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Discussion Starter #1
When I started the car, normally if I had been listening to a cd it would start up playing the cd again. Now, when istart the car, it always resets to start playing the radio.

I'm wondering how to set it back to where it would play the cd if i was listening to a cd the last time the radio/cdplayer was on, or it would play the radio if i had been listening to the radio. I dont know how this option was selected and ive looked all over for an answer, including this forum.

Its the '98 New Beetle with the original cd changer audio system.

If anybody knows how to fix this tiny tiny issue I would greatly appreciate it.
 

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It most likely means that the headunit doesn't recognize the CD changer when you first start up. When the headunit first gets power, and it's last known mode was CDC, it goes out and tries to "handshake" with the changer. This handshake tells the changer to wake up, and to check if it has discs inserted (basically asking "are you ready to play"). If the changer doesn't respond (or responds that it isn't ready to play), the headunit reverts back to radio mode.

So the question is... why doesn't the changer respond initially?
It could be one (or more) of several reasons:

1) There might by a system menu option that designates whether to resume the CDC on power-up. I think it might depend on the year of your radio. You should be able to get to the system menu by pressing and holding your SCAN button for several seconds. Then browse through the options to see if there's something pertaining to the changer. Obviously this would be the easiest fix. But I'm not sure the option even exists on your model year headunit. It may be a setting in VAG-COM... but that's a whole'nother story.

2) The laser len in the player is dirty. This would cause it to read the inserted discs incorrectly (especially when "cold") or not at all... resulting in a "I have no discs I can play" response to the headunit. This is a relatively simple problem to fix, as well. Cleaning the lens is fairly straightforward. But I fear this isn't your problem, because you'd most likely be experiencing other problems as well (like skipping, or the CDC intermittently turning off while you're listening).

3) The laser is just plain old. It amount of time it takes for the old laser to warm up and begin reading discs is longer than the amount of time the headunit is willing to wait for a response. You might check around at your local fix-it shops to see if someone will replace just the laser in your existing unit... if not, the only real solution for this is, unfortunately, to replace the entire changer.

4) There is a short or loose wire in the small microswitch that tells the changer that it's sliding door is closed. If this microswitch isn't functioning properly, the changer will think that the door is open, and will refuse the headunit's request to play. You can disable the switch fairly easily but disassembling the door assembly, removing the switch, and soldering the two wires together. In essence, the changer will now always think the door is closed. Which can cause some problems as well... but does solve the issue of the switch malfunctioning. Again, if this was the problem, I'd expect that you'd see the changer turning off intermittently as you were driving, too... but it's still a possibility.

5) The software or hardware in the headunit itself that handshakes with the changer could just be going bad or have a loose connection. In reality, the solution is to replace the headunit.

Here's what I would do to troubleshoot.
Find someone else who has a VW CD changer (doesn't necessarily have to be a NB, either... Golf's, Jetta's and Passat's of the same vintage all used the same changers... as long as the connectors are the same). Temporarily connect their changer up in your car (the connector is a simple quick release... nothing else to wire), and start 'er up. If it behaves the same, then you know it's something in the headunit that's causing the problem (#1 or 5). If your radio plays CDs from their changer on start-up (ie - the system behaves how it used to), then you know there's something in the changer that's causing the problem (#2, 3 or 4).

If you find it's the changer, take it to one of the neighborhood electronic repair shops (the little Mom & Pop places that typically repair VCRs and DVDs) and tell 'em you don't want to spend more than $40 (or whatever) to fix it. They'll check it out for you and let you know what's wrong.

If they give you a repair estimate of more than $50, you're probably better off finding a new changer (or putting up with the inconvenience of not being able to play your CDs right away when you start your car). Or, better yet, go with a PhatBox (MP3 jukebox)... you'd be happier with your tunes.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
wow man thanks for such a detailed response. ill definitely try some of those things, but like i mentioned in the first post its not that big of a deal. i want to listen to cd when i start the car all i have to do is press the button again. its just wierd because it only recently stopped doing it automatically, and im wondering if i had pressed some buttons to change it. but thanks, it helps to understand whats actually going on when i turn on the radio.
 
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