by Jeremy Schrag
This isn’t your RBK? Maybe it’s an RBK v1!
Not too long ago, we took a detailed tour of Chrysler's most popular single CD head unit of the 2000s, the RBK. Featuring little more than the basics when it came to audio, this deck is most frequently found by the dozens in your local neighborhood salvage yards. But what if I told you there was a newer version of this deck? One that came not with analog controls for bass, treble, balance, and fader functions; but one that controlled itself entirely through software?
It is that newer revision of the RBK we are looking at today. I've pointed out in red where the sales code is found on my particular example.
Discovered in a recent model Sebring, this version of the RBK has but one rotary control, the volume knob, which also functions to control the various audio adjustments accessed via the new "audio" button. In comparison to the older version of the RBK, some buttons have been moved around but the same basic functionality remains. In general, this is what you got when you wanted nothing too fancy in your 2006-2007 vehicle.
In this shot, we can see the part number of P05091506AF, which traces back to the '06 Sebring and the '07 Town and Country. We also see the supplier code of 7910, indicating that Huntsville Electronics is once again the OEM of the deck making this unit one of the last units to be made by them before the division was bought up by Siemens.
Because Huntsville is behind this deck, I expect this to be a very easy deck to take apart. Indeed, elements of the basic construction may even be identical to the older version of the RBK. So, I'll try to keep things brief in that regard. You will need Torx screwdriver sizes of T-8, T-10, and T-15 to get this unit apart.
There are four screws holding the top cover on: two on top, two on the back. All of them are visible in the above shot. We'll get to that later.
First, a look at the side panels. Again, being from Huntsville, the number of screws are kept to a minimum. The one arrowed in red secures a clip holding the amplifier chip to the side for heatsinking. The only other two screws visible are used to hold the faceplate on.
On the other side, all we see are the other two screws holding the faceplate to the chassis.
Even the back panel is kept nice and simple on this deck. One screw, arrowed in blue, holds the FAKRA antenna connector to the chassis. One screw, red, holds the power supply chip to the chassis for heatsinking.
The two screws on top hold the top cover on, while the two on the bottom hold the bottom cover and CD module on.
Of the two connectors seen here, we have Chrysler's main harness connector on the right and the CD or DVD changer connector on the left. This deck should interface with any vehicle from 2002-2007 or even earlier with the proper harness adapters, as it is not dependent on any particular vehicle computer bus to operate. You can even run it from the 12 volt output from an old computer power supply, as I have done for testing.
On the bottom of the unit there are no screws, just a warning label for the laser inside the CD module. We'll start getting inside this unit now by removing the faceplate. Take out the four screws holding it on, then unclip the clips I've indicated in red. There are two on the topside of the deck as well. The faceplate will pop right off.
Unlike the older version of the RBK, this updated model does not have two cables running to the faceplate. We are down to one, pointed out in red here. It's friction fit, so just pull it straight forward.
Note the yellow arrowed screw. Like the older version, the bottom cover and CD module are held on with three screws. This is the third screw, with the other two being on the back panel as I showed you earlier. We'll get to that in a moment.
Meantime, we'll remove all the blue arrowed screws and have a look at the faceplate components by removing its circuit board. If you happen to lose track of where these screws go, worry not - Huntsville has circled their locations in white. You have to just love it as a technician when the manufacturer does little things like this to make your job that much easier.
Having no analog controls, this version of the RBK is a little bit simpler when it comes to the faceplate. You have the plastic bezel, the circuit board, and a one piece silicone contact pad. That's it. If you've managed to get soda into the controls, you've just come as far as you need to in order to clean things up.
Don't forget to spray a little contact cleaner down the shaft of the rotary encoder (volume control), while you're in here. Unlike older rotary encoders, this one cannot be taken apart for cleaning so you need to do what you can from here. This means getting your contact cleaner down in between the shaft and the housing.
