Stereo LOC'ed, Unlock method? 1992 Olds '88

I recently had the A/C fixed on my car and when I got it back the stereo displayed LOC and will not work. My parents are the original owners and know nothing about any anti-theft system. So I read the Owner's Manual
and there is no mention of this LOC "feature" anywhere in the manual.
I've done a bit of searching on the web and found a method that involves holding down either the 2 & 3 keys or the Set key, but neither of these methods appear to work on this model. I suspect those methods only work on newer models.
Anyone know a way of unlocking this that will save me from paying the dealership $40? I wouldn't mind paying if it was my oversight, but the fact that there's no mention of any such system in the Owner's Manual just steams me to no end. I called the GM "Customer Service" line but they just referred me to paying bucks at the dealership. I explained to them that this was hardly fair given that there was no mention of this system in the documentation, and they blew me off.
Alternatively, if there's not a simple known method of unlocking the thing, how do I remove it from the dash? I don't see any obvious joints or screws. I bet the code is either maintained by NVRAM running off a small internal battery or on an EEPROM or FLASH which I can erase with my handy dandy EEPROM programmer.
Thank you for any helpful or humorous comments.
--
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If the code is unknown, there's no way to unlock it other than calling up Delco and getting the master unlock code for the radio. The trick with the 2 and 3 keys just gets you the number that you give Delco so that they can give you the code. It's an automated telephone system that's used, but you need a valid dealer code to access it.
If the radio has had too many attempts at the code, it won't even give you that number, then you have to let it sit powered up for a full hour before you can do anything more with it.
To get the radio out, you need to remove whatever dash trim covers the outside edge of the radio. There will be some screws on the left and right to hold it into the dash.
As far as unlocking it by nuking the memory chip, I would be surprised if the chip were not soldered to the circuit board, and most likely erasing it would just make the radio completely inoperative..
It's rather bizarre that the radio would have Theftlock on it but that it wouldn't be mentioned in the manual. Are you sure it's the original radio? Somebody would have to have programmed in a code to activate the Theftlock, too..
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Robert Hancock Saskatoon, SK, Canada
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I managed to get the dash trim off. It turns out there were five torx screws holding it on, which I had overlooked before. I found the four screws on the front of the stereo. But there seems to be a strap or something on the inside holding it in, and I have no idea how to access that. Maybe if I could get the ashtray out...But from feeling around under the dash, it feels liek the thing is in a plastic sleeve, so I don't think that will help. I hate working under the dash. Arghh.

Desoldering the chip is no problem. Especially on something from 1992. I would first copy the contents and then nuke the chip. If that is catastrophic, I can then reprogram the chip with the original contents. Having one's own chip programmer is expensive but very convenient.

Well, I think it is bizarre too. Yes, it's the original radio. My parent's are the original owners. I don't think they've ever bought an after-market radio in their entire lives.
A nice service rep at a local dealership told me that the code is typically included on a little card with the car, but my parents were never given that card. They have all the paperwork for every car they've bought back to 1975. So the manual says nothing about theftlock and they were never given the code (presumably factory programmed) and GM still expects us to pay to get it unlocked. It's amazing so many folks continue to buy GM...
The one mysterious bit is that somebody would have to have programmed in a code to activate it. My parents never did as they had no idea the feature existed. The service guy said they sometimes came with a code programmed at the factory, so that would solve that mystery. However, my father says he's replaced the battery himself a number of times and never had this problem. So unless there's some capacitance in the thing and he replaced the battery pretty quick, it sounds like the theftlock somehow got activated on its own or the AC guys fiddled wtih it just wrong?
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It's also possible the radio is somehow confused - it could be that some models of the radio had the Theftlock on them and some didn't, just that the option was turned off on some of them, and somehow this radio has decided that it has Theftlock on it..
I've never heard of a radio having pre-programmed Theftlock on it - it always comes disabled from the factory, and you have to enter in a code to enable it.
Does it have the blinking Theftlock LED on the front of the radio?
As far as taking it out, it's likely that some of the cables on the back are hung up and preventing it from coming out, you might have to reach in behind to unplug them.
--
Robert Hancock Saskatoon, SK, Canada
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Working in the electronics engineering and service field for many years, I can tell you first hand digital electronics designs get confused often. It is a VERY common repair problem for many electronics manufactures.
Things like a glitch of noise on the power, bad ground connection, nearby EMP (like that generated by an MRI machine), nearby static discharge at just the wrong time, and many more can all cause electronics to be confused. Actually it is a changed code in memory or the firmware that really fouls things up.
David

