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Z130BT FM HD Radio issues

radio tuner HDradio z130bt hd radio fm fmradio fm radio

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#1 hdage

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 08:19 AM

I have recently installed a z130BT on my Lexus ES330 (2005 model) and the FM radio has a poor reception. The factory head unit had a great FM reception, even though it didn't support HD, the quality was quite good. I live in greater LA area and there are plenty of HD and regular FM channels that are broadcasted here. Has anyone had a similar issue? The connections seem ok and the antenna hasn't changed since I swapped out the factory HU. I spoke to Pioneer and they asked me to send the unit for examination, if I cannot fix it. I also heard that adding a FM booster will improve the reception, but is that really necessary?

thanks.

#2 JasonH

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 03:56 PM

Sounds like the typical powered antenna that isn't being powered problem.
Some antennas receive power (or ground) from the factory radio and without it (via the correct adapter) you will get poor reception.

#3 JasonH

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 04:07 PM

Actually, I just checked metra and scosche and neither one show an adaptor for your car.
That doesn't mean it doesn't need one, but without plugging the AVIC into a known working antenna it's just a guess.

#4 hdage

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 05:24 PM

Actually, I just checked metra and scosche and neither one show an adaptor for your car.
That doesn't mean it doesn't need one, but without plugging the AVIC into a known working antenna it's just a guess.


Thanks Jason. So I will try adding an adapter anyways and see if it makes a difference. What kind of adapter should I try (name, model etc )? Since you mention that Metra does not show an adaptor for my car, i should try some generic one? Don't know if this matters, but I have used a TYTO-01 amp interface, with RCAs running to external 4 channel amp and another mono block sub amp.

#5 chicagoandy

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 09:17 PM

I have recently installed a z130BT on my Lexus ES330 (2005 model) and the FM radio has a poor reception. The factory head unit had a great FM reception, even though it didn't support HD, the quality was quite good. I live in greater LA area and there are plenty of HD and regular FM channels that are broadcasted here. Has anyone had a similar issue? The connections seem ok and the antenna hasn't changed since I swapped out the factory HU. I spoke to Pioneer and they asked me to send the unit for examination, if I cannot fix it. I also heard that adding a FM booster will improve the reception, but is that really necessary?

thanks.


I'm also not impressed with the tuner on the Z-130. My problem is different - I get great reception out in the suburbs, but I get TERRIBLE reception downtown where the signal is strongest. My Toyota (and likely your Lexus) has a 'diversity antenna', which is a second antenna connected to the original radio. The radio had circuitry to use the second antenna to cancel out interference. Since the Pioneer doesn't support this, they can't cancel out interference... and I get crappy reception downtown.

And to be clear, I mean *exceptionally* crappy reception downtown.

I haven't found a solution to this.

_Am

#6 hdage

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 10:13 PM


I'm also not impressed with the tuner on the Z-130. My problem is different - I get great reception out in the suburbs, but I get TERRIBLE reception downtown where the signal is strongest. My Toyota (and likely your Lexus) has a 'diversity antenna', which is a second antenna connected to the original radio. The radio had circuitry to use the second antenna to cancel out interference. Since the Pioneer doesn't support this, they can't cancel out interference... and I get crappy reception downtown.

And to be clear, I mean *exceptionally* crappy reception downtown.

I haven't found a solution to this.

_Am


Interesting. I'm wondering if this is a Pioneer specific issue or do other HU's also exhibit a similar problem. You are right, my car also has dual antennas. I spoke to the guy who installed my audio system and he mentioned that adding a FM booster will improve the overall reception. I'm gonna try this anyways and see how much of a difference does it really make. I'm hoping that its a simple power problem as Jason mentioned above, if not then its certainly a deal breaker. One of the main reasons I bought this unit was because of built in HD radio and unfortunately never read about any reception issues before getting the unit.

I haven't tried playing radio in suburbs, but the reception in the metropolitan area is pretty bad, sometimes it tends to fluctuate and does get better, but by no means is HD quality. There is a constant distortion like in AM.

#7 chicagoandy

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 10:20 PM


Interesting. I'm wondering if this is a Pioneer specific issue or do other HU's also exhibit a similar problem. You are right, my car also has dual antennas. I spoke to the guy who installed my audio system and he mentioned that adding a FM booster will improve the overall reception. I'm gonna try this anyways and see how much of a difference does it really make. I'm hoping that its a simple power problem as Jason mentioned above, if not then its certainly a deal breaker. One of the main reasons I bought this unit was because of built in HD radio and unfortunately never read about any reception issues before getting the unit.

I haven't tried playing radio in suburbs, but the reception in the metropolitan area is pretty bad, sometimes it tends to fluctuate and does get better, but by no means is HD quality. There is a constant distortion like in AM.


I think the core problem is not the HU, but a very specific Toyota antenna design that assumes the second antenna is connected for interference cancelation. I think we'd have this problem with any HU upgrade.