The lamps used for illumination are surface mount parts, making replacement very difficult. However, it can be done using 12 volt 3mm "grain of wheat" lamps, if you're good at working with small parts and are able to solder them directly to the board.
Now, we'll take off the bottom cover and CD module. Since this is basically the same procedure as the original RBK, which isn't hard at all, I'll forgo any detailed explanations on how to do it. Just remove the three screws and set aside the whole assembly aside like this.
Unplug the red arrowed connector by pulling it straight up off the mainboard.
Before we look at the CD module, let's get the mainboard out of the way. After you pull the top cover off the deck, you immediately see this view. If you want to inspect and touch up any solder joints, you may now do so.
Removal of the mainboard is fairly easy on this unit, should you need to replace the amplifier chip or power supply chip. De-solder and bend flat the yellow arrowed tabs, remove the three red arrowed screws, and the whole board just pops right out.
The mainboard looks deceptively simple from an electronics point of view. All of the tuner components are enclosed in that metal box on the left, while the amplifier and power supply chips are arrowed in blue and red, respectively.
Sourcing a replacement for the power supply chip will be difficult, as it bears a custom Chrysler part number, but the amplifier is a standard ST Microelectronics TDA7563. This one little chip is rated at 28 watts into four channels at 1kHz, at 10% THD, and is 2 ohm stable. So, you're looking at about 20 watts into four channels with any kind of listenable audio quality with this deck. This is pretty standard for an automotive head unit these days, aftermarket or not. There is only so much power you can support through a factory wiring harness.
Now, we'll move to the CD player module. This is not the same module found in the older RBK, so we'll take a quick look at it. It is already possible to clean the laser lens with a cotton swab and isopropyl alcohol through the large cracks in the housing near the top of this shot, so if that's all you need to do you don't need to worry about taking things further apart.
Remove the two red arrowed screws, then spin the whole assembly around.
Now, remove these two red arrowed screws. Take the gray ribbon cable out of that big black standoff on the right, then remove the module from the tray.
Accessing the laser power adjustment is already possible from here, though rather difficult. If you have a jeweler's screwdriver thin enough, the laser power potentiometer is right about where the long red arrow is. If, however, the laser sled is not in its parked position you may need to remove the circuit board to cycle the mechanism.
To do this, remove the two yellow indicated screws. Now, note the black arrows... these indicate two tabs on the circuit board that fit into the module. What you want to do is unclip the board where the blue arrow is, pull up on it slightly just far enough to clear the module, then pull the board slightly to the right to free it up. Be very gentle as you do the unclipping part - you will need a small screwdriver and you don't want to damage the board by prying on it too hard.
Also, be aware that there are several small switches on the underside of the board near the blue arrow. You don't want to damage them, either, so just pry the board straight up... no forward or backward movements. The same advice applies to re-installing the board when the time comes... get the black arrowed tabs in, then press straight down on the right side. This should get those little switches back in where they're supposed to go with no damage.
Once you get the board released, flip it up and over like this. You can now disconnect the cables shown in yellow, if you wish, to set the circuit board out of harm's way. The connector on the left has a small clip on it to hold the ribbon cable in place while the other two are friction fit.
The laser sled and its mechanism is now fully accessible.
In my last shot of the article, I'll aim a big red arrow right at the laser power potentiometer. If you do attempt to adjust this, it should only be after you've tried lens cleaning first to make your deck read discs again. If you do make any adjustments to this control, do so only in very small increments or decrements. After each adjustment, re-assemble the deck and test. If no adjustment works, you are likely dealing with a dead laser; at which point my advice would be to replace the whole deck. Replacement parts are often far more expensive than replacing the whole deck at a salvage yard. Really - if the salvage yard you enjoy visiting is anything like the one this deck came from, there will be three dozen other decks just like this one waiting for you.
And so we come to the end of another article. As this is such a simple deck to take apart and put back together, it shouldn't fight you too much from here. Good luck!
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