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Here is a very good point.........
You have invested WAY MORE time and effort then the 40 bucks the dealer wanted.
It's amazing reading you posts, talking about desoldering the chip, fighting the dash board, calling GM, writing posts, all over the course of two days. And your still no where near finishing. You have no idea if the chip nuking will work!!
Are you that cheap that $40 is worth this much effort? You could have had this "problem" solved last week.
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I can understand where this guy is coming from. I do not think that it is so much as the $40 but the principle of the whole situation. My keyless entry remote to my car had been lost and I needed to replace it. The dealer wanted $75 for the remote and $50 to program it. I turned to the Newsgroup for suggestions. The final results were, I got the remotes on E-Bay for $10 and a user in the Newsgroup gave me programming instructions and it took all of 5 seconds and a paperclip to make it work!

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Well.....
Maybe he will let us know if a paper clip helps him............

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Exactly. Thank you for your understanding. I will not pay GM for this. They never informed us that there was such a hazard built into the stereo that we paid for, nor did they provide the theft code. Yet, they will neither provide the info needed to undo this, nor provide the service to undo it without a ridiculous charge. No way am I ever giving GM any money. Of course, my parents will continue to buy GM cars as they always have, but that's their decision.
Additionally, despite having an EE degree, 1.5 years of experience designing semiconductors, great references and a 3.6 GPA coming out of school three years ago, I've been looking for work for the last eighteen months, unsuccessfully. So my time isn't worth a whole lot right now anyway, and a little project like this to take my mind off the depressing reality of the current job market is just fine. Of course, I don't count in the "unemployment" statistics, because like so many others, my unemployment benefits ran out a long time ago and you aren't counted as unemployed after that, despite the continuing lack of a job...but I digress.
I like soldering. I like desoldering. I like programming chips. The mechanical aspects of removing the stereo from the car are frustrating, but once I get to the electronic technician stuff, that will be fun.
Finally, I will buy a new stereo and install it, before I will consider giving GM any money. So, figuring out how to uninstall the stereo is a necessary step, whether I manage to hack the current stereo back into operation, or junk it and replace it with something else.
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You make a very good point! Maybe I am a little unclear about this whole thing.... Is it possible that all you need to do is enter a code to unlock it? Seems to me they would provide that as a Customer Service after you proved ownership. Furthermore, what does LOC stand for? Could it be an Acronym for Launch Operations Center? One suggestion is find the model and contact the manufacturer and ask them for advice. Keep posting in here and other Newsgroups.... Don't give up!
BTW I used to own a '92 Delta 88 and never had that problem.... Worse thing that ever happened to me was that I got that "Clean Key" Message and you would have to wait 3 minutes or so before the car would start. I now own a '91 Regency 98 but would be more than happy to to some research on this for you!

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On Tue, 24 Jun 2003 21:59:16 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@io.com (Jeff Walther) wrote:

You brought back the 1970's for me. When the Viet Nam war and the airospace industries declined. (For good reasons)

What do you do if they are surface mounted technology chips? Or propriety chips with secret markings?

And then realize that you have waisted all your time.

Now here you have solved your problem already. Life is full of learning experiences. Whether it be auto repair, or unemployment. You will learn from it all.
MIKE........
PS: I read in the NY Times last month that BMW is employing technicians at their dealerships and paying them >$50,000 to start. And have their own training program. Unbelievable!
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Simple, the electronics in the unit were 'confused' due to some glitch. Anyone with some real experience at the service end of consumer electronics can attest to how common this type of failure really is and that a full reboot/reset many times clears the problem.
Obviously your EE degree training did not give you any real world practical knowledge from the repair standpoint. When I worked at a consumer electronics repair shop, around 25% of the failures we would see were due to random electronics confusion problems. Usually some bit would get corrupted in the eeprom, sometimes the micro/system control would get confused due to some bad data getting to it, almost all problems were related to quick brown out conditions at just the wrong time.
David
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Hi Jeff, Same thing happened to me. Never locked it, had it off battery for long periods of time - but one time it locked on me. I just assumed my kids did it. Here is what happened though, I had my old cassette player still so I put it back in, threw the locked one in the trunk - figured I would get it unlocked from the dealer one day or buy another factory cd. Well, several months later (and still broke enough to get it fixed) winter ended, since I work on Computers, I know that most bios (don't ask if you don't know) memory can be reset just by unplugging the battery - or if you are a video gameplayer, ask yourself, what happens to your saved games if you leave an old video game cartridge with built in ram laying around for awhile? You already know that answer..... Bingo! I put it in and the "loc" was gone!
Dennis

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