the radio. The top is the side that has the sticker label. The front is the side with the CD slot. The left side is the side with the heat sink and fan.
1- Start by removing the two black screws below the CD slot. These screws hold the front of the CD mechanism in place. You will need a smaller Phillips screwdriver to remove these.
2- Remove the 7 silver screws around the outside of the front panel. There are three on the right side, two on the top, and two on the left side. See photo below:
3- Remove the heat sink with the fan on the left side. To do this, first remove the 4 black screws. Then, remove the 2 silver screws in the middle of the heat sink. Then remove the silver screws next to the fan. After removing the screws, the heat sink will come off. If you carefully reach inside, you can unclip the fan plug from the PC board. Just pull up gently and it will unplug. Set the heat sink and fan aside. Do not remove the white grease that you see on the heat sink or the amplifier chip. This is necessary to properly transfer the heat. If you want, you can re-smear the grease around a little so that the chip makes good contact with the heat sink.
4- Remove the front panel. To do this, put a flat blade screwdriver into the slots at the top of the radio between the front panel and the top panel . Then carefully pry the front panel forward about a quarter inch. Then, look for a small square hole on each side of the front panel. You will notice that there is a small tab inside (see the first photo above for location of the tabs). Slide the flat blade screw driver behind the front panel to unlock these tabs. Do this on both sides and the front panel will slide off.
Be careful when removing the front panel because there are some wires attached to it. One wire goes to the Bluetooth antenna on the front. The other is the CD control cable that is glued to the front panel. Carefully peel the CD ribbon cable from the front panel. The Bluetooth antenna wire will be removed in a few minutes. Lay down the front panel so that there is no tension on the wire to the Bluetooth antenna.
5- Next, separate the radio into two halves – top and bottom. To do this, remove 1 screw from the center of the right side. Then, remove the two screws on the back. Carefully lift up the top half of the radio and turn it so that you can see the Bluetooth antenna connector on the PC board.
6- Remove the Bluetooth antenna wire and the CD control cable. You will see where the Bluetooth antenna wire connects to the PC board. Use your fingernails and carefully lift up on the connector. The gold-plated connector will pop off. Then, slide the CD control cable out of its connector on the PC board. Just gently pull the cable out of the connector on the PC board. Set the front panel and the bottom half of the radio (with the CD mechanism) to the side.
Bluetooth antenna plug
CD Ribbon Cable
7- Remove the top PC board. Unscrew 4 screws that hold the top PC board in place. Two are toward the rear of the board. The other two are on the metal bracket at the front of the board. One connects the metal bracket to the bottom PC board. The other is on the outside of the case. Holding the edges of the board, gently pull up. The top board will unplug from the bottom board. Set the top board aside. Remember to hold the PC board by the edges and place it in a static safe area. See photo below:
8- Remove the XM Radio. The XM radio is a small aluminum box on the side panel. To remove it, first, remove the ribbon cable from the PC board. To do this, carefully lift up on the sides of the connector. This will unlock the cable. Then, gently pull the cable out. Then unscrew 2 screws on the outside of the radio that hold the XM radio in place
XM Ribbon Cable Connector
9- Remove the bottom board from the case. Unscrew 5 screws that hold the bottom board to the chassis. One is on the back of the chassis by the antenna connector. Carefully lift it out by the edges of the board and turn it over to see the chip that needs to be programmed. (See image in step 8 above for location of screws)
10. Program the chip
11. Reassemble the radio by doing everything above in reverse. When you place the top PC board back over the bottom board, make sure the connector between the two boards snaps back in place. You may need to gently press down on the board above the connector to get it to snap in place. Don’t push too hard so that you don’t break anything. When you get to the XM radio ribbon cable, slide the cable back into the connector and then push the locking bar back down. For the Bluetooth antenna, put the connector in place and gently push it down until it snaps on. For the CD ribbon cable, just slide it back into the connector. Make sure the ribbon cables go back into the connectors the same way you took them out so that they make connection.