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Discussion Starter #1
A month ago I installed a cool double din Android radio in my 2000 ML320 w163 and now my instrument cluster backlights and my dash lights don't come on. Prior to installing the radio, everything worked fine. Now for the finer details. After installing my new radio the first thing I noticed is that the radio didn't turn on. (I'd like to note that I have installed several different radios in different cars but this was my first Mercedes Benz) So after some research I learned about the CAN busses and that it tells my radio to turn on. As a work around I tied the radio's "ignition" wire to the center console's cigarette lighter since it is turned on by the ignition switch light a traditional car radio would be in most cases. After that the new radio works like a dream. It's actually a really cool unit. But now my dash and cluster lights don't work, even with the factory radio in. I have since; checked all fuses and relays, swapped the cluster with one from another ml, checked the factory 16 pin harness with a multi-meter... Any ideas of what to do next? I don't believe any bulbs would be the issue here unless for some reason every bulb on both the cluster and dash circuits went out at once or they are used to connect the circuit. Also the warning lights (BAS/ESP, check engine, ECT) and some dash button lights (seat warmers, A/C on, rear defrost, ECT) do still work just fine.

Any ideas and questions are very much appreciated. Sorry for the essay long explanation but I hope it's viable information.

Thanks, Tim
 

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Note grey exterior lights and white interior lights. I do not have a 2000 full wire diagram to say where for sure they go from the head unit to. Do you have a pin out chart/note of what each harness wire is connected to?
2637725
 

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Discussion Starter #4
yes of course im connected to the factory harness. The radio came with a wire harness adapter and i bought another. Plus im not trying to do this the hard way. As i said before i have checked the factory harness with a multimeter, i know where each wire goes in the 16 pin factory radio harness. i know that illumination wire in the harness is between the ground and the power from battery but that only tells the radio lights to come on when the dash lights and cluster lights come on.
 

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Have you tried moving brightness control knob in instrument cluster?
 

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Start with what you can test easily. If all of the illumination bulbs on the cluster are out, just pull a couple and verify the bulb. If the bulb is good, then work back from there. Does not seem possible that ALL bulbs would stop working without some underlying cause, so test a couple items to confirm. Fuse 10 is for the Radio, Fuse 21 is for the AMP. Pull Fuse 10 and see if radio turns off to confirm power to your new head unit is coming from this circuit an not another one. Then locate instrument panel fuse pull and verify that the entire panel is not working. Also, what was your logic that you wanted to switch instrument clusters? Is the original cluster back in? It seems to be introducing another variable with a new cluster if the other was working up to that point.
 

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yes of course im connected to the factory harness. The radio came with a wire harness adapter and i bought another. Plus im not trying to do this the hard way. As i said before i have checked the factory harness with a multimeter, i know where each wire goes in the 16 pin factory radio harness. i know that illumination wire in the harness is between the ground and the power from battery but that only tells the radio lights to come on when the dash lights and cluster lights come on.
We had no idea if you used a harness adapter, or just cut and spliced.
We do not know which adapter you used?
We do not know the model of the head unit you used or its connections?
Reason why I asked for a pin out of how you made your connections? Speakers can be excluded, at least of all other wires.

On most metra plugs the white (ML harness) for lights and dimming goes to Orange/white. What is the Orange/white connected to?

So If fuse is ok, and dimmer is to full; somehow you either blew all bulbs or have not completed the circuit.
 

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Also, what was your logic that you wanted to switch instrument clusters? Is the original cluster back in?
Good pick up read the post several times and missed the cluster swap somehow, i don't know how but i did, think in back of my head kept thinking it worked before the install.
Could be a bad cluster, but 2 not working?

Also as to the radio ignition wire some say they needed to add a pin and wire to the metra to connect to the ml harness plug.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
yeah i have 2 harnesses for the aftermarket radio. i dont want to cut anything from factory. both harnesses have a pin for the illumination which only seem to be power the lights on the new radio when i put it to a 12v post. the other cluster was working fine in another ml i just borrowed it to test the connection and put it back. both did the same, nothing. milage and warning lights all popped up but no back light
 

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Tim I want to try to help here, and I may not know the answer, but others might. The problem is we are not there, you need to share how you made the connections?

Until then the only suggestion I can make is plug in the original head unit see if the lights come on? If they do your problem is in the wiring or the radio itself.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
sorry i dont understand what youre asking. everything ive done is here. i havent done anything else since. as for your question of how i made connections, i just use the plugs. if youre asking if ive cut any wires, only 1, the power lead to the cigarette lighter to split for the "ignition" wire for the radio as a way to get around the canbus. that is also in the original post.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
maybe later when its dark ill make a youtube video and forward a link to here so you can see. i appreciate the effort
 

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What I am asking is this:

Usually for an ml head until you have the:
Unplugged connector from the OEM head unit.

To that you plug in a Metra adapter.

Then you splice the wires from the plug /harness that comes with the new head unit to the Metra plug harness that plugs into the MLs harness.

If effect making a custom harness adapter.

I am asking when making that adapter what. Wires from the Metra got connected to what wires from the new head unit?

Unless and I never heard of it the new head unit came with a premade plug and play harness adapter to connect the two.

Not interested in any speaker wires, more interested in everything else including the white wire from the MLS body harness and what it is connected to?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
i see. i didnt have to splice an adapter, the radio came with one and i bought a 2nd from ebay for extra parts. yeah usually you have to get a wire harness and splice into the radio adapter but my radio came with one already made. i double checked the connections and they were good. the white wire goes to the illumination wire on the radio and i would bet my bottom dollar that would work if my dash and cluster lights came on. as stated the only wire i had to do different was the ignition wire for the radio. infact my illumination wire is currently attached to the amp on so they will just stay on when the radio is on. the company that made the radio is called Xtrons which i am thoroughly impressed with. now let me ask a simple question. does the canbus tell the internal lights to turn on when i turn the multifunction switch?
 

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Do you have a link to the unit you purchased?

The can bus does need instructions to turn on some add ons but that is usually reserved for things like adding xenon lights and telling the ml you now have them when you did not before.

Replacing one head unit for another you should not need to. I never heard of that happening to anyone, you are the first.

What I am thinking is the wire to the cigarette outlet may need to change.
Out now hard to read the diagram on the phone but pink on mls harness should go to switched + on the new head unit.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
right and originally i didnt not make an alterations to the harness. when i first installed the new unit the ignition wire would not turn on the radio. i tested each pin with a multimeter and it came out with .3v or something for the red ignition wire meaning data and not a 12v like in most other cars. thats why i used the lead from the cigarette lighter. ill have to dig around for the unit's sale page. Xtrons sells many kits that are specific to a specific model's dash but min is just their normal double din unit. the only thing special about my particular radio is the newer hardware. faster cpu and more ram and storage.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
anyone have any other ideas? i would really like to figure this problem out so i can put my dash back together
 

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Tim as I said if it were me I pull the new unit plug in the old head unit and see if the lights come on I would take under 20 minutes.

If the lights come on the problem is in your new unit wiring.


If not burnt out bulbs damage to the dimmer circuit.

Also not just radio but you have checked every fuse in the lighting circuit?

Contact the supplier if you can.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
i have tried putting the old radio back in, it does not fix the problem. i have checked every fuse and bulb in the car and replaced any bad ones. still no dash/cluster lights.
 
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