Thursday, March 9, 2017

2013 Chevy Spark Mylink radio upgrade from LS to LT model

Recently bought a used 2013 Chevy Spark LS to tow behind a Class C RV and ended up liking the car enough to sell off our normal run around car for daily use. The Spark was more fun.
The stock radio, however was blah. I saw the LT model’s Mylink radio and thought it would be a neat upgrade, if I could procure a used "take off" unit for a good price. 


Shopping online brought this to our garage:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/192109883673?_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT


(2013 Chevy Spark LT Mylink head unit, with fascia, bottom plug with small bottom fascia, in really good shape)
to replace 2013 Chevy Spark LS base model radio with aux input. I offered 140 plus 10 shipping for the head unit and accessories and the deal was done.


I got a set of plastic spurgers (referenced below)  to help pry off the dash fascia, removed the fascia, unscrewed the head unit’s four phillips mounting screws and drew out the head unit. I had to use a small flat blade screwdriver to release the tab on the squarish multi-plug, which then is released by pushing down on the release lever, sliding the plug out. The cable running to the other side of the radio was tough to release and I struggled with it but finally got it to come off. I then plug and played the replacement head unit into place restoring the cable and the white multi-plug.
Turning on the new head unit displayed a “LOCKED” message on the main screen after five seconds. Turns out the LT upgrade Mylink head unit is locked to the VIN number of the original vehicle, thus the locked message.
I researched the problem on the internet for a few days. Most of the help with the hardware/eprom problem came from this Cruze site:


http://www.cruzetalk.com/forum/36-gen1-audio-electronics/55641-mylink-upgrade-diy-11.html


and various foreign sites with guys in Russia, etc. trying to swap out Chevy hardware from vehicle to vehicle.
This one was pivotal because it showed me where to find the eprom chip I needed to reprogram:


https://www.drive2.ru/l/6210325/


The guy who sold me the unit on eBay said he didn’t know it was locked and gave me a partial refund and offered to author a letter stating he was the original owner and removed the unit to install an aftermarket stereo. Rather than go to the dealer and see if I could get them to use their Scantool II to reprogram the head unit for $60 or so I decided to make a project out of it.


What I learned:


I repeatedly tried to change the VIN number on the chip, replacing what appeared to be the old VIN with my car’s number. One problem was the number of characters displayed in hex on the chip didn’t seem to be comparable with the 17 characters in my car’s VIN. So two tries at reading and replacing the VIN resulted in “LOCKED.” I did read however that others had wiped the eprom chip clean, reinstalled the radio and the logic unit of the car initialised the eprom with the VIN. I haven’t removed the head unit to re-read the chip since I wiped and installed it. Since it now works, I can assume it’s probably so. Bottom line: the Mylink now works.
I am going to post some pictures which hopefully are worth a few thousand words.




References:

Kris Kasprzak Youtube video with links to software and notes:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0ChYNwunUE
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Chip clip to allow read and write of chip without desoldering:

SOIC8 SOP8 Test Clip For EEPROM 93CXX / 25CXX / 24CXX in-circuit FAST SHIP USA


http://www.ebay.com/itm/262294374999?_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT———————————————————
USB stick programmer to plug into usb port of PC (powered by software from Kasprzak links, referenced above)
SMAKN® USB Programmer CH341A Series Burner Chip 24 EEPROM BIOS LCD Writer 25 SPI Flash 


https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B013Q5P3ES/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o07_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
————————————————————————————
Neiko 20765A Auto Trim Removal | Heavy Duty Nylon Fiber Composite Body Installer Pry Scraper Fastener Panel Molding | 11-Piece Set 


https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01H2QWFH0/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
—————————————————————
3ft CablesOnline USB 2.0 Mini-B 5-Pin to Mini-B 5-Pin Male/Male Cable, USB2-5503 


https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00T28JQUG/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o06_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1









44 comments:

  1. hi, do you have your bin file? My programmer was working strangely, so I was not able to get a copy of my bin file before erasing it.

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  2. My experience leads me to believe erasing the eprom and reinstall ing the unit will produce a new and valid bin file on the chip.