If I'm right, then adding an amplifier will not solve the problem. For one, antenna design is some very complicated voodoo, and simple fixes rarely do what you'd expect. For me, I get the worst reception downtown where there signal is strongest. I do think maybe a new external antenna, maybe mounted on the rooftop might fix the problem. I'm guessing the Toyota antenna design is based on the assumption of the diversity antenna being present and connected.

YMMV, as the saying goes.

That said, if you do try the amplifier - please let me know how it goes!

_Am

#8 chicagoandy

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 10:26 PM


I think the core problem is not the HU, but a very specific Toyota antenna design that assumes the second antenna is connected for interference cancelation. I think we'd have this problem with any HU upgrade.


If I'm right, then adding an amplifier will not solve the problem. For one, antenna design is some very complicated voodoo, and simple fixes rarely do what you'd expect. For me, I get the worst reception downtown where there signal is strongest. I do think maybe a new external antenna, maybe mounted on the rooftop might fix the problem. I'm guessing the Toyota antenna design is based on the assumption of the diversity antenna being present and connected.

YMMV, as the saying goes.

That said, if you do try the amplifier - please let me know how it goes!

_Am


Also - my Toyota (with JBL audio) DOES have a powered amplifier wire - and this was not included on any of the purchased harnesses. You may find you need to connect this wire to the HU. On my Toyota, this wire came on the same harness as the two antenna wires.

_Am

#9 hdage

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 11:26 PM


I think the core problem is not the HU, but a very specific Toyota antenna design that assumes the second antenna is connected for interference cancelation. I think we'd have this problem with any HU upgrade.


If I'm right, then adding an amplifier will not solve the problem. For one, antenna design is some very complicated voodoo, and simple fixes rarely do what you'd expect. For me, I get the worst reception downtown where there signal is strongest. I do think maybe a new external antenna, maybe mounted on the rooftop might fix the problem. I'm guessing the Toyota antenna design is based on the assumption of the diversity antenna being present and connected.

YMMV, as the saying goes.

That said, if you do try the amplifier - please let me know how it goes!

_Am



You are right, after a quick research online, I now see that this is a common problem with any HU's. Most cars have diversity antenna to improve the reception and I'm quite confident that a simple wiring fix should solve the problem. I stumbled across few toyota threads that discuss this issue. You may have already seen this, if not here they are
http://www.toyotanat...rket-radio.html
http://community.cru...2679/11287.aspx


Another local thread that gave me hope :)
http://avic411.com/i...post__p__239555

I'm going to try these steps before the weekend and see if it improves the reception. I will certainly update this thread, either way.

#10 hdage

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 07:10 AM

I haven't yet got a chance to try this.. I will update when I do. .

#11 chicagoandy

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 04:17 PM

So I've learned a bit since this last past.

Many (all?) Toyota and Lexus radios have two things you need to keep in mind.

1. There's an amplifier on the antenna already. This amplifier needs power, and there's a lead in the antenna harness that needs to be connected. This goes to the "remote control" blue/white lead coming off the head unit. This will add 12V, which will power the amplifier, which will improve your reception.

2. Toyota and Lexus radios come with 'diversity antennas'. This means the car actually has two separate antennas, and the stock radio is smart enough to use the second antenna to cancel out interference from the first one. On the Toyota antenna harness there are TWO antenna cables. One has a standard sized antenna connector and one has a smaller version that looks similar. Only the bigger one will fit into the new radio.

As most aftermarket head units do not support diversity antennas, it is impossible to use this functionality. The impact of this limitation is that reception in downtown areas is poor, since there's a lot of interference from signals bouncing off all the buildings. This problem is impossible to overcome without replacing the vehicle antenna.

I have discovered that you can combine the two antennas using these parts.
1. Scosche Mda-B Micro/Delco Antenna Adapter Tip - converts the smaller antenna jack to a standard size
2. METRA Ltd 40-UV43 Motorola Antenna Y-adapter - combines the two antennas into one.

Using these did improve my downtown reception, but it is still not as good as I would expect and there are still long stretches of road where I can not receive reception where I previously could, but - for the price it was worth the improvement.

_Am

#12 hdage

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 01:00 AM

Good info. .. Yesterday evening I finally got a chance to check the connections and surprisingly the HD radio reception has improved a lot now. As you mentioned my Lexus has two antenna cables (not 3) one big and one small cable. I think in my case the right cable (big one) was connected to the HD radio module, but it was probably not plugged all the way in. Its now secured in properly and since then HD radio is sounding great, infact I can even get a decent reception in my basement parking lot.. :) . . Once I come out into the streets, the reception is very good, more than 75% of the HD channels have clear reception, with hardly any audible static. . .

I have played more than 10 HD stations since yesterday night and the result is promising. Even at moderate to high volume levels, the reception is quite good. .. Looks like the antenna is receiving enough power from just the single cable .. .

#13 hdage

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 12:06 AM

I'm disappointed to say that my HD radio reception is unfortunately gone back to how it was before. . i.e, has a lot of static. . It worked good for couple of days (have no idea why it worked well) but no more..





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