Sometimes, car stereos act up and you are not sure what to do. In the case of humans, they can express what is wrong with them for easier diagnosis and treatment. However, with car stereos, there is a lot of work to do when issues arise to fix them.
If you own a Kenwood stereo, one of the most challenging but common problems is “miswiring dc offset error”. So what does this issue mean? How do you fix it and how do you prevent it from occurring again? In this article, we explain everything about Kenwood miswiring dc offset error.
What is Kenwood radio miswiring dc offset error? Causes and Possible Fixes
Any time you see a miswiring dc offset error on your Kenwood stereo, there are high chances that something is wrong with the speaker wiring. Here are some of the main causes for this error and how to fix them.
1. Speaker wire is grounded
Miswiring dc offset error is likely to occur when one of the speaker terminals is grounded. In simpler terms, it means a speaker terminal is touching a metallic part of the car chassis, which is something that should not happen for the proper functioning of your Kenwood stereo.
Essentially, you should ensure the speaker cables in your car’s audio setup are properly insulated. No single speaker wire should touch the chassis since doing so will ground the speaker. In that case, check the grounding to ensure it is done properly. Ensure no speaker wire is touching the chassis. If all seems okay with the grounding, the error is likely a result of another issue.
2. Problems with the DC offset voltage
If you have an amp hooked to the radio, the radio is likely detecting the dc offset voltage, which makes it go into protect mode by shutting down. In most instances, the issue occurs due to linking a negative or positive speaker wire to a grounding point or the 12 voltage supply. In this case, disconnect the RCA cables. Turn on the head unit and check whether the error clears.
If the error fails to clear, it is likely the capacitor or a component in the head unit has a problem. If the head unit seems to function normally but with the error, it is likely the RCA cables or amp have a short. In some instances, you can disconnect the RCA cables and reconnect them. Also, tighten them if they feel loose.
Here is how to fix this issue:
ii. Remove the hooked speaker cables one by one.
iii. Press the head unit reset button.
iv. In case the error clears after removing a certain cable, it means the cable you have removed is faulty. Examine it for any shorting. If it is shorted, replace it with a new cable.
v. If you remove all the cables apart from Black, Yellow, and Red, and you have pressed the reset button but the error does not clear, it is likely the radio has an internal short. In that case, you should have it checked by a professional.
3. Shorting cables
Another major cause of Kenwood miswiring dc offset error is a shorted speaker cord. In this case, disconnect the speaker cables from the head unit. Inspect each cable carefully before reconnecting them. Replace any damaged cable. Next, reset the head unit to check whether the error clears.
Some shorted cables or damages may not be noticeable with the naked eye. In that case, you may think about visiting an expert. However, exhaust all possible troubleshooting options before seeking the assistance of an expert.
4. Corroded speaker wire
If your head unit has been functioning well but the error comes up at some point, and other troubleshooting options fail to clear the issue, you are likely dealing with corroded speaker wire. In this case, you will need to check the rear section of the deck for cables coming from the circuit board. Check for any corrosion on the cables.
Corrosion usually results from exposure to humidity. If you notice any corrosion, scrape it off and check whether the error clears. You can use a wire brush to scrape off the corrosion. However, be careful not to damage the wires when scraping them.
In some instances, you may have to splice the cables where the corrosion is extreme. Then reconnect the cables with the help of wire connectors. If the corrosion affects the contacts of the head unit and the faceplate, the faceplate display may stop working. In this case, clean the contacts to clear the corrosion.
Tips for Preventing Kenwood Radio Miswiring DC Offset Error
The best way to prevent this error in the future is to ensure that you install your Kenwood stereo properly. By learning how to set it up right, you will reduce the chances of problems in the future. Here is how to install your Kenwood radio properly to prevent the miswiring dc offset error:
- Turn off your car engine and remove the key from the ignition.
- Disconnect your car battery to prevent a short circuit during installation.
- Make proper speaker cable connection for both input and output.
- Hook the speaker connector and power connector to the harness.
- Hook the harness to the head unit.
- Make sure you ground the negative terminal by hooking it to a grounding point on the chassis.
- Mount the Kenwood stereo into the mounting location.
- Reconnect your car battery.
- Turn the ignition to ACC or turn on the engine altogether.
- Press the reset button on your Kenwood stereo.
- Do the initial setup by following the prompts on the stereo screen or according to the user manual.
Things to Note to Avoid Kenwood Miswiring DC Offset Error
- When installing your head unit, avoid setting it up in an area exposed to direct sunlight, humidity, excessive heat, and dust.
- Only use the provided screws to avoid damaging the head unit when you use screws that do not match.
- Hook all the cables properly to avoid the miswiring dc offset error. Ensure there are no short circuits, loose speaker cables, or naked speaker cables touching the car chassis.
- If the fuse blows at any point, ensure the cables do not touch as it will lead to a short circuit. When replacing a blown fuse, make sure the replacement fuse is rated the same as the blown fuse.
- Use a vinyl tape to shield unconnected wires to avoid instances of short circuits. Also, fix caps on the ends of unconnected terminals or cables.
- Make sure the yellow batter wire or red ignition wire does not touch the ground as it can cause a short circuit. Only hook them via the fuse box.
Any time you see the Kenwood miswiring dc offset error, it may be a result of various issues with the wiring. Troubleshoot various issues that may be causing the problem before it results in further damage. Avoid doing guesswork as you may damage your head unit. If you do not know where to start or you are unable to tell the cause of the error, consider seeking the services of an expert for professional assistance.
Michael Evanchuk is a San Francisco-based sound engineer with 20 years’ experience installing, troubleshooting, and repairing commercial, automotive, and household sound equipment. Evanchuk owns an auto stereo center, where he offers highly competitive car audio installation and repair services. He has written dozens of articles on different sound engineering topics, all of which have been published in leading journals, blogs, and websites.