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    1. mike ,im glade find this place to learn on the 2013 spark radio mylink ,if can help please solve this ,i have the original that the screen not working and the ebay one get to lock condition ,which part need to replace to have one that works? ,what board inside will do it?thanks for any answer ,

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  3. I was sort of following this line of thinking as well. Thanks for this page by the way! Did you find that you car has no rear door speaker wiring harness? I couldn't believe GM would be so cheap to not at least use the same harness for all models...I have to run rear wires...

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  4. I haven't fooled with the rear speakers. I know putting in a rear woofer makes for a solid system but not for me. Replacing the front speakers has given me a better sound and it was relatively easy. Good luck on your build.

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  5. It worked! However... No Bluetooth, or instar. Did you have any issues with t his, and how about your bezel? Looks like I may have to modify the aftermarket square double din bezel.

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  6. The seller provided me with a the stock fascia designed for the mylink radio (he installed an after market radio and switched out the fascia), which replaced my old standard radio one. He also provided the smaller double bottom panel which, when cabled up from the back of the unit, provides a usb port for sd card music. If you run the usb cable (see my detail) into the back of the unit, you probably can terminate in such a way as to allow for an sd card. My blue tooth works but I upgraded the firmware to the latest version. The newest firmware provides several new features.
    https://vk.com/topic-118136676_33458773 (you'll need google translate) I don't use Onstar. Again, good luck.

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  7. thx, I am doing the firmware upgrades, been following that site for a while. so yes, looks like a factory bezel for the mylink, and not the aftermsatket one I need. thx again!

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  8. I took a soldering iron and replaced that chip from my old unit to the new unit and ban it works!

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  9. Hellooo, im trying to do the same process with my MyLink for a Chevrolet Captiva, but this one is a little different of yours. The board seems to be a little different and I have some questions: Did I need to put power in the main board, to read/clean/write in the eeprom? Or I just need to disassemble all and read the eeprom chip? My second question is, I found 3 eeproms in the main board. How could I choose the correct one?

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    1. I am also doing this to a captiva and would like to know the same.

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    2. I removed the pcb (the board), so no, there was no power going to it from the unit. The power to read and erase the eprom came from the spider clamp connected to the usb port of the computer, via ribbon cable. I am not familiar with the Captiva or its radio but if GM serialized the board to the car with a 24LC256 chip (see pictures above), then that chip could be read and re-programmed in a similar manner.

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  10. Hi, Mike Seither. Could make a more detailed tutorial how to make the process is to use the program. I would greatly appreciate it.

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  11. I have a MyLink ready to go. $100 us plus shipping. It's all set to install on your car. I decided not to use it, it purchased it from eBay. It's all 'blanked and ready for your vin

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  12. Hey Mike, just wanted to thank you for the detailed guide on the upgrade. I did the very same upgrade from a 2013 Trax to a 2016 Mylink. Followed every picture and note and was able to succesfully get the Vin erased and set up for my car.
    Without this guide i could not have done it, so thanks again and keep it up.

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    1. Outstanding. I couldn't have done it without a great deal of help from others, either. I'm glad and thanks for the note. I appreciate it.

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    3. Would this work for me? I did the same, buy a mylink on ebay, I installed in my spark 2013 Mexican, if it turns on and everything works without problems, only that every 10 minutes the mylink goes off, and I have to be turning on every 10 minutes, it is a bit annoying. Would this serve for me?

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    4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=biUtm8wfTZw

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  13. I need your help. I did everything you mentioned but since I am a novice in programming just press the erase button, then arm the stereo again and when you connect and turn it on, it only says NO VIN. Please can you tell me what I can do, how can I enter the VIN, I only see many numbers in CH341A PROGRAMMER software, I do not understand where I should write the VIN, please help me

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    1. si te sale NO VIN, ya esta listo, al instalarse en tu carro lo acepta y se le guarda en automático el VIN de tu carro.. que no ?

