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IPC reads ERROR and 00

Guest CL_Reatta

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Guest CL_Reatta

okay, I took out the IPC to see if the connections were bad, nothing. charged battery, nothing. my IPC reads ERROR in the odo, and 00 in the speedo, it it sometimes will pop on for a few minutes/seconds, but then go back. I notice that when it does die, right before hand the rpms on the guage go down to zero, any suggestions?

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Guest jcc3inc


I have the same problem. Mine is a recent Ebay purchase; sometimes it works well, then I get the "00" same as you. Maybe it can be repaired or the cause of the intermittency fixed. My old uit was far more erratic - got various segments of the display intermittently lit up, then it would go dark, then OCCASSIONALLY it would work.

I'd like to find a schematic of the unit. Does anybody have a schematic or maybe even a block diagram of the unit??? That wouls be a starting point.


Jack C.

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FWIW, I believe most of the problems with these units can be traced to one (or both) of two common problems. The first is bad solder joints on the circuit board in the IPC. When you consider the amount mechanical (vibration) and thermal (heat/cold) stress these units are subjected to it is not surprising that solder joints will crack and have intermittent "opens" after so many years.

The other issue, and one that is getting more common with age is bad capacitors (just as in the radio modules). Electrolytic capacitors have a gelled electrolyte that is eventually exhausted from drying out. Typical useful life span is 15-25 years tops - right about where we are now.

Since these "caps" are critical to the power supply regulation and filtering, when they go bad they will cause other components to go up in smoke, rendering the IPC non-funtional (or at least not working correctly).

As a preventive measure, I have replaced all electrolytic capacitors in the IPC on my car, and have a working spare that I intend to do the same to when time permits. Bear in mind that to save an IPC from burn out, the caps need to be replaced before they give out. Once this happens, there will be other damage that will be harder to repair.

I will be starting a new thread concerning IPCs, and related issues as I would like to see currently non-working units repaired rather than discarded to preserve the pool of parts needed to keep our cars usable in the long term. This post will be up shortly.


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Guest spyhunter2k

There used to always be a couple of guys on Ebay that fixed these. The guy I used did so on an exchange basis, and I believe it cost about $80. I haven't seen their services advertised lately, but maybe another member still has one of their email addresses.

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Just a couple questions, also to give your proposal to start collecting IP clusters a bump.

I also work in electronics and agree that too many things are discarded that could be repaired. That along with the dwindling supply underscores your repair thoughts.

My first question is regarding the caps you are referencing, what value/part number for replacement?

Second, do you have any pictures of component location or suspect solder joint/trace problem areas?

I ask because I am going to remove my radio to look into some modifications and while I have the dash apart I would like to address the IPC issues. Thanks for any input, KennyV.

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I am glad to find someone else who shares my concerns over this issue. As far as the caps, I do not presently have a "shopping list" of all the ones I replaced when I rebuilt my spare cluster several months back.

I just made a quick and dirty list, bought what I needed, and soldered them in. Basically just did a one for one replacement of all electrolytic capacitors to be safe.

At the time I did not anticipate the need to make this into a larger scale project. What I need to do is properly document everything w/ a parts list and pictures. I had planned to do this as part of my offer to the forum to work on this problem, which will effect all 90/91 owners (eventually) just as the CRT does to 88/89 owners.

The bad news is that the response to my request for failed clusters has been underwhelming. In fact, no one has offered to send me a non-working cluster (I'd even pay shipping), or sell me one at any price.

Why, I don't know. Perhaps it just isn't a big enough concern for those with bad clusters who just replace them again (and again and again...) or maybe my post was so long very few people bothered to read it.

Anyway, I am still open to doing this if I can get some interest and assistance from other forum members in the form of non-working 1990/91 clusters.

Finally, regarding the location of bad solder joints/traces in the IPC, I would pay attention to the area around the microprocessors. These are Motorola chips, though not necessarily marked as such due to GM/Delco part number re-stamping. Usually, you can recognize them due to having a high number of pins relative to smaller ancillary function IC's.

The serial data stream enters the cluster MPU and is decoded, processed and sent to the display drivers in the IPC. If the data is being "dropped" due to an open in any portion of the data line receiving circuit inside the cluster, you will get the "00 ERROR" routine which is just a fallback mode built into the cluster program ROM.

Of course, there are other things that could cause this malfunction, but I'll bet 90+ percent of these failures are failed solder joints. Especially since it tends to happen after the car has been on a while. Electronics get hot (expansion) and cause open circuits which then work properly again when cold.

Think of the infamous Ford EEC electronic ignition module that repeatedly failed due to thermal opens for 2 decades until they got hit with a massive lawsuit and made a design change. Same basic type of problem.

Easiest thing to do is just touch up all solder joints that may be suspect. Trying to narrow down to just one is a difficult process. And, chances are there is more than one problem spot.

One tip: you can use a non-conductive "tool", like a piece of plastic rod to gently flex the circuit board while energized to see if the behavior changes. This may clue you into the area of concern. I have had success with this technique on other projects in the past.

Hopefully, some interest can be generated in trying to develop a DIY repair tutorial. It would be a worthwhile effort in my opinion.


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