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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
(Now solved by Rickl !! Thanks!!)
Finishing up my head unit install (Kenwood DDX9903S - will post full details and pics when complete) today on my 2010 Limited w/JBL. Steering wheel controls, JBL amp integration, rear camera integration, and various extra goodies I threw in for fun. Most everything seemed to be working fine and I thought I was in the home stretch. I've had the headlight switch set to 'off' during the days of my install work to avoid running down the battery during testing. Tonight after buttoning up everything, took the car out late in the day - all working well. Driving home I realized the headlights were not on - oh yeah, I forgot - so flipped the stalk control to 'Auto'. Out go all the dashboard instrument lights, including for the AC controls and clock. Oddly, the new head unit is still lit up just fine, and has automatically dimmed somewhat, per design. I DID connect the 'illumination' wire during my install, so the lighting behavior on the new HU when the lights came on made sense, but what happened to my dashboard lighting? I figured oh crap... I've direct shorted something in the install wiring and when I turned on the lights it blew a fuse for the dashboard lights. Now I'll have to do the 'on my back, feet in the air, flashlight and reading glasses in hand with the brake pedal in my ear' dance to replace a fuse. All the exterior lights are working just fine. But here is where I'm really confused. I get home and before I turn the car off I turn the lights off using the stalk control. The new HU brightens up a bit, per design... AND the dashboard lights come back on! So clearly the fuse(s) are intact. Turn the lights back on... and off they go again.
Any ideas? I'm thinking it has something to do with the illumination wire going to the new HU... coming from the Maestro RR interface and T01 wiring kits I plugged into the OEM harnesses - which are working great otherwise. I did not have to do any real 'wire surgery'... just connected the wires from the Maestro kit to the new HU (but there were a LOT of them). Anyone seen similar behavior, or can suggest where to start... something I might have connected wrong (doubtful, per the instructions)? I figure I'll take the illum. wire loose first thing tomorrow to see what happens, but not sure what to do after that, since that will not work as a permanent fix as it will (assuming) mean no illumination for the new HU (or maybe just no dimming of the HU?). I'm open to suggestions.
Thanks.
 

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This might be a dumb idea, but did you check the setting of the dashboard dimmer control? The dimmer settings will only come into effect when the lights are turned on. Otherwise the dashboard lights will be at full brightness when the lights are turned off. Exactly the symptoms you are describing.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
WAY TO GO!

This might be a dumb idea, but did you check the setting of the dashboard dimmer control? The dimmer settings will only come into effect when the lights are turned on. Otherwise the dashboard lights will be at full brightness when the lights are turned off. Exactly the symptoms you are describing.
NICE Rickl !!! And thanks so much for the quick feedback as I was pretty depressed thinking about having to pull the HU and wiring again tomorrow morning right after just getting the dash and panels all back in place after finishing my days long install earlier today. I feel like a moron for not considering that, but since I virtually never adjust the dimmer control, it never occurred to me that it could be dimmed to the point that the dashboard lights would go completely dark! Apparently while I was on my back in the driver's floorboard running wires I slung my free arm up and clawed around the steering wheel to pull myself back up from the floorboard... and rolled the dimmer rheostat all the way down. Thanks SO much!
 
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