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  14. If you saved the bin file before erasing it (as per detail in pictures, above), you should be able to restore it. From your earlier question (which I answered with a reference to youtube, showing what I think might be your problem, which is a bad ground). If the unit powered up and played and then lost power after ten minutes, then your problem probably isn't related to the serial number. Sorry for your trouble. It is a complicated and experimental thing to do. If you read my post above, I was never successful at over writing the serial number on the bin file. After erasing, the car updated the radio when I started it up, much like when the radio was installed at the factory. I really don't know if your car is close enough to mine for the same thing to work on both cars. Again, sorry for your trouble.

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    1. Mike, then the procedure is:
      read the eeprom and then erase all the eeprom with the option of the program?

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  15. I tried this with my 2015 Sonic Mylink.. it died out, bought one from ebay for abut $120, bought these nifty tools for the re-programming... BAM! worked like a charm. THANK YOU for this write up!

    Some stuff i learned, maybe you guys already wrote this but, i didn't read the comments, make sure the clamps are clamping down in the proper direction... otherwise the program crashes when "reading" trial and error! dont give up! :D

    thanks again brother!

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    1. ^& just so you guys know, i first backed up the old bin file from my "dead" radio.. then backed up the "new" ebay radio... then i erased the ebay radio, and re-wrote it with the "dead" original one... this made the "LOCKED" screen go away.. that was my problem when just trying to install the "ebay" radio. hope this helps!

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    2. Can't thank you enough. I had to replace the mylink radio in my Sonic after it went into continuous reboot mode. Got the new radio from eBay. Locked. (no surprise) I'm going to follow your procedure. Question-how do I know what the correct orientation should be?

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    3. If you mean clamping to the eprom chip with the writer, according to the pictures I took, above, you should be able to see the red edge of the ribbon cable and orientate it the same way. If that's what you mean.

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    4. I've been able to connect and read the chip, however when I try to erase it I'm unsuccessful. I choose auto and after the scan (takes about 5 seconds) the prompt reads "The Chips are not null" With each erase it seems that there is less and less data but there is still some left. There is always a Z in the first position (if that helps) Now I'm down to l0 or so characters. How can I erase it?

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    5. Not sure. You could try to manually zero it out. Not sure where the unit reads at what address(es) to determine it is a "new" unit in the factory install to write the code necessary to initialise the radio at the factory. You might try to reverse the clamp to see if it makes any difference. If the address it's searching for is null, it might initialise it even if the entirety of the chip isn't zero. Manually zeroing the chip is still a possibility, assuming it isn't ridiculously hard. Good luck.

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    6. Thanks Mike - Those were my thoughts as well. I tried erasing specific the different bits of code but they came back on read. I wanted to mention that my code was also at 6000 thru 6020. My year was 2014 (line 6020), I see yours is 2013. I'll just verify that there's no code there and give her a shot. Stay tuned... (pun intended)

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  16. Logged in with my daughter account. I had the orig radio caught in continuous boot. got a new one from eBay Practiced on the old one. Got most code out but still boot loop Took new one & installed Locked. Followed instructions again.
    Reinstall Nothing. About as good as a brick.
    Thx

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  17. Oh, I mean dead blank screen. As if car was off.

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  18. mike ,im glade find this place to learn on the 2013 spark radio mylink ,if can help please solve this ,i have the original that the screen not working and the ebay one get to lock condition ,which part need to replace to have one that works? ,what board inside will do it?thanks for any answer ,

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  19. Worked. You just started my 2019 off with a very big grin. May you have a healthy, happy and prosperous 2019

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  20. Mike,
    You're a saint. What you did here has been extremely helpful. I can't thank you enough, you saved me upwards of $1000. You deserve something in return, do you mind if I send you some money as a token of my appreciation. If so, what is your paypal account? Thank you.

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  21. Anyone needs a clean head unit, let me know. I bought one, and it's ready to go. Appears that GM has really made it difficult to upgrade the stock head unit in my Traxx with another mylink.
    None of my bluetooth functions work with the mylink, and it locks up to the point of having to physically remove power to get it to unlock. GM really screwed this up. No rear speak harness in my '16 traxx either. Apparently they have different wiring harness for the same model cars.

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    1. Somebody did this procedure with mylink 2. I'm from Argentina... O buy an onix joy + without mylink. I saw in www a head unit in sell but im afraid

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